How a Music Festival Production Company Pivoted to Helping Fellow College Entrepreneurs Achieve Their Dreams


300 Applicants, Ten Semi-Finalists: Network With The “Best of the Best” at RECESS’ College Startup Competition

Breaking out as a successful startup while still in college is impressive in its own right. But for Recess cofounders Deuce Thevenow and Jack Shannon, it wasn’t enough — which is how RECESS Startup Playground, a startup pitch competition being held tomorrow evening at ROC’s Santa Monica location, was born.

RECESS started as a college event production company in 2011, when both Thevenow and Shannon were students at Indiana University. The pair found success putting together music festivals aimed at college audiences, but they wanted something bigger.

“As college entrepreneurs themselves, our co-founders were extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to turn their creative vision into a successful venture and a viable career post-graduation,” says Kate Badura, RECESS’ marketing manager. “To show their gratitude, they wanted to find a way to give back to the college startup community. Thus, they rebranded RECESS and slightly pivoted their focus to empowering college and millennial entrepreneurs. By being a source for resources and inspiration, they could help provide others with the same opportunities for success that they had.”

At the core of the business now is the RECESS Field Trip, a three-day, all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for promising college startups. Included in the Field Trip is the Startup Playground, where ten semifinalists will show off their startup booths, and where entrepreneurs are welcome to mingle and trade ideas. This event will be held at ROC’s Santa Monica Location tomorrow, June 8 at 7:00 pm.

The winner of tomorrow night’s showcase will automatically be entered into the Capital Championship, which has a grand prize of $250, 000.

Of the over 300 applicants for the RECESS Field Trip this year, Badura says the ten selected participants are the cream of the crop.

“Needless to say, we engaged some extremely impressive student startups,” Badura says. “The Field Trip assembles the best of the best and thus, no one startup team stands out above the rest, which means any one of them could be the next big thing!”

That “best of the best” includes Bloom Labs, which created a credit card-sized inhaler for asthmatics; GiftAMeal, a smartphone app that combines food photography and philanthropy; and Latitude, an audio tour phone app company.

Badura says that uniqueness, market share, problem solving and clarity will all be key factors when it comes to determining the ultimate winner.

“RECESS is looking for innovative game-changing ideas presented in a compelling, well-informed and developed manner,” she says.
In addition to being a chance of a lifetime for its young participants, the RECESS Startup Playground is also a chance for local startups and entrepreneurs to make connections and pick each others’ brains. The event is open to anyone who RSVP.

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