We had a go at the 5 why’s to attend a Startup Weekend event here. We are asked a lot about what ideas, projects and teams succeed to “graduate” from Startup Weekend. Here are some, and what we’d like to add to this that Startup Weekend is more than an event where you can start your next Facebook. Startup Weekend is an educational event that will actually teach you how to transform an idea into a business any time in the future.
That’s why we thought about coming up with some reasons about why your idea won’t succeed at Startup Weekend and why that’s quite OK.
- You’ll learn how to pivot, and thus your idea will change.
The learning experience is off the charts. The best way to learn something is to actually do it. And this is what we focus at Startup Weekend. We’ll teach you how to identify your customers and then go to ask for real feedback to see if your product really is useful to them. Many times, it will turn out that what you thought is not what your clients want. And that’s quite ok, based on what you learned, you can pivot – keep parts of your initial idea that work, change and adapt what’s not ok.
- There will be The Team you’ll want to join and drop your idea
At the end of the day it’s all about the team. We strongly think that if you’ve got the proper team you can pretty much accomplish anything. You’ll be working in teams (no less the 3) and you are also going to understand how startup life is. And it won’t be about one being a CEO and the others doing the work 🙂
If you manage to find the people with whom you clicked from the first minute you’ve met, the idea don’t matter that much – with the perfect cofounder you can move mountains, so don’t let them go.
- It’s only a nice dream but not a business
It might be the case you’d notice that there’s no way you can monetize your idea. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It’s just that you can make a business out if it in that state. And is a lot better to realize that early so you won’t spend your energy, time and money on something with little chances to succeed. Better to get over it and focus on the next big idea.
- You’ll be talking to all those awesome people and won’t have time to work.
Being a community is all about interaction and meeting everyone. There’s a pretty cool line-up of mentors at Startup Weekend that are there to help and guide you. All of them have really great stories to tell. Make sure you balance your time in order to talk to the mentors and organizers. More important, mingle with the other participants outside your team.
Tip: before the event starts & lunch times are usually the best for networking.
- Don’t just have an idea.. And keep it for yourself. Share it with the world!
You’ll miss the chance to pitch your idea, thinking it’s not good enough or somebody else will steal it.
Usually ⅓ of the participants at a Startup Weekend pitch an idea. We encourage you to help increase that ratio. No matter how crazy your idea is, no matter what it is about, pitch it! You’ll learn a lot more if you do and you won’t have to wonder what would have happened if you’d have pitched 🙂
This is not a blogpost that wants to make you not believe in yourself, but to help you realize there are a lot many other opportunities out there and it’s up to you if you want to take the value out of them. Remember, we’re all about entrepreneurship and education at Startup Weekend Timisoara. We will encourage you and we’re here to help.
Because we like to keep the blood pumping, we’ve continued the mentor interview series with Steven Südy the co-founder of Laborom. He has shared his thoughts with us on startup world and beyond.
What’s your background in the startup world?
Steven: I launched, worked in, consulted and mentored numerous startups in the last 6 years. Currently I’m a co-founder and CMO of Laborom, which is a patient centric mobile medical data organizer.
What’s your opinion regarding startup environment in CEE?
Steven: There is a lot of buzz in the CEE startup ecosystem, but this is a cliché that everyone keeps repeating. In the past few years more and more people started seeing entrepreneurship as an alternative lifestyle to working in multinationals or in the public sector. Or even to waiting in bars and restaurants. This is really great progress. However, I see two problems why startups haven’t flourished as much as they could have in the region. First being education. I talk to many (probably around a hundred) startups every year, and the returning issue is that they still have very little knowledge on how to create a business from scratch. Sure, they can build a service or a product, they can establish a company, they may be even able to market it, but there is so much more to introducing a new product to the market that they are not aware of. This is why Startup Weekend is a great initiative to help startups achieve success. The second issue I see in the CEE startup ecosystem is the lack of seed funding. This is a huge gap that needs to be filled. Many startups can bootstrap until they reach seed stage, but once they reach that point it can be very hard to scale without proper financial backing and good connections, which an ideal investor can provide.
How did you came with the idea for Laborom?
Steven: I wasn’t part of the original founding team. My two friends of 15 years started Laborom 2 years ago and they asked me to jump on board last July. My friends have a lot of experience and knowledge in the healthcare industry. They founded the Association for Sustainable Healthcare with which they organised prominent healthcare conferences and meetups. A returning topic was the issue that people are not in possession of their own health data. If I need to see a doctor in London the doctor needs to question me about my whole medical history. This takes a lot of time and can be inaccurate and insufficient for proper solutions. My two co-founders, Botond and Levente, decided to build Laborom to give to people their medical data.
