Tech for Good Startup Weekend: 8 groups pitch ideas from water price transparency to viral political memes

How much good can you do with 54 hours, a little caffeine, and a bunch of strangers? This past weekend, Hub Ventures teamed up with the Vodafone Americas Foundation to find out, in the second annual Tech For Good Startup Weekend. 85 aspiring entrepreneurs and mentors came together at San Francisco’s Impact Hub to build mobile, web, and software solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. We were blown away by the passion, scrappiness, and raw talent of this weekend’s participants. Here’s what you missed:

On Friday night, 25 participants had one minute each to pitch their idea with just one ground rule: it must have significant positive impact on people’s lives. After the pitches, everyone voted on their favorite ideas, forming groups around the top ones. Then they had all day Saturday and Sunday to validate their business model and build an MVP (“minimum viable product”). With the help of some rockstar mentors (and even some user recruitment on the street!), 8 groups made it to pitch the judges on Sunday night.

After lengthy deliberations, the judges settled on the top 3 groups. The winner was Water Buddy, an app that provides real-time access to water prices in the developing world, where people can spend up to a quarter of their monthly income buying water. By comparing the prices of water at nearby locations, they could save a day’s wages every month.

The second place winner, Kittens Hate Your Congressman, mashes up open source government data with political humor to create viral memes. With more digestible messaging we can have better informed voters, leading to better politicians, and ultimately a better world.

Retrofund, the third place winner, is a marketplace for home energy retrofits, connecting homeowners looking to save money on their energy bill, contractors who can figure out the logistics, and investors who can fund the upfront cost.

The winners will enjoy 3-month memberships to the Impact Hub and get fast-tracked to the finalist round of the Hub Ventures program. The top team, Water Buddy, got an Uber gift card as well as free incorporation from Inder Comar, based at the Impact Hub.

Other groups include: Top Mom, aiming to preserve independent living in the elderly through a collaboration platform between them and their caretakers. DevImpact looked to connect developers with meaningful pro bono work and Nomm wanted to connect leftover food with people who wanted to eat it. Space School wants to find a way for everyone to learn and be inspired by space, and SavvySector connects low-income Spanish speakers with the resources they need to start and run businesses.

Thanks to all the participants for their help pioneering the way the world can make money by doing good, and stay tuned for the next Tech For Good Startup Weekend!