Strengthening the Ecosystem of Startups in Latin America

Latin America has always been a fascinating region to me. Its cultural and geographic diversity make it one of the most interesting in the world, and those things that most capture my attention are their ability to adapt to changes and the infinite imagination they have to overcome adversity.

It is no surprise, then, that it is one of the most enterprising regions and its ecosystem of startups is one of the most dynamic and with the highest potential on the planet. Several technology companies have emerged in the region in recent years, and many of them have been consolidated in markets which, in principle are on the outside, like the American one.

Latin America is facing an historic opportunity to generate wealth and employment through entrepreneurship, relying on its entrepreneur DNA to generate new businesses, attracting foreign startups who seek to base their operations in the region in search of new users. Harnessing this potential requires governments to be able to articulate smart public policies focused on the needs and concerns of Latino entrepreneurs, fostering an innovative approach to solving local problems.

With these problems in mind, Techstars, with the support of Google, have carried out a process of discussion with entrepreneurs and industry benchmark agents about the five pillars that we believe are required to build thriving communities of entrepreneurship in the region, including the creation of public policies. During 2015, we organized discussion workshops in nine cities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic to share concerns, identify success stories, and think of solutions that strengthen the ecosystem of startups based on culture, density, capital, talent and regulatory environment.

Among the most interesting results we have detected are the need to generate more women entrepreneurs by promoting the study of technological careers from an early age in this demographic, as well as working to change the sometimes inaccurate perception within the region on venturing and failing as part of the learning process. From a regulatory point of view, the most discussed topics were on how to create modern and harmonized legislation between different countries in the region that could simplify the processes of generation and closure of companies, limit the liability of intermediaries for content generated by its users, and promote the availability of capital. Most surprising, however, we found dozens of examples of successful initiatives and models in the region and that can be replicated and used as a reference by other countries.

Fostering the Startup Ecosystem in Latin America

These, among other conclusions and recommendations are documented in the report “Fostering the Startup Ecosystem in Latin America”, which we proudly present this week at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin, Colombia, to world leaders. This paper is available for free at the link below. We trust this process is just the first step towards greater involvement of entrepreneurs in building tools and policies that affect them directly, and we will continue to have more instances of discussion and community participation.

We believe the development of the startup ecosystem should be based on greater public-private collaboration, so that all the actors that comprise it, directly or indirectly, reap the benefits of entrepreneurship.




Startup Next Telluride Open for Applications!

Hi everyone, my name is Marc. I recently moved to Telluride this year and have been doing as much as I can in my spare time to help build the startup community here. It continues to amaze me how many amazingly talented people are working on great things here already…. and no one ever knew it! It turns out you can live in a small mountain town, enjoy the amazing quality of life it offers, and solve real problems in the world!

I’m teaming up with Scot Ennis, another recent transplant to put on Startup Next. This is a “pre accelerator” program that I helped create about 4 years ago, and has been hosted over 120 times over 40 cities around the world. We believe that this program will be an amazing complement to the Telluride Venture Accelerator program and will target companies that might be slightly earlier stage.

We’re in the process of assembling a world class mentor list and recruiting some great teams. If you join us, we’ll build an incredible cohort of teams working on companies based in Telluride (that serve markets beyond just our amazing little box canyon).

If you’re working on something cool and could use a little help or know someone who is, have them apply now! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions or join us at the upcoming Telluride Entrepreneurs Meetup on December 10th at the Hub…. oh yeah, check out the Telluride.me site too and give us any feedback!




The Future is Bright; Startup Weekend’s Next Chapter

A few weeks ago we announced that UP Global is joining forces with Techstars. Techstars! This is both huge and irrelevant news for Startup Weekend organizers around the world. I’m partially joking by calling it irrelevant, it is big news, but I say that because Startup Weekend is not going anywhere and the mission remains the same. Regardless, new things can be scary, and as the dust settles I’d like to point out a few reasons why I’m extremely excited about the direction we’re heading.

