LANSING (WWJ) — After 54 hours of intensive collaboration and creativity, seven new companies have been formed in hopes of becoming successful businesses in the Lansing region, after Lansing Startup Weekend took place this past weekend. The weekend featured the strongest turnout in Lansing Startup Weekend history.
Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event in which new companies are pitched and formed over the course of a weekend. This year’s event boasted seven strong ideas ranging from a balance bicycle for seniors and special needs individuals to an online marketplace for the sale of student artwork.
The winning company, called Folyo, was made up of a wide range of individuals who centered their focus on developing an “Etsy-liked” market for local student artists to sell their artwork. Folyo now has access to many startup resources and can take their company to the next level after being chosen as the winner of the weekend.
Jonathan Polar, software engineer manager of Arbor Networks, Dave Mulder, founder of GoSoapBox, Kyle Musser, local consultant, and JV Anderton, attorney at Loomis Law were among the local business leaders who took time to mentor the participants over the course of the weekend, offering up advice and assistance to the companies.
The event culminated on Sunday evening when the companies had a chance to pitch their final ideas to a panel of judges. The judging panel consisted of Travis Stoliker of Liquid Web, Jeff Siarto of LoudPixel, Nick Chilenko of Nicholas Creative and Jason Meyers of SalientMG.
“From Friday evening until Sunday evening, participants spend every minute together to form these companies. Participants will learn a lot about themselves and their team members through the process,” said Jeff Smith, co-director of the New Economy Division at LEAP. “Each participant puts a lot of their expertise and energy on the line in hopes of making the best product possible.”
“This year’s Startup Weekend event drew in participants from Harbor Beach, Southeast Michigan, and Grand Rapids to participate in Lansing’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “Not only are we working with our local entrepreneurs to support and accelerate their companies, but we are inviting entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest to participate in our events and competitions. This really raises the bar for the type of companies coming out of our incubators and through our acceleration efforts.”
Lansing Startup Weekend is a semiannual event put on by a wealth of local sponsors including LEAP, the Lansing area’s economic development agency, Spartan Innovations, Michigan State University’s tech transfer operation, and the NEO Center, a business incubator in Lansing. The next event which will be held in February will be a maker edition focused on product development. For more information on upcoming events, visit lansing.startupweekend.org.