Summer is fast approaching and so is Startup Weekend Toronto 2018. A few days ago, I had the chance to chat with previous SW6ix winner, Jill Javier. In 2016, her team took home 1st place with an educational product for children. Jill’s most recent venture, BitCity Group, recently signed a multi-year power deal with TransAlta to build a cryptocurrency mining facility.
Jill and I had a quick Q&A session about her experience at Startup Weekend Toronto.
Jill, what made you want to go to Startup Weekend?
I grew up with an entrepreneurial mindset thanks to my parents, but had been working at large Fortune 500 companies for the past 15 years. I had built a solid brand in project management launching other people’s ideas. I was comfortable and it was fun, but I reached a point when I needed to break out of it. After completing my MBA, I was exploring doing my own venture.
Around the same time, one of my close mentors at Capital One had left to set-up his own start-up. Together with my business school buddies, I started attending the entrepreneurship program which they used to have every Wednesdays at MaRS.
I didn’t have an idea for a startup yet, but I wanted to be exposed to the community. I knew a lot of the “theory” by then, but going to Startup Weekend in April 2016 was the perfect opportunity for me to break out of my comfort zone and learn hands-on.
Tell me about your experience during the weekend.
I arrived early when the doors weren’t open yet, and while waiting outside, I struck a conversation with a programmer named Rob who was also early. He had a great idea for kids. Kids these days are always in front of a screen, but are not learning how to build things with their hands anymore. He wanted to build a subscription box called MakerCat focused on solving this problem – each box would give kids the materials and instructions to build their own wearable or own robot. I pitched an idea that weekend as well, but liked MakerCat so much I later decided to join his team. We went out and did customer interviews, then I led the creation of the storyline and pitch deck. We ended up winning that weekend.
After that weekend, I introduced Rob to my mentor, and they ended up working together on my mentor’s start-up. I took MakerCat through the Founder Institute program.
Startup Weekend exposed me to so many talented people from different careers, and you never know what could come out of the connections you make. It was definitely a turning point for me, and I decided to do my own venture a few months later.
How do you avoid the trap of building the next “Uber of…” or the “Tinder for…”?
Stay away from the obvious – start to really force yourself to look beyond your own world by talking to people you would otherwise never talk to. Adopt a problem solver mentality.
54 hours is a demanding time frame to build a startup within. What’s the first thing you tackle?
Focus on the Sunday pitch and forgo any other noise. For us, there were two things we needed: a kick-ass story and a kick-ass deck. You can take forever trying to build the perfect product. Don’t let this be you. Deliver something and learn to tell the story.
What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about going to Startup Weekend?
Ask yourself: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Go ahead and take that one weekend that could change the rest of your life. It’s an investment in yourself. Listen to that pull inside. You have to just take that risk and see for yourself.
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Startup Weekend Toronto 2018 is going to be taking place at Ryerson’s DMZ. DMZ was just named the world’s #1 university business incubator. What better place to experiment with your startup idea?
Get your tickets for #SW6ix today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/techstars-startup-weekend-toronto-june-22-24-tickets-43404558202
Techstars will provide incredible growth opportunity to the Local winning teams through these great prize packages!
• InVision – 6 months FREE – Value $90
• LiveChat – 1 Year Free of LiveChat – Value $1,400
• Hotjar – 90 Days of Hotjar Business Analytics – Value $270
• Zendesk – $1,000 in Zendesk Credit – Value $1,000
• 99designs – $30 Off + Free Upgrades – Value $97
• [BONUS for members in North America] American Airlines – 2,000 points (Free Flight)
54 hours of action took place during the weekend of October 20-22, in Workhaus Commerce Court in downtown Toronto. Participants from all over the Greater Toronto Area got together to pitch their ideas, form teams and take the first steps to launch their startups. The event was possible thanks to the support of INFINITI Canada, a company that empowers entrepreneurs in different stages, previously with their INFINITI LAB for later stage companies and now through Techstars Startup Weekend, the event where entrepreneurs go to ‘get their start’.
On Friday night more than 24 ideas were shared in front of the audience, and out of those, 7 were chosen to be worked on by teams during the weekend. On Saturday, the teams were coached by mentors from all over Ontario, including mentors from the Toronto startup community like Oksana Salamaszek from The Working Group, Tariq Haddadin from Techstars Toronto, and Grant Brigden from the startup Rover, which won 1st place in the past edition of Toronto INFINITI LAB. The teams got advice from mentors from the INFINITI Canada team, including Julie Daigle Raphael Huegli and Chris Little. You can see the full list of mentors here.
On Sunday the teams presented a 5-minute pitch in front of a panel of 3 judges: Theresa Humphrey, Brand Manager for INFINITI, Angelo Del Duca, Angel Investor, and Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program.
