Men CAN dance

Dropbeat helps men with two left feet get the vibe.

Niko Pifferetti

It may have taken years for Gainesville’s startup community to form, but in only 54 hours this past weekend, at least four new companies and four new products emerged from Startup Weekend Gainesville.

The three-day event invited local entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas, do market research and present their finished product to seasoned entrepreneurs, business consultants and investors. A panel of judges determined the companies with the best product.

Typically, three companies are selected to receive top honors, but this year four were chosen. Highest honors went to the mobile application, Dropbeat, which its creators say will help people find the beat to any song.

Rob Castellucci, one of the creators of Dropbeat, describes the app as a “dance tool…to make guys betters dancers.” The director of the Gator Salsa Club at the University of Florida, Castellucci frequently finds that men struggle to find the beat of salsa music.

Women have apparently noticed that many men struggle in this regard, whether dancing to salsa or not. The Dropbeat group’s market research found that men who cannot find the beat are one of womens’ “biggest pet peeves,” according to Castellucci.

The judges highly praised the complexity of Dropbeat’s algorithms, which are similar to applications like Shazam and Soundhound. The group’s interactive presentation also earned praise, especially from one judge David Whitney, entrepreneur-in-residence at the College of Engineering at the University of Florida, who said it reminded everyone that while entrepreneurship is hard work, it should also be fun.

During the presentation, nationally-recognized business coach John Spence was asked to demonstrate the app.

Dropbeat and two of the other winning products were mobile applications. But for the first time ever, a physical object was entered for consideration: it was a “smart” helmet that will improve motorcyclist safety.

The four winning companies will receive affiliate membership in the Florida Innovation Hub, the Santa Fe Center for Innovation and Economic Development, and additional assistance from the Gainesville business community.


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