Austin startups are nothing if not supportive of each other.
It’s that spirit that led our friends at Capital Factory to pool resources from various Austin startups and create a SXSW competition aptly called, “Move Your Startup to Austin… For Free.” uShip provided all relocation expenses as part of the contest.
The contest solicited business plans from startups across the country prior to SXSW Interactive this year. The requirements for consideration were steep, but the five companies chosen to present their ideas received a free SXSW interactive badge and were invited to present their ideas to a panel of tech nerds during Capitol Factory’s demo day for SXSW 2013. Meritful was the big winner.
Meritful receives $50,000 worth of benefits including:
- Moving expenses from uShip
- $35,000 convertible note investment from CTAN
- $15,000 for rent from HomeAway
- 6 months of co-working at Capital Factory
- $24,000 of server hosting from Rackspace
- 6 months of a storage unit from Sparefoot
- 6 months of local and organic groceries from Greenling
- 2 badges for SXSW Interactive 2014
- 1 year worth of postal mail scanning from Outbox
- 6 months of Ramen noodles
The five startups vying for the prize were Pictrition, Paceable, Rock Your Paper, Inaika. Ultimately it was Ann Arbor-based Meritful, a two year old startup that helps high school students promote themselves to larger companies, that won the big prize. Pictrition, a Dallas-based startup, was the runner-up.
Meritful, the brainchild of CEO Azarias Reda, is like LinkedIn for high school and college kids. Students create profiles of their job experience and skills in Meritful, but can also feature their projects and extracurricular activities. In an age where college recruiting is becoming more and more expensive, Meritful bridges the gap between students and university recruiters from schools big and small.
Within the platform, students are able to connect to recruiters, hiring managers, and college admissions counselors while networking with people who are already in the job-force. Recruiters are able to vet potential hires over a longer period of time, or directly challenge them with projects like design, research, programming or business to build a clear picture of the best talent.
For companies, the cost to access Meritful is related to the company size and is a small drop in the bucket in regards to usual recruiting costs. Company Ambassadors interact with students, urge them to compete with other students, thus generating an early clear view of students traits and characteristics.