After a hugely successful debut back in November of 2014, Startup Weekend Limerick is back. Taking place from April 10th-12th once again on campus at the University of Limerick, in the fantastic Nexus Innovation Centre. Startup Weekend Limerick will bring together designers, developers, marketers, entrepreneurs and dreamers for an a unique experience the likes of which has never been seen in the Treaty county before November last.
The event in November was one full of high energy, commitment, innovative concepts, hustle, bright ideas and new friendships. The ripple effect has been clear for all to see. A core group of “Startup Weekender’s” have emerged to build a strong, youthful network. They hold a common bond in that they all took part in this fantastic weekend and they all share a common goal of wanting to solve problems with innovative business ideas. We hope with the upcoming weekend we can help build upon this.
The startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Limerick is getting stronger with each passing day. Events like Startup Weekend, WASUP & 3D Camp are fantastic to help nurture the talent and innovation. The more of these types of events we have in this great City of ours the better. Only positive things can come of this.
Behind us volunteers, who give up our time to run these events, are businesses and organisations who, like us, understand the impact that these events can have in our region. They dig deep and put their hands in their pockets so some of our best and brightest can come together for a no talk, all action, fast paced weekend, designed for those who want to leave their mark on the world.
The main sponsor for all the Startup Weekend’s throughout Ireland is Bank of Ireland. Their vision and support for Irish Startups is second to none and without them these weekends would not be possible. Their generosity has meant that literally 100’s of Ireland’s best and brightest have been able to come together to form teams, validate ideas, grow their networks, receive expert mentorship and build startups. Sponsoring Startup Weekend is only the tip of the iceberg for Bank of Ireland and the Startup Community. They realise the importance indigenous business has to play in our recovery and have set up equity funds to provide startups with the support they need. The Start-Up and Emerging Sectors Equity Fund has been created for innovative and energetic young enterprises. Managed by Delta Partners on behalf of Bank of Ireland, their €17m fund has been created to support Irish start-up or early stage businesses.
The Nexus Innovation centre is regarded by many as Limerick’s premier incubation centre and have been supporters of Limerick’s Startup Weekend since the word go. It is here that Startup Weekend participants will spend 54 hours working on ideas from April 10th – 12th. Situated on campus in the heart of the beautiful University of Limerick the Nexus centre is home to some of Limericks hottest up and coming startup companies.
The centre is a purpose built environment that combines: individual offices, shared desk space, collaborative work spaces, a startup studio, small intimate meeting rooms, an impressive boardroom, high specification bio-labs and a reconfigurable lobby/exhibition space. Nexus, however, is about so much more than space, it’s about community! Nexus continues to develop member-focused services that enable startups to accelerate their development in a highly connected and open environment. Leveraging knowledge, research and experience in the areas of entrepreneurship, technology and management.
Around Noon, a sandwich and snack provider from Newry in County Down are back for a second round of providing hungry Startup Weekend participants with delicious sandwiches, wraps and salad pots for the duration of the weekend. Their Scribbles range went down an absolute treat back in November and participants are in for plenty of tasty delights once again. Their CEO Gareth Chambers and his wife Laura attended Startup Weekend back in November and provided invaluable advice and mentorship to the teams.
What started as a small business 25 years ago, set up by Gareth’s mother has grown into one of the most successful food companies in Northern Ireland. Their message is “Look after the world, we know there is only 1 world so we do everything we can to protect it”. With plans to expand to the UK in the near future, we only expect great success from Gareth, Laura and all the team.
When we contacted Roy Finucane of TaxAssist Limerick about supporting Startup Weekend Limerick he really did not need much persuasion. Understanding the benefits that events like startup weekend will bring to Limerick, Roy was only too happy to help out in any way possible. TaxAssist is a perfect partner as they specialise in startups, small businesses, sole traders, limited companies & partnerships.
TaxAssist Accountants in Limerick City provide a wide range of accountancy services including tax returns, payroll and bookkeeping. They are a part of the largest network of accountants who offer a huge range of experience and expertise to small businesses right across the Republic of Ireland.
