The Startup Weekend Story

Start building your future in just 54 hours Startup Weekend: Learn, Network, Startup – with Startup Weekend Impact Tairāwhiti.

The Mission

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active community leaders and entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Startup Weekend organisers and facilitators can be found in hundreds of cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to Canada to Brazil, people around the globe come together for 54 hour workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies to change their lives as well as those around them.

The Event

All Startup Weekend events follow the same model:

  1. Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers.
  2. Teams form organically around the ideas and those that have the most popular votes or team members carry on past Friday night. Each team must have at least three people..
  3. What follows is a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.
  4. The event culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders which presents another opportunity for critical feedback.
  5. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or simply learn a new skill that stretches them beyond their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

The Value

First and foremost, Startup Weekend is about experiential education. Participants don’t just listen to theory. They get their hands dirty and put theories to the test by collaborating with like-minded, passionate individuals from a variety of backgrounds and points of view. Participants also receive invaluable one-on-one time with the movers and shakers from their community, as local tech and startup leaders who take part in Startup Weekend as mentors and judges.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about the idea—it’s about the team. Startup Weekend attracts each community’s best makers and doers, and by spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, our participants build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investor. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone with whom you can actually launch a startup! Quite possibly the most valuable aspect is that not only will participants be integrating with their local community, they will be joining a global community of over 100,000 Startup Weekend alumni with a common mission to change their community and world.

Starting up new ideas in Kapiti

Startup Weekend is back for a second year in Kapiti. Ready to help guide new startup ideas to success is MJ Brodie, who led the winning team last year. When asked to describe her experience in three words, she quickly replies “nervous, excited, awesome”. MJ is a local from Paraparaumu, who had never participated in anything startup-related before. “I was so nervous, I almost didn’t go along. Several times I was so close to pulling out, but I am so glad I went”.

MJ pitched her idea to help homeless people, and her newly formed team called SeekShelter went on to win Kapiti’s first Startup Weekend on 2016. The idea attracted interest and support from Wellington City Council, and the team have been working with homeless shelters over the last year as they work on their startup. “It has been amazing, to think what has happened, just through taking a chance to share an idea with other people”.

This year, MJ is back helping with Startup Weekend, taking part in the organising crew, and will be mentoring teams over the weekend. “Startup Weekend is such a great experience – you learn a lot about what it takes to run a startup, but a lot more about yourself”. She credits Startup Weekend with giving her more confidence to try new things. Asked what she’d say to others about Startup Weekend, she says “It’s hard to know what to expect going in, but just try it. You will surprise yourself, and have an amazing time”.

The next Kapiti Startup Weekend is on 28-30 July 2017. Anyone is welcome to attend, and more information and tickets are available from

Start(up) with the why

We’ve been working really hard this year to get Kapiti Startup Weekend organised, and putting together all the ingredients to make it a fantastic weekend.

Kapiti is a fantastic place to live – the beaches, weather and the people…and a great new expressway – but it is also (unkindly) referred to as “God’s waiting room“. If you are in the 15-39 age group, you are a rarity. When we ask why, it seems to be because we don’t have enough of the range of businesses based here that mean that we can work here too. A lot of us who live in Kapiti commute to Wellington, Levin or Palmerston North to work.

In order to really thrive, we need a wide range of jobs that keep talented (15-39 year old) people here, as well as Kapiti being a great place to live for retirees. And a great place to start making this change, is by encouraging startups – right here in Kapiti. So that is our why.

But just being passionate about this hasn’t got us where we need to be…yet. We need YOU to throw us a lifeline, and support us by coming along to Kapiti Startup Weekend.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere of a startup weekend. Even if you have been to a startup weekend, you can’t really describe it – because it is a different experience for everyone. Sure, you can describe the mechanics…

registration, dinner, mingling, ideas pitch, team forming, sleep! breakfast, getting out of the building and surveying people with a whole lot of questions, lunch, making stuff, figuring out costs and revenue, dinner, more hard work, less sleep! breakfast, figuring out your business model, market size, lunch, putting a slide deck together, final pitches, dinner and winners…

but that doesn’t describe the emotional rollercoaster you experience as you work through the weekend, nor the stretch outside your comfort zone, or the sheer excitement in making stuff happen, and really come to life.

