How did your journey with Techstars Startup Weekend begin?
Back in 2014 I was ready for a new adventure. The new generation, fresh from school, was active, creative and tech savvy. They inspired me with their thinking, their business ideas and knowledge. A week before the event, I saw a post on Facebook about a Startup Weekend in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and decided to buy a ticket. I was convinced that I would meet those tech savvy people there and was excited to work with them.
Half an hour before the event my best friend called me. We had a nice chat and I told her that I was tired from the week and not really motivated to go to the event. And then she said: why don’t you just go and check it out? Since it’s only 10 minutes away from your home, you can always go home in case you do not like it… And so I did. It turned out to be the BEST weekend of my life. Life changing. True story.
Why did you decide that you wanted to take the step from being an Organiser to becoming a Facilitator?
I became addicted. To the people, the atmosphere and the energies it gave me. At each event you meet amazing like-minded people. As a facilitator you enlarge your network and the opportunity to meet local people. For me being a facilitator is something natural. I love doing it, it doesn’t cost me too much energy, although after a weekend I feel satisfied, and also a bit tired. Straight back to work is sometimes a bit challenging.
What do you enjoy most about being a Facilitator?
I get attached to the people. I understand how exciting it is to pitch on Friday and how nervous people are for the Sunday evening Pitch Night. I feel for them. They worked so hard the whole weekend, and then the moment comes to bring everything to the table. I am nervous too, for them. I am always proud of what I see on Sunday evening. They all went through some learning curves and teams show true team spirit. It is beautiful to see. Startup Weekend is the place to be if you are looking for a transformational experience. And those are the BEST! I cannot get enough :-). I always want MORE.
What is your best memory of facilitating at a Techstars Startup Weekend?
I got a request from a participant to practice his Friday evening pitch with the organising team, a couple of days before the event would kick off. I was impressed by the level of ambition and humbleness of this person. Of course I accepted it and invited him to one of our team meetings. We gave him advice and his idea was chosen on Friday evening. They won the first prize on Sunday evening too. I love the level of ambition of the people coming to Startup Weekends. We have a lot fun and at the same time we are damn serious about setting up a business and creating impact. I love this combination!
Do you have any advice for those thinking of taking the plunge and applying to become Facilitators?
Just do it. It is a great experience. I learned a lot from other facilitators, like Stavros (Greece) and Dwight (Amsterdam). When I felt a bit more confident I found my own way of doing it. I am just me, myself and I. In all the surveys the feedback that I get is that participants see how natural I am by just being myself and how much I am enjoying it too. Participants are not looking for a show, they value authenticity more. In the end, all SW-peeps are part of the same family. So, you can just be yourself and enjoy the ride! So find your own uniqueness in the way you like to facilitate, and it will be great!
Our Community Leader Highlight this month is with Katherine Roth from Jamestown, North Dakota.
She serves as the Executive Director of the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center, which is hosting this year’s Techstars Startup Weekend Jamestown for the second time. The Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center supports the creation of rural startups in North Dakota by providing technical assistance, customized training, entrepreneur-led discussions, and entrepreneur-focused networking and training events. She have a passion for empowering individuals and organizations in achieving strategic goals.
Prior to working with the Entrepreneur Center, Katherine served as a consultant to the University of Jamestown and wrote the USDA Rural Development grant to secure project funding. As well, I worked in the federal government with much of this time at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Working in a capacity that serves others and the greater community is personally very meaningful. In my free time I am running for the North Dakota State Senate in District 29 with the Dem-NPL party and would like to serve as a proponent for family farming, youth STEM experiential education initiatives, and small businesses in the state legislature.
Why do you do what you do?
I live in Jamestown, North Dakota, which is a rural community in the south central region of the state. One key way to ensure rural sustainability and community livability is through supporting local entrepreneurs. Our center aims to support the economic vitality of our region.
What’s new for the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center?
Techstars Startup Weekend is still very new to us! We participated last year in late 2017 and we are excited to deliver this program within the regional community again in 2018. North Dakota has great access to the internet and the cost of living is reasonable. This combination makes it a great place to start up.
In Jamestown, as throughout most of North Dakota, the commutes are short. The regional and statewide resources available to support new business ventures are impressive. The Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center welcomes public inquiries to learn more about business opportunities!
El evento binacional realizado el pasado 4, 5, y 6 de mayo en Urcuquí, Imbabura– Ecuador, es reconocido como un escenario de encuentro de dos países latinoamericanos que trabajan en torno al fortalecimiento del emprendimiento en tecnologías y comunicación y la construcción de Paz.
