Startup Weekend, ex post

Columbia entrepreneurial hotspot Museao

Columbia held its first ever startup weekend, a marathon entrepreneurial development gig held at Museao, this past weekend. A total of 33 expectant entrepreneurial teams pitched their business ideas late on Friday, of which 10 were supposed to be selected for the second round. But great ideas abound in Columbia, so 13 were selected. New teams formed around these varied but great ideas and the team members worked 24/7 to perfect (or, in some cases, completely change) their ideas for new startups. And on Sunday they went up for a final pitch to the judges, who selected the top three.

The Missourian reports:

The judges selected Snapierapp, an application to connect other applications, to win first prize. The second-place winner was Fourcasted, an application to forecast the size of the crowd at venues. Parrallell, an app similar to a treasure hunt where the monsters found can be used to battle other users, came in third.

It is interesting to note that – just like the top three selected by the judges – most of the pitched ideas were completely or primarily based on providing online solutions, whether to online or offline problems. Whether we have finally entered the information age or not, it is obvious that many or most entrepreneurs see endless possibility online.

It remains to be seen to what degree this online focus is problematic or a true paradigm of opportunity. On the one hand, going online can greatly reduce costs and is commonly used means by firms to avoid the costs of “meat space.” But, on the other hand, online services have had a very hard time charging for content and services; this hurdle has not yet been overcome. This should be clear considering the multitude of long-gone firms that started out as free services and moved to charging for content or service – only to financially suffocate, wither, and eventually file for bankruptcy.

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