Startup Weekend 5 Ideas

1. GREEN COPY

Green Copy is a platform that makes it possible for students to print for free. It’s a print in-house product that saves money, is eco friendly and supportive. Unlike other print shops we have assembled a platform, which prints free papers for students, it is sustainable and has a unique business model.

Team : Ermal Muharremi ( Team Leader )
            Fisnik Pula
            Edon Muharremi
            Norik Krasniqi
2. TIRANA OPERATING SYSTEM 
We aim to revolutionize the system by making it more accessible to our citizens, and more manageable by the local government. How are we going to achieve this? Our device installed on every bus, will be able to gather, analyze and send information in real time to the website or application, making our citizens life easier.
Time to an end for the messy transportation system of our city!
Ersion Meculi (Team Leader)
Korado Capja
Jonid Merdanaj
Gentjan Kolicaj
Endrit Abdiaj
Olta Leka
3. e-PARKING
We believe that everyone who lives in Tirana would agree with us when we say that one of the biggest problems we face living in this city, is where to find a spot to park our car. Everyone who drives, relates to the problem. So we think we have a solution, a car parking app. An app that you can easily get and through our parking places database you can find a free spot in every part of the city that you want.
Team:     Darius Vishkurti (Team Leader)
               Drini Zusi
               Elvis Kokoshi
               Geldi Belba
               Elvis Imeraj
               Klaudio Elezaj
               Ted Reka
4. Easy Cooking
Our App is based on what you exactly have in your fridge.  So , you just go to the fridge and open it . You take a look at what ingredients you have , you make a quick list of them and then you send them to us . Then we will have the recipe ready for you in anytime . Its very practical and easy to use.

Team:   Kejda Cara

             Sendra Cobanaj
              Dorina Plaku
              Stiven Ballshi
              Xhoiner Lilo
              Ina Kulla
5. Smart-Ed
Description- We are developing a portal  which is dedicated into creating spaces for online teachings by excellent students/experts for those who are seeking for knowledge.
Team Leader-Suzana Gjurra
Web Developer- Erald Xhuti
Business Guru- Vasjan Broka
6. NoTraffic
Creating a prototype that helps people to reach their destination faster by avoiding road traffic. Three goals of this app are: 1.finding the shortest and the fastest road to your destination. 2. If you are stuck in traffic this app also will help you to get out in the fastest way from the traffic. 3. Suggests taking other alternative vehicles.
Team: 1.Luciana Fani (TeamLeader)
          2.Timonela Fani
          3.Igli Manaj
          4.Ardit Ajdini
          5.Kevin Hoxha
          6.Fanjola Koroveshi
7.  Night Out Experience
Imagine Eventbrite on STEROIDS, that’s what N.O.X does for you we’ve taken it to a whole new level. Book tickets for the hottest social parties in the city! Skip the waiting lines! Check out drink offers for you favorite bars when you walk by! Check out what’s going on inside the venue and a lot more.
Erik Tamo – Leader
Ervin Kurti – Marketing / Developer
Renis Krisafi – Developer
8. Pluto – Smart Home Solutions 

This is supposed to be an artificial intelligence device that automates your home.

We are trying to develop a product that can retrofit virtually any home with an automated network to connect standard appliances (lights, plug in devices) with the intention to optimize efficiency.  Our method includes creating an intelligent device that can not only monitor your location in your home to learn your habits, but also you can speak to it to control it remotely and adjust things to your preference, such as turning on air conditioning before your arrival, or turning off your sound system when you need some quiet time.
Team:
Jordan Huezo – Team leader
Pajtesa Gashi
Anxhela Llalla
Samuel Turner
9. DigitalClinic

Digital Clinic is a web application, that offer database storage and clinic website in cloud. Purpose of this service is to store one unique dental record for each patient that dental clinic in the City or country will have. Problems that solves: having a unique dental record for patient, Knowing the dental history of a specific patient.

–          No paper based dental records.

–          Having much more patients in the future.

Dental Clinic Profits:

–          All patients records are stored in cloud and are safe from lost.

–          Marketing of dental clinic with a web page personalized.

–          New clients from system can be connected with the dental clinic.

Income from Web app:

–          Big data value.

