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After Startup Weekend: How to make your startup happen? (By Edith Yeung from BizTechDay)

Edith is the founder of BizTechDay, an entrepreneur conference where inspiring entrepreneurs share practical business and technology ideas and strategies. BizTechDay 2010 will take place in San Francisco, Seattle and New York this fall.

Edith has successfully brought together over 5500 entrepreneurs in the past 3 years and she is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs.

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Congratulations! You made it to Startup Weekend.  You made it through and you survived!

After the 54 long hours of non-stop of exciting work, now what? Based on the successful companies that come out of Startup Weekend you have two choices:

Choice One:

You can give up. Take the easy route. Forget about this experience. Go back to your cubicle land, and forever wonder how it would be like to be an entrepreneur.

Imagine you are like Neo from the movie “The Matrix”, do you want to take the blue pill or the red pill?


Choice Two:

You can take charge. Follow through. Apply what you have learned from Startup Weekend. Start leading and make your startup happen.

Just like Neo, you can choose the blue pill and not have your Startup Weekend memory erased. There is no turning back once you finally experience and understand how it feels to make things happen, and feeling that you too can do it.

FootSpotting is one of the many Startups who have survived the weekend and dominating the market after Startup Weekend.

Below is a short interview with the founder of FoodSpotting, Alexa Andrzejewski, where she shares her with us on how she survived Startup Weekend and made her startup happen:

Founder of Foodspotting

Why did you decide to join Startup Weekend?

Alexa: I met Sana Choudary at the Web 2.0 Expo and later went to lunch with her team. She was starting a site called Founder Shack at the time, and introduced me to the cofounders that she’d met at the Web 2.0 Startup Weekend. Foodspotting was just an idea that I was really excited about at the time, but as a non-developer, I wasn’t sure how to get started. When I realized I could actually find developers who shared the passion for the idea and make it real, and that ordinary people like me can start startups and build teams, I got super excited. I joined Women 2.0’s Jumpstart Your Startup and signed up for Startup Weekend right away.

What is FoodSpotting and how did you come up with the idea?

Alexa:The Foodspotting website and mobile apps make it easy to find and share food recommendations: Instead of reading and writing restaurant reviews, you can share photos of specific foods you recommend and see what’s good around you wherever you go.  Foodspotting was inspired by a trip to Japan and Korea, where I discovered all of these foods I’d never heard of before, like Okonomiyaki and Tteokbokki, and realized 1) people need to learn about the other foods that are out there — like Japanese foods that are not sushi and 2) there’s no easy way to find out where to get a food once you do know it exists. So we started Foodspotting to create a better way for people to learn about new foods and find them using their mobile phone.

Any specific suggestions and advices for our fellow Startup weekend community?

Alexa: Don’t expect to come out of Startup Weekend with a fully-baked startup. While it’s important to pick a project you can complete in a weekend (e.g., a prototype of one part of the app, a certain feature, a smoke-and-mirrors demo), the startup idea doesn’t have to be that simplistic! I brought a big idea to Startup Weekend and pitched it there — and by the end of the weekend, all we had was a demo and a deck. And yet with just that deck, we were able to attract an Angel Investor (Dan Martell) on the spot and lots of buzz.  Also, for my team, instead of using the weekend to build a working app, we primarily spent it brainstorming, putting things up on the wall on sticky notes, and getting input from all of the amazing people who were there — investors, market researchers, designers, developers, lawyers, etc. I highly recommend working in a super visible way so that you can take advantage of the community there! For us, that and the connections we made were much more valuable than the bit of coding we could have gotten done in a weekend.

Based on my conversation with Alexa, here are my suggestions and ideas on what all Startup Weekend Alumni must do within the first week to be successful

Write Down Your Startup Weekend Experience.

  1. What your team has accomplished
  2. What did you learn
  3. What you need to do to move your startup forward

Schedule your follow up team meeting within the next week.

You want your team to meet again while the memory and excitement is still there to discuss:

  1. Your next steps
  2. Who on the team is committed to sticking with the company and who isn’t
  3. What are the 1 – 2 things you must do now assuming your team wants to continue (how is this any different than point #1?)

Schedule your follow up meeting with advisors and investors within the next week

And take advantage of the community from Startup Weekend – investors, market researchers, designers, developers, lawyers, etc

So now – go!  Go make your Startup happen!

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