Exposure Takes Top Prize at Startup Weekend NWA

Local entrepreneurs coalesced around 13 startup ventures over the weekend at Startup Weekend Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville, and an idea called Exposure took home first place.

Exposure is a team of designers who connect photographers to advertising agencies for custom ordered shots. 

Startup Weekend represents a global, grassroots movement to grow entrepreneurship locally. Little Rock hosted a Startup Weekend earlier this year. Startup Weekend Northwest Arkansas was held at the Iceberg co-working space in downtown Fayetteville.

At the 54-hour long event, entrepreneurs brainstormed and pitched ideas, most of them technology based, then formed teams around the best ideas as determined by popular vote. Those teams then pitched their idea to a panel of judges.

Judging criteria included business model, customer validation, technical execution and design execution.

Judges were:

  • Clete Brewer, CEO of Innovate Arkansas client firm BlueInGreen;
  • Karridy Askenasy, Global Digital Marketing Innovation, Mary Kay Cosmetics;
  • Rick West, CEO/Founder, Field Agent (another IA firm);
  • Brent Cryder, CTO, Dillards;
  • Permjot Valia (Halifax and London), Chairman and Lead Private Investor, Wooshii.com.

Teams competed for more than $10,000 in cash prizes and in-kind services, and the top two teams will advance to compete in the Global Startup Battle, where $20,000 in funding will be at stake.

Joining Exposure in the top two from Fayetteville was One Fifty, a service that "reminds people to communicate with professional contacts on a regular basis, keeping you on their radar before either of you need to ask a favor."

Other ideas captured awards in several categories:

  • Best UI: Fast Task, connects people who want to make some cash helping others;
  • Best Consumer Facing: Fitology, helps women buy jeans online that fit the first time;
  • Best Teamwork: Passion Pull (a team of eStem High School students from Little Rock), helps high school students find and pursue their passions as a career;
  • Popular Vote: Nerdies, provides a "safe environment for nerds to flex their brain muscles and build on their skills and knowledge";
  • Organizers' Choice: One Fifty;
  • Best Social Impact: Twisdom (from a 13-year-old girl), helps teens use technology to overcome bullying;
  • Best Go-to-Market: Space Guru, which connects advertisers to spaces that individuals are willing to offer for payment (Space Guru attracted customers and investors over the weekend);
  • Best Pitch: Exposure.

More information on the event is available here.