Day School tenth grader Michael Niemeier and ninth grader Eric Nelson earned first place on “Team Carrier Pigeon” at the 7th annual Startup Weekend Evansville, a 54-hour event designed to provide superior experiential education by bringing together technical and non-technical entrepreneurs from a variety of ages and backgrounds.
During the event, participants create working startups and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside their daily networks. Michael and Eric were partnered with Ann Yates, a stay-at-home-mom, and Jonathan Elfreich, a USI senior economics major, on “Team Carrier Pigeon.” Their vision is to develop a high-tech system to make medications more readily available to first responders in the field.
This is Eric’s fourth year with the competition. When asked to describe Startup Weekend, Eric replied, “wild, crazy and very productive. At the end of it, you have a functional business plan for your idea.” Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, the weekend culminates in Sunday night demos and presentations.
“My favorite part is Friday night when dozens of people are giving ideas to change the world,” Eric continued.
“People should try to do this,” Michael shared. “It’s definitely a learning experience. I loved meeting all the people and doing the work like researching, developing a business plan, and expanding on the idea. I plan to do it again next year for sure.”
More than 100 individuals, including students, coaches, and judges, participated in this year’s sold-out event, held in the University of Southern Indiana Business and Engineering Center.
All teams hear talks by industry leaders in areas, such as marketing and law, and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs. As winners of the event, “Team Carrier Pigeon” receives assistance to further develop their idea:
- 1 year of secure website hosting and $500 of software services from Lieberman Technologies
- Exclusive interview podcast from Evansville Podcast
- 6-month membership to The Station Co-working Space from GAGE
- Consulting services from Focal Point
Judges included Josh McWilliams, USI Technology Commercialization Coordinator; Ellen Horan, President of Growth Alliance of Evansville; Jennifer Lehman, Product Launch Manager at eLuxury; Zac Parsons, Consultant/Entrepreneur; and Dan Hendrickson, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Peoples Trust & Savings Bank and a 2008 Day School alumnus.
Evansville Day School applauds Michael and Eric for their independent entrepreneurial spirits, bold collaboration, and their rewarding success at Startup Weekend Evansville.