Startup Peoria hosted its third Startup Weekend at Bradley University over the weekend. It was VirtualID and its team members, Josh Swank, Patrick Hoban, and Chelsie Tamms who designed an app-based solution to help those who lose things that would take home the first place honors.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour experience which takes participants on an entrepreneurial roller coaster ride. All the highs and lows of pitching a concept, forming a team around that idea, creating a viable business model and validating it all goes before a panel of judges at the end of the weekend to see who has made it the furthest.

“Failing fast” is one phrase Daniel Johnsen, the weekend’s facilitator, wants to get rid of. His message to the attendees was to “focus on the speed to outcome.” And speed is everything when you know there’s a deadline to getting your MVP (Minimally Viable Product) ready by the end of the weekend.

Six teams would be vying for the validation of their idea, and to become Startup Weekend winners.

Learn more about the teams and their business ideas:

Open Circle | a social media network that cuts out cyber bullying by making it a comment-free environment.

Appling | a multi-step solution in training app developers through an online guided platform that walks users through the process.

VirtualID | an app and website linked to scannable tags to help prevent people from losing things.

Serenity | an app with games and meditation tools to help people cope with anxiety that occurs in tense situations.

Bib | a notification system that notifies moms of important product recalls on childhood products.

Nartwhal | a subscription-based platform that allows businesses to connect with artists to have rotating artwork on display at their office or workplace.

What are the challenges that come with starting a business on fast forward? “We pivoted, we lost a team member, but it still  worked out. It was a great experience,” mentioned VirtualID’s Josh Swank.

A few scenes from the three days of Startup Peoria’s Startup Weekend





3rd Place – Serenity

3rd Place - Serenity

2nd Place – Bib

2nd Place - Bib

1st Place – VirtualID

1st Place - VirtualID

This article was created in collaboration with Startup Peoria, a PEN Partner.