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend will become a bigger player in Startup Communities. If you are reading this, you are most likely already a fan of Startup Weekend. You understand the value and how important our programing can be to support budding entrepreneurs. Outside of this great group however, is a larger community of people unfamiliar to Startup Weekend. They are not privy to the opportunity and value these events provide. We as an organization have had a hard time sharing all the success that we see come out of our events. As Techstars, we have bigger megaphone. We will now be much closer to the success of later stage companies. Working with successful startups will help us identify our own success stories earlier and also improve our early stage resources upstream. Seeing an entrepreneur from idea to IPO means we’ll be able to deliver better, more relevant programing.

I also suspect that we will have more committed attendees and sponsors. For the same reason above, attendees and sponsors are attracted to hard data. The more success stories we can highlight, the more high quality attendees and sponsors we’ll attract.

Click the image to see entire album

We’ll be able to provide people more opportunities after the weekend. We get asked again and again “how can we help teams after the weekend?” My answer varies on the type of person but in all honestly I don’t think we’ve completely figured it out. Startup Next was our first attempt, but we’ve found that there is still a large learning gap between Startup Weekend and Next. Joining Techstars now allows us the opportunity to look at the entire picture and find new ways of support. We’re very adamant about keeping Startup Weekend ‘accelerator agnostic’, but we will now have a new very useful channel to help provide funding and resources for the teams we know are interested in moving forward.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.44.33 PM

We will have less restrictions as a for-profit entity allowing us to do more. Our nonprofit status was a key part of our success in the early days. It allowed us to reach foundations and partners that would not have been able to support us had we been a for-profit. More importantly, it helped build trust among organizers who are selflessly building their local communities. However, you’ll notice that we’ve never fully operated like other nonprofits. We’ve never asked individuals for donations, or held galas and other fundraising events. Instead, the 501c3 tax-exempt status was used as tool to explain our intent and drive home the Startup Weekend mission. Our community has grown significantly in the last few years, and has been the major force holding us (both HQ and other community members) accountable to our mission. Which makes me feel confident that we can shed the tax mandated non-profit restrictions and create self imposed restrictions instead. This means that HQ will be able to relinquish some of the control we needed in the past, and provide more flexibility/ownership for organizers. Learn more about our new status.

Our Mission isn’t changing, and we now have more resources to support the global community. We sometimes see Startup Weekend as our child; we want it grow up healthy, and independent, without getting hurt. Like any overprotective parent, our team has done a lot of research and feel that this is one of the best things for our future. The structure and mission of our events will not change, but we now have a much bigger family to provide more support and opportunities. I’m extremely excited for our future, and hope that you will be alongside me as we watch Startup Weekend grow.




A Letter From Marc Nager

A letter from Marc 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the UP Global Community Leaders around the world,

Today, we announced that Techstars, one of the world’s leading accelerators and early stage investors, will be acquiring UP Global and all of its programs. Over the last six years, we’ve supported over 3,000 events with 300k attendees across more than 120 countries. Startup Weekend, and later, Startup Digest, Startup Next, and Startup Week, have become part of a global movement of grassroots entrepreneurship. We’ve watched significant change in this timespan – startup activity is accelerating globally, early stage capital markets have never been as accessible, and we’ve successfully eliminated the hyphen from the world “startup” – for those in the space!

Since the early days when Franck Nouyrigat, Clint Nelsen and myself took what Andrew Hyde started with the first versions of Startup Weekend, we had a dream for it that went beyond events. These community building efforts eventually grew into UP Global, the vision for which is best captured in our “Entrepreneur’s Journey” model.

To say that the paths and visions of Startup Weekend and Techstars were inextricably linked from the beginning is an understatement. Andrew created Startup Weekend as the first employee of Techstars in 2007. The first real office for Franck, Clint, and I was in the basement of the Techstars Seattle office. Thank you Andy Sack! Today, UP Global’s HQ is the co-anchor tenant with Techstars in Startup Hall Seattle; not even a wall between us.

