Startup Weekend: Questions & Answers

Startup Weekend Maui Kicks Off This Friday!

Only 7 days until Startup Weekend Maui kicks off on Friday, May 15th!  For those who will be participating, here’s some helpful Q&A to prepare for your 54-hour adventure.

What should I bring to a Startup Weekend?

Whatever you need to get your ideas going should be tucked inside your Startup Weekend bag. You’ll need a laptop (if you have one), some writing materials (you’ll find them useful once you start the brainstorming process), your business cards (you need to build your network!), a camera (you need to document everything!), and of course, a lot of positive and creative energy.

What kind of preparations should I be doing?

Doing a little research on how to make the most of the SW will help. A little background information about startup tools will also help. Check out for resources that might be of use to you.

If you plan to pitch an idea, get some researching done so you can come up with an interesting, persuasive, and creative pitch that will easily get the attention of people. You have to keep in mind that your primary goal is to attract a team and make them believe in your idea in a matter of seconds. Practicing your pitch (no visual aids, please!) will also greatly help.

What are the activities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?

Friday starts with the registration and arrival of participants. This is usually followed by a little time for networking, where you get to mingle with co-participants and guests (mentors, business leaders, and coaches). Most Startup Weekends normally have an ice breaker game before the introduction. Then the pitches will follow.

Saturday is when the teams actually get together to work and come up with the results they desire. Coaches will be moving around to observe ad offer advice to teams. There’ll be breaks for short talks and meals.

Sunday is judgment day. Teams will have the morning until mid-afternoon to work on their products/prototypes. They’ll have time to prepare and practice their demonstration before the actual presentation in front a panel of judges. At the end of the day – and the Startup Weekend – the judges will have chosen the top teams. Prizes are normally given to the winners.

Is there a criteria for the ideas that can be pitched?

No. As long as your idea is workable, it will be eligible. It is important to take note, however, that Startup Weekends are basically tech-oriented and majority of the ideas are focused or related to the web or the mobile industry. Non-tech ideas that focus on a tech-related deliverable are welcome and even highly recommended.

I already have a business, can I pitch it to the participants?

The main aim of every Startup Weekend is to develop and launch new businesses over a period of 54 hours. It is also intended to imbibe the spirit of teamwork through collaboration. If pitching existing businesses is allowed, this purpose will be defeated.

Does the Startup Weekend require us to work non-stop for 54 hours?

No. Your schedule will be dependent on your team. There are teams that prefer to work throughout Friday and Saturday, but there are others that take breaks, too. The event organizer also has a say on this issue, especially in terms of using the venue at night.

What Happens After Startup Weekend?

After a 54-hour weekend spend brainstorming and launching projects, a lot of Startup Weekend (SW) graduates pretty much go back to the daily grind. They go back to work or school and continue to deal with whatever life has throws their way. Many, however, keep in touch with their SW teams and continue what they started.

If you want to keep the momentum going after the Startup Weekend, here are some tips you can follow.

Stay in touch with your team.

The Startup Weekend is an opportunity to meet like-minded people and create a network. You have countless opportunities to build relationships with your teammates. After SW, you should keep this network alive by scheduling regular meetings – not necessarily business-related ones all the time. You can watch movies and go out for dinner as a group. You can even go out-of-town together. Just make sure that you continue to meet and update each other. These get-togethers can lead to business opportunities and will help keep the momentum live, enough for your startup to continue taking shape.

One of the aims of Startup Weekend is to bring like-minded people together and encourage them to share ideas. This should continue long after the SW is done.

Stay in touch with your coaches/mentors.

You should be continuously in touch with those who coached and mentored you. Find time to meet with them so you can update each other. Remember that these people have contacts and can help you further develop the network you started during the SW. Again, don’t limit your meetings to business appointments; try to go out for beer or for a game of golf.

Keep your zest for learning.

Just because the Startup Weekend is done doesn’t mean you can stop stocking up on new knowledge! Your quest for learning should continue long after the last hour of the SW. Find time to learn more about the basics of entrepreneurship and startup businesses.

One of the advantages of keeping in touch with your teammates, coaches, and mentors is that you get to share ideas and exchange additional avenues of learning. There are a lot of opportunities for growth and learning, and this can only mean good things for your SW endeavors and projects.

Discover and explore.

For your project to reach its target potential, you need to keep studying the consumer market. You and your team should communicate with your potential clients. Discover what you need to do to satisfy them and explore the options available so you and your team can present your project with positive results.

