Startup Weekend Announces Winning Business Ideas
Winning ideas at the recent Startup Weekend Maui included a trendy anti-microbial face mask, natural anti-mosquito perfume and cologne, and the world’s first true social challenge platform.
Nearly 80 residents participated in this empowering event for entrepreneurs over the weekend, Friday though Sunday, May 13 to 15, at the MEDB Malcolm Center and the Maui Research and Technology Center in Kīhei.
The third annual event kicked off on Friday with 60-second open mic pitches. Then, teams were formed around the top-voted startup ideas. The teams worked through the weekend with the help of mentors and coaches to build viable prototypes and business models, which they presented to a panel of judges on Sunday night.
Presentations were judged by criteria that included customer validation, business model and execution.
The Original FaceGuard, trendy and fun anti-microbial face masks for travelers, was pitched by team members Danielle Travis and Molly Palmer. The team also included Lorayne Lipps, Austin Kozaki and Julie Lewis.
Their goal is to de-stigmatize the traditional medical mask by creating a positive, preventative public health intervention through trendy face apparel.
“It’s not just a product; we want to change people’s perceptions of the typical face mask that most think is so scary,” said Travis. “It’s very exciting to see people’s reactions to what we’ve come up with. I’ve always wanted to do creative things, and this (product) is kind of my outlet. It has a creative aspect, there’s a health aspect, and positivity, making people laugh, there’s so many aspects to this face mask.”
The first place team will receive a business assistance prize package valued at more than $3,000 that includes one pass to Maui Economic Opportunity’s Core 4 Business Planning workshop, two hours of branding and design consultation from Sae Design, three hours of legal advice from McKeon Sheldon Mehling, a Maui Chamber of Commerce one-year membership, a one-day rental of MEDB’s Malcolm Center, two hours of digital branding consultation by The Accidental Consultant, design of a rack card or business card by Linn Nishikawa & Associates, printing of 1,000 rack cards or business cards from Maui Printing Company and a $150 gift card to OfficeMax.
Maui Buzz Kill, a natural anti-mosquito perfume (for women) and cologne (for men), captured second place.
Team members were Zoe Whitney, who pitched the original idea, and Dawn Naiwi-Valentino.
Whitney, a Maui High School senior, first introduced her natural anti-mosquito product at the Hawai‘i STEM Conference earlier this month and captured first place along with her school teammate Allyza Sayno in the On-Site Design Pitch Competition.
Participating in Startup Weekend, Whitney further validated her product concept.
“During the weekend, I got a better feel for my target market and was able to test the product on both locals and visitors of different ages,” said Whitney. “Working together with my Startup Weekend teammate, Dawn Naiwi-Valentino, we worked hard to gather public feedback and even came up with ideas to modify the product’s ingredients. This overall experience helped me realize that this product could work.”
Catalyst took third place. Catalyst is the world’s first, true social challenge platform created specifically to maximize the reach and participation of fundraising, awareness, political, or promotional campaigns through the power of highly social, fun, and engaging team challenges.
Sebastien Le Tuan pitched the original idea; teammates also included Conan Crawford, Skye Kelly, Amrita Pullur and David Johnston.
According to Le Tuan, this social challenge platform supports fundraising, awareness, political or promotional campaigns through highly social, fun and engaging team challenges.
MORE STARTUP IDEAS presented during the finale on Sunday
Cherrypik A website for lead-generation services and protection in the moving industry.
Team members were Olaf Sutor (pitched original idea), Christine Drogowski, Delphine Berbigier, Laurent Zahn and Joe Baranowski.
mPowered A service company providing installation of energy saving devices. They would facilitate lowering of homeowners’ power bills by optimizing energy consumption.
Team members were Jen McDonald (pitched original idea), Melissa Ribillia, Peter H. Rosen, Garrett Guynn and Dr. Madhup Joshi.
Team Adventures Adventure games for team building, training and more. Using a platform that many companies are already using for communication called “Slack,” they would deliver games to help people to bond more with their project teammates.
Team members were Jon Brown (pitched original idea), Shane Tajima, David Pickett, Marc Levine and Tommy Howard.
This year’s participants said they saw tremendous value in the Startup Weekend Maui.