Martina Murphy is a Limerick woman who studied Law at both the University of Limerick and the Law society of Ireland. An experienced litigation lawyer and principal of www.martinamurphy.ie, Martina is a firm supporter of local initiatives in Limerick and has kindly supported the Startup Weekend movement.
Martina’s past and present clients include companies who sought advice on drafting commerical agreements, franchise agreements, trade mark and licensing matters, lease agreements, commercial injunctions and technology law. She is especially interested in clients who are starting their own business and require advice on setting up companies, tax related matters, trademark or other regulatory matters. Startups at the weekend can expect some quality advice from Martina.
Tadhg Kearney has been at the heart of the Limerick business landscape for over 30 years. His jewellery offerings have dazzled thousands and his unrivalled focus on customer service has contributed to a huge list of loyal brand advocates. A bigger yet not well known part of his business is the bespoke jewellery he handcrafts for his clients. He works one-on-one to create a piece that is truly unique and intimately reflects the client’s personality.
His passion and drive as a jeweller has translated into a civic duty to ‘get the community working in Limerick’. He is committed to helping the local business ecosystem in Limerick as he believes that ’employment and education are key contributors to a flourishing society’. Proof of this commitment to the education and commercial ecosystem are the positions, he has held at Limerick Chamber of Commerce, University of Limerick and Plassey Campus Centre.
When the team at Startup Limerick approached him about supporting the event, he was very willing to lend his hand in support of a ‘key driver for economic and social improvement’.
To all our supporters and sponsors I would like to say a huge THANK YOU from myself, the organising team and all the participants. Without your generosity, support and belief in what we are trying to achieve, Startup Weekend Limerick would not be taking place. Because of you, our best and brightest minds both yound and old will have the opportunity to achieve something so very special. Take a business idea from concept to reality in just 54 hours. One thing is for sure, because of Bank of Ireland, Around Noon, The Nexus Innovation Centre, Martina Murphy, Tadhg Kearney Jewellers and TaxAssist Limerick, Startup Weekend Limerick is going to be one hell of an event!
People in tech often compliment each other on their ‘hustle.’ As I understand it, complimenting someone’s hustle is analogous to congratulating them for their tendency to get sh*t done. Apparently ‘hustle’ is what the kids are calling a ‘work ethic’ these days.
Whatever you want to call it, success in startups boils down to a bias towards action and a machine-like calibration for efficacy: only the fast and the smart survive.
This Darwinian law has created an insatiable appetite in the market for SaaS solutions designed to facilitate startup hustle. Founders must have polymathic expertise in both their market and their industry. The latter compels you to understand what tools exist to improve your effectiveness and your speed to market. Not enough startups treat the process with the intellectual rigour it demands…it’s no surprise then that most startups fail.
With Dublin Startup Weekend less than three weeks away, Gravity Centres, asked me to compile an overview of some of my favourite bootstrapping tools to help the teams get an early leg up on their competition.
Using tools to help you work faster and smarter at Startup Weekend is a very good idea, but trying them out for the first time at Startup Weekend? Notsomuch. Most of the tools mentioned below have free tiers and free trials, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the product in advance and add significant value to your startup weekend projects.
To add a narrative element to what would otherwise be just a list of products, I’ve included a brief case study of a micro-project that I undertook a few weeks ago. Using only online tools, a lowly non-techie like myself was able to land at #5 on the HackerNews homepage within 20 mins of launch, become the most popular story of the day on the Next Web, and get hunted to Product Hunt within 2 hours.
So, use your 3 weeks wisely teams, and we look forward to complimenting you on your hustle at the finish line!
Startup Tools Case Study
Plz Don’t Hunt Me Yet
I’m intrigued by the idea of building ‘faux’ products in aid of your real commercial effort. I’ve heard this marketing technique also referred to as “Come for X, Stay for Y”. This could be a book, a tool, or a toy — anything that through a related or unrelated product, draws attention to your main gig.
With this in mind, I decided to see if I could build something in fewer than 4 hours, and with less than 20 bucks, with the ultimate goal of eventually being listed on Product Hunt. From this experimental question, the Plz Don’t Hunt Me Yet Badges were born.
Do the badges look a bit hokey? For sure.
But, did they fulfil the brief and get my primary product thousands of hits and dozens of beta signups? You betcha.
