As Startup Weekend Columbia kicks off, a look at past winners

A group of 125 aspiring entrepreneurs is gathering this weekend for Columbia’s seventh annual Startup Weekend, where participants from mid-Missouri and beyond will come together to pitch and build upon business ideas over the course of three days.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday and concludes with final presentations starting at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Startup Weekend Columbia debuted in 2011. Today, it’s a program of Techstars, an organization that provides investment and other resources to help accelerate the growth of young companies. Startup Weekend events are held in 150 countries, according to the organization’s website.

Techstars doesn’t provide any money to local organizers, so the event is funded through a combination of tickets purchased by participants and sponsorships from local supporters.

“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,” said Alyssa Patzius, leader organizer for Startup Weekend Columbia. “All the food and sponsorship is raised at the local level.”

Some past winners of Startup Weekend Columbia have fizzled out and no longer exist. But others have gone on to launch products, hire employees, raise outside investment and achieve profitability.

Here’s a look at where the winning teams from past Startup Weekend Columbia events are now:

2011: Zapier

A software service that automates the transfer of data between web applications, Zapier has raised $1.3 million to date and has over 100 employees around the world. Although Zapier is technically headquartered in Silicon Valley, its team is completely remote, featuring workers in more than 25 states and 15 countries. 

2012: Fundrunners

A website offering tools to helps fundraisers collect donations and promote their cause, Fundrunners was created by the owners of The Add Sheet in Columbia. Fundrunners is no longer active, according to Patzius.

2013: Nudge

Nudge, an email marketing tool, is no longer in business, Patzius said. Its founder, Jamie Stephens, now works at Columbia digital marketing firm Lift Division.

2014: EquipmentShare

EquipmentShare, which runs a marketplace for renting heavy construction equipment, has raised more than $27.5 million in four funding rounds, co-founder Brad Siegler said in an email interview. The company is headquartered in Columbia, and it has a second office in Kansas City with six 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, StaffedUp has 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

Huntclub is like Airbnb for outdoor sports enthusiasts, connecting hunters and fishers with private landowners. 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.

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