Twelve Novel Bio-Business Ideas Created in Just Fifty-Four Hours

By Marta Teperek

Nelly and Miguel, Cambridge biotech startup weekend participants
Nelly and Miguel, startup weekend participants

How to create twelve exciting business ideas in just fifty-four hours?

Here is a simple recipe – take:

50 passionate entrepreneurs + 10 expert coaches + an efficient organising team, mix them, and get them to work together.

 

How did it work?

Friday evening – hit the ground running

On Friday evening fifty-five life sciences budding entrepreneurs gathered at the Cambridge Judge Business School. Everyone started off quite shy and not very talkative, thinking: “What is it all about? Is it for me? I do not know anyone here…Why am I here?” A sudden change happened after Hanadi Jabado, the energetic Director of Accelerate Cambridge put people into pairs and asked each pair to take three minutes to come up with a business idea and a pitch around two randomly allocated words. And the ball got rolling – a sudden creativity burst! “chocolate – truffle”, “tablet – white”, “science – release”, “pyjama – cocaine” – all of these random two words combinations were suddenly turned into potential businesses. Magic!

Brice and Stephen scribbling crazy two-word combinations: ideas for the thirty second pitches!
Brice and Stephen scribbling crazy two-word combinations: ideas for the 30s pitches!

Brains now warmed up, spirits raised, people started to get to know each other… and the real work began. All entrepreneurs with ideas for a startup lined up to pitch for sixty seconds in front of everyone. It was amazing – more than half of the audience went on stage to pitch, one after the other. Everyone voted for their favourite ideas… 10 were to be selected but the choice was so tough, and the entrepreneurs so eager, that in the end, twelve ideas were chosen to go ahead. The next challenge was to find the right team: “Who do I need on my team? What skills do I need? Will we get on well?” – tough questions again and it took a while to form teams. But in the end, by 10PM, the teams were there, the ideas were created, and the teams began to work on their newly formed business ideas until midnight.

 

Saturday – intense

The teams were tired after working late on Friday night, yet arrived at 8AM at Cambridge Judge Business School in time for a quick breakfast with a cup of coffee. Everyone needed a strong coffee to wake up after the short night and get going. The brainstorming within the teams started: working at their laptops, running into town to conduct interviews, looking up information on the web.

The rapid pace slowed down only slightly over a working lunch with a lecture on business models delivered by Simon Stockley, senior teaching faculty in entrepreneurship. Expert guidance, excellent tips, and a strong but encouraging kick for the teams to further improve their ideas. Hurry! Coaches were to arrive at 2PM and they needed to know about the business models! 

Simon Stockley delivering the working lunch session about Business Models
Simon Stockley delivering the working lunch session about Business Models

Coaching sessions were super-intense – to that extent that no one turned up for the afternoon coffee break, so as not to waste time. The advice from coaches was invaluable… some ideas were turned upside-down, which meant even more work that night. Coaching sessions were followed by a quick break to grab pizza for dinner, and again – teams worked hard until midnight.

Caroline Austin mentoring the team, ‘Supernatural’
Caroline Austin mentoring the team, ‘Supernatural’

Sunday – more work… and the winners announced!

Everyone turned up even more tired on Sunday, but that was the last day to improve business ideas – so everyone arrived promptly for breakfast at 8AM. The coaches also joined from first thing in morning – understanding that it was the last opportunity to provide the teams with feedback. Intense work again, and some ideas had to be re-iterated.

PITSKY Systems mentored by Robert Tansley
PITSKY Systems mentored by Robert Tansley

No rest for the wicked, as lunch on Sunday was also a working lunch, but it was inspiring. Hanadi Jabado spoke on “How to pitch”, “What mistakes to avoid”, and “How to behave when pitching” and then the teams panicked before their final pitch! Everyone rushed to work on their final presentations – everything needed to be ready for 4.30PM for the tech check-up before the final pitches at 5PM.

