As the Startup games are upon us, we’re taking a closer look at who’s going to be competing. Last year SpareFoot won for the 3rd time in a row. Will this year bring a new champion? Before we get to the odds, let’s take a look at the schedule:
At a quick glance, the 2:00 hour will be where the well-rounded teams separate from the pack. Knowledge, skill, and athleticism-based games will either let companies get back into the mix, surge forward or fall off completely. Beer pong will only magnify the lead/loss, and depending on the mystery event (tightrope walking? egg toss?) those teams that fared well in beer pong would push forward. And of course flip cup will seal the deal.
Without further adieu, we’ll present our highly-scientific (not really) odds for each company’s chance at coming out on top.
Company: SpareFoot | Charity: Kure It – As mentioned above, SpareFoot is a top contender and has a chance to complete the unprecedented 4-peat. I’ve played basketball against some of them at the YMCA, and they’ve got some pretty good (and big) athletes. I haven’t seen them in the library, however, so trivia may be their undoing. But, combining their athleticism with a ruthless dedication to Mario Kart and a history of winning establishes them as this year’s favorite. Odds: 3-2.
Company: Capital Factory | Charity: Breakthrough Austin – Need to talk to the judges on this one. Is Capital Factory bringing only their employees, or does that include accelerator companies? Shared office companies? That’s a big talent pool to draw from. If that’s the case, I’m giving them 3-1 odds.
Company: theCHIVE | Charity: CHIVE Charities – If a team has its own brand of beer, that’s swinging odds in their favor. No doubt they’ll be strong in beer pong and flip cup, but it may be dangerous to stand anywhere near them during darts. Odds: 2.5-1.
Company: RideScout | Charity: Team RWB – RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser is an Army Veteran and used to work at the Pentagon, so let’s assume that he knows how to assemble and direct a strong team. This is a return visit to the games so I’m sure they’ve established high-level intel on who’s a formidable force, what their strategic games are and how to topple the heavyweight competitor, SpareFoot. Maybe they armed some of the insurgent companies with intel as well, creating an allied force. Are they masters of diplomacy or running a scorched earth campaign? We’ll see on Saturday. Odds: 3-1.
Company: Modernize | Charity: Girl Start – Modernize came in third last year in their rookie year. The big question is whether they take a step forward or back. They’ve got a new name (they used to be Home Improvement Leads), so the question is whether the new name brings with it a new mojo. It worked for Metta World Peace, right? Odds: 4-1.
Company: uShip | Charity: Communities in Schools – A founding team and the 2012 champs, no doubt they’re chomping at the bit to wrestle their title back from the other container-maximization company in town. They’ve got the ping pong table, but have they stepped up their Mario Kart skillz? Odds: 3-1
Company: Headspring | Charity: Do It For the Love – If you Google Headspring, the first thing that comes up is Headspring: Enterprise Application Services. If that ain’t Austin tech, I don’t know what is. But one thing I do know is that they’ve got a diverse leadership team of jazz musicians, golfers, Longhorn fans and an Eagle Scout. Skill diversity is the name of the game in the Startup Games and Headspring may have a head start. Odds: 3-1
Company: OneSpot | Charity: Without Regrets – Second-year entrant OneSpot’s got a lot of confidence heading into the weekend. They’re defending connect four champs and talk a strong Mario Kart game. We went on their site, undercover in their chat to see for ourselves how confident they really were. We’ll let Tyler take it from here –just look at this swagger. Odds: 2.5-1.
Company: Civitas Learning | Charity: The Center for Child Protection – Civitas has stepped up to the big leagues with some serious PE funding in September, but did that money go to their business or creating a scouting and player development department? They’re about keeping kids in school, but then again what better way to scout potential talent than by looking at who’s kicking butt in school? Perhaps some good offseason acquisitions can give the Startup Games sophomore a chance to reach the podium. Odds: 3-1
Company: LawnStarter | Charity: NAMI-National Alliance on Mental Illness – NKOTB LawnStarter hired 40 “interns” back in November, and while they say that the opportunity is for the customer success team, I’m having doubts. If you see 40+ sub-25 year old Lawnstarter employees at the Startup Games, you may as well chalk up beer pong and flip cup as a loss. Odds: 3.5-1.
Company: Boundless Network | Charity: Meals on Wheels and More – They finished in 2nd place in 2015, which according to No Fear shirts, is the first loser. But 2016 is a new year, so we’ll see if Boundless has progressed in leaps and, well, bounds. They recently won second place for branding at the PPAI awards. That’s 2 silvers thus far, Shooter. Will that translate to gold? Odds: 3.5-1.
Company: Outbound Engine | Charity: Austin Children’s Shelter – We’d give Outbound better odds at winning this thing, but Austin Inno poached a key player in the offseason. We’ve got Steven now, so we’ll see if this is a big loss for Outbound or addition by subtraction. Odds: 4-1.
Company: OwnLocal | Charity: Austin Bat Cave – When the CEO of a company professes his love for Fireball whiskey in his profile on the “about” section of their website, we could be looking at a Magic-Johnson-winning-the-NBA-finals-in-his-rookie-year scenario. Odds 2.5-1.
Company: TrendKite | Charity: JDRF Austin – The hat says it all. They’re bound to finish strong in beer pong and flip cup, but depending on how much they rage, trivia may be a non-starter. Who really knows though? Odds: 3-1.