UpGlobal Partners With State Department, Google Doubles Down

Up Global, Google for entrepreneurs, startup weekend, startups

October is a big month for UpGlobal, the new entity created when Startup America and Startup Weekend merged back in May. Next week UpGlobal will hold its first regional Champions Summit under the new umbrella. Since its formation, Startup America held quarterly summits for their regional champions. Now, after taking the summer quarter off, the two days of best practices, town halls, and networking continue. This time around they will incorporate Startup Digest curators and Startup Weekend leaders when the conference opens next Tuesday in Iowa.

Leading up to the big summit, UpGlobal had two major pieces of news that will help further their efforts to empower entrepreneurs and their communities around the world.

The first is a partnership with the US State Department, formally announced by President Barack Obama in a videotaped address he made to the attendees of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  ” In partnership with Up Global, we’ll help support 500,000 new entrepreneurs and their startups around the world,” President Obama told the audience.

UpGlobal oversees these four key initiatives to help grow entrepreneurs across the globe.

  • Startup Weekend:  A 54-hour event that educates aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market.
  • NEXT:  A five-week course for early-stage startup founders to better understand their product or service, become ideal candidates for accelerators or incubators, and fully integrate proven entrepreneurial methodologies.
  • Startup Digest:  The world’s largest curated source of information, news, and resources for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.  All content is tailored to reflect the local community, and subscribers receive a personalized digest each week.
  • Corporate Connections:  A platform that builds connections between startups and corporations based on shared goals and industries.  The platform allows startups to develop corporate partnerships, mentoring relationships, client and vendor relationships, and licensing opportunities in new and meaningful ways.

UP Global will work with the U.S. State Department, with the help of the Department of Commerce and USAID, to bring programs like these to new corners of the planet, tailor them to the needs of specific communities, and help secure the resources and network to bring these efforts to life.  This collaboration will help achieve the objective of doubling the reach of entrepreneurship programs and resources by 2016 by:

  • Connecting:  UP Global and the State Department will work together to help establish new UP Global chapters in 500 new countries and augment existing resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging Networks:  The State Department will draw on its extensive networks in target countries to bring in local business leaders and prominent American entrepreneurs to reinforce UP Global’s programs and events.
  • Drawing attention to the cause:  UP Global and the State Department will coordinate to get information out about the entrepreneurship resources available through UP Global, including, when appropriate, through social media channels and outreach to local press.

The next big news for Seattle based Up Global was that Google, who has been partnering with Startup Weekend since last year through their Google For Entrepreneurs initiative, has doubled down and taken over as lead sponsor for Startup Weekend.

Upstart Business Journal said:

“…the Google partnership is especially powerful for the financial and technical support it can provide. UP is one of over 70 organizations that Google for Entrepreneurs has provided assistance to since formalizing a year ago. The entity within the search giant has been ramping up in recent weeks, announcing a new Google Hub network in seven non-coastal cities and plans to grow it to more.”

Google has replaced the Kauffman Foundation as the lead sponsor of the organization.

Find out more here and here.


New Mexico Hosting 3 Startup Weekends November 15th, Including Teen Albuquerque

Startup Weekend, New Mexico startup, Taylor Chavez, Teen startup weekend, Teen StartupsNew Mexico is a beautiful state. We make an annual trip out to Russell’s Truck Stop and Car Museum every January on the way to CES. It’s not a state that comes to mind when you think startup hub, but since we’re the voice of startups everywhere else, we’ve covered New Mexico quite a bit. Well they continue to find ways to cultivate their startup community.

In November New Mexico will be hosting three Startup Weekend events. Now the only other states (as far as we can tell) that have hosted three Startup Weekend’s in one month are California, Texas, and Florida. So that says a lot right there.

As the Albuquerque Business First put it, New Mexico will see 162 Startup Weekend hours in November instead of the typical 54. What’s even better is that one of the Startup Weekends is all about teenagers. To take that a step further, the new Teen Albuquerque Startup Weekend was started by a girl.

