Celebrating the Spirit of Creation and Innovation at the First-ever Startup Weekend Concepcion

This is a guest post written by Chris Campbell, Chief Tracking Officer, Review Trackers. @ReviewTrackers – The original article was published on Startup America’s Blog here.

Just a little over two years ago, in February of 2010, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Chile, approximately 100 kilometers north of the city of Concepción. I remember seeing the news reports on TV, and being awed and shocked by images of the devastation, death, and destruction that the earthquake had caused.

These were the same images I carried with me when recently I took the 6-hour Tour Bus ride from capital city Santiago to one of the communes most affected by the calamity two years ago.

I was with a group of Start-Up Chile participants and we were all headed to the first-ever Startup Weekend Concepción.

The global grassroots movement first landed in Chile by way of Santiago, and as it headed south, seeking to expand its regional reach across Latin America, we were excited by the thought of taking part as mentors ­ as people who were in a position to empower local entrepreneurs and help them break into the rapidly growing Chilean entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Startup Weekend Concepción, which was organized by Acid Labs and held August 31 to September 2 at the School of Design at Duoc UC, brought together over 100 attendees (divided into 12 teams) for 54 hours of sharing ideas, forming teams, building products, making pitches, launching startups, and generally being awesome.

“It is important for the region to have this kind of event,” said Angelo Garay, director of the Industrial Design Program at Duoc UC. “The university is happy to lead the process of entrepreneurship and innovation and invite the entire community to create new products and services.”

The event also gathered the support of a network of mentors from CORFO and Innova Bio Bio, represented by executives, businessmen, and thought leaders volunteering to provide valuable feedback and help the early-stage, high-potential entrepreneur attendees turn their startup ideas into viable businesses.

I, meanwhile, was part of a team of mentors from the US, Argentina, Brazil, and the Philippines. David Burt, who sat with me on the bus and is also the co-founder of event management startup EventRay, relished the opportunity to mentor entrepreneurs at Startup Weekend Concepción.

“It was an amazing event,” he said. “It felt great to give back to the startup community, especially after having participated in Startup Weekend Jacksonville. It felt great to be on the other side and help young entrepreneurs understand what it takes to begin and launch a startup.”

Added Lucia Radeljak, another mentor and co-founder of interior design startup DecoSnap. “SW Concepción was a very enriching experience. There were many good projects, the attendees were so eager to learn, and I had such a great time.”

“I didn’t know what to expect, but once I started talking to one of the teams it was great to see their ideas evolve,” said Carlos Solorio, co-founder of menswear fashion startup Arden Reed. “I added my expertise where I could and by the end of it they had developed a strong operational backbone for their startup.”

The event itself was extremely well-organized, and had a friendly, festive, distinctly Chilean atmosphere (empanadas and mechados, anyone?). And just as it had been in previous Startup Weekends I’d attended, SW Concepción proved to be a transformative experience ­ not just for all the attendees, but also for myself. Instead of heading back to Santiago that Sunday recalling again the tragic images from Concepción two years ago, I rode the bus carrying this new vision of the city, its community recovered from destruction and today celebrating the spirit of creation and innovation.

The Ooomf App Discovery Platform Is Live For Startup Weekend Teams!

If you or your team worked on an app during the weekend, this is great news for you. You can get more users by showcasing your Startup Weekend App on ooomf

There’s a lot of amazing technology being built at Startup Weekend events across the globe, but no matter how great an app is, it can sometimes be difficult to rise above the noise.

This is why the great Startup Weekend  alums at ooomf are bringing you an awesome way to help you get your mobile app get discovered. The idea for ooomf came after attending a Startup Weekend event earlier this year when the team saw so many cool projects, but some of the projects lost momentum after the event ended.

Ooomf was created as a mobile app discovery platform that helps developers market their applications and allows users to discover and participate in the creation of mobile apps, whether the app is just an idea, coming soon, or already in the App Store.

In just a few months, ooomf has grown to thousands of users eager to discover new apps and help participate in the creation of future ones.

Ooomf helps you connect with users and build a following for your app whether it’s just an idea or a prototype that has yet to launch in the App Store.

Showcase your Startup Weekend mobile app on ooomf here: http://ooomf.com/startupweekend

Contact ooomf:



+1 (514) 381-5266

Follow @ooomflabs on twitter

Like ooomf on Facebook

GeekWire Startup Day! September 22nd, 2012

You’ve been through our 54-hour marathon, you got inspired, you worked your butt off, and you met awesome people.  What’s next? This year, GeekWire is bringing you Startup Day on 9/22. This one-day conference features fast-paced talks from CEOs and founders who are in the trenches. They’ll not only inspire you but save you a ton of time by sharing with you where they’ve stumbled, what they learned, and how they’re winning. This event has been a staple in the tech startup community; it’s in its fourth year, started by Seattle 2.0. It attracts speakers and attendees and from Silicon Valley to Vancouver BC and beyond.  But why should you attend?

