Latest Startup Weekend Twin Cities Yields Countless Connections, Seven Startups and One Winner


Dozens of developers, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts gathered at the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management this past weekend for 54 hours of creative immersion known as Startup Weekend.

The second in a series of recurring events aimed at bringing together like-minded locals with an interest in leading or joining a new startup company, Startup Weekend Twin Cities 2 was as intense as it comes. For all the individuals who made it through, my hat goes off to you; to those teams who placed — and won — congratulations in the achievement!

Qonqr Co-founder Scott Davis said it best: “Startup Weekend is the equivalent of a ‘pickup game’ in basketball. You might pull together a great team to win a weekend tournament, but if you want to go the big game, you will likely need to make some adjustments…”

First place winner: DuelingDates

“Dueling Dates was created to take the awkwardness out of dating. We’re the first site to integrate the social graph of Facebook with the novelty of arranging double dates.”

Second place winner: What I Want for Christmas

“What I Want for Christmas is your wish list in one location for family and friends to see exactly what you want. What I Want shows friends wish lists and has additional recommendations based on their interests and hobbies so there’s no more guessing, no more panicked shopping one hour before the party.”

Third place winner: Sign Universal

“Sign Universal is a mobile language translation service implemented through QR codes”

Runner-up: KickMe

“KickMe is a social accountability service leveraged through the Facebook social graph”

Ditch The Tour Bus

“Ditch The Tour Bus provides travel encounters that promote the fullest personal experience”

“ makes it easy to find the time and place for your next get together, so you can spend time with friends, instead of time planning.”

Sit For Something

“Sit For Something uses movie theaters to raise money for education”


  • Dag

    To Dueling Dates – Give the money BACK and hand over the crown to What I want for Christmas.

    The guys that won, dueling dates, decided not to pursue the company/idea any further. They accepted the money, of course, but the team leader (the guy who pitched it on Friday night) said he “isn’t that kind of entrepreneur.” In short, he didn’t want to quit his day job for what he considers a long-shot.

    I have no problem with him coming to this realization. In fact, I wish more entrepreneurs would do a little soul-searching before jumping off that cliff. But the folks that put up the prize money deserve better than that, as do the teams that finished behind them.

    If there isn’t a requirement that taking the money means you also take the next step as a company, then the next start-up weekend is going to be a contest to see who can do the coolest presentation at the end if the weekend, not who can create the best company.

    I know one of the folks that put up a lot of the money for the $3k prize, and I don’t think he is thrilled that the second place team isn’t taking up the mantle on behalf of the Twin Cities Start-up weekend. He can afford the money, it’s not about that. But he thinks, and I agree, that letting them walk away with the check and having nobody take their place in the start-up battle (for instance) isn’t really in what either of us thought the spirit of the weekend was supposed to be.

    • Jeff Pesek

      Thanks for the note Dag, will explore…

      • Jeff Pesek

        I heard from Dueling Dates that “the core group of developers is meeting this Saturday to hash out next steps…so it's definitely not dead!” and also from SW that the video is in the works.

        I can see where you're coming from Dag, and it would be a terrible waste for the winnings not to be applied as intended.

  • Andrew Korf

    Great weekend. You guys did an awesome job of setting a great environment up for the teams. Well done.

    • Jeff Pesek

      Thanks Andrew, nice of you to be a mentor!

  • Rob Weber

    I was very impressed by the event for the second time in a row. It was interesting to see that most of the teams choose Facebook related applications, whereas last time it seemed the teams focused much more on mobile applications. Congratulations to everyone involved.

    Start-up Weekend 2 was the first time I had come across Project Skyway ( led by Cem Erdem. The concept behind Project Skyway seems like the perfect next step to address the mentorship void we are missing for our new upstart Minnesota tech companies. I challenge every local tech industry executive and successful entrepreneur to rally behind Cem’s leadership and start giving back to the community.

    • Darren Cox


      I hope you mean that because I am going to be getting in touch with you to help us rally some other successful entrepreneurs for Project Skyway. Right now I am engrossed in the selection process but it will do us no good to select the right participants if there are no great mentors to help them when they get here.

      Darren Cox

      Founder and Chief Evangelist
      CaSTT – Commerce and Search for Technology Transfer
      and Member of the Project Skyway Selection Process committee