StartUp Weekend (startupweekend.org) – a 54-hour guided entrepreneurial experience – launched the evening of February 23 at Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College. Thirty-five participants from the region (and a student from CSU San Jose!) included entrepreneurs, college and high school students. Peichen Chang, co-founder of Engineered Medical Technologies and one of the first startups in the Rocklin Hacker Lab space, spoke about his company’s journey – challenges, successes and goals – and the importance of ‘making mistakes and learning from them every day.’
Participants started out by giving 60 second pitches on a problem that they wanted to address, and the skills needed for a team in developing a product or service solution. Through a voting process, seven teams were formed and the work began. Teams worked Saturday and Sunday with mentors as they refined their business models, and pitched to a panel of judges on Sunday night.
Sierra College Prof. and regional Entrepreneurship initiative director Denise Bushnell served as one of the judges, and awarded the first place prize to Circ8, a team that included three high school juniors from Mira Loma HS. Their proposed product was a desk lamp that emits light wave lengths synced with an individual’s circadian rhythm to help students stay alert during the day and to sleep deeply at night. The light bulb prototype was 3D printed by Phil Mally, a Sierra alumnus and entrepreneur with an office in the Rocklin space.
Trophies for the top three teams were produced by Randall, a Sierra Mechatronics alumnus who is employed with an international manufacturing company and continues as a Hacker Lab member and teacher.