Startup Weekend Wellington is an event like no other. I talk to numerous people about the weekend and the conversation usually goes something like this:
“What is a Startup Weekend?”
“Well, its a weekend for people with burning ideas. It’s an event where people challenge themselves to create a business over a weekend.”
[…Confused and puzzling stare…]
“Let me explain a little more. People buy tickets to the weekend event. Participants pitch an idea on a Friday evening. Teams then form around the most popular ideas. The newly formed teams spend the rest of the weekend exploring the idea in more detail with the aim of pitching a validated and functional business idea to a Panel of expert judges on the Sunday evening.”
“Oh! That is actually pretty cool.”
[…Head spinning thoughts; perhaps I’ll head along to a weekend, I have ideas, I have skills…]
So who was involved in the May SWWLG and which team won?
Yes you can contact a team if you like their business idea!
Rocko’s Dog Food
Nutritious dog food delivered weekly, whilst also helping dogs in need.
The problem: The majority of people have no idea how much they’re spending a week on dog food and they are uncertain about how much to feed their dog.
The solution: We have developed a subscription dog food service, direct to your door, fresh and healthy. Every subscription supports dogs in need.
The pitch: It was all Rocko’s idea.
Our team looks like: Business Analysts, Hustler, Strategist, Growth Hacker, Designers and Developers.
“80% of the people we talked to over this weekend would pay a premium to help less fortunate dogs.” Rocko
Like this idea? You can contact Jordan: email@example.com
THE TEAMS (in random order)
local plate (formerly local dish)
Get local. Get fresh. Try new recipes.
The problem: There are a lot of people that go to the produce market and are overwhelmed by the amount of options and produce they’re not familiar with. 50% of consumers come to the market with no recipe in mind and because of this people usually stick to what they know.
The solution: The Farmer’s Bag. This is a produce bag that provides consumers with fresh, seasonal produce and a recipe to create a meal. We have built a mobile website prototype where users can browse our seasonal recipes, select their seasonal Farm Bag and pick up directly from their produce from their favourite weekend produce market.
From the pitch: Why this is different? We have a direct relationship with the vendor, you don’t lose that great weekend market atmosphere.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers, Business Analysts and Marketers.
“We were surprised and excited by the passion that Wellington’s had for local produce and fresh options.” Farmer Brown
Like this idea? You can contact – Mary: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wafflr (formerly Waffl)
We are helping people write better emails – Write less, say more.
The problem: There is something lacking in the current communication between employees and employers. Emails are not getting read and are not getting actioned.
The solution: We are improving written communication through gamification. We want people to constantly improve the way they communicate. With a scoring system, people can see how well their email is written. The better the content, the higher the score.
The pitch: Today’s email got 100 points. Tomorrows 110. Can you beat Jen in accounting? We think so.
Our team looks like: Developers, Designers, Business Analysts and Marketers.
“Personal messaging is now incredibly short and to the point. Email hasn’t quite kept up with that and we are bringing it into the 24th century.” Chief Wafflr
Like this idea? You can contact Aaron: email@example.com
stepping stones(formerly Intentional Curiosity)
A social platform for setting intentional goals in a supportive community.
The problem: Taking a holistic view of your life is tricky and tools to help align your short term actions with long term vision are difficult to access and be held accountable on.
The solution: The goal is to get people living their life with more intent. We have created a holistic platform to keep track of your intentional goals. You are accountable to a supportive community, with recognition for achieving your goals.
The pitch: We want to improve peer support during those key transitional moments in life and we have taken a holistic view of a person’s life goals: finances, career, romance, spiritual, health, self-development, recreation, social, family.
Our team looks like: Developer, designer and Subject Expert.
“It’s hard to be holistic, especially when you have an MVP to produce.” Chief Stepper
Like this idea? You can contact Natalia: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are Pinterest for purchasing.
The problem: People browse the internet and create wish-lists. However, all these wish-lists are hosted on different sites and people don’t necessarily remember the item that they want to buy.
The solution: Meow helps users remember the item that they want to buy via a collective wish-list with pricing information. At the same time, Meow, gives online vendors the access, through the app, to the customers who don’t buy at first sight.
