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You’ve bought your ticket and the weekend is quickly approaching. You suddenly realize that you have no idea what to expect and you start to panic. What do I need? Who is going to help me build my business? What if nobody likes my idea? Will there be food? Did I leave the oven on? What is the meaning of life?

Stop. Take a deep breath. We’ve got your back.

Here is a list of the things you should bring:

  • Laptop + charger
  • Phone charger
  • Business Cards
  • Something to take notes on
  • A paper ticket is not required. Your name is on a list.
  • Students bring your student ID

When you arrive on Friday night you’ll have some time to mingle with your peers before we get started with initial pitches. You’ll be in a room with a ton of talented and motivated individuals so use this time to get to know them, to scope out who you’d like to work with, and maybe even get people thinking about how brilliant your business idea is. After everyone grabs some pizza and the organizing team does brief intros we’ll jump right into initial pitches. If you came to Startup Weekend with an idea this is your chance to win over the crowd.

You, a microphone, and 60 seconds to convince everyone that your idea deserves to be built.

  • Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
  • What is the problem that your product is solving? Or begin with a story (10-20 Seconds)
  • Explain the product and how it solves the problem (10-20 seconds)
  • Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?) (5-10 seconds)
  • Finally, make up a name for your startup so the facilitator can give it a title

After everyone who came with an idea does an initial pitch we’ll narrow the ideas down through a voting system. There could be 50 ideas pitched and somewhere around 10 will be chosen to be worked on over the course of the weekend.

What if my idea doesn’t get chosen?

Chin up. You’ve got two options:

  1. Join someone else’s startup. You’ve got skills and they’ve got needs. Figure out which idea you can get behind and become a cofounder.
  2. Convince at least 3 other people that your idea deserves to be built and recruit them to join your team. I hope your sales skills are better than your initial pitch because you have to have at least 4 team members to move forward with the idea. We’ve seen teams who didn’t make it through initial pitch voting go on to win the weekend.

Keep in mind when choosing your team it is good to find people with complementary skills. You’ll want business people, marketers, designers, developers, and hustlers to help you bring your startup to life.

Now you’ve got an idea and you’ve got a team. What’s next?

Friday night you’ll flesh out your idea and figure out what role everyone is going to play. Consider using this time to research competitors as well as nail down your value proposition and how you plan to validate it. Accomplish as much as you want before we kick you out of the venue around 1:00am and after that it is your call whether you go home and get some rest or stay up all night working.

Doors will be open from 9:00am to 1:00am on Saturday and you’ll be working from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday.

Everything that happens in between then is totally up to you.

You’ll need tenacity, passion, determination, and a great attitude to stay productive and positive throughout the course of the weekend. Get to know your team and how they operate to ensure that you’re getting the most out of everyone. Our organizing team and experienced mentors will be there to guide you throughout the course of the weekend. We’ll also have some lean startup concepts and scrum/agile development principles to get you thinking, not to mention tons of food, coffee, and Red Bull. We’ll lay out the judging criteria for you early so you can keep that in mind as you are building your minimum viable products and honing in on your business model. Come Sunday you should be getting ready to pitch. This could be a working demonstration of your product, a video, or anything you can come up with to win the judges over.

This weekend is going to be intense, but more than anything it should be fun.

Startup Weekend is a one of a kind event where you can get some real hands on experience. It is one big learning process so don’t stress too much when everything doesn’t go smoothly. You’re going to meet a ton of incredible people that are driving towards their passions and the energy that you all create is going to leave you feeling like you could take on the world.

So congratulations, you’re about to build something remarkable.

Trey Steinhoff