The big basket of prizes

Startup Weekend Vancouver is an action-packed weekend of entrepreneurial learning, execution, and fun. With such a short timeframe for teams to build a new idea, it’s amazing to see what they come out with.

That said, Startup Weekend is still a competition to see who can create the best idea, MVP, and present the viable business in the short 54-hour period—and competitions aren’t competition without an awesome basket of prizes to be won. So let’s take a look at what’s up for grabs!

Prizes for the Winning Team

  • 1-year MailChimp PRO account from MailChimp
  • 1-year Premium account from Todoist
  • 1-year account from Zapier
  • $3,000 of accounts services from Smythe
  • Coffee with Mobify Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Peter McLachlan
  • $2,500 worth of legal service (including incorporation) from MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP
  • A month’s supply of free snacks for your office from SPUD
  • 1-year account from Unbounce
  • 1 free pass for a team member to attend the Lean Entrepreneruship Program from Launch Academy
  • 1-month of office space at the wantoo Lounge

Total basket is worth over $10,000 in prizes!

Second & Third Place

  • 1-year Premium account from Todoist
  • 1-year account from Zapier
  • $1,000 worth of legal service (including incorporation) from MLT (2nd place only)

That’s not all, though. We also have some alternate prizes for teams that meet other criteria.

Most Disruptive Idea

PressReader is also offering the team with the “Most Disruptive Idea” a 1-year PressReader membership for the whole team.

Best Impact

Spring is also offering the team with the “Best Impact” one (1) scholarship to Spring’s Kick pre-accelerator program—a 4-week intensive to help you get from concept to clarity by emphasizing lean methodology, idea validation, and customer discovery. The “Best Impact” prize will be awarded to the most promising business concept that looks to create the biggest positive social or environmental change through technology.

Global Startup Battle Prizes

But wait! There’s more!

As our Startup Weekend event is participating in Global Startup Battle, the top 3 teams will also be able to compete in the exclusive Champion’s Track against other winning startups from around the world for even more prizes!

There are also addition tracks open to all teams that compete in Startup Weekend where you can still win some of the awesome prizes.

There are still a small handful of tickets available to Startup Weekend Vancouver on Nov 20-22 so if you don’t have your ticket yet, what are you waiting for?

Develop Your Startup Like Jukebox: A Successful Online Business Card Company

Guest Post by Loredo Rucchin, Founder & CEO of

Loredo Rucchin Bio PictureAt Jukebox Print, we’ve experienced it all. As a successful e-commerce business serving customers in over 100 countries, most people don’t think of Jukebox Print as a startup, but in fact, Jukebox was once the very definition of a startup. Jukebox was created and managed by one person. That one person was the CSR, the designer, the packager, the shipper, the IT guy and the accountant. The “office” consisted of a bedroom with a desk and computer, and the product line consisted of only business cards. If any of this rings true to your current circumstances, keep reading. We’ve got some insight from our own personal experiences growing into a successful business. There will still be some challenges along the way, but with our help, you might just be ready to face them.

You have a brilliant idea for your own e-commerce company; a product or service that stands out and meets an unmet demand. What you need before you launch is an effective name, and this should be given serious consideration. If we were called Loredo’s Print Shop, you would probably envision us as a small, plain, industrial shop offering the same old aqueous coating on everything. Instead, we’re called Jukebox Print – an offbeat, exciting, intriguing, stylish and memorable name that lets you know immediately we are not your average print shop. If you are not an overly creative person, enlist the help of someone who is. Test out your name ideas by judging the reactions they receive. The first general reaction to the name Jukebox, along with our bright pink branding, was shock and disbelief. The fact that people had such a strong reaction is what solidified the name as the right choice for us. It would give people something to talk about – and for 8 years, it has.

Another main challenge you will face in your early stages is making the leap to expand outside of your basement or home office. Jukebox is an online business that has grown its customer base mainly through referrals, and although we serve an international customer base now, we grew locally first. Before you are known as a reputable business, people are going to want to meet with you, view samples in person and in general, get a feel for how professional your business is. This demands that you have a professional office space. A great option for today’s budding startups is a shared office or “co-work” space. You don’t need a large storefront, so focus on finding a small yet modern environment. Expand your team slowly by hiring one person at first, and don’t overlook the value of students or those with little experience – you can mould the right person into exactly what you need. Although it might be tempting, don’t hire your friends. The more professional you keep all aspects of your business, the more professional your reputation will be with your clients.

