Washington State University students who pitched their idea for an affordable adventure travel website hit a home run at the Startup Weekend Spokane.

Entrepreneurs competed to promote their business ideas and collaborate with developers and designers to create a viable project within 54 hours.

Monica Bomber prepares for the competition.
Monica Bomber prepares for the competition.

WSU seniors Amanda Scott (communication), Monica Bomber (chemical engineering) and Troy Carpenter (economics) won first place with their business plan for Go-KEFI.com. The travel website asks customers about the type of experience they’re seeking and their projected budget rather than catering to people who start with a location already in mind.

“About 50 percent of people using travel sites start by not knowing exactly where they want to go,” said Scott. “Our tagline is ‘Where will you go next?’’’

Go-KEFI earned three months of free office space, the chance to make a pitch to the Spokane Angel Alliance investors and 40 hours of website development. The goal is to launch Go-KEFI by next year after a beta test catering to WSU students.

“One goal is to help WSU students who might have three-day weekends find great travel options right here in the state,” Scott said.

Troy Carpenter observing the action at Startup Spokane Weekend.
Troy Carpenter observing the action at Startup Spokane Weekend.

During the contest, nearly 50 individuals and teams made 60-second pitches to the group of more than 150 people. The crowd voted for their favorite business ideas, with the best 12 teams competing for the top three awards.

The chosen 12 recruited more team members from the crowd with the goal of assembling designers, product developers and people with business or coding experience. The 12 teams spent the weekend developing a working presentation of the idea.

Johnny Wang (communication) helped the Go-KEFI team, as did about five non-WSU students including Joe Snodgrass, Kaitlyn Aliota, Stephen Johnson, Adam Parish, and Alex Puryear.

The WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, directed by Marie Mayes, sponsored the Go-KEFI team and seven other students in the WSU Enactus Club to attend the event.