Briefly, the tools I used for PDHMY were:
- Tumblr: Free website hosting.
- Microsoft Word: To design mockups of each of the badges.
- Fiverr: I took my MS Word mockups and paid a designer $5 on Fiverr to convert each into hi-res image files.
- Typeform: I added a customized, embeddable Typeform to collect submission information from each lead.
- Canva: Used to design all my marketing and social network visuals.
- Buffer: To drip tweets over a week at strategic times of day.
- Rapportive: to quickly evaluate each new lead in terms of value and influence.
TL;DR: I spent 3.5 hours and $16.50 on the PDHMY experiment. My primary product — Tapir — is still in pre-launch, so we haven’t done any marketing yet. Since our existing site traffic was so low, the PDHMY attention made a huge impact (see below). The project was also buckets of fun.
And now for the more complete list of tools…A quick heads up, that you can’t build a list like this without making some subjective value judgments. At the end of the day, I’m a Mac, not a PC; a Stripe, not a Braintree; a Buffer, not a Hootsuite…you get the idea. Other options exist and I encourage you to tweet us your faves.
Multi-Purpose & General Bootstrapping Tools
- Product Hunt (Free) — Product Hunt is a startup kingmaker. Being listed on the PH homepage guarantees fame, fortune, and success. Well, maybe not the last two, but it does promise unprecedented attention for small startups. Read the comments when other products launch to find useful and common critiques that should be addressed in your own products. Suss out the best pre-launch marketing tactics and be inspired by the ingenuity of other makers. And if you need a specific tool for a job, PH should be your first port of call. It’s become a useful compendium of SaaS products, often with exclusive discounts applied for Product Hunters. Hiten Shah has also compiled a particularly good collection of free tools for startups.
- GrowthHackers (Free) — regardless of the startup bravado we exude, none of us are pros. By definition, startups must operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty. How well do you understand your market? How aware are you of effective growth tactics, theories, and methodologies? Learn from your peers, eliminate some uncertainty, and get your butt to GrowthHackers.
- Intercom (Free Plan & Free Trial) — Hometown heroes Intercom allow startups to send targeted email and in-app messages, triggered by time or behaviour. Once you become familiar with Intercom’s telltale question mark icon, you’ll notice their widget across the internet in the bottom righthand screen of your favourite startups. And for goodness sake, make sure that you’re following the Intercom blog.
- BetaList (Free) — How do you get beta users before you’ve even finished building your product? You join the likes of Pintrest, IFTTT, and Fab, by getting featured on BetaList before you launch. While you likely won’t have enough time during Startup Weekend to submit — expedited posting takes 72 hours — BetaList is an excellent resource for startups looking to design compelling landing pages. In fact, Marc (BetaList founder and one of the SW Dublin remote mentors) has compiled this handy document outlining How to Build a Successful Beta Landing Page.
- Typeform (Free Plan) — Boiled down, a lot of product development involves forms in one ‘form’ or another (pun verymuch intended).
From customer research, to onboarding, to payment and satisfaction surveys, forms are often the medium through which we connect with our audience.
So, why the heck did we ever settle for ugly, janky forms? Typeform is the form you need, when you need it, looking beautiful and asking awesomely.
Product Management & Communication
- Slack (Free Plan) — Slack may be the fastest growing enterprise app in history and it’s certainly one of the fastest startups to reach a billion dollar valuation. That last designation might be arbitrary as f*ck, but these superlatives arise from the product’s extreme utility as a team communication tool. I have a theory that a number of enterprises could forgo their silly corporate innovation programs, instead adopting Slack to achieve a better ROI. For oft-dispersed startup teams, operating across multiple time zones and functional areas, Slack is on a mission “to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.”
- Trello (Free Plan) — Self-described as “the free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone,” Trello is many things to many people. Personally, I use Trello as a bookmarking tool, to track and sort online sources I want to come back to later, and ideas I want to blog about. Professionally, my co-founder and I use Trello as a project management tool to track each stage and milestone of Tapir’s development. I’ve also been toying with the idea of creating a Trello board to track and sort all of our beta user feedback.
