Startup Weekend Green Bay 2015 Recap

Thanks to all the participants, coaches, judges, organizers, our speaker and Startup Weekend facilitator who made this event a huge success! 47 participants formed into 8 teams on Friday night, and the final results on Sunday were pretty amazing. Please check out the final pitches on YouTube (courtesy of the Toolshare team) to see the pitches if you haven't already.

Here is a list of our winning teams:

1st Place – Blaze Backcountry
2nd Place – Cards for Dudes
3rd Place – Paul Request

There were 5 other companies that also hustled and built amazing products all weekend:

  • Mystery Vacations
  • FiberStarter
  • Toolshare
  • Bean Dirt
  • Practical Safety Solutions

Teams, if the link to your project is incorrect or missing, please drop us a line with the correct URL to your project and we'll get it updated on our site.

Stay Connected

It's important to stay plugged in with other motivated entrepreneurs, designers and developers in your area. Here are a few ways to continue to cultivate these relationships:

SWGB 2016

The organizing team has not figured out exactly when the next event will be, but chances are it will be happening around the same time next year. We'll make sure to send out an email as the details are finalized and we'll keep swgreenbay.com updated with the latest info.

Thanks again for helping make this possible. It was amazing to see everyone pull together and accomplish so much in just one weekend. We hope you had as much fun as we did and that we see you at the next event!




Why Attend Yet Another Networking Event? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

This is a guest post from Robin Lawson of Lumen Electronic Jewelry, a startup from the Madison area. Thanks, Robin!

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As an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, I get it.  Your time is limited and therefore valuable.

Like me, you may be bombarded with all kinds of networking events, pitch contests, hackathons, etc.  If we went to all of them we’d have no time to do the things you actually love.

And the ROI (Return On Investment) is nebulous.  I’ve been there, awkward and bored, saying the same 3 phrases over and over to strangers.  And then walking away feeling like my time was wasted.  No leads, no connections.

However I also know staying home means my baby may never grow.  I HAVE to put it out there and take a risk.  It’s what we entrepreneurs do.

But they have to be calculated risks.  Educated risks.  The stakes are high.

My baby is Lumen Electronic Jewelry, which I co-founded with my brother.  We custom design solar powered twinkling LED jewelry.  Yup, no batteries, all green energy and blinky lights.    It’s hard to explain in words, so take a moment and check it out!

Early in our journey friends and family told us our stuff was awesome and we should sell it at craft fairs.  So we applied to a lot of fairs.

And you know what?  We got rejected from a lot of fairs.  We brushed it off, it happens to everyone.

A few of the smaller fairs let us in so we went, all excited.  And did we sell bucket loads?  NOPE.  Almost nothing.  Many people loved our stuff but they didn’t put money down.   We were left scratching our heads.

Then we realized craft fair attendees are not our target audience.  Geeks are our market, and they don’t generally go to craft fairs.

Seems obvious in hind sight, but at the time we thought we could sell to everyone.

Do we think all those craft fairs were a waste of time?  Hells no,  we learned a ton.

First, we perfected our pitch.  We talked to hundreds of people and figured out what the common questions and confusions were.   We learned how to answer those questions concisely and clearly.  We also went through iterations of our display and packaging, observing what worked for other vendors at the fair.

Second, we made connections.  We talked to other vendors during lulls in the crowd.  We found out what fairs were awesome and which were not.  We learned how to display merchandise, what are their best sellers, how long they’ve been in the business, etc.  This information was invaluable to us and our business.

I could go on and on, I have dozens more examples of all the things I learned going to craft fairs we didn’t sell enough to break even.  And the same goes for other networking events.

I am pickier now, savvier.  Before considering any event I ask myself 3 questions:

  1. Is my target market going to be there?

This is the perfect place to try my pitch, learn more about my customer’s needs, concerns, and get their feedback.  Listen to them.  You may turn out to be wrong about your customer like we were.  We thought craft fair attendees would get our product.  Most didn’t.  We thought geeks would be there.   They  were, but in VERY small numbers, not enough to live on.  Do’h!

