More than 100 people gathered at Bellevue City Hall on Friday evening to kick off Bellevue Startup Weekend, a three-day business-development competition. After 60-plus ideas were pitched to the judges, 12 teams were formed to work through the next 48 hours to develop business plans.
Sunday evening, business plans were judged on four criteria: business model, customer validation, technical execution, and design execution. 425 Business was among the event’s sponsors.
The grand prize went to Bird Box Science, a social media platform for nature lovers and avid birders alike. Each participant would purchase a wooden box fitted with a small camera attached to serve as a bird house. The camera provides an inside view to the world of birds and hatchlings. Data such as temperature, location, and activity, is collected and posted online for others to follow along and comment.
College to Career took second and Phoodie took third place. Honorable mentions went to Cloudall, Cras#rs, and Zap Cards.
Family Circles, led by Ron West, was crowned the crowd favorite. The website would function as a sort of online mediation platform for conversation between family members. For example, the site would facilitate a conversation between a divorced couple and its children.
West, a database architect at Rightside in Kirkland, said this was the first Startup Weekend he has attended, and the stress of the event hasn’t dampened his spirits about the process at all.
“I’m even more energized about the idea, because it felt like the audience got it and the judges got it,” West says.
West said one of the major hurdles he and startup partner Naraen Radapuram faced was not being able to build a working prototype.
“We had no way to build a (user experience), but we spent a lot of time with mentors who helped lay out our plan,” West says. Mentors helped the pair dissect their product’s potential market and examine how the network could be used.
Even though West ended the weekend without a website or prototype of the network, he and Radapuram did leave with a solid business idea they can follow through with.
Startup Weekend wasn’t only an opportunity for people to develop business ideas, but also an opportunity for networking. Representatives from many of the Eastside’s coworking and incubator offices were present, and the event’s mentors were available during the weekend to provide direction and advice.