Los protagonistas fueron 112 emprendedores que se sumaron a la comunidad más grande de emprendimiento en el mundo, Startup Weekend, con el apoyo de 30 personas, entre ellos; facilitadores, organizadores, mentores y gracias al patrocinio de 18 aliados de los dos países, fue posible desarrollar la experiencia SW Binacional Ecuador – Colombia.
En las primeras horas, 50 ideas de negocio deslumbraron el potencial que tienen los jóvenes de estos territorios, en el transcurso de 54 horas, las ideas evolucionaron y se fortalecieron. Como resultado del trabajo de acompañamiento en las verticales de AgroTech y Travel, el día domingo se obtuvieron 17 proyectos de emprendimiento que se presentaron ante los paneles de jurados.
Los participantes sustentaron sus proyectos, mostrando iniciativas que le apuestan a fortalecer tecnológicamente al sector Agro, e iniciativas para mejorar las condiciones de la experiencia de los turistas, temas de total interés en la frontera de entre los dos países.
Se acercaban los últimos instantes del evento y dos equipos recibieron menciones de honor por su alta capacidad de resiliencia, y compromiso. Se trata de Caserito compra ya, y Travel Connected. El tercer lugar fue otorgado a: Agro Aquí, y Go Live, el segundo lugar fue para: PiñaFi y City. Es importante destacar que una persona de cada equipo recibirá la Certificación de Comercialización y Transferencia de Tecnología, siendo como único requisito tener altos conocimientos del idioma Inglés.
Finalmente, Fernando Espinola Prieto, y Oscar I. Soto facilitadores del evento por parte de Techstars anunciaron la llegada a la meta, “ABC Travel” y “Almiplast” fueron seleccionadas como las iniciativas que tienen el mayor potencial para tener éxito en el mercado. “Almiplast” recibirán durante cuatro meses en la Empresa Pública Yachay EP, acceso a la zona de coworking y “ABC Travel” recibirán durante seis meses acceso a la zona de coworking de ParqueSoft Pasto, los dos emprendimientos recibirán un plan de acompañamiento virtual por parte de mentores de ambos países, para escalar estas iniciativas al mercado global.
Para Karla Daniela Malla Calderón, de Loja – Ecuador, integrante de “ABC Travel” puntualiza “esta experiencia fue enriquecedora para conocer más de la cultura de mi país, a su vez familiarizarse con participantes y mentores para fortalecer la idea de negocio”.
“El público objetivo de la propuesta está centrado en estudiantes, y profesores de universidades y colegios quienes a través de una plataforma web podrán organizar salidas a campo o giras de observación, afirma la integrantes, Michelle Guachamín.
En el caso de “Almiplast” Javier Alberto Morán Terán de Ecuador expresa “En Ecuador y Colombia tenemos muchas necesidades, simplemente debemos colocarnos de acuerdo y trabajar en equipo” entre tanto, Nicolás Murcia de Colombia invita a las personas de los dos países a seguir emprendiendo para sacar nuevas ideas que aporten a la sociedad.
El proyecto de Almiplast, busca aportar al medio ambiente mediante la sustitución del material no biodegradable utilizado para la realización de bolsas plásticas, por biopolímero, basado en el almidón de papa para la fabricación de micropellets, garantizando la realización de bolsas que no contaminen.
Sin duda podemos concluir que este evento es uno de los catalizadores para la creación de Startups y la educación en emprendimiento alrededor del mundo. Es momento de agradecer al talento humano que lo hizo posible y las organizaciones que se vincularon, Yachay EP, ParqueSoft Pasto Y Funda TIC.
Equipo de trabajo : Pamela Camacho, Oscar I. Soto, José Acosta, Andrés Cueva, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Gelber Morán, Edilma Rosero, Jonathan Sánchez, Eduardo Cartagena, Rosa Gonzaga, John Jaime Acosta, y Alejandra Cabrera M.
Mentores y Jueces: Andrés Váscones, Diego López, Gabriela Jácome, Evelyn Vélez, Fabián Bermeo, Francisco Cordova, Jhony Villacís, Felipe Enríquez, Juan Londoño, Kako Vera, Roberto Moya, Verónica Gómez, William Villacís, Carlos Molano, Gabriel Bermeo, Juan Adrada, Luis Suárez, y Luis Rojas.
Revive los mejores momentos a través de los hashtag #SWBinacional y #EcuadorColombia, en las redes sociales encuéntranos como: www.facebook.com/swbinacional/ y www.twitter.com/swbinacional y ampliación de la información en la página web: www.swbinacional.co.
