Nov 10, 2022

How to Build a Startup Team

Founders work on building a startup pitch at startGNV Startup Sprint

Top 5 Highlights of startGNV Startup Sprint & Photo Gallery

It was a Friday night in Gainesville, and while most students were going out for the night or hanging out with friends, a select group of students spent their evening at the startGNV Startup Sprint kickoff event at Santa Fe College Blount Hall. Christine Caven, PS27’s Director of Communications, serves on the board of directors for startGNV and attended the weekend-long event to startup new innovative companies and encourage startup ecosystem development. Below are our Top 5 Highlights from the event and photo gallery.

Startup Sprint Kickoff at Santa Fe College Blount Hall

1. Pizza and potential: finding the right ideas.

The evening began with some mixing and mingling with the startGNV team over pizza and snacks. Mel White, Instructional Assistant Professor at UF College of Engineering and startGNV Board Member, presented an ideation session. Individuals could pitch and listen to ideas and form teams around the best ones.

Saturday, teams conducted market research to prove validation.

2. Saturday is for surveys.

Day 2 of Startup Sprint was all about idea validation. startGNV Board Member and Associate Director of UXR at Three Five Two, Michelle Brownstein, talked to the group about the best practices for interviews and surveys. The teams were then allowed to reach out to potential customers and market influencers to validate their ideas. Saturday afternoon, Mel White, Instructional Assistant Professor at UF College of Engineering, was back on stage and talked about prototyping and testing your idea in the market. The day concluded with mentor feedback and product development.

Christine Caven presents Pitch Deck Elements VCs Are Looking For

3. Pitch Deck Elements VCs Are Looking For.

Day 3 of Startup Sprint started with our own Christine Caven teaching a class on Pitch Deck Elements that VCs are looking for. The presentation began with the problem and solutions that these entrepreneurs were solving for. Caven had each team practice speaking to the audience about their budding startups and the market they are going after. Students reviewed real slide examples from PS27 Rhea Fund portfolio companies RYZE Superfoods and levAR.  The top five elements included the following:

#1. The Problem: Why is this relevant, and do you understand what your customer needs?

#2. The Solution: How does this solve the problem effectively? Who is the competition?

#3. A Real World Example: How do customers use the product? Tell us about the addressable market.

#4. Your Team & Skillset: Do you have the right people in place to scale? Describe your background.

#5. Use of Funds: What will you do if the company gets funded?

In true PS27 fashion, the presentation concluded with a Pop Quiz. The class was asked to participate by sharing what other things that VCs look for when considering investing in a startup. If you’re building a business, you can request a pitch deck template from PS27 by emailing ch*******@ps**********.com. You can submit your pitch deck here if your company is raising venture capital.

Shark Tank Judges Discuss Startup Presentations

4. Celebrities in the Shark Tank.

In just three days, startup teams were eager and ready to pitch to local celebrity judges in a “Shark Tank” style event in front of a live audience. Judges included Aidan Augustian, who founded his company Feathr during a Startup Sprint event. Feathr’s investors include popular companies, including Capital Factory, the Florida Opportunity Fund, the Knight Foundation, and Miami Angels.  Today Feathr has over 1,300 customers and 125 + employees, according to the Feathr website. Giving back to the Gainesville innovation community, Aidan also served as the startGNV board president in 2019. 

Alicia Lasaga, CEO and Founder at Autism Worldwide, also joined the judge’s panel. Autism Worldwide aims to increase global awareness of the human rights of people with an autism spectrum disorder. Finally, former startGNV Board Member Matthew Luedecke, Head of Business Development at Emerging Tech, served as a judge providing feedback on tech scalability.

Minuet Greenberg presents the InTune Pitch Deck at startGNV Startup Sprint

5. And the winner is… InTune!

InTune addressed mental health and curried favor with the judges through their SaaS application that would recommend a song based on the user’s feelings. Congratulations to Minuet GreenbergMichael CooperJocelyn NewmanDominick KreiderGabriel Martinez Cardenal, MS, CLSSGB, and Benedikt Stocker, the winners of the 2022 Startup Sprint Shark Tank!

Overall, great ideas can come from anywhere. Startup Sprint proves that you can build a startup over the weekend with time, mentorship, and dedicated teams.

How to Build a Startup

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