CEA NewsJump March 2022
Spring is nearly upon us, CEA readers! We hope the warmer weather brings fresh ideas and success to your business.
As a reminder, the Columbia Entrepreneurship Alliance began in June 2020 to connect new entrepreneurs with resources to get their business or side-gig started! Please let us know how we can help you and please spread the word to those just trying to figure out how to get started.
Have an upcoming event you want sent to our members? Promote your event on the CEA calendar! Want to be featured in this newsletter? Visit https://www.startmo.biz/contribute/ and we will get in touch with you regarding specifics and logistics.
In this issue:
Guest Posts: Perspectives on COMO Startup Weekend
Call for Submissions: Ask Us Anything
Opportunity for Student Entrepreneurs: RVCC
Resource of the Month: The Free-Range Technologist from Prof C
Perspectives on COMO Startup Weekend
We asked two students what Startup weekend was like and what they got out of it. Here is what they had to say!
COMO Startup Weekend renewed my energy and passion for entrepreneurship
By Charlie Dake
Walking into Startup Weekend on Friday, I planned to watch the pitches and then leave to have a weekend of rest and recovery.
But as the pitches started and ideas as diverse as hydrogen drones, blockchain identity security, and an app to help doulas were presented, I found myself enthralled in the energy.
After pitches, everyone was given three votes in the form of post-it notes to post on different ideas, which were all around the room. From the multitude of original ideas, twelve made the cut for the next round. At this point, I found myself doing what I told myself I would not do…join a team. After talking with many of the teams, I settled on two ideas:
Rentable, a platform whose goal was to help mom and pop rental companies save money and keep better tenants
An augmented reality platform designed to create more interactive lessons for science labs in primary education.
I soon decided to join what would soon become known as the discovAR team.
Friday night, I left around 9 p.m., but when I arrived the following morning, I discovered that the rest of my team had worked until 1 a.m. finalizing the basic details of the project. I began finishing details for our survey to be sent out to students and faculty to collect market research.
Remember that this was a Saturday, and we needed the feedback that day to use the information in our pitch, which we were set to present on Sunday. After sending out the survey, I found myself in charge of the business side of the operation. As I built an understanding of how we would earn revenue, the rest of my team continued, programing our MVP, designing our site interface, creating our pith deck, and collecting market research.
On Sunday, the team was up and energized despite working working until 2 a.m. After making myself what seemed like my seventh hot chocolate of the weekend, I started work on cost projects and business strategy.
As I began work on understanding the direction of the business, the team discussed what stage the programing was in, how we would test the platform, and what usage we saw for the system. After talking with mentors, we had pivoted the discovAR to be a marketplace where teachers, companies, and individuals could use our tools to create a no-code augmented reality experience for science labs. We also considered expanding to company safety training in the future. I sectioned this vision into elements and created four phases for our company.
At this point, the entire team had pivoted to working on the pitch deck, giving feedback, changing details and deciding who would pitch. Since I was the business-savvy person, I was drafted into presenting. Soon after, we had submitted our pitch deck.
Time flew by and soon pitches were starting. When our pitch finally came, we walked up and had a couple of errors, but overall did a great job. Afterward, when the winners were announced, discovAR was not selected as a top-three winner, but it was chosen to receive an award for innovation in technology with a $1,000 prize! The team lit up with excitement and gladly went to the stage to accept. Later, we talked with many different people interested in the technology, interested in partnering, or just interested in us.
Since then, the discovAR team has met and continued working on our MVP and is currently looking to expand our team of programmers as we look toward partnering with teachers and building a business.
Looking back on the Weekend, I am delighted that I joined a team and I only regret not staying with my team to work on the project until the morning hours.
Startup Weekend was an experience I will never forget, an experience I encourage everyone to participate in, and an opportunity to change lives.
It is all about the Team
by Grace Casey
As a first-time attendee at Techstars Startup Weekend, I had no idea what to expect walking into Equipment Share’s doors.
I immediately figured out what a diverse group of people startup weekend attracted. Some people were there to pitch ideas, others were there to hear ideas and join teams, and some were just there to spectate.