“Life-changing,” “motivating” and “awesome” were just some of the comments received from participants at this year’s Startup Weekend Maui presented by Maui Economic Development Board.
“Startup Weekend is a 54-hour entrepreneurial adrenaline rush that will teach anyone who is willing to learn the skills necessary to build a business startup from the ground up,” said Frank De Rego Jr., director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board. “In 54 hours, participants will discover or, in some cases rediscover, the passion and drive it takes to take an idea and turn it into a road map that offers customers something of value, builds a solid business infrastructure, and ensures financial viability and prosperity.”
“During the weekend, the tremendous energy and focus of these entrepreneurs was evident as they focused on one goal—to create a successful business startup” said De Rego Jr. “The entrepreneurs were there because they wanted to learn how to create a startup from idea to implementation. The coaches, mentors, and judges were there to offer guidance and advice because they understand that the future economic prosperity of our community is rooted in dedicated individuals willing to innovate and take risks. MEDB and all of our event sponsors helped make this event possible because we believe in investing in our local community and the skills of our people. It all added up to one incredible weekend where everyone emerged a winner.”
“The idea that a group of strangers can find ways to work with each other and capitalize on each others talents, creativity and skills is probably the best thing I’ve gotten from this experience,” said first-time Startup Weekend participant Peter H. Rosen. “I think it’s amazing that we could work so quickly as a complimentary group after knowing each other within moments.”
“You feel super-energized, and the momentum and team drive inspired me to work hard to help bring a startup idea to life during the weekend,” said Melissa Ribillia of Kahului. “Best of all, I learned a lot about how to create a startup—valuable information I can use for when I pursue my own startup business of a gluten-free bakery.”
“Our company has been involved in every Startup Weekend in Hawai‘i since the beginning, because we think it’s a great entry point for local entrepreneurs trying to get a flavor as to what it takes to create a business,” said Omar Sultan, managing partner at Sultan Ventures and one of this year’s judges. “During these events, all ideas are welcome, doesn’t matter whether it’s a big idea, small idea, main street business, food product, or a rocket scientist wanting to pitch their idea for a roving satellite. What’s important is learning what goes into creating a startup.”
“Startup Weekend Maui fits perfectly with what we’re trying to do at the County of Maui,” said Teena Rasmussen, director of the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, who served as one of this year’s coaches. “We’re focused on building an entire entrepreneur eco-system throughout the county. Our hope is that by offering business development workshops, technical assistance and sponsoring events such as Startup Weekend Maui; we can continue to help our local entrepreneurs gain the edge to help them succeed.”
2016 Sponsors and Supporters
- County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
- High Technology Development Corporation
- High Strategic Development Corporation
- HI-Growth Initiative
- Startup Capital Ventures
- Blue Startups
- Sultan Ventures
- Pacific Media Group
- Carolee Higashino – Owner, A White Orchid Wedding
- Gunars Valkirs – Owner, Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate
Michael Pfeffer – CEO, Ibis Networks
Murray Clay – Managing Partner, Ulupono Initiative
Omar Sultan – Managing Partner, Sultan Ventures
Coaches and Mentors
- Beth Holiday – CEO, Inner Dynamics Inc. and Hawaii Business Training
- Teena Rasmussen – Director, County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
- Chris Speere – Site Coordinator, UH Maui College’s Maui Food Innovation Center
- Doug Nelson – Entrepreneur, producer, designer and publisher
- Erik Blair – Owner, The Accidental Consultant
- Keri Mehling – Attorney & Partner, McKeon Sheldon Mehling
- Meli James – President, Hawaii Venture Capital Association
- Peter Liu – Director of Marketing, Maui Academy of Performing Arts
- Rebecca Filipovic – Attorney, McKeon Sheldon Mehling
- Refugio Gonzales – Instructor, ABIT Program, UH Maui College
- David Fry – Technology Consultant and Founder of Tanuki Interactive
- Kevin Yoshida – VP and Community Banking Region Manager, Neighbor Island Region,
- Central Pacific Bank
Bryan Butteling – Associate Product Manager, TeamPraxis
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs of various skill sets who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 2,900 past events in 150 countries around the world.
For more information on Startup Weekend Maui, visit www.maui.jumpstartweekend.org or call Gerry Smith at MEDB at (808) 270-6803.