Grypshon team wins Startup Weekend ToledoWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
The Grypshon team won first place in the Startup Weekend Toledo competition. The competition took place from Sept. 20-22 at the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex on the College of Engineering campus at the University of Toledo.
The Grypshon team of Tom Burden, Patricia Law and Kathy Worthy won the startup competition with the only physical product among the seven finalists. The team developed a proposed business around friction mats designed for use in the maintenance of military and commercial aircraft.
The idea was the brainchild of Burden, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, who works on jet aircraft at the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard base at Toledo Express Airport. The Celina, Ohio, native is also a mechanical engineering technology student at UT.
Grypshon is the name chosen for the product Burden demonstrated during the team’s presentation to the judges in the final round of the competition. The friction mat is designed to provide a safer work environment for airmen who must stand on jets to perform maintenance and service.
Law, a mechanical engineer, and Worthy, a medical sales representative, joined Burden to comprise one of the smallest teams in the competition. They had never even met Burden prior to the competition, but said they were extremely impressed with his idea.
While the judges met in seclusion to select the winners, Burden and his team had an opportunity to meet with Don Wedding, a local patent attorney and professor in the College of Business and Innovation at UT, to discuss the patent process.
As the winning team, Grypshon will receive a “two-hour IP brainstorming session” and two-month part-time membership to Seed Co-working space Downtown in addition to other prizes for individual members.
Burden said the next step for the startup will be to concentrate on obtaining patents on the product and try to sell it at trade shows hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Tom’s parents, Tom and Sally Burden, who came from Celina for the final presentations on Sept. 22, said they were very proud of their son and his invention.
Startbox, a business designed to help people complete craft projects, finished second in the competition. Cloud Control, a source for storing files at multiple locations from a single point of access, placed third.
The other seven finalists included CRUMS, a site for keeping track of independent phone and webcam service; Music Minion, an app for listeners to connect with their favorite music; Soundarific, a website where people can share their talent anonymously; and Writing Along, providing a safe environment for youth to learn through creative writing.
Prior to the final presentations, Joe Gough, an entrepreneur in residence for Rocket Ventures, offered the participants some advice on how to pitch their ideas, products and companies. He told them that investors invest in people more than ideas and that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for advice and referrals.
The panel of judges included Henry Balanon, entrepreneur and co-founder of Protean; Anneliese Grytafey, attorney and senior program officer for the Toledo Community Foundation; Gene Powell, president of Spoke design and digital marketing agency in Toledo; Vijay Raghavendra, strategy and corporate business development executive for IBM; and Steve Schwartz, entrepreneur involved in three startup firms including Alfa Jango Software.
Startup Weekend Toledo began with 90-minute presentations on 25 original ideas for companies and products. The teams worked on development of the individual ideas during the 54-hour event.
The competition was narrowed down to 10 semifinalists and then seven finalists during the weekend, said Lindsey Danforth, lead organizer for the event.
It is the second year for the Startup Weekend competition in Toledo, according to Danforth, who said they had about the same number of participants as last year.
For more information about the competition and winners, visit www.toledo.startupweekend.org.
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