An employee in USI’s Division of Outreach and Engagement led the team that won the top prize at Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0, held in the USI Business and Engineering Center in February. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event in which developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.
Dr. Andrew Moad, USI-Crane partnership manager, and Joshua Gass, a Best Buy employee, won Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 with an idea called Fence Chips.
Fence Chips are flat, vinyl tiles designed to fit into a chain link fence and replace Styrofoam cups that are often used to promote athletic teams, events, and businesses.
“Fence Chips are durable, colorful, and reusable,” Moad said. "Startup Weekend Evansville was my last effort to build momentum and energy behind this idea. It worked.”
The second place winner of Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 was Team StrapHolster, led by USI student Neil Kassinger (public relations/advertising and entrepreneurship) with Cecelia Gussman (marketing). The StrapHolster is new fashion technology, which keeps your purses and bags from slipping from your shoulder.
Kassinger introduced the StrapHolster at least year’s event, and has since refined and perfected the idea. He filed a provisional patent during the event and is in the process of crowd-funding the idea online, an endeavor he launched live during his team’s presentation.
In third place was Team 3 Caps, two father-son pairs interested in manufacturing gourmet, high-end mushroom-growing kits.
According to Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business and co-organizer of Startup Weekend Evansville, participation was up 19 percent from the inaugural event, with a total of 114 participants this year spread out across 14 teams.
“Our entrepreneurial ecosystem is slowly but surely growing and I’m confident is it becoming more sustainable because of events like Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0,” Bourdeau said. “The response from our generous sponsors and the growth in participation attendance at this event is extremely encouraging for our community and region.”
Since its inception, Startup Weekend Evansville has been the best-attended Startup Weekend event in the state of Indiana, according to data collected by the national organization.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Joshua Gass (left) and Dr. Andrew Moad pitch Fence Chips at Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 in the USI Business and Engineering Center Atrium.