–          Dental clinics that choose to buy a subscription or a package from the web app.

Marketing:

–          Social media, universities conferences, terrain agents.

–          Ministry of Health

–          Demo app  in health faculties.

Team members :  Elvis Deda, Ilir Hamitaj
10. I Can
iCan is a promotional platform and online marketplace which supports individuals with special needs. This startup is based on the abilities of the kids in art creation and promotional activities. People with disabilities has problems and we help them by donations and by selling their creative art. iCan as an Organization aims to help the community, specifically by making visible the creative artistic composition of children with disabilities and promoting their talent. We promote the originality of iCan which performs a new duty for the community.
Slogan: “Same rights,different needs! The creativity of children with special needs shown in this page.”
Team:
Altin Elezaj
Flogerta Beshiraj (Team leader)
Orjanda Lici
Rubin Gurabardhi
11. Parking Point Tirana
The idea of the Parking Point Tirana is to help everyone that has a car to find the nearest parking place,in the fastest way possible by giving details about free parking places. So in this way you will stop coming around to find a parking in tirana,creating traffic and a lots of smog.Find,Check and Park to your destination. And now that Municipality of Tirana has created the new agency of parking,that will manage 4000 parking places for wich every person will pay.
Team :
Co -Founder –Renaldo Agolli
Co -Founder — Klejdi Domi
Developer –Klaudio Kucaj
Marketing –Besmir Rizaj



Startup Weekend Tirana 4 – Tourism and Cultural Heritage Edition

  1. Tung.al

Tung is in an innovative web application and mobile app with two features, TungPAL & TungLAR. PAL-Point and Learn that aims to give all the information about a monument by scaning a QR code. LAR-Location Augmented Reality is the feature that gives all the information about a monument only by scaning directly the monument.

Ermir Korbeci (Team Leader), Enxhi Hamzallari, Adela Kadiasi

 

  1. Motive Shqiptare

We use foreign motives in our everyday lives instead of Albanian ones. It’s time to change that. Motive Shqiptare is a site focused on packing Albanian Motives, ranging from Children Games to Albanian Dances in online and physical packages.

Enes Kristo (Team Leader), Xhoi Rapi

 

  1. Ciceroni4.me

Ciceroni4.me is the first Market Place for local guide.Traveler can find professional and amateur guide, depending on their wishes and budget! Everyone who wants to be a guide, can do it through our Market Place.

Find your local guide for:

  • History
  • Archeology
  • Extreme Sports
  • Mountain or Beaches
  • Culinary
  • Nightlife

OUR TEAM: Adela Kallanxhi (Team Leader), Shpëtim Dushku (Web Developer), Marsel Laçka (Designer), Lorenc Doda (Web Developer)

 

  1. Gjirokastra site navigator

Creation of a mobile application witch offers a multi information for the city of Gjirokastra. Historical Buildings, Hostel/Hotel, Restorants&Bar, Regional Cams, Handcraft

OUR TEAM: Marvin Petrela (Team leader), Andia Shtembari, Edvin Lamce, Esion Meculi, Gentjan Kolicaj

  1. Everything.al

Everything.al is a platform based on customer experience . Services through which we create value are multi angular touristic platform that not just includes but also engages the user and the customer. The platform gets the job done by transferring you from one experience to another. The idea is that after finding a place you get the next experience suggested therefore not leaving it a dead end as other platforms do.

OUR TEAM: Albina Cuni (Team leader), Ana Shkreta, Rezart Prifti, Irola Andoni

 

  1. Shtepi-Pushimi.com

Currently only branded hotels have the opportunity to promote themselves through various online hotel-booking sites. However there is a large number of guesthouses still unexploited. Shtepi-Pushimi aims to be a marketplace that delivers a unique reservation/booking experience to such local guesthouses, apartments, spare rooms, villas, etc. and tourists. This platform will be mobile and web based. This will impact the tourism in those sites and also provide an overall better image of Albania on both national and international scale.

OUR TEAM: Sabri Nuzi (Team leader), Nertil Zhuri, Nafi Xhafa, Ervin Dervishaj

  1. STA (Student touristic agency)

The first tourism agency segmented students by offering buget tour packeges. This agency its made for students  by students helping them trevel more and spend less.

