Success Stories: Past Startup Weekend MU Winners



As we gear up for our third annual Startup Weekend, we are taking some time to reflect upon our past winners!  Our first two Startup Weekends were a huge success with tons of talented students and fascinating business ideas.  Once all is said and done, pitches are made, the judges vote, and one team is chosen as the winner!  Today, we get the inside scoop from NomNom Nation, winner of Startup Weekend 2012, and BasketBeam, winner of Startup Weekend 2013.

NomNom Nation was created with the mission to end hunger in America.  This app circumvents the hassle, time, and energy involved with making in-person food donations and allows users to donate money to their local food bank directly from their mobile device.  The team consists of Brent Bielinski, co-founder and President, Chelsea Nauman, co-founder and Designer, and Garrett Emrick, Lead Developer. They had this to say about NomNom’s progress since Startup Weekend:

“NomNom Nation has continued diligently in the build-out and launch of our business which is dedicated to ending hunger in America. We have made numerous critical pivots from our original concept and successfully completed a prototype app built by students from Miami’s Computer Science Department in the spring of 2013. With the addition of Garrett Emrick as our CTO, we now look forward to launching the beta version of our donation app during this February. In addition, we recently raised over $2,800 through our IndieGoGo campaign and have opened up dialogue with the Student Venture Fund at Miami.”

Congrats, NomNom Nation, on your continued success!  Check them out at and join the PheNOMeNOM!

The following year, we saw a new kind of product take first place, proving that Miami students are a dynamic and creative group!   BasketBeam is a system that projects basketball court lines onto any surface.  Co-founders Connor Kohlenberg and Jon Leist were students in Mark Lacker’s ESP 201 – Intro to Entrepreneurship class when they conceived the idea of BasketBeam.  Startup Weekend proved to be exactly the impetus they needed to take their idea from concept to reality!

“Startup Weekend was a great kick-start to the idea that allowed us to bounce the concept off of many different types of people who provided unbelievable feedback. Startup Weekend also provided us amazing networking connections within the VC, tech, and entrepreneurial world.  Ultimately, these connections allowed us to continue working on BasketBeam after StartUp Weekend and ESP 201. Today, Connor and Jon have created an LLC which is the owner of the BasketBeam concept, written a business plan, worked with a lawyer to create a provisional patent, generated a 3-D model, and have also made connections in the sport-court industry for a possible prototype development deal.”

Congrats, BasketBeam, on a Startup Weekend slam dunk!

We cannot wait to see what amazing things will come out of this year’s event!  Get pumped.  #SWMU!