Pitch: We want to help you have a collaborative purchasing ‘wish-list’ online, right meow.
Our team looks like: Marketer, Software tester, Project Manager and Developer.
“Keep on meowing until you get what you want.” Chairman Meow
Like this idea? You can contact – Kali: email@example.com
rookie takes the risk out of hiring
The problem: The impact on a business from hiring the wrong graduate can be the difference between success and failure. Why? It’s risky, expensive, complex and time consuming.
The solution: We minimize the risk of a bad hire. We do this by matching the employer and the graduate. We verify the graduate’s skills. You do the employing.
The pitch: The value actually lies with proving that grads have the skills they say they do. It’s about creating a more valuable recruitment experience, that gets the right person at the end of the day.
Our team looks like: Developer, Designers, HR and Business Analysts.
“Stuff the CV.” The Boss
Like this idea? You can contact Lucas: firstname.lastname@example.org
We make investing simple and accessible for everyday kiwis.
The problem: At the moment the stock market is this giant scary thing for everyday people and it’s discouraging them from investing in their future.
The solution: This platform is allowing people to make basic decisions with more purchasing power. Other companies require you to have $500 to invest, we require $5.
The pitch: Investment made easy!
Our team looks like: Designers, Legal Advisor, Developer, Financial Advisor, Entrepreneur and Business Analyst.
“Knowledge is power. Power to the people.” The People
Like this idea? You can contact Cameron: email@example.com
Crowd funding for justice.
The problem: The problem is simple; people have an issue accessing justice. If someone feels really strongly about a legal case, all they can do at the moment (if they don’t have enough money!) is voice their opinion online, with peers or in protest.
The solution: We have created a crowd sourced platform for worthy legal causes. We want to put money to the people’s voice by making sure the public can contribute financially to a cause that they believe in. With our platform they have the assurance that the financial support is directly contributing to the legal battle.
The pitch: Our validation has confirmed; people have a problem accessing justice.
Our team looks like: Lawyers, Developers and Marketers.
“It’s amazing that people can feel so passionate about justice, but at the moment there is no collective and safe way they can act on it.” Justice League Organiser
Like this idea? You can contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Circle(formerly Take Me Out)
Expanding your social circles.
The problem: You have a day off, you want to hang out with someone, but everyone is busy.
The solution: A hassle free place to find like-minded people. Our app intuitively connects you with people with shared interests. You can post something you want to do and create your own circle (you know, like getting a group together for a round of golf).
The pitch: 66% of our respondents said they would feel comfortable meeting someone new if they had shared interests. The focus is on friendships.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers and Entrepreneurs.
“Most people think with all the apps out there that the space is covered, but you realise that there are opportunities and it hasn’t all been done before.” Head of the Round Table.
Like this idea? You can contact Naoya: email@example.com
Tracking your bits
The problem: Samples aren’t getting tracked when they are processed in laboratories. The current software and hardware tracking solutions in histology labs are vendor locked, complicated and they are expensive.
The solution: Software tracking systems that records every step the specimen goes through. The tracking system logs all steps in a central system. Advantage is that Histotrack is not vendor locked and is compatible with all hardware.
The pitch: What if we could apply this solution to third world histology labs where often there is no tracking system at all?
Our team looks like: Developers and a Scientist.
“Making sure that your liver is in the right place.” Chief Organ Tracker
Like this idea? You can contact Yuriy: firstname.lastname@example.org
SaleTrail (formerly GeoLead)
We use today’s data to find tomorrow’s customers.
The problem: It is currently expensive to indiscriminately advertise offline to your target audience.
The solution: A prediction tool that enables marketers and SMEs to find their next customer using existing customer data. Our solution will help to bring offline marketing techniques into the 21st century.
The pitch: If you have the addresses for all your customers, we can help you identify new addresses at which you’re most likely to find your next customers.
Our team looks like: Developers, Entrepreneurs and a Communications Expert.
“If you have a smart bunch of people, and you do a bit of research on a promising nugget, there is always an angle you can take. There is always an opportunity to add value.” Trail Runner
Like this idea? You can contact Kieran: email@example.com
Freezer ready meals to eat at your convenience.
