Global Startup Weekend Highlights: Washington, D.C.

We recently held Global Startup Weekend (GSW) to connect entrepreneurs, organizing teams, and startup communities around the world from November 11th – 20th. During the weekend, attendees received access to exclusive resources to help prep for success at Startup Weekend and make connections to mentors and other startup teams. After GSW, we asked founders from the local winning teams to tell us about their experiences. We recently talked with Stefanie Karp, participant of Startup Weekend in Washington, D.C. where her team won first place. Read below to get a behind-the-scenes look into the weekend and their journey to winning.

What is the name of the company you formed at Startup Weekend D.C.?

“Unbound Art” is the name of our company. We came up with the name on Saturday around midnight in a flurry of text messages among our team. We had spent the afternoon brainstorming some pretty awful ideas.

What did you expect going into the weekend?  

Mainly, I wanted to learn about the lean startup methodology after it had come up in conversations with two different potential employers. I come from a background of traditional strategic planning with 5-year plans, so this is a radical departure, going out and testing a “half-baked” idea with consumers right off the bat.

I did have a business idea that I had been developing with a friend for 6 months, but until the GSW, that idea only existed in our evening talks while power-walking the streets of our neighborhood.

So your idea is pitched and chosen – what was it like forming a team?

My idea was the last one chosen, I think number eleven out of approximately forty ideas. The recruiting was really tough, as the first few people who interviewed me about my idea decided to pass on working with me.

I started feeling really insecure, thinking I wouldn’t find a team. Luckily, Alyson, a developer, put her name on my sheet immediately when voting began, and then mysteriously left (it turned out later she was sick). So I had only this one “ghost team member,” and people were asking me if she was real!

Then, just before the recruiting ended, Tom, Raj, and Dustin (all General Business types) decided to join the project, and I was super grateful. In retrospect, a team of five, while small, is really ideal. Decision-making was really fast, and we were the epitome of “agile.”

Raj Karyampudi, Tom Randolph, Dustin McDonald, Stefanie Karp, Patricia Geli, Alyson Wright

How did you feel about your idea and new company over the weekend?

Truthfully, we were always on the brink of thinking “no way is this going to work,” as we were eliminating customer segments instead of validating them.

One of the coaches pointed out that there is value to knowing who is NOT your target. We then started focusing more on the artists themselves, and the value proposition to them.  An artist friend of mine joined our team half-way through Saturday and that helped propel us forward as he became our “archetype.”  It helped so much to bring in outside people and their viewpoints along the way.

So the weekend is over – what’s next!?

The team got together via conference call the night after our win; we talked about what each of us wanted out of the startup weekend, and about our expectations going forward. I’m happily surprised that all members are committed to continuing developing the project, and we have a work plan for our next stage of customer validation.

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Any tips for others about to head to Startup Weekend?

Definitely study up on the lean startup methodology, so that the concepts are readily available to you. The framework, like the business model canvas tool, really works! It provides focus when you get stuck.

Any other comments?

Your team is ultimately the key to success, not the idea.

Global Startup Weekend was an opportunity for entrepreneurs, like these founders, to begin begin building their innovative ideas. Startup Weekend events continue to happen year-round, around the world, find one near you!








Welcoming Global Startup Weekend 2016!

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November is a busy time for the Startup Weekend community around the world! For the past 5 years we’ve seen startup teams from over 65 countries battle it out for top spots and their communities come together to support them in Global Startup Battle. This year, we’re welcoming a different type of celebration – Global Startup Weekend!

As our community around the world continues to grow and evolve, we’ve switched up our annual initiative to provide even more value to organizers, attendees, and communities. During Global Startup Weekend, 15k entrepreneurs will come together for events in over 50 countries during November 11-13 & 18-20! We’re excited to provide exclusive resources for attendees to help prep for success at Startup Weekend and make connections to mentors and other startup teams. To help continue your growth, the winning team of each event will gain access to helpful perks for building your startup.

If you haven’t been to a Startup Weekend yet, this is the time to do so! We’ve got the virtual workshops to get you started and Startup Weekends to bring your company to life. Now’s your chance to build that idea you’ve been thinking of! Find a Global Startup Weekend event near you!

Virtual Workshops & AMA Sessions

November 2, Wednesday – 9:00AM PST
GSW Insider: What to Expect at Startup Weekend – Past Attendee AMA

November 3, Thursday – 9:00AM PST
GSW Insider AMA with David Cohen: All Things Startup

November 7, Monday – 11:00AM PST
GSW Insider: Prototyping for Speed & Scale

November 8, Tuesday – 8:00AM PST
GSW Insider: Developing your 60 Second Pitch

November 8, Tuesday – 2:00PM PST
GSW Insider: AMA with Tallis Gomes, Founder of Easy Taxi

November 9, Wednesday – 8:00AM PST
GSW Insider: How to “Hack” LinkedIn for Connections

November 10, Thursday – 11:00AM PST
GSW Insider: Finding Your Revenue Formula

 

Thank you to our sponsors for helping to bring Global Startup Weekend to entrepreneurs around the world: gsw-sponsors-1








Calling All Education Entrepreneurs: The Largest Startup Competition in the World Wants You

November sure is a special time of year! Not only did President Obama officially declare it National Entrepreneurship Month, but the largest startup competition in the world, Global Startup Battle (GSB), is just nine days away! Taking place November 14-23rd, GSB 2014 marks the first time education entrepreneurs will have their own track within the competition to showcase their latest and greatest innovations. Titled Education, Empowered Track, nine of the biggest players in the edtech industry will be joining the public to determine the most promising new edtech startup of the competition.

