Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Startup Weekend in London

Hello Startup Weekend family!

As you may already know, we are hosting a warm-up event and party for the 10th anniversary of Startup Weekend in London, on the 20th of September, 6:30pm at the Shoreditch Platform. Bring your Startup Weekend T-shirt and get ready for some networking, fun, music and awesome vibes!

What to expect

You will be able to meet old and new friends for the community, alumni, mentors, judges, speakers, and get to know more about how you can be involved in Startup Weekend. And please don’t hesitate if you haven’t participated in a London event, our party is open to members from all Startup Weekend communities globally!

As the Startup Weekend fall events in London are just around the corner, we will also be sharing a couple of tips, or what we call the Startup Weekend Survival Guide, so that you can prepare accordingly for your next event.

Fun with GIFs

We also wanted to let you know that we have arranged some serious fun for you. Thanks to Momentous Photo Booth we will be having a GIF Photo booth for you to take photos, convert to GIFs and upload on Twitter/Facebook! So make sure to bring your energy and show the community what Startup Weekend London is all about!

Hope to see you there! Register now on Eventbrite

PS: If you don’t know the password and wish to attend, request access at london@startupweekend.org








So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye! Until next time that is…

Wow. What a weekend!

 Can you believe two weeks have passed already?

All of us on the organising team had an absolute blast with you guys at Startup Weekend. It’s crazy to think from humble beginnings back in 2012, we’ve now had 10 successful Startup Weekends in Sheffield!

We’ve had hundreds of attendees join us at multiple venues over the years, pitching hundreds more amazing, innovative and downright awesome ideas. We’ve witnessed teams rise to the top, going on to further success after the weekend – but we’ve also witnessed teams fail to validate and find viable revenue streams, and consequently fall apart.

It’s all part of life as a startup.

What’s really cool is what you all achieved over one short weekend.

We started on Friday with 42 enthusiastic participants, of which 40 were complete Startup Weekend newbies. As organisers this is wonderful to see. The reason we volunteer our time to organise these events is to inspire, educate and empower people like you to come and have a go at starting your own business’.

From here, 25 kick-ass ideas were pitched, before being whittled down by popular vote into 8 well-rounded teams.

 With the help of 1 inspiring speaker (Thanks Paul!) and 8 incredibly supportive and experienced coaches, every team managed to validate and produce MVPs to present to our judges.

Ultimately, come Sunday evening, every single team pitched brilliantly to a panel of judges known to be tough-cookies (especially with the last minute appearance of Scott Woodley from Tutora). You weathered their questions and inquisitions before 3 teams were finally crowned winners of the 10th Startup Weekend Sheffield, plus one most excellent crowd-favourite.

Of course, we then all went to celebrate with far too much food and plenty of refreshing cocktails – it’s what everyone looks forward to about the weekend, right? 😉

It’s important to know that whether you win at Startup Weekend or not, if you’re passionate about pursuing your ideas and can validate a need for your product/service within your target audience, you should absolutely go for it.

We want to be inviting you guys as mentors and judges at our 20th event, so get cracking!

To cap it off: We really enjoyed ourselves and we hope you did too. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making Startup Weekend AH-MAY-ZING!

Stay in touch, let us know what you’re up to and just ask if you need any support. See you next time, maybe?

Chris, Chrissie, Eva, Giorgio, Harriet & James

P.S. – If you’re interested in Ted’s loose-leaf tea he was peddling all weekend, you can check out his startup DiversiTea here!








Sheffield Startup Weekend – 2-4 June Demo List!

Here are the amazing teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Sheffield 2-4 June 2017.

Awesome Ever After

Online children’s stories giving a modern twist to traditional tales with interactive problem solving and choose your own endings.

Fair-Minded Jobs

A unique employment agency helping future employees with mental health issues find work in the tech industry whilst educating employers about how they can make their workplaces a better place for these people to work.

F**k off Fund

The F**k off Fund helps you GTFO ASAP when you’re in trouble abroad. A chatbot that holds your hand through the stressful process of getting home, giving you a logistics plan when you’re too distressed to think straight.

HomeGrown Britain

HomeGrown Britain reconnects you with your farmer to help you understand where your food is coming from. It gives you the ability to be able to choose high-quality farmers and get your produce straight to your door.

