10 Countries. 10 Startup Weekend Communities. 10 Stories Across Borders.

We’re celebrating Techstars Startup Weekend’s 10th Birthday! On July 7th, 2007, the first Startup Weekend was held in Boulder, Colorado with 80 entrepreneurs. In 10 years, we’ve grown to:

  • 13,837 community leaders in 153+ countries
  • 4,531 Startup Weekend events
  • 363,000+ Startup Weekend attendees
  • 45,375 Teams
  • $410M+ in funding secured

Techstars Startup Weekend is now 10 years old, and we’re just getting started in the South & Central Asian region with 130+ India events since 2011, 50+ in South Asia (excluding India) & 20+ in Central Asia.

We’re also excited to announce that we will be bringing the first Startup Weekend events to Maldives and Uzbekistan in late 2017.

To celebrate the impact of our entrepreneurship programs with our worldwide community and teams around the world and I’m honoured to share with you my favorite stories and memories of building startup communities.

Thank you to everyone who has played a part in building this startup community and shaping this global entrepreneurship movement. Check out our Thank You video!

As an Indo-Asian startup innovation Community Architect, I am responsible for the cultivation and sustained growth of vibrant startup ecosystems in India, SAARC nations and Central Asian countries. I’m always excited to welcome thousands of new entrepreneurs every year through Techstars Startup Weekend, and honoured to have facilitated over 30 Startup Weekends across Asia.

  1. Startup Weekend India

The Startup Weekend India community includes over 20 States — SW Rajasthan, SW West Bengal, SW Kerala, SW Gujarat, SW Goa, SW Odisha, SW Delhi, SW Tamil Nadu, SW Manipur, SW Uttar Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Karnataka, SW Punjab, SW Haryana, SW Uttarakhand, SW Andhra Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Maharashtra, SW Jammu & Kashmir, SW Himachal Pradesh, etc.

1st Startup Weekend Noida (Uttar Pradesh)

  1. Startup Weekend Pakistan

Startup Weekend Lahore, Pakistan (March 2015) #SWLahore

  1. Startup Weekend Bangladesh

Startup Weekend Dhaka, Bangladesh (May 2017) #SWDhaka

Startup Weekend Dhaka (Nov 2015) #SWDhaka

  1. Startup Weekend Bhutan

#SWBhutan community from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Startup Weekend Bhutan in Thimphu (2016–17) #SWThimphu

  1. Startup Weekend Afghanistan

Building Afghan Entrepreneurship at first Startup Weekend Kabul, Afghanistan (March 2016) #SWKabul

  1. Startup Weekend Sri Lanka

4th Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Negombo #SiliconBeach (May 2017) #SW Negombo

2nd Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Colombo (Oct 2016) #SWColombo

First Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Jaffna (June 2016) #SWJaffna

  1. Startup Weekend Nepal

9th Startup Weekend Kathmandu (Greenovation) in Nepal (Nov 2016) #SWKathmandu

  1. Startup Weekend Kazakhstan

Startup Weekend Astana in Kazakhstan (Oct 2016) #SWAstana

  1. Startup Weekend Tajikistan

First Startup Weekend Tajikistan in Dushanbe (Nov 2016) #SWDushanbe #SWTJ

  1. Startup Weekend ASEAN (10 Countries in One ASEAN)

Startup Weekend ASEAN 2015 was organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (video), where entrepreneurs from all over South-East Asia collaborated in Generation Startup Weekend, an effort by Techstars Startup Programs and its partners at MaGIC (Malaysian Govt.), YSEALI, and the U.S. State Department.

First of it’s kind — Techstars Startup Weekend ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Aug 2015) #SWASEAN

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Reach out to me if you’re interested to bring Techstars Startup Programs to your community!

One of my favourite Startup Weekend picture, kicking off the first SW SriLanka #HappyBirthdaySW

We want to say thank you again, from everyone at Techstars, for all the hard work and time that you give to support your entrepreneurial community!

This post was first originally published here at Anurag Maloo’s medium blog here. 








Startup Weekend is the Best Place to Start: SW Kazakhstan

Anurag Maloo (Techstars Regional Manager, South & Central Asia) was facilitating both the Startup Weekend Kazakhstan and supporting the local startup communities in India and Asia Pacific.

Within two weeks, there were two Startup Weekends in Kazakhstan. SW Almaty took place at MOST Business Incubator, Almaty from September 23rd through the 25th and SW Astana took place at INO.HUB, Astana from September 30th to October 2nd with the support of the German-Kazakh Business Hub (GKBH). 

This is just the beginning of building a strong startup community and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kazakhstan. It is also just the start of the movement to make it the hub of the Central Asian Innovation ecosystem.

I am happy to see the winning teams from both of the SWs getting incubation and mentoring support from the local startup incubation programs in both cities – I’m excited to see the founders grow in their entrepreneurial journey. Thanks to all the attendees, mentors, organizers, judges, institutions and sponsors who are helping us build the startup ecosystem in Kazakhstan.

