From May 18 to 20 Startup Weekend returned to Atlanta for the first time in three years. The event brought together people with ideas they wanted to pursue and problems they wanted to solve, but who didn’t necessarily know where to start or who to start with. Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.
The event kicked off on Friday, with dinner and networking, inspiring speeches, pitching ideas, voting, and forming teams. Attendees arrived with ideas they were not able to be anything they had previously worked on. The ideas pitched and the problem that attendees set out to solve spanned social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. To give you an idea, of the 66 attendees, 27 pitched ideas, but only 8 teams made it through to the end with fully formed teams and presentations.
On Saturday, coaches met with teams to work on their ideas, lead their work processes, get them closer to their MVPs, and helped them to pivot and rework entirely, where necessary. Teams worked at our Atlanta Tech Village venue from 9am to 10pm, with some heading to other locations to continue working through the night.
On our final day, Sunday, teams were back at 9am to validate their ideas, build their presentations and rehearse their pitches – again with the help of our expert coaches. Teams jumped on these final opportunities to ask their coaches questions and to become as strong as possible for their presentation to the judged.
At 5pm we kicked off the final presentations and judging! Pitches were 5 minutes each, with a 5 minute Q&A from the judges. The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams were judged according to the following 3 criteria, each weighted equally:
- Business Model
- How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
- Customer Validation
- Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
- Execution & Design
- Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?
The ideas pitched were:
- Who Hub – a communication hub to aggregate all of your communication channels.
- Akilah – personal shopping e-commerce software, to upsell customers by offering curated looks in real time.
- Sorter.AI – helps you market more intelligently using psychological insights.
- BridgEd – improving teaching through more affordable and higher quality resources.
- Side Hustle Uni – a ‘side hustle’ course platform.
- SimplyRx – a metasearch to get you the best price before your prescription is dispensed.
- Piggybank – streamlining accelerator and incubator investment in small businesses.
- College Advisor – early college advising for high school students.
After these amazing presentations from passionate participants, the judges deliberated before awarding the prizes! Sorter.AI came in at first place, with Akilah in second place and BridgEd in third. Thanks so much to all of our teams who pitched, the standard overall was exceptionally high and it was incredible to see how far these concepts came in just one weekend.
Everyone from the Startup Weekend Atlanta team would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated, coached, sponsored, or supported this inaugural event. Specifically, we’d like to give a final thanks to our:
- Signature sponsor Atlanta Tech Village
- Platinum sponsor 1218 Kitchens
- Gold sponsors Florence Healthcare, SalesLoft and Hannon Hill
- Silver sponsors Calendly and Your Ideas Are Terrible
- Community Partner the Global Shapers Atlanta Hub, who took the lead organizing the entire event
- Community Partners Hypepotamus and WeWork
- In-kind sponsors Sticker Giant and Futography LLC
- Speaker Jeff Goldblatt, Virality Expert & Startup Philosopher (ReThinkingStartups.com)
- Judges Michael Cohn, Managing Director of Techstars Atlanta, JP James, Managing Director at Libreum International, and Patrick Dupree Practice Manager, Technology Media and Telecom Practice at Bain & Company
- Facilitator Ann-Marie Nunziata
- Coaches and mentors Sheehan Toufiq, Jon Birdsong, Tami McQueen, Andres Garcia, Seth Radman, Darrah Brustein, Jason Crain, Lindsay Trinkle, Jason Elliott, Marissa Swanson, Jerica Richardson, Justin McLeod, Erica Stanley and Luke Beard
From Friday to Sunday evening it was extremely exciting to see how much the participants had transformed, and we received so much positive feedback from people who didn’t know what to expect but walked out of the weekend having learned a lot and having made new connections.
We hope to announce new events throughout the year. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in any way, as we are always open to fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. Contact our organizing team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions or feedback!
Thanks again and see you next time!
– The Startup Weekend Atlanta organizing team