Videos: Startup Weekend hatches ideas


Startup Weekend attendees team up at The Factory in downtown Grand Rapids to launch startups over a 54-hour period. Photo by Mike Nichols 

It was the biggest and, according to many attendees, best Startup Weekend ever.

The fifth annual Startup Weekend Grand Rapids, a weekend long pitch and build competition, ran this past weekend from 5 p.m. Friday to about 4 p.m. Sunday at The Factory, a co-working space downtown.

About 150 people attended the event, and 12 of the attendees pitched ideas that were selected to be created throughout the weekend, said Aaron Schaap, the event’s host and founder of The Factory.

The 12 ideas were developed by 12 teams, which stood before a panel of seven judges to present on their product on Sunday.

The startup idea that won the grand prize, as well as the award for best business model, was Maqion, a card-based lock system for heavy machinery and construction tools, particularly forklifts.

The Maqion idea was created by a team of developers, most out of the GR Makers co-working space.

The award for best customer validation was given to team, led by Shorouq Almallah.

Just about everyone in the audience seemed floored that one of the ideas, pitched by Ben Clowney, didn’t already exist.

Clowney’s idea, Starting 11, is for a drafting system for fantasy soccer.

One idea,, seeks to build political bridges by offering voters an unbiased look at what their congressmen, senators and local legislators voted on for each issue. Jace Browing pitched it.

Frederick Poll developed an idea called Imbookable, which would serve as an alternative to Craigslist, allowing professionals to find and hire someone for a service.

For anyone who’s looking for a little fun, Ken Miguel-Cipriano pitched an idea aptly titled ffun. It’s an idea for an app that would connect people for social meetups or dates. 

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