Mary Sanchez

Ideas flow from KC entrepreneurs at Startup Weekend

Updated: 2013-04-15T04:06:07Z

By Mary Sanchez

The Kansas City Star

And the winner is … LittleHootz.

Mark that name, especially if you have kids.

Pitched as a mere concept Friday night, the idea emerged as the winner Sunday evening when Startup Weekend Kansas City concluded.

Think digital scrapbook. LittleHootz is a way to archive and share all the adorable/funny/insightful things that children say.

“I’m not rushing into being in love, I’m finding fourth grade hard enough” — words of a 10-year-old.

That whimsical quote was part of the five-minute presentation by the LittleHootz development team to a panel of judges who helped with the event at Rockhurst University.

No Google Fiber at the university yet. But the inventive talent that is drawn to the Startup events (they’re held globally) are the entrepreneurial mindsets that will determine how successful Kansas City is with its opportunity to try out Google Fiber first.

About 60 people signed up this go-round. Several were from out of town and stayed at the hacker house in the Hanover Heights neighborhood. It’s a temporary residence, rent-free for three months, to people who want to try out a business concept through Google Fiber.

For those who have been wondering, the house is booked up with resident hackers until September. A second such house in the neighborhood was hooked up with Google Fiber on Friday and can soon be home to a few start-up entrepreneurs once it receives a special use permit.

Attendance lagged compared to previous weekends, when as many as 100 people participated in the teams. But organizers think this is because there are more similar gatherings locally to draw the attention of entrepreneurs.

The idea pool certainly wasn’t shallow. Eleven fresh business ideas formed.

Two other winning entries: AquaLife, a concept that would link your cellphone to your hydration level. Different applications would be available for endurance athletes or to monitor a person with medical needs.

And Vidspective, which uses a broadcast device near the eye to offer live video from the perspective of the performer.

Our area won one other set of bragging rights through the weekend.

Kansas City’s Startup Weekend beat Melbourne’s, which also concluded Sunday.

Organizers here had a bet going with people in Australia. The challenge was to see which city’s event would yield more tweets.

And the winner is … Kansas City!

To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to

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