Call it B-Town, the City of Trees, or even the next Austin, TX. Boise’s profile is rising and gaining national attention. It’s a city where access to the outdoors and a booming downtown district make it ideal for young professionals and families of all kinds. And over the last few years, greater opportunities for small businesses to start and grow have taken root.
The startup ecosystem is alive and kicking in Boise — and by the numbers, the fourth annual Boise Startup Week showed that the community is stronger than ever. The event hosted a record 3,400 attendees—including 1,100 college and high school students—at 105 different events in venues around the city from October 4-12.
This year showcased nine different themes or tracks, including Health, Tech, Food, and a Youth track for young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges.
BSW’s Pitch Competition drew 275 entries, representing a wide range of Idaho’s growing tech community.
Ultimately, Washie emerged as the winner and took home $20,000 for their easy-to-clean toilet seat for public restrooms.
Runner-up Free to Feed’s allergen-detecting test strips for nursing moms won a $5,000 prize.
In addition to the fierce pitch competition, there were more than 100 events during startup week.
What were Vynyl’s most memorable moments? Highlights included a fireside chat (emceed by Vynyl President and CEO Ian Harris) with Governor Brad Little; Dr. Marlene Tromp, president of Boise State University; C. Scott Green, president of the University of Idaho; Kevin Satterlee, president of Idaho State University; and Jim Everett, co-president of the College of Idaho. Radhika Bhatt, director of civic engagement for the U.S. Census Bureau also spoke in a session about The Opportunity Project’s efforts to create digital tools to solve problems like disaster recovery, youth homelessness, and opioid addiction in America. Amy Jo Kim, whose credits include Rock Band, The Sims, and more, lit up the room with a Tech Track keynote and a workshop on Game Thinking to create market-leading products.
Team Vynyl pitched in with hundreds of volunteer hours to organize, moderate, and offer perspectives, including these events:
- Startup Crawl Kickoff, with Nick Crabbs
- Labs, Studios, and Funds: What it Means to Accelerate a Startup, moderated by Ian Harris
- Cybersecurity, Compliance and the Evolving Regulatory Landscape for Innovation in Health Tech, with Erick Herring
- AI & Machine Learning: How Did We Get Here?, moderated by Erick Herring
- Health Track, chaired by Chris Hoyd
- Lean Product Development, moderated by Nicole Harris Roberts
- Grow Your Career: Personal Journeys from School to the C-Suite, Presented by Women Innovators (W.IN), with Nicole Harris Roberts
- Tech Track, co-chaired by Kyle Burzota
- Blue Collar Turned Software Developer in 16 Weeks: My Journey to Tech as a Refugee, with Yamin Hakizimana
BSW upped the ante with VIP and after parties this year, too. Five Alarm Funk warmed up the crowd in freezing-cold temps at the BSW Block Party.
The free gloves from Vynyl didn’t hurt.
And, of course, there was the infamous dodgeball tournament with 16 corporate contenders who played to win. We gotta hand it to Bodybuilding.com for clinching the weight belt trophy this year. Team Vynyl did their best and left it all on the court.
Update: Boise Startup Week is going virtual in 2020. The event kicks off on October 26, and you can find all the details at boisestartupweek.org. See you there!
Vynyl is a co-chair of Boise Startup Week.