The problem: People struggle with the time it takes to prepare food and the effort in creating something healthy and nutritious.
The solution: A weekly meal plan, plus fresh ingredients to your door. You only need to cook twice per week to create all your meals, which you can then freeze and eat at your convenience.
The pitch: We have found that people don’t necessarily want to eat the same meal over and over, our focus is about providing variety whilst doing the main cooking only twice per week.
Our team looks like: Legal Advisor, Financial Advisor and Business Analyst.
“Despite the huge presence of the food delivery services, people still aren’t satisfied with current solutions.” Head of Product Testing
Like this idea? You can contact Tom: Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org
uPlanit (formerly PlanetTravel)
Crowd sourcing travel plans.
The problem: Organising and visualising travel plans is hard, it’s stressful and it’s time consuming. Often you have never seen a place before you visit and people struggle to trust the current planning and booking sites.
The solution: We have identified that the thing people found most exciting about their travel planning process was being able to see where they are going. We enable your friends to share tips about your holiday destinations and help add to your itinerary. People also love giving travel advice. Value from both perspectives.
The pitch: uPlanit helps you create a stress free itinerary from the people you know the best. So go on… uPlanit.
Our team looks like: Developers, Entrepreneurs, Business Analysts, Marketers, Project Manager and Designers.
“People can now humbly brag about their travel experiences, which in turn will help their mates with their future travel bragging.” Bragging Lead
Like this idea? You can contact Wai: email@example.com
A social change movement that helps local kiwis host shared meals with newcomers to New Zealand
The problem: Refugees coming to NZ find it hard to connect with the local kiwi community.
The solution: Hosting shared meals in homes.
The pitch: We can’t solve geopolitical problems overnight, but we can lay a table.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers, Business Analysts, Narrative Designer and Entrepreneur.
“This is a simple and easy idea, that I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet.” Local Host
Like this idea? You can contact Amelia: firstname.lastname@example.org
An app for organising your sewing pattern stash
The problem: Have you ever been in a fabric store and you don’t know what and how much fabric to buy?
The solution: We have created a database of sewing patterns, where users can set up their own profile to get a personalised shopping list for making garments. The app prompts you, if you need additional items (for example, zips). It is also a great way to discover cool new sewing patterns.
The pitch: We have found that whilst our target audience is currently beginners, there is also room for providing a service for more experienced garment makers.
Our team looks like: Designer, Communications, Developer, Business Analyst and Branding.
“This process has emphasised the strength of the online sewing community.” Sewing Master
Like this idea? You can contact Rosie: email@example.com
Hard to believe that Startup Weekend HEALTH was a month ago already.
We’ll take this opportunity to share some of our favourite feedback we’ve received from the people who attended.
This quote from a more experienced participant who has built businesses over his career:
“The Startup Weekend was very organised, but I did not really realised that when it started on Friday. The weekend was challenging, frustrating, invigorating and hugely rewarding. I have not worked so hard for a long time and re-appreciated that the real juice of running a business is the experience of learning with others (the team). My days after the weekend have been re-energized. Every budding entrepreneur must do a Startup Weekend soon.”
Personal development was a common takeaway, as this participant noted:
“As a lot of us commented – we found out more about ourselves than we’d expected and actually what we were best at. I saw huge growth in our team, ourselves and our belief about what we could achieve.”
And the nicest note we received was from this designer:
“I have learned heaps at the Startup Weekend, mostly about the business side of thing, and also the power of teamwork. One BIG thing for me is the momentum, the team energy, the drive that inspires me to work hard and bring an idea to life during that weekend (even though I took a few hrs break on Saturday night to recharge). I come back to my normal day job feeling missing something. Don’t get me wrong, I love my day job… but there’s something magical at that Startup Weekend that is not replicated here. I feel super energised mentally even-though I’m still physically recovering from that weekend 😉
Will I do this again? HELL YES!
This has left some sparkle in me and I would love to inspire others the same way. :)”
Thanks to those of you that gave us feedback on what was good and what could have made it better. Startup Weekend is only as awesome as it is because of all the people that have cared enough to help make it as good as it can be.
