Before the Weekend
Q: How long do I have to wait to hear back after applying to become an organizer?
A: We aim to respond to every applicant within 72 business hours, excluding major regional public holidays. If you’ve not heard anything back from our team within 72 hours, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I want to organize an event, but I have some questions before I apply.
A: We’d love to talk with you more about what you have in mind and answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at email@example.com, give us a little background about your questions and previous experience, and tell us how we can help. The Techstars community support contact for your region will get in touch with you and schedule a call if need be.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Please review the Startup Weekend organizer requirements, and make sure that you qualify to apply to become an organizer. If you qualify, and you agree to our organizer rules, please fill out our application form.
Q: Can I organize this by myself?
A: Regardless of how capable you are, we will not approve an application for anyone to run a Startup Weekend by themselves. It takes around three months for 4 to 8 people to plan a Startup Weekend, and you’ll need a team who can help coordinate all the moving parts of organizing the event. Learn more about forming a team and the recommended roles and responsibilities the team need to cover.
Q: What if someone on the team quits?
A: It’s hard work to organize a Startup Weekend. Form a team with those you trust will see the event through to the end. We recognize that unexpected things happen that lead to team members needing to drop out. We expect those who need to decommit from their roles to communicate this with their teams as soon as they can, so that teams can find someone else to provide support. Set these expectations with team members from the start.
Q: Can Techstars Startup Weekend help me with a visa to organize a Startup Weekend in another country?
A: No. Organizers are expected to be connected to and want to support their local community. We also do not provide visa assistance to participants who want to attend a Startup Weekend in another country.
Q: What tools does Techstars provide to help us organize our Startup Weekend?
A: Techstars provides the event platform that you will use for ticket registration and event information. We also provide a master planning document, organizer checklist, email templates, a brand kit, sponsorship outreach, workshop decks, a quick reference guide, and more. You can see everything you need on the Plan Your Event page.
Q: Do we have to charge for tickets?
A: Unless otherwise agreed upon with your Techstars community support contact, all Startup Weekends must charge an admission fee to participants. We’ve found that having a small barrier to entry drastically reduces participant last-minute cancellation and drop-out rate. The ticket prices should be affordable, and at the same time encourage some commitment.
Q: How do I create my event website?
A: We provide you with the platform to create your own event website. You’ll be able to set up your ticket registration, host your event information. and schedule on the same platform. See our step-by-step guide on how to set up your event website.
Q: How many participants should I recruit?
A: Startup Weekend can support anywhere from 25-125 participants, but the ideal number is right around 80 participants. When you’re engaging in community outreach, make sure you’re including people with diverse backgrounds and skills. We recommend having a good mix of people with marketing, technical, creative, business, and-or non-technical backgrounds at your event. We believe that having a balanced participant group will ultimately result in stronger teams and an overall better participant experience.
Q: Can we provide discounts for tickets to certain groups?
A: Yes, you can provide discount codes for certain groups you are trying to attract to your event. You might also want to consider providing discount codes to students and those to whom the cost of a ticket might be a barrier to entrepreneurship. If you have sponsors attending your event, you likely need to provide a couple of free tickets — you can do this by offering ticket discount codes as well. We advise against ‘buddy discounts,’ since this is unfair to the rest of your participants and not good business practice.
Q: Can I see an example event schedule?
A: Yes, you can see an example event schedule in your planning sheet template. Remember, you should create your event schedule in your event management platform so that you’re able to publish this to your participants when ready.
Q: Can I change the event schedule to be on 3 different days of the week?
A: In some countries, a weekend, or 2 days off, falls on other days of the week. If your country falls within this category, you are welcome to change the days of your event to your calendar weekend. We usually discourage holding Startup Weekends on work days, since this creates a barrier for a lot of people to attend (not to mention the event is of course called Techstars Startup ‘Weekend’), but please do reach out to your Techstars community support contact to discuss further.
Q: I need a Certificate of Liability Insurance for my venue, can Techstars help with this?
A: Yes, you will need to submit a request form to our third party insurance provider. See Date, Venue and catering page for more details.
Q: I need to cancel my event — how do I do this?
A: Please contact your Techstars community support contact as soon as you find out that you need to cancel your event. We’ll first discuss some options to see how we can help get the team back on track. If necessary, we can help you cancel or postpone your event and discuss possible future dates to hold your event instead.
Q: How do I recruit participants to attend my event?
A: You encourage people to attend by generating excitement and educating potential participants on the impact and value of attending a Startup Weekend. We provide promotional materials and strategies to help you with this.
Q: Can I build my own event website?
A: As part of your licence agreement, you have to agree to use our event management platform. When participating in a Startup Weekend it’s important that participants receive a unique, tailored Techstars experience and are provided visibility to our greater global network. The event platform is customizable so that you can bring your own authentic content to the site, whilst adhering to our branding rules and guidelines.
