Working With Your Event Team

The Facilitator Pairing Process

Once you apply to become a facilitator via our facilitator application form, your application will be reviewed to make sure that the requirements to be a Startup Weekend facilitator are met.

Once your application has been approved, our Techstars team will confirm next steps, begin your training to become a certified Techstars Startup Weekend facilitator, and help match you with upcoming events. 

For an online event, more than one facilitator may be assigned, due to the virtual format’s time intensive requirements of facilitators. Being assigned more than one facilitator will be especially relevant if:

  • The event is expecting more than 60 participants

  • This is your first time organizing an online event.

There are several factors we consider when pairing a facilitator to a Startup Weekend, including: 

  • Your interest in upcoming events

  • Proximity to the event city 

  • Availability

  • The language that will be spoken at the event

  • The organizing team’s budget

  • Experience in the vertical, if the weekend is vertical-focused.

Once we have all of an event’s information, Techstars will reach out to you regarding the specific events that might be a good match for you.

We will also share a facilitator pairing document with you, which contains a list of upcoming events and facilitators paired to those events (for those that have been paired), to review and use to register your interest to facilitate certain events.

The intention is to match you with an event two months prior to the start date, to give you ample time to plan and prepare.

Once Techstars receives your confirmation that you are able to facilitate an event, our Techstars community team will connect you with the organizing team. 

If circumstances change and you need to cancel within two weeks or less before the event, please help coordinate a replacement from our extensive facilitator network. Some regions have social or messaging groups that facilitators can join so that you can easily contact each other for support. 

Techstars appreciates the altruistic nature of the Startup Weekend facilitator role, and aims to support you all throughout your journey.

Best Practices for Working with Your Event Team


The key to a successful working relationship with your organizing team starts with being a helpful and knowledgeable guide. 


We encourage you to show empathy, lead when necessary, and encourage clear and frequent communication. While facilitators and organizers have well-defined tasks and responsibilities, facilitators can be helpful in providing general, complementary support to the organizing team.


Calls with the organizing team


During your first call with the organizing team, we suggest sharing how your role as a facilitator is designed to support and guide them through this event. 


Talk through the basics of Startup Weekend mechanics, especially if it’s the team’s first time organizing.


Help new organizers visualize their ‘North Star’ — their vision, expectations, and goals for the event. This will help them to determine the success of the event and to stay focused and energized when faced with challenges during the planning phase.


During your calls, we also suggest brainstorming ideas and discussing:

  • Planning and logistics best practices

  • Mentor management

  • Event flow

  • Sponsor information and expectations

  • Stage time and presentations 

  • Managing the unknowns and stress of events

  • The city's key cultural facts.

Remember, each organizing team has a different community culture and approach. It’s important to enter the relationship with an open mind and maintain flexibility.


We recommend regularly checking in with the organizing team prior to the event to help mitigate any issues or concerns. 


Preparing for the event


In preparation for the event, you’ll need to complete your facilitator deck and determine your travel and accommodation budget.


Facilitator Deck


You’ll need information from the organizing team to complete your facilitator deck, including:

  • Information about the venue

  • Local sponsorship information and logos

  • Information about prizes, if applicable 

  • Pictures and bios of the speaker, the organizing team, mentors, and judges 

  • Information about workshops and other activities or logistical information

  • The event schedule.


Travel


We recommend booking your accommodations and transportation as soon as you can. Please be mindful and reasonable about your travel needs as it impacts their overall budget. Also, the economic culture or financial processes of their region might vary.  


Help with managing the schedule


You’ll be working out an event schedule and ‘run of show’ with the organizing team. Print these out and stick to it as much as possible. If you lose time in one activity, try to make up that time during another activity. It’s important to move activities along, so that participants are ready and feel good about presenting their final pitches on Sunday night. You’ll also help the organizing team manage and coordinate judges and mentors, so that judging and mentoring go smoothly and starts and stops on time.