Taylor Chavez (14), attended the first Startup Weekend Mexico with her father Lawrence, who was a coach for that event. The teenager was so intrigued that when Startup Weekend rolled around to Albuquerque last June she went as a participant and joined a team called Crimson Curriculum, which she described as a STEM education tool that uses Lego’s to teach kids complex engineering concepts.

What makes this story even better is that I found that information out from Chavez’ TedX talk that she did last month called “Let Me Tell You About My Summer.” She tells the standing room only audience at TedX Albuquerque about Startup Weekend with the same excitement other girls her age would talk about seeing One Direction, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber.

After you watch her TedX video you’ll see why she was an integral part of her Startup Weekend team’s presentation, which went on to win first place.


Teenagers participating, and even winning, traditional Startup Weekends isn’t new. Back in June we brought you the story of 14 year old Nathan Eyal, who won Tampa Bay’s Startup Weekend. We’ve also told you about Las Vegas tween Ethan Duggan who launched his app at SXSW. And of course there’s the story of 14 year old Emerson Walker, who won Cincinnati’s Startup Weekend and has already received venture funding for his startup.

This time around in Albuquerque though, the event has been organized by teenagers for teenagers. We’re looking forward to hearing more about Albuquerque’s Teen Startup Weekend next month. If you’re a teenager in the area you can register here  for the event that runs November 15th- 17th. 

Farmington, New Mexico’s first Startup Weekend event is also November 15th-17th. This is the traditional tech startup focused event. You can register here.

Finally, Las Cruces Startup Weekend is also November 15-17th and if you’re close to Las Cruces you can register here.

Prime Real Estate Among The Prizes For Valparaiso’s First Startup Weekend


When you hear “free office space” as a perk for something startup related, it’s typically an accelerator, and it’s also typically for the term of the accelerator. There are some accelerators, like Cincinnati’s The Brandery, that actually allow teams to take up residence for almost a year, until the next annual cohort moves in.

Well the folks putting on the first Startup Weekend in North West Indiana (Valparaiso) next month just revealed a nice catch of a prize from the Purdue Research Foundation. The Startup Weekend organizers and the foundation have partnered to offer one free year of office space at Purdue Research Park in Northwest Indiana.

Startup Weekend, Purdue Research Park, Valparaiso Startup Weekend, NWIThat office space comes with fiber optic network connectivity, a receptionist with telephone answering services, VoIP, free parking, secure facilities, and even lab space.  They also offer a convenient location just 45 minutes away from The Loop in Chicago.

The Purdue Research Foundation will offer the free office space lease to one of the winning startup teams at Valparaiso’s Startup Weekend, which starts on Friday, October 11th and runs through Sunday, October 13th.  Purdue Research Park Director Kathy DeGuillio-Fox will also serve on the judging panel for this Startup Weekend event.

Official Startup Weekend events are 54 hour, build-a-startup, hackathon weekends. They begin on Friday evening with dinner and a chance to meet the other attendees. From there ideas for projects/startups are given in 60 second presentations. The ideas to build are voted on by the entire group, and by Sunday the new teams present their startups to the audience and a panel of judges.

There are still a few spots left for Valparaiso’s Startup Weekend. You can register here.


Detroit Startup Rapt.FM: From Startup Weekend To Giving Away Major Record Deals

rapt.fm, Detroit startup, startup weekend

Last week when we wrote about Detroit startup Grand Circus, we talked a bit about Detroit’s entrepreneurial past and that it was fueled by the automotive industry (see what I did there) and music. Startups are crucial to rebuilding the city that was once a beacon of industry in the US. It’s startups and entrepreneurs that are going to help drive Detroit out of bankruptcy and back onto the national stage.

raptlogoWe knew it wouldn’t be too long before we heard about a great music startup in Detroit. Sure, in the 1950’s the music startup that fueled Detroit was Motown, and it was driven by R&B music. Today though, Hip Hop and Rap have taken the place of upbeat party R&B music, the kind that gave Motown its name.

Rapt.FM isn’t a new hip hop record label. Those are a dime a dozen. They’re an entirely new platform for aspiring rap artists. Rapt.fm allows people to rap and collaborate with anyone in the world and have a live audience to watch, chat, and vote.  Its also a discovery platform for up and coming artists. Rapt.fm has already given some lucky rappers the chance to open for Mos Def and Royce Da 5’9. Now they’re giving away a recording contract with Tommy Boy Records (think Digital Underground, Naughty By Nature, House of Pain).