More important than the practical and human alignment behind our organizations, today’s announcement represents the value and mission alignment of our two organizations. Early on, David Cohen and Brad Feld coined the #givefirst mantra which became one of the fundamental premises in the book Startup Communities that just so happened to reference Startup Weekend a half zillion times. The values of #givefirst to the community and putting the entrepreneur first has not only kept our organizations in close touch over the years, but has also complemented the values of what has become the respective startup movement behind both organizations.

Sharing the motivations for this strategic move combines the reality of more than two years since the launch of UP Global with the struggle to establish a business model that would continue to be dynamic and scalable beyond just sponsor and grant support. One of the most frustrating things for any non-profit is being able to create value while making a very real and tangible impact in the world, yet being unable to capture and reinvest that value to grow and sustain the mission. We refuse to jeopardize our current programs by dramatically raising prices, becoming a franchise model, or following any other approach to squeeze money from entrepreneurs or their communities. The answer continually pointed us towards the later stage activities for different business models and revenue streams that could sustain the organization long-term.

You might immediately ask, “Well, isn’t UP Global a non-profit?” It absolutely was in the U.S.  I’ve said since day one, being a non-profit was a business model decision, not a way of life. It allowed us to accept grant dollars in the early days from folks like the Kauffman Foundation, as well as to help establish credibility in a young and just evolving sector. It was the business decision that allowed us to build and scale in a market that had not yet fully understood the value of education for entrepreneurs.

I’d like to be the first to say that today’s announcement of UP Global transitioning from a non-profit to a for profit is a massive victory for the entire entrepreneurial industry. I believe that every charity should be trying to eventually work itself out of existence in a perfect world. In our case, impact investors, foundations, and social sponsors saw the need to step in and support efforts like ours to educate entrepreneurs where the private markets hadn’t yet stepped in, and now, six years later, we’re finally able to effectively link our value creation to the impact of creating entrepreneurial communities; and ultimately, more successful startup ventures within the private market. I hope we can be the first of many non-profits in the entrepreneurship space to make this shift.

Over the coming months, I’m personally excited to roll up my sleeves and work more closely with the community to improve and innovate our programs. Startup Weekend will continue to enter new markets, explore new editions, test new themes, and serve mature markets in new ways. Startup Next will continue to grow as the world’s largest pre-accelerator and will be dropping its fees while providing deal flow across the ecosystem, not just to Techstars. Startup Week will continue its amazing growth globally, and Startup Digest will continue to offer the world’s most curated content for founders and offer even more relevant and useful support to communities. Above and beyond the current programs, we will be working with Community Leaders to create processes to identify high potential teams that might make a great fit for accelerator programs or even be ready for conversations with a venture fund. The concern of our programs becoming exclusive deal flow for one entity was an early concern for both David Cohen and myself, as our intent is to truly create the most value for the entire ecosystem. As we’ve seen with efforts like GAN, and through our planned proactive collaboration and outreach with other players in the ecosystem, we’re confident that we can make this a genuine win for everyone. At the end of the day, it is the entrepreneurs themselves who should and will be choosing the path that makes the most sense for their company. If that path is with Techstars, great. If not, that is going to be something we celebrate too. We just want to see more entrepreneurs getting the stage appropriate resources they need, when they need them.

Ultimately, as community members, I want you to know that the programs you know and love will only be changing for the better, and those changes will be driven by guidance and feedback from you. My ask to you is to give us your candid feedback. Our mission of unlocking human potential through entrepreneurship isn’t changing, but the number of tools in our tool chest are expanding in a wonderful, new way with Techstars’ support.

I’m looking forward to continuing our mission, making our programs better and stronger, and ultimately creating a more entrepreneurial world with you all. A special thank you to all of the community leaders, mentors, judges, speakers, and sponsors who continue to make this all possible. Also, we couldn’t do this without the support of Google, Chase, Sprint, Intuit, Coke, .CO, and 3M, so thank you for your dedication to supporting entrepreneurs as well!

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about Techstars and how our work together will roll out, please reach out to me directly or visit http://www.whatsup.community/ for FAQs and more information.

