Startup Weekend San Diego Mega 2015 Recap

Congratulations to all the teams that participated this past weekend at the event. Over 3 days around 80 people came together to take ideas they had for new startups and make them reality.

The event focused on hardware as well as software innovation and the best teams found a way to take their ideas and combine the best of both worlds. Teams blended the traditional entrepreneurial skills in web and mobile software development with new means of making:  3D printing, robotics, laser cutter, hackable hardware, and more. 

The Pet Hash Team
The Pet Hash Team

After hearing over 30 pitches on Friday night, 11 teams formed and worked through the weekend. The 1st Place winner for this Startup Weekend is Pet Hash made up of Kevin Kirk, Robert Powell, Alejandro Saenz, and Karim Roushdy. Pet Hash is a simple, cheap way to reconnect a lost pet with with their owner. Utilizing a pet tag with a unique ID (“hashtag”) on it, a person that finds a lost pet is directed to On the website they type in the pet’s hashtag and then see that specific pets profile. The profile includes all about your pets special needs, temperament, medications it may be on, and information about the pet’s veterinarian.

The 2nd Place team for the weekend was Saucey Sides (Eugene Chan, Lisa Chaykowksi, Nancy Chansavang, and Ryan Ruscon). This team has developed a new disposable container for soy sauce and wasabi that allows people to easily enjoy both condiments without a mess. The 3rd Place team is Safe Place App (Harry Dixon, Parima Shah, Rajkrishnan Parameswaran, Trevor Gile). This app gives users who may find themselves in an neighborhood or environment where they feel unsafe a map of locations where they can go as a kind of “safe harbor” from where they can call a cab or arrange for transportation home.

The top team won a Launch Boost package from FreshForm interactive. This prize includes production of a 60 – 90 second product “pitch video” as well as consultation on logo and brand palette refinement so that when the team is ready for public launch they have a great start on the marking resources they’ll need. In addition, the top three teams get to participate in the library’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program that includes training on using the library’s 3D printers, laser cutter, and CNC milling machine. Teams also receive mentorship from library coaches for their business.

Many thanks to San Diego Public Library, Saratech, FreshForm, The TEAM Group, 1App Works, and Fab Lab for all of their support in making this event possible. We wish all of the teams the best of luck as they move forward.

-San Diego Startup Weekend Team

FreshForm’s “Brand Launch” Prize for Startup Weekend MEGA Winner

FreshForm StudioIn San Diego, we’ve helped several new startup teams come together over the years. For the teams that stay together after the weekend, at some point they need an effective way to tell their story – either to gain customers, help with a crowd funding campaign, or potentially to woo investors.

FreshForm, a digital branding agency in San Diego and Austin, was a key sponsor of our 2014 Mega event. I’m happy that the company is not only back on board this year, but also deepening their engagement with an awesome prize package to help one team tell its story. FreshForm’s “Brand Launch” Prize includes the following for the winning team:

  • A 2-Hour Creative Workshop
  • Logo & Color Palette Refinement
  • Creative Copywriting: To Help Tell the Brand Story
  • Professional Photography of the Product Prototype
  • Shooting & Editing of a :60 – :90 Sec. Product “Pitch Video”

This is about $20,000 worth of services that will definitely help the winning team build an audience when they’re ready. I can’t wait to see what new startups come out of the upcoming Mega event, and I’m looking forward to how this grand prize helps that team launch their product!

Annoucing Mega Mini-Workshops to Help Participants Succeed!

Teams working during the 2014 Mega event.
Teams working during the 2014 Mega event.

Recently with Startup Weekend events, we’ve been blessed to have leaders volunteer their time to create events to support various communities including our Women’s Edition, Education, FashionMilitary Veterans, and Social Impact events. To balance this, the original inspiration for last year’s Mega event was to do an event where every type of new business idea was encouraged and supported. This included our first-ever outreach to the Maker community with our partnership with Fab Lab. This year, we’re creating another great, inclusive event – but better in several ways!

Event Mini-Workshops

Startup Weekend is about teams learning and experimenting with new skills that will help the founders be successful entrepreneurs. To support that we will be offering optional mini-workshops to introduce participants to some information and techniques they can use with their teams. Here are some of the topics:

  • Intro to Lean Methodology: How do you know your idea is something that the market actually wants? Get a quick introduction to customer validation and learn about some great resources for learning more.
  • Intro to Maker Tools: What is a laser cutter? What can and can’t you build with 3D printers? After this workshop you’ll have a better understanding of what is possible the current tools on the market.
  • Intro to the World of App Dev.: So your startup needs an app, but you’re a non-technical person. In this session we’ll explore iOS vs Android dev
  • Pitching 101: On Sunday teams make a 5-minute pitch to a panel of judges. Learn the basics of what makes an effective an powerful pitch.
  • Hardware Startup Economics: Creating a startup based on physical products is very different than purely digital (web, app) based startups. Learn more about how to create reasonable business models these types of startups.