In addition to the speaker line-up (from 27-year-old phenom Aaron Levie of Box to Dwellable CEO Brenda Spoonemore),  we’re really looking forward to the new “elevator pitch” element this year.  You know how hard it is to get meetings with VC’s, and whether you’re refining an idea you worked on at Startup Weekend or keep generating new ones, at Startup Day you have the opportunity to get 1:1 investor feedback.   A few lucky winners from the morning’s “auditions” will get to pitch their idea to the entire Startup Day audience after lunch.  Check out this line-up of judges and coaches!
  • Andy Sack, Ligher Capital/Tech Stars/Founder’s Co-op
  • Greg Gottesman, Madrona Venture Group
  • Boris Wertz version one ventures (Vancouver, BC)
  • Rahul Sood, Bing Fund
  • Frank Artale, Ignition Venture Partners
  • Julie Sandler, Madrona Venture Group
  • Yongbai Choi, Vulcan Capital
  • Jason Stoffer. Maveron
It’s no extra charge to sign up for the elevator pitch, but tickets are limited…so sign up soon and reserve your spot today.
Now for a quick recap.  Top five reasons to attend Startup Day:
  • Insider tips from CEOs who have been there and are doing that
  • Key connections  with fellow entrepreneurs
  • Insightful investor feedback on your elevator pitch
  • Expert advice on your burning questions
  • Priceless: knowing you didn’t miss the biggest baddest tech startup event of the year!
Hope to see you there. Startup Weekend alums and fans get a special discount!  Just use code swvip when you sign up here.

Recap 9.10.2012 (Catch Up On What You Missed Last Week)

There are so many awesome things happening all the time, that we usually have a lot to tell you about and share with you on a weekly basis. In an effort to keep you better updated, we’ll post a blog piece every week recapping most of what we shared the week before on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn…well you get it.

If you fall behind, just look for the lastest recap and get back on track!


Recap 9.10.2012




We have a new board on Pinterest for you Instagrammers! Tag #startupweekend when you Instagram a shot and we might pin it (only if it’s super cool!)

Marc's #BeFearless Book Rankings!

1. “The people leading almost every successful startup in history are just different. They’re a very tiny percentage of the world population, and their brains are wired for chaos, uncertainty, and blinding speed. They’re irrationally focused on customer needs and delivering great products. Their job is their life. It’s not 9-to-5, it’s 24/7. These are the people who found high-growth, highly successful scalable startups.” – Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s The Startup Owner’s Manual

One of the most influential books in entrepreneurship. While we have no clue how to help entrepreneurs be more successful, we are starting to learn how to at least help startups fail less.  The implications of pushing the edge and learning here will continue to have an enormous impact on the way we look at starting new businesses and ultimately our economy.

2. “You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.” – Chuck Yeager as quoted in The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

An incredibly inspiring book that takes us back in time through the lives and stories of the men and women who pushed everything we though possible from breaking the sound barrier, the first space flights and finally to the moon. These are the stories and the fearless efforts that brought us together as a nation and forced us into the technological age we live in today. What will the equivalent in our generation be?


3. “Without actions, the world would still be an idea.” – Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital by Spencer Ante

Early innovations required substantial investments and even more ingenuity. The beginnings of a era when we brought the ability to mitigate risks and spur disruptive thinking and action. Institutional investing truly became one of the enabling factors to exploit the creative freedom and risk taking the mid-1900s American capitalism enabled.


4. “If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

One of the most memorable novels from my youth, Ender’s Game continues to be a staple in social conversations and imagination. The purpose of having an imagination is to push the limits of what is possible, and Card did an incredible job at creating a classic that has done just that for several decades.




5. “The History of being spectacularly right has a shadow history lurking behind it: a much longer history of being spectacularly wrong, again and again. And not just wrong, but messy. A shockingly large number of transformative ideas in the annals of science can be attributed to contaminated laboratory environments.” – Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

As much as we like to believe all of the huge success stories like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs emerged from one magical moment of unmatched clarity and brilliance, the reality is that innovation is the result of a long series of hard work and failure. Steven Johnson does a tremendous job exploring all of the major innovations of the 20th century and how the ideas emerged to be ones of world changing consequence. The more we can understand where these come from, the more likely we are to recognize the patters and engineer the key elements that help foster truly disruptive ideas.

Startup Weekend Women's Edition, Seattle

On July 13th – 15th, Startup Weekend Women’s Edition provided a community that focused on female entrepreneurs in an effort to highlight female talent and embolden a balanced dialogue in the startup world.

Historically, Startup Weekend events have been predominantly male, which we believe calls for an opportunity not to separate the male and female entrepreneurial community, but rather, emphasize the already existing female influence.

In a rapidly-evolving modern world, it is becoming more and more crucial to address the ways in which women contribute and lead – and how women will amplify an already present opportunity to re-envision the way that people around the world approach entrepreneurship.

If you see a demand for a Women’s Edition Startup Weekend in your local community, become an organizer and help us bring together different voices and talents in the entrepreneurial revolution.



Courtesy of Jeff Dickey and the NextCast.net.

