By Ilene Aleshire
The Register Guard
Nov 14 2014
The third annual Startup Weekend Eugene will begin today at the Fertilab Thinkubator, bringing together designers, developers and innovators in a warp speed effort to create new companies.
The weekend starts with entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs pitching a product or business idea. Attendees at the event then vote on each proposal and teams are formed to take the most popular proposals from idea stage to a working model for a new business that is ready to hit the ground running.
On the final day of the event, a panel of judges selects the winners. This year’s judges are: John Helmick, CEO of Gorilla Capital; Sabrina Parson, CEO of Palo Alto Software, and Jeff Tunnell, who co-founded the Dynamix computer game studio in Eugene in 1984.
The local Startup Weekend is part of an international network of these 54-hour events, which are organized by a Seattle-based nonprofit of the same name and supported by American Airlines, The Case Foundation, Chase, Coca-Cola, Google for Entrepreneurs, the Kauffman Foundation and others.
One of the ideas that came out of the Eugene event last year, BT Biotech, was among the first group of startups to enter a new business accelerator, which is part of the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN). RAIN is a state-supported effort to create more well-paid jobs in Oregon by creating innovative companies.
“BT has come a long way since fall 2013,” said Shula Jaron, executive director of the Thinkubator. “They are also a testament to the possibility of launching a business after 54 hours of hard work.”
The Thinkubator, the creation of tech entrepreneur Joe Maruschak, who also heads the RAIN accelerator in Eugene, offers shared work space, lab space and a sense of community to local start-ups. It also has hosted the local Startup Weekend every year.