Our amazing event, Startup Weekend Denver | Internet of Things 2.0 [http://denver.up.co/events/7733], took place over May 20th – 22nd, 2016.
But prior to this historic event, was a 3-4 month planning process. For anyone that has not organized any type of an event in years, well, this was an experience. I can only say this on my behalf (Keith). With the help and experience of qualified individuals, we had set up a critical and amazing team that led to the success of this event..
First steps, beside getting everyone involved in the communication channels (Slack, Google Drive, Asana, Hangouts, etc), was communicating with the Denver community. We needed to show our community why their involvement was so important in implementing a successful Startup Weekend. And this we did. Focusing on Denver communities that ranged from companies involved with hardware, software, legal, solar, marketing, branding, logistics, and everything in between, we succeeded in establishing quality and invested sponsors, including the support from the city we live in, the Office of Economic Development.
Little by little, sponsors were onboarding, and the community was being educated on what Startup Weekend is and what it provides to the individuals that attend. And without realizing it, this event was making a difference in our lives too (2016 Startup Weekend Denver Committee).
While sponsorship was being addressed, we all knew we had to involve the community even more. We were able to confirm 14 coaches and mentors, each with specific expertise, 5 extremely credible judges, and 3 keynote speakers that can only be described as present visionaries and legends.
Okay. Now the tough part. Forecasting, budgeting, logistics, food, marketing, supplies, etc. Of course there were headaches with all of these, but we all survived. I need to emphasize the food part here. Have you ever been to an event where you just see an abundance of food and you know so much of it will be thrown away? Kind of heart wrenching since you know there are so many others that would love to have it. Mattison, who was responsible for this endeavor really did an amazing job. There was such little waste and what food was left over, was donated to the Salvation Army. I tip my hat to anyone that is ever involved with organizing food for any event.
All in all, the planning process of our event was amazing, with some glitches of course. I think every single person that was involved in our event gained new friends, new insights on industries they were not personally or professionally involved in, and reflected on themselves and their community in a deeper way because of the event.
Friday night after registration, dinner and networking, Matthew Bailey inspired us with a captivating speech on the potentials for the Internet of Things. Following Matthew’s presentation came the time for people to pitch their ideas. Over 30 people pitched an idea. After those were voted down to the seven that were worked on for the weekend, it came time for those founders to build their teams. Teams built, projects started, it’s Startup Weekend go time. Teams continued to build late into the night.
Saturday morning comes and teams trickle in to continue to work. Around 10:00 am, Gene Rittenhouse gives a detailed presentation about Nordic Semiconductors as well as providing information about the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 DK – Development kit for nRF52832 board that each team received with which to prototype their projects.
Much work and many mentor sessions consumed most of the day. Later that evening at around 7:30 we were inspired by a great speech from Tom Higley, the founder of 101010. The moral of the story, prototyping with hardware is all fun and games, but in the end you need to ask yourself something. SO WHAT? What is the point of your product or company and what problem are you solving.
Sunday came on way too fast. Team scrambled to prototype, validate and develop their pitches. More mentors came to assist in the afternoon with answering a wide array of business and technical questions. Three pm was the Presentation Prep & Tech Check and then dinner.
Final presentations were inspiring from all the teams.
The Colorado IoT (Internet of Things) startup community includes two organizations. The first one is the IoT Colorado Meetup group which was founded on March 1st, 2013. The second and newer community is the TechrIoT community.
A heartfelt thank you to EVERYONE who was involved in making this event a success!
Thank you to our speakers: Matthew Bailey, Tom Higley, and Gene Rittenhouse.
Thank you to our judges: Zack Nies, Nicole Gravagna, Henry Wright, Chris Huxley, and Stacie Shaw.
Thank you to our mentors: Karina Costa, Gene Rittenhouse, Stacie Shaw, Steve Hobbs, Paul Garcia, Mark Radtke, Jennifer Maskrey, Molly Maskrey, Jung Park, Matt Feierstein, Sarah Jordan, Jessie Van Gundel.
Thank you to all of our sponsors: PaySimple, Nordic Semiconductor, CommercialTribe, Meyer Law, Daily Drip, Rubicon Law, Denhac, Modus Law, SendGrid, IEEE, Namaste Solar, Snarf’s, The Delectable Egg, Sticker Giant, DevOpsDays Denver, and the IoT Colorado Meetup group.
Thank you to our event host: INDUSTRY Denver.
Thank you and wonderful job to our facilitator: Jordan Rothenberg.
Much thanks to all of the organizers: Ryan Diebel, Keith Kralik, Mattison Murphy, Aiko Cheslin, Zoe Zuker, Jason Zuker, Matilda Asuzu, Nick Pauly, Michael Maiorano, Caleb Polley and Laurinda Frederick.
And last, but most important, THANK YOU to all of our wonderful participants.
Startup Weekend Song Lyrics