Startup competition reaches final round

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- The final rounds of the Tri-Cities Startup Competition took place Sunday night. Nine teams presented their product ideas in front of a panel of judges. KEPR talked with a couple of the teams to learn about their future potential businesses.

For three years, Simon Mahler has wanted to start up a Web-based program that would benefit small businesses. He is finally able to put that plan into action.

"Startup Weekend is a great opportunity to create energy and take ideas and really put them to work," said Mahler.

Nineteen people had one minute to pitch their ideas Friday night. Only nine made the cut. They've been working around the clock, all weekend, to prepare for the final competition Sunday night. The ideas range from computer games to apps to special markers to web programs. Simon and his team are targeting small businesses to make our local economy stronger.

"They don't have a lot of money; they are struggling. We interviewed them yesterday, right in downtown Kennewick; they are struggling. And, just sharing our idea, people were getting inspired," said Mahler.

Simon says they will give businesses the tools they need to help their business grow.

Kurt Schneider is another team leader. His team wants to make golf tees out of compressed grass seed.

"So when you leave it behind, all it does is seed the box, so it just leaves grass behind, so there's no junk, no ugliness, totally change the whole game," said Schneider.

But it's not just a biodegradable golf tee. It would benefit veterans, like Kurt. It would provide them jobs and a portion of the proceeds would go to Operation American Patriot.

"I think what we're really here for is to give back to the veterans of this country and try to get America back on track. Try to bring manufacturing back here, instead of China. Let's try to bring it back, let's do something. Let's not just sit around, let's do something," said Schneider.

Both Kurt and Simon say regardless if they win or lose, they will continue to advance their ideas.