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Seattle Startup Weekend participants. Photos: Kyle Kesterson

Seattle venture capitalist Greg Gottesman better watch out, or he might just turn himself into a full-fledged entrepreneur. For the second time in seven months, the managing director at Madrona Venture Group has led a team to victory at Startup Weekend.

Greg Gottesman at Startup Weekend: Kyle Kesterson photo

Back in June, you may recall, Gottesman led the team behind the online pet sitting service A Place for Rover. The idea has since turned into an actual company by the name of with backing from Madrona.

This past weekend, Gottesman and his team of more than a dozen geeks also came out on top, winning in the business plan category of Seattle Startup Weekend. Like, Gottesman’s Iron Blanket concept emerged from personal experience around the home.

“The original idea/pitch for Iron Blanket came from an experience I had after moving into our new house,” Gottesman tells GeekWire. “The insurance company said it wanted us to have the alarm system monitored, so we checked out several options. We could not believe the length of contract proposed (three years) and how much it cost versus what is actually provided.”

Iron Blanket actually was born on Friday night after Gottesman merged his idea with the pitch of another presenter, Zach Simmons, who also touted a cloud-based security concept.

“He had some great security hardware that we put to use and had done a lot of research on the security space,” said Gottesman.

Iron Blanket uses webcams to alert home owners (and other members of a call list) of a potential intrusion. The owner can access the feed via their phone and call the police. (If unavailable, the system goes to the next person on the list).

Seattle Startup Weekend, a 54-hour coding marathon, hosted the most recent event at the Hub in Pioneer Square. Fifty four pitches were heard on Friday night, with 15 teams formed for the weekend competition.  Here’s a look at some of the other winners, with notes from GeekWire’s Rebecca Lovell who served as a judge for the event:

Street Code, Best Market Validation. This team was led by another ringer, Mike Koss (slated to be a judge but too attached to this idea not to participate- so he recused himself from the judging panel). The mission is scan-give-love, and part of the goal is to smash stereotypes about homeless people. By scanning QR codes, passers-by could see the individual’s profile, view their wish list, and click to donate. Donations could be redeemed at a local shelter or mission, where clients could work towards gift cards, from Subway sandwiches to socks, or an interview outfit. Really powerful. And it’s being used today in Pioneer Square!

Chicken Check-In,  Best Presentation. These bot-based devices (all organic critters, like chickens or orangutans)  allow grandkids to check-in on their grandparents in their homes or assisted living facilities, no matter where they live in the world.

Surprize, Best User Experience.  Surprize is developing a text-based easter egg hunt of sorts.  This engaging app notifies your friends via text that they have a gift awaiting; as they approach the location they can “unwrap” their gift, creating an almost tactile experience for the user.  Delightful!

WhichBus,  Best Design (honorable mention).  WhichBus hopes to pick up where OneBusAway left off, providing a richer user experience around public transit. Asking “where you goin, yo?”  it would recommend the best route based on your location and destination. Notifying users of wait time, the company would monetize through ads for area businesses (as users waited for said bus).

GeekWire’s Rebecca Lovell, who contributed to this report, served as a judge at Seattle Startup Weekend.


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