We got a chance to talk with CEO and co-founder Erik Torenberg who started Rapt at a Startup Weekend in 2012. Check out our interview below.

What is your startup called?


tommyboyWhat does your company do?

Rapt.fm is a platform where people can rap with anyone in the world and have a live audience watch, chat, vote for who they like best. It’s also an artist discovery platform — contest winners won the chance to open for Mos Def, Royce Da 5’9, and next month one winner will get a record contract with Tommy Boy Entertainment.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Erik Torenberg started the company at Start Up Weekend January 2012 (along with Co-founder Jamie Pitts) because he wanted to learn how to rap. They then won the competition, and a couple other competitions, and realized there were a lot of people like Erik who wanted to rap, and even more who found watching rap entertaining.

Where are you based?

Madis@n Building, Detroit

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

From Grand Circus piece: “Detroit startup scene is booming – SA Today names Detroit one of the “10 Great Places to be Inspire by Innovation” Fast Company’s piece “How A Young Community of Entrepreneurs is Rebuilding Detroit” called the city a “refuge for techies looking to tackle real problems.” The New York Times also spotlighted Detroit’s tech scene, nothing that hiring in the city’s tech sector is pulling developers from the coasts. Detroit has seen a 10 percent year-over-year increase in tech job listings, which makes the city the fourth in the nation for total employment in the tech industry”

What problem do you solve?

We provide place for users to find others people to rap with, to build their fan bases, and to launch their rap career — from rapping in their basement to opening on stage for a platinum rap artist or winning a record contract. Rapt.fm is going to expand to other music genres in the future.

Why now?

Most other music sites focus on hosting, but not on live interaction between artists and between fans and artists.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

— In only 6 hours a week, during the month of July we had 7 K users, returning users of which spent an avg of 25 minutes on the site, and 60% of all users were returning

— Launched Partnerships with heavy hitters in music industry.

What are your next milestones?

Launching the full-website September 5th (open 24/7)

Where can people find out more? 

 rapt.fm    Facebook


Startup Weekend Heads To Biloxi

Startup Weekend Biloxi, Innovate Mississippi, Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend, the globally famous 54 hour startup hackathon, continues to grow. Next weekend Startup Weekend heads to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where Biloxi will play host to entrepreneurs, developers, coders, and their supporters while they hack the weekend away on what could become the next big business.

Startup Weekend Biloxi is being put on by Innovate Mississippi, a public-private partnership thats fueling the economy by supporting startups and innovation across the state.

Although it’s the first Startup Weekend event in Biloxi, it’s not the first in Mississippi. Jackson, Mississippi held Startup Weekend last year. The organizers of that event were also on hand for Memphis’ official Startup Weekend last July.  Startup Weekend is a staple in Florida cities like Orlando and Tampa.

“It’s our turn,” Stephen Witt, the Executive Director of the Innovation Center told the Sun Herald, “and a great opportunity for the Coast. Pulling together all of the entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, and innovators from all backgrounds and all ages and putting them together for a weekend of creating, designing, and launching new ventures is pure chemistry.”

Startup Weekend Biloxi will follow Startup Weekend’s normal 54 hour format. Entrepreneurs who sign up here, will meet each other over dinner on Friday evening. After that they’ll pitch their ideas in 60 second pitches where the audience will decide which ideas will be worked on all weekend long.

Once the ideas are chosen, the audience will divide up into teams and conquer the startups at hand. They’ll work through the weekend with access to mentors and coaches. Saturday they’ll go through customer discovery and work on their wireframes and pitch decks.

