Missouri Business Flash: 7th annual Startup Weekend
COLUMBIA - One hundred and twenty five aspiring entrepreneurs will gather in a 15,000 square foot office building in Southeast Columbia for up to 54 hours this weekend. It’s Columbia’s seventh annual startup weekend and participants from across the state will gather to create and pitch their best business ideas over the next two days.
Making its debut in 2011, Columbia startup weekend is organized through Techstars, a worldwide network providing resources to help entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars hosts Startup Weekends in 150 countries, according to the non-profit’s website. Techstars doesn’t provide any money to local organizers, so the funding is up to the community that is hosting the startup weekend.
“They give us a handbook of how to run it and a point of contact regionally who is our advisor if we need any help. All the food and sponsorship is raised at the local level,” said Alyssa Patzius, lead organizer for Startup Weekend Columbia.
The annual event helped launch several successful companies, including Zapier and EquipmentShare.
Here's a look at the past years winners:
- 2011: Zapier- A service automating data transfer between web applications. For example, a user can get a "zap" that automatically downloads his/her Gmail attachments to a Dropbox account for easy storage. The company raised $1.3 million to date and has over 100 employees around the world. Although headquartered in California, Zapier runs an 100% remote team with workers in more than 25 states and 15 countries. The company reported sales of $20 million in May 2017, its latest disclosure.
- 2012: Fundrunners- A website offering tools to helps fundraisers collect donations and promote their cause. It was created by the owners of The Add Sheet in Columbia but Fundrunners is no longer active, according to Patzius.
- 2013: Nudge- An email marketing tool that is no longer in business. It’s founder, Jami Stephens, now works at the marketing firm Lift Division full-time, according to Patzius.
- 2014: EquipmentShare- A construction equipment rental agency for contractors. It raised just over $27.55 million in four funding rounds, according to co-founder Brad Siegler. The company is headquartered in Columbia and has a second office in Kansas City with 6 rental locations throughout Missouri, Texas and Florida. EquipmentShare does not disclose revenue.
- 2015: StaffedUp- A web-based recruiting platform specifically focused on the retail and service industries. The company raised $120,000 to date and is looking for $250,000 to fund its next stage of growth according to co-founder Billy Giordano. It has eight employees working remotely in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Columbia and St. Louis. StaffedUp’s revenues are $15,000 to date, according to Giordano.
- 2016: Huntclub- A platform for connecting landowners with outdoor enthusiasts like hunters and fishers. The company is self funded but looking to raise $100,000 to $300,000 in a seed round, according to co-founder Cooper Price. The four co-founders are the company’s sole employees. Huntclub has customers in Missouri and Illinois.
This year’s startup weekend kicks off at 7 pm Friday and will conclude with final presentations beginning at 5pm Sunday. Registration and other information can be found on the event's website.
(Editor's note: KOMU.com has updated this story to include a link to the event website.)