Why you should attend is probably best captured in this infographic:

As for us, we are a keen bunch of locals, who are trying to build more than just startups. We want to support building a community of people who are interested in startups, and who accept that startups are an important part of our local ecosystem in Kapiti. We’ve already got some enthusiastic people having a go at incubating startup ideas through the Kapiti Digital Challenge (for under 24’s). And we are trying to get accelerator activity started here too. If we can succeed, then we can fundamentally change Kapiti from a playground economy, to an entrepreneurial economy.

So the question is – will you join us?

Kapiti Startup Weekend goes international!

What do Kapiti and Arizona have in common? On first glance, not much, but at the end of July, both would have held events facilitated by Global Startup Weekend Coach Shane Reiser. In what is a bit of a coup for Kapiti, the local group of organisers have managed to convince him to jump on a plane and head to New Zealand for Kapiti Startup Weekend.

Shane Reiser is the author of Startup Genome, was the former Chief Operating Officer of Startup Weekend (International) and runs a boutique consultancy Your Ideas are Terrible – specialising in encouraging more corporate innovation.

“This has been over a year in planning” said Rebecca Tayler, head of the Kapiti Startup and Innovate Network. “Shane has this awesome reputation, and lots of experience in the startup scene, and he’s bringing that to Kapiti”. She is excited by the potential for startup ideas in Kapiti, and what this can do to boost economic development in the region.

“We have some amazing talent here, and Kapiti has already achieved notable success in the technology field – with people like Andy and Diane Prow and Scott Houston in our community”, she says “but we need more startups trying new things, and giving it a go”.

Startup Weekend is an easy way to do just that, as it gives people a chance to road test their ideas over the course of a single weekend. “It’s hands-on learning” says Rebecca “and it is intense, but a lot of fun too”.  Rebecca is a veteran of several Startup Weekends, and has recently been chosen to represent New Zealand at the Asia-Pacific Startup Weekend Conference.

“We know that Kapiti is an amazing place to live and play – and we want to do our bit to make sure it is an amazing place to work too”, says Rebecca. “And bringing talent like Shane to town, shows that we can put Kapiti on the startup map“.

Grab your ticket to Kapiti Startup Weekend today!

The Teams of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017

Congratulations to all who took part in Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017, and a big thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

Final Presentations at Ara


Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017 Judges


May 19 – 21 saw EPIC buzzing with energy at all hours as 120+ participants, mentors, organisers, and volunteers packed out the space to pitch startup ideas and turn them into real businesses, all in the space of a weekend.

Friday night was off to a running start with 54 individuals pitching their startup ideas, teams were formed, and coffee was drunk. The proverbial brown stuff may have hit the fan for many teams throughout Saturday as they engaged with their target market and learnt the dreaded word ‘pivot’.

Ultimately 13 teams delivered the goods at the final pitch battle in front of the public and our esteemed judges, with Binder taking out first place and bragging rights as the winners of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017.

Binder NZ (Winner)

Binder is a wedding planning site, that provides everything a couple needs to plan their wedding.  From venue, to photography, budget, and timeline Binder provides the complete wedding planning service.

Team: Daniel, Fionna, Hannah, Henry, Yanwei

Buzz Keeper (2nd place)

Buzz Keeper is a security device built into beehives that enables bee keepers to track stolen beehives and alert them of thefts.

Team: Kirsten, Simon, Ruby, Inder, Stephen, Nicole, Ryan, Michael

Freeze My Glass Off (3rd Place)

Freeze My Glass Off is a car defrosting system that defrosts frozen windscreens during winter months.

Team: Georgia, Peter, Callum, William

Better Kiwi

BetterKiwi helps New Zealanders be less apathetic about choosing the most appropriate KiwiSaver fund for their personal situation.

Team: Glendon, Rikki, Matt, Jason, Stephen

Make My Day!

Make My Day! is a mobile app that lists and recommends activities and nearby businesses to help make your day.

Team: Alex, Kerry, Peiyi, Taner, Margot, Thomas, Anna


TopCrop provides rentable and serviced vertical vegetable gardens for workplaces, contributing to a healthier and more productive workplace.

Team: Duncan, Pali, Stephan, Carl, Chris, James, Robina


Lakuna matches people with things needed to be stored with people that have available space.

Team: Edwin, Nathan, Ashling, Sarah, Ashley, Edwin, Izadora, Simon


Upto is an event promotion platform helping you find the best local activities and events to attend with your friends

Team: Arron, Matthew, James, Ben, Michel, Peter, Cameron, Stephanie

Gap Finder

GapFinder helps local governments connect with their communities to understand what they want for their cities.

