Catching Startup Weekend Fever!


Punya JainPunya Jain had never heard of Startup Weekend until the day before Portland State Startup Weekend (PSUSW) kicked off on Oct. 5th.

Now — less than two weeks later — he’s a two-time Startup Weekend veteran headed into his third event (Portland Startup Weekend (PDXSW) November 16-18th).

We caught up with Punya, just back from Startup Weekend Eugene, to find out more about his Startup Weekend experiences. The first thing he said when asked what he’d say to someone considering Startup Weekend: “It will be THE BEST 54 hours of your life!”

He had no idea what to expect at PSUSW. He ended up pitching an idea he thought up that afternoon, winning enough votes to run a team, and then forming and leading his team to a third-place finish. This included building the product prototype from scratch with supplies from home and his soldering iron. But — turns out the story doesn’t end there. The idea, product and team are moving forward as a post-weekend real-life startup: SafeAssure (@SafeAssure). Exciting stuff!

At Eugene Startup Weekend, he pitched again. This time a new idea hatched with SafeAssure team member Sheri Dover. And again, Punya used his supplies and soldering iron to craft a working prototype that wowed judges Sunday night.

All of this has been in addition to Punya’s already ambition-packed life. By day he’s a BIOS engineer intern at Intel. By afternoon/eve, he’s a Portland State University computer engineering senior. His past includes a successful startup: A partnership selling his own line of mini-LED lights to decorating shops. The business shut down — not because it wasn’t profitable — but because “its only purpose was as a learning” for future entrepreneurial projects.

No idea yet, but Punya Jain will definitely be pitching at PDXSW. That’s the whole point, he says, “the opportunity to practice everything about building a startup from the ground up.” That’s what Startup Weekend is all about!