Tell us a funny story about you 🙂
Steven: When I was around 11 years old my class prepared a song for a Christmas celebration at the school I was attending. We came up with an adaptation of “Twelve Days Of Christmas” for our school. Everyone had to sing the verse they wrote. I wrote the first verse. At the Christmas celebration in the auditorium filled with 1200 people I drew a blank. I couldn’t remember a word from my verse; I just stood there in silence in front of more than a thousand people.
Because of this I hated talking in front of people for many years. Now I do public speaking and presentations regularly, and have tremendous success with pitch coaching. 🙂
Do you have any advice for Startup Weekend participants?
Steven: TALK TO YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!!!
What are your superpowers?
Steven: Pitch coaching, content marketing, customer discovery
Meet Mircea Vadan, our amazing mentor who will be present at the 5th edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara. He has a vast experience regarding startups. We talked to him and this is what we had found out:
- What impact do you think Startup Weekend has in Romania?
Mircea: Startup Weekend reached Romania in 2011 and since then it grew in 7 cities, with recurrent editions each year for almost all these cities. At that time, the ecosystem was in a very early stage and few people heard about startups or even doing startups. So, Startup Weekend managed to fuel a lot of interest and new people for the ecosystem. Also, part of the winning startups proved to be worthy of getting investment or participating in various accelerators, a few of them became solid businesses, most known being Clever Taxi.
- What are you current projects?
Mircea: Currently I’m involved in supporting the local community through projects like Cluj Startups and Startup Weekend Cluj. I’m also mentoring a few startup founders and helping in Spherik Accelerator and Innovation Labs Cluj. As a money-making activity, I’m consulting companies who want to launch their tech products and grow their businesses.
- How was your experience at TechPeaks accelerator with your startup, Momly?
Mircea: TechPeaks was really useful from the perspective of the mentors brought in, many of them from US, they came with valuable startup experience. Their feedback had also opened our eyes regarding the possible growth issues and effort involved beyond our local market. Being there with dozens of other startups was really valuable as well, seeing how they go through the similar processes, sharing and learning from their experiences. It is a peer-to-peer support that in accelerators you can find much easier than elsewhere.
- What did you learn from the lifecycle of Momly?
Mircea: Basically Momly was a spinoff from UseTogether and many things that we didn’t know while working on UseTogether, we managed to apply while working at Momly: customer validation process, interviews with users, product definition based on customer needs, monetization process, many topics related to community growing, engagement. Bottom line, we thought much more about the business case and its potential, acting based on grounded conclusions. By the way, some of the lessons learned at Momly, can be read here.
- What are your superpowers?
Mircea: I can’t disclose them all as the secret services will track me down and use them for their own purposes 🙂
The Secret Services tracked Mircea down and found out that his superpower consists of helping the teams to prepare the “perfect pitch”.
This week we will talk about the previous Startup Weekend Timisoara editions ideas which made it up to Sunday’s final pitch. Some of them won, most of them were interesting and other were materialized.
First Edition (20 September 2013)
Is a mobile app based on the skeleton of language learning apps that implements a new way of learning medicine based on solving clinical cases at the same time with having the disease explained.
SURGE is a new take on the (old and familiar) tale of the classic search function. We develop an out-of-the box, plug-and-play search solution targeted at online shops (e-commerce websites) that they can easily add to their websites in order to help consumers find products faster. Surge won the 3rd place on the first edition of SWTimisoara.
Second Edition (4 April 2014)
This team is working on developing a SAAS email manager featuring several complementary features such as collaborative e-mailing and real time e-mail editing, gmail and drive, all-in-one. 4 programmers, 2 designers, 1 business developer and 2 marketers have joined to build Enveloper. They also enjoy the participation of an awesome 9 year-old creative director! They were the 3rd placed winners.
My Team Agenda
My Team Agenda wishes to be an online sales management platform that allows the sales agent to introduce data exactly from the field using any device. Its special feature is to transform task delegation to task-assuming o based on heart-intelligent-leadership. 4 programmers, as much marketeers and 2 designers form the MTA team.
Third Edition (14 November 2014)
Visit In Time
Visit in Time is a service (website and mobile apps) allowing travelers to plan the best visit in a short period of time from an airport, hotel or any location. We will provide you the best spots to visit based on your time available, preferences and social data. Our locations are curated by local expert to provide not only the best experience but enjoy the secrets of each town you will be visiting. Visit in Time won the 1st place of Global Startup Weekend Timisoara.
Our team is creating a great web and mobile application through you can have a visibility of all the menu in the restaurant, order the food, pay it directly by your card and when you get in the restaurant you are directly served!
Fourth Edition (8 May 2015)
In order to provide a solution for the fast ordering, we created an mobile web app used for crowded pubs or coffee shops to use while they encounter rush hours.
