Scholar Hero’s Presentation at Google Pittsburgh: Thrival Innovation 2013

Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)
Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)

Has it really been a week since our company’s first major presentation to the Pittsburgh technology
and entrepreneurial community?

After several all-night preparations and collaborations with other teams incubated in the Hustle Den, an incubator owned and operated by Thrill Mill, Inc., we pulled off what felt like the impossible: a concise 5-minute pitch at Google Pittsburgh demonstrating our proof of concept. Here’s a clip of the presentation (scroll to the 1 hour, 17 minute, 36 second mark for our presentation):


Video courtesy of Thrill Mill, Inc. (www.thrillmill.com)

Lamentably, the video does not do the presentations justice. It is amazing how much our companies have grown over the last several months. In our case, we were little more than a handful of good ideas that needed to be refined into a bona fide company. For our successes, we must thank Thrill Mill for the opportunity they’ve given us as well as the countless people who have contributed to our development along the way.

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Founder Lee Ngo poses with founders Rachel Bane and Jimena Quan of Mix: a salad-themed restaurant for the Pittsburgh community (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Still, we have a long way to go. A few more milestones ahead include:

  • Overhauling the landing page to reflect our new direction
  • Creating a public beta version of our product
  • Securing some early seed funding to help us support that beta
  • Expanding our network via social media (especially this blog)
  • Solidifying our core founding team
  • Generating that first dollar of revenue
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How we do after a long day of pitching: The Thrival Music Festival (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Keep an eye on this blog and our landing site http://www.scholarhero.com for more updates!

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Lee Ngo is the founder and executive director of Scholar Hero, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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An Ode to Startup Weekend Pittsburgh (from an “Alum”)

The stuff that dreams are made of.

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh Spring 2013 came and went this past weekend with three well-deserving winners out of nine compelling presentations:

  • In 3rd Place: BrewMetrics, an app for beer enthusiasts that recommends other beers to you based on your preferences. Check out their app demo on YouTube.
  • In 2nd Place: SpareSpace, an app that connects people with excessive belongs to people with room to spare in their homes. Their Twitter account is here.
  • Grand Prize Winner: ShareCloset, an app that enables people to inventory, display, and share clothes with other people online.

    They even have a cool graphic and trademark!

Immediately after the judges announced the winners, I knew that some teams were heavily disappointed by the results. After all, Startup Weekend is one seductive beast of a competition, where every team that pitched had confidence enough to stand in front of a very tough crowd, and thus many would feel like they should have won. Personally, I thought this cycle’s competition was so fierce that I couldn’t comfortably predict the top three.

For all the teams that did not place or get recognized for their hard work: I feel your pain, and yours will go away soon.

After all, Scholar Hero was initially conceived out of the previous Startup Weekend Pittsburgh competition as “Academica,” and even we were convinced that we’d knock it out of the park. Of course, we ended up losing to some very qualified teams, but we held our heads high and decided to keep going anyway.

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Our original icon. How vintage.

Outside of the top three that placed back in our late September competition, several teams out of that competition  have continued on and made terrific progress thus far, such as:

  • Fashion Field Guide, an app that aims to provide fashion-impaired men with improved style tips, became the initial product of Engineered Style. This company is now in the current cycle of AlphaLab, a top incubator in Pittsburgh if not nationwide.
  • MegaBits, a mobile app game that is strikingly similar to a particular Japanese monster-fighting phenomenon in the 1990s, was selected by local accelerator ThinkTiv alongside the competition’s winner ThoughtfulHusband.
  • Even our company, Scholar Hero, was named a finalist for the Thrill Mill’s Business Bout just a few months later, and we’re certainly enjoying our new home at The Hustle Den, Pittsburgh’s newest incubator.

All of this became possible with the efforts of Startup Weekend Pittsburgh, and it’s safe to say that this competition changed many of our lives for the better. Thus, for everyone that’s still feeling a little bit down about not placing, just know that it isn’t about winning or losing, given the sheer multitude of factors that go into it.

Visionaries behind two kitchen-based ideas come together. This is when magic happens.

Visionaries behind two kitchen-based ideas come together. This is when the magic happens.

Startup Weekend is really about meeting new professionals in your town and coming together to be entrepreneurs, to create something amazing in a very short amount of time. If you came out of Startup Weekend Pittsburgh having accomplished either one of those criteria, then you came out of it a huge winner.

As for the next step in your entrepreneurial pursuits, well, that is entirely up to you. Good luck!

The views expressed are solely of Lee Ngo and do not reflect or represent the general views of Scholar Hero, Inc.