SolarBoats

HiLife

Muze App

Muze App aims to make the world a richer place, adding value to and working with museums and exhibitions. Increasing engagement through augmented reality and enabling a new community of ad-hoc exhibitions.

Lingoforall

Live with a host and learn a language through a culturally immersive experience. Making it easier for people who want to learn a language to ‘actually’ learn it.








What Startup Weekend Taught Me About Teamwork

Guest post by Alex from Crafted Syntax, attendee of Startup Weekend Sheffield in June 2016. 

When I found out about @SWSheffield, I debated for a long time whether I should go or not. I didn’t want to launch a business, I already had one, and there was no plan to change that. So why go?

Well, I wanted to see how I felt about working on businesses with a team, as opposed to being a freelance/indie developer, which can be isolating. This was a chance to get out and find out what I wanted. There was going to be 3 meals a day (very important), what did I have to lose?

At the event, a guy called Ted gave me the obligatory t-shirt and name tag before telling me where the food was. I grabbed some snacks and sat down amongst the other attendees. I managed to get chatting to a few people, and before I knew it, my nerves had gone.

Pitch Time…team formed, now it began, for real.

I didn’t have an idea (like most) and that wasn’t a problem, you don’t need to have an idea. After the people who did had pitched, the facilitator offered everyone else the chance, even if it was a small half-baked idea. I decide in that moment to take a chance and get the experience. So, I stood up and gave it a go. I would say it wasn’t my finest moment, but I delivered!

Pitches over, ideas narrowed down to the popular ones, it was time to join a team, my main reason for coming along. I’d made a choice and sold my skills to Saskia, who had an idea named ‘Spare Change’. Our team of 6 was formed, and now it began, for real.

We grabbed a table, which would become Spare Change HQ for the weekend. This was my first opportunity to see how working in a team felt. There’s no hierarchy or power plays here. This is proper teamwork. We all offered up our thoughts and within a few hours we had refined a high-level idea into a well-defined business plan. Tomorrow was the day we would validate, but for now it was home to bed, worn out from the excitement.

Saturday…it’s work that you actually want to do.

We regrouped over breakfast (very important), shared ideas we’d thought about overnight and what followed was 24 hours of exhausting, exciting and fun work. This is work, but it’s work that you actually want to do. You have the choice of doing something new or sticking to what you know. You can go out and pound the pavement doing customer interviews, or remain indoors working on mockups and pitch decks. The weekend isn’t about what you can and can’t do, it about what you want to do.

When Things Clicked…the importance of a good team.

About halfway through, I realised the importance of a good team. A team needs to be balanced. Someone with the skill and passion to do a job that you don’t like is invaluable. You can’t do everything on your own, and I don’t pretend I can, but sometimes I thought I had to, being a solo-founder and all. I learnt that it’s OK (and good) to trust in others.

When 2pm Sunday hits all too soon, you need to trust in all to deliver a good pitch. It’s a team effort. After working most of the night (optional), there isn’t much energy to worry, just have fun instead.

Advice: You should listen to the organisers, they’ve primed the judges on what to look for, so focus on hitting the same points. They will tell you, so listen!

Is that good advice? Yes, we followed that, and we won! I’ll tell you now, the feeling of winning after an exhausting 56 hours is immense. In that moment, everything you’ve worked toward, pays off! We won prizes, and had an awesome afterparty with everyone that attended.

A Year On…

I still enjoy steering my own ship, but I changed from wanting to be a one-man band, to build a valuable team and working together. Although we disbanded the idea a few months on, I made a good friend (shoutout to Harry) and we’re working on a new idea.

I gained a lot from the Sheffield Startup Weekend experience and I recommend it to all. There’s a lot of fun to be had, a lot of knowledgeable people to meet and plenty to learn about yourself. You’ll make friends, win prizes (even if you don’t win 1st place) – I came away with a unicorn ? mug and a chicken ? …

Tickets are available online via Eventbrite.com

For more information, visit www.sheffield.up.co or email sheffield@startupweekend.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SWSheffield / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StartupWeekendSheffield








More prizes for the Winning Team

Lean Startup London

Exciting news, Lean Startup Summit London is giving everyone in the Winning Team of Startup Weekend Buckingham a Silver Pass for their Startup Summit June 13 and 14!

