Why We Play: BuildASign and Emancipet

Why We Play: BuildASign and Emancipet

This series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants explores how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play. BuildASign and Emancipet BuildASign.com combined sign-making expertise, innovative technology, and exceptional customer service to revolutionize the custom printing industry for today’s customer.     BuildASign came out to the first Level Up event in commanding fashion. They won three Golds in Ping Pong, Liar’s Dice, and Trivia. Then complimented that with three Silvers in Mario Kart, Flip Cup, and Mystery Relay. This earned them the title of Champion and a purse of $9,000 for their charity, Emancipet.     Emancipet strives to provide affordable spay/neuter and preventive veterinary services. They’ve been around since 1999 with clinics in Austin, Pflugerville, Killeen, Houston, and a mobile unit that travels around the Central Texas area. BuildASign says, “The team at BAS feels strongly about animal welfare. Our team enjoys spending their time and resources helping Emancipet and other animal welfare organizations around Austin.”   This is why BuildASign plays. We’d love to hear why you play – tell us your...
Why We Play: Bigcommerce and stupidcancer

Why We Play: Bigcommerce and stupidcancer

This series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants explores how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play.   Bigcommerce and Stupid Cancer The leader in e-commerce for SMBs, Bigcommerce helps the world’s best up-and-coming brands launch professional online stores to share their products with the world and drive more revenue.   Bigcommerce took second place at Level Up. They earned 3 Golds in Foosball, Flip Cup, and Beer Pong, including a Beer Pong Silver. Not to mention their Bronze in Mystery Relay, and victory in the pre-games Fit Rankings competition.   Bigcommerce competed in support of stupidcancer as their charity. Stupidcancer empowers those affected by young adult cancer with support resources to build community, improve quality of life, and provide meaningful survivorship. They were noted by the Washington Post as “an unparalleled resource for cancer patients in their teens, 20s and 30s.” Kenny Kane, the Chief Operation Officer of stupidcancer is a Brand Ambassador with Bigcommerce, and uses Bigcommerce’s platform to host stupidcancer’s online store. Bigcommerce says, “We are excited to present them with their check for the amount we raised by being a part of the Startup Games, and hope for many more donations in the future!​”     This is why Bigcommerce plays. We’d love to hear why you play – tell us your...
Why We Play: HomeAway and Austin Habitat for Humanity

Why We Play: HomeAway and Austin Habitat for Humanity

This series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants explores how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play.   HomeAway and Austin Habitat for Humanity HomeAway is always up for a good, ol’ fashioned competition, whether it be an intradepartmental food drive, a company-wide flag football game, or a myriad of mental and physical challenges against other companies.  We might not always come out on top, but we have a lot of heart and genuinely enjoy getting to “play” alongside other members of the HomeAway family. For that reason alone, participating in the Level Up Games seemed like a no-brainer. However, when we were told there was a charitable component, that…as they say… “sealed the deal.” Giving back to the communities we serve is a huge part of our culture. We always try to support a variety of causes to reflect the passions of our diverse team, but when asked to choose one charity to play for in the Level Up Games, we looked to an organization we’ve partnered with for nearly a decade – Austin Habitat for Humanity (AHFH). HomeAway has been involved with AHFH in a number of capacities over the course of our relationship, from having three of our c-team members serve on their board of directors, to participating in volunteer builds and, most recently, co-sponsoring their holiday “Blitz Builds” for the last five years. Whether it’s because our employees love the tangible impact of building something so meaningful with...
Why We Play: SpareFoot and Kure It

Why We Play: SpareFoot and Kure It

This series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants explores how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play. We’d love to hear why you play – tell us your story here. SpareFoot and Kure It Mario Feghali, Co-Founder and CSO, SpareFoot The day before the 2014 Austin Startup Games, Mario shared with his team the reason SpareFoot plays for Kure It. Below is the full text of that email. SpareFoot did, indeed, go on to repeat as SG champions – but it is a story that can inspire far beyond the Games, and we thank Mario for sharing it with us. Subject: Cancer, Storage, Startup Games – Why we donate to Kure It Team, From time to time, you have asked me, “Why is our charity of choice Kure It?” It’s a good question.  There are plenty of wonderful non-profits for which we could be playing, but instead we chose one that is relatively unknown and focused on kidney cancer research. So, why? Cancer sucks.  Anyone who has a family member or loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer knows the pain it causes.  It destroys the body of the person inflicted, and in the meantime, every family member and friend has to sit, wait, and, in many cases, start getting “affairs” in order. Sadly, I’m all too familiar with this process. Many in my family have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer, ranging from prostate to breast and ovarian  The one that struck closest to...
Why We Play: The Startup Games Origin Story

Why We Play: The Startup Games Origin Story

This series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants explores how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play. We’d love to hear why you play – tell us your story here. The Origin Story Gillian Wilson, Startup Games It dawned on me that I’ve told this story dozens when asked about the inception of the Startup Games, so it may be worth it to add it to some sort of “permanent record” for posterity’s sake. To preface, this may be a reenactment, but the picture is real, and none of the names have been changed. Since I wasn’t there for the original meeting, this is how that part goes in my head: One night two Sanjays, Chuck and Henrik were sitting around bragging about how great their companies’ respective cultures were and how awesome their employees were at ping pong, foosball, darts and the like. You know, games that require massive amounts of startup athleticism. Each was convinced their culture and their “athletes” were the best, so they decided to pony up and see if they could rally support for a friendly competition. As it turned out, everyone was super excited for the idea (circa October 2011). One day, Shawn & Jay (my old bosses at uShip) asked if I would help with a meeting to bring one of their fabulously ridiculous ideas to life. Without hesitation, or knowing what I was getting into, I said YES (their ideas were normally a little far fetched, but...
Why We Play: Going Out on Top

Why We Play: Going Out on Top

This is the first in a series of posts by past and future Startup Games participants exploring how startup culture intersects a charitable mindset. We each play for a company and play for a charity – but the motivation for giving back often lies deeper, and that is Why We Play. We’d love to hear why you play – tell us your story here. Going Out on Top Adam Greenspan, Startup Games I have a new team this year – I made a tough call and walked away from a company I’d seen grow from 20 to 200. I grew myself, rising from a mere intern (a Link Monkey, as we were called) to spending my twilight masquerading under some ridiculous executive title I made up. For nearly seven years, uShip taught, fed and clothed me, and I’m grateful for every moment I spent there – yet when I started telling people I was leaving, everyone’s gut reaction was “Man, what are we going to do about shuffleboard?” For you see, I am kinda good at shuffleboard. I don’t know why I am good at pushing a little metal thing dead straight just gently enough to knock another metal thing off a board but not fall off said board itself. I just am. Thanks to the two partners I played with, you can ask my three consecutive SG gold medals. Silly as it may sound, it kills me that I can’t compete this year, and I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t weigh at least a little into my decision. There’s a metaphor here (I promise) beyond me just glorifying...