App to Crowdsource Carpooling to the Ski Slopes Takes First Place at Startup Weekend Bozeman

Startup Weekend Bozeman | April 17 - 29, 2015 at Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Montana State University
Startup Weekend Bozeman | April 17 – 29, 2015 at Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Montana State University

In a first for Startup Weekend events in Montana, Bozeman’s event included access to Arduino’s, Raspberry Pi’s and 3D printing for all attendees. These devices helped teams build physical electronic products and prototypes quickly and cheaply. A special thanks to John Allwine and the STEAMlab at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman for making this possible.

“The organizing team and I were amazed at the quality of the ideas and the work ethic displayed at Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015. With the generous support of our sponsors, we watched several business ideas be vetted and products be built in just 54 hours. The economic impact of that cannot be understated. I said at the outset of the planning for this event that if one viable business was created that we’d have a win on our hands. While the number of teams that will continue is undetermined, I’ve already spoken to several that intend to do so. That’s a huge success.” – Ken Fichtler, Lead Organizer

“Hard to imagine a better team than that of Startup Weekend Bozeman. Great people, wonderful new friends, and huge asset for the Bozeman community!” – Buzz Bruggeman, Facilitator

Winning Teams / Prizes

1st place: ShareLift – A crowdsourced share riding service for carpooling to the ski slopes.

  • Meeting with Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • 5 Hours Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 Year MeBox
  • 5 Hours Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Each team member – $20.00 iTunes gift cards
  • Book – The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • $200.00 Advertising from UP Bozeman
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

“This has been such an incredible weekend for me because I came with an idea but had no idea of its potential. My team helped me realize the potential and help me grow that into something I want to proceed with and now this is something we know we can go national with.” -Sam Kern, Co-Founder & Project Lead at ShareLift

2nd place: WiseHats – Enriching lives by connecting relevant skills and needs to help you unlock your potential.

  • 3 Hours Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 year MeBox
  • 3 Hours Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Each team member – $10.00 iTunes gift cards
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

3rd place: ScholarshipU – Online platform for students to search for qualifying scholarships easily.

  • 1 Hour Startup Bozeman Consulting
  • 1 year MeBox
  • 1 Hour Legal – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Custom Company t-shirts – Lone Mountain Printing

Crowd Favorite: GazeTyper – a Medical device that allows people with Locked-in syndrome to communicate with people using eye gestures. Based on the open source platform.

  • Book – Business Model Generation
  • 1 Year MeBox

Thank You’s

Speaker: Doug Warner, Founder DropTrip
Mentors/Coaches: John Allwine, Gary Bishop, Danny Choriki, Jake Cook, Les Craig, Dan Simser, Ryan Stout
Judges: Susan Carstensen, Richard Harjes, Mark Jacobs, Liz Marchi, Will Price
Organizers: Kris Bart, Ken Fichtler, Rick Fink, Cody Sauer
Facilitator: Buzz Bruggeman, Co-Founder at ActiveWords & Board of Directors at Demo Conference
Volunteers: Cece Harris, Lindsay Morse, Nathan Stephens
Local Sponsors: City of Bozeman, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Lone Mountain Printing, STEAMlab at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development, F11 Photo, Frontier Fund II, Pepsi – Harrington Bottling Company, and Workiva.
Local Caterers: Food For Thought, Mackenzie River Pizza, MSU Catering

Startup Weekend Bozeman – April 17-19, 2015 Pitching Order, Format and Criteria

Startup Weekend Bozeman April 17 – 19, 2015

Demo Day Pitch Order

  1. WiseHats
  2. GooglyMoogly
  3. ScholarshipU
  4. ShareLift
  5. Burrito Gram
  6. The Bong Along
  7. MakerPhones
  8. Be Prepared Packs
  9. The SoapBox
  10. GazeTyper

Pitching format: 

  • Each team will have 6 minutes to present.
  • When presenting, the room is yoursUse any visual aids you want. Make it interactive if you can. But remember that you have 6 minutes.
  • Judges will have 5 minutes to ask questions and get feedback from teams. Judging criteria listed below.
  • We will alert you when you have one minute remaining. We will not allow pitches to go long; some of the judging panel members need to leave at a certain time.
  • We will be very strict on timing.

Judging Criteria:


  1. Did the team get out and talk to customers?
  2. Are they actually solving a problem?
  3. What’s their clear value proposition to that customer?
  4. Have they identified a specific target market?

Execution and Design:

  1. Did they work well as a team?
  2. Did they have an MVP or prototype (paper is ok) to present?
  3. How functional was the demo?
  4. Was the usability of the product easy and friendly? Design Matters!

