UniBloom, a concept for a mobile app that uses games and contests to promote improved health and fitness in the workplace, won top prize at the seventh annual Startup Weekend Bloomington event held at IU’s Cyberinfrastructure Building.
Team members Joshua Hobbs, Mark Meyer-Malia and Roy Solomma earned several prizes that include a fall 2017 spot in the Bloomington Economic Development Corp.’s B-Start pre-accelerator program for student startup companies. Additional prizes include:
- A free, three-month partial membership at Cowork Btown;
- Free tickets to the Combine Tech and Entrepreneurship Conference held in Bloomington next spring;
- Free consulting from the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, the Indiana Small Business Development Center and the Indiana University Intellectual Property Clinic.
More than 25 active or prospective entrepreneurs took part in this year’s activities, which Innovate Indiana served as the signature sponsor. Part of a nationwide event, Startup Weekend Bloomington offers designers, developers and budding entrepreneurs from IU, Bloomington and the surrounding area to bring innovative business ideas to life.
The event began Friday with a brief keynote address by Samuel Sveen, creator of Uel Zing Coffee, followed by a series of business proposals in which teams are formed around the most promising ideas based on an audience vote. Over the next two days, five teams developed a business model, took steps to devise a minimally viable product and made attempts to validate market opportunity with potential customers. On Sunday, each pitch was evaluated by a panel of judges that included:
- Travis Brown, director of strategic initiatives and entrepreneurship, IU School of Informatics and Computing;
- Lynn Coyne, president, Bloomington Economic Development Corp;
- Christy Page, co-founder and CFO of Option Six.
Placing second in the competition was MooVooDoo, an online employment collective for amateur and para-professionals in the film industry that seeks to bypass the services traditionally filled by managers. Team members included Sheya Singh, Brittani Alston, Melissa Jimenez, Zhong Chen and Serhiy Vernei.
Placing third was Testudo Housing, a proposal to convert used intermodal shipping containers into affordable housing. Team members included Ryan Meyers, Will Kunz, Tejas Kumthekar, Peter Chapin, Hung Tran and Josh Schmitt.
The event facilitator was Grant Carlile, founder of Run for Phil, a philanthropic running organization.