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3L Wins Philly Startup Weekend Competition

October 18, 2011

An entrepreneurial team led by 3L Hans Smith won Philly Startup Weekend for conceiving an iPhone application that can provide highly localized information about on-street parking options and potential means to get tickets thrown out in court.

Smith, who sympathizes with those who cross paths with the Philadelphia Parking Authority, attracted the interest of tech-savvy developers and business people by proposing his idea for the app during the weekend-long competition on Oct. 14.

Dubbed Eff the PPA, the app would offer a number of features to help drivers cope with parking restrictions on Philadelphia streets. First, if would provide location-specific information to help consumers sort through the clutter of contradictory parking signage. A timer would remind consumers when their minutes on the meter are running low. For drivers who still receive tickets, the app would offer strategies for getting the ticket thrown out in court.

Smith’s app beat out 54 ideas that entrepreneurs had pitched during Startup Weekend, an event focused on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The events, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and held throughout the world, attract innovators and business people interested in launching startup companies.

Three of the top 20 ideas to emerge during the weekend in Philadelphia were proposed by students from the Earle Mack School of Law, said Professor Karl Okamoto, who directs the school’s Business and Entrepreneurship Law Program.

Ashwin Dhir, a businessman from Yardley, Pa., Steve High, a web and mobile applications developer at the Archer Group and Ted Mann, the CEO of SnipSnap, a startup funded and incubated at DreamIt Ventures, signed on with Smith to develop his idea, which emerged as the most viable innovation over the course of the 54-hour weekend, hosted by the law school.

“I couldn’t have developed it without their help – it was just an idea,” said Smith, who has already begun scheduling meetings to explore the feasibility of launching a company based on the innovation.

As the winner, Smith will be able to take advantage of free legal advice pledged by Morgan Lewis and by Volpe & Koenig.

Smith’s coup garnered attention from two innovation-focused blogs, Technically Philly, and Flying Kite, which praised his idea for its “audaciousness.”

Earlier in October, Technically Philly cited Drexel University and the Earle Mack School of Law for "making waves" in the city's entrepreneurial community.