On Friday afternoon, Chris Shinn didn’t think he’d start a company. But, by Sunday evening, he was founder of Art Everywhere – the first-place winner at Startup Weekend Kitchener-Waterloo.

“I didn’t know what would happen this weekend,” said Shinn, who has a business background. “I thought I would be in over my head.”

Art Everywhere, a website and app to help you buy original art, impressed the Startup Weekend judges with a simple concept: to match local artists with local buyers looking to decorate their homes and offices.

The second-place winner was TouchMock, a user demo experience that allows clients to quickly build an interactive wireframe with their designer.

In third place, and voted the weekend’s crowd favourite, was Just Feed Me, an app to connect local restaurants with diners. Described as a blind date with food, the app will send you a surprise meal from a local restaurant when you log in to request food.

Making its second local appearance, Startup Weekend Kitchener-Waterloo was a sold-out success. Startup Weekend is a global movement that has swept through cities in more than 100 countries. The events are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas are viable.

This weekend’s event attracted 106 attendees who formed 11 teams. The companies they built, which began with a 60-second pitch and ended up with a minimum viable product 54 hours later, wowed the almost 30 mentors who spent the weekend helping and critiquing the teams.

At the end of a quick two days, the 11 companies faced a panel of judges. The companies had five minutes to impress Doug Cooper, Managing Director of Communitech HYPERDRIVE; Matthew Leibowitz, Partner, Plaza Ventures; Michele Romanow, Co-Founder, Buytopia; and Sunil Sharma, Managing Director, STEM 7 Capital.

The judges then had three minutes to grill the companies in front of the audience. The judges marked the pitches on their business model validation, user experience design and product execution.

The three winners all showed signs of addressing a clear problem in the market, revenue potential and a strong product idea, Cooper said.

“We thought the space was right for disruption,” said Romanow on why the judges chose Art Everywhere as the winner. “You know when galleries are taking 50 per cent [of sales revenue], the artists will be really motivated to do this. We liked the play on local.”

Shinn is excited about his win and what it might mean for his brand new company. The team, comprised of one developer, two designers and five non-technical members, gelled quickly based on their shared passion for art.

So will Art Everywhere continue on past the weekend? The team plans to meet up in a week to determine their fate. “I think we’re going to pursue something with it. We are going to see how we all feel about it. We weren’t sure what we were going to do, but with the judges’ feedback we feel excited about it.”

“The mentors really beat us up,” said Shinn, referring to the factors behind Art Everywhere’s success. “It was very tough at the time, but it really helped is with the presentation. It was really painful. They put us on the spot and made me feel terrible. But it got us ahead and it helped us become honest with each other instead of just nice.”