Lean Startup Summit London is a two-day, heavily-interactive, network-boosting event that brings together innovative practitioners from industries such as fintech, cleantech, media, cybersecurity, and social good. We’ll gather during London Tech Week on June 13 & 14 at the London Stock Exchange and Here East to bring together startup ecosystems, enterprise innovators, and Lean Startup coaches from around the world. The focus will be on the practical ways UK organisations continuously adapt and innovate for the long term through techniques validated in environments of extreme uncertainty—such as Lean UX, Lean Governance, and Lean Scale-Up.

A Silver Pass will give you access to one day (June 14th) of keynote talks and breakout sessions.








Get ready for launch – Startup Weekend Sheffield returns!

After debuting our first event way back in 2012, the team behind Startup Weekend Sheffield are gearing up for a special 10th edition of our weekend long entrepreneurial extravaganza.

Taking place on 2nd – 4th June at the University of Sheffield’s Diamond building, Startup Weekend sees participants progress from pitching an idea to launching a real business, in just three days. At the end of the weekend, teams present their ideas, the research behind them and show off the prototype to an expert panel of judges.

Sheffield has a huge pool of talent and is an ideal location for you to launch a new venture, and a Startup Weekend is a great place to kick it off. It’s a chance to learn, be inspired and meet likeminded people to collaborate with.

A team of mentors, experts in all aspects of business, development, design and pitching will be on hand to help teams develop their ideas of the weekend. As a special theme for the 10th event, we’re inviting ‘blast from the past’ judges and mentors who have helped host previous events. If you’re an experienced Startup Weekender you’ll probably recognise a few!!

At other Startup Weekends all over the world, teams have gone on to create successful businesses worth millions of pounds and Sheffield has its own success stories. Drone-footage company, Airstoc, and Goodvid.io, a platform to connect brands with user generated video content, were both conceived during a Startup Weekend Sheffield event.

“Attending Startup weekend generally did transform my life. It opened my eyes to the tech world and what could be achieved in a short space of time with the right team. For Airstoc, we used it to test out an idea and even more importantly, to find potential co-founders, which enabled us to start our own business the following month. For anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, or just wants a fun weekend, I highly recommend it.”

Giles Moore, Co-Founder and CEO at Airstoc

“I wasn’t sure what to expect from Startup Weekend other than the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with like-minded people. But it turned out that it was Startup Weekend Sheffield that got Goodvid.io started. It was all the motivation we needed to put other things aside and start working on Goodvid.io as our main project.”

Dimitrios Kourtesis, Co-Founder at Goodvi.io

You don’t need to have an idea or an existing team to join in. You don’t even need to be from Sheffield to take part with people from all over the UK joining in. Just turn up with an open mind, the will to get started, and a ticket!

Tickets are available online via Eventbrite.com – just search for ‘Startup Weekend Sheffield.

For more information, visit www.sheffield.up.co or email sheffield@startupweekend.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SWSheffield / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StartupWeekendSheffield








Grand Prizes

The first, second and third prizes are provided by InnovateMK.

InnovateMK is an initiative sponsored by Tech Mahindra in association with Lividia Ltd and The Cube. Their goal is to drive innovation in the Milton Keynes area, this area has long been known for its many start-ups in a variety of sectors – including digital services and automotive technologies.

According to InnovateMK anyone can become an entrepreneur. The work place and economy have been changed and are continuing to change because of digitisation, automation and globalisation. Everyone should be able to have a career path defined by what they can create not one that is characterised by their employer.

InnovateMK is built for innovators who work with disruptive technologies. A range of services, facilities and world class technology is available on site for you to use and partner with.

First Prize – 3 month Incubator Service at InnovateMK

During these 3 months you will have:

• 5 days per week access to the innovation facility
• Mentor access
• Connectivity
• Founders Community

Second Prize – 2 month Incubator Service at InnovateMK

During these 2 months you will have:

• 5 days per week access to the innovation facility
• Mentor access
• Connectivity
• Founders Community

Third Prize – 2 month Incubator Service at InnovateMK

During these 2 months you will have:

• 5 days per week access to the innovation facility
• Mentor access
• Connectivity
• Founders Community

See you at Startup Weekend Buckingham!








