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Social networking buying venture wins Startup Weekend

A venture that would help people tap into online social networks to buy items from friends and followers has won the second Idaho Startup Weekend competition.

The winning team, GoFi.sh, will receive a number of donations from local businesses and organizations to help get it off the ground.

GoFi.sh (@gofishapp) describes itself as a buyer-driven game to get the best deals and advice on products and services using existing social networks.

“If Twitter is ‘What are you doing?’ and Four Square is ‘Where are you?’ then GoFi.sh is ‘What are you looking for?'” the company says on its Web site.

A group of developers, business managers, attorneys, startup enthusiasts, marketing pros, graphic artists and others converged at the WaterCooler in downtown Boise for the competition, which lasted 54 hours starting on May 21.

Founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde, Startup Weekend takes place in more than 53 cities and 12 countries, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Hamburg, Paris, Boston and Boise, according to a news release. More than 168 companies have come out of Startup Weekends across the globe and at least half a million dollars has been invested in those companies.

A dozen people turned out to pitch their initial business ideas. Those ideas were whittled down to six potentially viable ones, and teams worked over the weekend to turn them into actual businesses.

On Sunday night, the teams made their final presentations to a panel of judges that included James Hepworth, co-founder of Nebula Shift; Russell Case, local attorney and angel investor; Dave Romero, co-founder of Tsuvo Inc.; Jessica Flynn, president of Red Sky Public Relations; and Mike McGrath, president of Action Couriers Inc.

As the winner, GoFi.sh will receive: four months of free office space and resources at Nebula Shift; $1,000 worth of services from Peppershock Media; a one-year membership with the Idaho Technology Council; and a $1,000 marketing analysis from Tsuvo.

The other finalists and their descriptions include:

Retroper (honorable mention): “It’s clear that the Internet has changed journalism. People want to participate more in crafting the news, and journalists are trying to find ways to engage the public. We’ve all seen the anonymous comments posted at the bottom of online news stories, but is that really getting the job done? What if journalists had the technology necessary to capture the knowledge and expertise of people in their community as well as those across the globe? Retroper.com is the solution. It’s a web-based platform that not only allows people to participate in the reporting process but also gives journalists the ability to capture people’s ideas and research.”

Clicker Killer: “Clicker Killer is an online classroom response system for colleges and universities that encourages cognitively active learning without the technical barriers of hardware clickers and teacher receivers. Most classroom response systems rely on the students to purchase a clicker to respond to professor quizzes. Our goal is to free students and professors from the burden of buying another device to lug around with their laptops and phones. Check them out online or on Twitter @clickerkiller.

MyWordyBird.com: “So, you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc … Now what? Do you struggle with what to say? MyWordyBird.com suggests intelligent posts customized for you. It is a user-based community linking content contributors to those in need. MyWordyBird.com – I’ll say it for you. Check out http://mywordybird.com/ or @mywordybird on Twitter.”

LifePing: “LifePing is a web-based application that lets you control when your pocket buzzes and when it doesn’t. Whether it’s a critical business-related e-mail you’ve been waiting for or that specific message you need from your social network, LifePing eliminates the ‘all on’ or ‘all off’ scenarios of instant phone-based notifications, so only the messages you truly need will alert you when you need them.”

QRy: “Easily manage information captured from personal QR (Quick Response) scans. With the explosion of information via QR vehicles, Control It enables consumers to store and access contacts, coupons, Web sites, and photos in their choice of applications.”


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