Apr 17, 2012 - Claremont, Calif. -
The competition is an intense 54-hour event where teams focus on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business.
Adam Cozzette ’12 and Eric Kiss ’15 were part of the 12-member team awarded first place for its concept, Growunity.
Growunity is a platform that allows people to purchase or trade produce such as fruit, vegetables and flowers within their local community. “So, if you grow tomatoes in your backyard, we will make it easy for you to sell them to neighbors and others,” said Cozzette. “If you want to buy, then you can search for produce people are selling in your area.”
The winning business concept utilizes a website and an android app created by Cozzette and Kiss. The app allows users to take and automatically post pictures of their produce to the Growunity site where buyers can view and purchase it.
It was an idea sparked by Growunity Team Leader Phil Brothers, who had about 400 tomato plants and the desire to connect people seeking fresh produce with gardeners growing it in their community.
The team won $25,000 in seed funding and a guaranteed slot in K5Launch, a three-month accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs build a sustainable startup company.
Cozzette will not continue with the team as he has decided to accept an offer of employment elsewhere. However, after he graduates this May, he will carry with him a key lesson from his StartUp Weekend experience.
“One of the reasons we were successful is that the business development people on our team actually went out and talked to people at farmer’s markets and asked them what they were interested in,” he said. “It is important to talk to [potential] customers and make sure you build something they actually want.”
Media Contact: Judy Augsburger