Justin Tuchek and Sri Kadimisetty on winning team at Startup Weekend 

No talk; all action.

This phrase encompasses the idea behind Fargo’s Startup Weekend, which was held March 8-9 at the Fargo Theater. Over 90 students and professionals were present at the event.

Justin Tuchek and Sri Kadimisetty, MSUM computer science students who graduated in May, participated in Startup Weekend.

“Startup Weekend is this event for developers, designers and the spirited entrepreneur,” Tuchek said. “The event is to raise the entrepreneurial spirit in town; to get things kick-started here.”

Tuchek and Kadimisetty finished the event on the winning team, Hack Fargo. The team’s idea was simple and straightforward: to create a platform to make public city data more accessible.

“We take government data that’s kind of trapped and we … make it into a format that can be easily used for apps or some kind of mobile service,” Kadimisetty said.

This word cloud, found on Hack Fargo’s website, contains the words most commonly heard during a police dispatch call.

The team targeted just one set of data during the 54-hour competition – police dispatch calls in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Though the calls are public record, there was no real beneficial use for the information – that is, until Hack Fargo came along.

“One cool thing that we could do is potentially map crime against light bulbs out at streetlights,” Tuchek said. “Is there a correlation between having burnt out lights and an increase in crime from the dispatch logs?”

Tuchek and Kadimisetty probably know the answer, and plan on letting others know through continued work on the project.

Although the event is over, all eight members of Hack Fargo intend on moving forward with the project. The winners of Startup Weekend were provided with a prize package to help them start their business, including: three hours of mentorship through Emerging Prairie; $500 for the setup of an LLC or LLP; legal assistance; and the opportunity to speak at One Million Cups in Fargo.

“We want to be the framework for a movement, so we want others to build off of service we provide,” Kadimisetty said.

Tuchek says working with community professionals during Startup Weekend was definitely a “fast learning curve,” but the experience has been a great benefit.

“It’s a great way to get involved in your community and to see what’s being actively done and who’s actively involved with it,” Tuchek said.

For now, Tuchek and Kadimisetty are focused on entering the workforce, but still plan on devoting time to Hack Fargo.

“As long as we have free time on our hands and are motivated enough, we can keep this going,” Kadimisetty said.

Other members of Hack Fargo include: Blaine Booher, Clifton Labs; Shane White, OnSharp and Midwest Streams; Zachary Tracy; Flo Sauvageau; David Lannoye, Microsoft; and Michael Ressl, Hard Charge.

Visit team Hack Fargo’s website at http://hackfargo.co or follow them on Twitter: @HackFargo.

– See more at msum.areavoices.com