Business Model:

  1. Does their solution solve a core need/problem?
  2. Did they present a value proposition
  3. Is it unique?
  4. How will they differentiate themselves from their competition (did they identify competition)?
  5. What is the go-to-market/launch strategy?
  6. How will they make money?
  7. What is the user acquisition model?

Startup Weekend Bozeman Judges:

  • Susan Carstensen, Angel Investor and Former CFO of RightNow Technologies
  • Richard Harjes, Entrepreneur and Venture Investor
  • Mark Jacobs, CEO of MeBox Media and Business Turn-Around Guru
  • Liz Marchi, Fund Coordinator at Frontier Angel Fund II
  • Will Price, Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur

Full bios here:

Thank you for participating in Startup Weekend Bozeman! We are excited to see how your ideas have developed over the weekend. Good luck!

Startup Weekend Bozeman Organizing Team
Ken, Rick, Kris, and Cody

Startup Weekend Butte March 27-29, 2015 – A big success!

Congratulations to our winners!

Item Bounty
Item Bounty

1st Place: Item Bounty | | | @itembounty

  • 1 week pass for each team member to Fountainhead Coworking in Butte

  • 2 weeks of daily coworking passes for each team member to The Shop Helena

  • Two hour team photo shoot on location of choice by ndigena

  • $100 Amazon e-gift card

  • Invest in Success Conference tickets

  • Feature story on Innovate Montana website

  • Meeting with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development

  • Two startup books


2nd Place: Steritite

  • 1 week of daily coworking passes for each team member to The Shop Helena
  • Team headshots by ndigena
  • $50 Amazon e-gift card
  • Two startup books
Big Sky University
Big Sky University

3rd Place: Big Sky University | | @bigskyu

  • 1 day coworking pass for each team member to The Shop Helena

  • Team headshots by ndigena

  • $50 Amazon e-gift card

  • One startup book

True Montana
True Montana

Crowd Favorite: True Montana | | | @TrueMTpodcast

  • Sticker Mule t-shirts (Thanks Stickermule!)

  • One startup book

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!

Keynote Speaker: Martin Butts, Founder at Small Potatoes

  • Mentors/Coaches: Danny Choriki, Janice Copeland, Patrick Dudley, Wayne Gardella, Andrew Gordon, Julie Jaksha, Dan Lloyd, Ray Rogers, Andy Shirtliff, Joe Willauer, Andy Zdinak

  • The Judging Panel: Les Craig, Gary Gannon, Paul Gladen, Dawn McGee, Dev Warren

  • Organizers: 
Adam Benson, Pam Haxby-Cote, Julie Jaksha, Jennifer and Nathan Stephens

  • UP Global Team: Marc Nager, Startup Weekend Butte Facilitator and UP Global CEO; Martha Young, UP Global Executive Associate; Lauren Sauser, UP Global Managing Editor

  • Sponsors: Blackstone LaunchPad Montana, Headwaters RC&D, Butte-Silver Bow, Northwestern Energy, Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Small Business Development Corporation Montana, Montana Food & Agriculture Development Network, Glaicer Bank, Granite Mountain Bank, Lisa Wareham Photography, Fountainhead Coworking, Content Monkeys, Insty-Prints of Butte, KBOW, KOPR, ndigena, Pioneer Technical Services Inc., and Yellow8Ball Customs.

Be Inspired To Redefine What Success Is And How You Can Achieve It

Martin-Butts-Small-PotatoesLet me start by saying thank you to the team at Startup Weekend Butte for bringing me out to Montana to share some of my experiences not only starting my own business, but also working with startups all over the country. I know how much work goes into putting events like this on, and the team, as well as Butte as a whole, has made me feel welcome at every turn. Starting a new business can be daunting, and it’s inspiring to see a group of committed individuals doing all they can to support new businesses in their community.

I feel grateful every day that I’ve been able to carve out my own corner of economic sustainability, doing work I love, especially at a time when most metrics were showing that the economy was failing so many people. While big businesses nationwide announce layoffs, cutbacks, and closings one week, and then record profits the next, Americans across the country have been left to fend for themselves in a quickly changing landscape.

And fend for ourselves we have. By starting our own businesses and hiring our neighbors. When the economy left us behind, we’ve built a new economy. An economy where sharing resources is more important than exploiting them. Where experience and a sense of place matter more than finding the cheapest price no matter what the true cost.

