Go Code Colorado’s fourth year had a record 43 teams and 240 participants, and the final competition was a pretty darn polished affair. High ceilings. Black curtains. More sportcoats, less skinny jeans. High school students with freshly flat-ironed hair. Twenty-somethings in ties. Professionals put to the test. Mini beef wellingtons sat on silver platters, fresh out of the oven.
One presentation got creative with a costume. Colorado Springs came on a party bus. Teams competed applause-o-meter style. Andrew Cole reminded us that we must unleash the value of public data. And Jared Ewy had us all laughing.
The energy in the room was palpable. Teams were competing via slide presentation and a three-minute judge’s Q & A for:
–$75,000 in contracts with the State of Colorado
–A trip to Palo Alto for coaching with AT&T’s innovative Foundry Group
–Automatic interviews with Boomtown and Techstar
And the Winners Are. . .
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, after giving a nod to a team made up of high schoolers, announced the winners. Manual drumroll please. Drip, Magpie Supply, and HudBuddy! Here’s a little bit about each team:
Drip (Colorado Springs) created a platform that will streamline and structure water and environmental data that affects land value, increasing efficiency and decreasing costs for this important real estate factor.
This team brought developer skills, healthcare expertise, real estate background and software depth to the table. “We have personally experienced the pain associated with finding water information and have the support from our community to continue development of Drip,” said Tim Haynie of Drip.
All professionals in their respective industries, they realize that data is a massive gold mine, waiting to be applied to multiple industry solutions.
Hud Buddy (Fort Collins) built an online, remote solution to perform noise analysis for highly regulated HUD residential developments, saving developers time and money.
Hud Buddy is somewhat of a family affair. Cousins Tony, Paul and James grew up like brothers and have backgrounds in analytics, software, and government. Josh is their go-to subject-matter-expert with real expertise on acoustics. Together, they are passionate about problem-solving and increasing the efficiency of private-public sector collaboration. Plus, they know the Go Code Colorado ropes.
“We’ve never seen anything akin to this competition,” said Tony, a past Go Code competitor. “There are clear goals, clear scoring and a very supportive space.”
Magpie Supply (Denver) has developed a platform for small-scale farmers to search and identify farmers’ market prices and locations, helping them create more profit and combat the cost of food transportation.
They are one team that proved experience counts.
“This idea is a spin-off from a business concept I worked on last year with a Go Code Colorado team,” said Daniel Ritchie, Magpie founder.
And he had a feeling that this was their night.
“We’ve worked hard to identify the needs and concerns of Colorado farmers. We know what this competition requires. We’re hungry. It’s time.”
And it was.
No Easy Task
When choosing the winners, judges sought brilliant use of public data, app feasibility and attractiveness to the marketplace, as well as genuine value for business decision-makers. But as the years go by, the presentations get better and better.
“It was a tough decision,” said judge Ingrid Alongi, who also judged the 2015 competition. “But I do love how the ideas shift based on the economy. A few years ago it was all about I-70. This year it’s more about the environment, and helping create sustainability in rural areas.”
And the competition was full of a few other surprises too.
Emily Shirtz, a young gal from Durango was a member of both Hud Buddy and Magpie Supply. A lucky charm? Nah. More like killer designer skillz.
An engaging and chill-inducing “Where Are They Now” video, told the stories of three Go Code Colorado competitors (and the rockstar entrepreneurs who mentored them) who “lost” the contest but have used Go Code Colorado as a launching pad for great things. Check it out.
A team of high school students from Durango knocked everyone’s socks off. Not only did they present with polish, but they answered every judge question with studied-a lot-before-the-test kind of precision.
Lizelle van Vuuren, Go Code Colorado fan, and founder and CEO of Women Who StartUp, is passionate about buttressing entrepreneurs, and offers some critical advice.
“Sure, these competitions are nerve-wracking at first. People have all these questions. But this is a chance to build a prototype with a supportive community. It’s a chance to validate your idea against the market. You just gotta show up.”