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Little Sleep, Lots of Success: Ann Arbor Startup Weekend

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

75 Students. 6 Teams. 54 Hours. The goal? Shut up, start up. Startup Weekend, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and executed by U-M student organization, MPowered, brought us a thrilling “startup-athon” of innovation and creation.


In just 54 short (or not-so-short) hours this past weekend, individual developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts came together to share their ideas, build products, and launch startups. It all began Friday when individuals pitched their ideas to a crowd of potential teammates. Participants then selected the idea they were most excited about and joined that team, starting the weekend-long journey of turning that idea into a startup.


Powered by lots of coffee and KIND bars, teams worked all day Saturday in preparation for Sunday, where they presented a five minute “elevator pitch” showing off their startup idea to local entrepreneur judges. Looking for excellence in validation, execution, design and scalability, the judges selected three teams as Startup Weekend winners. These teams get to engage in 1-1 mentorship with Michigan eLab, get space in Ann Arbor’s Menlo Innovations and Spark, and earned automatic acceptance to participate in other entrepreneurial programs such as CFE’s The Startup, MPowered’s MTank and ZLI’s Dare to Dream.

Congratulations to the winners!

First place: Ballot

Team members: Muhammad Mazhari (LSA), Carson Covell (Computer Science Engineering), Lawrence Yong (School of Information), and Ritwik Biswas (Engineering)

Ballot is an application that seeks to bridge the gap between people and politics. It’s designed to facilitate communication between political representatives and their constituents, allowing citizens to make informed decisions about political leaders.

Second place: HiveLend

Team members: Christopher Shepherd (Philosophy), Nicholas Zajciw (Earth and Environmental Science), and Michael Taborn (Industrial and Operations Engineering)

HiveLend is a tool that streamlines the connection between farmers and beekeepers. Pollination services will no longer be such a tediousbuzz-kill (pun intended).

Third place: Lexika

Team members: Gustavo Ferruzzi Martucci (MBA), Noah Shutty (Mathematics/Honors), Chanmee Chung (Industrial and Operations Engineering) and Jenny Chen (Industrial and Operations Engineering) 

Lexika is an audio indexing tool that allows people to search through audio files for keywords or phrases. Great for all those times we only remember that one repeated line in a song, but can’t think of the name.

Startup Weekend, sponsored by many U-M organizations such as The Center for Entrepreneurship, aims for this collaborative event to serve students as a conduit into the world of entrepreneurship, providing them an opportunity to transform vision to reality.  

We can’t wait to see what’s next for these startups.