Compass DMS, a software company that creates solutions for small- to mid-sized auto dealers, won top honors at Launch Weekend 2016.
Siblings Justin Jones and Jennifer Olson and their partner Sean Meininger created the software solution that tracks of inventory, expenses and a host of other necessary items for automobile dealers.
Launch Weekend, which was hosted in April by Erik Ralston and Justin Karparek, attracted 64 participants who were guided through the process by local business, technology and finance mentors. Fourteen ideas were unveiled at the Friday evening launch and eight teams of entrepreneurs made it through to Sunday night, when they delivered their final pitches to the judges: Gary Spanner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s manager of economic development; John Heaton, president of Pay Plus Benefits Inc.; and Tony Umek, retired executive director of Fluor’s Richland office and consultant at AKU LLC.
The Compass DMS team received a entrepreneur’s start-up kit that included space at Fuse Coworking, legal support from Gravis Law and technical support from JMK Tech.
Storyboard, a company led by Jeff Adamson, received second place in the competition. Adamson and high school student Melody Jones unveiled the plans for the digital storytelling app to preserve the wisdom and adventures of elder generations.
In third place was Mary Ann Stanko and Starlight Desert Tasting Tours, which was supported by team Shan Wo, Columbia Basin College students Donavan Dell and Essence Breggs, and Ben Hunt, which offers personalized wine tasting tours.
New this year was a people’s choice award, which Compass DMS also won in a narrow victory over Explore Your World, a civilization-building game by Scott Sterling and pitched with a team comprised of CBC student Luis Orozco, Chet Mitchell, high school student Rhianna Adams, and Vlad Borovets of Washington State University.
Otherside Groceries, a technology-enabled grocery home-delivery service created by Jonathan Leclair, a Richland High School senior, and Abraham Mendoza, a Delta High School senior, took third place in the People’s Choice award.
Launch Weekend took place April 22-24 at Washington State University Tri-Cities. The event was open to all entrepreneurs and students interested in collaboration and startup creation. The weekend is an intense, 54-hour experience designed to create teams around entrepreneurial ideas that become business plans.
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