Hex Bluetooth Controller Wins Grand Rapids Startup Weekend

By Ryan McCarthy on January 23rd, 2015 / Comments

Developing a new business is no simple task, often taking months or years to come to fruition. It begins as an idea to either improve an existing product, or to produce something completely new to the marketplace. Startup Weekend, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, offers its resources to local entrepreneurs to host a local Startup Weekend.

Grand Rapids hosted their three day Startup Weekend this past weekend. All  participants were granted only 54 hours to brainstorm, validate, and mock-up a viable product, all with the eventual goal of launching a new company solely from one weekends’ activity.

Start Garden, a local venture capital fund and event space, hosted Grand Rapids’ sixth installment of the event. Participants met on Friday evening to mingle, eat, and pitch individual ideas to the group. Teams then formed around the ideas that received the most votes, and individual roles were assigned within each group.

Saturday started early as the nine newly assembled teams set up workspaces and began another day of frenzied activity. As teams watched valuable time tick off the clock, focus and efficient use of time seemed to be the mantras of the day. Dinner break came quickly, but participants were able to enjoy a lively panel discussion as they ate, refueling both their bodies and brains. Working late into the evening was an accepted fact for most, as day three was now only a few hours away.

In the early afternoon on the third day of Startup Weekend Grand Rapids, teams submitted their final sales pitches to the jury of local and active business presences. The pitch was limited to five minutes, and the teams were expected to have a tangible product to showcase.

The jury was allowed three minutes for feedback and questions to each team, earnestly working to make an informed, yet timely, decision as to which presentation was most viable. Although the final pitches were diverse in thought and specifics, the winner was “Hex,” a weather resistant Bluetooth controller made by Everest. With its large rubber controls, rugged but simple design, and very discernible feedback from the buttons, “Hex” proved to be the standout pitch from the weekend.

Hex allows you to easily access all your music or phone controls without removing your device from your pocket. The design allows for outdoor use. Today it was also announced that Hex was this week’s Start Garden $5,000 prize winner. Watch their Start Garden video for more.

Summaries of the other ideas at Startup Weekend Grand Rapids 2015:

  1. “Fit Frames.” A 3D eyeglass-fitting guide.
  2. “Don’t Sweat It.” Bracelet worn by underage kids, by direction of guardians, when out unsupervised. Turns red if alcohol is consumed.
  3. “Tardii.” App that ‘wagers’ real money when another user is late to a set appointment.
  4. A pitch to repurpose outdated water towers into a playground of sorts with observation decks.
  5. “Altair.” An apparatus to warm and hydrate air for outdoor adventurers. I heard the term ‘thermal efficiency.’
  6. An app to connect runners and their fans. Their market research showed that 50% of runners carry their cellphones.
  7. “RE|fresh.” One use compostable lunchbox.
  8. “Patchwork Tales.” Mobile community to introduce amateur illustrators to amateur writers.

Check out more from Everest, the makers of “Hex.”

Photo credit Veronica Kirin.

About the Author

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan is a Grand Rapids based documenter and seeker of truth. Follow the action on his YouTube page.