It started with a pitch

It started with a pitch

By Charlotte Rutigliano with additional reporting by Ali Osgood

Eight teams built businesses from the ground up in one weekend during  startup weekend at HSU.

“One moment we’re facing huge obstacles, and the next we’re dancing on tables,” communications major Adam Hayes said.

The weekend started off at 6 p.m. on Friday night with a mixer, an introduction by the facilitator, a guest speaker and “pitchfire” where participants pitched any idea they might have in 60 seconds. The best ideas were chosen for teams to form businesses around the idea.

Saturday, the teams worked all day on their business ideas, with breaks to eat and listen to guest speakers. They are also able to get advice from experienced mentors.

Sunday, the teams wrap up their ideas and present their work in front of a panel of judges.

Hayes said they had a 20 minute dance party to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” which they repeated on Sunday to bring some energy back to the team after all the weekend’s work.

Work that according to senior business management major Ana Ortiz, of team Seasoned Spirits, starts with defining the business idea and figuring out the logistics of it and ends with a presentation on how they established a supply chain, figured out the costs of the business and who the investors are.

First place winner, HumBots, were a team made up of predominately science majors like forestry major Tomas Jevons, who said the team operated where no one person was the boss.

“Everyone’s input is equal here,” Jevons said.

Jevons said the job roles that individuals shift into according to their skills, interests, and best suited abilities.

“A sort of symbiotic platform where individuals skills are matched with the needs of the company to optimize growth,” Jevons said.

According to Jevons, their main challenge with this platform was finding consensus, in the end steadily working together as a team lead them to first place.

While they didn’t get first place, the team with the plan of bringing Arcata it’s first nightclub called The Drop was a crowd favorite. Team member Harley Hoyt, a junior communications major, said that when the idea was pitched Friday night, it had the most votes.

“I originally wasn’t planning on pitching an idea,” Hoyt said, “but personally I am unsatisfied with the nightlife in Arcata and think they could thrive off of one.”

After the teams had their presentations on Sunday night, there was a live vote in which the audience directed to Slido. A website and app that allowed audience members to access a voting page using a specific. Once they voted they could watch as other votes came in during a live tally. Where again The Drop was chosen as a crowd favorite only edging out HumBots by three percent.

While this was the first startup weekend hosted at Humboldt, entrepreneurs club adviser Nancy Vizenor said it will not be the last.

Though many ideas were pitched on Friday night, here is a full list of businesses the eight teams presented on Sunday night.

  1. ReFuel: Offering convenient car service so customers never have to worry about maintaining their vehicles. Through the ReFuel app, customers can request gas delivery wherever they are. They can also track the maintenance of their vehicles and get updates whenever service is needed.
  2. HumBots (1st Place): This robotic technology company provides reliable and accurate modeling and measuring of forest data with the use of drones. This can also be used by utility companies or in urban development or public land management.
  3. The Drop (Crowd Favorite): Arcata’s first ever nightclub. To enhance the nightlife for students and community members. This nightclub would provide a clean and safe environment for party goers to have fun with dance and great music.
  4. Collective Change: A global collective of problem solvers focused on the world’s largest and smallest solutions from issues like the environment to political issues. Locally they plan to focus on making the campus 100% renewable.
  5. Who’s Watching What (3rd Place): This website/app compiles streamed videos in a centralized location that are linked to social media accounts, so customers can see what’s trending with their family and friends.
  6. The Hearth: A place for scholars to come in and share ideas. This two story establishment will have a cafe on the first floor open to all, and a second floor for members only.
  7. Tiny Home-boldt (2nd Place): This affordable and sustainable tiny home community will help with housing problem faced in Arcata. This community is directed towards people who want privacy and a minimalistic lifestyle but still want a sense of community.
  8. Seasoned Spirits: This company will take excess produce from grocery stores that would otherwise go to waste, and create infused flavored vodkas.


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