- Peek User Testing (Free) — Peek provides free five minute user experience videos with real people from the interwebs. The current wait time for a video review is 2–3 days, though they sometimes arrive in only a few hours. Peek is a fun way to get a fresh perspective on your product. Just remember to take it with a grain of salt — it’s only the opinion of one person.
- Canva (Free — 1$) — I just recently learned that Guy Kawasaki is the Chief Evangelist at Canva. Makes sense, given how brilliant Canva is. Engagement rates skyrocket when you combine visual elements with your social networking content. Canva has the tools and templates you need to make it look like a professional was involved. Their ‘design school’ blog is also a terrific resource for those of us with questionable design aesthetics.
- Keynote (Free) — Getting an idea out of your head and communicating it to others is a vital step in the early validation stages of an MVP. If you’re familiar with the Google Ventures 5-Day Design Sprint, you know that Day 4 is devoted to creating a super-realistic prototype in just eight hours. While apps like InVision exist for solely this purpose, bootstrappers may also be drawn to the unconventional use of Keynote. Check out the GV guide to using the “world’s best prototyping tool.”
- Stock Up (Free) — Sure, you need to work fast, but as David Cancel says, “Ship It, but don’t Ship Shit.” There’s no excuse for startups to use terrible stock photos (let’s leave that to the big corporates). StockUp aggregates and makes searchable hundreds of free stock photo assets…free to use as you see fit.
- Fiverr ($5+ but get a free gig using this referral link) — Let me preface this tool with the age-old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Fiverr has a pretty simple pitch: get things done for $5 (though some tasks cost more). Suffice to say, buyer beware, but for simple rote tasks lacking in creativity, I’m down with Fiverr (and eventually you get used to all of the designers calling you ‘dear’).
Payments, Sales & Marketing
- Stripe (Fee per charge) — Stripe is web and mobile payments. So simple, so smart, so sexy. How many other APIs can you say that about? Stripe is unapologetically a tool built by developers for developers, combining functionality with intellectualism in a heady digital mix that’s difficult not to find appealing. Stripe understands that it’s god — not the devil — in the details. (And sure, their Irish origins make them even more likeable.)
- SlideBean (Free Plan) — Creating your Startup Weekend pitch deck is finicky and time-consuming. Why not give some thought to outsourcing the design elements to SlideBean. In addition to the option to start with a blank canvas, SlideBean offers pre-designed templates including the “3 Minute Startup Pitch” and a “10 Slide Investor Deck.” For inspiration, you can take a look at 10 SlideBean pitch decks from the most recent 500 Startups Demo Day.
- HARO (Free) — HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a mailing list that connects journalists looking for expertise with credible news sources. Email comes 3 times a day with time-sensitive requests for sources from diverse media outlets including Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, and theNew York Times. Startups can use HARO to potentially garner international exposure by offering their domain expertise in topics like business, HR, travel, and lifestyle.
- Buffer (Free Plan) — Buffer is awesome (literally). As a startup, content is important, but devoting unnecessary hours to the administration of your social presence before your product is even built? Get a life. Buffer allows you to load up your tweets in advance and have them fired out atthe most strategic times throughout the week. I also, highly recommend the Buffer Chrome extension, allowing you to add content to your buffer queue directly from your browser.
- Rapportive (Free) — Rapportive shows you details about your contacts, right inside your Gmail inbox. I use Reportive to quickly evaluate beta list signups, to identify who is worth responding to immediately or tagging as a VIP. As an added bonus, it also helps you to discern when seemingly personal emails, might actually be part of a larger marketing campaign.
We’re delighted to announce the very first Startup Weekend Remote Mentorship program using Slack for team communication.
This is a complete experiment. We’re so excited to see how the teams make use of both their physical mentors and their remote mentors. We’ll be learning from the program this year and if everyone finds value in the experience, it could be added as a permanent feature to future Startup Weekends in Ireland.
Teams will be able to reach out to remote mentors via DM or public Slack channels. Remote mentors will do their best to respond promptly given their availability and time zone constraints.