I decided to pitch a blockchain idea alongside a wide variety of other pitches. My idea made the cut, but the team had to pivot quickly due to a lack of skillset in blockchain development! (Although we didn’t end up going with my original idea, I am glad I pitched it because it brought together a team with similar mindsets and a cohesive work ethic.)
Our team developed a new idea called, FarmFind. The main goal of FarmFind was to create a marketplace for consumers to find meat products from locally sourced farmers in three clicks. We ended up tying for second place alongside Instaseat.
For me, the real win was getting to meet so many brilliant people, including fellow students at Mizzou. Jimmy Tang is a senior who brought exceptional insight into the financial area. Ethan Cain is a junior and an extremely hard worker willing to help with all tasks at hand. The team and experience would not have been the same without these two key players throughout the weekend.
Startup weekend was my first extensive exposure to the startup world. Logan Deal, also a student at Mizzou, shared on LinkedIn that this weekend was a “hackathon on steroids,” which was a great way to summarize it. We had 48 hours to develop and execute an idea that we would present to six judges at the end of the weekend. So, to say it was fast-paced is an understatement. I had to put the skills Trulaske Business School has taught me into practice.
We met with mentors like Saskia Cairnes and Brett Calhoun, who talked about where our project was and where we could take it. It was eye-opening to watch professionals in action. I also saw that a great team has to bring the technical and non-technical sides together for the idea to work. And I am only just scratching the surface of what this weekend taught me.
I am excited to participate in more startup events and use my new knowledge to gain real-world experiences. For me, the big thing I got out of this weekend was networking with people that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet otherwise. I am grateful for these newfound relationships and can’t wait to see what they might lead to in the future.
Call for Submissions: Ask Us Anything (March 15 deadline!)
As a new or aspiring entrepreneur, we know you have questions but may not know where to go to get answers.
Participate in Ask Us Anything, your place to get the answers you need about how to get started and thrive as an entrepreneur. Ask any business-related question, for free, and have your question answered by our community’s top entrepreneurs and experts.
Asking a question is easy! Visit okr.video/AMA or click the button above. After that, join us virtually on April 26 to watch a video presentation of all the questions and answers (or catch it afterwards on our YouTube channel).
The deadline to ask a question is March 15.
Interested in answering questions? Contact our team.
Are you a student with a great business idea? Don’t miss RVCC!
Each spring, UMKC's Regnier Institute hosts an annual startup pitch competition, the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge (RVCC). The 10+ year tradition continues this spring!
The 2022 RVCC will take place on April 22 (semifinals via Zoom) and April 29 (finals in-person at UMKC campus). The application deadline is March 4.
This year, we're excited to offer $88,000 in cash prizes for competitors, and all college students in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska are eligible.
Featured Resource of the Month 👍
🚀The Free-Range Technologist from Prof C📚
Join Prof C in exploring technology, productivity, the internet, the economy, and the future by subscribing to The Free-Range Technologist. Ad-free and free-to-subscribe, The Free-Range Technologist is a fun and fascinating mix of original and shared content:
Analysis of current science, tech, and social developments
Book reviews, videos, and information about upcoming events
Predictions for the future of technology, AI, and the internet
Life and productivity hacks
Podcasts, interviews, and must-read articles
View past issues and subscribe to The Free-Range Technologist here!
Community Calendar 📆
Marketplace by Missouri Women's Business Center • March 5, Noon - 4 p.m. at The Atrium • No registration required
4 Day Client Attraction Workshop • March 7 - March 10 via Zoom • Register
Ready, Set, Startup • March 8, 10 - 11:30 a.m. via Live • Register
ProsperU: Financing Your Small Business Class • March 9, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at ProsperU classroom • Register
Economic Outlook Conference 2022 • March 22, 1 - 5 p.m. • Register
ProsperU: How to Create a Website (Zoom Class) • March 23, 6 - 7:30 p.m. via Zoom • Register
Brandkamp April 2022 • April 7, 8:30 a.m. - noon at Courtyard by Marriott Columbia • Register