Team: Christopher, Ollie, Daniel, Mike, Tony, Dorj, Olivia

Heart Sync

Heart Sync produces a pillow that helps adults sleep and provides anxiety relief by playing the sound of heart beats.

Team: Ged, Leo, Olivia


Helping young people learn about the world and envisage their future using Virtual Reality technology.

Team: Danny, Deborah, Chris, Joe, Sridhar, Alex, Paris, Raj, Daniel, Sakthi

Journey NZ

Journey is an app that lets visitors have a great travel experience, including localised stories, nearby attractions and information on places to eat and where to get petrol.

Team: Carl, Charles, Mitchell, Huey, Jake, Munir, Keryn

Revival of the Craft

Revival of the Craft matches people wanting to learn a craft with a community run workshop.
Team: Timo, Terry, David, Daisuke, Kerry


Startup Weekends are truly community events, so we’d love to thank our sponsors who believe in investing into their local community.

A designer, a developer and a mentor walk into a bar

Who attends a Startup Weekend and who would win in a bar fight?

The developer

The designer


The entrepreneur

Okay, they didn’t walk into a bar, but they did walk into Biz Dojo for another edition of Startup Weekend Wellington (SWWLG).

Each Startup Weekend a bunch of strangers get together to tackle real world problems, create businesses and learn some new and rather unique skills.

How does it work?

People buy tickets to the weekend long Startup event. Participants pitch an idea on a Friday evening. Teams then form around the most popular ideas. The newly formed teams spend the rest of the weekend exploring the idea in more detail with the aim of pitching a validated and functional business idea to a Panel of expert judges on the Sunday evening.

The Designer


Name: Warren

Design discipline: Graphic

Why did you come to SWWLG?  I like being able to do something outside of my normal working realm. I like competition and jumping out of my comfort zone.

As a designer, what did you learn? At SWWLG you can’t just dive into a project and then re-scope. Here you don’t have that time. You have to go back to the roots of the design process, there is no time for error. SWWLG and our business (Tane Kaha) made me go back to the creative process and be really thorough.

Who would win in a bar fight? Whoever is the better fighter. Whoever loses is the person that assumes they are the best.

Why is design important? Communication.

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? Expect the unexpected and find the best team!

Final words: I was really impressed with all of the volunteers and people running the programme. To see them all come together on this!

The Developer


Name: Jordan

Best thing about being a dev? The ability to create shit. I enjoy the ability to make some of these real!

Role this weekend? I led the team

Who would win in a bar fight? The designer probably cares about what they look like and goes to the gym so they would kick my ass.

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? Take advice with a grain of salt.

What do you wish you knew before you came in?

I enjoyed being thrown in the deep end and trying to get a team together and develop an idea.

Did you have a moment when you thought shit this won’t work? Saturday afternoon around 4pm when we started looking into raising capital

Final words: This has been a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

The Entrepreneur (non-technical)


Name: Katy

Role this weekend? Business development and market research. I’m also pitching!

Day jobs: Full time running Square (event discovery platform) and part time running Iruya (ethical trading with accessories)

What can a non-tech bring to SWWLG? It is really important because a lot of this weekend involves idea validation – talk to potential customers to refine the value proposition – how we can solve their problem. Really identify where we fit in the market. Big picture perspective.

Who would win in a bar fight? Non-tech because we are used to using all of the resources and thinking outside the box (Jackie Chan styles… you do what you can to win the fight)

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? It’s really important before you come to figure out that if you want to work on an idea you are really passionate about or if you want to learn about the process. What is your goal?

Final words: You don’t need a tech idea to come and do this. A lot of the ideas that are here now don’t have much to do with tech!

The Mentor


Name: Sunit

Expertise: Business Models

Have you ever participated in SWWLG? Yes, I came in with an idea of having an online platform to match performers with venues.

Wisdom drop: Clarity of thought. Speed of execution.

Why should someone come to SWWLG? It’s a really good training ground for early stage entrepreneurs. If you have an idea that you want to see if it has any merit or traction then this is a really good space to learn.

Who would win in a bar fight? You are missing the hustler, they will always win because she will bring the money home!

What is one bit of advice you give every Startup weekend? I don’t give advice. I ask questions, what are you trying to do? What is the problem you are trying to solve?