**Please note, the organizers are fully committed to diversity. We are working towards making the slack mentors as diverse a group as possible. We will get there, but there remains room for improvement. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions.**
Andre Plaut, Product Lead, Immersives General Assembly
Over the last seven years Andre Plaut has been designing & delivering learning experiences for Apple, Obama for America, and General Assembly. As a training coordinator at Apple, Andre created and delivered internal training materials to retail employees all over the world. During the 2012 Obama campaign, Andre worked with campaign staff to redesign, organize, and implement training initiatives and materials to better prepare new volunteers for the field. Now, at General Assembly, Andre leads the product team responsible for designing, implementing, and scaling full-time courses around Web Development, User Experience Design, and Product Management. Andre has also published articles and spoken at conferences about the intersection of design and education.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Design 2. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR 3. Product Management 3. Education.
Dylan La Com, Product Manager at GrowthHackers.com
Dylan is Product Manager at GrowthHackers, the definitive community for growth-focused marketers. Dylan has an eye for design and a head for startup growth, and was previously Growth Product Manager at Qualaroo. Dylan has formerly cofounded Bosscaster, a podcast publishing platform and Wellen, a surfwear company.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR 2. Product Management 3. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools
Eoin Hennessy, Manager of Engineering, Intercom
Originally from Crosshaven, Cork, Eoin is a manager of engineering at Intercom. Since joining Intercom, Eoin has played an important role in key product features including the In-App Messenger and Intercom’s latest release, real-time messaging. His side project is Tapir, a clever customer referral tool for crazy clever startups. Theoretically, if he had spare time he’d spend it surfing or sailing.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Front End Development 2. Back End Development 3. Mobile 4. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools 5. B2B
Everette Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, StickerMule
Everette Taylor is Chief Marketing Officer of Sticker Mule and founder of MilliSense. He is the former Head of Growth of GrowthHackers.com and has previously done marketing for author Neil Strauss, United Way, Qualaroo and others.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR 2. Product Management 3. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools 4. B2B 5. B2C
Jeff Bajayo, Marketing & Growth, InVisionApp
Starting out working for publications like The Next Web, Beta List, and various smaller operations, Jeff has worked with hundreds of startups all over the globe. For the past three years, he’s worked on marketing and growth at InVisionApp, a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Design 2. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR 3. Product Management 4. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools 5. B2B 6. B2C
“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship” — Forbes | “25 Smartest Women On Twitter” — Fast Company | “100 Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter” — Business Insider | “100 NYC Tech Influencers You Need To Know” — AlleyWatch
Kelly Hoey is a speaker, strategist and investor. Recognized for her social influence, Kelly’s expertise is in leveraging networks, building engaged communities and developing strategies for rising above the networking noise, both online and off.
Kelly appears regularly as an investor panelist on CNBC’s Power Pitch. Kelly is sought out for her unique perspective into networking and community building, addressing members of the European Commission and audiences at SXSW, IEEE Women in Leadership, 2014 PGA Championship, The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Women In The Boardroom, Bank of America, Disruptors (Dublin), MoDev, MINC (Malmo), Philly Women in Tech Summit, amongst others.
Kelly’s motto is “invest in the change you want to see in the world.” She is an acknowledged leader in the startup community for actively investing in women. In 2011, Kelly co-founded the first startup accelerator focused exclusively on fast-tracking the growth of early-stage mobile technology ventures with gender-diverse founding teams. Kelly continues to advise emerging technology companies and actively mentors startups through selected accelerator programs in New York City. She is the Chief Technology Ambassador for the YWCA of NYC’s Geek Girls Club and mentors on millennial career platform, Levo.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR
Kilian McMahon, Designer, Kickstarter
Kilian is a designer by day — making things for the web and the physical world — and a musician by night. Here in Ireland, you probably recognize Kilian’s creative talents from his involvement with Tito, and Úll. More recently, he has adventured across the ocean, battling wicked winters and the L-train, applying design to help creators stay independent. He works at a little place you might have heard of called Kickstarter.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Front End Development 2. Mobile 3. Design
Marc Köhlbrugge, Founder, BetaList
Marc Köhlbrugge (26, the Netherlands) is the founder of BetaList, a platform that helps early adopters discover the latest internet startups. At the same time BetaList helps entrepreneurs validate there’s demand for their products and get crucial feedback from early users. Marc bootstrapped BetaList four years ago and since then it’s grown into one of the most popular startup resources not just for early adopters, but also tech journalists and investors looking for the next big thing. So far over 4,000 startups have been published and every month 150 startups are added.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Back End Development 2. Design 3. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools 4. Ideating MVP
Paul Betts, Software Engineer, Slack
Hi, I’m Paul. I work on everything mobile and desktop-related; I used to work at GitHub, and now I work at Slack working on their desktop app, and have done a lot of stuff around startups in general (frontend website stuff, etc. etc.).