  1. Are friends going to be there?

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely.  Lots of long hours by yourself.  There are some things only a fellow entrepreneur can understand.  My support network is invaluable, it keeps me sane.  They are a sounding board for ideas and make connections that I wouldn’t think of.  And support when things inevitably get tough.  Face to face time is still the best, Facebook or Linkedin can’t replace someone looking you in the eye and saying “I’ve been there.”

  1. Are mentors going to be there?

Is someone or some company attending that I admire?  Learning from others is great, it prevents history from repeating itself.  Sure I’m tempted to launch into my pitch right away, but I’ve found it much more effective to build relationships by staying curious about successful people.   How did they get where they are?  How much money and sweat did it take?  What worked, what didn’t?  Biggest regret, hardest moment, biggest victory from the last year?  Most entrepreneurs love to talk about themselves and their business.  Some people may not be willing to share and that is OK, I don’t push.  I find the ones who are.

And guess what?  Startup weekend may have all 3 of these elements for you.  Take a chance, it’s what entrepreneurs do.

This is a guest post from Robin Lawson of Lumen Electronic Jewelry, a startup from the Madison area. Thanks, Robin!




Developers Wanted!

Developers, developers, developers!

Most Startup Weekend Green Bay (SWGB) teams will need one or more developers. Some startup teams work on mobile apps, computer games or other computer programs or systems. Even hardware startups or non-digital service startups should have a website and may want a smartphone app. So developers are needed for every Startup Weekend team.

Types of developers needed for SWGB 2015, February 6 – 8, 2015:

  • Application programmers
  • Systems coders
  • Website developers
  • iOS developers
  • Android developers
  • Game developers
  • Web services developers

I’m going to work with area organizations such as Northeast Wisconsin Developers Users Group, Northeast Wisconsin Association of Information Technology Professionals, and the Northeast Wisconsin Linux Users Group to invite all their members to participate in SWGB. We also need to contact:

  1. 1. Computer-related departments and instructors at northeast Wisconsin’s universities, colleges, high schools and middle schools.
  2. 2. Companies whose main business is computers, such as DMI Studios, Heartland Business Systems, Infinity Technology, Skyline Technologies and ZyQuest.
  3. 3. High tech companies where lots of coders work, such as Breakthrough Fuel, Plexus, Surface Mount Technology and Xenser.
  4. 4. Companies which have a significant number of developers, such as Kimberly-Clark, Miller Electric, Oshkosh Corp, Schneider and Schreiber.

To help make sure we have lots of developers at SWGB 2015:

  1. 1. If you know developers, please tell them about SWGB 2015 and encourage them to register.
  2. 2. If you know good contacts in the above listed organizations, please share their contact info with me; I’ll work with them to encourage their developers to participate in SWGB 2015.

To learn more, go to the SWGB website at http://greenbay.startupweekend.org/.

Bob Waldron
bwaldron@gmail.com




Startup Ideas Bootcamps

Do you have an idea for a startup that could use some refinement? Or do you want to be part of a startup, but don’t have a good startup idea?

In just three hours, Startup Ideas Bootcamp will help you come up with new ideas, improve your ideas, determine the next steps, and maybe even recruit potential co-founders. This intensive, collaborative and worthwhile workshop begins with a talk by a startup founder designed to cover the components of good and bad startup ideas. For example, is your market big enough, is there organic growth potential, is there a clear path to profitability? After the main talk, attendees can share their ideas with both experts and peers to receive constructive feedback.

Time is your most precious resource during Startup Weekend. You won’t have enough time for everything you want to do during the event. In only 54 hours you will build a new company and a new product with a new team. To get the most done in that 54 hours, you should prepare for that weekend marathon. Startup Ideas Bootcamp helps you prepare to be as effective as possible during Startup Weekend Green Bay.

I’m currently working to organize Startup Ideas Bootcamps in Appleton and Green Bay. To do these bootcamps, we need three or four things:

  1. 1.  Venue host in Appleton (NWTC has already offered to host a Green Bay bootcamp)
  2. 2.  Main speaker / serial entrepreneur (to talk about choosing and improving startup ideas)
  3. 3.  Bootcamp participants (this means YOU!)
  4. 4.  Sponsor for snacks (not required, but makes the bootcamp more fun for participants)

If you’d like me to help you organize bootcamps in other areas, we could do them in Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Sturgeon Bay, Manitowoc and other northeast Wisconsin cities.

