Hot Spot Parking, an app to help cure the pain of downtown parking, won Startup Weekend New Brunswick in Fredericton yesterday, but I’m not sure that was the biggest news from the event.
The big story really took place Friday evening, when about 70 people entered the event, cramming into a room at the Pond Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick. It wasn’t just students but people from every strata of the New Brunswick startup universe who showed up.
“The event was filled with an amazing energy with numerous people from the community coming in to help,” said Suhaim Abdussamad, who organized the event along with his Startup Kitchen partner Robert Foley. “Coaches from numerous local businesses and startups helped out. Even local councilors dropped by to give feedback on some ideas.”
Startup Weekend is an international organization that oversees events around the world in which people assemble on a Friday evening, share ideas, divide into teams and see who can come up with the best startup in 54 hours. The head office in Seattle dispatches a facilitator to assist with the event, and in this case it was Sally Ng, a veteran of the Moncton and Fredericton tech scenes. Startup Weekend NB was organized by Startup Kitchen, Tech South East and the Pond Deshpande Centre.
People pitched 26 ideas on Friday night, of which 11 were chosen. And throughout the weekend you could feel the energy and excitement of the process just from reading the tweets coming out of the room. Nicole LeBlanc, the Finance Director at New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, was pleased with the number of women who attended and joined the teams. The organizers also observed Earth Day and everyone coded in the dark for an hour Saturday night.
The winner was Hot Spot Parking, which is an app that can allow people (car owners, merchants or others) to pay parking fees online to ease parking headaches in downtown areas. For example, a merchant in the middle of a sale can pay a customer’s parking online rather than losing the sale because the customer has to go feed the metre. It was the idea of Phillip Curley, a third-year UNB civil engineering student, who received offers for funding from two angels over the weekend.
The second prize went to A.L.I.E., which stands for Artificial Lifestyle Intervention Expert. The company produces software that encourages energetic changes to an individual’s lifestyle, such as grocery-buying habits and other routines. It was the brainchild of Thom Lamb, the CEO and Head Coach at Elite Experience of Fredericton.
MindfulVIBE, an educational project initiated by Chelsea Wilson, captured the third prize.
Startup Weekend capped off the successful East Coast Startup Week, which also featured the NBIF’s Breakthru Dinner and the Launch36 DemoDay.