Have you ever wondered what it would be like to create a company in 54 hours? Launch High School freshman, William Sobral, wonders no more thanks to Startup Weekend Colorado Springs. Last weekend Entrepreneurs gathered to work on ideas and, over the course of the weekend, matured those ideas into viable businesses. A variety of business developers, programmers, designers and other enthusiasts formed six teams that worked tirelessly through the weekend to develop business models that they pitched to a panel of judges two days later. Our Launch High School student teamed up with a few Lockheed Martin folks: an engineer, a systems analyst and a commercial real estate developer. William was, needless to say, the youngest entrepreneur on the team.
The weekend culminated with finalists’ presentations in front of a panel of judges with another opportunity for critical feedback and a selection of the overall best team. Judging criteria were lumped into 3 primary categories: validation, execution and business model design. The teams were given 5 minutes each to deliver their pitch, followed by another 3 minutes of question-and-answer time with the judges. During his team’s presentation and including the judges’ Q&A afterwards, the team deferred to William to answer almost all of the scientific/logistical questions. He was not just a team member. He was responsible for much of the “how to” behind the team’s pitch.
William’s team won FIRST place! At the event finale, Courtenay Sobral, William’s mother was approached by Start Up Weekend coaches, judges and his team leader and told repeatedly William is a “prodigy.” What William learned – and the contacts he made last weekend are much more important than the $1,000 prize package or notoriety received. Sobral’s team also won at the UCCS pitch night and his team is now preparing their team pitch for official entry into the Regional Start Up competition.
In the first two years of Launch’s existence, our students have participated, placed and gone on to Denver’s regional competition. Congratulations, William Sobral, and all of our Launch High School Start Up winners!