Sunday the teams will put together the finishing touches on their presentations and pitch to the panel of judges. Judges for the Biloxi event are:

  • Bud Jones, AGJ Systems
  • Dr. Lou Finkle Entrepreneur/Angel Investor
  • Stephen O’Mara, Renaissance Corporation

Coaches for the Biloxi event are:

  • Ryan Giles, Founding Partner CFO AGJ Systems & Networks Inc
  • Mark Henderson, Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company
  • Matthew McLaughlin, Balch & Bingham
  • Kathleen Chapman, Patent Attorney
  • John Shinn, President, PPS Software
  • Cathye Ross, Independent Marketing Consultant
  • Charlie Beasley, MSET

You can find out more about Biloxi’s Startup Weekend and register here at startupweekend.org



Sprint Becomes Latest Corporate Sponsor For Up Global

Sprint, Up Global, Startup Weekend, Startup America

Sprint, the third largest wireless carrier in the United States, has signed on as the newest sponsor of Up Global, the organization formed when Startup America and Startup Weekend joined forces last month.

When Startup America was originally formed, it was decided by chairman Steve Case and the other entities involved that they were going to see what kind of disruption and innovation they could shake up across the country in three years. As the organization began to approach that third year, they wanted to continue to impact the Startup America regions and push further.

That’s why on May 22nd it was announced that the two organizations would merge. Startup Weekend is the organization that promotes and ignites innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship through 54 hour hackathon-style events. To date Startup Weekend has done over 600 events in over 300 cities and over 100 countries.

Startup Weekend has now branched out a bit. They are the organization behind the weekly Startup Digest, a curated list of startup events in cities across the country typically curated by the local startup community leaders. Over the last two years they’ve also started doing vertical oriented Startup Weekend events like Startup Weekend EDU and a maker’s edition of Startup Weekend. With all of the various touchpoints for Startup Weekend, they were a natural partner for Startup America and had already collaborated with Startup America for Startup Weekend Next.


Startup Weekend, Startup America, and now Up Global have been attracting some of America’s largest corporations as sponsors for their entrepreneurial efforts. Current Up Global partners include Coca Cola, Google, Microsoft, Dell, The Case Foundation, and The Kauffman Foundation.

On Monday it was announced that Sprint, the Overland Park, KS-based wireless carrier, was signing on as Up Global’s latest sponsor. Sprint is no stranger to innovation.  They were the first wireless carrier to host a developer conference, they’ve supported local startup initiatives in the Midwest, and keep open channels for developers and startups looking to utilize their network and devices for their software and companies.

“The move to team with Sprint is a result of a shared vision for the necessity of entrepreneurship and stronger communities built around innovation. Like us, Sprint understands that the future of our economy rests largely on the shoulders of entrepreneurs and new businesses. We’re excited to create more meaningful impact with the support of such a forward-thinking company,” Marc Nager, UP Global CEO, said in a statement.

“Sprint recognizes that corporate involvement is important to the success of any entrepreneurial or startup ecosystem,” said Kevin McGinnis, Vice President of Product Platforms at Sprint. “Our UP Global relationship enables Sprint to bring new resources to Kansas City and also extend support on a national scale. In addition, it allows Sprint visibility to high-growth technology startups across the country that we may not be able to identify through our more traditional VC and business development efforts.”

You can find out more and join Up Global here at up.co



Startup Weekend Hosting “Makers” Event Next Week In Seattle

Startup Weekend, the non profit in Seattle that recently joined forces with Startup America, is hosting a new kind of 54 hour hackathon startup weekend event in their hometown next weekend. This time, instead of assembling entrepreneurs, designers, and developers to create businesses, they’ll be working on making things.

Startup Weekends are typically about creating software and other tech startups. This time around at the MakerHaus, the hackers will have the resources to “bring innovation to a whole new level.” The teams at the Seattle event will be able to design and prototype actual physical products using micro-controllers, laser cutting, 3D printing, metal working, and wood working.

People with ideas for products will get to pitch those ideas on Friday evening. From there the group will vote on the products that they want to build and several will be built out over the following 52 hours.

Normally there are three kinds of tickets sold to a startup weekend event; developer, designer, and non-technical. These teams have produced countless startups that are still going today. Some have even gone on to get funding like Zaarly, or win bigger startup contests like Aspiredu.

For this Maker’s edition, Startup Weekend is throwing in one more ticket, a “unicorn” ticket. These are people who agree to be taught how to run the machinery at MakerHaus.