Startup Weekend Derby Roundup

Startup Weekend is a worldwide movement that brings together entrepreneurs, designers, developers and startup experts to build creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems – all in one exhilarating weekend. Here’s what organiser, Andy Stannard had to say about the experience.

 

Startup Weekends are all about building products, teams and friendships to teach entrepreneurship and maybe even form a new business. They start on a Friday with networking and pitching, before participants vote on their favourite ideas and form teams. On Saturday the teams research the business idea and it’s viability using the lean business canvas as a guide and then move onto customer research and prototyping. Sunday is finally about refining the work and creating a presentation to tell the story of the idea. Throughout the weekend mentors are on hand to offer guidance and feedback, allowing the teams to gain valuable insights and experience.

The teams

At Startup Weekend Derby we had six teams formed for our first ever event;

That Crowd – an event booking site
Ari – a new design for a single blade razor
Groüp&go – a group ticket booking site
Get Hired – an industry-specific career advice service
Cook anywhere today – combining travelling with cooking lessons
The rent is too damn high – a property rental information portal

What’s great about Startup Weekends?

Startup Weekends have had a huge positive impact on my life. They’ve helped me to gain confidence, make new friendships and build a huge respect for startups and the people behind them. I love the can-do attitude of the attendees and the feeling of energy that flows through the event. Startup Weekends are always full of positive people who dream big and put their words to action.

You’ll typically find people collaborating, discussing and helping each other whilst others have their heads down hammering away new prototypes and preparing customer surveys. Throughout Startup Weekend Derby I was delighted to hear so many people mention how inspired they were feeling.

Getting started in Derby

Much like the teams taking part, running an event is a real team effort. My good friend Giorgio Cassella who I met at Startup Weekend Sheffield also wanted to put on a Startup Weekend in Derby. We both felt Derby has huge potential with its strong community of talented people. Derby is well known for its huge engineering companies but that more creative industry players often seemed to get left out. This is why we choose Derby, to help strengthen the creative tech scene and encourage more collaboration between university students and established industry professionals.

The Derby tech community soon stepped up to help run the event, including my friend and colleague Stela Zlatkova, entrepreneur Sean Price, and Business Woman and Derby University employer engagement lead Bev Crighton.

As word got out, and with the help of our industry contacts, we managed to put together an amazing group of mentors for the event. We had Phil Hornby, Helen Clark, Ben Smithwell, Chris Kemp and Sharon Stevens-Cash all offering their help and advice – they provided great sounding boards to the teams. As an organiser, it was great to see how the team’s ideas progressed into well throughout and researched products; complete with prototypes. All the mentors were amazed by the work produced.

And the winner is…

After pulling together on the Sunday for a final push on their products, we all collected back into the lecture theatre to see the team’s final presentations. We had a great panel of judges including Samantha Deakin Hill of Campus Capital, Dawn Foote of Katapult, Justin Johnson of Biotaware and Bruce McLeod the Enterprise Advisor of Derby University.

All the teams made extremely professional presentations and the mood in the room was one of energy and illation. The judging took a long time due to the closeness of the event, but ultimately the winners were Cook anywhere today with GetHired closely following as the runners-up. We also included two sponsor awards with the inniAccounts Award For Innovation going to The rent is too damn high and the Spark Award For Creativity going to Group & Go.

Our amazing sponsors

Events like this wouldn’t be possible without having sponsors to provide the money needed for supplies and catering. We were very fortunate to have inniAccounts quickly offer to help not only as a sponsor but as volunteers at the event. James Poyser, co-founder of inniAccounts, gave our keynote speech. Discussing the inniAccounts journey from just an idea to a startup and finally onto a fully established business. Our attendees appreciated his honest summary of the issues and struggles faced by startups aswell as his pragmatic advice on how to overcome these problems.

We were also very happy to have Tutora as a pledged sponsor for the event, especially as they were going through a funding round at the time.

The Spark Agency and RDS also stepped in to help with funding the event. Without all these amazing sponsors, Startup Weekend Derby wouldn’t have been possible.