OUT TEAM: Armada Molla ( Team Leader), Anisa Kote, Artemisa Muca, Andi Thomaj, Aida Morina

  1. Virtual museum of Gjirokaster – 3D Museum

Explore the city through the visual technology KINECT. The Kinect sensor are perfoming augmented reality, with emphasis on cultural heritage applications. What we will offer in the museum is the combination of the technology with the beautiful attraction of the City of Stone

Our team: Alfisa Shahu (Team Leader), Ana Burnazi

  1. Mine.al

A mobile application aimed at all the travelers interested on visiting Albania. Mine.al will not only provide extensive information on favorite tourist destinations in Albania but it will also help them get around using a location based feature. This free app will be your trusty traveling companion.

Our team: Ina Sina (Team leader), Fabio Cimo, Gerta Dervishi, Enduena Lleshanaku, Denisa Cekrezi, Shpetim Dervishi, Ardit Dine

 

  1. Digital Heritage

 

 

  1. Zig Zag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Startup Weekend Tirana wins "Best Innovation Accelerator" award

It started with a group of young professionals,  fresh out of school, who believed that they could do more then just sit on the sidelines, waiting for someone to come by and see the worth of their idea. They got together, joined forces, ideas and experiences, and started what is now known as Startup Weekend Tirana, part of the world wide movement of Startup Weekend. The team has worked hard, often at the expenses of their family or personal time, to organize the 54 hour gatherings for the young entrepreneurs, innovators, tech-lovers and other young professionals.

award

And this 12 May, their hard work paid off, as they were honored by the 6th Infocom Albania as “Best Innovation Accelerator”

Infocom Albania is an annual Forum held in Tirana capital and serves as a platform for discussing the latest innovative initiatives in Albania, the challenges that companies face in this sector, ect. The main theme was “Time for Business”, at which participated many CEOs, CMOs, COOs and representatives of Albanian and international telecommunication companies. The conference was divided in three sessions, where each session gave the opportunity to telecommunication companies to speak about innovation, connectivity and their products. Startup Weekend Tirana was present at the 3d session, called “Leaders summit”. The organizing team was present during the award.

“We feel honored to be here today and we feel responsible for being entitled as “future leaders”. This price is an inspiration to continue organizing more Startup Weekend Tirana Events and have some impact on the new generaton” said Aneida Bajraktari, lead organizer of Startup Weekend Tirana.

award1

For the team, the award received is a great encouragement to continue forward with their project. it’s the motivation they need, as they gear up for the upcoming Startup Weekend Tirana, which this time around will focus on tourism, cultural heritage and innovation.




SW Tirana 3.0 – Business ideas and teams!

We have tried to reach out to everyone to gather info. Here is the team contact info that we have collected so far.  Email us at tirana@startupweekend.org if there is information that needs to be corrected/added.

1. TechnicAl

TechnicAl is a network for professionals that aims to get together handyman, plumbers, housekeepers etc. with customers who need their services.

Samanta Zeneli (Team Leader), Ardi Zeneli, Bukurie Ozuni, Sheqere Balliu, Jonadri Bundo, Erzan Hylli, Bukurie Ozuni, Nikolin Ndoka, Nerdon Gjonaj

 

2. Fittie

Fittie will offer its service via a mobile app.

Our goal is aiding everybody in following a healthy diet no matter what their health conditions or fitness goals are and provide them with a link to worldwide nutritionists for personalized diets.

Arnold Drita (Leader), Arnold Zhulali, Lubjana Saja, Saadi Myftija, Dorjan Hitaj

 

3. Special Craftsmen

Sell crafts and artworks prepared by children with special abilities through our website. Build a bridge between these children and customers, help them make most of their talent and generate revenue from it and in the same time raise awareness about people with special abilities and help them better integrate in society.

Enxhi Lilo (Leader), Antonela Duka, Arber Zela, Florjan Biba, Migel Zallemi, Marsel Lacka, Ejona Varangu

 

4. Random Thoughts

Often we want to escape but while we can’t do it physically, we try to do it with our mind. Random Thoughts app give you the opportunity to check in where your mind is wondering.