As this new economy has emerged, so has a shift in cultural perceptions about the economy. People are realizing that big businesses aren’t the ones creating the majority of jobs in our towns and cities, but that those jobs are being created by small businesses and startups. People are are looking to work with small locally owned businesses because they can see the evidence that doing so is an important part of the solution to improve our communities. We can’t wait around for someone else to solve our problems, and we don’t need to. The solutions are right there in front of us, so long as we have the tools we need to seize them.

Startup Weekend Butte is an opportunity to get an intensive education on the tools needed to take a hold of your future, and I hope that by sharing some of my experiences and trends from the new economy, attendees will be inspired to redefine what success is and how they can achieve it.

I’m looking forward to meeting you all soon. And if you haven’t gotten yourself registered yet, DO IT!

Martin Butts
Local Foods Advocate
Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes is celebrating it’s 5 year anniversary!

Introduction to Startup Weekend Great Falls

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Video credit – Startup Weekend Louisville & Mike Vance

Contractor Communication Platform Contractor Sherpa Takes First Place in Missoula

Thank you to everyone who attended Startup Weekend Missoula 2014. From the organizers, to the coaches and judges everyone was impressed with the energy and ideas that you brought to the event. We look forward to many more successful Startup Weekend Missoula’s to come.

Startup Weekend Missoula 2014
Startup Weekend Missoula 2014

Congratulations 2014 Winners!

1st Place - Contractor Sherpa
1st Place – Contractor Sherpa renamed Construction Vault

1st Place: Contractor Sherpa originally provided a platform for homeowners and contractors to communicate on projects. Renamed Construction Vault in 2015 and pivoted to a platform to easily send estimates, invoices and receive payments for construction work.

2nd Place - TampOut
2nd Place – TampOut

2nd Place: TampOut is an organization that uplifts women educationally and economically, providing menstrual products to women and girls around the world who wouldn’t have access to them otherwise.

3rd Place - Cheeso
3rd Place – Cheeso

3rd Place: Cheeso is an autonomous robot that captures smiling faces to promote happiness around the world. Making memories effortless.

Recruiting: Find Your Next Employee At Startup Weekend

The traditional hiring process can be long and tedious and provide only a glimpse into a potential employee’s character. Recruiting new employees from Startup Weekend provides an opportunity for employers to locate quality candidates from a self-selected pool of individuals hungry for opportunity and often willing to start from the bottom. Whether you are participating in Startup Weekend as a registrant, coach, or volunteer; you will witness your potential employee’s expert skills in action as well as see how well they work in a group and how productive they are under pressure.

Fargo, North Dakota’s 2013 Startup Weekend gave startup Simply Made Apps the shot in the arm it needed to move to the next level and they wound up hiring two of their Startup Weekend team members into the company. Brooke Allen, a securities industry proprietary trader and hedge fund manager, took his top four candidates for assistant to Startup Weekend to see how they performed under pressure, then hired the best one. Allen advises to, “go beyond thinking of Startup Weekend as a place to launch a project but also a great place to troll for employees and jobs.” Locally, GCS has found an intern as a result of Startup Weekend Missoula 2013. GCS President and Founder, Alex Philp said, “GCS is honored to be a sponsor of Startup Weekend. Based upon our experience with Startup Weekend last year we see this as a great way of identifying Missoula’s best and brightest, supporting the launch of other high tech businesses, and helping to grow Missoula’s big data community.”

By engaging with coaches and teams of varying talents and backgrounds you can compare and calculate the benefits of various potential employees all weekend. Even though many of the participants have a goal of launching their own startup, other attendees go to Startup Weekend for the networking opportunities and to help out their team wherever needed. Whether you are in the market for a talented employee or your future co-founder, you are sure to find an abundance of prospects at Startup Weekend that, in an economy that is saturated with budding startups, have the talent and ambition that will make your company the 1 in 4 to succeed.



Guest Post by

Alex PhilpAlex Philp

Founder and VP of Business Development, Adelos Inc.

Alex Philp, Ph.D. is the founder of various advanced technology companies in Missoula, Montana, including GCS, Adelos and, most recently, TerraEchos. Currently serving as the Founder and President of GCS, Alex launched GCS as a spinout from NASA funded research and development in advanced geospatial information technology at The University of Montana. Dr. Philp received his Masters and Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Montana, combining interests in history, geography, ecology, and geospatial IT into comprehensive examinations of historical landscapes and how and why they change over time. Prior to attending the University of Montana where Alex currently serves as a Faculty Affiliate in the Dept. of Geography and the School of Business, he worked for the Lewis and Clark National Forest and as a Park Ranger in Glacier National Park. Alex’s undergraduate degrees were in Philosophy and History from Seattle University, graduating as a life long member of the National Jesuit Honor Society with a public commitment to scholarship, loyalty, and service. In addition to his service work in recognizing and rewarding excellence in student scholarship, Alex serves as a board member at Providence Western Montana Health Care System, The University of Montana School of Business Administration Advisory Board, and as an IBM Champion, evangelizing, lecturing, and speaking about advanced technology and interdisciplinary topics. Alex and his family reside in Missoula, Montana.

