FertiLab Hosts Startup Weekend for Third Straight Year

Fertilab Thinkubator played host to a record-setting Startup Weekend Eugene/Springfield, Nov. 13-14. More than 85 participants showcased dozens of entrepreneurial ideas for the chance to take home first place honors and other valuable prizes.

“This year we saw a record level of participation in Startup Weekend, and that speaks volumes about the amount of interest and support for entrepreneurship in our community,” said Fertilab Thinkubator Executive Director Shula Jaron.

Startup Weekend, produced locally by Fertilab Thinkubator for the third straight year, is part of global organization that supports entrepreneurship through events that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. The worldwide network includes more than 100,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and more than 100 trained facilitators.

A Winning Team / A Winning Experience

A cross-disciplinary team of University of Oregon students was awarded first place for its innovative approach to allergies and food safety.

Startup Weekend Winners

“The Right Plate” Winning Startup Weekend

The Right Plate, a web and app platform that identifies food ingredients to help minimize potential allergy and/or dietary risks, was created by Bishara Kokor, a doctorate student in physics, and undergraduate computer science students Garett Roberts, Cole Vikupitz, Cody Hatfield and John Brawner.

According to the United States Deparment of Agriculture, food allergies affect about 2 percent of adults and 4 to 8 percent of children in the U.S. Additionally, it is estimated that anaphylaxis to food results in 30,000 emergency room visits to in theU.S. each year.

The all-student team developed the idea for The Right Plate and created a working prototype during the 54-hour Startup Weekend, which was held at the Fertilab Startup Center in Springfield. Their prize haul included a three-month membership at Fertilab Thinkubator, and consulting services for business model generation, value proposition and design.

“Startup weekend was a phenomenal experience’, said Roberts, a member of the UO Entrepreneurship Club. “It not only empowered me to learn and utilize new skills, but it helped me make meaningful connections with like-minded people who want to change the world. It will forever be one the most memorable events from my time in college.”

In all, nine teams presented companies to a panel of judges that included John Helmick, CEO of Gorilla Capital, Jeff Tunnell, co-founder of Spotkin LLC, and Kim Fraser, SVP Business Development at Bankrate Inc. Guest speakers included BethEsponnette, Assistant Professor in Product Design at the University of Oregon, and Aaron Sarnoff-Wood, co-founder of 2 Towns Ciderhouse.