Tri-Cities Startup Weekend 2013 Wrap-Up


We Made It Happen! We wrapped the first Tri-Cities Startup Weekend Sunday. We’re gratified, we’re grateful, and we’ve come far enough down from the entrepreneurial hangover to share the results with the world.

The Numbers

By the numbers, Startup Weekend was a great first event: 48 attendees, 22 ideas pitched, 8 teams formed, and 11 sponsors.

We’d like to thank the whole team:


LoAnn Ayers, Becca Lingley, Erik Ralston, Gary Spanner, and Ty Mulholland


Brett Noyes


City of Richland, PNNL, Tri-Cities Research District, Tri-Cities Journal of Business, TRIDEC, WSU Tri-Cities, Gonzaga University School of Law, RippedSheets.Com, Strategic Construction Management, GitHub, and Mustang Signs & Graphics


Pam Henderson


Khris Judy, Christina Lethlean, Kenn Petersen, Eric Hsu, Derrick Stricker, Jeffrey David Payne, Bernie Hansen, Gus Sako, Bruce Davis, and Robert Anderson


Monika Moo-Young, Paul Carlisle, J.D. Sitton, Cory Hatcher, Ron Boninger

Plus many contributors, supporters, and spectators through the process!

The Result

Startup Weekend is not about numbers, it’s about people. And the result is not just about the winners, it’s about a community overcoming a challenge and learning along the way. No one can truly predict who or what from the weekend will be a success. It’s always an experiment.

To help illustrate the human factor, take a look at the Flickr Photo Stream and Vimeo Account, now and as they each grow in the future, for the visual and emotional sum of the weekend. Also, keep up with the Facebook Page and Twitter Feed for bite-sized recaps and whispers of planning for next year.

After an intense weekend, three teams distinguished themselves to the judges, earning prizes to support them as their team moves forward:

#1: Emergency Tag Alert (ETA)

A fire safety device for finding your fire extinguisher in an emergency

For presenting a big opportunity to make every home and family a little bit safer, they received:

#2: Sun Spirits – Eco-friendly vodka distillery powered by the sun and fueled by wine byproducts.

Citing the truly Tri-Cities merger of high-tech solar and the wine industry, plus absolute belief that the team can make it happen, Sun Spirits received:

#3: Local Adventures – Yelp for free stuff

Inspired by the potential of the team and their beautiful prototype, Local Adventures received:

Finally, since ETA felt their idea required more time to incubate, they abdicated their prize the “Hot Spot” team, trying to make camping easier with an all-in-one camp kitchen, who should be prowling the Inventor Pavilion at the Smartmap Expo tomorrow.

The judges awarded prizes based on positive customer validation, potential business opportunity, and perceived abilities of the teams. Startup Weekend likes to say that a Startup = idea X team^2, and the team-squared was the biggest factor in awarding the scarce resources of the community.

The End?

Startup Weekend’s participants, coaches, judges, and organizers have each gone home. WSU Tri-Cities has resumed classes and most of us returned to a day job that doesn’t involve entrepreneurial experimentation or seeking to own the whole economic worth of our works. The Tri-Cities were not changed in a weekend, but so many of its Tri-Citizens do see a different world.

From now on, they will try to see opportunity where others see problems. Try to explore problems, rather than fantasize about solutions. Most importantly, they will remember that the time to act is now, because an entrepreneur doesn’t wait for anything. Not for approval, not for money, and only about a year for another Startup Weeked in Tri-Cities.

Until then: Keep Making It Happen.