The top 3 places went to the following teams:
1st Place: Pangolin – Pangolin helps lower the premium for retailers by mitigating risks for insurance companies using smart IoT devices
2nd Place: Hybernate – Hybernate helps businesses decrease the expenses related to HVAC through IoT
3rd Place: GEM – GEM helps millenials be congruent with how they spend their money and what their values are, using a ‘GEM’ reward system.
Besides taking the top 3 places in the contest, one member of each of the winning teams got a full scholarship to join the January cohort of Founders Institute Toronto, so they can continue developing the skills needed to be great founders.
Techstars Startup Weekend was a great success. Thanks to our signature sponsor INFINITI, Workhaus for being great hosts, and to all the mentors, coaches and judges that helped empower this amazing group of entrepreneurs.
Stay connected to the Techstars Toronto community by following us on our Facebook page here.
Startup Weekend comes to Brampton City Hall November 17-19. Don’t miss this Techstars Global celebration of entrepreneurship.
Startup Weekend is coming back to the Region of Peel! We are excited to host the Techstars Global Weekend Edition at Brampton City Hall November 17-19. Register today and join thousands of entrepreneurs around the world! First prize package valued over $10,000. You can submit your Startup Weekend product as an entry, it may be featured in their Worldwide Network Showcase.
You keep your IP! It’s your idea and your potential success story! Techstars, nor organizers will assume ownership.
What is Techstars Startup Weekend?
Techstars Startup Weekend provides you with the space and resources to turn an idea into a product! Have you ever seen a new product, business or an app and thought to yourself – “hey! I had that idea years ago!” Well, a Startup Weekend can help you take your idea from thought to a minimum viable product, but you need to be committed! A startup weekend provides you with a process to help you arrive at the creation stage.
Learn this process in a matter of days! In 54 hours you will have been coached and mentored by industry experts.
*What’s in it for you?
This is your opportunity to learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days! Whether you are looking to.
- get introduced to the world of startups and entrepreneurship,
- learn the process for going from concept to creation,
- meet experienced, talented, and passionate entrepreneurs in the Region of Peel,
- join or build an all-star team,
- learn and practice new skills to take back to your job, or
- take your own idea from concept to creation
*Who is Techstars Startup Weekend For?
It doesn’t matter what you do or where you come from, Techstars Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including…
- aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs,
- developers and other tech-related professionals,
- designers of all types,
- non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.),
- students from universities and even high schools,
- professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills,
- passionate visionaries,
- and many more!
*Source: Techstars website 2017
Ideas were pitched, teams were formed, customers were sought, products were built, mentors were consulted, pivots were made… all of this in 54 hours! It’s time to see what the teams have spent the weekend creating.
We welcome everyone to come watch the final presentations tonight at 5pm at the Barber Center in the House of Learning at TRU. We have a cash bar and some light snacks! No ticket is required. Just show up and bring some friends.
Startup Weekend has a boat load of neat prizes for our first and second place winners! This Sunday night, all of the teams will showcase their ideas that they have diligently been working on all weekend to a panel of judges. After much deliberation, first and second place prizes will be announced to an eager audience and our Startup Weekender teams.
Our first place package includes:
- Three months of VIP assistance at the Kamloops Innovation Centre (including office space!)
- VIP tickets to the Startup Canada Awards (taking place on September 15th at The Rex!)
- A product and development consultation with Two Story Robot
- An incorporation package and legal consultation time with a legal professional
- A $150.00 gift card! Wow!
Our second place prize package includes:
- Awesome swag from Kamloops Innovation!
- Free consultation meeting with Kamloops Innovation’s Entrepreneur in Residence!
Our third place prize package includes:
- Epic high fives from the SW Kamloops Team!
Last minute registration is still available for those of you who are still thinking about this. Buy your tickets now!
Startup Weekend is coming back to Kamloops this coming weekend, with Techstars, the world’s starting point for entrepreneurship. This fifty-four-hour event is a platform where designers, developers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to launch startups. As part of a global and nationwide movement, Kamloops is one of over 1,142 cities in over 140 countries to host similar Startup Weekend related events.
Just recently announced, Startup Weekend Kamloops is part of a nationwide competition, where the winning participants will go forward to compete with six other cities across Canada. From the port of Saint John, to the beautiful lakes of Kamloops, startup ideas will be spurred into action and the winning team from each city will be given the opportunity to compete for a grand prize. Other competing cities include Calgary, Montreal and several hubs in Ontario, such as Brampton, London, and Belleville.
Registration will be open until the last moment for the Kamloops focused event, starting on Friday, September 8th at the Brown Family’s House of Learning building at the Thompson Rivers University Campus. Throughout the weekend, participants will form teams, create ideas and develop them into formidable startup businesses with help from mentors, investors, co-founders, and event sponsors. With tickets targeted for students and community members, Startup Weekend promises to engage with its participants, by creating a space for connection, discovery, learning, and starting up!
