The Pitching Hour



Sunday at 3:00pm will be the Pitching Hour at Startup Weekend NB.  It’s the culmination of a lot hard work.  No matter how how things shake out, our competitors should be proud!  It can be a true test of character to go through the Startup process.  If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal in my books.  While this is a competition, also remember the bigger picture that we are all allies as well.  When this weekend is done, you’re now part of a greater community of entrepreneurs that helps fosters partnerships and mentorship alike.  Like Ernesto Sirolli said in his TEDtalk: “No one succeeds alone.”

But for now, this is a competition, and after the dust clears, one team will get to lift the microphone high and be the champions of Startup Weekend NB.






This blog post will aim to better equip you for your pitch, and help you get a better sense for how the events of the day will flow.




The Order of The Pitches


You don’t want to get caught off guard.  Keep an eye out for the Pitch List, this will be the order of the pitches.  You’ve got to be ready to take the stage when your time comes!


Got the jitters or the pitch itch?  Whether you’re worried or chomping at the bit, you will have a practice pitch during your Tech Check.  We will have mentors on-hand to give you some feedback on your pitch and your slide deck.




Prep your Pitch




Each time’s pitch will be 5 minutes long, with a 5 minute Question period.  A timer will be on display for the presenter, showing their 5-minute countdown.  Keep an eye on the timer, because there is a hard stop when the time runs out.  You don’t want to get cut off during your pitch, so if your time is running out, gently end your pitch.  A soft landing is better than a crash.


If you’re still having trouble putting your pitch together, check out these links:


The Firing Squad


Your panel of Judges will be:


Ed McGinley, CEO at New Brunswick Information Technology Council


Linda Bulmer, Management Consultant and Startup Guru


George Tahan, Relationship Manager at TD Commercial Banking


Check out their bios!




Judging Criteria


Be sure to keep these things in mind when building and practicing your pitch.  This is how the judges will be scoring you.


  • Business Model Validation

  • Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

  • Product Execution


Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?


  • User Experience Design

  • Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?.




Get Ready for the Question Period


After your pitch, you will be subject to a question period with the judging panel.  During this period, judges will ask you questions to help them understand your idea more deeply (remember, they weren’t here all weekend, so they are hearing about your idea for the first time).  They may also want to stress-test the validity of your idea as a business.  So, before you break a sweat, build up your confidence by preparing answers to these Common Judge Questions:


  • What’s the most impressive thing you have achieved this weekend?
  • Where is the rocket science here? What is your secret sauce?
  • Why did you pick this idea to work on?
  • Why do the reluctant users hold back?
  • Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
  • What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
  • Who is “the boss”?
  • What is the next step with the product evolution?
  • What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
  • Who needs what you’re making?
  • How does your product work in more detail?
  • What are you going to do next?
  • What do you understand that others don’t?
  • Where do new users come from?
  • How big an opportunity is there?
  • Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
  • What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you this weekend?
  • Tell us something surprising you have done this weekend?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What’s new about what you make?
  • How many users do you have?
  • Why isn’t someone already doing this?
  • What are the top things users want?
  • How do you know customers need what you’re making?
  • What domain expertise do you have?
  • What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
  • What’s the conversion rate?
  • What systems have you hacked?
  • Who would use your product?
  • How will customers and/or users find out about you?
  • Why did your team get together?
  • In what ways are you resourceful?
  • What is your distribution strategy?
  • What has surprised you about user behaviour?
  • What part of your project are you going to build first?
  • What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
  • How are you understanding customer needs?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you have made this weekend?
  • Who might become competitors?
  • What do you understand about your users?
  • What is your user growth rate?
  • What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
  • Who is going to be your first paying customer?
  • If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
  • Who would be your next hire?
  • How do you know people want this?
  • What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
  • How much money could you make per year?
  • How long can you go before funding?
  • How will you make money?
  • Will your team stick at this?
  • How much does customer acquisition cost?
  • How did your team meet?
  • Who in your team does what?
  • How are you meeting customers?
  • How many users are paying?
  • How is your product different?
  • Are you open to changing your idea?
  • What makes new users try you?
  • What competition do you fear most?


Good luck!

TD Keeps An Eye Out For Banking’s Next Big Thing


Banks — careful, steady, conservative. Tech startups — frenetic, disruptive, edgy.