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Front End Development 2. Mobile 3. B2B
Simon Vallee, Senior Product Manager, Slack
Simon Vallee is a product-minded entrepreneur and general detail enthusiast. His latest startup, Spaces, sought to re-invent online documents and was acquired by Slack, where Simon now works as a Senior Product Manager. Before that, he co-founded OpenCal, acquired by Groupon in 2011, and Sitemasher, acquired by Salesforce in 2010.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Front End Development 2. Design 3. Product Management 4. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools
Tiffany Zhong, Business Development + Marketing, ProductHunt
Tiffany loves growth and product. She works at Product Hunt and previously built higherlyfe.com.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Growth, Marketing, Sales, Social, PR 2. Product Management
Victor Bjelkholm, Developer Evangelist, Typeform
Victor is a hacker originating from Sweden, that now resides in Barcelona and enjoys the beautiful weather and making Typeform an even more awesome platform for all your form needs. He is currently working on building an API for creating forms and advocating the engineering culture at Typeform. He has been doing full stack development for 4 years, mostly focused on cutting edge frontend technologies.
Mentorship Expertise: 1. Front End Development 2. Back End Development 3. Startup/Bootstrapping Tools 4. Software Theory and General Development (not just frontend/backend)
On this second edition of the #SWDub Mentor Series, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, we reached out to him to tell us about his role at Startup Weekend as well as his expectations for the upcoming event.
Q. What are your thoughts on Startup Weekend and how have you participated?
I think this will be my fourth Startup Weekend, all in the mentor role, and each time I’m blown away not only by the ideas but by the people there. The organizers and other mentors are the best Ireland has and the teams are so diverse.
I have also come to see that the Startup Weekend is one of the few hackathon-type events that results in long term change, real businesses and ideas come out of the weekend, go on to secure funding, growth, and becoming success stories.
Q. What is one sector or space you’d like to see more ideas from during the Startup Weekend?
That will definitely be Security. This is because even since the last Startup Weekend in November there have been further breaches (Sony) and the industry is getting even more investment from all sizes of business.
The industry also needs novel ways of protecting data and systems, the established ways are not working and startups are great at bringing new thinking to an industry. Moreso, social media platforms are lagging when it comes to team based security. The password to your million-follower Twitter account is shared amongst your whole company? That’s crazy!
Q. What tip do you have for participants and area of expertise are you happy to help with?
Everyone in the team has to talk to potential customers, not just the designer and the business person. Everyone hears something different when a customer speaks and that all needs to be collected and discussed.
As to my area of expertise, I can help out on all matters technical including: front-end, back-end, infrastructure, but I always need product-context to give good
Use Ruby! Don’t use Ruby! It depends.
That’s it from Paul. You can catch him on twitter at @PaulMWatson. He’d also be around mentoring and coaching teams at the Startup Weekend Dublin. Do share and stay tuned for the next post in the #SWDub Mentor Series courtesy of our sponsor, Bank of Ireland.
It was great to have him touch on an important part of the Startup Weekend experience – Branding.
LogoGrab chief executive Luca Boschin and chief technical officer Alessandro Prest
Q. Can you share tips on coming up with a brand name for an idea/product?
Regardless if you are a tech company or selling cupcakes your first stop is domaintyper.com. If you ever want to scale forget of any name for which .com is not available (some businesses could get away with other extensions such as .io). If you really wanna use a name anyhow at least be sure that no big player is using it and you’ll have the chance to buy the .com one day or the other.
It is also important to base your brand name on something that is relavant to your business – your actual product, a feature of it, your creativity, or anything that shares in a way or the other what you do or who you are. Finally, keep it simple, and make it as easy to remember as possible.