Hanadi Jabado with Simon Stockley, giving final advice to teams
Hanadi Jabado with Simon Stockley, giving final advice to teams

5PM – the final hour: judges arrived and final pitches began…and what happened was astonishing: amazing quality, unbelievably good, appealing startup ideas created in just fifty-four hours!

Miranda Weston-Smith and Shaun Grady, who together with Alan Barrell sat on the judging panel
Miranda Weston-Smith and Shaun Grady, who together with Alan Barrell sat on the judging panel

In summary: these were all real, rapid stories of success. And here are the winners:

3rd place: nSense – Fight Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) with nanobodies that will guide repair machinery specifically to cancer cells;

2nd place: Zoomph – Chemotherapy and then what? Zoomph’s app will help you optimise your recovery with set of exercise, lifestyle and diet;

1st place: Endotraps – ‘mazing idea on novel therapeutic strategy as treatment of pre-eclampsia by lowering/sequestering the increased endothelin-1 levels in the circulation that would ameliorate pathology associated with increased endothelin-1 levels.

All three winners have secured their place on a 3-month long Accelerate programme to transform their ideas into real business opportunities. In addition to the three winners, the judges gave a special mention to MeDNA Diagnostics, working on a new approach to cancer diagnostics and stratification, who were also offered a place on the Accelerate programme. The people’s choice award went to ULTRUNIQ for their work on an Alzheimer’s cure.

In the end everyone was tired, but extremely happy and satisfied – hard work, a lot of fun, so many new friends, and most importantly – the ideas to work on and teams to execute were there! Everyone happily went for dinner and drinks to the Royal Cambridge Hotel. And everyone kept saying: it was a truly amazing weekend.

 

What did participants say about the weekend?

Great opportunity to experience almost real journey of a startup weekend in fifty-four hours

said Geylani Can, PhD student and a co-founder of nSense, 3rd place winner, who at the beginning was not even sure if his winning idea was worth pitching on Friday!

nSense receiving their 3rd place award
nSense receiving their 3rd place award

“I was inspired to believe in myself and to believe that if I follow my passion, I can really contribute”

added Helene Fox, PhD student and a co-founder of Endotraps, who won the prize for the best startup idea. Before the startup weekend Helene kept saying that she wants to observe, as she wasn’t sure if that’s something for her.

EndoTraps receiving their first prize
EndoTraps receiving their first prize

So that’s how the startup weekend changes you – from a tiny idea on Friday, or from being unsure if you want to take part, you suddenly create tangible business plans – and all thanks to teamwork and support. It is indeed a truly amazing experience and invaluable lesson for everyone.

 “Really high energy and it’s impressive to listen to them! Their passion is inspiring and I’m learning a lot!”

said excitedly Dr Hitesh Sanganee, one of the coaches at the Startup Weekend. Hitesh worked for fifty-four hours during the weekend, and his coaching sessions were overbooked from the start!

“The enthusiasm and innovative thinking from the teams and productivity over such a high-intensity, creative and fun fifty-four hours, has been a great inspiration.”

summarised Duncan Young, who did two days of coaching in one day (four hours of extra coaching!)

Duncan Young and Hitesh Sanganee listening to final pitches
Duncan Young and Hitesh Sanganee listening to final pitches

And finally: what’s my own opinion about the Startup Weekend?

I have joined the Startup Weekend as part of the organising team. This was an extremely valuable experience and it felt so rewarding to contribute to what was happening there, but from the very start I regretted greatly that I was not one of the entrepreneurs participating in the event! I so much wanted to join them from the first night, go and try pitching, join their teams, brainstorm together, listen to the expert feedback from coaches, be part of the creation and build something great together. I know for sure that I am participating in the next startup weekend, and I am so looking forward to it. The energy is really contagious, and it is incredibly inspiring. I was extremely exhausted after the weekend, but being part of it was so rewarding and satisfactory that I have a huge energy kick that will keep me excited for a long time.

I would highly recommend participating in a startup weekend to everyone – I guarantee that you will not regret it.