 

Marc Nager

Former CEO of UP Global

Now the Chief Community Officer with Techstars
PS – Since I’ve been asked a couple times already, I wanted to make sure everyone knew that no founders or team members at UP, including myself, had any financial benefit on this transaction. The team you know and have worked with is still dedicated to the mission as much as ever and excited to continue that work as part of the Techstars family!

Join Marc Nager, David Brown, David Cohen, Brad Feld, and Trey Bowles for a live address today!




Must Read: "You Can't Scale What You Don't Start"

Entrepreneurship is often glorified. We’re constantly striving to prove the impact and importance resulting from the current global entrepreneurial movement. In the September 20th issue of the Economist, I read an article titled, “Instead of romanticizing entrepreneurship people should understand how hard their lives can be.” It goes on to describe the wild journey as “romantic as chewing glass” for some.

Having lived the self doubt, constant outside pressures, and penniless days myself, it’s pertinent for all of us to understand the importance of the early days and sacrifices entrepreneurs often make. The Economist’s article captures it perfectly:

“Would-be entrepreneurs need to have a more measured view of the risks involved before they start a business…but society also needs to have more respect for people who put their lives on the line to build something from nothing.”

The contrast between wanting to support/champion entrepreneurs and the dismal reality of what it really takes, is nothing short of a great debate. My good friend from The Kauffman Foundation, Dane Strangler, has taken this debate a step further. In his article, “You Can’t Scale What You Don’t Start”  he presents some of the scarier statistics and realities around the actual decrease in new firm creation in the United States. Strangler goes on to acknowledge that the value of society in job creation actually comes from only a handful of high-growth companies. If job creation is mostly coming from rapidly scaling companies… then why are we so fixated on helping more people just get started? 

Ultimately, there’s a fundamental truth here: nothing is more valuable to society than a culture which promotes entrepreneurship. I hope everyone takes the time to read through Dane Strangler’s article posted this week called, “You Can’t Scale What You Don’t Start”  

newbusiness



White Paper: Announcing 5 Ingredients For Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem'

Introduction

While supporting thousands of community leaders over the past six years, UP Global has consistently found itself at the center of larger conversations about what makes entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive.

Fundamentally, our goal is to provide a global framework for these conversations, that can be adapted to support the unique efforts of the community leaders and entrepreneurs – wherever they may be.

I’m pleased to announce the release of the Fostering a Startup and Innovation Ecosystem white paper. This research project extends our commitment to entrepreneurs around the world, and substantiates our optimism for the economic progress that occurs every day. We hope the conversations around these topics continue as we work together towards providing global access to entrepreneurship.

Foreword by Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs

UP Global, Startup Weekend

Entrepreneurship and innovation are thriving in communities across the globe, and we see the transformative power entrepreneurs have to build products and companies that improve their communities, cities, and ultimately the world. Over the last several years, we here at Google have seen a surge in entrepreneurial activity in cities as far ranging as Damascus to Detroit, Sao Paulo to Nairobi, led by local leaders and influencers.

UP Global is empowering communities with the support and resources they need to foster local innovation and entrepreneurs. Their belief is everyone in the world should have the opportunity to go from idea to startup. UP Global has over 7,000 volunteers across 125 countries who are eager to join in larger conversations with corporations, universities, and policymakers about building and fostering a favorable climate for entrepreneurs in their local community.

There is plenty of research that provides advice for entrepreneurs and highlights a few common ingredients that help to foster successful ecosystems. This white paper underscores the five critical ingredients that support flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems: talent, density, culture, capital, and regulatory environment. My hope is that we continue the conversation about how to foster these ingredients in our daily work.  As a board member of UP Global and a close partner of theirs through Google for Entrepreneurs – I’m excited about the organization’s continued support for entrepreneurial communities and the powerful opportunity these communities have to impact the world.

Please join me for a Google Hangout with Brad Feld, VC at Foundry Group and author of Startup Communities and Marc Nager, CEO of UP Global on thriving startup communities and creating alignment and not just density in your community.

 

Enjoy the white paper below! Click ‘save’ to download for easy reading.

Click to download the German translation or the Spanish translation.

