Sunday March 24, 2013 | 09:59 PM

The judges have emerged from their deliberations with a winner of Portland's first-ever Startup Weekend (if this is your first visit, here's some more background on what Startup Weekend is all about).

While they were cloistered in a private office, there was a vote by applause for a "people's choice" award, which the Maine International Dance Festival carried. The dancing in their presentation was a big hit.

The winning team will receive a workstation at Peloton Labs, virtual incubation services from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, two scholarships to the MCED's "Top Gun Prep" course, and a trophy. With so many venture capitalists, business consultants and bankers in the audience, there are good odds that the winner will receive some momentum and support from other quarters as well.

And they're announcing the winners. Third prize goes to Community Bar; second prize to ChronoQuest.

The grand prize winner, we're told, was the unanimous choice of the four judges: Goals with Friends, the app that helps people set goals and recruits their social media networks to join and support them in the same goals.


Above: the Goals with Friends team (from left): Joe Stecchi, Alex Lapa, Johnicholas Hines, Ben Murphy, team leader Erika Allison, Startup Weekend organizer Liz Trice (presenting the award), and Mabel Ney.

Judge Bob Martin, who helps direct Maine's public research and development investments as the president of the Maine Technology Institute, said Goals With Friends could feasibly attract additional funding from investors like his agency.

"If the team put together an application, we would certainly take a look at it," Martin said. "It's certainly an area of tech that we fund and support."

Martin was substantially more skeptical of the rest of the night's pitches, though.

"The others need some work. But look, that's the whole purpose of this. It's easy to come up with an idea. It's a lot harder to come up with an idea that works."

As for the Goals with Friends team members, they plan to take a few days off before they meet up to decide their immediate next steps, but they are looking forward to moving forward.

"We'd appreciate funders and investors, but we'll also need advice, people to guide our process," says team leader Erika Allison.

"This has been a very supportive weekend," she continues. "It's Goals with Friends: we had so many people around to support us and help us with this goal, and that's why we succeeded."


This story was updated at 5:54 p.m. Monday March 25 to correct the list of prizes to be received by the winning team.

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