Iowa City event offers chance to pitch big idea

More than 30 sign up for Startup Weekend

More than 30 entrepreneurs, business managers, start-up enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and others will get the opportunity this weekend to pitch their ideas at a three-day, 54-hour event.

Startup Weekend Iowa City will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday at MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St.

Jay Cooper, lead organizer of the event, said those making their pitch may have a problem to solve or have an idea for a potential solution.

“Each person will pay $20 for a ticket,” Cooper said. “They will get up Friday evening and have 60 seconds to tell everyone their problem and what they would form a team around to develop their supposed solution.

“Some people may be looking to get into the entrepreneurial community and others may already be in it. Everyone that attends Friday evening will get to vote on which ideas are the best.

“The top five or six ideas will be worked on the entire weekend.”

Cooper said participants will be fed breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday while they conduct customer interviews and building out their prototypes. They will have the opportunity to meet with mentors from noon to 3 p.m.

On Sunday starting at 4 p.m., the teams will make their five-minute final pitches in front of judges. These final pitches will be free and open for anyone who would like to attend.

“In the past, people have had to pay $10 or $15 to get into that,” Cooper said. “We decided to scratch that and make this an open event for the community.


“We just hope that if people are going to come to that, they would bring along a non-perishable food item for the Johnson County Crisis Center.”

Cooper said the first- , second- and third-place teams will be awarded prizes donated by corporate sponsors.

He said the winners will have an opportunity to become participants in the Iowa Startup Accelerator program held in the spring and fall in Cedar Rapids.

Joining Cooper in organizing Startup Weekend Iowa City this year are Ian Castillo, Mark Hadley and David Miessler-Kubanek.

Cooper, co-founder, chief operating officer and chief technology officer of, was a participant at 2017’s Startup Weekend Iowa City.


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