Finally, Kelcey Braine from Team Smoovie has written up a fantastic blog of her experience. If you’re thinking of attending a Startup Weekend, this is a great summary of the experience.
Keen? Tickets for the next Startup Weekend Welling (20 – 22 May 2016) are on sale now.
Great turn out tonight for our Startup Weekend HEALTH Warmup at Creative HQ.
Some of the ticket categories have sold out, but don’t despair, get on the waitlist. We always end up releasing more tickets closer to the time.
Today we’re delighted to announce 3months as a sponsor for Startup Weekend HEALTH.
“For over 15 years, 3months have been helping entrepreneurs use the latest technology to create world class innovative solutions, fast,” says 3months founder, Mark Pascall. “We’re super excited about the potential that new web, mobile and Internet of Things technologies can bring to the health sector.”
The virtual and physical world are now converging, says Mark. “Wearables such as the Myo, iBeacon stickers and development platforms such as the Tessel are starting to open up a world of new opportunities for software developers to create exciting new software solutions.”
As part of this partnership, members of the 3months team will also be joining in the weekend as participants.
Event organiser David Clearwater sees 3months as great fit for Startup Weekend HEALTH. “We love that 3months are not only demoing the likes of the Myo at the Warmup, but also committing a bunch of their crew to participate in the weekend itself. We’re expecting to see some exciting applications of this hot new technology.”
The Warmup event is free, 5-7.30pm, Monday 19 October Creative HQ (RSVP).
More information about Startup Weekend HEALTH (6-8 November 2015) is here, and tickets are here.
We’re thrilled to announce that the first prize for Startup Weekend Wellington HEALTH now includes two weeks at the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco.
The Landing Pad was formed in 2011, and helps select, high-growth tech ventures from NZ by giving them a soft launching pad into the US tech community.
Sian Simpson, Community Manager, says, “We’re passionate about taking New Zealand tech to the world, and also making NZ a world-class place to live, with tech being the number one export.”
Supported by some impressive New Zealand tech investors, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and corporate sponsors, Kiwi Landing Pad offers NZ tech companies space at their office in San Francisco. Tenants get access to a wealth of experience, and can make invaluable networks in the US tech, business and investment scene.
“We enjoy being able to provide opportunities to enable entrepreneurs and the like to grow and thrive in ecosystems both locally and on a global stage”, says Simpson.
Tickets are now available for Startup Weekend Wellington HEALTH. Running from 6-8 November, it’s New Zealand’s first health-related Startup Weekend. You can also buy tickets to come see the final pitches on 8 November.
Get your tickets for Startup Weekend Wellington HEALTH.
If you’re curious but still not sure you want to join in, or you’ve signed up and want to know more, come to our free warmup event on 19 October.
Got questions? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve signed up for Startup Weekend HEALTH, are thinking about coming, or simply want to find out more about the Wellington startup scene – come join us for a relaxed after-work social event hosted in the lead up to the main event.
Wellington Startup Weekend HEALTH will be the first Health-focused Startup Weekend. Whether wearables, health data, medical devices, apps or services – health technology is booming, and we’re excited to see what our community can produce in 48 hours.
This Warmup event is a chance to meet other potential team members and talk ideas ahead of Startup Weekend itself (6-8 November). We’ll be sharing a short presentation about what you can expect from the weekend. We’ll also have some health tech experts to talk about what they’re seeing emerging in the space, to help you get those creative juices going. After that, there’ll be beverages and eats to enjoy, with mentors and organisers available to answer any questions you might have about how Startup Weekend works.
It’s free of charge, and both ticket holder, potential participants and friends all welcome to attend.
This Startup Warmup is being kindly hosted by Creative HQ.
Please RSVP with a free ticket on Eventbrite here >>
Startup Weekend is a weekend in which you create a business from scratch. On Friday night a horde of people turn up to the venue ready for and all out weekend of fun and hard work. This horde is made up of developers, designers, and, the rather amorphous category, “non-technical” which includes people from a huge range of backgrounds. During themed events, there is a fourth category “insert theme here” specialist. So in last year’s education themed event, “Education” specialists, and in this year’s health themed event this will be “Health” specialists.