Marta Teperek

uk.linkedin.com/in/mteperek/en

@martateperek

Read more and see more photos on Storify – all prepared for you by Stephen Parkes – organiser of the Biotech Startup Weekend.








Biotech – An Evolving Sector

Biotechnology — the use of living organisms to develop drugs and therapies – is an area of increasing focus for investors, the pharma industry and the general public for the impact it will have on their lives. In 2014 McKinsey explained: “Investing in biotech R&D has yielded better returns than the pharma-industry average. The current biologics-development pipeline supports an outlook of continued healthy growth.”

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Biotech companies which were generating revenues greater than $500 million rose from 9 to eighteen. Investors interest in the sector has been increasing. During the first half of February 2015, eight biotech firm launched IPOs in the US and combined raised $500 million. In the past 12 months biotech firm share prices have risen by almost 60%.

Valuations may be, as Linda Thompson head of AXA’s Framlington Biotech fund said in the FT, “substantially stretched”. Stelios Papadopolous, a veteran biotech investor, has been arguing that the increase in share prices is due to more companies delivering on their promises. As a company delivers and puts their drug into the market, they stand to benefit from the drugs being patent-protected which enables confident predictions of revenues

This is, however, an industry which is far from “sure things”. Boston Consulting Group estimate that 90% of the money invested in biotech will be spent on drugs that fail.

For startups in this sector the technical and financial challenges can be daunting. For financing, some large firms finance the scientific work of smaller companies and then takeovers the development once clinical trials are needed. AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive, Pascal Soriot, has explained that they “will do what a biotech would do” to build a development model based on “entrepreneurial spirit and speed.”

There is also the venture capital and fund industry to tap into. One firm making headlines is the new Patient Capital Trust Portfolio being launched by Woodford Investment Management which plans to invest £200 million in start-up and early-stage businesses. The Telegraph has reported that many of the businesses in which they Trust is likely to take “stakes are likely to emerge from collaborations with British universities’ science and medical departments.”

An alternative funding route which is beginning to be tested is crowdfunding. In February 2015 in the UK, Cell Therapy closed a £700,000 round. They are working to advance a heart disease treatment pioneered by the Nobel prize winner Sir Martin Evans. In Scotland, Parkure raised £60,000 for researching Parkinson’s disease, while in France, EyeBrain a medical diagnostics company closed a €1.3m round.

If you want to meet and work with likeminded people from diverse backgrounds and professions on new biotech venture ideas for 54 hours, then join our Startup Weekend which is being held from 20th to 22nd March 2015.

To book your ticket, visit Eventbrite or for more information visit the Cambridge Startup Weekend page. To get 5% off your ticket, use the discount code: Blog5.

 








Help make Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature AWESOME!

Buying books from Amazon and reading them on your Kindle… or listening to them on Audible. Cashing in CDs and subscribing to Spotify. Having your music discovered on Soundcloud.

Love it or hate it, technology and entrepreneurship are disrupting the music and literature industries. From the way we consume music and literature to the way it is created, produced and sold, they have all been affected by increasingly frequent new inventions.

But there is still room for innovation in this area. Still so many more possibilities, opportunities, improvements.

At Startup Weekend Sheffield, we’re known for bringing together creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and technical talent to take great ideas from concept to reality. These exciting weekend experiences foster great teams, high energy, and new ideas in health, transport, education, social and more. Now, we want to do the same for music and literature.

But we need to find our dream team. Behind every Startup Weekend Sheffield, there’s a team of passionate organisers and volunteers who work hard to make these events happen. Could you be part of this team?

We’re looking for:

Passionate and committed organisers

Interested or have experience in how technology can be used to disrupt the music or literature industries? Have a background in music/literature/technology and feel like you have insight to bring to the table?

Being a Startup Weekend organiser requires commitment of time and effort and is completely voluntary. You must be available on every day of the weekend (26-28 June 2015) and for regular meetings and preparation work for three months prior to the event. If you would rather have less time commitment, but still be involved during the event, perhaps applying to be a volunteer would be a better option.

