Over 65 participants and several guests arrived at Mess & Order to take part in Startup Weekend Stavanger’s second event of 2014. The event took place over 10th to 12th October at a new co-working space for entrepreneurs in Stavanger, Mess & Order.
In the days leading up to the event, ten volunteers working in the organizing team arrived at the large office space to transform it into a creative playground with a presentation zone, two working areas, and a central networking zone.
To add some personality to the event and facilitate easy networking, Lead Organizers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, created a draw your own character badge for participants, mentors, judges, speakers, guests and the organizing team.The design was based on the familiar test tubes of creativity featured in the Startup Weekend logo and proved very popular with people getting creative with their badges as well as their ideas during the Friday night pitches!
Event gift bags were also given to every participant with items provided by event sponsors, DNB, KPMG and University of Stavanger. Local businesses including BI and XXL also contributed towards the gift bags, which also contained an apple, a biscuit bar, a water bottle, some guidelines for pitching and five “connect cards” to encourage networking.After some networking and a delicious dinner provided by local catering company, House of Fingerfood, the participants started to get excited (and nervous!) about their big moment to pitch their idea to the crowd gathering in the presentation area.
After a warm welcome from the Lead Organizers, event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, welcomed the participants and guests with an overview of the global community of Startup Weekend and provided some guidelines and information about the concept.
The welcome was swiftly followed by the first guest speaker of the weekend, Lasse Andersen from ForgeRock. Lasse instantly captivated the room with his relaxed delivery and wry sense of humor as he shared his journey as a startup business and entrepreneur. He ticked every box as the perfect first speaker of a Startup Weekend event with a presentation that was honest, inspiring and motivating in equal measures.Lasse explained how $52M in funding was raised to create his, now, global business – a Security and Identity Management Open Source Software Company. He then offered valuable advice whilst outlining his four key drivers for startups being passion, people, innovation and lastly – business.
With the room fired up by the motivational presentation from Lasse, the time for pitching had finally arrived! Of the 65 people who participated in the event weekend, there were 22 pitches on Friday evening.
The 54-hour event is aimed at everyone who is passionate about entrepreneurship but it is open to anyone who is interested in being involved in launching a new business or product idea. The ideas for this event were wide ranging and fast pace in delivery with the 60 second clock counting down each second of every pitch, which was coordinated seamlessly by Facilitator, Dwight.After an enthusiastic round of pitching, the Facilitator asked one more time for any other ideas. The room fell to a pin drop silence. It was clear that Stavanger’s startup community had shared all the ideas they had to offer. It was now time to begin the frantic phase of voting to find the best ideas for the weekend!
With votes allocated and counted, the Facilitator announced the 8 teams that had made it through to the next stage. The teams with the most votes included Industreye, Health Cloud, Thumb Up, Ungdoms Bedrifter, Food for Thought, Homeboat, Ice-cream Scoop, and On Stavanger. One team that had a surge of interest despite not making the final 8, was Beer Truck Club. With several participants asking to join the Beer Truck Club idea regardless of the final vote and Ice-cream Scoop deciding not to go forward, a decision was made to allow Beer Truck Club to join the list of startups for the weekend and the teams were set.
With the top startup ideas agreed, the teams began to form and participants wasted no time to start working! The tables were promptly occupied by the new teams and the satisfying buzz of conversations and creativity that are so typical at this stage of a Startup Weekend filled the room within minutes.
The next generation of startups in Stavanger were about to be born and the next two days would determine which teams had the potential to turn a great idea into a really great startup business.