Awesome Inc Holds Business Startup Competition

Nov 25, 2013

Lexington-based Awesome Inc hosted the city’s sixth-annual Start-Up Weekend. 

The event was part of a competition known as the Global Startup Battle.  It challenges participants to take an idea for a product or service and, in just 54 hours, turn it into a business. 

“The biggest goal of startup weekend is that people learn how to start a company and they learn what it’s like to go through that process from ideation to having a prototype or having your first few customers and what that looks like,” said organizer Brian Raney. 

Participants had 60 seconds to pitch their product or service, with ideas ranging from a blue-collar version of LinkedIn to masculine-scented laundry detergent.  After choosing seven of the best pitches, the young entrepreneurs recruited other participants to help turn these ideas into practical business plans over the weekend. 

Some found the process intimidating, but participant Annie Erskine, said the key was to get ideas out in the open. 

“It’s scary because you see all these great ideas and you think, oh man, mine’s just not nearly as good as that, but you go up there, and you think, oh man, mine’s just not nearly as good as that, but you go up there, and you just talk about what you’re passionate about and what you love, and people will either sign on or they won’t,” she said. 

Annie’s pitch was to create a website to review visits to conventions.  Although this idea didn’t proceed to the final seven, she used her skills as a comic book artist and graphic designer artist on Deckvex, an online MMO based on the card game of bridge. 

Others found the weekend planning process to be an effective skill builder, including Louisville native Charles Buddeke. 

Because it’s one weekend, you have to talk to a bunch of people in a really short time, and most start-ups don’t do enough of that, and so teaching you that skill is awesome, he said.” 

On Sunday night, the teams pitched their final plans to investors, with the top two gaining the right to compete in the next round of Global Startup Battle.  For everyone else, it was an exposure to the world of entrepreneurship, and training to pitch their next big idea.  

First prize went to  Buddeke's "The Recovery Station,"  a customizable smoothie provider for gym patrons.  The runner up was Jonathan Crosmer's Deckvex.  More information on the winners can be found at the event’s website