 

 

 




How Whiteboarding Helps Visualize Success

Through years of my life and work with literally thousands of entrepreneurs, I’ve come to believe that there is a correlation between one’s likelihood for success, and one’s ability to visually brainstorm and articulate thoughts. Enter the whiteboard: the pale proving ground for ideas both genius and heinous.

Certainly, in the popular discourse concerning innovative communication technologies, the whiteboard is far from the cutting edge.

A younger cousin of the chalkboard, the whiteboard is neither small nor sleek. It consumes wall space, attracts graffiti, and requires an actual eraser in order to ‘delete.’ It does not deliver impression metrics, nor can it be connected with the cloud. And yet, despite its “square” image among more hip mediums for communication, I relish the opportunity to use the whiteboard as a means of connecting with my team.

Marc Nager, UP Global, Startup Weekend

Whiteboarding is a skill that we know when we see, but that we don’t talk about. It’s obvious when its missing: drawn out meetings, with lots of people and lots of distractions; or the extremely complex, heart-felt vision that someone can’t seem to articulate in a way that’s digestible for everyone else. In fact, when I find myself listening to someone attempting to articulate a vision without the ability to concisely represent their thoughts on a whiteboard, I find myself doubting their vision altogether.

The whiteboard does not replace technology like Photoshop, Asana, or Google Drive, nor does it have to. The whiteboard serves a simpler technological purpose in the office: to get people thinking away from their screens. And as you might expect from a medium adored by engineers, the whiteboard is a medium that wonderfully accommodates non-creatives; where no one cares how beautifully you draw, but rather how effectively your drawings communicate.

——

In my experience with startups, I’ve found that there’s power in presenting visual ideas offline, particularly when it’s done openly as a team.

UP Global, Marc Nager, Startup Weekend, Startup Next, Startup Education, Startup Digest

My team can attest to my affinity for whiteboard usage, and my success with the medium may have something to do with the following points:

Structuring ideas, in public, is what it takes to get good feedback. Respect the fact that you control the smelly bright marker, and that this might be the first time your colleagues have stepped away from a screen this morning. The change of medium can be a powerful tool for engagement.

Teams appreciate a great note taker; those who save the group time and effort in recording a meeting’s train-of-thought. The whiteboard allows an MC to play presenter and secretary simultaneously, while taking notes for the group rather than the other way around. Productive engagement comes from the participation of the team– shouting out criticisms and contributions– in a fast, efficient, and non-digital format.

The whiteboard enjoys physical and emotional inclusiveness. Even as technology thrills professionals, in-person presentation remains empowering to the audience in a way that has yet to be fully synthesized online. The whiteboard is an open meeting space for my team and me, and is productive in part because of it’s separation from the stream of daily digital activities.

Also, all deletion is permanent, which is central to the creative process of the space. The whiteboard is intended to mitigate the risks of forgetfulness, while remaining free from the anxiety or expectation of permanence.

Be prepared to keep your erasure to a minimum. There’s nothing wrong with removing ideas from the board; however, breaking your train of thought to backtrack can risk the continuity of your presentation. Use the following tips to approach the whiteboard prepared:

Visualize your agenda – if you have a clear agenda for your session, great! Write it down and review it quickly as you kick off. Solicit reactions and suggestions to the agenda, making sure everyone had the chance to be heard. If not, crowdsource a quick agenda. Be sure to always end with a review of action items or next steps.

Know your key statements – force yourself to narrow down a brainstorming sessions to 3 points that YOU want to make. These can be things you believe in or event key questions you don’t yet have answers to. Know these beforehand, write them down somewhere, and keep them in front of you while you run the whiteboard.

Turn the tables – the second you physically stand up and grab a pen, you have the power to ask questions from your audience. Ask questions that get people pointed towards your key statements. If someone is particularly passionate about something, hand them a pen and ask them to write/draw it. The better you do at facilitating others to participate in the conversation, the more committed everyone will be to the outcomes.

• Assign action items – Perhaps the most vital skill is to quickly gather feedback and turn them into actionable steps. Draw a star next to the action and then write the person’s name responsible for them. Be explicit about actions (or lack there of) for every single topic discussed and get a verbal commitment for the owners of each.

