Startup Weekend Energizes the Rochester Startup Community

It’s been an amazing time at #StartupWeekend Rochester! The startup teams have been grinding away on their ideas and the competition will be a close one!

If you did not get to participate in #swrochmn17 this weekend, we invite you to check out Demo Day today at 5 PM at the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space to see the team pitches and judging. Who will reign supreme?

Register here to attend the Demo Day >

Turn Your Idea into a Startup with Startup Weekend Rochester

Want to learn how to transform an idea into a viable business concept? Participate in Rochester’s inaugural Startup Weekend. This event will take place on Friday, November 3rd through Sunday, November 5th at Collider Coworking in downtown Rochester.

Startup Weekend is an opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, create an idea, and build the beginnings of a viable startup in fifty-four hours. The event is powered by Techstars, a global network that supports and encourages entrepreneurship. Techstars’ Startup Weekends take place in over 150 countries; 2.9K Startup Weekends have occurred to date.

The process all begins on Friday evening, where participants pitch their ideas and gather teams around the most promising concepts. Participants do not need to come to Startup Weekend with a pre-formed team. They are encouraged to use the weekend to connect and collaborate with other innovators who may be outside of their normal network. On Saturday, the groups work to build a minimal viable product or service and develop their business model. Participants also receive coaching from mentors and hear a talk from an entrepreneurial expert. Sunday, the teams continue to work and prepare five-minute presentations to demo their product or service and explain their business model.

Startup Weekend culminates in a demo night on Sunday, where groups pitch their product or service to a panel of judges and a gathered crowd of interested community members.

Tickets for the event are $75 for adults and $35 for students, which includes seven meals throughout the weekend. Tickets are $25 to attend the Sunday night demos for non-Startup Weekend participants.

This weekend is an opportunity for true experiential learning. The event is for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and provides a first-hand look at what it takes to build a startup.

Approximately twenty-five percent of teams participating in Startup Weekends continue with their concept after the event. One local success story comes right out of the Minneapolis Startup Weekend. A team of University of Minnesota students developed the idea for a smart water bottle that monitored and encouraged water consumption and glowed when it was time to drink. The startup, called Hidrate, is now a full company based between Minneapolis and Chicago.

For more information about Startup Weekend, head over to the main homepage. Click here for registration and more details about Rochester’s Startup Weekend.

2 Weeks

A little over 2 weeks. That is all the time that remains until Twin Cities Startup Weekend Youth!

Tickets are going fast, and limited spots are available- if you are interested, but haven’t pulled the trigger on registration, be sure to do so very soon!!!

Check out the press our Organizing Team and the event has received. We are constantly working hard to ensure that this event will be the weekend of a lifetime!



We look forward to seeing you on January 13th.

Calling All Entrepreneurs!

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MANKATO, Minn. March 15, 2016 – Startup Weekend Mankato, presented by Minnesota State University’s Entrepreneurship Club and Small Business Development Center, is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come together to learn, network and start businesses April 1-3, 2016.
What is Startup Weekend? 
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event allowing participants to create and launch startup ideas. They take place in 150 countries around the world every week and have proven successful in helping launch thousands of companies. In just one weekend participants experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure of a startup.

Startup Weekend is no talk, all action and the experience of creating something new in just three days helps participants realize how much is possible with limited time and resources. The compressed timeframe puts the focus on building, measuring and learning, unlike a typical brainstorming session or planning meeting.

Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at their disposal, participants are connected with the right people to learn from one another and take giant leaps toward creating viable businesses. Introductions are made and teams formed on Friday. Work begins Saturday morning, culminating Sunday evening in live pitches before a panel of judges.
For those interested in entrepreneurship, development, design, marketing or just of the innovative mindset, Startup Weekend is a must! All are welcome, from beginners to experts, as the weekend is created to inspire collaboration, mutual learning and new ideas.
Learn more about the event and take advantage of early bird pricing until Sunday, March 20th at

About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Learn more about the organization at

For more information contact:

Meg Steuer
Business Consultant

Small Business Development Center | 608-397-0079

Win Tickets to SXSWEDU at Twin Cities SWEDU!