This is a story from Dilya and Shukrat, founders of the winning team at SW Astana, on their experience at Startup Weekend. Best wishes to them in their startup journey.


On Friday morning, we had no idea that on we would be in Astana taking home first place at a Startup Weekend the following Sunday.

It was a normal Friday until we got a message from a friend informing us about the Astana Startup Weekend. We had no prior knowledge about Startup Weekend and had no clue what to expect. We had a couple of ideas and had been contemplating on how to implement them for a while – they seemed quite raw, so it was really difficult to comprehend how we could possibly turn them into something within 54 hours!

There were also a number of issues to resolve before we could attend the event. There was a remarkable distance we needed to travel (1200 km distance between Almaty and Astana), we had to find a place to stay in Astana and figure out who could take care of our kids. Luckily, all of these issues were quickly resolved and we began our journey to the Startup Weekend.

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At Startup Weekend Astana, we experienced full immersion in the atmosphere of innovation, aspiration, creativity and teamwork.

We were lucky to have a great facilitator, Anurag Maloo. He masterly used his energy and enthusiasm to inspire participants to voice their ideas. Our idea made to top 9 out of 26 ideas announced!

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Saturday and Sunday were full of challenging and interesting work with our teammates and mentors. It was invaluable to have such excellent mentors all in one place, sharing their expertise and specific insights for our idea. The fact alone that we had the opportunity to network with such great professionals had meant a lot for us.

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Our team had some eye-opening experiences during the weekend. For example, we had some concerns about voicing up the idea. Many people feel the fear of their idea being stolen.  This event demonstrated to us that the idea itself is worth nothing if no action is pursued.  

Brainstorming and actions are more effective and fun when they are done with the help of a team and mentors.

During the weekend, our progress was immense compared to what we had managed to achieve for the past couple of months keeping the idea to ourselves.  

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Another example was a validation exercise. When we were asked to validate our idea with other participants or even strangers, we learned that our vision about the value of our product is not necessarily the same as potential customers. Validation helped us to understand how we need to reshape our product and what we need to do to stand out from the competition.

During the weekend, we also learned how to effectively pitch the idea in a five-minute presentation. The feedback that we had received from mentors was quite beneficial for our idea.

After 54 hours of challenging work and collaboration with others, our idea ended up winning first place in the Astana Startup Weekend! Having experienced the innovative atmosphere of the Startup Weekend, we encourage all to take their idea forward and take action. Startup Weekend is the best place to start!

 

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Are you interested in organizing a Startup Weekend in your community? Reach out to Anurag Maloo at anurag.maloo@techstars.com or visit www.startupweekend.org.


 








Beauty Hooked: Hooks the Number 1 Spot at Lahore Startup Weekend 2015

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So what does it take to get to number 1? A great idea, a fantastic team, persistence, sleepless nights and the absolute belief that your idea deserves to get to the top. With only 54 hours to brainstorm and present a game changing idea, stakes are high, pressure is high, competition is high, motivation is high, and the energy in the space is unimaginable.

Team Beauty Box with facilitator Anurag from SW, UP Global

Sahr Said, the CEO of Beauty Hooked, was driven to disrupt the beauty services industry, and create an online platform that helps women to search, discover, review, compare and book beauty services anytime, anywhere. She walked in with an idea in mind, planned to perfection. What she was looking for was a fantastic team, a platform to get feedback, mentorship and secure incubation. On the Friday pitching night, the first day of Startup Weekend Lahore, Beauty Hooked was pitched as one amongst 61 ideas to an audience of 130 people including participants, coaches and mentors. It was shortlisted as one amongst 16 teams which would be working the next 45 hours to create a minimum viable product to be pitched on Sunday to the panel of judges and investors. This attracted a team of brilliant developers, who worked hard under a tight timeline to build the technology behind the idea. The final pitch was nerve wracking, with a larger panel of judges than any previous startup weekend. Beauty Hooked had to prove its potential, and the team its might. Success didn’t come easy, but when it did, it brought with it opportunities beyond belief.

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Beauty Hooked turned from an idea to a reality over a weekend. The big win generated steam. The idea was validated, a strong team was formed, mentorship was obtained, and most importantly, a spot was secured for incubation at the LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship. The team is currently working hard to get their beauty service platform launched.

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So after all that, Sahr’s advice: “Startup Weekend Lahore is a hot bed of opportunity, but only if you are prepared, and know what you are looking for. My advice would be to take some time to reflect on, and know, exactly what you want from the event before jumping in. Figure out, is it co-founders you are seeking? Mentors, incubation, networking opportunities or just a space to test your nerves? Whatever it is, it’s important to know what you want, and to focus wholeheartedly on that goal.”

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