Elidjon Grembi (Developer), Kamela Kondili, Vasken Spiru, Agon Avdimetaj, Esat Pllana

 

5. Start healthy

Our goal is to improve children nutrition and healthcare. With the collaboration of government will start the application from the birth of the child and will be continue until child is 2 years old. The application will be a vaccination reminder, healthcare professionals, nutrition recommendation from experts’ pediatrics. Our goal is to improve children nutrition and healthcare addresses to growth standards recommending by World Health Organization.

Alfi Sh (Leader), Elda Shurdhaj, Jonida Llaci, Olti edhgjeliu, Igli metani.

 

6.  uSupply

A web portal that helps communication between Suppliers and Small Businesses to improve efficiency and reduce cost and time.

Andia Offiziell (Leader), Nafi Xhafa, Nertil Zhuri, Sabri Nuzi, Ardit Ajdini

 

7. Tirana Bus

“ We offer the fastest online ticketing system to help everyone manage their time better by making our service available on everyones mobile phones ”

Ardit Dine (Leader), Fabio Çimo, Gerta Dervishi, Megi Serani, Rovialdo Konda

 

8. Code in Rose

Code in Rose is an initiative whose mission is to decrease the gender gap in programming and to increase the number of IT females in the market.

Fjoralba Golikja (Leader), Andi Cobo, Anisa Kasemi, Eni Daka, Klea Mertenika, Sonila Marku

 

9. KTU Akademi

We aim to create Brand Identity as the leading and the most innovative educational academy offering high quality and added value to individual lifelong-learners

Ergers Mamoci, Iva Kërtusha, Esmeralda Topuzi, Jeton Shehu, Ergys Ura.

 

10. WhistleBlower

WhistleBlower is a company which will help the Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of tax evasion. Our aim is to raise awareness of the people about the importance of taking the tax voucher and making them realize that in the end it is also them who will benefit from our project

Kevin Shehu (Leader), Ardit Meti,  Xhulja Shahini, Jona Hebaj, Nilda Kipi

 

11. QuickFeedback

“Your pulse is a tool to help get a picture of your health !!!

Fastest way to inform doctors and interested people for heart issues of the patient, insurance companies will love this business, it lowers their costs!

Enri Dervishi (Leader), Albina Çuni, Anisa Caco, Ina Sina, Shpëtim Dervishi

 

12. Albanian treasures

Albanian treasures is a business to expand the economic pie in Albania by facilitating the export of the Albanian products and produce worldwide.

Warren Andersen (Team Leader), Manjola Perja, Xhoi Rapi, Denisa Pano, Uirda Shparthi, Juxhina Ismaili.

 

13. AlbFood

Marketing website designed to make life easy for restaurants & clients.We help restaurants achieve the best advertisement & people who want to know more about Albanian cuisine & where to find the places that suit their choices. You will find the number of calories & nutritive values each dish has. You will be offered an application where you can find out how much calories you would be taking.

Joy Banushi (Leader), Edona Maluka, Eli Deraj, Adem Alushi, Florian Murataj, Joy Banushi, Xhuljo Balla, Olgert Rakipllari

 

14. Free Software Services

Offering SaaS (Software as a Service) based on Free Software. Free Software Services is a company offering SaaS (Software as a Service), meaning that we offer Open Source Software hosting, on monthly/annual subscription. You can choose the software you need from our list and just subscribe, we’ll do the installation and configuration for you, saving your time and technical frustrations.

 

Dashamir Hoxha (Leader), Ardita Turhani, Denis Bakiu, Maria Karaj

 

15. Shumlist

Share ideas through real projects. Shumlist is a website that allows all innovators to sell, buy, and exchange both finished and unfinished projects with each other. Explore. Find. Achieve.

Mateo Prifti (Leader), Jetro Saraj, Grejdi Meta, Margen Stepa, Patrik Bardhi, Hristos Giannopoulos, Artian Kica, Frenklin Hasani, Enes Kristo, Kelvin Cobanaj

 




Startup Weekend Tirana – pre event!!!

With so many aspiring entrepreneurs, designers, and developers signed up for Startup Weekend Tirana, the sheer number of faces can be overwhelming for newcomers and veterans alike.