There will be some great coaches on hand for the weekend:

  • Alex Diener, Creative Director Pensar Development
  • Marc Barros, co-founder and former CEO of Contour
  • Ayemerik Renard, Vice President Accelerator, PCH International
  • H.B. Siegel, CTO IMDb.com
  • Jim Young, President and Creative Director, Nice Inc
  • Adam Benzion, Portfolio Manager, 10AK Technologies
  • Beth Kolko, co-founder and CEO Shift Labs
  • Terence Tam, Principal Engineer, OpenBeam USA

To register or for more info click here.

Check out this great event for startups everywhere else.


Microsoft Manager Heading To Baghdad For Their First Ever Startup Weekend

Othmane Rahmouni, Startup Weekend, Startup Weekend Baghdad. MicrosoftLast month when Startup Weekend and Startup America joined forces to launch UpGlobal, one of the big factors was expanding the Startup America vision across the globe. Startup Weekend holds 54 hour hackathon style events worldwide every weekend.  To date they’ve held over 600 events in 113 countries and 325 cities.   Now they are looking forward to the first Startup Weekend Baghdad.

Baghdad has been rebuilding for years and is still one of the most violent regions in the world. GeekWire reminds us that in May alone over 1000 civilians and security officials were killed. But that won’t stop entrepreneurs, designers and developers from coming together to startup.

The Baghdad event will start this Thursday June 27th (Friday in Baghdad) and continue for 54 hours.

Startup Weekend is no stranger to violence and they don’t let it interrupt their events. In countries facing war, violence, and even poverty, entrepreneurs escape by coming together, collaborating and working on companies. Even missile attacks last November in Israel couldn’t stop one of the largest Startup Weekend groups from pushing through.

During that Startup Weekend in Israel it wasn’t until the third missile alarm and a missile striking a building just 12 yards away that organizers finally caved in and postponed the event:

After the first missile alarm we didn’t change our minds and it was amazing to see everyone starting to carry tables and chairs into the safe zones (Shelters) inside the building just so they can keep on working on their projects. Sometimes, the entrepreneurial spirit can overcome fear. It was so inspiring to see how everyone are focused on what seems to be the most important thing at the moment – how to take their idea and make it into a successful venture.

But sometimes reality just hits you in the face. At about 8:30PM, after the third missile alarm and one rocket hitting a few dozen yards away from the building where we were hosted, we had to submit the safety order by the Israeli Army and the city’s representatives who told us to shut down and cancel the rest of the event.

The current in violence in Iraq is not stopping Othmane Rahmouni a senior product manager with Microsoft Advertising, from heading to the middle east to help advise and mentor the 200 participants.

Geekwire reports that Rahmouni is a volunteer with Mercy Corps an agency that has partnered with Startup Weekend to organize events in the developing world.

Find out more about Startup Weekend Baghdad here.

Team led by 14 year old ins Startup Wekend Tampa.


After Everywhereelse.co Win, AspirEDU Keeps Proving They’re Not A One Hit Wonder

AspirEDU,Florida Startup,everywhereelse.co,Startup Weekend, Southland

Last year when Kim Munzo went to the Startup Weekend EDU event in Florida, she didn’t know what to expect. The career long educator had a problem and the solution, and with fingers crossed she hoped for the best. She had no idea what a ride it would be.

Munzo has worked in online education for the past 15 years. For those keeping score, that’s just about when online education became accepted as a legitimate source of education. In her position she found that there were a lot of people who dropped out. They get too busy, they get bored, and sometimes they just didn’t feel like continuing.

Munzo was at Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference, we weren’t able to see much of her business. Fortunately, at Southland we found out the big picture behind this Florida startup.

Munzo developed an analytical system that can predict which online students are at risk of dropping out. An online student can elect to take one class, or a whole degree program online. Some students choose to get multiple degrees. At that rate, the tuition adds up and the revenue for online institutions is in play. A drop out, depending on the cost of their tuition and programs offered, can cost an institution up to tens of thousands of dollars.

AspirEDU lets online institutions know which students are at risk. Then the institution can follow up in a variety of ways. AspirEDU co-founder Kevin Kopas also told us that they are developing features that will automatically send online students at risk emails or text messages to get them re-engaged with their online education. The end result is less attrition for online institutions and students who finish their degrees and certifications.

