Launch MKE: A 54 Hour Hackathon

Congratulations to Seiva Technologies and Argo Bus for outstanding progress in product development at the Launch MKE Hackathon weekend event. Launch Milwaukee is a weekend long event where engineers, entrepreneurs, makers and designers come to learn, collaborate, and build great things. Launch MKE spent the weekend in the newly opened Ward 4, a start-up hub offering office, workstation and common area space to entrepreneurial ventures as they grow in Milwaukee.

INTEGRIS Engineering attended the 54 Hour hackathon to explore and encourage the entrepreneurs participating. “The energy and innovation in the teams was great, people were willing to put their ideas out there for others to see and support” shares Diann Koski, INTEGRIS Business Development. “The range of products worked on in 54 hours was impressive! Seiva, the winning hardware concept, is working on wearable therapy technology to encourage kids and adults to maximize therapy results. GudChew is working on a better dog toy and I actually bought an advance release of their product” explains Diann.   “Software winner, Argo Bus, proposes a better way for groups optimize bus services for group outing to events. “

Last year, our very own INTEGRIST Chris Stuper, Product Designer, actively participated on the winning team. Their Shepherd Band smart bracelet connected chaperones to students to improve safety and coordination of groups in large public areas.   The product idea continues under its founder while Chris has returned to his “day job” with INTEGRIS.

Launch MKE gave individuals a 60 second window to pitch an idea on Friday night and then teams developed based on shared interests and skills. Some teams come to the event ready to continue work on a concept in progress, others are individuals just getting started on the next big thing.

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Ward 4 Office at the MKE Hackathon

Friday night featured a nice ice-breaker designed to demonstrate the need to pivot ideas as your concept evolves.   Teams were assembled old-school style by counting off by numbers. The groups were tasked with coming up with a terrible start-up idea; definitely a fun and entertaining way to meet new people.   The second half of the group then was tasked with “pivoting” that terrible idea into something workable.   Lots of laughter and a good concept or two were born of that exercise and set the stage for the hackathon weekend!

Ideas shift as the people and teams evolve. Several people pitched an idea and then joined other teams in process to work on something completely different.   Saturday’s time was devoted to work time. Food and refreshment were part of the participation fee and mentors from various backgrounds were available to assist.   Speakers on various aspects of entrepreneurial ventures were also featured.

Sunday brought the final push to prepare a summary presentation for judging.   Each team presented for about 5 minutes to the group as well as judges from Godfrey & Kahn, Eaton and Gener8tor.   Winning teams each received $2,000 in funding as well as some professional service assistance.

Launch MKE emulates the passion for new ideas that INTEGRIS Engineering is grounded in. Congratulations to organizer Brandon Alberti and his team on an outstanding event!  We were happy to be a part of the Launch MKE hackathon!