This year, participants could win SXSWEdu tickets via the NBCUniversal Open Possibilities Challenge!

For this OPTIONAL challenge, all teams that address the challenge statement below will be considered for a special prize: 3 tickets to the SXSWedu in Austin, TX.

Challenge: “How might we prepare students for the 21st century workforce and/or to lead 21st century communities?”

Click here for eligibility rules and judging criteria.

The DocentEDU Story: It all started at SWEDU…

[This is a re-blogged post by Karin Hogen, co-founder of EdTech startup DocentEdu. Karin and her co-founders attended Startup Weekend Education in May 2014 where DocentEDU was launched. Since that time, DocentEdu earned finalist honors at the Minnesota Cup, presented at Minnedemo, and is in the hands of thousands of students.]

It all started at Twin Cities Startup Weekend EDU…

May 7, 2014 • Karin Hogen

The Beginning

When the now teammates of DocentEDU showed up to Twin Cities Startup Weekend EDU at the Carlson School of Management on May 2, they all came as strangers. They all came with different ideas to pitch and different goals for the weekend. However, most importantly, they all came to do something great–and that they did. By winning Startup Weekend EDU, the DocentEDU team can now pursue their goal of creating a business which will positively impact education as well as the business world.

 The Middle

After just 52 hours, the 7 teammates went from a group of strangers with diverse goals, to a tight-knit team with one goal: transforming the way we interact with online content by creating the web tool DocentEDU. @Matt Nupen@Karin Hogen@Dan Antonson, Wyatt Andersen, Ashish Shrivastava, @Abdulla Malek, and @Derek Persons made up the team. From the minute Matt Nupen gave his pitch, everyone began to focus on how to create the best and most developed product possible in the short amount of time given during the weekend.

 The End

Throughout the hectic weekend, the team worked tirelessly. This paid off by the first place win on Sunday night. According to the judge who announced the win, @Jay Haugen, DocentEDU is a rare innovative tool that can transform teaching and learning. He even emphatically said that he wanted DocentEDU in his school district the next day.

The amazingness of the weekend comes from our team members, but we would also like to thank others who made our dream possible. We as a team would like to thank the organizers of Startup Weekend Twin Cities: Steven Wellvang, Christopher Nyren, Kristen Daniels, Seijen Takamura, and Justin Moen. Without their constant encouragement and help, our product wouldn’t have made it as far as it did. We also want to thank all of the mentors and the judges who gave us such great guidance and feedback. Lastly, we want to thank @3M Post-It Products for their great collaboration tools.


The Future

Currently, DocentEDU is registering for The Minnesota Cup competition. The team is also exploring the amazing contacts it made during the weekend. We hope to keep working, get some investment, and get a beta version up and running as soon as possible.


In the meantime, make sure to sign up on our website for updates and to follow us on Twitter.

Startup Weekend Winners

We’ve recovered from the Startup Weekend hangover and now have a recap of the inaugural Startup Weekend St. Cloud winners!

Here is a brief rundown of the winners of Startup Weekend St. Cloud:

Special Mention: Dressing Room

Dressing room is a software application that addresses the differences in clothing sizes between brands. With the software that was developed over the weekend, a user can enter his or her body dimensions and Dressing Room will find the exact size you need and also recommend other brands based on what fits you well.

Third Place: Medella

Medella is a website where people can find information on cancer treatment from people who have gone through it. The website allows users to create a profile and connect with people going through the same health issues and share advice and support. Medella also aggregates data on treatments and physicians, giving users another source of information to supplement the official medical studies.

Second Place: Recruit U

Recruit U aims to solve the complicated process of recruiting qualified technical talent. Especially for small to mid-size companies, finding developers can be a real challenge. Using Recruit U’s platform, a developer can take a standardized test and fill out a culture survey. Using the results of the survey and the standardized test, an employer can find the best match and contact the developer directly through the site.

First Place: wants to solve the issue of throwing out stuff that someone could benefit from. Using the app, users can post their items online through a streamlined process. People can then call “dibs” on the free item and arrange to pick it up. plans to launch a beta at St. Cloud State University this spring. will receive $1,500 of social media set up from Dayta Marketing to help capture their first customers!


