Morningside student talks startups, entrepreneurship and Sioux City

Sean Richardson (above, right), a student at Morningside College and co-creator of the SpotVendr app, recently attended a Startup Weekend event in Ames, IA. We asked him to tell us a little bit about his experience, his product, and his ideas about entrepreneurship.

1.) What happens during a Startup Weekend event? How does it work?

Myself, Blake Anderson (Morningside College) and Cole Malin (Morningside College) showed up to Startup Weekend Ames around 6:30 PM on Friday night. After signing in and getting something to eat, the pitches started.

Anyone with an idea can pitch that idea to the attendees. You have 60 seconds to pitch your idea to the crowd and win them over. Voting on the top ideas comes next, then ultimately the top 8 ideas were chosen. After the top 8 were chosen, the teams were formed. If you thought any idea was interesting you could join and be a part of that team.

Next came the fun part. After getting our team of 6 – Blake Anderson, Cole Malin, Riley Briggs, Kyle Brumm, Josie Nelsen, and myself – we worked into the early part of Saturday morning. Hours later, we arrived back to the event and started to hack out our idea. We worked all weekend long and then finally pitched our idea to the judges. The judges then presented to us the top three ideas and we took home 3rd!

Startup Weekend Ames was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to attend another Startup Weekend.

2.) What was the most valuable part of your experience?

The most valuable part of my experience at Startup Weekend Ames was meeting the coaches and my team members. We had the perfect mix of designers, developers, and business people.


3.) You came up with SpotVendr. What was the inspiration behind this, and how would it work?

Blake Anderson pitched SpotVendr to me last year. Blake and I began work on the idea, originally called Parking Status, and almost presented it in last years Swimming with the Sharks competition. We ultimately chose a different idea and stopped working on Parking Status until Startup Weekend Ames where we changed the name.

SpotVendr lists, sells, and auctions exclusive, premium parking spots around an event center. We put front row parking spots at your fingertips. With SpotVendr, reserving your parking space is as easy as buying the event ticket.

The endless search for a parking space is over and you can spend more time rocking out at the concert or cheering on your favorite team! We are very excited about this idea and development is currently underway.

4.) What are your plans in the immediate future? Where are you and your team going from here?

Our plans are to continue to develop the idea and the backend. In the meantime we plan to advertise SpotVendr in our launch cities – Sioux City, Des Moines, and Iowa City.

5.) What 3 things would you do today to promote Sioux City as a destination for startups and entrepreneurship?

One thing that I would do to promote Sioux City as a entrepreneurial destination is by highlighting the office spaces available for startups in Sioux City. There are some great office spaces that have a lot of potential to be the perfect space for a start up company.

Another thing that I would like do is to actively promote the various entrepreneur organizations in Sioux City such as Startup Sioux City and Sioux City GO. Both are great programs that allow local business and entrepreneurs to shine.

The Biz Brew is also an awesome opportunity for entrepreneurs to get together and just talk business in a casual, non intimidating environment.

I would also like to promote Sioux City as an entrepreneurial destination by encouraging the local college students to attend Startup Sioux City and Sioux City GO’s events. The business students at Morningside, Briar Cliff and WITCC have great ideas and a huge willingness to get involved and it would definitely be a good thing to get them more involved in the community.

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