Startup Weekend launches downtown


Startup Weekend Grand Rapids attendees team up to launch startups over a 54-hour period. Photo via

Entrepreneurs, designers, hackers, hustlers and dreamers, your presence is requested in Grand Rapids this weekend.

The Factory, a co-working space in downtown Grand Rapids, is hosting its fifth annual Startup Weekend.

The event, a weekend long pitch and build competition, will run this weekend from 5 p.m. Friday through 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“Teams form around the top ideas, as determined by popular vote, and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation,” according to the event’s website.

The event’s organizers say that attendees can put themselves “in the shoes of an entrepreneur” and leave “better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.”

Speakers at this year’s event will include Gov. Rick Snyder, David Rosen, president of Kendall College of Art and Design, Benjamin Gott, Start Garden’s entrepreneur in residence, Jeff Epstein, founder of @getAmbassador and Scott Daigger, founding partner of and product commercialization manager for Spectrum Health Innovations.

Last year, about 130 people attended the event to witness the creation of U-Turn, an idea for a u-shaped storage option and one of the Startup Weekend’s first-ever physical products.

U-Turn was designed by an eight-man team: Kendall College Assistant Professor Jon Moroney, Kendall industrial design students Kris Konechne, Luc Fewer, Joe Parr, Josh McBryde, Austin Blough and Jake Mikula and one Grand Valley State University MBA student, Tim Spork.

U-Turn eventually received funding from Grand Rapids-based Start Garden, Rick DeVos’ $15-million seed fund.

People can register for the event online.

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