Everyone from the Startup Weekend would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated, coaches, sponsored, or supported this inaugural event. We truly believe we have found our niche and are working hard to boost the entrepreneurship community in St. Cloud. There was a visible transformation in the participants from Friday to Sunday evening, which was extremely exciting to see.

We will be continuing to announce new events throughout the next few months. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in any way! We’re always looking for new organizers and fresh perspectives. All of these events are completely volunteer-based, so we welcome the help!

We’ll see you next Wednesday at Startup Drinks! All ages welcome!

Judging Criteria

In just a few short hours, the Startup Weekend teams will be pitching their new companies. The judges will be instructed to evaluate each company on specific Startup Weekend criteria.

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

  • Business Model
    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation
    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design
    • 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. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

Best of luck to all teams pitching tonight! Remember, Startup Weekend is less of a competition and more of an experience. It’s not about winning or losing tonight, it’s about the things you’ve learned, the people you’ve met, and the other intangibles that go along with the Weekend.

Have Fun!

What's Being Created at Startup Weekend?

Here is a run-through of all the companies being created this weekend. Full disclosure: this was an inventory of the teams taken at 3pm this afternoon–companies have gone through iterations and could be very different on Sunday evening. Catch all of the pitches Sunday, November 8th at 6:30 in the Pellegrene Auditorium on the campus of St. John’s University!


Medella is an application that would allow a user to input their background – diagnosis, treatments, demographics, and other information into the application. Medella would then aggregate and analyze all of the users’ information and present the results to help them make critical decisions. is a green network platform that connects people to local free things to help students find furniture and eliminate good treasures being tossed in the trash. The rating system creates a safe environment for users and keeps everyone accountable.


FitCentives gives you rewards for reaching your personal fitness goals. You’re not competing against others; you’re competing against the person you were yesterday. is a student-to-student coaching platform that brings students who have completed courses together with students currently enrolled with the course material.


AquaVolt will provide hydroelectric to communities living along a river.

Recruit U

Recruit U is a service focused on pooling top tech talent and making it easier for technology companies to recruit.

To Be Named

This company is setting out to capture your night on the town and create a montage featuring the highlights of the evenings.







5 Things to Expect at Startup Weekend

Guest post from Greg Connell – team member on Startup Weekend Toronto’s first place team and Global Startup Battle Champion (2012) for GroupNotes.


Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 - Groupnotes


1. Late nights and lots of coffee


Startup Weekend kicks off Friday night with 1 minute pitches and ends with the final presentations on Sunday evening. That’s not a whole lot of time to do everything needed to wow the judges, including customer validation, design, and the actual building of your idea. To make the most out of this time, you might have to sacrifice some sleep. Be prepared to stay up late coding and up early the next morning getting back at it. I promise, it’ll be worth it. And coffee helps!


2. Learn something new


Have you been wanting to learn a new coding language like Node.js, play with cool things like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and 3D Printers, or have an idea you think could turn into a business? Well there’s no better place to do it then a Startup Weekend.


3. Meet some cool people


MakeWorks is going to be packed full of talented designers, developers, hardware hackers, marketers, and people who love startups. Expect to work closely with your team and mingle with everyone else. You never know, that person might be your future co-founder, next employee, or someone who can help you with your day job.


4. Actually build something


Startup Weekend’s slogan is “No talk, All action”. That means there’s no time to hum and haw over options and there’s certainly no red tape to cut though. If you have an idea, you can build it immediately. Aim to have something built by the final presentation on Sunday and maybe, if you’re brave enough, even do a live demo!


5. Mentorship and advice from experts


At Startup Weekend, there will be a whole slew of mentors there to help your team out. These will be people with a whole lot of experience building things so I suggest you ask them questions and have them scrutinize your plan. The more help you get, the better your final pitch will be and the better chance you’ll have at taking home the grand prize!


Bonus: You’ll quit your job and start a company


This might not happen to everyone, but I’m willing to bet it will happen to someone. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll be validating your ideas, talking to customers, and building a ton of awesome things. But after Sunday, everything doesn’t have to stop. You can take what you’ve worked on and turn it into a real business that might even let you quit your job. It happened to my team at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012. Who will be next?