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Sioux City team wins first Startup Weekend Spencer

Five members of the PushLoyalty team pose after taking first place at the first Startup Weekend Spencer.

Morningside College junior Blake Anderson thinks of most of his great ideas in the shower. After scribbling his inspiration down on spare slips of paper, he takes the idea to his partner and sounding board Sean Richardson, a recent Morningside graduate.

This time, the idea that struck him and went on to impress the Startup Weekend Spencer judges this past weekend was PushLoyalty, a mobile app that allows businesses to reward customer loyalty. “My original idea was a push notification, direct-advertising-based, loyalty rewards program that enhances the relationship between brands and their loyal fans,” Anderson, whose team beat out two other teams at the first-time event, told Silicon Prairie News.

Anderson (right) and PushLoyalty teammate Richardson also are co-founders of RXA Technology, a Sioux City company that builds mobile applications. In addition to the duo, the six-person PushLoyalty team was comprised of the same group that makes up RXA Technology, including Morningside junior Alex O’Neill, senior Pat Whitsell, recent graduate Joe O’Neill and recent Des Moines Area Community College graduate Riley Briggs.

This was, however, not their first Startup Weekend together: Anderson, Richardson and Briggs collaborated at Startup Weekend Ames, taking third place with their project, SpotVendr.

“Sean and I are a great team and work in perfect unison,” Anderson said. “We’ve now formed a team that really turns our visions into viable products.” The PushLoyalty team received $250 of credit to Moo.com for their first place finish.

SnapPunch finished second and Queen of Pies, formerly Cyndee’s Pies, took third. Held at StartupCity Spencer, 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.

Event facilitator Andrew Kirpalani told Silicon Prairie News that of the 16 registered participants, 15 ideas were pitched on Friday evening, a number that he said is higher than usual for a Startup Weekend.

“Beyond that, this event has a great spirit of collaboration—teams are breaking away from their own work to talk with and help other teams,” Kirpalani said.

He also noted that the event’s demographics were slightly different than the typical 20- to 30-year-old participants with a number of individuals in their 40s and 50s in attendance. “Some are affiliated with colleges from around the state, some are from the area and looking to restart their careers,” he said.

Though no date has been set local Startup Weekend Spencer organizer Sara Magnussen said that another Startup Weekend Spencer will likely be held in January 2014. 

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


Credits: Photos courtesy of Sara Magnussen.

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