/ Entrepreneurship

Startup Weekend Cedar City: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The event was run like every other Startup Weekend around the world. Well, except for the random games of dodgeball, the mason jars full of unlimited soda, nightly rootbeer floats, Kansas City-quality barbecue, and midnight pancakes.

I’m not sure why, but ever since I’ve been back home, after spending a couple of days in Cedar City for Startup Weekend, I can’t keep myself from singing the “Cheers” theme song to everyone I run into, imploring them to visit our friends to the south to learn more about the awesome startup and tech community they’ve managed to cultivate in the dry, desert soil of Southern Utah.

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

The organizers of the Startup Weekend Cedar City event, and the entrepreneurs who attended, couldn’t have been more hospitable and welcoming to this humble Beehive Startups correspondent. It’s unlikely I’ll ever meet a more tight-knit group of entrepreneurs; a group that puts community before leaders, and their peers before themselves.

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.”

The event was run like every other Startup Weekend around the world. Well, except for the random games of dodgeball, the mason jars full of unlimited soda, nightly rootbeer floats, Kansas City-quality barbecue, and midnight pancakes. It was a Startup Weekend, to be sure, but the organizers made sure you never forgot the event was being held in Cedar City.

The lifeblood of the event was the magnetic Todd Hess, who, just before final presentations began on Saturday night, received a standing ovation from everyone in attendance for all of the hard work he put into organizing SWCedar. Throughout the weekend, everyone I spoke to gushed about Hess and the amount of time and effort he’s spent building-up Southern Utah’s startup ecosystem into what it is today.

It wouldn’t feel appropriate to write about Cedar City’s startup ecosystem without mentioning Abraham Hunt, Brandon Jones, and, of course, the ever-engaging Derek Morton. It would be easy to continue to list name after name, but suffice it to say, if you ever find yourself in Cedar City, just reach out to one of these fine gentlemen and you’ll soon learn everything you need to know about what’s going on in the city.

You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

As for the event itself, six teams presented their minimum viable product Saturday night, but after all was said and done the weekend belonged to Toweez, an app that delivers GPS-enabled technology and eliminates paper invoicing for towing companies.

Check out their video:

We’re looking forward to watching Toweez slowly turn itself into a legitimate company, as well as following the progress of the other five SWCedar teams. In the meantime, our Cedar City friends introduced us to a number of formidable startups down south, which means you can expect us to be writing a lot more about everything that’s happening in Southern Utah.

You wanna go where people know, people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Published 4/15/2014