Q: Can Techstars promote my event for me?
A: There are too many individual Startup Weekend events happening across the world to dedicate time and resources to promote each one. In some cases where many events join a larger initiative, Techstars will promote the initiative under which the events fall. If you’re struggling to recruit participants to your event, please see our promotional templates and strategies or contact your Techstars Community Support Contact to discuss further options.
Q: Can you provide clear messaging around what Techstars and Techstars Startup Weekend is?
A: Yes — It’s important to communicate a consistent message to potential participants, sponsors, mentors, judges, speakers, and everyone else who you are asking to be a part of your event. See our messaging guidelines.
Finance and Sponsorship
Q: I’ve never had to raise sponsorship before — how do I do this?
A: Organizing a Startup Weekend is a great educational experience to learn how to raise sponsorship. We provide sponsorship outreach email templates and outreach strategies, as well as a sponsorship deck with pre-filled information about the mission, structure, and impact of Techstars Startup Weekend, and the value for partners of sponsoring a Startup Weekend. Read all about our recommended best practices for raising sponsorship.
Q: How does one set up a legal entity?
A: You may need to establish a separate legal entity for business operations if you’re unable to use an existing entity. If necessary, consult a legal advisor who can donate their time to help guide your business operations, but there should be plenty of information available relevant to your country and region. You can reach out to your Techstars community support contact for more information and guidance. Please note that Techstars Startup Weekend cannot provide financial or legal advice to organizing teams.
Q: What should I do with the profit from our event?
A: Since Techstars Startup Weekend cannot provide financial or legal advice to organizing teams, we cannot tell you what to do with your profit. Some teams have used profit from Startup Weekend to invest back into the community by running community workshops, meetups, or more Startup Weekends, but this is entirely up to the discretion of the team.
Q: What should I do if a participant wants a refund?
A: Techstars Startup Weekend organizing teams are required to honor refund requests up to 7 days before the first day of the event. We don’t recommend offering refunds the week of the event due to the need to pre-purchase catering, snacks, and supplies. We feel that this is fair to participants and fair to organizing teams. In the event that a ticket is not eligible for a refund, we recommend that participants donate their ticket to someone else — #GiveFirst.
Q: How do I process a refund?
A: You are able to process a refund through the ticketing section within your event management platform. There is no need to contact Techstars to do this.
Q: What are Global Partners?
A: Techstars Startup Weekend global partners work with Techstars directly to support Startup Weekend participants across the world with tools and services. They support our global mission of developing entrepreneurial ecosystems and communities, and making entrepreneurship accessible to all. See a list of our current global sponsors.
Q: What is the role of a facilitator?
A: A facilitator is a member of the Techstars Startup Weekend community who has organized at least two Startup Weekends. Many continue to organize Startup Weekends even after they’ve become a facilitator. They are considered resident Startup Weekend experts and are there to support your team, help everything go smoothly during your event, and make sure that all attendees have a rich, positive experience. Read more about the responsibilities of your facilitator.
Q: When will I get paired to a facilitator?
A: We aim to pair a facilitator to an event at least two months prior to the event. There is no action required from the organizing team to be paired with a facilitator. Techstars will introduce you to your facilitator as soon as you have been paired.
Q: What information does the facilitator need from the organizing team?
Travel and Accommodation: Your facilitator will need their travel and accommodation costs paid for by your team. Please work with your facilitator to get this confirmed at least two weeks before your event.
Facilitator Deck: Facilitators use a facilitator deck for their presentation throughout the event. Techstars provides the deck template, but they will need the following information at least one to two weeks prior to the event to complete the deck:
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
Q: Can I choose my own facilitator?
A: You have to use a certified Techstars Startup Weekend facilitator for your event. If you want a specific person who is a certified Techstars Startup Weekend facilitator to facilitate your event, please let your Techstars community support contact know, and we will try our best to accommodate should that individual be available.
Q: What if I don’t get along with my assigned facilitator?
A: We have had very few instances of teams and their assigned facilitators not getting along. Everyone is there because of their commitment to their local community, and we find that when everyone is working together towards a common goal, there are few issues within the team. Saying that, we will review your request for another facilitator. In the event of any conflict, please contact your Techstars community support contact as soon as possible to discuss options.
During the Weekend
Q: What should we bring to the event?
A: Apart from organizing catering for the seven meals throughout the weekend, you’ll need to remember:
Any collateral and swag that you designed and produced for the weekend including posters, roll-up banners, nametags, stickers, t-shirts, and pens
Printouts of judging forms and mentor signup sheets
Supplies like pens, post-its, extra charging cables, power extension cords, and adaptors
A variety of tasty and nutritious snacks and drinks
Your laptops and phones with charging cables. Make sure you’re able to register participants and final pitch attendees from your event management platform through your laptop. Confirm you have a space at the venue to safely and securely store your personal belongings.
