TutHopper Wins Startup Weekend – Kansas City

Kansas City: TutHopper took the top prize at the Startup Weekend in Kansas City.  Like many (if not all) discussions about startups, the inevitable comparison to either a hot company like Pinterest or Path or even the mighty Facebook, Tuthopper is being compared to the site codecademy.

I usually cringe when I hear a colleague of mine begin a conversation with a startup with “So your app is like blank company but different, right?”  That just starts everything off on the wrong foot (IMO).  In the case of TutHopper, I think it is absolutely fair to make that connection, because it really is very similar in scope and practice to Codecademy the only difference being TutHopper is focused on children.

The TutHopper team was made up of 10 members (2 of whom are women) Carrie Royce, Cindy Fisher, and then Justin Murray, Kyle Webster Adam Arredondo, Coty Beasley, Eze Redwood, DJ Good, Troy Norris and Jon Kors. This team, like all the other participants in the weekend, came together on Friday following  a presentation of the favored pitches.  Then the group of 98 participants split into 13 different groups to put together a product that could at least be marketed as well as have a polished pitch prepared for the judges.  Out of the 13 teams, 12 teams made their pitch at the end of the weekend.  Discussing the idea behind TutHopper and why it is important, Carrie Royce stated,

“Kids have a greater capacity for learning if they’re exposed to concepts early on—reading, math, even foreign language. And in essence, programming is a foreign language—a language that kids are going to need in the future given the increasing role technology plays in our lives,” said Carrie Royce, team member of TutHopper and CMO at Red Nova Labs. “But the education system in the U.S. isn’t taking on that challenge. Computer games are an ideal way to get kids engaged in learning programming outside the school system. If the games are sufficiently fun and challenging, kids will be proactive about signing on and learning at increasingly complex levels.”

Meanwhile fellow team member Adam Arredondo shared how it was behind the scenes for the team,

“Our team was unselfish and hardworking with enough comic relief to keep everyone upbeat,” said Adam Arredondo of the group’s vibe. “It was a huge relief that the judges were able to look past the technical errors during our presentation and see the tremendous potential TutHopper really has.”


The following are prizes for first, second, and third:

  • First place – 3 months of free space at Office Port for up to 5 people. And a booth at the Sprint Innovation Summit where several Sprint execs and investors will be accessible for potential funding and advising.
  • Second place – $1,000 worth legal services
  • Third place – Organizer high-fives, coke and smile.

Coming in second place was Keyzio “Where every house is for sale.” Basically if you find a house that you are interested in purchasing you can take a photo with the GPS coordinates embedded in the meta data in the photo and when you arrive home you are able to send a postcard notifying the currents owners your interest, even if the home is not on the market. And in third place was the Grüple team with yet another option for mobile payments.  Grüple is an app that creates, notifies and provides different groups with simple and quick ways to conduct monetary reimbursements.


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