Q. To what level should [prospective] consumers be involved in brand development?
When you come up with a name / logo design you can make some simple polls to be sure prospective consumers would like/understand the name.
An easy way to do it? Prepare and copy/paste a message to 50 friends or so via Facebook messenger asking if they like/understand the name/logo. Make it simple, so to drive them to a simple yes/no answer.
The answers should guide you to an educated choice if you wanna proceed with that name/logo or consider working on it a bit more. This is how we actually did it at LogoGrab when we redesigned our logo.
Q. How can a team at #SWDub decide on a branding in the shortest possible time?
Again, for your name brainstorm with the with team in front of domaintyper.com. Write a list of each name you like (or sort of like, it will help to keep going) and for which the domain name is available. Keep brainstorming for 10 minutes maximum and then choose your favorite candidate off the list. When we started LogoGrab we decided our name in 10 minutes or so.
However, it does get a little harder when it comes to logo but you can also think of / edit your logo at a later stage. At LogoGrab we re-designed our logo 1 year after launch. I wouldn’t be so concerned about a cool logo at this stage. One tip, regardless: come up with an icon that fits in a square, in case you ever have to do an app.
Many thanks to Luca for taking time out to share these branding tips. You can catch him on twitter at @LucaBoschin. He’d also be around mentoring and coaching teams at the Startup Weekend Dublin. Do share and stay tuned for the next post in the #SWDub Mentor Series.
Startup Weekend Limerick April 10th – 12th, 2015
“Startup Weekend is fundamentally disrupting the way the world is approaching entrepreneurial education” – Startup Weekend
“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 Pitch competition to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs”
Startup Weekends to me are an opportunity to examine that idea you have had for a while, to test yourself in a fast paced problem solving environment and it as a way to grow a fantastic like-minded network. I’ve had the pleasure of attending as a guest and organising a startup weekend, this is my second but I feel the real value is in attending as a participant, being on the battlefield, I’m envious – this is something I have yet to do.
Pitching your idea, leading a team or being part of a team is an unbelievable opportunity that most people will never experience, this is your chance… take it.
Limericks Startup Weekend will be a fast moving 54hrs, problem solving will essential as will hustling, teamwork and creativity. The weekend will test you, it is energise you and it will drain you mentally yet I can say from the bottom of my heart, it will be one of the most valuable experiences of your life. I would say the event and weekend become addictive.
The format is built around building a startup, around formulating a team and trusting others. People come from far and wide, across various industries to participate and get mentoring from some of the top Entrepreneurs, Developers and Designers locally to help structure and validate their idea. At Startup Limerick we are lucky to have some fantastic mentors involved like Ed Kavanagh, Gillian Barry, David Quaid and Ronan Skehill to name but a few.
Pitching your idea with clarity and finding the right team in the Friday night is essential and this is where Hustling comes in :). Hustle, Hustle and Hustle all weekend long.
Be confident is your approach, plan the key segments to validate at an early stage while understanding how you will do this and set down roles and responsibilities within your team. Your team and how each member manages each other will differentiate who the real big winners are.
After 54 hours of brainstorming, building teams, talking to mentors and coaches, listening in speakers, munching Domino pizza, and gulping cans of Red Bull, 10 teams took the stage to showcase their ideas and MVPs.
The teams sure didn’t make the jobs easy for the Judges as the ideas and pitches were nothing short of amazing, especially looking at the fact that all transpired in one weekend. Every team was a winner and the journey only begins but for now here are those that went home with accolades.
Alicia had not plan to pitch at Startup Weekend but got on the stage in the last minute to pitch her idea. Against all odds she came off the most entrepreneurial participant as selected by the judges.
In 3rd place was BeHabit – an app that looks to help parent turn their kid’s good behaviour into positive habit. Not only was the team led by one of the yougest participants at the weekend, it gave an impressive pitch that had the judges nodding and applauding.
Perhaps the people’s choice, Baffle came in 2nd place. The platform is one that allows users sell items but in a raffle-type setup.
Ladies and gentlemen, the team the wears the crown as winners of the November edition of Startup Weekend Dublin is Gift Me! Not only was the team lead by a female entrepreneur, it was one of the 3 startups ideas to actually make a sale and generate revenue.