If you’d like to join the team, please send us the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Mobile phone number
  • Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Location

And answer the following questions:

  • Have you been to Startup Weekend before? If so, which city and when?
  • Why would you like to be involved in organising this event?
  • Tell us about your background in music/literature/technology
  • If you could book any speaker for this event, who would you book and why?
  • Do you run any meetups or events?
  • Do you have experience/expertise in (Please include all that apply and don’t worry if none apply):
    • Marketing
    • Sponsorship
    • Getting great speakers/coaches/judges
    • Creative design
    • Technology/website management/coding
    • Events management

Deadline for application for this event is Friday 27th February. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

sheffield@startupweekend.org

Energetic and enthusiastic volunteers

Startup Weekend literally could not happen without the support of our amazing volunteers throughout the weekend. They’re the ones who keep the weekend running smoothly and make sure that all the attendees have everything they need to have the best time possible.

Being a Startup Weekend volunteer requires commitment of time and effort and is completely voluntary. You must be available on the weekend (26-28 June 2015).

We need volunteers to commit a minimum of 8 hours throughout the weekend. Duties may include:

  • manning the reception desk
  • directing attendees to amenities
  • directing attendees between buildings
  • contributing to social media
  • keeping the venue clean and tidy
  • moving furniture and equipment around
  • setting up food and drinks
  • distributing stationery

Although we can’t offer any financial reimbursement (hence ‘volunteer’), we will feed you at mealtimes, give you a Startup Weekend Tshirt and invite you to the after-party. And you get to soak up the creative atmosphere and spend your weekend doing something a little bit different.

If you’d like to join the team, please send us the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Mobile phone number
  • Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Location

And answer the following questions:

  • Have you been to Startup Weekend before? If so, which city and when?
  • Why would you like to be involved in volunteering at this event?
  • Tell us about your background in music/literature/technology
  • Do you have experience/expertise in (Please include all that apply and don’t worry if none apply):
    • Social media
    • Photography
    • Videography
    • Creative design

Deadline for application for this event is Friday 1st May. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

sheffield@startupweekend.org

 








Lessons Learnt from Cambridge Startup Weekend

Lessons Learnt from a Startup Weekend By Alexandre Navarro

Last weekend, I took part in the FinTech Startup Weekend at the Judge Business School in Cambridge, UK. Since I come from a more technical background, mostly engineering and machine learning, I thought it would be an interesting experience to familiarise myself with these events. This way, I would be better prepared to pitch and develop an idea at a future event.

Apart from learning more about pitching, the business canvas and some basic MBA tools, the event allowed me to gain several insights into the more subjective aspects of starting a company. These aspects comprise a wide range of subjects from product design to spotting the signs that your team probably has a focus issue. I tried to distil these lessons down to four core concepts:

1 An exercise in faith and reason

Eventually you will need to face the hard truth that founding a company is a ludicrous idea from a risk perspective. The odds against the success of new companies are slim and, even if you succeed in the early startup phase, there is a chance your company might never leave the startup zone (and become one of the so-called zombie startups).

Therefore, if you want to found a new company, you definitely need to have a deep connection to your product and business idea. I advocate that either this should arise from experience, gained through scrutiny of current products and business strategies, or through actual hands-on experience. While the romantic idea of a sudden stroke of genius may be very attractive, these ideas usually do not survive even a simple internet search.

However, one should never rely on faith alone: there is a time to be reasonable as well. A healthy dose of scepticism is crucial to a considered analysis of your business idea. Too much self-identification with the customer can be detrimental as it introduces a ‘sloppiness bias’ in the analysis. People who are over-excited about an idea tend to downplay all possible setbacks and assume that demand exists which is simply not there. Moreover, over-optimism leads teams to take business assumptions for granted with little or no evidence to back them up. In short, putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is valuable, but you should not get carried away.

2 The people element

No matter how smart, fit, and well prepared you are, founding a company and developing a product is too much work for just one person. We cannot forget the time-to-market element in product development and, workload aside, a fresh perspective is usually welcome.