Following a win at that Startup Weekend EDU event, AspirEDU started taking their show on the road, exhibiting at conferences, pitching in pitch contests, and submitting business plans for business plan competitions. All of those avenues proved to be great for the company.

AspirEDU won $25,000 in cash in the Best of Village pitch contest at Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference I. After that they won the Florida Atlantic University business plan competition which included $55,000 in cash and services prizes. All of which came in handy for the bootstrapped startup. They also came in 7th place in a global business plan competition.

Although the entire team is still employed elsewhere full time, they are working 40-70 hours more per week on AspirEDU.

“I’m taking off from my day job to be here at Southland,” Kopas told us. Kopas works for a major domain name provider during the day, and dedicates all of his free time to AspirEDU, time he used to use to enjoy the waters of Florida.

AspirEDU is a certified partner with Canvas by Instructure and the team will be traveling to Utah next week to present in a conference with 9 other certified partners.

While the education space is filling up rapidly, there’s no other startup that is using analytics to help keep students enrolled. While it’s a great idea and great technology, the team is leery of taking an investment right now. They already have clients and some major deals with big institutions across the globe in the works. Munzo and Kopas are hoping that they can start creating substantial revenue and not have to give up any equity, at least in the short term.

An investor told us that anyone can make a $4 million dollar business; we want to hold off on an investment in case we need it to get to the $100 million dollar mark. That’s a good possibility with the online education industry counting for billions of dollars on a global scale.

Munzo and Kopas credit Startup Weekend and the people they’ve met while traveling all over the country to promote AspirEDU with where they’ve gotten thus far.

You can find out more about AspirEDU here at aspiredu.com and by watching the interview video below.

Check out more of our Southland coverage here!


Team Led By 14-Year-Old Wins Startup Weekend Tampa

Tampa Bay startup weekend, teenpreneur, teenager,

Last weekend Startup Weekend came back to Tampa. Startup Weekend attracts developers, designers, and entrepreneurs of all ages to a 54 hour hackathon to build out company and startup ideas. Teams go beyond a business plan and 54 hours later strive to have a working product.

That’s just what happened for 14-year-old Nathan Eyal and his team that worked on Live Warfare. The team that built out this mobile game also included Eyal’s dad Omer, who brought him out for the 54 hour hackathon.

According to 83degreesmedia, the product is a person-to-person video game that allows players to take a picture of someone and then digitally “shoot” them. Once they’re shot a notification is sent to their phone. Think of it as virtual paintball.

Ed Glarza, Akira Mitchell, Ken Morris, and Matt Saulding rounded out the younger Eyal’s team. “We focus on the team, and I think their team was really strong,” Ryan Sullivan, co-organizer for Startup Weekend told 83degrees. “Because Nathan was so passionate about the idea, he kept the team moving forward and making decisions.”

Nathan pitched his Live Warfare idea to a packed house at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg on Friday evening. That’s when participants have 60 seconds to pitch their idea. After the initial pitches they go around the room with poster board signs and the people in the audience vote (typically with a colored sticker) on what projects they think should be developed. At the end of the vote, the projects with the most votes are hacked out over the remaining time.

During that time, Nathan and his team were able to build out the app. They also tested it out with friends and got real feedback on the idea. By the time final pitches occurred on Sunday afternoon Live Warfare was a finished product.

The second and third place finishers were both based on crowdsourced data. BuySignal came in second place. Their startup monitors Twitter feeds to find “indicators” that someone is about to make a purchasing decision. The third placed finisher, StreezWize, is an app that allows people to provide real time feedback about potential crimes.


See how these 10 year olds are sparking happiness and entrepreneurship.






Image: startupweekend.org

We Talk With Frank Denbow The GoTo Guy For StartupThread And New York Tech

StartupThreads, Frank Denbow, NY Startup,Startup Weekend, Startup DigestOnce your startup moves from idea stage to something, that often times involves a logo. The next natural move is getting that logo put on whatever you can, especially t-shirts. It seems that no matter how big or small the startup, there’s always a t-shirt for it. NY entrepreneur and startup community leader Frank Denbow has embraced that as the founder of StartupThreads.