The energy in the room when everyone arrives is palatable. After some introductions and getting warmed up, people will be invited to join a queue if they want to pitch an idea. The format is simple. You have one minute to get across who you are, what your idea is and, who you need on your team. At the 60 second mark you will be subjected to the legendary Dave Moskovitz slow clap of death. Stop talking now.
After you’ve pitched you put the name of your idea on a poster and stick it onto the wall. When everyone is done, participants roam around the room putting stickers on their favourite ideas and scoping out the team that they want to join – and if you pitched an idea you are also trying to convince people to join your team. If you can’t convince people, see the writing on the wall (or the lack of stickers on the poster) and move on. Don’t be the person who sulks because their idea didn’t get picked.
Think about what you want from the weekend when choosing your team. For Paul Steven Conygham, who attended Startup Weekend Wellington April 2015, he wanted to learn about how to start a business, but having a business at the end of the weekend wasn’t a priority. He wanted a team with a fresh idea and the right vibe. He didn’t want a group that knew exactly what it was doing and had it too planned out.
So he joined a team called Neighbourhood Kai, whose original aim was to connect people in communities growing backyard produce. He liked the people and he liked that they were open to evolving the idea.
For others, having a business at the end is what they want. They want to meet co-founders and ideally choose an idea that has real potential to go on after the weekend.
Some people want order and discipline, others want a more laid back approach. Talk to the people in the teams, especially the person’s idea it is and see how they fit with what you want. You’ll be spending a lot of time with these people over the next 40 odd hours. Make sure you are compatible.
Amazingly the team forming process just works. Pretty quickly everyone finds a team and the ideas that have not been chosen are pulled off the wall. And then the race is on. Each team has to test their idea with potential customers, build a minimal viable product and develop a kick-ass 10 minute pitch that will wow the judges on Sunday night.
You’ll hear two words a lot over the weekend, validate and pivot. This is because Startup Weekends are based on Lean Startup principles, a methodology created by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Eric Ries. Eric is hot on testing ideas (validation) and adapting as you learn (pivoting).
You should validate every aspect of your idea. Validate the problem, validate the solution, validate that people will pay, validate how much they will pay, validate how you’ll get your product to the buyers. Everything.
As Paul puts it, before you validate you “Think you’ve counted all the variables, but there’s other shit you haven’t even considered.” For him, one of his most valuable insights was from a slightly drunk girl on Courtenay Place at 10.30 on Saturday night – validation can happen anywhere and from anyone.
The point of validation is not to simply prove your idea is right. The point is that you learn from the information that you’re getting from your customers. Paul’s team had to pivot away from their original idea when they discovered people didn’t grow enough produce to be able to share with their neighbours. But people did want to connect better with their communities, so they had to find another model.
Neighbourhood Kai evolved into an entirely different concept. Instead of homegrown food, they made opportunities for people to meet and share skills over food. To test this idea they used another central principle of the Lean Startup methodology – the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). They held the first ever Neighbourhood Kai event at a nearby bar.
The people that attended this event were other Startup attendees, and they loved it. Paul describes it as another kind of speed dating where you get a badge on which you write your skills, which helps break the ice.
Over the weekend a band of roving mentors drop in on the teams and find out where they’re up to and provide advice on how to overcome difficulties. They also provide opportunities for teams to practice their pitches, which by Sunday is the major focus.
By early evening, the team’s pitchers are looking decidedly grey or full of nervous energy. Before you know it, it’s your team’s turn and you’re standing in front of a hundred odd people, including some really intimidating (no matter how nice they sound in the introductions) judges. You have 10 minutes to sell your idea, summing up all the work that you’ve done and all the potential you see for your idea.
The judges will then ask questions. Then it’s over. There’s no more you can do. You might then start paying attention to the other ideas that are being pitched and marvel at how much awesomeness has been created since Friday.
Then dinner and finally what everyone has been waiting for the results. What do you win, if you do win, glory. Seriously, there are some prizes, but that’s not the point. In fact winning is not really the point. The point of the whole thing is what a small group of suitably motivated people can do over the weekend.
