Dr. Aaron Gray (center), a University of Missouri physician, discusses his idea for a business called Smart Visit. Gray's pitch was one of 17 chosen as a project for the weekend. | Photo by Eduardo Gonzaez

Columbia Startup Weekend back for fifth year of jumpstarting entrepreneurial ideas



Dr. Aaron Gray (center), a University of Missouri physician, discusses his idea for a business called Smart Visit. Gray's pitch was one of 17 chosen as a project for the weekend. | Photo by Eduardo Gonzaez
Dr. Aaron Gray (center), a University of Missouri physician, discusses his idea for a project at Columbia Startup Weekend in 2013. The event returns for its fifth year this weekend. | Eduardo Gonzalez/Missouri Business Alert

Columbia Startup Weekend returns for its fifth year this weekend at the Museao Building in Columbia. More than 120 participants, including developers, designers and businesspeople, are expected to take part in the competition, where teams spend a weekend working to build the foundations of a viable business.

Columbia Startup Weekend is the local version of a global event series hosted by Startup Weekend, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate and encourage would-be entrepreneurs.

The Columbia event will kick off Friday night, when participants pitch their business ideas. Teams will form around several of those ideas, and participants will spend the rest of Friday, all of Saturday and most of Sunday planning, building and testing their  ideas. On Sunday evening, teams deliver final pitches, and a panel of judges determines the top three ideas.

Past winners include Zapier, a company that makes software for syncing and automating web applications and won the inaugural Columbia Startup Weekend, and Equipment Share, an online marketplace for renting construction equipment that won in 2014. Both of those businesses followed their Startup Weekend wins with invitations to participate in Y Combinator, a business accelerator in Silicon Valley that’s considered one of the best in the world.

Check back with Missouri Business Alert this weekend for more coverage of this weekend’s event, and see the feed below for Twitter conversation about the fifth Columbia Startup Weekend.


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