Can two such seemingly different cultures get along? TD Bank Financial Group thinks so.


“TD is proud of its strong culture of innovation,” says Jeff Martin, senior vice-president and chief information officer, direct channels technology solutions “We are continually looking for opportunities to improve our products, services and ultimately our customer experience.”


TD knows a thing or two about building businesses and balancing risk and growth. It has worked with entrepreneurs for 160 years, which is why its involvement in Startup Weekend Nov. 14-16 in five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Quebec City, Fredericton, Halifax and St. John’s — is such a great fit.


Held around the world, Startup Weekends bring together entrepreneurs for 54 hours of intense business development that concludes with a pitch to a panel of experienced executives. As part of its sponsorship, TD has a panelist in each of these five cities.


To kick off Startup Weekend, Jeff Martin talks about banking and startup cultures; and why Startup Weekend is such a fantastic opportunity for both.




Why is TD a Startup weekend sponsor?


TD has always encouraged innovation that will benefit banking and our customers. This forum is a great way to connect with the community and hear a lot of different ideas. We’re attracted to the high-energy/ high creativity environment – which is what Startup Weekend offers: a way to tap into that creativity to find ideas we may have not thought of using traditional methods.




What are some of the customer trends in banking that drive the interest in ideas at the startup level? 


The biggest trend is mobilization. Take mobile deposit as an example. We just launched this capability at TD, and have already seen over 115,000 cheques deposited this way in just two weeks.




Startup Weekends give you a front seat on some really smart ideas from some really smart people. What do you think startup entrepreneurs can learn from TD?


Historically, startups had to go through a very long on-boarding process. Now we can work with them, to help them understand the needs of a bank while they mature that product more quickly, so we can launch it when customers are ready.


I think the biggest thing the bank can offer is perspective. . . on what we think is important to bring to market, and the attributes of what they’re doing that we think are viable in our industry . . . They will definitely get value from working with a 160-year-old company that has gone through a lot of change, and is very stable and thoughtful about what it does.




What would you tell an entrepreneur about preparing for the Startup Weekend experience? 


They should rest-up, and come with ideas that are well-formed, with an action plan about how to escalate them quickly. Always think about what’s in it for the customer. How does this benefit people? If they are always thinking about the benefit to the end-user, it will help to create viable products. That customer may be the bank; but ultimately, it is the bank serving its customers.


There is so much technology advancement happening today, I wouldn’t put limits around what we want to achieve. People are always inventing new ways to make banking more comfortable. We’re not at the end of it, that’s for sure

Prizes Pack for SWNB Spring 2015!


Soon the Pitching Hour will begin. You’ll all work incredibly hard. It’s inspiring to watch how your teams have formed around such cool ideas, and how those ideas have begun to transform and mature.


While it’s true that this is a competition, the real prize is the experience, the learning, and the connections that you’ve made. Those things are priceless.


Check out the prizes packages that you will all be competing for. Massive props for the folks who have generously donated these prizes. These prize packs are designed to help you further your business beyond Startup Weekend, so take full advantage of them.


1st Place

  • Free Sales Coaching!

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 8 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet!

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • $100 of Clarity credits

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch


2nd Place

  • Free Sales Coaching!

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 6 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet!

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • $100 of Clarity credits

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch


3rd Place

  • Free Professional Coaching!

    • 4 Professional Coaching Sessions by Talent Edge

    • Big Thanks for Robert Ogilvie! @talentedgeinfo

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 4 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet!

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch

massive thanks to all of the prize doners!

Permission-Starts-Here-2 shannonbuffet



Happy pitching and good luck!