Q: Does everyone on the organizing team have to stay the entire weekend?
A: Not necessarily, but we highly recommend each team member being there for most of the weekend, pulling their weight. It can be stressful and tiring to deal with all the logistics involved in running the event, and the more people to help, the better. It’s the final push to make your event a huge success, and you’ll have more control over its success by being there in-person (where possible). It's also incredibly rewarding to witness the personal growth in participants — from 60-second pitches on Friday night to final pitches on Sunday night!
Q: What resources/assistance are provided to participants over the weekend?
A: A key part of every Techstars Startup Weekend is the valuable advice and assistance provided by the event’s speakers and mentors. Mentors — community experts in various fields like entrepreneurship, software development, marketing, finance, law, and more — dedicate their time to help provide advice to participating teams. In addition to the most valuable resources at the weekend (the people), we’ve put together a list of some useful tools and resources for participants before, during, and after the weekend.
Q: What do I say if someone asks me about the issue of intellectual property or ownership during the weekend?
A: Participants sign an agreement when they register for tickets to not bring any legal documentation to the event. Techstars Startup Weekend doesn’t retain or claim ownership to any ideas, as that is left up to the teams. We do acknowledge that the issue of patents and copyright is an important one. It’s also one that is a question of risk and reward for participants.
Our guidance around this issue is to emphasize that Techstars Startup Weekend is about the educational experience of learning how to build a business, not the legal activities to register that business. Even if participants don’t pitch the idea that they are worried about someone ‘stealing,’ they can still take the learnings from the weekend and apply it to their idea afterwards. Participants should also focus on making valuable connections with mentors and other participants during the weekend, some of whom they may want to involve going forward. Participation is still valuable, regardless of the idea.
Techstars Startup Weekend does not support or take part in the signing of any legal documents at the events and cannot provide financial or legal advice. Similarly, while mentors with legal backgrounds are often present and able to give general advice, they are not permitted to provide specific legal counsel.
Q: What happens in case of an emergency?
A: No one event is the same, and therefore it is impossible to control every detail of your event. The key to dealing with emergencies is to be flexible and resilient. You should prepare for what you can, and calmly, efficiently deal with what you can’t. Emergencies can take many forms, like someone falling ill, an electrical storm cutting the power to your venue, or an act of violence. Having an event emergency plan should help lead to better outcomes and a safer environment for everyone. We recommend that you reach out to the venue and review their emergency plan. The plan should include the location of emergency exits, how to contact emergency personnel, and what to do in case of a medical emergency, fire, etc. Please read our complete guidelines on emergencies.
After the Weekend
Q: How do I find out if my event was a success?
A: To determine event success you will need to define what success looks like to you. Did you sell as many tickets as you wanted? What kind of feedback did your participants give you during the weekend? Did you stick to the schedule? It’s important to report on your event’s success to your sponsors in your wrap-up email to them. Techstars will send a participant survey about a week after your event, and we will share results with you.
Q: How can I get more involved in the Techstars network?
A: There are many ways of getting more involved in the Techstars network.
Join a Techstars portfolio company
Check out our Talent Network, where you can apply to join one of our Techstars portfolio companies. This can help you gain more experience working in a startup before you take the plunge to start your company.
Become a Startup Weekend facilitator
Once you’ve organized at least two Techstars Startup Weekends, the next natural step could be to grow into a facilitator role. While the Startup Weekend facilitator journey differs from facilitator to facilitator, the role has many valuable benefits for professional and personal development. Find out more about becoming a facilitator.
Become a Startup Digest curator
Techstars Startup Digest works with local curators to deliver relevant startup content to innovators around the world. Whether it’s their first company or their fifth, Techstars Startup Digest connects founders with their local startup community through events and quality content. If you are interested in curating, you can apply to become a curator.
Organize a Startup Week
Techstars Startup Week is a five-day, entrepreneur-led, community event held in cities across the world showcasing the city’s startup ecosystem through meetups, lectures, discussions, and celebrations. The intent is to bring entrepreneurs together while building momentum and opportunity around a local community’s unique entrepreneurial identity. You can read more about Startup Week, and apply when you’re ready.
Q: What kind of support can Techstars Startup Weekend provide participants to help their teams launch?
A: Techstars Startup Weekend primarily focuses on providing an entry point to entrepreneurship, but our support and community spans much further beyond the weekend. Whether participants are ready to accelerate their business or want to help undefinedentrepreneurial ecosystem, Techstars is here to help any way we can. Visit Techstars.com to learn more.