← Techstars Blog

What we learned at Startup Weekend RVA

BY TODD NUCKOLS

The first RVA Startup Weekend was truly a unique experience.  If you gave your all as participant, leader, organizer or mentor you should have walked away exhausted, excited and inspired all at once!  Let’s take a look at look back at what we learned.

RVA is creative.
With a little over 80 people actually working in teams during the event it was amazing to see 38 (or was that 39) 60 second pitches on the first Friday night!  Those ideas ran the spectrum including:  gardening, enterprise applications, crashing on couches, flash mobs, musical apps, skipping lines and of course our winner simple surveys.  Running with those ideas were teams of designers, developers and even good old fashioned business folk working together to go from zero to hero in a single weekend.  A tough task for the strongest teams much less the fact that many of them had just met each other Friday night for the first time!  Startup Weekend clearly stretches everyone’s creativity.

Community is powerful.
Despite the fact the teams were competing they still helped each other succeed.  For example, our fearless designers were bouncing from team to team lending a helping hand.  Our mentors engaged over long stretches of time all weekend sharing insight and serving as a catalyst for teams to push forward.  Even after one team decided to stop work on its idea those same team members returned to dive into other teams and were welcomed with open arms.  And finally, the broader community enables the whole program to succeed by chipping in as sponsors including our incredible hosts CRTTanaka.  No doubt the RVA innovative and creative communities are coming together and growing by leaps and bounds and as long as we recognize and continue to help each other the sky is the limit for RVA entrepreneurism!

Always be learning.
If Startup Weekend is anything it is a learning experience, from inspiring keynote speakers Peter Fraser and Aneesh Chopra to the main event itself.  We all know it takes far more than 54 hours to build a successful venture and that did not magically change but for many who attended the weekend they learned the value of lean methods, team building and being focused in achieving any vision.  It was also easy to realize that we can do more than we think when we are open to learning from others.

So, let’s continue to create new things, build community and keep learning!  Then the 54 hours of Startup Weekend RVA will carry us forward until Startup Weekend RVA: The Second Act when we will introduce more friends to our journey.  And if you get a chance do not forget to thank those who enabled all of us to learn these lessons at Startup Weekend:  CRT/Tanaka, Virginia War Memorial, CapTech, EnterBridge, Miles Finch Innovation, CIT, Dominion Digital, Create Digital, UDig, 804RVA, Techead, Keither, Ecstatic Labs, github, VCU Tech Transfer, RichTech, GroundworkDesign, NimblePitch, Yang Business Services, Social Savvy Geek, MOO, Threshold Counsel PC, WorkIT Richmond, BigSecret along with Startup Weekend’s global sponsors .CO, Microsoft BizSpark, Cloudmine, SendGrid, Domain.com, Google for Entrepreneurs and the Kauffman Foundation!

So, start dreaming up your next idea and we will see you again real soon!

Joey Figaro