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Questions about Startup Weekend Bloomington? We have answers! Check out the frequently asked questions below or send our team an email at bloomington@startupweekend.org. Get your tickets at bit.ly/swbtown16.

Why should I attend Startup Weekend Bloomington?

There are tons of reasons! To get your startup started, to meet people who have a different skill sets than your own, to find a co-founder, to learn about the resources Bloomington has to offer startup companies, to meet a mentor, to get expert advice, to network, to be energized by innovative ideas, to gain experience building companies in a low risk environment, to practice your pitching skills, to win great prizes, to get the 7 free meals included in the price of your ticket, and to have productive weekend!

Do I have to pitch an idea?

No, but we encourage you to! You can pitch an idea you’ve been thinking about for years, or something last minute you think of during the event. It’s a great experience and invaluable practice for public speaking.

Can I pitch more than one idea?

Depending on the number of ideas pitched and the schedule, you may or may not be able to pitch multiple ideas. Prioritize your ideas: pitch your best idea (and the one you have most prepared for) first.

What should I bring? 

  • Laptop
  • Power cord
  • Business cards
  • Camera – take pictures and video!
  • Optional: A second monitor, keyboard, etc…. set yourself up to be productive!
  • Lots of creative energy!

What if I can’t be there for a couple hours? Do I have to participate all three days?

Apart from Organizers, selected Coaches, Speakers, and press, everyone who attends the event is expected to participate all three days. This is important not only to preserve the ‘vibe’ of the weekend (“no talk, all action”) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for working teams.  However, if you can’t be there for just a couple hours on one of the days because of a commitment it is fine – as long as you warn your team at the beginning of the event.

Can I pay at the door?

No, you cannot pay at the door of the event – you need to purchase the ticket online. If you are physically unable to pay online, reach out to the local organizers to arrange payment.

Do I need a team?

Everyone who attends the event as an attendee is expected to participate on a team (teams will form around the top 8-10 ideas pitched by the end of Friday night, you can choose which team you’d like to work on). This is important not only to preserve the mission of Startup Weekend (teamwork!) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for all working teams.

Can I pitch my existing business?

No. Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend – and a central value for participants – is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in, and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.

What if my idea doesn’t get selected?

The purpose of the Friday voting and crowdsourcing isn’t to exclude certain ideas, but simply to highlight the most popular and high-potential pitches and end up with a manageable number of teams – ensuring that each team has a variety of backgrounds and skills. If your idea isn’t selected but you’ve formed a team around the idea, you’re welcome to work on it over the weekend. If you decide to do so, however, please tell the event Organizer, as this may be an issue regarding your teams’ eligibility for prizes.

What are we supposed to have accomplished by the end of the weekend?

While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by Sunday, it’s in your best interest to plan your execution around what you’ll be judged for on Sunday:

  • Customer Validation (did you vet your business?)
  • Execution and Design (what did you build? Do you have a minimally viable product?)
  • Business Model (do you have a plan for the future?)

As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):

  • Wireframes or fully developed website;
  • Mobile Apps (from mock-ups to skeletons to fully functional)
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Videos (i.e. product demonstrations, etc.)
  • Live product demos
  • Skits

Why is it a competition?

Competition is not a central theme of Startup Weekend, and this is often reflected in the broad, horizontal allocation of prizes and general flexibility/leniency of the event ‘rules.’ If and when the competitive aspect comes into conflict with the positive atmosphere we try to cultivate, we consistently choose the latter. We do believe, however, that friendly competition is beneficial to all parties and, most importantly, more accurately reflects the realities of startup life. Just as it’s important to gather ‘real-world’ feedback over the weekend, it’s also important to have real-world pressures and obstacles.

Are teams expected to continue after the event?

Whether or not you continue to work on the idea with some or all of your team is completely up to you. Approximately 25% of Startup Weekend participants continue working on their idea with all of their team.

If you have any other questions visit our website or email us at bloomington@startupweekend.org.

Meghan Turner