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The Largest Startup Competition in the World

Every year during Global Entrepreneurship Week, UP Global, gives entrepreneurs in over 250 cities around the world the opportunity to compete for prizes designed to help them move their startup forward. The competition is called Global Startup Battle (GSB), and past and present partners include Google, Coca Cola, Amazon, Sprint, Bigcommerce, and more. With over 30,000 people taking part this year, it will easily be our biggest GSB ever! Check out last year’s winners, as well as the GSB 2013 infographic, and be sure to visit the website to find out more about what you can expect from GSB this year.

The Education, Empowered Track is GSB’s First Education-Focused Contest

This year, Education Entrepreneurs and General Assembly are proud to be co-hosting the first ever Education, Empowered Track within GSB. Thousands of people at 10 Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) events and over 200 general Startup Weekend events will be participating, and we expect more than 300 teams to be building solutions for education over the span of just 10 days. Ideas will be judged on four categories: Education Impact, User Experience, Execution, and Validation. (See here for full judging criteria). If you’re feeling disappointed by the current education offerings, have an idea to make things better, or want to contribute to the movement to innovate and improve education, then participating in the Education, Empowered Track is a great step for you to take.

Powerhouse Sponsors, Judges, and Prize Packages are Included

This year, we’re excited to announce that General Assembly is the official sponsor of the Education, Empowered Track. As one of the largest and most successful education organization’s in the world, General Assembly is excited to work with education entrepreneurs during GSB to improve the way people learn, increase access to education, and ensure that everyone is empowered to be a thinker and maker.

The Judges are also incredible! New Schools Venture Fund, Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, Edsurge, Class Dojo, and the Institute for Global and Online Education have all joined General Assembly to ensure participants get the opportunity to showcase their products to some of the biggest influencers in the space of education innovation. (See the full list of judges here).

$20,000 USD in General Assembly Courses, $5,000 USD Living Stipend, One-on-One Mentoring Sessions, 40 Hours of Support, Legal Startup Kit, and Social Media Super Powers. This is the current prize package, and there’s still more coming in every week! Organizations are eager to reward the brightest minds coming together to improve education, so be sure to check back before November 14th to see what awesome prizes are added!

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Anyone Can Participate

The GSB competition begins with a Startup Weekend event taking place during the 10-day span of GSB (November 14th-23rd). Dispersed throughout the world, these events welcome anyone and everyone to dabble in the world of entrepreneurship and work as a team to build an innovating new product and startup. Startup Weekend is known as the weekend-long experiential learning event that helps people turn their idea into a startup in less than 54 hours. The motto is No Talk, All Action, so if you have an idea that you want to pitch, or a desire to contribute your skills and ideas to an existing team, be sure to sign up to participate, before spots run out.

10 Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) Events Are Taking Place During GSB

Anyone participating in a Startup Weekend event during GSB, who builds an edtech startup over the weekend, is eligible to participate in the Education, Empowered Track. It’s important to note that there are two types of Startup Weekend events: general Startup Weekend events are referred to as such, whereas Startup Weekend Education events are often times referred to as SWEDU. The elements that make a SWEDU event different from a Startup Weekend is that 25% of the participants are educators, all the Coaches and Judges at the event are experts in education and education technology, and all ideas being worked on over the weekend are specifically focused on solving an education problem. Both types of Startup Weekend events will be taking place during GSB, so irrespective of which type you sign up for, as long as you’re developing an education solution, you’re automatically eligible to participate in the Education, Empowered Track.

Here is a list of all GSB events, and below you’ll find the 10 events that are specifically SWEDUs.

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Education Entrepreneurship is Year-Round

Anyone who wants to innovate education gets a unique opportunity to participate in a Startup Weekend or SWEDU event during GSB and compete for awesome prizes and major international exposure! However, we want to make sure you know and understand that the opportunity to utilize entrepreneurship to solve problems in education is something you can do year-round. Education Entrepreneurs is the official community within UP Global that specifically focuses on leveraging entrepreneurship to improve education outcomes.

Recognizing that people aiming to innovate education face unique problems that require unique solutions, Education Entrepreneurs has created a suite of programs to specifically help education entrepreneurs along their journey. Programs include SWEDU, Startup Digest Education, bootcamps, meetups, resources, and a global network of Community Leaders who are eager to help. Located in all six major continents, Education Entrepreneurs makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to play an active role in shaping the future of education.

Learn more about the Education, Empowered Track

Check out what else is going on at Global Startup Battle

Follow all the Education, Empowered action on Twitter using hashtag #GSBedu

Got questions? Email EducationEntrepreneurs@up.co