We’re just getting started

Well done to everyone involved, I feel very proud to have been part of such a great event. But this event is only a starting point. We’re going to continue growing and getting even better. So, if you would like to get involved simply find us on Facebook at Startup Weekend Derby or send a tweet over to @SWDerby. We’re always on the lookout for volunteers, organisers, sponsors and participants. Let’s get started!








Smoke, Startups and Mirrors

Startup Weekends normally involve several projects with a technical based idea that ultimately wants a website or app creating (not always, I spent one weekend brewing up a new health drink). The idea of the event though is not to showcase your technical talent at producing an apps, it’s to showcase your creativity in identifying and solving problems.

No one cares about the solutions code quality, maintainability, or even scale-ability as long as it solves a problem for people and that people actually want solving. With that in mind here are some ideas, suggestions and tips on solving problems with code.

I recently heard someone use the phrase artificial artificial intelligence, this is where a process looks to be sleek and automated but really behind the scenes a human is pulling the levers and pressing buttons to get a job done, but it’s all hidden behind a sleek UI. This may not be a scale-able solution to the problem but if no-one has this problem or wants your solution then scale-ability is not a concern to have. Automation can come latter on when your startup has actual customers. Tutora was a good example of this, a user would request a tutor for a certain subject in a certain city on a certain day, the request went to a founder not a server, they queried good old yellow pages in order to find a good match. They would then setup the booking in what appeared to be a sleek automated process but was actually a long winded manual effort. When Tutora knew people wanted to use this service, that’s when they created a database and automated the processes.

We all like to create projects from scratch, but a Startup Weekend is not the place for this. If you do have to or want to code, yeoman has many project generators to help you quickly get a project up and running with many features wired up already. This allows frees you up to concentrate on creating the actual value for the customer. Another way to get a quick start is to use WordPress and some of the many themes and plugins available that may be a good match to your needs.

For the more ambitious participant hoping to produce a mobile app I recommend using Exponent, this lets you create Apps for Android and IOS and distribute them without going to the App store. It allows you to quickly get an app running that can be shared with others that can be deployed as standalone apps on the App Stores at a latter date. The apps written with exponent are React Native based which I would really recommend.

Rather than rolling your own server I would recommend using a PAAS (Platform As A Service) such as firebase to quickly configure a data store for your app, push notifications and login server. When I took part in my second Startup Weekend I used Parse.com as a PAAS provider to quickly create a database back end for the web and mobile apps we created. This allowed us to create a working prototype by the end of the weekend.

Use SAAS providers, with so many companies offering rich powerful API’s to a wide variety of products it is possible to create solutions to problems without really touching code. Through use of third party service connection companies such as Zapier or IFTTT you can create powerful solutions that can be wrapped up behind sleek interfaces without anyone knowing that you did not really code that much.

Smoke and Mirrors people








Pioneering Accountancy Firm Announced As Startup Weekend Derby Sponsor

Founded in 2005, inniAccounts are a pioneering accountancy service for contractors, consultants and small businesses. Their, market-leading, online application enables clients to manage their business finances on the go. Real-time cash forecasts allow financial decisions to be made with both confidence and superb tax efficiency.

inniAccounts exists as a direct result of its three founders’ personal frustrations as contractors. They knew there had to be a better way than spreadsheets to manage their finances. Against the advice of the accounting industry, they decided to apply their natural curiosity for technology to solve the problem. Learning along the way and building their technical and accounting know-how – they created a tool that is now used by thousands of people every day.

The company supports startups and small businesses because they’re one themselves. They understand how difficult it can be to start up and go it alone. Having made a success from doing this, they can now pass on their insight and tips for launching and managing successful products. They can also share great pointers on the technical challenges and developments required for a leading business.

inniAccounts think StartUp Weekend is a brilliant idea. Sponsoring the event allows them to stay innovative and cutting edge with the industries new developments. Plus they’re excited to see all the new things entrepreneurs are coming up with! They’re delighted to share what they’ve learnt from their own journey so far. Spending over a decade in the business has provided plenty of information to help startups understand what they will need to succeed.

To find out more, visit the inniAccounts website.