Participate in other Startup Weekend events.

Your first SW experience should not be your last. Your first pitch should be followed by another. There is no rule against joining as many SWs as possible! If you can’t find one in your area or city, explore your options in neighboring places. You’re sure to find one eventually.

Continuously joining Startup Weekend events will practice you and hone your skills. Pretty soon, you’ll have all the confidence you need to develop and launch a startup.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Creating and launching a startup business or project does not mean you’ll have to work well into the night or the weekends. You and your team should find time for fun. The Startup Weekend may be an intense 54-hour brainstorming session, but it is also an event that’s full of fun and surprises. If you want your startup project to succeed, learn to integrate elements of fun and surprise into practically everything that you do.

The Startup Weekend does not stop after the 54-hour intense sessions of pitching, planning, developing, and launching a project. It’s a continuous journey that offers countless benefits and rewards to those who are determined about their goals and visions.

Good luck on your journey!

10 Questions Judges Ask Startup Entrepreneurs

Originally posted on 11/22/2014, By Mandela Schumacher-Hodge

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The biggest startup battle in the world is currently taking place, so what better time to brush up on the things you need to present to judges, if you want a fighting chance at taking home the big prize. Assuming that your product demo went well and your user interface and experience was compelling, here are ten questions that you can expect to hear from the judges at your startup competition.

  1. What proof is there that this is a real problem?
  2. What proof is there that this is the right solution?
  3. What is your defensibility? (i.e. Why won’t an existing company do this? Why can you do it better and/or faster?)
  4. How will you get your first 100 customers?
  5. How big is the market? (i.e. How many people can potentially use this solution?)
  6. How often does your product show up in your user’s day or week?
  7. What will be your phases of product and business development?
  8. How will you monetize and scale?
  9. Why is now the right time to solve this problem?
  10. Why is your team the one who can pull this off?


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Throw Away the Script and 3 Other Ways to Nail Your Pitch

Pitches are difficult; they take time and effort. However, there are some tricks that anyone can use to make this daunting process easier.

Orate participated in The Startup Factory’s Fall 2014 accelerator, which culminated on November 12 with Pitch Day (also referred to as Demo Day). If you didn’t already know, it is an event where the founders of accelerated companies present on their business to a room of investors, advisors, and media. It’s stressful, and obviously, the stakes are high. (Check out the pitches here.)

We spent three weeks preparing for what we anticipated to be among the most intimidating 8 minutes of our lives. Writing scripts, scrapping them, re-writing scripts, practicing, refining, tweaking.

We practiced alone, in front of the managing partners, our team and the other companies. We worked on the pitch literally every day for three weeks. In that time, some very important lessons surfaced that stood true for myself, as well as the four other founders pitching that day.

  • Be yourself. The best presentations were given by every single one of us when we let our guard down a bit and added our own flare to the pitch. Whether that was through facial expressions, changes in tone of voice, or impromptu quips. Doing this not only helps you come across more genuine, but will also makes you feel more comfortable. The #1 piece of advice I’d give to you is to let your personality shine through in your presentation.
  • Throw away your script as early as possible. The earlier you toss the script, the less scripted you will sound in the end, and the easier time you’ll have doing #1. This will also help you adjust your presentation to use words and phrases that feel more natural to you, reducing the risk of stumbling over your words come game time. Focus on the message and ideas you want to convey, and remember there are always multiple ways to do that.
  • If you make a mistake, nobody will know except you. Nobody else knows what you’re going to say, so if you change a word or skip something, the audience has no idea. Just stay confident and keep going. At one point during my pitch I completely forgot what came next. I simply paused, smiled, and made sure to breathe while I gathered my thoughts. It felt like ages that I was silent up there, but it was actually only a few seconds and nobody even noticed. Fun Challenge: Watch the video of my pitch below, and see if you can figure out where this happened. (Email your answer, and we will send you something special if you get it right!)
  • Don’t over practice. My best pitches were always the first or second of the day. The other presenters shared a similar experience. One of them told me there was one day he just kept getting worse, but he wanted to keep practicing until he got it right. Eventually he gave up, and it even negatively affected his practice the next day because he was so nervous that he would have a repeat of the day before. The sweet spot seems to be 1-3 times per day.

Want to impress investors with your next pitch?  Grab the The Startup Factory’s pitch training deck here!