Nos vemos en la segunda versión de Startup Weekend Binacional Ecuador – Colombia
Meet Heather Tsavaris, from Mansfield, OH.
Hi! I am Heather, I design user experiences for Idea Works— a new co-working space in Mansfield, Ohio that supports entrepreneurs to reimagine what is possible. I think entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking personal and community empowerment. About me– I grew up in Mansfield and left after school for DC, London, The Hague, New York City, and Istanbul. I decided to bring my family — my husband and two girls– back home to use my business and creative problem solving skills in the community that provided me the launchpad necessary to experience the world.
Why I do what I do?
My background is a bit untraditional– I spent a decade working for the U.S. Department of State on counterterrorism. I became an expert of sorts on why young people became interested in joining these groups. The passion of these young people always shocked me because they cared deeply about causes and yet saw violence as the only way to contribute. I became inspired by a group of entrepreneurs who I was working in the Netherlands at the time, who came from similar backgrounds as the teenagers, and who had passion and cared deeply for causes, but used their skills and abilities to solve problems for others and and make a living do so. These entrepreneurs prompted me to attend business school in New York to learn entrepreneurial and business principles with the hope of teaching others this empowerment tool. Many years later, I have had the pleasure of teaching hundreds of urban and rural young people the power and practicality of entrepreneurship in transforming their lives.
What’s new for Mansfield?
Mansfield is undergoing a renaissance. A quintessential Rust Belt town filled with creative, impassioned and determined folks who are truly reimagining who we can be. From the 15 amazing community leaders who just traveled to South by Southwest as part of a community foundation-sponsored project to cede new ways of doing things in Mansfield– to a online local news startup who is winning national attention for its solutions based journalism approach. In a place people once counted out, things are changing and people are beginning to believe more greatness is possible. Techstars Startup Weekend provides us an amazing opportunity to let our neighbors experience the energy and possibilities of building, reimagining and solving problems that matter through entrepreneurship– all while lifting ourselves, each other and our community up.
I love asking “What’s right about your town?” instead of “What’s wrong with it?” I deeply believe that amazing things can come from any place– quintessentially rust belt, large, small, rural, urban and everything in between. It is about having the mindset and willingness to do the work that enables a place and its people to embrace the possibilities.
Everything went great for the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion! We welcomed 120 highly motivated participants with some very inspirational projects! 47 ideas were pitched with, as usual, a huge variety of projects – from renewable energy, special pastries, food apps to a new generation of coffins! 12 projects were selected and pitched to our jury. Needless to say, they had a tough time selecting the winners.
Our first Techstars Startup Weekend took place in 2011 in St Denis, the capital of Réunion Island. Right from the off, we built a long term partnership with a local incubator which strongly promoted us, both through their media and notoriety and through financial support. We found 10 coaches who really added value to the first projects. Then we had the chance to quickly welcome successful entrepreneurs who built nice and visible startups. Thus media were attracted, together with new sponsors, including telcos, bank and local authorities. Techstars Startup Weekend events quickly became the flagship event for ‘to be’ startups in Reunion.
We also got early support from the Techstars Startup Weekend team who initially came to help us organise our first events, so it was an instant success. Now, Techstars Startup Weekend is well renowned in Réunion. Our participants get a lot of traction after the event. Students and participants mention it in their resumes and it gives them a very nice story to tell!
We always have amazing sponsors who strongly promote the event, insightful coaches, prestigious jury involving known individuals here in Réunion, we also have good prizes, we fight to get fresh news from our success stories’ startups to keep ‘light’ on them.
One advise: do what you can to have one or two success stories as quickly as possible and media, sponsors and participants will flow. This is a virtuous circle which starts with a reliable sponsor + a quick win ie a successful startup with high visibility.
We are organising two events per year which is already quite a lot of work… and fun of course! Still we have short-term plans to launch a third Techstars Startup Weekend per year, focusing on a particular vertical, probably centring around culture (art, music etc) or social impact. Thanks to everyone who has made the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion possible! Check out the recap video here.
If you want to organize a Techstars Startup Program, contact us through email@example.com
We want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated and was part of Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017! With more than 12,000 attendees in over 58 countries, we got to startup, get some mentorship, meet new friends and have lots of fun.