Instead of wasting those precious first hours getting to know the guest list, attending the opening party is a great way to familiarize yourself with attendees and ease your way into the 54-hour whirlwind.

This kick-off to Startup Weekend Tirana will be held at Tulla – Culture Center, a cultural center dedicated to educational activities: art-management, social and art criticism, curatorship, seminars, round-tables and other culture events. We thought it is the ideal location for participants to get to know other personalities at Startup Weekend Tirana

tulla

At the very least, this pre-event is a fun alternative to your usual Thursday-night plans. But if you’re attending Startup Weekend with specific goals in mind, it can also help you.

Five Reasons You Should Attend the pre-event:

  1. Break the ice. This is a convenient way to meet fellow participants before you get down to brass tacks for the weekend. The next day won’t be as awkward when you see some familiar faces while teams start forming.
  1. Jumpstart inspiration. Learning about company ideas early can help you refine your own plan or discover one you want to pursue.
  1. Schmooze with the judges and mentors. Getting to know the judges and mentors is a great idea. It’ll make it much easier to approach them for advice later on.
  1. Integrate into the Startup Weekend community. Every conversation you have with other attendees could lead to a new opportunity, such as a potential internship or job. But don’t get hung up on this. It’ll detract from the fun.
  1. Build excitement for the weekend. Surrounding yourself with motivated people bursting with innovative ideas will get you pumped up for the weekend.

Tips for “Navigating” the pre-event

Chances are you’ll be swimming in a sea of unfamiliar faces, but don’t let that keep you from joining in on the pre-weekend fun. Here are some tips to help you navigate the opening event:

  • Keep it relaxed.Yes, your conversations might look different than your normal dialogue with friends, but this is still an opportunity to get to know people as friends first, not some stiff networking affair.
  • Introduce yourself. Meeting new people can feel awkward, but getting these introductions out of the way in a social atmosphere will make Startup Weekend that much more comfortable. Don’t go overboard with the liquid courage, though.
  • Don’t expect to meet everyone. Don’t pressure yourself to meet every person there. Most people stop by for an hour or two. Feel free to come and go as you please; you’ll be happy you did.
  • Don’t start scouting. If you come to size up the competition, your intensity will push others away. This event is about socializing, not strategizing.

Try to stop by Tulla – Culture Center on Thursday, November 20, at 7p.m.




How to Rock Your Startup Weekend Event

 1.     Prepare Your 60 Second Pitch

Startup Weekend events are such a great place to find and interact with other ambitious, creative and passionate people. If you want to share an idea, you better make sure to have your 60 pitch prepared. First, I suggest opening with who you are and your skills, then clearly articulate the problem you want to solve and for whom. There are all sorts of fascinating problems in the world – pick one worth solving. Second, define how you propose to solve this problem. Don’t get into the details and certainly don’t talk about how you will “monetize.”

Make sure to impute yourself as a “team player.”  People that have the highest probability of attracting top talent are those who are charismatic, confident, and show a willingness to be flexible and participate in the concurrent designing of a new product. Finally, research your idea and the competitive landscape  – not doing so makes you appear lazy and naïve.

2.     Build a Complimentary Team 

I’ve found that teams with complimentary skill sets perform most efficiently. Each member of the team can be assigned an equally important task and then focus on executing on that task. There are four core areas that you need to focus on during the course of the event – customer validation, designing and building of your MVP, business model design and final presentation. With that said, I suggest making sure your team consists of one business development or marketer, two developers (one front-end and one back-end) and one really great designer.

As you assemble your team it is critical that you are totally honest and transparent with your intentions for the weekend and after. Some members of the team might not be prepared to leap off the proverbial cliff on entrepreneurship, others will be. Be prepared to a candid conversation with your team after the adrenalin and euphoria of the weekend wear off.

3.     Customer Discovery & Validation

After you have assembled your team and gotten to know one another, make sure everyone understands the problem you’ve set out to solve and who are the people most affected by this problem. These are the people you will want to validate your proposed solution against. Your proposed solution may change during the course of the weekend, but make sure to stay focused on solving the same problem.