All of these optional sessions will take place at the library during Startup Weekend Mega on Oct. 30th to Nov. 1st and are free to participants. We hope these help individuals and teams get even more out of the weekend. Register for the event today at

Brain Corp Tech Empowers Entrepreneurs to Create Amazing New Products and Startups

Brain Corp's bStem Board
Brain Corp’s bStem Board

We were very fortunate at the Startup Weekend Maker event in San Diego to have Brain Corporation come onboard as a sponsor. Not only did they financially support the event, but they also donated some great bStem boards to the participants to use in their startups, as well as send engineers to help teams integrate the technology. I asked Brain Corp to provide some more details about how their tech helps entrepreneurs. Below some great info from them about their technology platform…

Bringing a robot to market can be prohibitively expensive and complex, and traditional programming solutions lead to products that aren’t adaptable and lack true intelligence. With Brain Corporation’s technology, entrepreneurs and startups have access to high-performance, low-power mobile hardware that’s been specifically tuned for robotics and is easy to develop on. Their bStem platform, an integrated solution with all sensors on one board, is designed to be an advanced brain for robots boasting features like stereo-vision and an easy to use on-board development environment. Their BrainOS software allows developers to leverage training,significantly reducing programming efforts. Complex behaviors can be developed without the need for advanced Artificial Intelligence domain expertise. With BrainOS, end-users can even customize behaviors through a simple, intuitive training interface.

Brain Corporation Logo

Startup Weekend Magic: Making the Most of the Event

Damain and his team
Damian and Breadcrumbs Team

I recently asked some past participants of Startup Weekend San Diego to share their story of participating in the event. Here is one person’s perspective:

“The inspiration, ideas, practices, and people that I was exposed to during that one weekend have altered the course of my life forever.

I will share something that I experienced and call ‘Startup Weekend Magic’.  The truth is that it is real and you can experience it and all the amazing experiences that it can manifest.  The secret to this “magic” is for one to focus their energy, heart, and intelligence on being positive, helpful, and synergistic with all, no matter who you interface with, what the idea is, or what odds you think you are up against at the time.

The priceless impact that Startup Weekend had on my life was showing me that this ‘magic’ not only works in the microcosm of the weekend….but guess what…the it works everywhere else I have tried it in the macrocosm of life.

This is your chance!  Leave your ego at the door, keep an open mind and heart by remembering how to be a kid again, create things that help others, and just be fearless and play!

Implement this practice and the magic of Startup Weekend will manifest for you also and I promise that you will have an experience that is beyond priceless towards evolving you into the being that you know you can and deserve to be.

Thank you Startup Weekend and all those that make it possible you have my extreme gratitude forever and I will always spread this magic to others.”

-Damian Cutillo is Co-Founder of AirBitz (

Highway 1 Sponsors Startup Weekend SD MEGA

Image of Highway 1 Interview
Highway 1 Video Interview on Techcrunch

When we decided to do this MEGA Startup Weekend in San Diego we wanted to bring in support for both hardware and software entrepreneurs. We were fortunate that Highway 1 came on as the first sponsor.

Highway 1 is a great hardware startup incubator in the bay area. They specialize in helping teams with hardware product prototypes move beyond the prototype stage and create a business that can scale their production. Take a look at this video from Techcrunch that profiles the Highway 1 incubator.

Highway 1 and our other sponsors have made it possible for us to pull together what is going to be a great event for San Diego hardware and software entrepreneurs. We’re excited for what teams are going to be able to accomplish and experience during the weekend, so register now.

Event Details
Startup Weekend San Diego MEGA
November 14th-16, 2014

Startup Life is Something to Experience

Image of blueprints

I happened across this great blog post on Techcrunch on why everyone should work for a Startup at least once ( Now, I know not everyone can drop existing responsibilities for the uncertainties of a startup. But if you’d like a sample taste of that incredible experience come out for the upcoming Startup Weekend in San Diego in November.  For a weekend you can hang out with some great people, see amazing new ideas in hardware and software in action and learn from great coaches what it takes to make a startup succeed. There is nothing better you could do for yourself in a weekend!

What's it Like Finding Your Co-Founder?

Photo of co-founder in the podcast.
Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber work on their startup.

A Startup Weekend event is a great opportunity to take an idea from concept to reality. It’s also a great opportunity to work with other people and potentially meet your future co-founder(s). But what is it like navigating the early parts of these relationships?

NPR’s Planet Money podcast recently did a great episode that follows the story of one entrepreneur’s experience finding a great potential co-founder and navigating the difficult waters of negotiating early equity splits.

During a Startup Weekend, you won’t be dealing with negotiating equity splits – there isn’t time. But if you’re curious about what it’s like building those early relationships, this podcast is worth the listen!

If you want to join us at the next Startup Weekend event in San Diego, click here for information about the MEGA event in November.

Want to Pursue Your Dreams? You Have to JUMP!

Steve Harvey released a short and inspiring video on what it takes to be successful.

YouTube Video
Click the image to see the YouTube video: You Gotta Jump To Be Successful!

Join is for an amazing Startup Weekend Nov. 14th and take that idea you’ve been kicking around in your head and jump into action!