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Startup Weekend winners all smiles

18 Jun 2012

After 54 intense hours, social entrepreneurship company Smile Today (pictured) has walked away from Start Up Weekend Auckland with a space on the ecentre sprint programme (valued at $4500), an MYOB startup services package (valued at $1000), a StartupPack of legal services from Lowndes Jordan (valued at $2000), and a $500 cash prize on company formation.

Based on the idea of donating to a charity and getting a smile in return, Smile Today also won the Massey University Audience Choice Award also to take home a copy of Steve Blank’s ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company’.

Among the other winners, the coveted Catapult Prize went to Herepin, a business linking people to community information and offers in real time. Awarded to the venture the judges felt was the most scalable in US market – and best-suited to make good use of the resources available – the Catapult prize includes airfare, accommodation, and a desk at the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco for one person for four weeks. Herepin will additionally receive a place on the ecentreSprint programme valued at $4,500.

Jump On Board’s idea of creating a way for travellers to access local knowledge when travelling to unfamiliar places won them a second place prize package of $250 cash prize on company formation, a copy of ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual’, as well as ‘The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses’, by Eric Ries.

Honourable mentions went to Startup Platform, which enables attendees at start-up events to interact with each other on a social platform, and Roomie Finder - a way to find the perfect flatmate via Facebook networks.Startup Weekend facilitator Dave Moskovitz was impressed with the high quality of ventures at this year’s Startup Weekend.

"The quality of the ventures emerging from Startup Weekends just keeps getting better and better,” Moskovitz says.

"In addition to helping the ventures, these events help build up local entrepreneurial ecosystems. The people you meet at Startup Weekend may be your next co-founders, contractors, suppliers, clients, or investors. There’s no better way to get to know how people really work under pressure than Startup Weekend.”

This year’s judges were Candace Kinser, CEO of NZICT; Nick Gerritsen, owner at Crispstart Ltd; Misti Landtroop, New Zealand Country General Manager of Pitney Bowes; and Brett Roberts, CEO of Wharf42.

Startup Weekend participants pitch ideas on the Friday night, before votes are taken and teams formed to work on those ideas over the weekend. Events have been run in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and in 93 countries worldwide.

Startup Weekend NZ Coordinator Alan Froggatt hopes to see some of this weekend’s attendees heading to other upcoming events around the country:

Startup Weekend Wellington on July 27-29, Palmerston North on August 24-26, and Tauranga on September 14-16.

Further events are planned in Auckland and Dunedin before the end of the year.

Team Herepin

Team Jump On Board