Here are three requests for you regarding Startup Ideas Bootcamp:

  1. 1.  Bootcamp speaker or mentors: If you’re a serial entrepeneur or know a serial entrepreneur who might be a bootcamp speaker, please contact me at the email address below.
  2. 2.  Bootcamp sponsor: If you’ll sponsor snacks for a bootcamp or know a sponsor, contact me.
  3. 3.  Bootcamp co-organizer: If you want to help organize and put on a startup ideas bootcamp, contact me.

Bob Waldron
bwaldron@gmail.com




Startup Weekend Green Bay, Feb 6 – 8, 2015

Check your calendar right now! Look at the weekend of February 6 – 8, 2015. If you don’t already have high priority events on that Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, put Startup Weekend Green Bay (SWGB) on your calendar for those days.

Here’s the official explanation of what Startup Weekend is: “Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.” You can find out lots more about Startup Weekends by poking around on the Startup Weekend main website, http://startupweekend.org/, or by doing a Google search for “startup weekend.”

The first SWGB event happened in February 2014, and people enjoyed it so much that they decided to make it an annual event. You can read a short summary of SWGB 2014 at http://greenbay.startupweekend.org/2014/02/24/startup-weekend-wrap-up/.

Startup Weekends are participant-driven events. If you live in northeast Wisconsin and are highly interested in the concept of this event, please consider helping with the planning and preparation for SWGB 2015. Your help is needed to make sure people know about the event, to personally invite people to participate in SWGB, to identify and help recruit mentors, and to generally make this a fantastically fun and worthwhile event. If interested in helping, email us at greenbay@startupweekend.org.

We especially need help recruiting an interesting and effective mix of participants for the event. Creating a new startup company isn’t an activity for everyone, but there are thousands of people in the Fox Cities, the Green Bay area and other parts of northeast Wisconsin who will enjoy being part of a startup. We need to let those people know about SWGB so they can connect with like-minded people in the startup community. This year one of my goals is to maximize the variety of people participating on SWGB startup teams. Here’s a prioritized list of the demographic groups I’m targeting to connect with and recruit for SWGB 2015:

  1. Developers (computer programmers, website developers, app developers, etc)
  2. Designers
  3. Marketers
  4. Females
  5. Middle school and high school students
  6. Different ethnic backgrounds

There will be a series of blog posts on this website about SWGB, so come back often! Until your next visit to this blog, you have three assignments:

  1. Block out February 6 – 8, 2015, on your calendar for SWGB.
  2. Start making a list of ideas for launching a new startup.
  3. Spread the word to others about SWGB 2015.

If you are willing to help spread the news about SWGB to one (or more) of the above groups of people, and to help recruit SWGB participants from those groups, please contact me at bwaldron@gmail.com.




Startup Weekend Green Bay 2014 – Wrap Up

David Troup speaking at Startup Weekend Green Bay

Thanks to all the participants, coaches, judges, speakers, and organizers who made this event a huge success! Approximately 45 participants formed into 9 teams on Friday night, and the Sunday Demo Day results were pretty amazing.

Here is a list of the winning teams and their prizes as determined by the judges:

1st Prize: LingoLit

2nd Prize: VigorUs

3rd Prize: Leagueify

All teams/participants:

  • The Avenue HQ  decided to award every registered participant of Startup Weekend with a free Shared Workspace membership through March 31st at The Avenue HQ coworking space. This level of membership includes 9-5 access, free coffee, conference room usage, and high-speed wifi. To redeem, just email them at info@theavenuehq.com and tell them which team you were on.
  • Apply for a spot in the Digital Fertilizer Startup Showcase March 10,2014

Thanks to the other six teams for the awesome work you guys did as well:

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Some press on the event on Xconomy via Chris Campbell http://goo.gl/IB13NC

Now that the event is over it’s important to stay connected. Find SWGB on:

http://greenbay.startupweekend.org/
https://www.facebook.com/swgreenbay
@swgreenbay

Stay tuned for updates on the next SWGB! 

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