100 participants expected for Startup Weekend

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:24 p.m.

More than 100 people will descend on downtown Gainesville offices starting Friday night with ideas they hope to turn into businesses by Sunday night.

The 54-hour Startup Weekend Gainesville starts Friday with entrepreneurial-minded people competing for prizes and potentially to emerge with a business venture.

In addition to drawing Gainesville residents, participants are coming from other cities in Florida that have held Startup Weekends, said Bill Dorman, entrepreneur in residence at the Santa Fe College Center for Innovation & Economic Development who was one of the organizers.

The event has also drawn judges and mentors from LinkedIn, Square and Google, as well as local business people.

Startup Weekend is a project of the Kansas City, Mo.-based Kauffman Foundation, which has held more than 400 events in nearly 100 countries.

Dorman said the events tend to produce social media and mobile apps since prototypes can be created within 54 hours.

A similar program called 3 Day Startup led to two ongoing ventures after two separate events in Gainesville over the last year, including Partender, an app to help bartenders take inventory, and Parksmooth, which allows people to sell and reserve parking spaces online.

Another organizer of Startup Weekend, Aidan Augustin, worked out some of the details of Feathr, which offers interactive digital business cards, during the two 3 Day Startup events and during Startup Weekend Tallahassee.

Co-director Anjali Kundra of RoomSync said she attended the event in Tampa last year where the winning company generated revenue before the final round.

After giving their pitches, participants vote on the top ideas and then form teams to develop a business. A panel of judges picks the final winners.

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