Startup Weekend Hartford-Ottawa Bridges Borders, Inspires New Ventures
Sixty entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts, including 20 college students, gathered this weekend at the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center for an exhilarating, 54-hour pursuit of new business ventures. Through the Startup Weekend model, Hartford organizers the MetroHartford Alliance and HYPE continued efforts to inspire and support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Region. This year, Hartford aligned its Weekend with organizers in Ottawa, Canada. The two cities video-conferenced presenters and pitches through the use of Skype and other means. Ottawa also saw approximately 60 participants, and the two cities shared greetings, pitches and mentors for those interested in transnational collaboration.
For a great experience, Ottawa closed the weekend with a thank you message to Hartford: The Weekend in Review
A total of 27 pitches were made by individuals in Hartford and Ottawa with new ideas on how to solve everyday and even specialized troubles and concerns. Four of these pitches were made for transnational collaboration. While a bi-city team did not materialize, the partnership successfully enabled mentors from both cities to engage with participants on both sides throughout the weekend. Nine teams were formed in total in Hartford. Ten teams coalesced in Ottawa.
On the Saturday evening of the competition, Jeff Hoffman, a former founding team member at Priceline.com and currently a co-founder and partner at ColorJar, chimed in via video conference to provide inspiration in an hour-long presentation to participants. Pictured: Jeff Hoffman via video
Following the intensive brainstorming for, strategizing around and crafting of their products, Startup Weekend participants on Sunday presented their five-minute pitches before a panel of judges. Emerging with the First Place Award in the Hartford competition was the team behind Special Care
, an app that allows parents and caregivers to track health information for special needs children and patients. Pictured: First Place Winner, Special Care
The Second Place and People's Choice Awards went to Tootsie Toaster
, a venture offering convenient warmth for cold-toed sleepers. Pictured: Second Place and People's Choice Winner, Tootsie Toaster
The Third Place Award was given to Alarm Analytics
. Pictured: Third Place Winner, Alarm Analytics
A Social Enterprise Award was also given by reSET, Social Enterprise Trust
to the team Reading Hours
. Pictured: Social Enterprise Winner, Reading Hours
Deep appreciation is extended to Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation for use of its fantastic facilities. The organizers of Startup Weekend in Hartford also wish to thank the following sponsors for their support: at the Platinum level, Day Pitney LLP and First Experience Communications. At the Gold level, Black Bear Saloon; Panera Bread and the University of Connecticut School of Business. At the Silver level, HYPE, Laetus, LearntoProgram.TV, PCC Technology Group and Scott's Jamaican Bakery. Supporters included the Hartford Baking Company and The Tavern Downtown. Pictured: The Hartford teams of Startup Weekend Hartford-Ottawa