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Are you ready to build something? Startup Weekend Iowa City is your chance to test drive startup life in a magical 54 hours. You might create a team and work on an idea you pitched or you might join a team after being inspired their pitch, wherever the weekend takes you you’ll see the gamut of startup life.

In the weekend the team you’re on will dive into customer discovery. You’ll get outside the building to survey potential customers about the idea you’re working on and see if you’re solving a problem for those potential customers. You’ll Identify customer needs, validate ideas, and work towards Product Market Fit. It’s also important to keep an open mind the entire weekend, based on customer discovery your idea might pivot to being something completely different. If you think a pivot sounds silly keep in mind both Instagram and Slack started as out as games before becoming billion dollar startups in photography and team communication that they’re known for.

Your team will also work on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to show that your idea does have value. You might want to build the next Facebook competitor, but keep in mind you won’t be able to build the entire product in a weekend. It’s important to build a rough sketch of what your idea could be to show how that value could be created – Be it a simple WordPress site or a wireframe of how the idea could work. For instance when Dropbox “launched” it was a video showing how the service worked, the video garnered enough interest to become the product used by millions.

At the end of the weekend you’ll have a pitch to show off your teams to work to the entire group of Startup Weekend attendees and a panel of judges. You’ll want to show what your idea is in a quick manner for all to understand, who has the problem you’re solving (Customer Discovery), how you’re going to solve this problem (MVP), how you’re a better option than the competitors (Trust me, they exist out there), how you’re going to make money, and how your idea is going to take off in the future. For some final pitch inspiration check out Iowa’s own HowFactory and Men’s Style Lab at their respective Accelerator Launch Days.

Startup Weekend returns to Cedar Rapids March 4th – 6th at the Iowa Startup Accelerator in the Geonetric Building. We’re also excited to announce Sunday Demo Day Pitches will take place at Whipple Auditorium in the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Get your tickets today.

Brian Kerr