Who out there wouldn't love free money, free groceries, a free apartment for a year in one of the coolest cities in the country and relocation expenses all paid by someone else? Five founders of emerging Internet companies competed in Capital Factory's "Move Your Startup to Austin for Free at SXSW." Capital Factory is an Austin-based company that helps tech startups become entrepreneurs.
So, who won?
Drumroll please...the winner is Meritful, an Ann Arbor, Michigan based company that connects students with potential future employers. Meritful defines itself as "a professional development platform for students and companies," and implores its users to "stand out," and develop a professional network of mentors before they even graduate.
Meritful practices what it preaches by helping equip students with the tools to get noticed by potential employers by providing ways for students to showcase their problem-solving skills, receive feedback and make connections with company decision makers.
The "Trending Now" team was present when the winner was announced, and we caught up with co-founder Azarias Reda, PhD, to talk about how the win will change his life and the future of Meritful.
Launched in the fall of 2012, Meritful is aimed toward students who want to stand out from their peers and get a head-start on connecting with people who are already a part of the job-force. Before developing Merfitul, Reda worked as a data analyst and researcher for LinkedIn. His idea for Meritful really took off when Reda taught at a high school while earning his PhD.
List of some of the spoils for the winner:
- $35,000 convertible note investment from CTAN
- $15,000 for rent from HomeAway
- 6 months of co-working at Capital Factory
- $24,000 of server hosting from Rackspace
- Moving expenses from uShip
- 6 months of a storage unit from Sparefoot
- 6 months of local and organic groceries from Greenling
- 2 badges for SXSW Interactive 2014
- 1 year worth of postal mail scanning from Outbox
- 6 months of Ramen noodles