Can you think of a time when you really helped a team out of a rut? A lot of the time the teams that form at SWWLG miss the finance person – that’s where I feel I have the most impact.

Final words: Do not miss this event! There are so many good things happening in Silicon Welly – don’t miss this one!

The Judge


Name: Suse

Expertise: Angel investment and international trade (I’m a used diplomat)

What Judges tips do you give out every Startup Weekend? First, be your very best self, especially when you are working with investors. It’s like a marriage, if you aren’t honest going in, then there will be problems. Secondly, Don’t take it personally if you don’t get investment, even though it is personal. You aren’t going to connect with every investor.

Have you ever participated in a startup weekend?

Yes, it was so much fun. I remember the energy and then getting to the end of sunday evening and feeling wrung out. People were so excited about what they had achieved.

Who would win in a bar fight? The entrepreneur because they conjure up an image of somebody who has broad shoulders and a beard and they’d be good in a fight.

What is the first thing you notice when a team comes up to pitch? Are they smiling. Does it matter if they are smiling? No. It just gives me a sense of the kind of person that they are.

Have you ever told anyone to stop in the middle of their pitch? No

Final words: The world needs more of you!

The Team

There is no weekend without the organising team – did you know they are all volunteers? Hats off to you – SWWLG Squad!

Applied Design – May 22, 2017

Applied Design

May 22nd, 2017 – 6pm.

Thinking about coming to Startup Weekend? Or already amping up?

SW-WGTN2017-preevent3Dip your toe in the water at one of our WARMUP events. Connect with other creative minds, discover what Startup Weekend is all about and learn about wireframing and hacking your Demo.

It’s free to come along. And did we mention there’ll be food?

RSVP to secure your spot.

Check out the other events in our WARMUP series here:
Hacking the Demo WARMUP event – May 8th, 2017
Building the Team WARMUP event – May 15th, 2017

Building the Team – May 15, 2017

Building the Team

May 15th, 2017 – 6pm.

Thinking about coming to Startup Weekend? Or already amping up?

SW-WGTN2017-preevent2Dip your toe in the water at one of our WARMUP events. Connect with other creative minds, discover what Startup Weekend is all about and learn about wireframing and hacking your Demo.

It’s free to come along. And did we mention there’ll be food?

RSVP to secure your spot.

Check out the other events in our WARMUP series here:
Hacking the Demo WARMUP event May 8th, 2017
Applied Design WARMUP event – May 22nd, 2017

Hacking the Demo – May 8, 2017

Hacking the Demo

May 8th, 2017 – 6pm.

Thinking about coming to Startup Weekend? Or already amping up?

SW-WGTN2017-preevent1Dip your toe in the water at one of our WARMUP events. Connect with other creative minds, discover what Startup Weekend is all about and learn about wireframing and hacking your Demo.

It’s free to come along. And did we mention there’ll be food?

RSVP to secure your spot.

Check out the other events in our WARMUP series here:
Building the Team WARMUP event – May 15th, 2017
Applied Design WARMUP event – May 22nd, 2017



Ever think about joining a startup or applying for an Accelerator programme, like Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab?

There’s a fantastic way to test the waters – Startup Weekend.


Startup Weekend is an immersive 54-hour event in which teams create startups. It’s fast-paced, intense and full of the highs and lows that give you a glimpse of what #startuplife is like.

At the start of the weekend, people – anyone that wants to – gets up and pitches their idea for a startup, and teams form around the most compelling ideas and pitchers.
Then as a team, you try to test whether your business is something that solves a real-life problem (by getting out of the building), you build the product or service (building what you need to demonstrate how it will work), and create a compelling story about why your business is going to be successful (your pitch for the end of the event).

There have been some really successful startups that began their life at a Startup Weekend (like Banqer), but not every team continues working on their business after the weekend – that’s not the main point of the weekend.

The main point is that everyone leaves the weekend absolutely buzzing from meeting fantastic people from their community, full of new ideas, grand schemes and great food, and feels they have really experienced what it’s like to start your own business.

Startup Weekends are held all around the world.
The next event in Wellington will take place 26 – 28 May 2017. Tickets are limited so get in quick.

Thinking about coming to startup Weekend? Or already amping up? Dip your toe in the water at our WARMUP events!

Hacking the Demo WARMUP event – May 8th, 2017
Building the Team WARMUP event – May 15th, 2017
Applied Design WARMUP event – May 22nd, 2017

Post written by Hannah Sutton