It is important that you find product/market fit by finding enough people who are willing to pay for the value created from your product or service. I believe you shouldn’t begin building a solution to a customer’s problem until you have spent time talking with them about your proposed solution and have gathered their feedback/input. I like to take some time checking out the solutions of competitors by using tools such as Compete or Quantcast or simply Googling keywords I think potential customers would use to find my product or service.

With that said, get out of the building and go talk to your potential customers. You can use tools such as AskYourTargetMarket, distribute surveys using Wufoo and get fast answers through MerchnicalTurk. Incorporate this customer feedback/input into the design of the mechanism that solves their problem. This mechanism is called your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

4.     Define and Design Your Minimum Viable Product

You want to get your MVP designed, built and tested in the market place as fast as possible – so you can start making decision on real data.

Eric Reis defines a minimum viable product as:

that product which has just those features and no more that allows you to ship a product that early adopters see and, at least some of whom resonate with, pay you money for, and start to gave you feedback on

When mocking up a MVP make sure you really care about and focus on user experience design (U/X). While this encompasses a lot and given the short nature of the weekend long event, I suggest focusing on bringing together beautiful and powerful visual design with simple usability. Keep it as simple and intuitive as possible. I suggest never giving users more than three options to choose from or three directions to navigate towards.

5.    Build Your MVP

Some smart person said “work smarter, not harder.”

I have experienced too many teams that try and build something from scratch when there already exists a really great solution – usually in the form of an API. Don’t spend time building the backend of your mobile app – use CloudMine. Don’t build a payment systems – use Dwolla or Venmo. Use the cloud platform Heroku and be sure to check out Twitter Bootstrap.

6.     Business Model Design: Value Proposition and Customer Acquisition Strategy

I implore everyone to read Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder. In it contains the Business Model Canvas, which is a great tool for generating a period of creative deep collaboration between team members, and provides a framework for teams to clearly define the relationships between all components in their business model. But during the course of the weekend I think it is important to only focus on two things: your value proposition and defining how you are going to get your first, 10th, 100th and 100,00th user.

Making sure you’ve designed and built a product that creates value by solving a problem is usually the most effective way of generating more and more users. But you must begin marketing to your customers in one way or another. Spend some time thinking about really creative, fun and low-cost marketing methods to attract customers.

7.     Engage with Coaches

During the event you have many smart people who are ready and willing to help you. You are foolish not to take advantage of them. I am not saying that whatever they tell you is 100% correct, but they can most certainly challenge you on assumptions and give you another perspective.

8.     Showoff  Your Work

The mantra of each Startup Weekend event is “No Talk. All Action” and in many cases, teams will present a functioning prototype – not a perfect one, but a functioning one. This is great! Live demonstrations of prototypes always get a reaction from the crowd and judging panel. But don’t be discouraged if your team was unable to build a functioning prototype, since this is the situation with most teams that are unable to attract at least one developer. Instead, focus on something else your team did really well. Maybe all you and your team could manage was setting up a simple splash page – but you did an amazing job marketing and have 500 people signed up for your beta release. Or perhaps you spent valuable time with potential customer discussing the U/X and have beautifully designed mockups. Each one of these situations present an equally important outcome that can be achieved through varying team skillsets, but it is the team that can tie everything together and deliver a charismatic final presentation who usually wins.

9.  Get your Steve Jobs on! 

You and your team have worked hard and now it is time to shine! Make sure you impute to the crowd and judges your team’s high potential for success by appearing prepared, fun and excited to show off your work.

The first step is preparedness – practice, practice, and practice. Whoever is going to pitch (I don’t suggest having more than one person) should start preparing at least three hours before.

Next, focus on telling a story and sell a vision. Have some passion in your voice and act really excited about what you have achieved.

Finally be prepared for questions from the judges! Some very common questions include – who are your competitors and why are you different? What are the barriers to entry? How big is the potential market? How are you going to generate revenue? How are you going to market and acquire customers?

This post originally appeared on Apknole written by Keith Armstrong




How to Get the Most Out of Startup Weekend

Have you ever felt the urge to:

    •  Lock yourself in a room with 300 people for 54 hours
    •  Test your limits of sleep deprivation
    • Get grilled by some of the toughest industry experts around?