Out of the 175 local winners, we received 113 team applications to our showcase competition and the wait is finally over– after a couple of weeks of deliberation between our amazing global judges, we have a winner for our Techstars Global Startup Weekend Showcase:
LeaseCake, a SaaS platform that provides small to medium sized property owners and managers the ability to scale their operations, while efficiently managing all of their tenants.
The platform is a centralized solution allowing owners to electronically store leases, collect payments, and communicate proactively with tenants, making the entire leasing experience affordable, paperless, and scalable.
A global showcase couldn’t be complete without some prizes to help the winning teams move forward with their startup.
The LeaseCake Team will receive the following prizes:
- $100K in GCP Credits from Google Cloud Platform: Google Cloud Platform lets you build and host applications and websites, store data, and analyze data on Google’s scalable infrastructure.
- A Star Wars robot from Sphero: Sphero began the connected play revolution in 2010 by creating something unlike anything – and they never stopped. Optimized by data and powered by fun, their ever-evolving robots are changing the way the world thinks about play.
- $10K in AWS credits from Amazon Web Services: The global winner also gets 1:1 sessions with the AWS Startup team. AWS Startup Solution Architects advise top funded CTOs around the world, helping them build technologies that scale in order to become the next Airbnb, Netflix, Slack, etc.
- Swag Packet from .CO
With more than 12,000 attendees, this year’s Techstars Global Startup Weekend has been incredible thanks to all the people who put in the effort to make the events happen. In 58 countries across every time zone, community leaders, mentors, judges, and participants came to Techstars Startup Weekend to build awesome companies, forge new bonds, and experience what it’s like to create a company in a weekend.
After a week of voting and a regional judging round, we are proud to introduce the Regional Showcase winners from each of our six regions. These six teams are now being evaluated to win the Global Showcase, which will be announced next week.
Please give a round of applause for the following teams:
Asia Pacific: Pegasus
Techstars Startup Weekend Brisbane, Australia
Pegasus is an all in one equine management tool at your fingertips, solving the pain point of a messy and disorganized paper trail that surrounds most stakeholders in the horse industry. It allows you to not only schedule appointments, but book services within the app, as well as storing care instructions, registration information, medical data, tracking of training and competition results, and more! Its unique marketplace community allows you to connect with industry service providers to book, schedule and receive confirmation for all your appointments within the confines of the app.
Techstars Startup Weekend São Paulo Travel, Brazil
IHLÁ is a web app platform that aggregates qualified information about researched destinations to travel to, giving priority to moms that want security, comfort, and cost-savings while planning their family vacation.
It seeks to provide the user a sense of security by offering the best option for them, with a centralized search and collection of crawler-filtered information that will search for 5-star rated destinations by location or price.
Latam: Sweet Life
Techstars Startup Weekend San Rafael, Argentina
SweetLife is a tool that helps diabetic people have control over the carbs they have or will consume, and in the base of that calculate the number of units of insulin that should be applied.
SweetLife is a unique application that uses a scanner to provide all the necessary information, that is then registered inside the app. A third party can follow-up on the diabetic person by downloading the app onto their phone and adding their profile.
Sweet Life team:
Europe: Fire Sense
Techstars Startup Weekend London Smart Cities and Home, UK
Fire Sense is a connected fire safety solution to address human error and the gap in information emergency services receive in response to an alarm. Their mission is to increase effectiveness of emergency services and aid in saving lives. Focusing on councils who own large council buildings as their initial target, as it is these building owners that are most affected by the poor fire emergency management according to their research.
Fire Sense Team:
The Middle East and Africa: SalesBay
Techstars Startup Weekend Abia, Nigeria
SalesBay is a B2B platform that connects manufacturers of Nigerian-made products with the respective market while ensuring trust, quality and an increase in sales.
They go the extra mile by verifying the quality of products to be sold on their platform and ensure trust to businesses acting as an escrow server.
US & Canada: LeaseCake
Techstars Startup Weekend Orlando, USA
LeaseCake, a SaaS platform that provides small to medium-sized property owners and managers the ability to scale their operations while efficiently managing all of their tenants.
The platform is a centralized solution allowing owners to electronically store leases, collect payments, and communicate proactively with tenants making the entire leasing experience affordable, paperless, and scalable.
Congratulations to all the winning teams! Want to participate in a Techstars Startup Weekend? Go to startupweekend.org/events
Santiago de Chile is a city found in South America, in the middle Los Andes, and a busy place for entrepreneurship in Latin America. Chile has the highest rate of Internet users in Latin America and the country ranks 9th in the world for mobile phone use according to the PEW research center.
