eBay Hosts First-Ever Startup Weekend Focused On eCommerce

eBay Inc. Staff

This past weekend, eBay hosted the first-ever Startup Weekend Ecommerce Edition at the Madrona Venture Group offices in Seattle, WA. Months in the making, eBay Seattle’s Larry Colagiovanni and Mike Fridgen worked closely with ecommerce luminaries, the Startup Weekend staff and Madrona Venture Group to help draw over 80 participants from local tech companies and startups. 

Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence, delivered the keynote Friday night with his lessons learned from 20 years of experience building ecommerce startups. After his keynote, participants were invited to pitch the others on their startup ideas. Attendees then chose which startup to join and formed 10 teams to start working on their products late Friday night.

Saturday and Sunday, teams interviewed potential users, designed their products, built prototypes, and iterated on their business models. Throughout the weekend, teams also had the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring from local venture capitalists and entrepreneurs as well as senior leaders from across eBay.  

“It was inspiring to be a part of helping these entrepreneurs execute against their vision for changing the world of ecommerce,” said Mike Fridgen, General Manager of eBay’s Seattle Office, who originally joined eBay as part of the Decide.com acquisition in 2013.

Sunday evening, the 10 teams pitched their ideas and demonstrated what they built in just over 50 hours to the panel of five judges: Jason Stoffer (General Partner at Maveron), T.A. McCann (Founder at Rival IQ), Yongbai Choi (Venture Capitalist at Vulcan Capital), David Rosenthal (Principal at Madrona Venture Group), and Dawn Lepore (former CEO and Chairman of the Board of drugstore.com, as well as former eBay Inc. board member).

After teams finished their pitches and answered questions, the judges chose three winning ideas: Clef (first place), TracShip (second place), and Lending Tribe (third place). The winning team (Clef) received a dedicated co-working space and meeting rooms for three months at ThinkSpace. Additionally, the top three teams (Clef, TracShip, and LendingTribe) will also receive a chance to officially pitch their startup ideas to the Madrona investment team.  

You’ll find short descriptions of all the teams and projects below:


Clef (1st Place)
Creates a marketplace to connect amazing musicians from all over the world with students. The model includes a social giving element: For every purchase a free class is given to a kid in need.

TracShip (2nd Place)
One-stop shipping for small packages. Find the least expensive way to send your package. The Kayak for shipping. 

Lending Tribe (3rd Place)
Lend items to your friends and use Lending Tree to track them, reminding users of items borrowed, and reminders to replace the item if the borrower has it too long. 

Buy Me
Buy anything you see. Sell anything you own to your peers. Take a photo and Buy.me produces a URL that's sharable and easily scans credit cards so anything can be purchased. 

Insta Freight
Uber of trucking. A marketplace connecting shippers to drivers and driving down the costs associated with shipping products.

Pick Media
Shop any video by selecting images you see in the video. Sell items via product placement on video. 

Personal shopper for the Internet. Guiding you through product search so when you're buying something you only see the products you might want.

Snacks on Snacks
A monthly subscription service to receive curated boxes of snacks from around the world directly to your doorstep.

Urban Smoke
Find the nearest tobacco shop or vape store and the nearest place to smoke. Find places to smoke. 

Vote to Lunch 
Tinder for lunch. Form a group and vote on the best place to eat lunch.