Innovation, talent and resourcefulness were all on display this weekend in Covington
as local accelerator Uptech
played host to the Open Data Startup Weekend
. This year, Cincinnati Startup Weekend partnered with Code for America
, the nonprofit aimed at connecting citizens with better design and tech services, and Open Data Cincy
, a regional initiative to use public data to encourage transparency, innovation and civic engagement.
The goal of the event was to foster social entrepreneurship by accessing public data to launch new ventures, analyze patterns and trends, make data-driven decisions, and solve complex problems in our community.
A diverse crowd of participants turned up for Startup Weekend, which asks participants to split into groups and create viable startup ideas over 48 hours. Among their ranks were high school and college students, lawyers, engineers, techies, and designers representing several age groups and varying experience levels, from complete newbies to previous Startup Weekend attendees.
“I enjoy the fact that people come from diverse backgrounds and working together really intensely,” says Racquel Redwood, who was participating in her second Startup Weekend on an idea called Potholer.
“While I work for a large company here, its great that there are opportunities here to explore the entrepreneurial space as well,” says Benjamin Danzinger, R&D engineer at Johnson & Johnson.
After spending the weekend refining their ideas, getting advice from the event organizers (who themselves also represent local startups like Choremonster
and more), running focus groups and scouring data, each group presented Sunday evening to a duo of judges—Eric Avner of the The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation
and Elizabeth Naramore of GitHub
, which provides powerful collaboration, code review, and code management for open source and private projects.
First place went to UMO, which addresses “the achievement gap” and is a platform for prospecting students to learn about the true cost of a college education at various universities based on scholarships available, average ROI of the degree they’re interested in and actual published attendance costs. For winning, they received six months of desk space at Cintrifuse
, a meeting with a local venture capitalist, and a GitHub gold account—all things to help continue their startup.
Second place was kNOwait, an app that publishes drive times along with wait times at local urgent cares, DMVs, etc. to help users determine the actual fastest option near them. They received desk space at Cintrifuse, legal advice from Taft
, and a GitHub bronze account. The next Startup Weekend will take place in November; visit www.cincinnati.startupweekend.org
to stay updated.
By Mike Sarason