• Follow-up – After every good whiteboard session, you should have a lot of information that, to an outsider, will look extremely chaotic. Take a picture and capture an outline summary in an email or Google Doc that you can send to everyone who was there with extremely clear action items and owners for each. Make sure to do it within minutes or at max a couple hours of the meeting happening. Aka don’t over-engineer the follow up. Keep it simple.




From Early Stage to Scale: The Power of Strategic Partnerships

StartupWeekend_Logo_GFE

Recently, we announced our new partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs and our commitment to building a presence in over 1,000 cities in the next three years. As we prepare to double our impact alongside an incredibly influential, global organization, we also consider where we’ve come from and the people who made our early journey possible. In partnering with Google for Entrepreneurs, we are also graduating from our first major supporter – The Kauffman Foundation.

The people at Kauffman believed in our vision from day one in 2009, even when our organization consisted mostly of ideas and goals. Walking in to pitch at Kauffman, we knew it would take a huge leap of faith on their part to listen to a three person team talk about creating entrepreneurs around the world. Luckily, they took a chance on us and our vision, and with their considerable financial support, we not only survived our early days, but surpassed our original goal of reaching 400+ cities in three years. Since then, our team has also grown from three to 47 employees with multiple offices around the world.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 7.33.38 AM
Content from the first pitch deck that we presented to Kauffman.

“Our founder, Ewing Kauffman, challenged us to be daring, to take calculated risks, and to base our decisions in experience and research,” says Thom Ruhe, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Having nurtured and funded Startup Weekend’s growth at such a critical time, getting it through the tough times to now being sustainable, is what the Kauffman Foundation is about. We are privileged to have the opportunity to identify organizations like Startup Weekend to support, continuing Mr. Kauffman’s legacy of entrepreneurial philanthropy.”

I remember the day I first pitched at Kauffman back in 2009; I was challenged with the question: “How will you be sustainable after our grant period?” This question is important and easy to ignore when you’re focused on securing funding or grant support. Remember, partner agreements tend to be finite, and companies should plan accordingly. So while we had just secured a grant, part of that agreement involved dictating what would happen after the grant ended. This may sound harsh, but in reality, it’s critical. I believe that every foundation should maintain some sort of three year investment strategy with new grantees. It challenges the organization to plan with a great level of discipline and focus on sustainable revenue models. In this light, hitting goals and growing are milestones, but every day you take a step closer to the milestone that marks the end of that type of partner relationship. Ultimately, this stipulation forced us to always be looking ahead and planning for sustainability.

One of the greatest challenges for a rapidly growing non profit is finding a balance between the increase in activity and the overhead costs associated with this growth. One of the more significant unexpected costs we didn’t plan for is talent. People are important, and they cost money – salaries, benefits, committed overhead for the team. As you grow, so does every single one of your expenses. Everything from office space, to benefits, to the incredible time investments to ensure everyone is communicating with one another and aligned in their day to day actions. As you achieve your original goals, you inevitably outgrow your original operating costs in a big way. This reality calls for expanded partnership that can accommodate the needs of a mid-size company as opposed to an early-stage startup. As we faced rapid growth, we realized that we were outgrowing our initial partnership, and we would have to find a commitment that could support the increase in our activity. Google for Entrepreneurs, an organization that has always supported our cause, stepped up to take on our next set of challenges with us.

The Kauffman Foundation has always been one of our biggest supporters, and they truly are a part of the UP family. Without support from the Kauffman Foundation, we would not have reached the scaling phase we find ourselves in today. We realize how rare it is for a company to get to this point. It takes a great amount of faith in an early stage company and team with audacious goals. We know some of those goals may have seemed unachievable to others, but Kauffman shared our vision and was there to compliment us where we had gaps – capital and relationships – in the early days.

We are fortunate to be able to look back on our roots and early days with gratitude, knowing that a new partnership was a necessary part of the long-term goals that Kauffman established with us. Like a savvy early-stage investor, they knew they were our working capital as we found product-market fit. Today, we are fortunate to have partners ready to fund our progress as we scale – and we remember our crucial partners who got us off the ground.

