The Startup Games Blog

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Startup Games 2017

The 2017 Austin Startup Games were an incredible success, awarding over $56,000 for non-profits. 16 Austin startups competed in Olympic style games, but only one could become this year’s champion. SpareFoot took home the ultimate prize after winning 27 total points, which provided $20,000 for Kure It Cancer Research. Here is a breakdown of the 2017 winnings: SpareFoot to Kure It $20,000 Outbound Engine to SAFE Alliance $10,000 Modernize to GirlStart $6,500 Academic Works to SafePlace Aceable to Breakthrough Austin AffiniPay to Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas Boundless to Meals on Wheels Capital Factory to RideAustin Headspring to DO IT FOR THE LOVE FOUNDATION LawnStarter to The National Alliance on Mental Illness OneSpot to Without Regrets OwnLocal to Austin Bat Cave ShippingEasy to Caritas of Austin theCHIVE to CHIVE Charities Trendkite to JDRF uShip to Communities in Schools $1,500 each We want to extend a big thank you to our 20 event sponsors and to the 1400+ people in attendance. We’ll be back again later this year for the Level Up Games. We hope to see you there! Event winners: Ping Pong 1st – Headspring 2nd – Modernize 3rd – SpareFoot Connect 4 1st – Outbound Engine 2nd – theCHIVE 3rd – uShip Liar’s Dice 1st – Shipping Easy 2nd – Modernize 3rd – uShip Mario Kart 1st – SpareFoot 2nd – Modernize 3rd – Outbound Engine Shuffle Board 1st – SpareFoot 2nd – theCHIVE 3rd – ShippingEasy Beer Pong 1st – TrendKite 2nd – LawnStarter 3rd – Outbound Engine Darts 1st – Outbound Engine 2nd – Academic Works 3rd – Modernize Mystery Event 1st – LawnStarter 2nd – theCHIVE 3rd – Outbound Engine Trivia 1st – Aceable 2nd – OneSpot 3rd – SpareFoot 3rd – TrendKite Foosball 1st – SpareFot 2nd – Outbound Engine 3rd – TrendKite Pop-A-Shot 1st – SpareFoot 2nd – LawnStarter 3rd – Modernize Flip Cup 1st – SpareFoot 2nd – Aceable 3rd – TrendKite... read more

The Inaugural Startup Games: Colorado goes down to a Tiebreaker!

The Inaugural Startup Games: Colorado goes down to a Tiebreaker! After 5 years in Austin, Startup Games looked to expand to Denver. On October 15th in the RiNo District’s Glitter Dome, 7 companies from Denver, Boulder, and Longmont met to find out who the champion of Colorado would be. After the Opening Ceremony where board members of Startup Games lit the torch to begin the Games, the companies set off to earn the big trophy and big charity grant. HomeAdvisor kicked things off with the first Gold in Ping Pong. Blinker quickly took a commanding lead, though, placing in first or second for four of the five early events. Not to be outdone, Sphero and joint team ReadyTalk & The Dialog Lab earned their share of medals. Rounding it out, ReturnPath and Circle Graphics earned a couple medals of their own. Ibotta, after a Gold in the Mystery Event, marched their way through the ranks taking 1st in 5 events, reaching Blinker’s 15 points in the final event, Flip Cup. A tie for first meant we needed a tiebreaker. 3 athletes from Blinker and 3 from Ibotta took the main stage to compete in Muscle Chug. Each athlete took a knee, then placed a cup with half a beer balanced on their bicep, and drank. In a best 2-of-3 relay, Ibotta emerged the winner, and champion of Startup Games: Colorado! Congratulations to Ibotta who earned $7,000 for their nonprofit of choice, Judi’s House. With their 2nd place, Blinker earned $5,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And a third place victory from HomeAdvisor earned $4,500 for Open World Learning. The remaining companies earned $2,000 for their nonprofits, totaling $25,000! Check out each company with the nonprofit they supported: Company Nonprofit Blinker St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital Circle Graphics Open Studios HomeAdvisor Open World Learning Ibotta Judi’s House ReadyTalk/The Dialog Lab Big Brothers Big Sisters ReturnPath Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Sphero I Have A Dream Foundation And, the official results:   It was a great day. Tons of fun. And, a wonderful opportunity to give away $25,000. See y’all next... read more

Podcasting with Austin Bat Cave

Podcasting with Austin Bat Cave As a rule, each company playing in the Games chooses their charity to support. While I tend to recognize each one, when Startup Games: Austin 2016 rookie OwnLocal chose to support Austin Bat Cave, I had no idea who they were. But, I was excited to find out their mission is to develop writing skills in kids and teenagers. I’ve been writing ever since a kid, and love hearing about others fostering that passion in the next generation. So, I jumped at the chance to learn more. The opportunity arose this summer with their camp workshops where they focused on a specific realm of writing; subjects like, Magical Realism, Professional, and Post-Apocalyptic. I picked the Podcast Writing workshop to visit. I like podcasts, and I’m totally one of those people that have said, “I bet I could do a podcast.” I stopped by the workshop on a Wednesday in the middle of the week-long camp where a volunteer promptly introduced me to what all they were doing and what had already been done. The instructors were a trio of volunteers with a background in writing, podcasting, and audio, and along with Program Director, Ali, seemed like the perfect team. The “campers” were high schoolers, a small group (smaller than most of the other workshops) but very engaged. With an endless list of subjects for podcast topics, it turns out they opted to discuss the current and critical subject of mental health. I was immediately impressed. It was certainly something I thought little about at their age. The workshop mission was to cover each aspect of developing a podcast from outlines to interview questions to editing to producing. I was fortunate enough to visit in time for an interview with a willing friend of Ali’s. The high schoolers had prepared questions centered on her profession and then broached mental health without fear. It was fascinating to watch as the adults in the room (including myself) squirmed as the teenage interviewer asked personal (but subject appropriate) questions until she got the answer she wanted. The whole group was actively interested in learning... read more

Flying Drones with Girlstart

Flying Drones with Girlstart Have you ever flown a drone? I haven’t. I’ve heard about them. I’ve seen them. But, I’ve never held the controls. So when Girlstart invited me out to check out what they’ve got planned for their next summer camp, I couldn’t say no. Girlstart is a nonprofit who was supported by Modernize at Startup Games: Austin 2016. They focus on encouraging girls in learning about and participating in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas. They have year-round education programs, including a series of summer camps that focus on various areas of study. A small crowd gathered on a Thursday morning at Girlstart HQ (including a contingent from Modernize) where their team introduced us to their squadron of drones and plans for the camp. Their plan: teach the girls about manufacturing and aerospace engineering. How? Harry Potter. Or more accurately Hermione. She’s solving the crisis Hogwarts just encountered with their owls all getting sick, and mail now needing new transportation. The girls will learn about the drone’s specs, design a carrier, and then guide the drone safely to its destination. In teams of four, they’ll have to work together to save Hogwarts. The group received an opportunity to test these Hogwarts-saving drones out. We learned to take off, fly, and most importantly land. I can now say that I’ve flown a drone. And, not to brag, but I’m pretty good. These drones work on a two joystick system that made my time spent playing video games totally validated. Girlstart has a fascinating approach to engaging girls with real-world applications of STEM while integrating interesting stories. Hermione’s Mayhem of Mazes will be the fifth and final camp of the summer, each previous one surrounding a different focus and unique story. Be sure to check out what else they’re up throughout the year. I can’t wait to see what else they have planned. Photo courtesy of... read more