As you grow, your challenges will change dramatically. If you are operating your business mostly or even partially online, you need a good IT team (yes, you need to hire multiple people) to keep your website stable, secure and operating smoothly.

Once your website is backed up by a great IT team, you can start to focus on international expansion. Shipping and payments will be your biggest challenges. Choose your business partners wisely from the beginning. We are thrilled to offer UPS shipping and Paypal during check-out, company names that are trusted all over the world. This has had a direct increase on our international sales.

Grow your international customer base further by having a strong social media presence, and by tailoring your marketing approach to the specific location you are targeting. The products that are a hit in North America may not be new or exciting in France or Australia. This will be the case with any product or service you offer, as worldwide customers will have different appreciations and expectations of service. It might seem obvious, but don’t forget that an exotic Bamboo business card isn’t so exotic in China. Communication can also be a difficult barrier you may face. When hiring, start to look past the obvious talents and put more value into multi-lingual capabilities. This will be a huge asset to your company, as one employee can help you connect with a whole new market.

Lastly, never forget the power of aesthetic attraction. Our branding is something our customers compliment us on the most. Something as simple as a beautifully wrapped box can be the motivation your customer needs to share photos online or recommend you to everyone they know. This can be as simple as branding your packaging using a custom stamp of your logo at first, evolving into using a fully customized set of branded tissue paper, boxes, wrapping paper and product tags. And we happen to know the perfect place for you to get them printed.

About the Author: Loredo Rucchin is a successful entrepreneur – his company, Jukebox Print, recently made Profit’s top 100 list, with five-year growth of 4,331%. offers high quality business card products and the latest, most innovative print products. Learn more about Jukebox Print.

How to Prepare for a Hackathon or Startup Weekend

Guest blog post by #SWVan coach, Tony Gui

Challenged accepted.

All-star teams formed.

Adrenaline is the fuel for ideas.

Post-its, pivots, and coding, OH MY!

Hungry, Sleepless, and Determined.

All for the experience to pitch the next greatest idea or startup over a weekend.


Millennials are replacing their weekends for the opportunity to solve some bold and badass challenges to design better futures. Hackathons and Startup Weekends are being curated globally to bring together passionate leaders and entrepreneurs with diverse skills to design innovative solutions. Even NASA has seen the value of hosting their own Hackathon, providing access to their open source data to teams of technologist, developers, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs across the globe.

Whether you are a seasoned hacker/startup guru or a virgin curious about the experience, these weekends are full of adrenaline, excitement, frustration, emotion, and new learning. Come Sunday, it’s celebration of what your team has designed!

Having had experience in these events as both a participant and mentor, I’d love to share some key tips:

1 — Fall in love with the problem not the idea. Don’t trust anyone who thinks they have the next greatest idea. All ideas are crap and are based on assumptions. Get out of the building and test your ideas with real people who are having the problem you are designing for.

2 — Build Team Understanding. Chances are everyone on your team is coming from a different background. It may feel as though everyone is speaking a different language. As a team, understand everyone’s skills — some might be great at coding, visual design, or strategy. Visualizing the problem and process will make sure everyone is speaking the same language and feels heard.

3 — How Might We is an innovator’s most powerful weapon. As you unpack various problems along the weekend, keep asking How Might We. This secret will help uncover fresh ideas and insights.

4 — Visualize Everything! The one that picks up the pen solves the problem.

5 — The new 4 Ps: Prototype, prototype, prototype, and prototype.Design is not about building beautiful things. Design is about triggering the right responses. Build prototypes that can be tested on people to learn whether or not you are triggering the responses you want.

6 — Business Model Canvas. Learn to use the Business Model Canvas, this will help you visualize whether or not your startup makes any sense. How will you make money? Who are your customers? What is your promise to your customer? How will they know about it?

7 — Pitch! Show and Tell time. Make us resonate to the problem you are solving — what is! Show us how you can relieve that pain point for us — what could be!

*This was a guest blog post by Startup Weekend Vancouver 2015 coach, Tony Gui.

