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After months of preparation, SW Food has come and gone! Before our memories fail us, let’s try to capture the most unforgettable moments of #SWyum.

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Highlights:

In our first blogpost, we mentioned the international mix of our organizing team, representing the UK, US, China, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy… and how our love of food brought us to organise the event. The attendees beat us at our own game by travelling to London for our event, from countries including Belgium, France, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland, to name a few. Wow!

And it didn’t stop there. We had a brilliant designer join us remotely from Dubai, who helped several of our teams with amazing designs throughout the weekend. So special shout out to Zahed Mirza!

One of the striking things the organisers noticed was how easily the participants interacted and collaborated throughout the event (we even noticed a few people consulting and giving feedback across teams!). With so much to fit in to 54 hrs, it’s easy to get caught up with the work – but the people you meet and the network you build are ultimately the most valuable takeaway you’ll get from Startup Weekend.

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Mentors, Speakers, and Judges:

We had 20 brilliant speakers, mentors, and judges, who provided top-notch support to our teams. Participants noted the high quality mentorship as being a highlight of the event, so thank you all!

Friday: Patrick Drake of HelloFresh, kicked things off by inspiring us all with his story of how leading a double life of playing lawyer by day and chef by night, lead him to venture out to pursue his love of food full time.

Saturday: Danny Bluesone of CyberDuck gave us a wonderful talk on lean UX and personas to get the teams on the right track with their product design. Our mentoring sessions for Sat included: Corrado Accardi of Pizza Rossa, Fahim Hussain of Market Munch, Ali Meruani of Menuspring, Tania Pasia of Red Badger, Ivan Shyr of Sussex Place Ventures, Chris Steinau of Uncover, and David Voxlin of Craved.

Sunday: On Sunday, we continued mentoring with seasoned Startup Weekend mentor and organiser Amalia Agathou, Kastytis Kemezys of Cinnamon Bridge and Dave McDougall of Hult Business School. Our judges who helped us make the tough call on deciding the winners of the event were JinA Bae of CHOPCHOP (a former SW winner herself!), Madeleine Blyth of Techstars, Kastytis Kemezys of Cinnamon Bridge, Ryan Perera of Henchman, Ivan Shyr of Sussex Place Ventures, and Raj Sharma of Only By Nature.

Startup Weekend is ALL about community, and we loved seeing so many SW community leaders come out for the event. Special shout out to our new friends from SW Ireland, who we were thrilled to meet and get some top tips from. And another special shout out to Ryan Kuder from Techstars, who stopped by throughout the weekend to help mentor some of our teams.

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Food:

Now what you’ve all been waiting for – the menu for the weekend, followed by a few of our favourite #foodporn moments 😉  We guarantee that SW Food was certainly the best fed hackathon in town!

Friday: We started the event off in true hackathon style with pizza and beer – but took it up a notch with mentor Corrado Accardi’s Pizza Rossa.

Saturday: Best to start the day happy and healthy with breakfast from MangoMango and your not so average salads from Pollen & Grace. Harry Thuillier of Oppo hand delivered some of his delicious Oppo ice cream, and even found some time to talk to us and help out some of the teams. After an exhausting day of hard work, our lovely sponsors from Hungry House were there to save the day with some delicious Thai and Indian food.

Sunday: Keeping it simple again for breakfast, with a spread of bagels and fruit. For lunch, Hungry House spoiled us AGAIN, with sushi from Youme sushi, and we also had some sandwiches from Pret. And finally, we had some delicious Hummos Bros. Gipsy Hill helped us to top off the event by sponsoring beer – it was a huge hit, and the packaging put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Snacks and drinks: We were spoiled with choices from our snack sponsors, who helped fuel us throughout the weekend. A HUGE thank you goes out to: Nari Palm Juice, Nudie Snacks, Propercorn, Rude Health, Urban Fruit, and Vita Coco.

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Before this blogpost gets out of hand (thanks for making it this far!), check out a great recap of the pitches here. Our recap of the winning teams, and the team MVP awards is posted here.

The winning teams won awesome prizes, including office space at WeWork, places in Cinnamon Bridge’s food startup bootcamp, advisory with Crowdfooding, and a workshop with Startup Manufactory. Shaken Cocktails also sponsored a box for each winning team to celebrate. The MVP winners each got a HelloFresh box to continue the #yum at home. We hope that these prizes will help encourage and support them in continuing with their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Last but not least, the organising team wants to thank our wonderful facilitator Maria-Christina Tsitsopoulos, for her support, and putting up with our crazy antics over the weekend 🙂

This was our first time organising a Startup Weekend, so thanks all for making it one to remember! Keep an eye out for us in the future, because in the words of M. Schwarzenegger – We’ll be back.


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Emily Kwan