It’s always nice to see more early stage investors getting into the game. But what about those early stage entrepreneurs?
Now, Reed might not be the first place you think of when it comes to startup activity, but fact of the matter is that that small liberal arts college has had a huge impact on the Portland startup scene. Just off the top of my head, Urban Airship, Puppet Labs, AppFog, LuckySort, Stayhound, and Rogue Ventures all boast Reedies as founders. And I’m probably missing a bunch.
So what did the weekend produce?
- Arthandlr, an online exchange to match art collectors with emerging high artists;
- Bio-energetics, a solution for converting waste independent brewery grain into methane to power the breweries;
- Blue House Coffee, a for-benefit (think Tom’s Shoes) coffee company that invests in the literacy of its coffee growers;
- Peramod, a modular furniture solution for college students and young mobile urbanites;
- Ha.Lo, home automation starting with the smart outlet/plug. Take control of the power supply in your home to reduce vampire power loss and increase safety;
- Taylor, an innovative, integrated life organizer combing in calendar and task management into a single application to track manage tasks and deliverables in sync with appointments.
But the big winner was Emotitron, an patent-pending algorithm for detecting sentiment analysis in verbal communication—wait for it—created by a couple of guys from Oregon Episcopal School. That’s right. They’re not even in college yet. And they’ve already won a grant from Siemens. Take that, Zuckerberg.
The initial application for Emotitron is “helping autistic kids and adults recognize and interpret emotion real-time using voice recognition technology.” And yes, I’m sure you can think of many more.
All in all, the pitches from the college students were as strong as anything coming out of more traditional Startup Weekends. Which leads me to hope that this won’t just be an annual occurrence.
For more on the weekend, visit Reed College Start Up Lab.
[Full disclosure: I had the privilege of serving as a judge for the final pitches.]
(Image courtesy Paul Lowry. Used under Creative Commons.)