Give us your shopping list, and it becomes our order! We will make the delivery in under 1 hour! After the event, the motivated team continued working on their idea. They were the lucky 3rd place winners.
We believe that this edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara will bring creative people with innovative ideas which are going to rock the West part of Romania.
Check all the ideas here.
So, what does Startup Weekend really mean: people from all around the world with different backgrounds and various superpowers, meet and work during a weekend. It doesn’t matter if you have your own business idea or not. Here you can team up and add value to the idea that you like.
We thought why it should be cool to attend Startup Weekend and we came up with 5 reasons:
1. Right People, Right Place, Right Time – this type of people, who come to this kind of events, are the are other enthusiastic participants with whom you can work to create a startup. Also, you can learn from their own experience and just have fun with.
2. The feeling of belonging to a community – it’s hard to start something on your own, so when you participate to a Startup Weekend event, you’ll realize there is a thing called “The Brotherhood of Startups”. This groups are made of people who share same aims and goals, to create a better place of living. You can be part of the news and stories in the Startup world.
3. Business idea validation – over the weekend, there will be a “battle of ideas” where starting from Friday evening, all participants will vote their favorite idea.
You will find out what this validation is all about and why our motto is: “No talk. All action”.
Ending on Sunday night, the teams will present their projects and how the validated their idea is something worth pursuing.4. Amazing international and local mentors – this is one of the most important parts of Startup Weekend. The mentors nail each and every corner of what you need to maintain a startup. They will be available 54 hours straight. You just have to ping them because they are there to help.
5. Just do it! Yes you can! – only after you participate to a Startup Weekend, you’ll realize what a life changing event this is. In just 2 days, you’ll meet awesome people and you’ll figure out what are you capable of.
We believe you can do it!
How did the Pinpic adventure start?
Urooj: My co-founder Alen came with the idea while he was in Greece on a holiday with his girlfriend. He couldn’t get a good picture of them and he thought he would be willing to pay a photographer to take some nice photos. He didn’t know how to find a photographer at that time and the only way was to Google search and wait. Still he wouldn’t know who he’s inviting or if he would ever see those pictures or his money again. Since he is a software developer, he thought he could make something out of this and he started doing some research. He told a few friends, including me. I asked him to polish his idea a little bit because the original idea, as I said to him, was “for hundreds but not for the millions of people.
How important is choosing the right team?
Urooj: It’s very important for startup people to have experience working together. It’s important to have the fights before starting a company together and Alen has already worked with everyone on our team.
It’s all about the team. Having the right communication and having everything in place so that it’s easy to communicate and everyone knows what’s their role in the startup because it’s not a job – it’s not a nine to five – you’re in it because you love it or you’re not. The adventure can not start without the right team. At Startup Weekend, you can learn how team dynamics works. The goal is to gain experience and polish ideas and discover that it’s possible.
Why did you put Pinpic on kickstarter? What were the advantages and disadvantages?
Urooj: We wanted to create some buzz. When you want to generate news, you need an event. We didn’t want to wait till the product launch, we needed people already on the platform and be aware of the service. Our purpose wasn’t just to reach the financial goal. The publicity we received is a lot more valuable.
When it comes to Kickstarter, it’s 1 thing to learn, hear, talk about it and it’s a completely different thing to launch it with your specific idea and see what happens. That said, it seems like people and media these days are interested in crowdfunding. It’s an event that gives you reason to write a media release and send it to the media and they have something that is urgent that they can promote. Everyone like stories that have a beginning and an end that they can push.
Can you describe a little bit your experience at StartupSauna?
Urooj: We found out about StartupSauna from one of our fans on Facebook. It was exactly one week before the event and we decided to apply anyways to see what happens. We got accepted. We’ve learned that is was not necessarily the ideal for us because we already have a working product and we’re already on-boarding customer, photographers. Our concern is more customer acquisition now and we wouldn’t necessarily gain a whole lot from the program.
StartupSauna was supposed to pick 3 startups for the next round. They selected 2 for the next round and we received the huge honor of getting recognized as the best pitch of the day. The best thing was to get out of our bubble and go talk to many entrepreneurs and angels investors that were there.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Urooj: The most important part of my life is my daughter. She is 2 years and 4 months now. Most of my time is spent with her, even if I’m travelling, she travels with me. She has already been to 10 countries. All my plan revolve around her. We go on hikes, try food from different places, ride horses, and explore nature.
I’ve seen just about every landscape there is to see. Now when I go places it is not to see a building or a monument, I travel to understand people, what motivates them, learn their language, and sample their food. This is my solution for world peace!
What superpower do you have?
Leadership, marketing,and user-centric product design.
We have a surprise for all of you who sailed the 7 seas to be part of this year’s edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara.
