Backpacking app wins Startup Weekend


[ ABOVE: The Startup Weekend 2015 participants ]

Fernweh, a travel app dedicated to helping backpackers plan their trips around a set budget, won first place in the Startup Weekend – Global Startup Battle last weekend at NEXT High School.

App users provide their destinations, dates and how much they’re willing to spend, and then the app gives them packages with flights, lodging and transportation.

The first-place prize was free incubator space for three months at Bootstrap Engine, lawyer fees to help get the startup off the ground, LLC fees, business coaching and videography services. The top three winners had to submit a video in order to compete further.

Fernweh was won of several startups competing in Greenville.

About 30 people were divided into separate teams, Matt Brown, one of the event organizers, said.

Startup ideas ranged from Web applications to actual products, Brown said.

The organizers of Startup Weekend.

The weekend was a 54-hour competition at NEXT High School, where teams of entrepreneurs worked on creating a business model for a startup. The event ended on Sunday night when the teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

“What made this Startup Weekend different from the others is it was kicking off Global Startup Week,” Brown said.

Teams were judged based on three criteria: customer validation, business model and execution of design. Brown said sometimes “people are afraid to get out of the building” and hear criticism about their idea from potential customers. But the teams during this competition all were enthusiastic about engaging potential customers.

The top three teams from the Startup Battle in Greenville have the opportunity to compete regionally and from there could compete nationally and win prizes to travel to Silicon Valley and a conference in Amsterdam.

Foster Foods, a digital marketplace that allows grocery stores to post classified ads for food approaching end of life, won second place and gets free incubator space at OpenWorks for three months, business coaching and videography services.

Zanglers, an online platform that brings together the experience of the shopping mall and Internet for fashion-conscious millennials, won third place and gets business coaching and videography services.

Brown said he tells teams, “The point is not to win the prize.” He said teams instead should focus on sharing their ideas and learning from others so they can help the community.



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