Startup Weekend GIRLS Rocked!

On May 17, 2015 the first annual Startup Weekend GIRLS – for girls in grades 5-10 in the Seattle area – wrapped up its event with its judges announcing how impressed they were by the innovation and quality of the new business formed in one weekend! The weekend was a huge success! More than 100 people gathered over the weekend for pitches, presentations, and speaker Rebecca Lovell!

Startup Weekend GIRLS Teams and Winners:

  • FIRST PLACE WareFair (@WareFair): An app with the missions of increasing awareness and bettering the working conditions for workers globally.
  • SECOND PLACE Chore Hub: An app/website connecting people through the love (and hatred) of chores.
  • THIRD PLACE Monster Cupcakes (@monstercupcak10, @monster_cakes_): Scary good and eerily customizable cupcake designing and ordering app/website.
  • MOST AMBITIOUS OpenDoor: Website helping people by connecting them with resources, opportunities, and personal support network to help them get on their feet.
  • MOST PASSIONATE Pit Souls (@5pitbulllovers): A website with a mission to change the often negative stereotypes of the Pitbull breed.

Participants made new friends, created fantastic companies – many with a social justice mission – and learned a lot about building a startup from the ground up. In the end we hosted 29 #GIRLprenuers, five Team Leaders (diverting a bit from the Up Global format to best fit our participants needs), 12 coaches, three judges, one speaker, and 96 spectators. Five teams formed from 15 individual pitches given Saturday morning (another slight deviation from the typical Startup Weekend format), and the girls spent the rest of their time working on “team, team, team, market, and product” – as suggested by speaker Rebecca Lovell, Startup Liaison to the City of Seattle – and turning great ideas into viable businesses.

Please do this again. The girls have such wonderful and big hearted ideas that deserve to be realized, even if only for a weekend.
— Coach Wesley Ducey

All of this year’s coaches were either serial entrepreneurs, successful founders of businesses, or standouts in their industry. Every team had an opportunity to gain insights and guidance from coaches who’ve had to engage customers, gain market share, and scale their businesses online and off. They came from a variety of industries. We were so impressed by this intrepid group: Our Team Leaders were Founder of, T.A. McCann (@tamccann); CEO and Founder of PhotoPad for Business Diane Najm (@virtualgestures); CEO and Founder of Shiftboard, Bryan Lhuillier (@shiftboard); and Alexis Mohr, Director of Demand Generation at Azuqua; and Thibaut LaBarre (@asimov4), Lead Software Development Engineer at Amazon. Alexandra Koch, Allie Sterling, Derek Maffett, Joni Barrott, Adam Pearson, Liz Hunt, Wes Ducey, Alex Vollmer, Buzz Bruggeman, Erika Shaffer, Sebastien Motte, and Melissa Scott also joined at various times during the weekend to help with market validation, presentations, and pitching.

As for the judges, they were amazing, and offered each team invaluable feedback. Zach Smith (@zax_myth), VP of Technology at Substantial, Rebecca Lovell (@lovelletters), Startup Advocate for the City of Seattle, and Marion Boituex (@marionbtx), Student Developer Marketing lead @Microsoft were involved because they’re all dedicated to inspiring and helping students – especially girls – build epic stuff with technology.

Want a play-by-play of the weekend? Check out the official @StartupWGirls twitter account, @StartupWGirls. The entire weekend was live tweeted, and many participants hopped on the #SWGirls, #pitchlikeagirl, and #GIRLpreneur hashtags to share photos and memories. More photos and stories can be found at Stay tuned for videos!


I made a concerted effort not to underestimate the skills and passion of the girls at this event and I still fell short of the mark. The focused effort and attention that each girl gave all weekend on my team was nothing sort of astounding. I know a lot of adult professionals that couldn’t have kept up that level of engagement that I saw over the weekend. Working in the tech industry I see on a daily basis how badly it needs a shakeup. This weekend gave me a renewed sense of hope that we can make a change with opportunities like Startup Weekend for girls at this crucial age.
— Coach Alex Vollmer


Monster Cupcakes

Pit Souls


What did I learn? How to pitch! The tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you just told them format.
— #GIRLpreneur Anika

And thank you to our generous sponsors who made this weekend possible!