A karaoke app won the best-attended Startup Weekend Louisville, which was held at Bellarmine University this weekend. Some 80 people signed up to pitch startup ideas, form teams and create companies in just a couple of days.
Serhat Kaya, from Hamburg, Germany, was the facilitator for the ninth such event in Louisville. The judges were Chief of Civic Innovation at Louisville Metro Government Grace Simrall, Cafe Press founder Fred Durham and Revio co-founder and CEO Chris Bailey. Forty-four entrepreneurs pitched on Friday, a dozen teams were formed, and 11 made it through to the pitch contest.
Teams were judged on product validation, execution and design, and business model. Each team had 3 minutes and 33 seconds to pitch, and the judges had 3 minutes for questions.
The winner was upnext, an app for karaoke that allows audience members to view a karaoke DJ’s song list on their mobile phones, request to sing and also tip the DJ via Paypal. Over the weekend, the team went to seven bars and talked to 11 karaoke coaches and 92 consumers. On Saturday night, they conducted a live test of 15 singers at the Bard’s Town. There were 32 performances, and through the beta site for the app, the DJ earned $42 in tips.
The app will be free to DJs. The company will take a small percentage of tips and also charge venues to advertise on the site. According to the founders of the app, there are 200 opportunities to sing each week in Louisville and 93 percent of DJs are still using paper song books and request slips.
Second place went to Critterfacts, a fact-a-day app about animals. Every day for a week, users get fun facts and photos about a particular type of animal. Then at the end of the week, the user is sent to long-form articles about the animal and informed of what zoos feature that animal. The company will sell its data to zoos to help them guide the choices they make for exhibits.
Touchband landed in third place. It’s an app-connected wristband that will cost around $20. The founders built a rough prototype at FirstBuild over the weekend. Users can tap Touchbands to receive the other person’s social media profile on the app. So if you go to a party and you meet people who also have Touchbands, you can quickly exchange contact information without having to input information into your mobile phones. A rough beta site is at touchband.co.
Other companies included:
• Samurai School: a workforce development program that is custom-designed for companies, especially those involving maintenance.
• BuySpy: if a home contract falls through because of an inspection, buyers can sell that inspection data to BuySpy and get some of their money back. Future buyers can see the report at a discount. A demo is at buyspy.co: Type in “oak” and see a current updated inspection.
• Ring of Fire: for women gun owners, it’s a trigger lock that can only be released when matched with an RIFD code embedded in a particular ring or bracelet.
• The Glass Capitol: an app that provides unbiased data on how well government representatives are performing and provides a portal for constituents to communicate with them directly. A beta version is at glasscapitol.org.
• Bocca del Lupo: an Italian term meaning “break a leg.” It’s a combined in-person and online ACT-prep course for high-performing high school students.
• Book Club: online trading company that allows readers connect with friends and neighbors to encourage trade. If a book isn’t available from friends, it will suggest where to buy it online.
• JamFit: when two JamFit users get within a certain distance of each other, the app fires up and plays music, so users can spontaneously have a dance-off. There are challenges, events and rewards for participating.
• News Lancing: connects media freelancers and editors globally through a social network.