StartupThreads is a startup itself that allows startups to go on their site, design, upload, create and have their merchandise shipped. Dealing primarily in startups, Denbow offers very competitive pricing and has seen closets and closets full of startup t-shirts.

Startup culture is becoming more mainstream. Walking the streets of any big startup community, whether it be San Francisco, New York, Boulder or even Nashville you’ll see your fair share of startup wear. Going somewhere like TechCrunch Disrupt or SXSW and you’ll see t-shirt overload. In fact, one of the travel tips I’ve given for SXSW is only pack a t-shirt to wear to the event, startups and bands have your week long wardrobe covered.

As you can imagine with the amount of startups in the world Denbow is a pretty busy guy. But in addition to StartupThreads he’s working on another startup simultaneously and in the infamous words of Billy Mays (RIP), but that’s not all.

Denbow also finds time to attend the NY Startup Meetups, plan and help with NY Startup Weekend and curate the Startup Digest. He also sits on the board for the Academy of Software Engineering.

Denbow is well respected and well liked amongst the startup community across the country. In fact he’s even good friends with our friend Denver Hutt who we reported on earlier this week.

Check out our interview with Denbow below he talks about Startup Threads and how the NY tech startup community has grown so fast.

We’ve got over 50 startup stories from TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013.



Startup Weekend & Startup America Join Forces, Launch UpGlobal & Up.co

Startup America, Startup Weekend, UpGlobalWith an official announcement forthcoming on Thursday morning at 7am, Startup America and Startup Weekend are joining forces for a new initiative called UpGlobal.

The Startup America partnership, started two years ago by AOL co-founder Steve Case and the Case Foundation, isn’t winding down, but rather “Winding Up” according to Scott Case (no relation), the current CEO of Startup America.  The new global partnership will connect entrepreneurs with their communities and the resources they need most.

While Startup America is based in Washington DC and received the blessing of President Barrack Obama at their launch, the new organization will be based at Startup Weekend’s headquarters in Seattle.  The collective new organization promises that “startup communities everywhere can expect stronger support and resources to better empower local leadership.  The root of Startup America, Startup Weekend and now Up Global is to enable and support entrepreneurs and startups to grow in their hometowns as companies and entrepreneurial communities.

UpGlobal is funded by the Case Foundation, Google Inc, Microsoft, Coca Cola, The Kauffman Foundation and more, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Startup America Regional Champions, myself included, were informed that this partnership was on the horizon at both the last Startup America Summit in Phoenix Arizona last month and in a regions conference call last week. Others not familiar with the plans have been wondering why with Startup America, still a startup itself, are they already merging. Startup America founder and Chairman Steve Case told the Wall Street Journal:

“We designed Startup America from the get-go as a three-year sprint,” says Mr. Case. “The idea was to see what could be accomplished in three years and go from there.”

“After evaluating the situation, Plan A was to stick to our knitting and wrap things up (as initially communicated and planned) and option B was to find a ‘go forward’ strategy.” Scott Case said.

That go forward strategy is Up Global. Over the past several months Startup America and Startup Weekend began growing closer and closer in their relationship to serve entrepreneurial communities. Late last year Startup Weekend Next, with Steve Blank was launched in partnership with Startup America. This curriculum is provided to entrepreneurs looking to grow and dive deeper into starting up and entrepreneurship.  Startup Weekend and Startup America held an abbreviated form of the curriculum during SXSW this year in Austin.

Startup America laid the foundation for their work in their first year. In their second year they focused on growing regions, over 30 of them to date, through launch events, networking opportunities, educational opportunities and other resources.

At nibletz we attended, participated in and reported on several Startup America events including the launch of Startup Georgia, Startup Arkansas, CES’ Eureka Park, SXSW and several others. Most events helped forge new relationships between like minded entrepreneurs that could be across the street or across the country.

