A pair of Gonzaga engineering students won three months of free office space for a business idea that placed in the top three teams during the Startup Weekend Spokane competition.
There were 33 startup ideas pitched over the weekend and three were chosen as the best of the bunch to collect subsidized offices at downtown’s Steam Plant Square. They were:
• Rebooked, a marketing notification app that businesses would use to convert canceled reservations or appointments into contacts with customers able to fill those slots. The idea came out of a collaboration of team members Ed Reese, Dan Gayle, Philip Glenn, Darin Herleikson, Connor Simpson, Tuan Nguyen, Georges Pons and Nathan Drechsel.
• Obloco, an improved retail point-of-sale system to eliminate paper receipts. The idea came from Victor Yefremov, and team members included Tim Aton, Adam Parish, Malachi Riedl, Jeff McGee, Max Delsid and Jason Shepherd.
• Forge Ahead, a company sponsoring creative competitions for engineering students looking to address real-world technical or business problems. It was pitched by Gonzaga students Paige Bernier and Katie Neal, with members Craig Meredith, Jacob Voegele, Jonny Wang, Rebecca Writz, Eric Norman and Josh Villars.
As top finisher, the Rebooked team gets to make a funding pitch to Spokane Angel Alliance, a venture fund.
A total of 115 people registered for the three-day competition at the McKinstry Innovation Center.
The Forge Ahead business plan was the first-time Startup Weekend effort by teammates Bernier and Neal, who went to high school together in Arizona and are GU mechanical engineering seniors.
Bernier said she and Neal lost their zeal for engineering in their second year at GU, wondering if their work would create any lasting value for others.
Then last year they competed in an engineering competition sponsored by Eurekatory.com.
“The light bulb went on then, and we’ve been on a mission ever since,” Bernier said. “We want to bring that same excitement to other students.”