Startup Weekend Santa Barbara sparks collaboration and competition between techpreneurs


By Juan Vasquez

Bring together more than 200 minds, pack them into a building, brew endless coffee, cut ‘em loose, and let amazing happen. This is exactly what Startup Weekend Santa Barbara did at co-working space Workzones.Packed house at Avelina Wine Co

During the 48+ hour event teams of developers, badass designers, data monsters, business folks, and branding gurus created innovative solutions that facilitate aspects of our everyday lives.

The top-placing team from the first round of pitches developed Gear Up, a peer-to-peer network for outdoor enthusiasts to share and try equipment without busting their wallets. Through Gear Up users can cash in on their goods by renting surf boards, mountain bikes, and more to other users who are looking to try, not buy.

Briana Seapy loves nature and is the mastermind behind Gear Up. “I was exposed to the outdoors a lot, and I value playing outside for stress relief and to appreciate our surroundings. By getting more people outside we can all share that enjoyment.” Briana joined Startup Weekend Santa Barbara because she’s been eager to develop a tech product but doesn’t have the tech chops to build one alone. “Startup Weekend is one of the few places where you can work with tech experts and do high-quality work with them in a collaborative environment without absurd costs,” she said. “I want to learn everything related to startups.”

Alex Kehaya, a Santa Barbara Spanish teacher and entrepreneur, came up with NextMove to make moving, the third most stressful event a human being can go through, a better experience. “NextMover is a platform that connects you with local citizens in your community to help you make your next move. We’re creating a community of local movers more fun, enjoyable, while saving you a lot of time and money.”

Startup weekendersThe atmosphere inside WorkZones was addicting, to say the least. Although everyone inside proved to be a true competitor and worked through the weekend with little to no sleep, there was a ton of collaboration still happening. Designers and developers, arguably the two most coveted assets, split time between teams to help as many startup weekenders build and launch their products. The marketing and business folks also made it a point to share their own experiences with the teams.

Now in it’s third year, Startup Weekend Santa Barbara was organized by a team of innovators led by Kyle Ashby. “ My vision is to make the most connections as possible within a community that has some great mentors, amazing talent, and an incredible amount of interest in startups and new business ideas.”

A total of 20 teams made it past the first round of pitches, where more than 60 brave souls took the stage in front of a packed Avelina Wine Company to present their ideas. Other products within the top 20 include an education crowdfunding platform where donors can provide financial support for college students, an outdoor advertising startup called Movido that places ads on semi-trucks, and the iPhone app Fonogram, which allows users to share 30 second sound bites.