This leads us to the important people element of the startup equation. Most advice on founding a company mentions the need to be careful who you collaborate with, often mentioning some the legal aspects of company share allocations. But before you get anywhere near that stage, you must first find people to help you get to that stage.

That means you need to find people you like to work with and who complement your skill set. It is a mistake to choose a team with the same characteristics as you. A group that focuses too much on the business side but forgets all about the product is as problematic as a group of techies who only focus on adding product features irrespective of market response.

3 Focus

This brings us to the startup’s focus. Initially, focus on the actual product, without losing sight of the business case – not the other way around. This is may seem counterintuitive, but when you are starting a new company, you do not have the resources to build anything more than the core of your business. Nothing is more at the core of a startup other than its product.

That is exactly why MVPs (minimum viable products) are important. They help shape your product and your business model to the real world. This forces small startups to use the same techniques major engineering companies use for new projects: Front-End Loading (FEL) development. Roughly speaking, in FEL methodology, a new project starts with back-of-the-envelope design and calculations to check if the business case is worth a more thorough study. If the answer is negative, the business should pivot, otherwise the team develops the design further and rechecks its economic feasibility. Considering this at every step of the creation of a MVP helps to maintain focus on the business case.

Another crucial point for a startup that is set up during an entrepreneurial event such as a startup weekend is that one should always strive to make a case that outlives the event and not to tailor it only to the judging criteria. Focussing just on ticking boxes to meet the competition’s criteria will not be enough to build a sustainable business. Moreover, by striving to think beyond the competition, the startup should automatically meet the criteria of any serious competition.

4 Hanadi’s Law

Several times during the competition, our dear Hanadi said, “Because this is Cambridge and it’s me, Hanadi, the rules have changed”. While some people may take this as a surprise, and some even complain about it, rules change all the time in real life and there is no way to escape that. I call this Hanadi’s Law: “Rules can, and will, change”.

This line of thought brings up some interesting consequences. For instance, it shows that complying with rules just for the sake of compliance is not generally a useful strategy. You may be irrationally constraining yourself to a given model, which may be completely unsuitable for your situation.

As an example, not all advice dispensed by startup gurus and consultants will be applicable to your situation. Whatever is the current trend will eventually fall out of favour. History is full of stories of wrong predictions from experts and consultants. In fact, many successful businesses develop precisely in niches that experts have already neglected or dismissed. Therefore, I feel that all advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

I summarise all this in the motto: “advice is a trail, not a rail”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I feel I have gained a lot of experience out of a single startup weekend, and I emphatically recommend anyone who is interested in gaining some insight into entrepreneurship to take part in events such as the one I attended.

Maybe more importantly, the greatest lesson I took from this event was that assuming a critical position, observing and drawing lessons from such events is crucial to avoid simple but crippling mistakes when starting your own business.

By A. Navarro








Your invitation to hear from 9 awesome new startups TONIGHT!

This has been a most excellent Startup Weekend indeed. I mean, all Startup Weekend are awesome… obviously. In fact, if you manage to get through a Startup Weekend without saying ‘awesome’ at least 15 times, you’re probably not doing it quite right.

Anyway, what I mean to say is Startup Weekend is always a hive of creativity, problem-solving, collaboration. But this Startup Weekend has seen a few added extra gems… for example, an impromptu but mandatory dance party…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgDyQfgvw0Q

And built amazing and totally viable Lego bridges…

Look how happy Organiser Chris is. Hurrah for Lego!
Look how happy Organiser Chris is. Hurrah for Lego!

There are many brilliant things about this Startup Weekend, but as always, one of the most brilliant things is the teams. The problems being solved this weekend are so wide and varied, no industry is safe from the entrepreneurial minds of our awesome attendees. We have politics, health, transport, education, and even gaming. Whatever your startup interests, there’s a smorgasbord of ideas here to tickle your tastebuds.

So, with that in mind, we would like to invite you to come and share in the excitements and achievements of our teams over this weekend at our free pitch session today. These teams have been working hard to launch their startup in just 54 hours and they want your support!