 

Want to become a part of our next milestone? Get involved with UP programs in your area

 




From Zero to $1Mil in 3 Weeks… Zaarly Goes Warp Speed!

Zaarly, the winning team of Startup Weekend LA just raised a Million Dollars after 3 weeks of intense work. Check out the TechCrunch article here. The Investors include (Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, Paul Buchheit, Bill Lee, Naval Ravikant and Lightbank (the venture fund created by Groupon’s founders).)

But there is more to that than just money.

Co-founders, Bo Fishback and Eric Koester, Zaarly co-founders just created the perfect team and went from 0 to warp speed.

There are a few amazing aspects to this for Startup Weekend:

1. Zaarly used LaunchRock, another Startup Weekend success to launch their static webpage that is present now.

2. Both Bo and Eric are Startup Weekend Board members. They’ve been threatening each-other for months now that they will attend a Startup Weekend together and launch “something.” Well… here it is.

3. We’re researching it now, but this could honestly be the fastest idea to funding power play ever…. If you know of anything faster, let us know!

This is an amazing team, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Eric & Bo are some of the smartest people in startups we’ve ever met, so seeing them come together with Zaarly is amazing.

This is really a tribute to the Startup Weekend community and efforts around the world. Besides if the SW community wasn’t passionate and powerful enough to get where we are, we wouldn’t have been able to get Bo, Eric, Ian Hunter, Ashton and team all into one room!

See you all at SxSW!

The SW Family




Startup Weekend Names Jennifer Cabala Chief Marketing and Brand Officer

Seattle, WA – Startup Weekend, a global non profit which organizes weekend events to help entrepreneurs build companies, has named Jennifer Cabala Chief Marketing and Brand Officer.  Her responsibilities include global marketing, brand strategy and management, and business development.

Cabala joins Startup Weekend from Seattle 2.0, a media and events company serving tech entrepreneurs, where she served as CEO and Editor.  During her time there she produced several popular events for entrepreneurs including the sold-out StartupDay, an event to teach developers and business people how to build their first startup.  Readership of the Seattle 2.0 website has more than doubled since Cabala joined the company.

“I’m passionate about working with the tech startup community and helping employees become entrepreneurs” said Cabala.  “Joining Startup Weekend will allow me to take the Seattle experience and help entrepreneurs around the world.”

Startup Weekend is a fast growing non-profit, recently named in “Forbes” as a company to watch in 2011.  In September, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation gave Startup Weekend a $400,000 grant for their work.  Startup Weekend is on pace to become one of the fastest growing tech events worldwide — with 465% growth year to year.  In 2009, 1,800 entrepreneurs participated in 23 Startup Weekends. So far in 2010, 7,900 entrepreneurs have participated in 130 events in cities ranging from Seattle to London to Tokyo, with several more events planned for this year.

“Jennifer will truly take Startup Weekend to the next level,” said Marc Nager, Director of Startup Weekend.  “We are extremely fortunate to have her join our team at a time when we have tremendous opportunity to grow our global brand in terms of coverage and quality. Jennifer will be an integral part of our team, and we will be rolling out some amazing new things in the coming months. We look forward to continuing to scale rapidly and are appreciative of the tremendous support we have here in the Seattle community to do this.”

Cabala will stay on as editor-at-large and contributor to Seattle 2.0. “I still have a passion for the Seattle startup community,” said Cabala.  “I’m excited that I can continue to work with the Seattle 2.0 team while taking on the amazing opportunities that Startup Weekend offers.”

About Seattle 2.0
Seattle 2.0 is the most widely read web resource in Seattle focused on the tech startup community, featuring a team of writers comprised exclusively of entrepreneurs, executives and startup investors. Every month, Seattle 2.0 publishes a comprehensive index of nearly 400 Seattle-based startups ranked by their website traffic, known as the Seattle Startup Index. Seattle 2.0 also has a job board, service provider directory and  promotes events for tech startups in Seattle.  http://www.seattle20.com