The ticket price includes meals and beverages, lots of swag, and those little details for big ideas, including Wi-Fi and printing needs.
For more information and tickets: http://communities.techstars.com/canada/kamloops/startup-weekend/11304
The following is the list of projects being worked on:
RestAssured: A tool to monitor in real time the medical treatment taken by patients after being prescribed by the specialist. This way it will tell the doctor or the specialist if the treatment is being effective or not.
SmartHat: it’s a sustainable digital apparel like a hat and/or a t-shirt that can be customized to any style for every different event.
21JumpScript: A business connection platform that leverage block-chain technology to establish and build trust between different parties.
AugMe: an augmented reality app that integrate with coupons to make them easier to find, scan and pay at different shopping markets.
Tanali: A shareable digital business card that contains all the professional related data including their social media presence.
Experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup.
Meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.
The hardest part of starting up is starting out. At Startup Weekend, you’ll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen!
Startup Weekend Vancouver is a volunteer-run event, and we couldn’t have done it with the support of all our amazing sponsors:
Launch Academy is Western Canada’s leading tech startup hub and early-stage incubator where you Launch your amazing idea off the ground, accelerate your startup to success, connect with Vancouver’s largest community of mentors, investors and thriving entrepreneurs, and Get Sh!t Done!
Since 2012 Launch Academy has helped 1000+ entrepreneurs, incubated 420+ early-stage startups, that collectively raised $80+ million and added 700+ jobs to the economy.
Lighthouse Labs was created as an experiment in 2013 by a group of software developers with a passion for code, mentorship, and education. Their mission: to continuously find the best ways to train the next generation of developers and to transform the way tech education is delivered.
Square is one service for your entire business, from secure credit card processing – including EMV – to point of sale solutions.
Wantoo is a simple, powerful cloud-based platform that makes it easy to listen, analyze, and act on feedback from your team, your customers or anyone else.
MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP (MLT) is an expertise-based, full-service law firm of approximately 145 lawyers serving clients across Western Canada from offices in Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. MLT has been practicing in the west since 1920 and has in-depth knowledge of the region’s business, legal and political landscapes.
Small Business BC (SBBC) is British Columbia’s premiere resource center for knowledge-based business products and services. SBBC’s core activities are supported by funds from Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Ministry of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.
Dayboard is a web app that helps teams and individuals build self-awareness and encourage attention management at work. It replaces your browser’s new tab page with a minimalist to do list, blocks distracting sites, and provides a team dashboard for accountability and visibility. Dayboard currently serves over 30,000 users worldwide.
iQmetrix we are passionate about retail. Our purpose is to create great experiences for retailers, their employees and the end consumer. Our products bridge the gap between physical and virtual retail channels, offering the latest in retail management and customer experience technology.Spring is the startup school that teaches entrepreneurs how. Whether you are just beginning your journey or looking to grow, Spring provides the tools to build a successful business.
New Ventures BC’s annual business competition – awarding $300,000 of cash and prizes – launches next March. In the meantime, check out their new accelerator programs, which are designed for early stage ventures.
Draper University, based in San Mateo, is an institution backed by some of the most established names in the industry including Tim Draper, Mark Andreesen and Mark Benioff as well as boasting students from over 53 different countries with $24,000,000 raised in funding by alumni.
Foodee is a corporate meal delivery service. We make it easy for companies to order from top local restaurants for meetings and work events by providing a large variety of carefully curated menus through our online ordering platform.
Spring is the startup school that teaches entrepreneurs how. Whether you are just beginning your journey or looking to grow, Spring provides the tools to build a successful business.
Creative Tim offers Bootstrap based design elements that speed up your development work. From plugins to complex kits, we have everything you need.
Blinkist is an app that gives you key ideas from bestselling nonfiction books distilled into powerful short reads or listens for your mobile device.
Daily Hive is a leading digital publication with a hyper-local focus, dedicated to connecting you to your city.
It was brilliant to have you at Startup Weekend Vancouver 2016. We hope you enjoyed a great time, learned how to rapidly build a startup, met a lot of the awesome people in the room, and possibly met your potential co-founder 🙂
So what’s next?!
Join SWVan’s Facebook Group to stay connect with like-minded people, exchange ideas, support each other, collaborate, share resources, ask questions and get access to resources and perks from our sponsors.
We will share the event photos and other awesome tech/startup events there too!
Hint: if someone stood out for you, a team member that gave it their all, a mentor that added great value, a judge you thought was spot on with their questions and comments, why not connect with them on LinkedIn, write them a thank you note for their participation and even take it another step and write them a recommendation.
Whether you won or not, the bottom line is you’ve started something on that weekend. Don’t Stop! Keep on moving forward on your startup journey.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the prizes.
We had a blast and loved being in service of your startup journey. Hope to see you at the next event and around the community!
You will hear from us soon 😉
Rama, Hussein, Jen, Eva, and Candy
SWVan Organizing Team