Each Startup America region participated in the nationwide organization in the way that fit them best. Some regions were extremely successful as Tech Cocktail founder Frank Gruber pointed out in this article, Startup Tennessee launched a major network of accelerators and brought together entrepreneurs from Tennessees larger cities like Memphis, Chattanooga and Nashville. Washington DC’s Startup America Champion Evan Burfield, and former Startup America Director Donna Harris formed 1776 the new hub of entrepreneurship in the nation’s capital. Other regions like Startup Maryland, Startup Arizona, Startup Florida and Startup Indiana have been very active throughout their time in the organization.

upglobaldirectorsThis looks like a natural, and great move for the Startup America Partnership.

As someone who’s been deeply involved with Startup America and a big participant in Startup Weekend I hope that going forward the organization grows as the directors of the new organization have laid out. My biggest concern comes from the “event nature of Startup Weekend.

In several cities that have had multiple Startup Weekend events the entrepreneurs who participate have continued to meet up, network and support each other. This is usually dependent on the frequency of events and the resources already on the ground, or forming in those cities. In other cities, like Memphis by experience, after the Startup Weekend event in July resources were somewhat limited.

With the intellectual, and social capital from the collective new organization it looks like UpGlobal will be able to provide ongoing support to the regions that Startup America has built to date.

You can find out more at their new site up.co

Check out more of our Startup America coverage here.


3DLT From Startup Weekend To TechCrunch Battlefield

3DLT, Cincinnati Startup,Pablo Arellano Jr,Startup Weekend, TechCrunch DisruptPablo Arellano Jr is serious about starutps and entrepreneurship. How serious? Well he just went through Arkansas’ Ark Challenge accelerator with one idea, pitched a different idea (3DLT) at Startup Weekend Cincinnati last summer, is a startup event organizer and the Startup Digest curator for Cincinnati, Arkansas and Northern Kentucky.

We met Arellano at Startup Weekend Cincinnati last summer. It was there that his idea for a “99 designs for 3D printing” was born. Naturally with 3D printing being such a hot space it was selected to build over Startup Weekend and they came in second.

Arellano kept pushing and while he was in the Ark Challenge program with his other starutp he met the rest of his 3DLT team. They realized quickly they were onto something extremely hot. When Ark Challenge closed out Arellano and his teammates returned to Cincinnati where they are housed at the new Cintrifuse incubator. One of their biggest mentors and advisors is Rob MacDonald, co-founder of Cincinnati’s “The Brandery” as well as the son of the sitting CEO at Proctor & Gamble.

pablo2In February the team from 3DLT won a spot onto the Battlefield Stage at an event in New York City. From there it went into hyper mode so that they could pull off a great pitch and get ready to serve the public. For their big kick off Arellano is giving away $10,000,000 worth of memberships on the site right now.

3DLT has evolved from a simple place to buy 3D templates to a marketplace for both templates, and eventually goods that a consumer can produce in their home.

In the feedback section, David Tisch was concerned that Arellano didn’t talk enough about the business, “Why did you just spend 6 minutes talking about 3d printing and not your business.”.

Other than that hiccup the team seemed to have good answers, but overall the truth of the matter is that 3D printing is on fire, just six months ago it was unheard of to have a 3D printer in the home. On the way to New York I saw an at home 3D Printer in the SkyMall magazine for under $1000 and Arellano told me there was a kit to build a 3D printer at home for under $200.

The team at 3DLT sees a time coming, sooner rather than later, when people will be able to create products they need or want in the home. Toys, shoes, sunglasses, cups, plates and other items will be cheaper or easier to produce in home rather than travelling down the road for WalMart.

President Barrack Obama said 3D printing was a gamechanger, and Arellano didn’t let that slide, a video clip of that speech was in his presentation.

If they keep their fingers crossed 3DLT could end up finishing in the top 3. They’re ready for the 3D world and no Zach Sims, there aren’t any other platforms out there like 3DLT, we checked.

Here’s Arellano pitching 3DLT at Startup Weekend last summer:

3DLT made it from a Friday pitch at Startup Weekend, to this, pitching on the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield stage.

Here’s more awesome startup coverage from everywhere else, at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013.


Startup Weekend Madison: Holsinger Keynote Salutes “Dumb” Ideas That Lead to Unexpected Experiences


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