We’ve partnered up with West University of Timisoara and thus we have the opportunity to accommodate non-local participants for an entire weekend in their famous dorms. Yes people, for those of you who aren’t living in Timisoara and still want to join our super Startup Weekend Timisoara event on 15-17 of April, you’ll have a place to crash.
The accommodation ticket is free, you can book it together or after you buy your ticket to the event.
There are only a limited number of 15 tickets available. Get your ticket to Startup Weekend Timisoara and also book your accommodation as soon as possible.
Because this event means networking and fun you’ll be staying in a 5 bedroom dorm.
Where can you book this accommodation ticket?
It’s easy! When you get your ticket to Startup Weekend Timisoara, you’ll have to check the accommodation ticket (which is limited to 1).
After paying for your ticket, you’ll see there’ll be displayed 2 tickets, but don’t worry, the second ticket is your accommodation.
As we’re approaching the event, we would love to present our first mentor, Adrian Pica. We proceeded to interrogate him and this is what he confessed us:
- What are you doing right now?
Adrian: I am Founder & CEO at 150sec.com, a media outlet where we write about tech and startups in CEE; A Product Manager at Telenav also Global Facilitator at Startup Weekend and above all Mentor at Spherik Accelerator
As we are always curious, we checked with our researchers to gather more intel and we found out that:
He has discovered something about humans and exploits it with 150sec.com. We’re suspicious that 150sec.com became so awesome because it’s so practical, with way too cool stuff posted, about all that’s new on Startups, tech and business in CEE, all that in articles that you can read in 150 seconds. Also SPHERIK ACCELERATOR was nominated for one of the best supporter for Startups by Business Review in 2015.
- How did you enter the Startup Weekend world?
Adrian: Participating at a Startup Weekend event in Milan and then organizing the Startup Weekend in Timisoara.
We did some digging and it looks like he started to organize Startup Weekend Timisoara in July 2013.
- What are your top 3 favourite startups at the moment and why?
Adrian: AirBNB, Uber and Foursquare – because I love to travel and they are the perfect tool to discover a new city in a very comfortable way.
- What are you expecting from the 5th edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara?
Adrian: I hope i’ll see projects that can be quickly implemented and can get some revenue during the weekend.
- What is your biggest piece of advice to Startup Weekend attendees?
Adrian: Fall in love with the problem not with your solution.
One more important thing that we’re introducing this year: super powers. We went along and asked Adrian what is his superpower.
Adrian: out of the teams I’m mentoring, I always have at least one that has some revenue during the weekend.
This was all for now, stay tuned to find out more about this year’s batch of mentors and remember: they will be at the event to help you so engage with them!
Over and out
There is one place where dreams come true, where you can go and meet wonderful people with whom you can spend plenty of time without noticing it flying.
Yes, this place really exists and it’s called Ambasada. It has a special vibe that makes it so brilliant for both important and casual meetings.
We’ve chosen the same venue for this year’s edition of Startup Weekend because we were hypnotized by it’s awesomeness. Last year, everybody was fascinated by it’s greatness. All the teams worked peacefully and had the greatest coffee available at the times of need. On our previous blog post we presented your feedback and according to that everybody was on the same page regarding the place.
The upper part of venue is opened for various events from “DIY” workshops, movie nights, concerts to company meetings. This place is excellent for those who want to do networking but you can also work in peace and quiet. It’s a perfect environment for great ideas.
Downstairs, you are surrounded by friendliness and warmth. The coffee scent along with delicious treats will complete the image of a wonderful day.
On the left side, is the “serious” room where formal greetings take place. Here is the place where things are created.
Not to mention that Ambasada’s staff is made out of friendly and open-minded people who really know how to create a great atmosphere.
You are able to feel the harmony of this place just by passing by. If you don’t believe us, you can pay them a visit anytime and see for yourself.
#SWTimisoara team over and out!
Peeps, we come with stunning news.
On the 2nd of March, will take place our first pre-event. It will be at Ambasada beginning with 19:00 up until 20:30.
We’ll introduce you to the Startup Weekend concept, how it all began, what does Startup Weekend actually mean and when did we start being so awesome to host an event as interesting as this in Timisoara. We also have some magic tricks which will be revealed on the spot. Our wonder-facilitator Kathleen, has prepared something cool for you.
Here is the pre-event’s timetable:
18:40 – 19:00 Get a coffee and a good seat in the house (seats are limited)
19:00 – 19:30 Welcome;
– What is Startup Weekend about
– Startup Weekend, the movement (Startup Weekend Global)
– Startup Weekends in Romania
– Startup Weekend Timisoara
19:30 – 19:40 Updates about this year’s Startup Weekend Timisoara
19:40 – 20:00 Startup scene in Timisoara
It’s gonna be an awesome evening, with great topics and lots of fun.