Tony Gui is a design strategist and creative hustler who splits his life between San Francisco and Vancouver.  He has founded two startups and is currently bringing the third to life. Kreatives will be a design and strategy lab working with investors and businesses to sustain innovation and launch new ventures globally.  Tony has taught design thinking around the world, mentored at NASA’s International Space App’s Challenge in New York, and is a finalist in the 2015 Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards. He is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and businesses to design meaningful futures.

The world’s biggest startup competition returns to Vancouver – tickets now available!

Startup Weekend Vancouver

Vancouver, are you ready? The world’s biggest startup competition is returning to our city for the second year in a row, and tickets are now up for grabs!

Startup Weekend Vancouver takes place on November 20-22, 2015 at the new Unbounce HQ, and will bring together developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts alike to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. We’re excited to be one of over 250 cities taking part in the Global Startup Battle 2015!

The stakes are high. Last year, not only did ConceptKicker, the winners of Startup Weekend Vancouver 2014, win locally. They also competed against 3,200 teams from 83 countries and took home the title as the 2014 GSB Champion.

Are you up for the challenge? Tickets are available now for purchase!

We’re giving away a Lighthouse Labs scholarship!

In celebration of the opening of ticket sales, we’ve partnered with Lighthouse Labs to give away one full scholarship to their Part-Time Web Fundamentals Course. If you’re trying to build a minimum viable product (MVP), communicate with your dev team, or gain valuable career skills, this opportunity is for you. Everyone who buys a ticket before Monday, October 19 will be entered to the giveaway! Learn more about the course.

What’s in store this year

This year’s Startup Weekend is shaping up to be another can’t-miss event. We’re bringing out some of our community’s most experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts to support our teams.

Throughout the weekend, teams can meet one-on-one with coaches and mentors. Our current lineup of coaches and mentors include Jayesh Parmar (CEO & Co-Founder, Picatic), Hussein Hallak (Director of Strategy & Marketing, 3 Tier Logic & Head Instructor of the Lean Entrepreneurship Program, Launch Academy), Wade Foster (CEO & Co-Founder, Zapier), Elizabeth Steward (VP Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet Cloud Innovation Center), and Keith Ippel (Co-Founder & Partner, Spring Activator).

On the last day of Startup Weekend Vancouver, teams demo their prototypes and receive feedback from a panel of judges. We’re excited to welcome Boris Wertz (Founder & General Partner, Version One Ventures), Ryan Holmes (CEO, Hootsuite), and Wade Foster (Co-Founder & CEO, Zapier) as this year’s judges.

We’ve also partnered with fantastic supporters to give the best perks and prizes to our attendees. They include Unbounce (our venue sponsor), QuickMobile (our gold sponsor), BCIC, MailChimp, Smythe CPA and Lighthouse Labs (our silver sponsors), iQmetrix and Spring Activator (our bronze sponsors), & Futurpreneur and Todoist (our community sponsors).

We’re continuing to add more mentors, coaches and partners. Stay tuned for more updates by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or signing up for our newsletter.

Grab your ticket today before they sell out!

#SWVanAlumni: Where Are They Now? Musefind Team Takes on the Big Apple

In the Vancouver startup community, you never know if the next person you meet will go on to become the next breakthrough startup entrepreneur. Startup Weekend is one of the key outlets for aspiring entrepreneurs to not only come together and bring their startup ideas to life, but also for them to meet an array of high potential founders with unique stories to share.

When military soldier-turned-artist and now startup CEO, Jennifer Yemu Li participated in Startup Weekend Vancouver in 2014, little did we know that this powerhouse entrepreneur and her co-founders would go on to build an online network of over 170,000 influencers on Instagram through their online platform, Musefind.

Musefind is an online platform that allows eCommerce brands to market through social media influencers. Incubated in Vancouver’s Spring Activator, Musefind has become the first and only Canadian startup to have been accepted and funded by one of New York’s leading tech accelerators, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA).

We sat down with Jennifer to discuss her Startup Weekend experience and the support she has received from the Vancouver startup community that has led her to grow her business in New York.

How did you first hear about Startup Weekend, and what made you want to participate?

I had first found out about Startup Weekend from friends in the Vancouver startup community and by word-of-mouth. Around that time, I was also participating in the Kick program at Spring where I had met one of my co-founders, Stephen Shen, and then at Startup Weekend, I met my other co-founder, Andry Tanusdjaja. Since then, the three of us have built Musefind in Vancouver, and after getting accepted into ERA, we decided to move together to New York to grow Musefind even further.

