Startup Weekend Memphis Kicks Off After Four Year Hiatus

The first officially sanctioned Startup Weekend event in Memphis TN was back in 2008. This year Startup Weekend is back in Memphis and has been spearheaded by startup evangelist James Ruffer along with Chris Przybyszewski and Amanda Lewis.

Ruffer and Przybszewski kicked off the event Friday night with some great authentic Memphis Barbecue provided by Baby Jacks. After that the fun and games started with a general overview of the event, the sponsors and of course the prizes.

For this years event there will be three finalists selected who will each receive $1000 in cash, 9 hours of free legal services from Butler Snow and 9 hours of free financial advice from local accounting firm Collins Thomas & Associates. Also the “grand prize” winner will receive consultation services from Southern Growth Studios who are local experts on developing business plans.  The national sponsors also kicked in with free cloud based services including the use of AWS for the weekend, should one of the ideas need it.

16 ideas were pitched from a variety of categories including elder care, music education and instruction, services for spanish speaking people, an auction site for nearly abandoned startup ideas and even a web app idea to “Keep politicians on the straight and narrow”.

The four ideas that were selected were, an local event aggregation and discovery app tentatively called “Event Czar”; CoachSpeak a social network for professional coaches; Buyers Unite an almost flash like buyers group; Legacy Interview, a mobile application that lets anyone capture interview vignettes on video question by question in separate files; and Clockout a socially enabled time clock management system for small businesses.  Yes that’s five but clockout is a solo entrepreneur who will develop his idea on his own this weekend and compete against the other four teams on Sunday.

Both Ruffer and Przybyszewski are no strangers to entrepreneurism. Ruffer has a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors under his belt. Right now he works in social media security, financial security and online security. This is Ruffer’s 13th Startup Weekend that he’s either attended or help organize.

Przbyszewski (I’m hoping that’s the last time I need to type that), is currently working on his third startup right now down the street at the Launch Memphis, LaunchPad which actually is in the field of veterinary medicine. Their startup is under wraps but the team behind it has a great idea, that’s being tested and will help curb a problem that kills animals, is a big concern for dogs and can affect people as well. It targets one of the top 10 diseases that doctor’s must inform the CDC about, really big impotent stuff.

So with both of this weekends organizers enmeshed in pretty big day jobs they wanted this startup weekend to be a little light, fun and collaborative. In Ruffer’s experience attending 13 Startup Weekend events he’s seen the entire gambit from hardcore, bootcamp style Startup Weekends to the lighthearted and laid back, creative juice flowing weekends like this.

At the end of the day, or actually the end of the weekend, the ideas that want to continue to grow have a variety of resources available to them including Launch Memphis, the Launch Pad and Seed Hatchery. When asked about competing with Launch Memphis’ 48 hour launch event just six weeks ago, Ruffer said that Memphis has grown so much that the city itself can support a variety of events adding “When the tide rises all the ships sail”. At the end of the day it’s about everyone supporting entrepreneurship and startup culture in Memphis.


The official Startup Weekend Memphis landing page

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Detroit Accelerator: TechTown Hosting Startup Soup August 3rd

TechTown,Wayne State University,Detroit startup,Detroit accelerator,accelerator,startup,startups,pitch contest,startup soupThe creativity in pitch events gets better and better. We’ve all heard of the Startup Bus to Austin’s South by Southwest Festival. Several cities have had Startup Trains, where people work on startups on a day long train ride, we’ve even heard of a Startup Beach House (that was unfortunately cancelled).

Now, Wayne University’s TechTown Accelerator is hosting Startup Soup.

The event is open to the public and will be held on August 3rd. Startups that want to pitch must register at the link below before July 31, 2012.

The pitches will be five minutes and there doesn’t seem to be a theme for the pitch contest. There is a nice $1500 cash prize along with 5 free TechTown seminar passes for the winner. The winner will be chosen by a panel of local tech community judges.

The finalists will all receive complimentary tickets to 2 future TechTown events.  The events at TechTown are all meant for startup enrichment and offer valuable business resources and continuing education.

After the pitches and the winners are selected there will be an evening of networking, and you guessed it… soup.

The event starts at 5:30pm August 3rd at TechTown 2051 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit.


To register to pitch click this link

Source: CBS Detroit

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Cornell University Startup: Empire Robotics Wins Five Minute Pitch Contest


A robotics startup founded by Cornell University students in Ithaca New York took home the top spot in the recent Worcester PolyTechnic Institutes Venture Forum Five Minute Pitch Contest.

The young entrepreneurs are hoping to develop their robotic gripper technology, think those wild orange gripper things, that functions robotically.

According to the Worcester Business Journal
The gripper is a ball-shaped elastic membrane filled with granular material attached to a robotic arm. The air pressure inside the ball is manipulated to adjust the softness or hardness of the gripper, allowing it to conform around and squeeze objects.
This exactly the kind of tech that’s missing for bringing more agile manufacturing to the United States, to automate manufacturing lines in the United States, and that’s exactly what we intend to do with this patent pending technology,” John Amend, the company’s chief technology officer told a roomful of businesspeople, investors and others gathered in the school’s campus center Tuesday evening.

