Judging panel: Stephen Green, entrepreneur and assistant vice president at Albina Community Bank; Sara Conte, co-founder and president at PrestoBox; Marcelino Alvarez, founder and CEO at Uncorked Studios ;Genevieve Morganstern, CEO at Sadie; Paola Moretto, CEO at Nouvola; and Junea Rocha, founder and CEO at Brazibites.
A Loteria app — a Mexican game similar to bingo — targeted at English and Spanish language learners took home the overall prize at Portland’s first Startup Weekend Latino this weekend.
Ninety people participated in the event that aimed to bring the Startup Weekend model to a population of entrepreneurs who might not otherwise have known about the resource.
Participants arrived on Friday at the Portland State University Business Accelerator and pitched ideas to the group. Seven teams then formed to spend the weekend building and gathering customer validation. By the end of the 54-hour challenge, the teams pitched to a panel of judges.
Team creations ranged from apps, such as Loteringo, to a food business, an apparel brand and an Internet of Things application for agriculture.
Juan Barraza, one of the event organizers, said the weekend required more education for entrepreneurs to introduce them to the concept of Startup Weekend. The whole point was to offer an entrance into the network of startup resources in Portland. Once word got out, sign-ups took off in the last week or so before the event, he said. He added that 75 percent of the participants were Latino.
The judging panel consisted of: Marcelino Alvarez, founder and CEO at Uncorked Studios; Stephen Green, entrepreneur and assistant vice president at Albina Community Bank; Sara Conte, co-founder and president at PrestoBox; Junea Rocha, founder and CEO at Brazibites; Paola Moretto, CEO at Nouvola; and Genevieve Morganstern, CEO at Sadie.
Barraza is already busy planning next year's event. “We want to build a following. What we did was set up and get a community into place to participate,” he said. “The call to action is there,” he said, making reference to diversity efforts in the startup and tech community in Portland. “The Latino community needs to answer.”
Following the weekend activities, teams are invited to participate in two more events. One takes place next month on how to pitch to investors, held at Quick Left and supported by Portland Seed Fund, TiE and the Portland Development Commission. The other occurs in August, focusing on one-to-one work on legal, accounting and go-to-market strategy. The second event is slated for the eBay Community Lounge and supported by Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and the PDC.
The next Startup Weekend in the region is slated for the weekend of July 24 — Startup Weekend Vancouver, at Clark College.
Sara Conte is a frequent contributor to online discussions about strategy, branding and entrepreneurship.