Rochester Rising Episode 9: Details of ArchHacks, a HealthTech, Student Hackathon in St. Louis, with Stephanie Mertz

This week, I got to speak with Stephanie Mertz, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis and co-organizer of ArchHacks, a forty-eight-hour hackathon in St. Louis this November.

  • ArchHacks takes place November 4th through November 6th, from Friday through Sunday.
  • ·Over this weekend, teams of students will build a healthtech-themed, functional prototype by Sunday evening and compete for prizes.
  • The hackathon is exclusively for students, but there are no age restrictions.
  • The application process takes all of ten minutes.
  • For more information, link up with the ArchHacks Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
  • Any additional questions can be directed to

“It’s really a unique combination that St. Louis has where we have the expansive medical background, the corporate resources, and startup drive, and the technical talent, all in one area. We thought that here in St. Louis, we were uniquely poised to bring the resources together to enable [a HealthTech themed hackathon].” –Stephanie Mertz

Rochester Rising Episode 7: How to Run a Kickstarter Campaign with Adam Ferrari

This week we got to speak with local community design consultant and architect Adam Ferrari about crowdfunding. Adam launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to fund Charette Happens, a mobile design studio that would serve as a grassroots method to allow people to plan and actively engage in community design.


  • Crowdfunding is a way to raise capital online through family, friends, or anyone that stumbles across the campaign to launch a business or a new portion of a business.
  • Adam chose the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform because it is all or nothing. If his idea did not resonate with the community, then it was not worth doing.
  • Adam believes that a strong Kickstarter campaign has a compelling story, offers something new or different, is scalable, and would not happen organically.
  • The biggest thing he did right with Kickstarter was just giving it a chance to fund his idea.
  • His biggest failure was not engaging with the campaign backers and not fully understanding how much work it would take to sustain the Charette Happens truck.


“I think a big key is going into [Kickstarter] with the idea that it’s ok if it fails or if it falls on its face. That even if you do get funded, it doesn’t mean it’s a success. That means that you’re given the opportunity for it to succeed.”