Paul’s team did not win, but Paul felt like he got everything he wanted and more out of the weekend. He feels like he now knows how to approach an idea and what first steps he needs to take, and he’s started to make progress on some of his own ideas. One of the most important learnings for him was around the need to get your ideas out there.
Interested? The next Startup Weekend in Wellington is health-themed on 6-8 November.
More details and tickets here >>
Thanks to Hannah Sutton for writing this post.
Startup Weekend is an event that will challenge you to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to design a product, service or project over 54 hours.
As a designer, you will work with other designers, techies, and business people to create and innovate together.
Your team provides the ideas. We provide the fun, high-energy environment where you can learn through doing and get the support you need to launch that next big change-driving idea. Designers are always in high demand at Startup Weekends. Your skills can be invaluable as you help your teams race towards the end goal, by:
- understanding the problem and defining the ideas
- empathising with end users and experts
- testing feasibility with stakeholders
- designing brands and communications
- creating prototypes and experiences
- packaging the work and pitching it to the judges.
Here’s what other designers have said about their Startup Weekend experience in the past:
“I loved working with the developers on my team. Watching them bring designs to life in such a tight timeframe was magic. I learnt lots of new skills and made some really valuable new business contacts, and friends”.
Philippa Dawe, Creative Director – Alexander Rose.
While you’ll get plenty of opportunities to apply your particular design talents here, you will also a lot to do and learn from others, as you work with your team mates and the awesome Startup Weekend mentors and networks.
“It’s something every designer should do at least once. It’s crazy how much I learned about working under pressure, extreme collaboration, crisis management, big picture thinking in only a weekend. The energy from that bunch of talented and passionate people giving 110% to get an idea off the ground is unbelievable. Exams should be like that in universities and schools.”
Felipe Skroski, ex-design lead – SilverStripe
Your startup might continue after the weekend. But even if it doesn’t, one of the best things about Startup Weekend are the people you meet. Inspiration, wisdom, insight, experience, like-minds, passion – Startup Weekend attracts great people and creates a lot of energy.
Our own Dave Moskovitz, a Wellington-based Startup Weekend Global Facilitator, still gets excited to see what teams can achieve in the 54 hours.
“Startup Weekends consistently highlight the fact that great Design can make the difference between a venture that grabs people’s hearts, and one that makes them yawn; an app that’s super easy to use and one that befuddles; a presentation that wins the competition, and one that was full of promise but didn’t quite cut it. You can be that designer that brings it all together into a beautiful, cohesive, functional whole. Come to Startup Weekend, and be that designer!”
At Startup Weekend Wellington you will meet great people and learn new things as you design cool stuff that solves real problems in the world. What are you waiting for?
Challenge yourself: extend your skills and build something from nothing in the space of a weekend
Startup Weekend is where entrepreneurs, developers, and designers get together to form new businesses in 54 hours of inspiration, perspiration, collaboration, and fun. We attract people with all skill levels in a friendly, welcoming, yet challenging environment.
You’ll be tested to your limits and beyond during the weekend. You’ll also learn lots, make new friends, and have loads of fun.
Why Should You Do It?
1. Learn the principles and tools of Lean Startup
Lean Startup is the modern theory behind building a startup. Lean Canvas, problem/solution fit, minimal viable product, validation… experience is the best teacher and there’s no faster way to learn it than Startup Weekend.
Together we can make a thing that’s simple and elegant and powerful.
– Aurynn Shaw, developer at Catalyst IT
2. Design and build something in the space of a weekend
Starting a business and building some product in 54 hours might sound crazy, but what about doing some research, finding some customers and even making some sales? It seems close to impossible, but we see it each and every Startup Weekend. You’ll be amazed what’s possible with a great team in a high-energy environment.
3. Meet useful contacts, potential co-founders, or just new friends
Startup Weekend is all about the people. You’ll work with business types, developers, designers, and mix with a whole range of specialist mentors and investors. One of the things we love most about Startup Weekend is that it brings the whole ecosystem together, united by a common love of making stuff and building our startup community.
I was able to compare myself with other developers, giving me a good sense of what I could do. And it helped me better see what other people valued about my work.