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Limited Scholarships available for Hana, Lanai and Molokai for Startup Weekend Maui

SWM_Facebook profile-06If you’re living in Hana, Lanai or Molokai, and are an entrepreneur who has an idea for a business, the Maui Economic Development Board encourages you to participate in this year’s Startup Weekend Maui scheduled on May 15-17. This is YOUR opportunity to learn how to launch a company in just 54 hours! Limited scholarships are available!
Startup Weekend brings together entrepreneurs of different backgrounds, including software developers, marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts. The event offers a fun, intense, risk-free way to get a startup off the ground; connect with other passionate and skilled individuals; and perhaps even find a co-founder or two to transform their ideas into reality.
The event will be held at MEDB’s Malcolm Center, 1305 N. Holopono Street and at the Maui Research & Technology Center, 590 Lipoa Parkway. Both are located in the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.
Deadline to submit a scholarship application is Midnight, Thursday, May 7th. Scholarships are limited, so apply early. No applications will be accepted after the deadline. To apply, CLICK HERE.  (
For more information for the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui and the scholarship, visit or call Tiffany Lambert at MEDB at (808) 270-6808. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook too!
Startup Weekend Maui is hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board. Event sponsors include: County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, High Technology Development Corporation, HI-Growth Initiative and Pacific Media Group, Sultan Ventures, Blue Startups and Startup Capital Ventures.

Startup Weekend Maui announces this year’s judges, coaches and mentors

Startup Weekend Maui
April 8th, 2015

Maui Economic Development Board announced today the judges, coaches and mentors who will be participating in the 2nd Startup Weekend Maui. Scheduled on May 15-17, this empowering event provides active entrepreneurs with an opportunity to learn how to launch a company in 54 hours.

This year’s judges are:

Don M. Kosak, Founder / Managing Partner of Nalukai Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the State of Hawaii through education and mentoring. He is the founder of the Hawaii Tech Exchange (, a Hilo-based community organization supporting local science and technology business development, and is also a mentor with Blue Startups, Honolulu’s Venture Accelerator.

Garrett Marrero, Founder/CEO of Maui Brewing Co. The company has a strong commitment to the local economy and a deep concern for the environment. They recently celebrated their 10th Anniversary and have over 80 employees at 2 locations. They distribute authentic local products to 11 States and 5 Countries.

Saedene Ota, Owner & Creative Director of Sae Design, an award-winning graphics firm focuses on branding, packaging, web design and strategic marketing. Ota is the recipient of a bevy of creative awards including 2 Hawai‘i Advertising Federation Pele Best of Show recognitions and Advertising Women of the Year, as well as receiving national recognition for projects in the hospitality and food industries.

Keith Powers, Managing Partner at Engaged Partners, LLC.  Powers has been active in start-ups, investments and building world-class companies and organizations for almost 20 years.  He works closely with inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, and CEO’s to help them take their passions to the next level.

Tarik Sultan, Managing Partner at Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focusing on early-stage startups. He is also the Founder and Managing Partner of XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s (UH’s) proof-of-concept commercialization center; Chair of Startup Hawaii; and Treasurer of the HVCA, a non-profit which fosters entrepreneurial development through networking, education, and access to venture capital.

The 2015 Coaches and Mentors are:

Andrea Barrica, Entrepreneur in Residence at 500 Startups in San Francisco, Calif., where she coaches startups on telling their stories, pitching, and sales.

Erik Blair, Owner of The Accidental Consultant, a Maui-based consulting firm offering clients fresh content, actionable growth strategies and innovative solutions using digital media assets and social channels.

Rebecca Filipovic, Attorney at McKeon Sheldon Mehling.  She specializes in the areas of corporate governance, business formation, commercial and real estate litigation, and intellectual property.

Peter Liu of Mbloom, where he manages technical projects involving exciting web and mobile innovations on Maui.

Keri Mehling, Attorney & Partner at McKeon Sheldon Mehling.  She specializes in the areas of commercial litigation, insurance defense, real estate, construction defects, administrative law, and creating business entities and structures for new and growing ventures.

Sara Smith, Founder and CEO of Wrappily, a Maui-based offering chic gift wrap with an eco-friendly twist.  Smith has worked in publishing for over ten years. She is an entrepreneur, gardener, cook, mom, writer and hell-bent on doing it all.

Craig Swift, Director of Business Development at Maui Economic Opportunity.  Swift has over 30 years of experience working with small businesses, including ownership, financing, training and community economic development in Maui County.

Kevin Yoshida, Neighbor Island Region Manager for Central Pacific Bank, where he leads the community banking teams on Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island.

