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Site for last-minute flower shoppers wins first Startup Weekend Ames

Stinky Flowers Co. enjoyed a smell of sweet success at the first Startup Weekend Ames on Sunday. The group of four beat out six other teams to take the top prize. With the tagline, "Cheap flowers that make your girlfriend say: 'At least he remembered,' " the team set out to connect "economical flower shoppers"

Startup Weekend Ames organizer Andrew Kirpalani speaks on Friday at the CPMI Event Center.

Stinky Flowers Co. enjoyed a smell of sweet success at the first Startup Weekend Ames on Sunday. The group of four beat out six other teams to take the top prize.

With the tagline, “Cheap flowers that make your girlfriend say: ‘At least he remembered,’ ” the team set out to connect “economical flower shoppers” with florists who need to dispose of expiring inventory. The resulting service helps potential last-minute flower shoppers snag a bouquet at a discounted price.

“We managed to have our pricing structure at least partially figured out, we got our demographic figured out, we got all of the important aspects really nailed out, and by doing that we were able to paint a pretty clear picture for the judges,” said Lyndsay Clark, an experience designer at Des Moines startup Hatchlings. “I think that ended up working in our favor.”

Clark (right) said that team member Shawn Harrington pitched the idea on Friday evening, and that she and team members Nick Donlin and Aaron Swailes, both juniors at Iowa State University, thought the comical idea had potential.

“Stinky Flowers impressed us because they had clearly identified the problem they wanted to solve, proved the need existed and had a clear forward-looking vision for execution,” said Change CEO Dan Shipton, who was one of the judges for the event.

Zen Bin took second place and SpotVendr came in at third in the competition. Held at the CPMI Event Center in Ames, Startup Weekend is a 48-hour event where participants brainstorm ideas and form teams before building out a product and pitching the idea to a panel of judges.

Startup weekend coordinator Andrew Kirpalani said he believes that at least 60 percent of the event’s 51 participants were students, but that the showing was one of the best he’s seen.

“I was a little bit concerned about what the quality of things would be, especially because there was a high percentage of students who maybe don’t have as much experience to draw on,” Kirpalani said. “But I was actually very impressed by the quality of what was built over the weekend. I think it was on par or even better than other Startup Weekends I’ve been part of.”

Though Kirpalani says he would like to see the local community become more active in Startup Weekend events, a second iteration of the Ames event is not yet in the works.

Priority5 vice president of technology Allen BierbaumGlobalVetLINK CEO Cliff Smith and Dwolla director of communications Jordan Lampe joined Shipton as judges for the seven teams’ final presentations.

The Stinky Flowers Co. team received a month of free office space at the Iowa State University Research Park, a future hour-long advisory conference with Chegg.com co-founder and Iowa State alum Aayush Phumbhra, and business cards and screenprinted T-shirts from Sigler Companies.

To learn more about other teams that competed in Startup Weekend Ames, see our post: “Meet the seven teams of the first Startup Weekend Ames.”

 

CreditsLyndsay Clark photo coutresy of Clark. Photos from Startup Weekend Ames event blog.

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