There you have it folks. Dublin has a new champion but the road doesn’t end here. Go forth and do exploit – building connections, validating ideas, acquiring customers, and changing the world.
Missed out on any of the action? Check out the daily recaps here and here. Don’t forget to check out the Global Startup Battle, Startup Hiking‘s next day out, and the Christmas party for Startups – SUXMAS.
Many thanks to our global and local sponsors, Google for Entrepreneurs, DotCo, Amazon Web Service, Bank of Ireland, Holvi, Tom Crean’s, Dominos Pizza, Burritos & Blues, Red Bull, and FCR Media. Also grateful for our mentors, speakers, coaches, volunteers, and the ever amazing attendees.
It’s been an awesome experience for me and hope it’s been nothing less for you too.
@NubiKay signing out.
It’s the final day at the November edition of Startup Weekend Dublin and the clock gets closer and closer to the 54-hour mark.
Starting from 15 ideas, teams have pivoted, rebranded, closed shop, joined forces and here are the final 10 to pitch at the #SWDub Finals.
10. Baffle is an on-line raffling platform, Done-Deal style.
9. Utripia wants to customize your perfect trip
8. Elected allows voters better learn and engage with politicians
7. Cajou connects home cooks with guests around a city
6. Behabit is a parenting aid to turn good behaviour into habits
5. Find Me helps you stay connected to your pet wirelessly
4. Cooler is all about real-time, geo-located, targeted promotions
3. Yes! Buddy Fitness is your motivation mate
2. Gift Me is a fun efficient way crowdfund presents that your friends will love
1. O! Seppe is an interactive, tailored, cost effective staff induction solution
All the best to all the teams pitching. Follow @SWDub for live updates from the finals and tweet us your favourite ideas using the hashtag #SWDub.
One of the many valuable things attendees get from the Startup Weekend is the quality of speakers with wide range of expertise that come to share their knowledge. These speakers range from investors, accelerator managers, and product developers to founders and successful entrepreneurs.
The second day of #SWDub kicked off with a presentation by NRDC‘s Gary Leyden. He covered the Lean Canvas touching on the need for participants to focus on potential customers – walking up to them on the streets, targeting them through Facebook and LinkedIn ads, or even cold calling others for validation.
Other touch points included the need to aim at launching scalable ventures and to get this, there’d be need to be focus on ‘who‘ more than ‘what‘. Key metrics for scaling include – Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referal. In addition locking down the a revenue model by asking the question of pricing – Who’s going to pay for it? is very important.
Startup Weekend Dublin also attracts a very high calibre of coaches and mentors with expertise and background in design, business, and technology. We reached out to 10 of them for tips and here’s what they said.
It was very evident and impressive to see all the teams make progress in validating their ideas, forking out MVPs and even pivoting and rebranding. No doubt the final pitches tomorrow will see amazing ideas on showcase.
Thanks to our sponsors at Google (for Entrepreneurs), Dominos Pizza and Red Bull, we were treated to very tasty meals and big thanks to Slattery‘s who gets to host us for after-drinks and networking party.
Excited about tomorrow? Bring on the final pitches!
Final Pitch Tickets here.
Startup Weekend Dublin attracts a very high calibre of coaches and mentors with expertise and background in design, business, and technology. We reached out to 10 of them for tips and here’s what they said.
10. Don’t ask prospective customers if they will use your product. They almost always say Yes. Instead, ask about their experience, find the pain points and see if what you offer is really a solution – Louise Caldwell
9. Co-Creation is very important when it comes to execution – David Tighe
8. Never be afraid to ask – Lisa Domican
7. Always remember to know nothing – Conor Nolan
6. Tell a story, goddammit – Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh
5. Have a killer tagline – Chico Charlesworth
4. Kill every bias and expectations; and when it comes to coding, less is more – Adrian Mihai
3. People are lazy and will keep doing the same thing, so build software that’d help them do things efficiently – Ian Lucey
2. Forget about the tech today and just focus on the consumer’s needs – Alex Beregszaszi
1. Focus on one thing and keep it simple – Paul Watson & Serena Fistch
All Photos credits to Compfight CC