The event takes place in Mappin Hall, Mappin Street, Sheffield at 5pm. Amazing things happen at Startup Weekend. One of these startups could end up being the next big thing of 2015.

To register for this evening (and the after-party), visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/startup-weekend-presentation-evening-tickets-13922296965

See you tonight!

 








Venues and car parks

Here’s a handy map of venues and car parks for this weekend’s Startup Weekend Sheffield:

Startup Weekend venues






Prizes

Startup Weekend is NOT about the prizes. It’s about the learning, the meeting people, the energy, the fun, the buzz, the inspiration and even the delicious Wibbly Wobbly Burgers and Pizzetta Pizzas… definitely not about prizes. But we wanted to ensure that if you have to receive a prize, not only are they incredibly useful in terms of taking your new startup forward but pretty awesome too!

So without further ado we announce this years Lancaster University Startup Weekend grand prizes:


SpacePortX

By the courtesy of key figures on the Manchester and UK Startup scene, one lucky team will receive access to Manchester’s #1 Collaborative Workspace for Startups : SpacePortX!



MYOB
Our local university based ‘incubator’ Mind Your Own Business will also give one team a Fast Track straight into the final round of their selection process. Where successful teams will be allocated university office space for free.

GSB

Our top three teams will also earn their place in the Champions Circle of Global Startup Battle, and be given the opportunity to compete on international level. Where teams will have the opportunity to win prizes such as:

  • All expenses paid trip to UP Global Headquarters for an extensive team mentoring experience.
  • All expenses paid trip for the Global Entrepreneurship conference.
  • All expenses paid to New York for a NASDAQ media tour.
  • 20 000USD for GA courses
  • Booth at the CES Eureka Park, access to the LAUNCH conference.
  • and much more



Beyond this there are loads of other prizes from sponsors such as Zoaring Adaptive, NuBlue, Blinkist and Podio.


Stay Connected:

Like the Lancaster University Startup Weekend page on Facebook.
Follow @LancasterUniSW on Twitter.








Start Preparing Your Pitch!

MicIf you’re coming to Lancaster University Startup Weekend – you only have 1 week to prepare your pitch for Friday night!

Alli Blum wrote a great post on preparing for the pitch for Philadelphia (US) Startup Weekend.

  1. Focus on the problem you want to solve
  2. Mention how you think the problem should be solved
  3. Talk about your secret sauce
  4. Tell us what you already know
  5. Showcase your winning personality
  6. Show up with an idea that does something meaningful
  7. Name your idea

Here’s how the Co-Directors of StartupWeekend.org think you should plan it out:

  • 5 to 10 seconds: Who are you?
  • 10 to 20 seconds: What’s the problem your product/service solves?
  • 10 to 20 seconds: What’s your solution?
  • 5 to 10 seconds: Who do you need on your team?

Now, with all of that advice – start preparing your pitch! I know that we’ll hear some great ones Friday, 21st of November!

If you still need advice on preparing your pitch, you want to run your pitch by someone before Friday night, or you just can’t figure out where your hamster got to feel free to email us at LancasterUniSW (at) Gmail (dot) com (or you can click the contact button on our home page).

Stay Connected:
Like our page on Facebook.
Follow @LancasterUniSW on Twitter.








New tracks and prizes announced for Global Startup Battle

As you may be aware, the November Startup Weekend ties into Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Global Startup Battle, which is awesome news for those of you who have already bought your tickets for Startup Weekend as that’s how you get access to the bigger competition.

This year, as well as the champion’s track, there are other tracks to be entered, which means more chances to win on a truly global stage. These tracks are being updated all the time with new prizes and judges, but here’s what’s available right now:

Champions Track: The Champions Track will showcase the best of every city and Region. To compete in this Track your team must place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at your local Startup Weekend. Learn more.

Startup Women Track: We’re honoured to support building diversity with a Track focused on women entrepreneurs and highlighting their work and talents. The Startup Women Track drives participation at all levels by accepting teams that have a female founder, led by a woman, or consisting of 50% or more women members. Learn more.

