University of Southern Indiana

USI Student Part of Winning Team at Startup Weekend Evansville

USI student Ryan Loehrlein and teammates Sean Effron, Eric Nelson, Candace Perry and Isaac Sullivan made up the Guardian Angel team winning the top prize at Startup Weekend Evansville (SWE) 5.0.

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. More than 100 individuals, including coaches and judges, participated in the 2016 Startup Weekend Evansville 5.0 held in USI’s Business and Engineering Center February 19-21, 2016.

Guardian Angel’s product and idea is a drone that can go into hostile situations by using blueprints uploaded to the drone itself. The drone is designed to protect law enforcement agencies before they enter hostile situations, allowing officers to focus on protecting and serving the community more efficiently.

2016-02 SUW First Place

First place winners for Startup Weekend: (L to R) Isaac Sullivan, Ryan Loehrlein, Eric Nelson, Sean Effron and Candace Perry.  

As the first place team, Guardian Angel received an impressive prize package that included four hours of marketing consulting from Thrive Marketing Strategies; two years of secure website hosting and $500 of software services from Lieberman Technologies; exclusive interview podcast from Evansville Podcast; free co-work space at the Innovation Station from Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville; four hours of legal services consulting from the Law Office of Doug Briody; priority consideration for the Indiana University Maurer Intellectual Property Clinic; exclusive pitch opportunity at Evansville Tech-On-Tap; four hours of financial consulting from Solomon CFO Solutions; up to 60 persons for gathering event including non-alcoholic drinks with hors d'oeuvres from Toast.

Taking second place was the team that pitched Night Vision Goggle Gloves, light up gloves to be used by military personnel to guide air traffic, thus eliminating the need for handheld wands. The technology would be compatible with night vision goggles.

The third place prize went to the Lullafi team. Lullafi is a unique sleep device that attaches to baby beds, cribs, carriers, etc. It combines sound and vibration to mimic a car ride to lull babies to sleep.

The second and third place teams each receive an exclusive pitch opportunity at Evansville Tech-On-Tap and an exclusive interview podcast from Evansville Podcast.

In addition to the top three teams, the other ideas pitched in the final were:

  • Collision Coffee Space-a monthly paid subscription where members can order coffee via an app and it will be waiting at the drive-up coffee shop on Evansville’s Main Street.
  • ECOEXO-eliminates some factory farming by using exoskeletons grown in a controlled environment. The snack product comes packaged in a lightweight backpack designed for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • ChillVision-membership to a virtual environment. By viewing calming scenes just minutes a day, users will produce less of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in improved health.
  • LinkR-a database solution that matches college student’s profiles and corporate internships based on skillset requirements.
  • HeyEvansville-a news platform that eliminates social media noise to deliver up to the minute content to a subscriber’s smartphone.
  • FundQuest-a video game that encourages users to conquer their financial fears.

Judges included Jack Smothers, USI Assistant Professor of Management; Ruth Jenkins, President and CEO, Heritage Federal Credit Union; Brad Warthan, Principal Lead for KPI Factory; Linda White, President and CEO, Deaconess Health System; Pat Heck, Partner, Director of Development, Lieberman Technologies; Mary R Howell Miller, Owner of MRM Custom Embroidery & Designs; and Andrea Lendy, Business Services Coordinator for G.A.G.E.

SWE 5.0 was sponsored by the University of Southern Indiana’s Romain College of Business, Vectren, Lieberman Technologies, Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, and Heritage Federal Credit Union. In-kind sponsorships included Tech-on-Tap, Evansville Podcast, Innovation Station, IU Maurer School of Law, Makerspace, Thrive, Solomon Solutions, and Toast.

“Fostering startup density is a main objective of Startup Weekend Evansville,” said Bryan Bourdeau, event organizer and instructor in business at the Romain College of Business. “Moving into our 5th year, SWE is the largest event of its kind in Indiana. SWE is an entrepreneurship development platform and an educational movement for entrepreneurs. It helps entrepreneurs obtain related education, launch businesses, build networks, learn skills, join global communities, save money, and more.”

Founded in 2007, Startup Weekend is a 501(c)3 non-profit “on a mission to provide the world’s premier experiential education for beginning and early stage entrepreneurs.” Startup Weekend is billed as “the world’s largest community of passionate entrepreneurs,” with events held in cities throughout the world. In its fifth year, Startup Weekend Evansville is the largest event of its kind in Indiana.

Published March 3, 2016.

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