Results from Startup Weekend

Stefanie Buhrman

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a two-part series.

After finishing Saturday night on a positive note at Startup Weekend Des Moines, the team came back together Sunday morning to wrap up and prepare for the presentation that night.

The team switched direction from creating a functioning prototype to presenting a mock screenshot of Locusic, feeling the audience and judges would understand how the concept of a live streaming radio of purely local music would work.

Jake Kerber, who presented the original idea for Locusic, spent the greater part of the March 5 afternoon practicing the pitch.

“I think I was quite happy with it,” said Adam Reineke, senior in software engineering. “I knew we had a decent idea and presentation. I wasn’t presenting so I wasn’t nervous.”

Groups were given five minutes to present their ideas and accomplishments with discussing what problem their new venture was solving and how the idea would be monetized.

“I thought [Jake] did a really good job,” Reineke said. “He stuck to the script and handled the questions well.”

After 10 ideas were presented to the judges, the judges left to deliberate which three teams would place. At this time, Reineke had to leave and return to Ames for previous engagements and would miss the awards ceremony, but the presentations and ceremony were streamed online.

When the judges announced the winners, they announced that Locusic won third place, but Reineke wasn’t surprised when he watched the awards ceremony later that night.

“I knew already because I saw it on Twitter,” he said. “It was already spoiled.”

After Startup Weekend ended, it was up to each individual team to decide if it should continue the project or not.

Kerber decided to take on the project of Locusic and proceed with it alone.

In an e-mail Kerber sent out to the team, he said later on he would hire the best candidates as jobs and money become available:

“I’d like to avoid any misunderstanding and would appreciate your thoughts about this decision. I know at least some of the team has other commitments and/or had different ideas for what the project should be or would have liked to see it go in a different direction but I’d really like to stay true to the vision I discussed in the final presentation.”

The team has been very understanding, he said.

“It’s fine with me,” Reineke said. “It was his idea. I think he’s probably right for now to work on it alone, there’s not a lot of stuff to do for development.”

Other team members felt the same way and felt the company had potential.

“I think, at its core, Locusic is a really pure idea and is well poised to fill a gap in the market,” said Matt Crawford, team member. “I’m personally really looking forward to seeing how the idea is executed.”

Kerber has not taken a break on Locusic since Startup Weekend ended.

“I plan to build a prototype system and get a working product released as soon as possible,” Kerber said. “Related marketing efforts will be focused on the Des Moines metro area to start with. Ultimately, I’d love Locusic to be a household name. I think it could do a lot to help bands and music fans while strengthening local communities in the process.”

Currently Kerber is working on cost and revenue projections.

“I’m doing additional market research,” Kerber said. “I’m developing proofs of concept for the various technical aspects of the system. I’m meeting with attorneys and business coaches. I’m talking to local designers, marketers, and developers who I may end up working with. I’m seriously considering looking for outside seed funding so I can get things moving more quickly.”

Even though the team is no longer involved in the project, all is not lost for them.

“I had a blast at Startup Weekend and would definitely do it again,” said Aaron Hoffman, team member. “For me, SW wasn’t ever about quitting my job come Monday, but the experience of creating a product, under pressure, in a weekend, as a team.”

Reineke agreed.

“I went there with my idea I didn’t know how it would go,” Reineke said. “I knew if people did pick it, it’d be awesome, and if they didn’t, I’d still have a good time. We built a business. I learned a lot. I met a lot of cool people.”