Event FAQ

Before The Weekend…

  • Is this event for me?
    Startup Weekend attendees’ backgrounds are roughly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% business (marketing, finance, law). What unites all attendees is a common interest in entrepreneurship: whether a serial entrepreneur or new to the startup scene, every attendee is interested in working with a like-minded, motivated and skilled team to develop a product or business in one weekend. If this sounds like you, this is the event for you!
  • Can I attend without participating on a team?
    At most Startup Weekends, a “Sunday Presentations Only” registration option is available for those wishing to view the teams’ final presentations. (Please check the registration page of your city’s website for availability.)However, apart from Organizers, selected Coaches, Speakers, and press, everyone who attends the event is expected to participate on a team. This is important not only to preserve the ‘vibe’ of the weekend (“no talk, all action”) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for working teams.
    • How do I register?
      Every Startup Weekend event has a corresponding website (typically with the URL “[city]”) with a registration page. Please see our events page at for a complete list of upcoming events.If registration is not open, ticketing has either not yet opened or is already sold out. Please respect the different event ticket types: if Business tickets are sold out and you fall into the Business category, you’ll have to wait for the next event (which won’t be far off!). This is an important part of our efforts to maintain a balance between attendees’ backgrounds/skill-sets in order to maximize the event’s value for each participant
        • Why do I pay?
          The majority of your ticket price goes towards paying the 7 meals, snacks, and drinks that we provide over the weekend. In fact, ticket sales rarely cover even such basic bottom-line costs! We rely on local sponsorships to help keep ticket prices low while keeping the value of the event high.
          • What do the multiple ticket types mean?
            As Organizers, we strive to maintain an event ratio of ‘Technical’ (i.e., those whose skill-sets include software development or coding, graphic design, etc.) and ‘Non-technical’ (i.e. those with backgrounds in business, marketing, finance, etc.) participants. One of our most consistent pieces of feedback is that this ratio is of the utmost importance to ensuring a high-quality event for everyone.Therefore, we ask that you only purchase tickets in the category which describes your background.
            • What should I bring?
              • Laptop
              • Power cord
              • Business cards
              • Camera – take pictures and video!
              • A second monitor, keyboard, etc…. set yourself up to be productive!
              • Lots of creative energy
          • How do I prepare?Do some research into startup tools and best practices to get ready to rock the weekend – start with our database of resources at Make sure you get lots of rest prior to the event, and finally – tell your friends!If you plan on pitching an idea:
            • Do as much research/preparation around your idea as you feel is necessary to give a persuasive pitch and attract a team.
            • Boil the idea down to the basics: with 60 seconds, you only really have time for a hook, so pull out the most attractive key points of the idea and forget the rest.
            • Practice your pitch using a timer!


More questions?  Check out:

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!


What to expect as a Designer

Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

What to expect as a Designer

As you probably know, design can make or break an app, website or presentation. That’s why your design skills are so critical to a Startup Weekend.

You’ll be working with non-technical folks like marketers, business people, copywriters and pr folks as well as developers to bring an idea to life in 54 hours.

You might be working on mockups and design for an app. You might be designing beautiful graphics for a new website idea. You’ll probably be putting together an eye-catching presentation to present your final pitch.

Startup weekend is a great way to stretch your design skills, break out of a rut and light a fire under that day to day creativity. It can also lead to freelance work because of all the new contacts you’ve made.

The exciting pace of the weekend shows you people’s true work habits. You might find some new people you love working with. You could work with them on contract. You might even start a business with them.

Or that idea you pitch for the weekend could become the next big thing online.



Les gagnants du Startup Weekend Montréal: Ville intelligente

Après 54h de travail intense, voici les 3 équipes qui se sont démarquées!

Premier prix: Persili
Un service de livraison de plants de légumes à domicile.
Après avoir drastiquement pivoté, l’équipe nous a présenté le dimanche soir un site web déjà fonctionnel et des ventes en seulement 24h de travail.

Deuxième Prix: Pick n Play
Un système de réservation de terrains de sports en ligne.

Et un prix de dernière minute:

Le prix coup de coeur de LP Maurice qui tenait à offrir de l’accompagnement à Tribe, une plateforme permettant de donner nos fruits et légumes en surplus.

Bravo à nos gagnants et à toutes nos autres équipes:

-ArtVille: Pour trouver le bon artiste pour votre projet
-CardCoffer: La carte d’affaires digitalisée
-MTL Agit: Une plateforme pour matcher des bénévoles avec des organisateurs d’évènements
-Marche ta ville: Une app pour signaler de belles places en ville pendant des marches
-Pendula Project: La pendule interactive pour une expérience inoubliable
-MTL Urgence: Une app donnant un estimé du temps d’attente chez le médecin
-Spot&Park: Pour trouver une place de parking disponible