Did you participate in SWV with the idea of Musefind — or was it initially a different idea?

The idea of Musefind was the same as what we went in Startup Weekend with — which was initially called Fame Mob. It had the same roots as Musefind, but we only had an MVP, and the idea wasn’t validated until we joined Spring.

How did you come up with the idea?

My co-founder Stephen and I both had similar experiences running an e-commerce business, and we both had frustrations around connecting our brands with influencers. So when we came together with our other co-founder, Andry, during Startup Weekend, we knew we were on to something.

When did you feel that Musefind first had legs?

When we sold our product to our first customer — without an actual product. It was just a concept during Startup Weekend, so when someone actually paid for something I had pitched to them, it was then when we realized we really needed to hustle and start prototyping.

You are the first and only Canadian company to have been accepted and funded by ERA in New York – congratulations! What led you to wanting to move Musefind to New York?

We knew that if we wanted to grow our company, New York was the place to be — and it was the best decision for our company. With ERA being the one of leading accelerators in New York, it was an honour to be selected as one of the 10 companies for their summer cohort, out of the 1000+ applications that they had received. Although we intend to grow our company here in New York during the whole duration of the program, we left our hearts in Vancouver, and we plan to be back if it’s best for our business. We want to be an inspiration to all the startups in BC, and come back to help further develop the startup community in Vancouver.

How have your first few weeks in New York been?

In just our first two weeks of being in New York, we’ve managed to double our growth, grow our revenue sales by 25% each month, and sparked a ton interest from major NYC agencies and digital advertising companies. We’ve even signed our first SaaS brand customers just last week!

What resources did you find the most helpful in Vancouver to get you to where you are now?

Definitely the people and the relationships we made in Vancouver. The support we received from Keith Ippel and Spring team — we couldn’t have done it without them. Also, developing our company in Vancouver really helped us connect and understand our customers better.

What were the best takeaways from SWV for you?

Learning how to work under pressure, meeting my co-founders, and being a part of Startup Weekend really made me realize how amazing the tech community was here in Vancouver, and support it has to offer for startup entrepreneurs.

How should someone prepare for Startup Weekend?

Be prepared for the unexpected — I know it’s a very vague thing to say, but be prepared for blow-ups between team members, or people not showing up the next morning — but more so, be prepared for the experience of working under pressure.

When should a startup founder start exploring options on participating in an accelerator — why not just look for VCs or angels?

It really depends on the level of the founders’ experience. If a founder had a past experience with a successful exit, perhaps working with a VC or angel would be beneficial. But for us, we were very focused on People, Product, and Industry — we wanted to be very selective on who we were going to be working with, and that they had a shared vision of what we wanted to accomplish.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

Talk to your customers. Keith Ippel had always told us when we’re stuck on an idea or feeling crappy — talk to your customers to validate why you need to keep going. Spring definitely pushed us to keep going and we will always be grateful for their support.

Be sure to follow Musefind on social media to find out more about their journey through ERA:


We’re back, Vancouver.

Hey, Vancouver! Hope you’ve all had an awesome time celebrating on Canada Day! We’ve had some amazing highlights since organizing Startup Weekend Vancouver last November — with a number of our Startup Weekend participants like ConceptKicker, Votely, and My Green Space competing the Global Startup Battle (who, by the way, competed against 3,200 teams from 83 countries where ConceptKicker took home the title as the 2014 GSB Champion!) and now, Startup Weekend has become a part of the Techstars family with UP Global.


This year, we want to go above and beyond on hosting yet another epic Startup Weekend. After much anticipation, we’re excited to announce that the 2015 Startup Weekend Vancouver will take place on the weekend of November 20-22, 2015. With the support of our Venue Sponsor, Unbounce, Vancouver techies and aspiring entrepreneurs are invited to take a plunge into the world of entrepreneurship in just 54 hours.

Not sure what Startup Weekend is about? Find out more on our website — and stay tuned for our upcoming blog series featuring some of our past participants and various members of the Vancouver startup community.

Be sure to follow us on social media for more exciting announcements, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter below!