“We are very fortunate to have such an experienced and accomplished group of judges, coaches and mentors participating in this year’s Startup Weekend Maui,” said Gerry Smith of the Maui Economic Development Board.  “These individuals have generously volunteered their time to support our aspiring entrepreneurs. Those who participate in Startup Weekend will greatly benefit from their insight and advice.”

Entrepreneurs who register before the April 15th early bird deadline will receive a 25% discount off of the registration fee. Students with a valid ID will receive a 50% discount.

Startup Weekend Maui will be held at two locations in the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei.

For more information and to register for the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui, visit or call Gerry Smith at MEDB at (808) 270-6803. Connect with Facebook (Startup Weekend Maui).

Startup Weekend Maui is hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board. Event sponsors include: County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Blue Startups, High Technology Development Corporation, HI-Growth Initiative, Startup Capital Ventures, Sultan Ventures, and Pacific Media Group.

Startup Weekend Maui seeks entrepreneurs for an empowering event

 SWM_Facebook profile-06Startup Weekend Maui returns on May 15-17, 2015!

Hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board, this event will provide active and empowered entrepreneurs with an opportunity to learn how to launch a company in 54 hours. The event will be held at the Maui Research & Technology Center at 590 Lipoa Parkway in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.

Startup Weekend brings together entrepreneurs of different backgrounds, including software developers, marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts. The event offers a fun, intense, risk-free way to get a startup off the ground; connect with other passionate and skilled individuals; and perhaps even find a co-founder or two to transform their ideas into reality.

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 weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

“Startup Weekend is an adrenalin rush from the first pitch through to the last presentation,” said Gerry Smith of Maui Economic Development Board. “Coming in to pitch an idea on Friday night and leaving on Sunday evening with a startup company along with a bag full of new network contacts is an invaluable experience for any entrepreneur.”

For more information and to register for the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui, visit or call Gerry Smith at MEDB at (808) 270-6803.

Connect with Facebook – Startup Weekend Maui


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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 in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

# # #

Startup Weekends Are…

Startup Weekends Are…

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centered on action, innovation, and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs.  Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks.

Who you’ll meet at Startup Weekend:

Startup Weekends attendees’ backgrounds are roughly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% business (marketing, finance, law).  Twenty nine percent of Startup Weekend participants attend an event to network, 20% attend to develop/build a product, and 13% attend to learn how to create a new venture.  Roughly 80% of attendees plan on continuing to work on their startup after the weekend.

What you’ll get out of the event:

  • Education: Startup Weekends are all about learning by doing, whether you’re learning a new skill or a new way of thinking.  Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
  • Co-Founder Dating: The people who come to Startup Weekend are serious about learning how to build and launch startups.  Create relationships that last long past the weekend.
  • Build Your Network: Startup Weekend works hard to recruit high quality, driven entrepreneurs- like you!
  • Learn New Skills: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are prefect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or give marketing a try.  With nothing to lose there’s no reason not to step outside your comfort zone.
  • Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): Startup Weekend is the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology.
  • Mentorship: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends and give feedback to participants. Interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
  • Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources: By participating in Startup Weekend you are given instant access to great products and tools. No one leaves Startup Weekend empty handed! Click here to learn more about some of the offers our Global Sponsors provide during the event.
  • Save Money: Startup Weekends are affordable. Your ticket includes seven meals, snacks, and all the coffee you can drink.

Join our community!

Startup Weekend HNL – GSB 2014 Follow Up / Major Announcement

Aloha Startup Weekend HNL Peeps!

It has officially been two weeks since our awesome weekend and there is still buzz going around about the event. Just to update everyone on the MAJOR announcement from Darius “Bubs” Monsef. He is still paying close attention to the 12 teams that pitched Sunday night as he is looking to make the $25K investment. To learn more about this opportunity please see the quote below:

“In an effort to support the local startup community and to motivate the SWHNL teams to keep hustling after the weekend, I and Seraph Group ( will give one of the SWHNL teams a $25k investment term sheet on Dec 16th.  The term sheet will go to the team that shows the most traction in the 30 days post SWHNL.  Traction will vary depending on the company, but generally it will be measured by the growth in user acquisition, product development & revenue.  The investment terms that will be offered will be comparable to typical tech accelerators. In order to receive the term sheet the company will be required to have incorporated as a C-Corp and have a company bank account.”

For additional information or would like to reach out to Bubs personally please email