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Makin' it rain: Inside the best Philly Startup Weekend ever

Returning to the University of the Arts, site of the first Philly Startup Weekend, PHLSW 3.0 was the most impressive yet, yielding a creative crop of disruptive tech startups. Winner Yagglo, from Shawn Hickman, Michael Kolb and Harland Pond, offers a new web browser for the iPad, a much needed graphic interface that even a toddler could master. Second place went to CreditCardio, led by the charismatic Anittah Patrick, and third place was awarded to SeedInvest, founded by well-connected Wharton MBA candidate Ryan Feit.

Pitching at Philly Startup Weekend offers its own thrill. While over 50 lined up from the diverse pool of 132 attendees which included three teens, plenty of women, and a wide range of ages and ethnicities, only 18 made it past the initial round on Friday night.

Several teams concentrating on finance stood out early on. CreditCardio's pithy mission to promote fiscal fitness made it a sure contender. "Fear is the main reason people are afraid of the word finance," says Patrick, who's an educator with years of work experience in the credit card industry. "CreditCardio offers fun graphics, accessible language, a quick quiz and tutorials."

SeedInvest, which rides the wave of the recent JOBS Act signed into law by President Obama on April 5, takes equity startup investing into crowdfunding territory following changes in 80 year old securities laws. Feit, who left his job on Wall Street to attend Wharton, says, "Nine months ago, I caught wind of this movement. I've been working with Sherwood Neiss, who achieved bipartisan support in Congress for the JOBS Act."

Perhaps the most thrilling new business to come out of the weekend was StagFund, a bachelor party funding and planning site. Making it rain, the hopeful startup included PHLSW organizer Brad Oyler and repeat participant Ted Mann of SnipSnap, whose Eff the PPA won PHLSW 2.0. The team is looking for $100,000 in funding, preferably in singles.

Ted Miller's Zazzberry, a startup that proposes a permanent version of the Startup Weekend ethos, had the most polished look and feel of all the teams. Transportation and travel inspired many: TruxiSpecial Places, Art Avenue, Carcierge, Offtrack Online, Family Time (created by the father-son team of Michael Raber and his offspring) and Itinerate all cater to a world on the go.

On a related note, AppRenaissance announced today that it has acquired Michael Raber's UXFLIP, The Fall 2011 DreamIt grad will join Bob Moul's company, merging his product with AppRen's Unifeed.

Chris Barrett's Tubelr, a social video viewing site, was a crowd pleaser with great original video in the final presentation. QRag and Roshamgo gave the weekend game. One2Many proposed goods in trade for volunteer services. Do a good deed and receive an iPod for your efforts.

PHLSW 3.0 judges were VCs Gil Beyda and Austin Neudecker from Genacast VenturesFirst Round Capital's Chris Fralic, Wayne Kimmel of Artists and Instigators, and Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger.

Startup Weekend mentors were legion, with a total of 38 sponsors and coaches including Stephen Gill of Leadnomics, who was on the winning LaunchRock team of PHLSW 1.0; CloudMine's Marc Weil, Brendan McCorkle and Derek Mansen kept a constant presence. Rumor has it that the recent DreamIt grads are set to announce an oversubscribed seed round. Lokalty's Balu Chandrasekaran and Philip Tribe provided meals and advice. Attorneys Lenny Kravetz and Geoffrey Weber circulated. Chuck Sacco, president of Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic, stopped by. Elmer Thomas of SendGrid came from San Francisco to sponsor and provide funding for the afterparty at Fado.

Bob Moul, PSL leader and AppRenaissance president, was on hand all weekend. Chris DiFonzo of OpenDesks, Yasmine Mustafa of NetLine, serial entrepreneur Bob Solomon, Kevin Jackson of Dell Boomi, Elliot Menschik of VentureF0rth, and SeedPhilly's Brad Denenberg and Yuriy Porytko (who also helped organize the event) were all circulating throughout the 54 hour marathon. Tom Nagle, Alli Blum, Melissa Morris Ivone and Chris Baglieri rounded out the management team.

But don't get too comfortable, Philly entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend Health is just around the corner, literally, at VentureF0rth June 1-3.

Source: Ryan Feit, Annita Patrick, Brad Oyler, Philly Startup Weekend
Writer: Sue Spolan

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