Chelsia Hart, RealNetworks

Susie Kroll, Babysitting Startup, Amazon, Microsoft

Monica Houston, Google

Melody Biringer, CRAVE

Jessica Smith, OnMobile Media

Jana Harper, The Mill

Irina Menn, University of Washington, Mercent, Stem



Startup Weekend Abidjan

The following is a guest post from Eli Kudjie, Startup Weekend Facilitator from Abdijan.

From July 20 to 22 2012, Startup Weekend Abidjan  was held in Abidjan, the first Startup Weekend in Côte d’Ivoire but this was only the 2nd startup weekend in Sub-Saharan Africa French Speaking countries after the one that took place in Dakar in March 2012.

On Friday evening, the number of participants  was less than what we expected. Only 80 people came up although we had almost 150 people registered. 15 participants presented their pitches with only two ladies among them. After the voting process, 10 projects were selected for the week end.

The 1st thing that impressed me that night was that the participants were so motivated that some of them even spent the whole Friday night at the venue. On Saturday morning though breakfast was a little bit late no one complain but instead they were  working hard.

Some of the mentors started to come around 10 AM and I gathered them for some directives. Throughout the day other mentors came and they were available to sort any participant out. Around 2pm, we had a surprising visit from the President of Parliament of Côte d’Ivoire Mr. Guillaume SORO. He was following the event on twitter and then decided to come and see what’s this event going on. 2 hours later, Alain Lobognon, the Minister of Youth also came by to encourage us and promised to be present during sunday evening’s final pitches.

On Sunday morning, you can see how tired the participants were. Most of them has worked the whole saturday night on their projects and didn’t sleep at all.  That morning,  a young lady who was a team leader (the only lady as team leader) came to me and I could see the exhaustion in her eyes. She has also spent the whole night at the venue working, the only girl who stayed that night. And now, she seemed discouraged. She was thinking of giving up.  Fortunately, one of the mentor arrived at the venue a few minutes later so I brought him to help her again with her business plan. And she got back on track.

At 5:00 pm, the venue was full of people, the minister of Youth came as promised, the judges were there and some businessmen also came. Lot of people were already tweeting. After explaining the voting criteria to the public, the final pitches were ready to start. And after these 54h hours of hard working and coaching throughout the weekend,  the jury finally gave out the results: the startup World of Sports of Fleure N’DOUA, the young lady who was about to give up a few hours earlier won this first edition of Abidjan Startup Weekend. Her startup built an online directory which references all players, sponsors, and clubs in different sports in Cote d’Ivoire, it includes an e-commerce website that sells sports goods, a sports news site, and also a mobile application.
The first runner up was startup Wirid. Wirid is a digital kiosk which sells newspaper 30 % less than their paper version and the 2nd runner up went to startup Social Spot  which offers an advertising solution for businesses through hotspots where users can have free internet connection.

This first event has been a real success in Abidjan though there were many challenges faced by the organizing team. At the end of the weekend, lot of people were asking  on twitter and facebook for a second edition. The IT startup ecosystem is just starting to grow in Abidjan in particular and Sub-Saharan Africa in general and there are lots of things that need to be done to encourage and promote entrepreneurship and we expect many more startup weekend events in other cities in Africa.

Monday Startup Weekend Download – 8.13.2012

Hey everyone! Seems like it has been a crazy busy Monday full of big announcements and great stuff and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss anything! Here is everything we shared today that we have going on!

What Happens After Startup Weekend? Accelerate? Incubate?

Sometimes the next steps for Startup Weekend teams or alumni take them to an accelerator or incubator where they continue to work on their ideas at breakneck speeds. Others choose different routes, but for the 16% of the Startup Weekend teams that do end up in accelerators or incubators after the weekend, they are a great an invaluable learning an growing experience.

Check out some of the awesome programs available all around the country and ask yourself, should my startup apply for an accelerator or incubator? [Forbes]

                   startup weekend, forbes, infographic, gabe pelegrin, accelerator, startup, entrepreneur, funding

Email Delivery Just Got Even Simpler

The following is a guest post by Carly Brantz from SendGrid.

sendgrid, startup weekend, email, email apiStartup founders are always looking for ways to make their budding businesses run more smoothly, and for those who rely on email, this likely means outsourcing transactional email to an SMTP service provider. At SendGrid, we have a whole host of APIs to solve your key challenges around delivery, integration, analytics, scalability, and support, and it’s now easier than ever to get started.

The SendGrid API Guide shows you how to maximize the SendGrid platform using any of our APIs that empower you to better manage your email program while ensuring your messages get delivered to your customers. Part of the beauty of the SendGrid platform is the easy integration into almost any system.

To help share the love, we created the SendGrid API Guide to show you how to do more with your email using the APIs. Oftentimes all it takes is just a few lines of code, and with this guide, you’ll figure out the best way to send and receive mail, set up real-time notifications, receive information, send newsletters, set up subusers and resell SendGrid. You’ll not only get comprehensive overviews of each API, but also sample use cases, examples, tips and great ideas on how to customize the platform to meet your business needs.

With SendGrid APIs, the possibilities are endless, download the SendGrid API Guide and get started today.