If the answer is yes, then chances are, you’re a crazy-ass entrepreneur and you should probably check out Startup Weekend Tirana.

Startup

It isn’t always pretty. It will be one of the most gruelling, mentally-draining weekends of your life. You will go at 1000 miles/hour, and guess what? It still won’t be fast enough.

But, if you can stick it out, you will have gained the equivalent of months worth of learning, building, and networking in one weekend. Hell, you might even start your first company. It worked for Groupnotes.

But you need to prepare before showing up. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Without further ado, here’s the lowdown on making the most out of Startup Weekend.

1. Make Friends with the Makers

By the end of the first hour, you better be buds with at least one developer.

You will be in a room with 100-200 high-energy entrepreneurs – and everyone wants to meet people. You need to very quickly narrow in on the people that you need to meet. The worst thing you can do is team up with clones of yourself. You need to find people with complementary programming and business skills to help build, test, and validate your product.

You might be talking to your future co-founders, developers, or idea generators. But remember, you won’t have a product unless you have people who can help you build.

2. Know How to Pitch: It’s All About the Story

“You’re not just selling your story — you’re selling yourself” says Matt Gardner of Groupnotes, the 2012 Startup Weekend’s Global Startup Battle winners. If you want the people you meet to become life-long mentors and friends – you better make yourself stand out.

You’ll be in a room full of 300 people who are vying for each others’ attention. If you aren’t able to express who you are and what you want to do clearly and quickly, people will have trouble connecting with and remembering you.

Here’s the kicker – all of your hard work boils down to a 5-minute pitch with a demo.

Ahead of time, you’re not gonna know what the hell you need to say, but there are some things that you can practice.

  1. Look at the judging criteria ahead of time so that you’ll rock all the sections.
  2. If your pitch is less than 5 minutes, you should only have one person up there. Make sure that you pick somebody awesome. Make sure that they have a bulletproof understanding of the business.
  3. Give someone the job of brainstorming the hardest questions that the judges will ask. Figure out how to respond to all of these questions from vertical integration to alternate routes to monetization, competitors, etc.

What is Matt Gardner’s #1 piece pitch advice? Focus on validation: “if you cannot prove that this product is needed and has demand, you don’t have a product”.

3. Don’t Build a Company: Build a Product

Entire companies aren’t built in 54 hours. If you’re planning to sit around and form a fully-fledged new venture, Startup Weekend will be a total waste of time. It’s all about kicking ass at one thing —  developing your product.

Leverage the expertise of your mentors to build a strategic plan and core business model around it. Don’t worry about the administrative stuff — that doesn’t need to be perfect. If you focus on a building a quality product, you’ll find that that is what continues to have value beyond Startup Weekend.

4. Expect that People Will Leave

People often sign up for Startup Weekend without really knowing what to expect. Some people will love it, others will go running for the hills. And that is not the end of the world.

Focus on building trust and motivating your team. When people feel like a valued member of the group, they will want to stick around. “Everyone on the team has their specialty, and you need to be able to trust that they will get the work done on time and with good quality”, says Matt. Things get pretty damn brutal, and it can be tempting to quit. But if people are motivated and engaged, nothing will be able to drag them away.

5. Build Your Network: Take Coffee Breaks with 15 People

From your peers to mentors, everyone at Startup Weekend is there because they really, genuinely want to be there. Experienced entrepreneurs are busy as hell, but they volunteer at Startup Weekend for one reason — they love to help and give valuable advice.

If you do it right, you’ll be able to capitalize on that good will for years to come. “Don’t just talk to them, listen to what they have to say” explains Matt Gardner,  “their opinions may be wildly different from how you think, but that’s a good thing – they will help play devil’s advocate”.

These are some of the coolest relationships that you’ll form in your life. You never know where your peers are going to be in a few years, and you never know who will become your most trusted advisors. Most importantly, you ever know what you will learn about yourself.

Have fun. Bond. Make time for 1:1s. At the very least, you’ll have a great conversation.

For many, Startup Weekend is the start of something bigger, so make it count.

Have you been to a Startup Weekend? Do you have any advice for getting the most out of the experience?

This article was originally published on Clarity.




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