– Jack Callister, developer at 3months
4. Develop your rapid prototyping skills
To build a business in 54 hours you need to move fast. How your team works is up to you, but rapid prototyping is a key aspect of efficient product development. Whether you’re running Agile, Lean UX or something completely different, this is your chance to experiment with new approaches and broaden your skills.
5. Pitch that idea you’ve had in the back of your mind
Have you got an idea that you keep meaning to do something about? Bring it to Startup Weekend and find out if it has legs. Pitching to a room of potential co-founders is not only a powerful experience that you’ll never forget, but it’s also a great way to meet talented people with similar interests.
6. Take some new programming language or tools out for a spin
Standing up and pitching to a room of smart people was hard. I guess I was afraid of introducing myself, and also really nervous of saying ‘this is my idea’.
– Aurynn Shaw, developer at Catalyst IT
How often have you wished you could try out some new tech in your day job? AngularJS? Ruby? Node.js? Do what you want, how you want, and have a blast learning along the way.
7. Get coached by world-class tech mentors
You’ll have a range of technical mentors available if you want them; they’ll include deep-divers like Koz (@nzkoz), architects like Owen Evans (Hoist, ex-Xero) and tech founders like David ten Have (Makey Makey, ex-Ponoko).
8. Start something that makes a difference
Every startup needs to make money, but increasingly we’re seeing businesses also interested in making a difference. Social enterprise is taking off globally, and Startup Weekend is just as useful for launching businesses aimed at social or environmental impact.
Having a fresh pair of eyes in a different discipline is a profoundly valuable thing.
– Greg, developer at Twingl
9. Step outside your box – get a taste of the business/design side
Most people end up going multidisciplinary at Startup Weekend. Ever wanted to try branding? Or customer research? Or what about UI design? Or how about presenting the final pitch to the judges? What you do is totally up to you, and no one is limited by the DEVELOPER label on their name tag.
10. Have more fun making stuff with cool people
Startup Weekend takes you on an unforgettable roller coaster with a team of passionate, like-minded individuals. Making stuff is great, and making stuff that matters with people you want to work with is even better.
What do Startup Weekend participants have to say about it?
SW is packed full of mentoring goodness. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll get to meet people from a range of industries and backgrounds, all with the goal of helping your team reach its potential.
Of course, just because someone gives you advice doesn’t mean you should take it! One of the things you’ll learn from your mentors is how much varying advice one gets as an entrepreneur, and how to start pulling out the advice which works best for you and your team.
Here are a few examples of fantastic mentors from previous Startup Weekends:
How Does the Weekend Work?
It’s a jam-packed few days, but one with a strict structure.
Friday: Participants arrive around 6pm and kick off the weekend with drinks, dinner and meeting each other. Then Pitchfire” begins: anyone with an idea has 60 seconds to pitch it to the rest of the room. No presentations or props are needed for this – it’s just you and a mic. After the pitches finish, all attendees vote on their favourites. The top ideas are shortlisted, and everyone forms teams to work on them. The team formation process is organic – you decide who you want to work with. For the remainder of the evening the teams start getting to know each other, and planning the rest of the weekend.
Saturday: Teams work all day, with occasional breaks to eat and update everyone on their progress. Mentors circulate to provide advice, support and challenge. The flow of the day is up to you, but most teams use Saturday morning to interview prospective customers and gather insights that will inform product development. A key tenet of Lean Startup is “getting out of the building” to find answers to the questions and assumptions you have about your customers and market. In parallel, work continues on your business model and product development. Late on Saturday you’ll also need to front up to mentors with the first practice of your Sunday presentation to judges.
Sunday: Teams work uninterrupted from morning until mid-afternoon. They begin wrapping up their product and presentation around 3-4pm to do tech checks and practice their final pitch. After the judging panel and external guests have arrived, the final pitches begin. Each team has 5 minutes to pitch to the judges, sharing their business model, plans and progress to date. Judges then get a few minutes to dig into the presentation and probe the team’s thinking. The judging panel selects the top teams, awards prizes, and the event ends with dinner, drinks and some well-deserved relaxation!
Prices range from $75 to $99, depending on when you register, with student tickets at $50.
Photo credits: The wonderful Mark Tantrum.