KIND Snacks Come To Startup Weekend Missoula

From the healthy snacks and foods we make, to our commitment to social entrepreneurship with impact, our focus is on making the world a little kinder, one act at a time. Our message of holistic kindness has been the foundation of KIND since day one, and continues each time we create a new snack or introduce a new social initiative. One simple, foundational belief underpins it all: There’s more to business than just profit.

It’s why we started the KIND Movement, why we believe the easier we make it for our community to surprise others with unexpected acts of kindness, the kinder our world will become. Big act or small, we encourage it – from writing a letter to someone who inspired you to planting thousands of trees to simply taking the time to say “thank you.”

Kind just launched a program that we are proud to share with you. Each month we are funding an idea that will help inspire kindness. This is open-submission so anyone can submit – winners are selected monthly by a public voting system.

Check out our site here and watch the video: You can submit an idea today.

Startup Weekend Missoula Hosts Area Entrepreneurs for a Crash Course in Creating a Business


Event Name: Startup Weekend Missoula
Event Dates: March 7-9, 2014
Event Location: Elks Lodge #383, 112 N Pattee St, Missoula, Mt 59802
Contact: Geoff Pepos, Co-Organizer
Phone Number: (406) 546-0351
E-mail Address:
Website Address:

What’s happening and who’s it for?

Missoula is set to host its second Startup Weekend from March 7 through the 9, 2014. Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Local CEOs, founders, startup veterans, attorneys, publishers, professors, and economic developers with entrepreneurship, investing, marketing, and technology expertise will be on hand to coach teams.

Alongside members from the local tech and entrepreneur communities, Startup Weekend Missoula will welcome a new kind of participant to the local event: students from Montana University System’s new Blackstone LaunchPad program. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation knows that entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation. Through the Blackstone LaunchPad, students will have access to an expanded universe of resources and years of institutional knowledge, helping them launch ventures that can take root locally and strengthen Montana’s economy.

“The opportunity to assemble your own startup dream team of peers to work on a common idea for a weekend was too good to pass up. The experience reinforced why I love working with startups,” says Colin Stoner who attended Startup Weekend Missoula 2013.

Said Startup Weekend Missoula coach Elke Govertsen of last years event, “The energy and momentum were palpable. To see that kind of collaborative potential made me excited for the future of Missoula and the entrepreneur startup ecosystem we are fostering.”

“When startup entrepreneurs come together, innovative ideas are launched” said Nathan Stephens who’s helping organize this, his third Startup Weekend in Montana.

Why attend a Startup Weekend event?

  • Education – learn by doing.
  • Build your network – meet talented entrepreneurs.
  • Co-founder dating – build your team.
  • Learn a new skill – flex your technical and business muscle.
  • Get face time with thought leaders – local leaders on tap.
  • Join a global community – over 45,000 alumni out to change the world.

How is it done?

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend. (Statistics from

When and where is it?

The detailed Startup Weekend Missoula 2014 Schedule can be found online at The general hours of the event are Friday, March 7, 2014 from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will be held in downtown Missoula at the Elks Lodge, 112 N. Pattee St.

How can I sign up?

Interested parties can click on the orange “Register” link at the main website to sign up: Students tickets are offered at a discounted price and are limited. Registration includes pizza and caffeine Friday night as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner catered by Bravo! Catering and Market on Front.  Attendees will also receive a custom team t-shirt and exclusive Startup Weekend perks.

About our local sponsors

Thanks to our local sponsors Blackstone LaunchPad MSU; Blackstone LaunchPad UM; MonTec; GCS; Missoula Economic Partnership; Elks Lodge Post #383; Acuity Design; Content Monkeys; Goodworks Ventures, LLC;;  Boyle, Deveny, and Meyer, PC; Wilma Condo; Dorsey & Whitney, LLP;; Frontier Angel Fund, LLC; Market on Front;;; and

Sponsorship opportunities still available, please contact us.

ABOUT STARTUP WEEKEND: Startup Weekend is a program of UP Global along with NEXT, StartupDigest and Startup America. UP Global is a non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities. UP Global is supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, Coca-Cola, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Case Foundation.