Pittsburgh Startup Weekend
CEI employees, Irwin Hurst and Jason Agostoni, were part of a team that won first place at Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh. Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. According to Startup Weekend, they are the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs, with events in over 100 countries and 580 cities around the world.
The winning idea, Tagalong Tour, was originally pitched by Hurst. All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, of the 70 ideas that were pitched during Friday night’s kickoff, only 12 advanced on through the weekend. Teams containing roughly 15 people then ran with these ideas, developing apps and products to pitch to participants and coaches. The awards were handed out at AlphaLab Gear’s East Liberty space.
Tagalong Tour started as a travel app but soon pivoted into a social app with the goal of allowing people to share their favorite places in the form of a tour. Tagalong Tourists can use their mobile phone to discover new and amazing things about any place they are traveling.
By the end of the weekend the team made an amazing amount of progress with a working iPhone App, a web site for sharing tours (www.tagalongtour.com), and an ad based revenue model with four local businesses already signed up for their paid beta program. Already active on the Tagalong Tour site are several Pittsburgh tours, including a tour of East Liberty, a guide to the best pizzas in Pittsburgh and advice on where to go for drinks on the city’s South Side. While the website is active, there is more work that needs done before releasing the app, but interested users can sign up for alerts to let them know when the product is ready for beta testing. The startup’s Twitter handle is @TagalongTour.
“We definitely didn’t win because it was the best idea but because we had the best team,” said Hurst. “From the design and development, to the marketing, to the business model the team had everything covered.”
Tagalong Tour won a co-working space to continue developing their app, a membership to the Pittsburgh Technology Council, lunches with investors and an opportunity to pitch their product at TechCocktail Pittsburgh, on April 17.
Since its founding in 1992, CEI has delivered high quality software development solutions to companies of all sizes across most industries. Our architects use their substantial experience to deliver complex projects that solve real business problems. CEI strives to be a thought leader in Microsoft, Java, Open Source and Mobile development.
CEI has been assessed at CMMI Level 5 and has been recognized by Forrester for innovation through our Global Agile Methodology. CEI is also certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. This certification assists our clients in meeting their vendor diversity objectives. CEI received the Microsoft 2013 East Region Rookie Partner of the Year award.
CEI’s vision is to be the leading service provider in contracting and project-based solutions to a diverse and targeted base of established and emerging corporations.