TutHopper Walks Away with Startup Weekend Kansas City Grand Prize; Keyzio Second, Grüple Third

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Think Big Partners clients and tenants helped to take startup idea TutHopper to the top during Startup Weekend Kansas City.


TutHopper took home the grand prize at Startup Weekend Kansas City.

After twelve startup pitch presentations, TutHopper was announced as the winner of Startup Weekend Kansas City, which took place on April 13-15, 2012 at the Union Station Board Room in downtown Kansas City. Second place was awarded to Keyzio and third place was awarded to Grüple.

TutHopper is a web-based startup app that teaches programming and system architecture to children and adults through game play. The mobile app seeks to energize kids to learn programming via themes, tutorials and games so that they have the greatest career opportunities in the digital age.

“Kids have a greater capacity for learning if they're exposed to concepts early on—reading, math, even foreign language. And in essence, programming is a foreign language—a language that kids are going to need in the future given the increasing role technology plays in our lives,” said Carrie Royce, team member of TutHopper and CMO at Red Nova Labs. “But the education system in the U.S. isn't taking on that challenge. Computer games are an ideal way to get kids engaged in learning programming outside the school system. If the games are sufficiently fun and challenging, kids will be proactive about signing on and learning at increasingly complex levels.”

TutHopper, the tenth of twelve pitches to present during Startup Weekend Kansas City, used cutting-edge technology including voiceovers and an app demo in order to present its idea.

“Our team was unselfish and hardworking with enough comic relief to keep everyone upbeat,” said Adam Arredondo of the group’s vibe. “It was a huge relief that the judges were able to look past the technical errors during our presentation and see the tremendous potential TutHopper really has.”

The TutHopper team was made up of entrepreneurs, developers, designers and coders including Carrie Royce, Coty Beasley, Adam Arredondo, DJ Good, Eze Redwood, Troy Norris, Cindy Fisher, Justin Murray, Kyle Webster and Jon Kohrs. The startup walked away with three months of free office space from OfficePort and a booth at the Sprint Innovation Summit.

"The TutHopper team ran like a well-oiled machine,” said Think Big Partners tenant and TutHopper team member, Coty Beasley. “By the first day, we already had teams broken up and we had nearly all the gameplay figured out. For a team as large as ours, I was shocked when we had no conflicts during the entire process.”

The second place prize, $1,000 worth of legal services, was awarded to Keyzio, an app that sends postcards to homeowners to inform them of an interest in purchasing their home. Third place, with a prize consisting of bragging rights, high fives and smiles, was awarded to Grüple, an app that creates, notifies and provides different groups with simple and quick ways to conduct monetary reimbursements.

“This being my first Startup Weekend, I can't recommend the event more highly,” said Beasley of his weekend experience. “It's an amazing challenge that drops you directly into the thick of it. In addition, it's a brilliant networking event and an incredible opportunity to tap into the rapidly growing entrepreneurial culture of Kansas City. It's these kinds of events that make me proud to be a part of the city and reinforces my resolve as a startup entrepreneur."

About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is an intense 54-hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together people with different skill sets—primarily software developers, graphics designers and business people—to build applications and develop a commercial case around them. To learn more about Startup Weekend, please visit http://www.startupweekend.org.


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