Last year during the Latin American Techstars Summit, we met a lot of people who help Santiago maintain its position as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. One of those leaders is Rocío Fonseca, Director of Startup Chile, a governmental organization created in 2010 to support ideas and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
At the summit, more than 80 Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week community leaders from Latin America came together to meet, share best practices and learn how to grow startup communities. The summit was possible because of Gonzalo Mena, lead organizer of our programs in Santiago. He has helped re-ignite the Techstars community in Chile.
During Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017, Santiago held its first ever MEGA event including verticals like video games, social innovation, research and a non-themed vertical.
“The idea of doing a MEGA event– 4 themed verticals within a single weekend– was born because we wanted to celebrate the community. After doing a non-themed Techstars Startup Weekend back in April, we wanted to bring attention to topics that have been growing importantly in the city but that do not get much media”, says Gonzalo. The video games and research themes– which are not super popular– were complemented with social innovation and another non-themed vertical.
The participants’ high energy mixed with the facilitators– who knew each other previously– were the perfect match to make the event a success. “More than 150 participants got to live the experience of going from idea to product in those 54 hours, for most of them it was the first event and we saw an amazing change in them between Friday night and Sunday’s final pitch,” according to Gonzalo.
A grand prize of mentorship from the commercial area from the Ministry of External Relations of Chile will help the winning team to get their project ready to launch abroad.
When asked about the upcoming plans for the community in Santiago, Gonzalo says that thanks to the exposure that came with Techstars Startup Weekend MEGA and the participation of high profile Judges, they will start pushing to make more events that support different thematics around tech entrepreneurship in 2018, collaborating with other communities that include Startup Grind, Emprendedores Anónimos, Founderlist and more.
To connect with the Startup Weekend Community in Santiago, you can visit their website or their Facebook Page. To learn more about Techstars Startup Programs or to find an event near you, go to techstars.com/startup-programs
We are honored to support the largest celebration of entrepreneurship in the world, Global Entrepreneurship Week. We will hold over 200 events, in over 60 cities this year over in just two weekends!
As part of the celebration, Techstars Global Startup Weekend comes with a Regional and Global Showcase, with prizes from Google, Amazon, .CO, and more.
Local winners from each event have the opportunity to submit their startup and our regional judges will select the best team regionally. Regional winners go on to the finals where our global judges panel will select the winner. The global winner will get additional exposure and perks, but the other competitors will not be left empty-handed.
The Global Judges
David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars. David has been an entrepreneur and investor for his entire life. He has only had one job interview in his career, successfully got that job but then quit shortly thereafter to start his first company. Since then, he has founded several companies and has invested in hundreds of startups such as Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, FullContact, and Sphero. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value.
David is the co-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.
Mary Grove is the Director of Google for Entrepreneurs, leading Google’s efforts to support startups and entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries around the world. Mary is passionate about building community and has worked with groups of entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Afghanistan, and previously led numerous international partnerships for Google.
Mary earned her BA and MA from Stanford University. She is the co-founder of Silicon North Stars, a nonprofit that connects youth from the Midwest to Silicon Valley. She has served on the Board of UP Global, the Techstars Foundation and the Stanford Alumni Association.
Debbie Levi is part of the Venture Capital Business Development team at AWS managing relationships with top tier VCs and their portfolio companies on behalf of AWS and broader Amazon. Prior to joining the team in 2016 she was part of the Israeli VC community for about 5 years (most recently at Viola Ventures (FKA Carmel Ventures) and JAL Ventures).
Before becoming a VC Debbie managed marketing teams at a series of start-ups (Mytopia, mySupermarket and Kasamba (acquired by LivePerson) and spent time in corporate America (News America Marketing, a division of News Corp). Debbie holds a MBA from Bar Ilan University and a BA in Psychology and Communications from the University of Michigan. Debbie is a NYC native and an alumna of Stuyvesant High School.
Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, an organization consisting of a Venture Capital fund that invests in technology-enabled companies in the Arab world. He is also the Founder and a Board Member of Aramex, a global logistics and transportation provider.
Fadi is a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the Board of Endeavor Global and the Board of Trustees at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, an initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.
Rocio is the Executive Director at Start-Up Chile, one of the biggest and most diverse startup communities in the world. She has a MS in Management at MIT, is a Master in innovation and entrepreneurship and Biotech Engineer. Her passion is to help people to transform their ideas into business.
Check out more about our regional judges on global.startupweeend.org/judges
With still one weekend left in Techstars Global Startup Weekend, you have the opportunity to participate and be part of the celebration!