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Meet the winners of Philadelphia Startup Weekend

Fifty-four hours of hustle were boiled down to 11 five-minute pitches. Here's what the participants came up with.

On Sunday, 11 teams pitched their ideas before a panel of experts. (Photo by Roberto Torres)
How did you spend your weekend? Because 90 aspiring entrepreneurs spent 54 hours putting together business ideas from scratch at Techstars’ Philadelphia Startup Weekend.

Backed by 13 mentors, participants hunkered down at CityCoHo to go from abstract concept to pitch deck, trying to one-up each other for a chance at startup glory and, yes, some actual prizes like access to professional mentorship sessions and free incorporation services.
The mad dash yielded a harvest of 11 company ideas (granted, some a bit shinier than others), which teams pitched before a panel of judges made up of Audigent cofounder Shelton Mercer, Temple University’s Ellen Weber and Sponsor Shipped CTO Brendan O’Hara.
“I have seen some teams hit walls,” said Ottawa-based technologist and facilitator Krissie Harrigan as she gave a brief intro before the pitches on Sunday afternoon. “You could have just gone home and watched Netflix, but you didn’t.”

1. à la carte

No, it’s not a restaurant, but rather a schoolbus that goes around offering healthy cooking lessons. It’s would be a for-profit gunning for corporate sponsorship. If this actually becomes a thing, sounds like a perfect fit for some Generocity coverage.

2. Pharos

Led by ROAR for Good founder Yasmine Mustafa, this was the largest team on the roster. The idea was inspired to Mustafa’s bomb-shelter memories: it offers volunteers and organizers in conflict locations a platform for getting real-time advice and information.

3. Echo Leo

A narrative platform for social content creation. Think Yarn, but a bit more gamified.

4. DiscountMedic

Simple pitch: the Kayak of discount prescription meds. It lets users shop around for discounts on a lengthy list of prescription medication.

5. HealthNow

Telemedicine and medicine delivery in an affordable-care environment. Loads of questions about overhead arose, but the concept seemed pretty clean.


Praying on those still weary from election day, this content mill of sorts wants to give users 100 percent happy content, like puppies running through the snow and cat GIFs.
Presented without comment:

7. VAL

An interactive app for learning, fueled by artificial intelligence and a cool lil robot animation that converses with kids when they get back from school. Judges thought the concept was neat, but needed lots of work, specially in the voice-recognition aspect of it.

8. Food For You

Think of this as the subscription service that comes after BINTO: the service delivers health foods to women during pregnancy.

9. Hey Tenants

Like Yelp, but for apartments. Maybe we’ve heard of this before.

10. InTouch

It’s a personal CRM to help professionals keep in touch with acquaintances. “I’d focus more on relationships,” said judge Mercer. “I care more about relationships than someone knowing who I am.”

11. HotShots

This one was cool: an interactive app to play real-life basketball games like HORSE and PIG, where you try to one-up your friends by sending them videos of basketball tricks to see if they can match it.


Before we leave you with the winners, allow us a quick thought on hackathons, pitch competitions and others. Five minutes seems like too little time. You likely spent five minutes trying to read this article (between checking email and Twitter). Maybe competitions should take a cue from Code for Philly, which recently realized maybe a weekend wasn’t enough time to put an app together. Maybe pitches also need a bit more time to get a point across.
Now that we’ve vented, here are the winners:

  • Third place: InTouch
  • Second place: DiscountMedic
  • Audience favorite: Pharos

And the winner is…

Companies: Techstars

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