Back in September 2011, Startup Weekend was approached by Demo, Startup America, and Microsoft Bizspark to put on a groundbreaking event in the Bay Area. The request was to take a traditional Startup Weekend and triple the size to make an event called “Mega Startup Weekend”.
Lead by Marc Nager, Franck Nouyrigat, and Ahmed Siddiqui, we took the charge to build an event of Mega purportions. We invited 300 Entrepreneurs, Developers, and Designers to attend the event, where we focused on three verticals: Education, Gaming, and Health. The winners of each vertical got a chance to strut their stuff at the Demo conference only 2 days after the weekend. Each team had a booth at Demo, and one of the three teams actually got to present on stage for the full 6 minute presentation based on the audience vote.
The winners were:
- Gaming: Gablinga – Creating real life social experiences through mobile games
- Health: Live Home Free – A motion sensor based solution that sends text alerts to loved ones if grandma falls down
- Education: Adgame – A way to learn historical facts from web based advertising
Here are some quotes from the team leaders of each vertical regarding their experience at Demo.
- “I’d say the big payoff for me from DEMO was the demystification of the whole VC world. Going into MSW, my thought was “Man, it’s freaking IMPOSSIBLE to get money and start something”. Then I went to DEMO, and realized, no, there are people out there, who have money, who WANT to invest in something. They’re normal people. They’re nice – I met a few. We chatted and exchanged cards and emails. They are not snobs, and they want to hear what you’re up to, no matter what that is.” – Aaron Cammarata, CEO of Gablinga (Gaming).
- The Demo conference was a great venue for getting feedback on our startup, attracting attention from investors, and getting press. I demoed our fall detector for the elderly over 100 times, with great response and feedback.” – Rachel Kalmar, Co-Founder of Live Home Free (Health).
- “The DEMO conference really helped put AdGame on the map through the media exposure our on-stage “demo” received, in publications such as VentureBeat and PC World.” – Tony Lyu, CEO of AdGame (Education).