Sunday Night Presentations

Welcome to the final day of Startup Weekend Nanaimo! Its the final stretch and you should be working on your Sunday Night presentation soon. The format is this: 5 minutes to present, 5 minutes of questions & answers. You may use slides or other multi-media on the TV in the seminar room downstairs. You may also have 1 person present or your whole team, its up to you (but I recommend 1 person).

At 3pm Jeff will be running a “pitch clinic” to help get 1 person from each team focused on their presentation. Stay tuned for more info.

At 4pm we’ll be doing a technology check in the main room, to ensure that you can connect to the TV. The building offers a single, simple, and reliable option: Apple TV. If you want to connect in any other way, you’ll need to use your own cables, etc. If you don’t have an Apple device on your team, you can copy your presentation over to one of the organizer’s computers and they’ll put it on the TV for you.

Dinner will be at around 5pm, then we’ll congregate downstairs in the lounge to meet our judges and see your final presentations.

Remember that judges want to see you demonstrate that you’ve done customer validation, you’ve developed a realistic business model, and that you’ve built something! Make sure to tell the audience how you talked to customers, how many, what you heard, and what you did with that info. Tell us how you came to the business model you’ve presented and tell us why its the best. Finally, show us your product!

Let any organizer or the facilitator know if you have any questions. Good work, and good luck!

Execution & Design Resources for Startup Weekend Nanaimo

Welcome to Saturday of Startup Weekend Nanaimo! We had a great Friday night and today is off to a great start already.

Some teams don’t have a software developer or designer on them, so we’ve put together a list of resources that may help you show execution and design when you present on Sunday night.

Web Sites

Mobile Apps

Design & Creative

Automation & Integration


Give these a look and the organizers know if we can point you in any other directions.

What to expect as a Developer…

 Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

So you’re a developer. What will you be doing at Startup Weekend?

As a developer, you’re an important part of Startup Weekend. No one can make a new technical product without the assistance of a technical person. That’s you.

Friday you can make a pitch if you want. I’m sure as a developer, you’ve had no shortage of ideas for new products you could make.

A team will join you if your idea is good or you’ll join another team. There’s not much time so you’ll need to work fast and reduce your concepts to the absolute minimum to get the idea across. By Sunday evening, you’ll be pitching a demoable idea to the judges. You won’t have time to implement every feature. Keep it small.

Even if your idea doesn’t go anywhere after the weekend or you join another team to work, the experience will be invaluable. Ideas and projects don’t exist in vacuums so collaborating with designers and non-technical folks will be required at some point. Practice while you can.

Time is extremely restricted on a Startup Weekend. You’ll have to make quick decisions about what you can and can’t get completed by Sunday. Ruthless focus on what’s most important will serve you on the weekend as well as any future projects like building a business or the next feature in a mobile app.

The experience of leading a team can be the toughest but most rewarding parts of the weekend. You might find your idea doesn’t go any farther than Sunday night but you could also find yourself in the company of co-founders working on the next big app. Many small Startup Weekend ideas have grown into successful companies. Yours could be next.

If you are sitting on the fence…Get off and join the FUN!

Are you sitting on the FENCE?

Do you ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found all around the world. People around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

What’s in it for me?

LOTS!!! You will meet other startup enthusiasts. Designers, developers, engineers, artists, marketing peeps & change-makers. You will have the opportunity to build a startup or product in less than 54 hours. You will build your network, we will feed you 7 meals to keep your energy flowing. There are some really cool prizes and swag bags. Plus a whole lot of FUN!!!

But I’m not a programmer, am I still welcome?

OF COURSE YOU CAN!!! Startup Weekend isn’t just for developers! Teams, just like businesses need a diverse skill-set to succeed. On average, half of Startup Weekend participants have technical backgrounds, while the other possess a business mindset. Whether you’re primarily software developers, graphics designers or business people such as marketers – if you have great ideas you’re dying to share with the world, love learning and meeting new people, it’s not too late to sign up for Startup Weekend Nanaimo and gain a real hands-on startup experience unlike any other.

Do I have to come with a business idea?

NO! Not everyone has to have an idea. Come with an open mind and think about pitching a solution to a problem you think needs to be solved. It’s just a weekend… Just think about having fun. Perhaps your idea could be the next biggest thing!

Innovation Island and SquareOne are proud to collaborate with the Startup Weekend Organization!!

Need more info, click here!