Education, Empowered Track: From improving the way we learn to increasing access to education, we’re looking at you to join us in creating a world where everyone is empowered to be a thinker and a maker. Education, Empowered Track is sponsored by General Assembly. Learn more.

Do the KIND Thing Track: Bring your socially impactful ideas to Do the KIND Thing Track. With commitment to social entrepreneurship with impact, this Track focus is to make the world a little kinder, one act or idea at a time. This Track is powered by KIND Healthy Snacks. Learn more.

The Innovator’s Track: The .CO Innovators Track is calling all Startup Weekend teams that are launching their brilliant ideas on a .CO domain. Prizes for this Track include a trip to Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH Festival – the best place to launch your startup, raise money and learn about starting a company. This Track is powered by .CO. Learn more.

So if you want access to the Global Startup Battle, the competition, the glory and all those amazing prizes, make sure you’ve got your ticket to Startup Weekend Sheffield. It’s where it all begins.

Register now.








The Roles at Startup Weekend

So. Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event where you can get a crash-course on being an entrepreneur. But how are you going to participate in Startup Weekend? There are a variety of ways anyone can participate. I had an interesting experience where I signed up to be a developer but had reservations on developing when I arrived. It was fine – I still played a part as a Project Manager and assisted with some development decisions. In other words – whatever ticket you choose, while it is very important, there are so many more ways to participate in Startup Weekend.

But that doesn’t necessarily help you decide which way you’ll sign up to participate, does it? Never fear. I’ve pulled together a little guidance on each role at Startup Weekend: Developer, Designer, and Non-technical!

Developer
This ticket type applies to software engineers/coders/developers – in short, anybody who can and will write code.
Honestly – that description is pretty perfect. What can you expect to do at Startup Weekend, though, if you sign up as a Developer? You might start with a pitch. And then you might work with the non-technical and designer to ensure your concept is effective for completion in 54-hours and then start to code. Or maybe you don’t have an idea to pitch. Or you might pitch an idea that doesn’t make the cut Friday night. You can still join another team and work with that team to complete the idea and code during the weekend either alone or with another developer (or two)!

Designer
This ticket type applies to anybody with a background in design (graphics, UX/UI, etc.)
Again, the ticket definition hits it spot-on. Know anything about design? Great! This ticket is for you. You might spend your time creating a logo or elements of an online-tool (like buttons, etc) or even laying out pages on a site. Or creating the many graphics needed for a site. If you have some coding knowledge for design, that’s great! If you know a bit about UX/UI but can’t complete everything for it – this is the ticket for you, too! And your time to learn more about creating the best experience online. If you’d like to read more about this unique way to participate. Also check out this great blog post on The Role of Design in Startup Weekend.

Non-Technical
This ticket type applies to business, marketing & PR, and anyone with a non-technical background.
I love this ticket type description. It really can serve so many purposes because there are so many things to be done at Startup Weekend. It takes a great team to pull off creating a business in 54 hours. Are you a great marketer? This ticket type is for you. Do you know a lot about running a business? Or starting one, at least? This ticket type is for you. Are you a great writer? You might also make a great blogger or copywriter for a website or tool. This ticket type can also be for you! Also – don’t forget – you can pitch an idea Friday night, too. Maybe that’s what you think you’re coming with – just an idea for a business. And that’s fine. You can watch your idea unfold in 54 hours and learn the many different things you need to get that started with a great team while helping each developer, designer, marketer to get this accomplished.

Whichever ticket type you choose, there are so many ways to participate at Startup Weekend. From Friday Night through Sunday evening. It can be as much or as little as you like – but you’ll get the experience of watching a business start faster than any other situation.

Still have questions about what ticket to buy? Or just want to say hi? Just email us at lancasteruk (at) startupweekend (dot) org (or you can click the contact button on our home page).

Stay Connected:
Like the SW Lancaster page on Facebook.
Follow @LancasterUniSW on Twitter.