The team took home a prize of $2500. While they aren’t breaking the bank with that kind of prize money, they are getting invaluable exposure from the investor community.

A company called SafeSiren which makes a safety device for school students took home the second pace prize. Other ideas presented included a better way to sterilize catheters, an energy management system for hotels and a blue tooth device designed to replace hearing aids. Check out the source link below for more on those companies.

Source: Worcester Business Journal

Memphis Startups: Launch Memphis Holding 48 Hour Launch Event This Weekend

This weekend if you’re in the Memphis area and an entrepreneur you should probably go ahead and skip the heat and humidity and head indoors to EmergeMemphis (516 Tennessee Street) to Launch Memphis 48 hour launch event.

The event takes the format of a typical startup weekend but your time is actually shaved down six hours.

Friday will start off with a 2 minute pitch contest for ideas that entrepreneurs have.From there teams will be put together to launch these new ideas and the teams will have until Sunday evening at 7pm to build their idea, test their idea and present it to the crowd.

This event will be great for the startup community in Memphis and for entrepreneurs to test out ideas. As with the 54 hour startup weekend events across the world, some entrepreneurs take ideas that they aren’t 100% sure on and flesh them out. We’ve seen some great startups born out of a weekend’s worth of work.

More after the break
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Disrupt Is Like Shark Tank, Capital Connection & TechBUZZ Are Like Pitching To Trump

We saw some of the best and brightest new startups from primarily the greater Washington DC area, at TechBUZZ today. TechBUZZ kicks off the annual CapitalConnection conference which focuses on private equity, startups, growth companies and emerging trends.

Capital Connection is celebrating its 25th anniversary super serving the private investment community in the greater Washington DC area. When Capital Connection first started out most of the investors invested in companies within 100 miles of their homes here. Nowadays with the global change in startup climate, angel funding and venture funding, the hundreds of investors at the conference represent a global community.

Although we’ve been to Launch, DEMO and TechCrunch Disrupt (even yesterday), Capital Connection feels different. It’s a more seasoned crowd of investors ranging from angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms and more. Where you get the feeling that the angel and VC firms we read about in TechCrunch and PandoDaily every day, are great people but even fairly new themselves, the Capital Connection conference feels like more seasoned, and dare I even say “old money”.

A better analogy may be, that where pitching at TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO or Launch would be like pitching to Shark Tank, Capital Connection feels more like pitching to Donald Trump.

Where we wore shots and nibletz t-shirts yesterday we’re in slacks and polos today and possibly a bit underdressed. If you’ve ever been to a startup conference it’s typically shorts, crocs and your startups t-shirt. Presenters today are in long sleeves, some with their startup t-shirt hanging out and some in ties and jackets.

All of this atmosphere makes the pitch seem a little more formal and probably a little tougher on the startup.

We’ll be bringing you coverage over the next couple of days from this amazing conference.


28 Startups Compete For Best of The Buzz In Washington DC, 3 Are Victorious

We’re now bringing you coverage from both TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 and CapitalConnection 12/TechBUZZ in Washington DC.

Today in the nation’s capital 28 different companies did four minute pitches to a packed house vying for “Best of the BUZZ”. Those three companies will head to the Main Stage tomorrow afternoon to compete in the TechBuzz Showdown.

In this contest the audience is given the power to vote via the Disruptathon app.

The 28 companies were:

AakinaTek, LLC

Aardvark Sensors

Activity Rocket LLC


Augaroo, Inc.

Barrel of Jobs


CloudeAssurance, Inc.








Kapta Systems

Kinergy Health, LLC


My Design


RideLeads Inc.


Speek Inc.

Syllabuster, Inc.

By audience vote the three “Best of BUZZ” at this years TechBUZZ 12 are:


Augaroo is building a next generation real time big data visualization system called Zoomdata. The system processes real-time data streams and generates tactile, interactive visualizations on web and mobile denies. Through Zoomdata, which is currently beta testing, users can experience data analysis in an entirely new way. was the winter of the Startup America TechBUZZ Challenge Contest earlier this month. They won the coveted 28th presenter spot in today’s competition.  Cont3nt is a real-time marketplace for entrepreneurial media and visual journalism. The platform allows video journalists to monetize their content in new disruptive ways without having to “know somebody”.

Speek is a simplified conference calling ervice which leverages modern web services and VOIP/Telephony takeaways. Speek users will be able to own a “Spek” line which may be shared via a personal URL. Speek leverages viral growth principals and will offer free and premium services.

TechBUZZ kicked off today in Washington DC with a keynote from Founder and CEO of Opower Dan Yates. Tonight will be an evening of festivities celebrating the “Sterling Companies” alumni of the 25 year Capital Connection program.

Tomorrow there will be pitches on the main stage by companies who are a little further along then the ones today. They may come seeking funding, they could also be pre-IPO. No matter what, Nibletz the voice of startups everywhere else, will bring you all the action.

Tomorrow rounds out with a keynote by America Online founder Steve Case. Later tomorrow evening is a TechCocktail DC Sessions event with Startup America CEO Scott Case (no relation).