Our Islands, Our Future

Website consultant David Fry’s idea to create an online voting system for nonprofit leaders took home the top prize at the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui. Fry said he and his team from Board.Vote created the beginnings of a viable prototype in less than 54 hours by listening to many tips including those from Startup Weekend facilitator Bryan “Boots” Butteling.

These tips include identifying a solution to a problem; being flexible and adaptable (“pivot and repeat”); and creating a revenue model. Close to 80 residents and visitors attended Startup Weekend Maui, presented by the Maui Economic Development Board. Aspiring entrepreneurs pitched ideas ranging from a stock market game to science education, to Maui-made pickles and a marketplace to help struggling Hana artists and vendors. “All of these could make good businesses on Maui,” Fry said. “We were really just grateful to be selected.”

Board.Vote would feature a Web application that provides greater efficiency in board deliberations and voting. In its research, Board.Vote’s team interviewed 15 local nonprofit leaders and 42.9 percent said they would recommend purchasing the Web app to their board. During his presentation, Fry outlined plans to charge monthly fees for the Web application. After hearing from the judges, Fry said he’s seriously considering charging a yearly fee for Board.Vote. “It was a great suggestion,” Fry said. The next steps for Board.Vote will be to develop the Web application, including a security piece and securing sources of financing. Aside from revenue model, judges recommended entrepreneurs conduct more research into customer validation and product viability. “Everybody had a good idea and there were lots of pros and cons,” Judge Tarik Sultan told the participants. This year’s Startup Weekend converged May 15-17 at MEDB’s Malcolm Center and the Maui Research & Technology Center. Fry said he thought MEDB did a “great” job of coordinating the event and suggested that the participants be invited back for a reunion.