With Startup Weekend just days away, it’s time to get psyched! If you missed the chance to purchase a full event ticket, don’t worry, you can still join us at the pitch event on Sunday! You’ll be able to see the progress that each team has made over the weekend as well as mingle with the participants and mentors at the Give a Damn after-party. Listening to the participating teams pitch their ideas is exciting, and many of the ideas presented go on to become full-fledged products and companies.
One of our successful participants, Jeston George, spoke with us about the impact of Startup Weekend on his idea. Jeston is the CEO and founder of Apptegy, a company providing a platform that allows schools to sync all marketing and communication efforts together seamlessly into a single mobile app. Jeston pitched in the 2014 Startup Weekend in Little Rock, and although his team didn’t place, he’s expanded on his pitch to create Apptegy. Jeston met several of his core employees during Startup Weekend and he still consults with several other Startup Weekenders. Jeston wholeheartedly recommends Startup Weekend and says that it’s a great way to meet like-minded people. Startup Weekend provides a platform, as well as resources, for budding entrepreneurs to flesh out their ideas and receive valuable feedback from seasoned pros.
Speaking of pros, one of our Startup Weekend mentors, Corey Boelkens, CEO and founder of RaftUp, will be speaking at Sunday’s pitch event. Corey was a participant in the 2015 Startup Weekend, where his team placed second. According to Corey, Startup Weekend was an integral part in launching his company. With mentors there to help facilitate a buildable and pitchable idea, the process helps validate and lend confidence to the participants. This year, Corey plans on helping participants focus quickly and effectively on their ideas so they will be prepared to pitch on Sunday.
The first person who comes to my mind when I think of a true maker is my dad. Before he had computer software readily available to generate 3D drawings, I watched him measure and create sculptures from poster board. Fast forward 30 years, he now owns a welding and fabrication job shop capable of making just about anything out of metal.
What does this have to do with the upcoming NWA Startup Weekend? We know that not everyone’s ideas will be software solutions or apps. Some innovators may be interested in making physical products, and still want to have a minimum viable product (MVP) by the pitch event on Sunday. For this subset of aspiring entrepreneurs, the NWA Fab Lab will have extended hours to open specifically for Startup Weekenders.
The NWA Fab Lab is an official makerspace that hosts equipment such as laser cutters, 3D printers, woodworking tools, and a 3D body scanner. They use open-source software that is available to the public and host trainings led by community volunteers. Both individuals and groups are invited to utilize this community resource, located just right off of the Fayetteville square. Under the direction of the Fayetteville Chamber, their vision is to encourage entrepreneurship, advance science and technology careers, contribute to the resurgence of American innovation and create a new generation of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artisans.
Whitney Green, Director of the NWA Fab Lab, told us a bit about products community members have prototyped using the Fab Lab’s equipment. One example she shared was a new drinking utensil. Their 3D printers are the same type Startup Junkie‘s Michael Iseman used to print over 25,000 board game pieces for his Kickstarter launch.
Not only will the Fab Lab be available for Startup Weekend participants to work from during the event, they have also donated a 6-month membership to the team that places first in the “Best Maker” category. At the last NWA Startup Weekend, we had engineers modifying drones. What will our participants come up with this year? Attend the pitch event Sunday afternoon to find out!
Well here is the rundown of what the judges are looking for.
- Business Model
- How will your business be successful?
- What problem does your idea solve?
- Who is your competition? How do you compete with them?
- Have you considered how you can scale your business, get customers, make money?
- Customer Validation
- Will people want this idea/product?
- Do you understand what customers need?
- Did you talk to potential customers?
- Execution and Design
- Have you created some sort of product/or mock up over the course of the weekend (hardware, software, etc.)?
- Is your product user friendly?
- Are you able to show your product is functional?
Get ready for the competition! #SWMU18 is right around the corner so come excited and ready to create!
Parking is limited so arrive early for best chances!!
Attendee Free Parking:
30 N 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ
Surface lot. Entrance is off 1st Street just South of Adams (North of Washington St). The entrance to this lot is directly South of Hanny’s restaurant. Ignore all the no-parking signs, this lot is reserved for The Department’s use. See attached Parking Lot Map
Don’t worry! Don’t discount your business idea if you have one, you can pitch it to us Friday night. If you don’t have a business idea, or one you want to develop, we need you just as much as those with big ideas! We need people who are great teammates, communicators and students with a variety of skills such as programmers, designers, engineers etc.
Tips for pitching:
- Keep it short (60 seconds)
- Make it easy for others to understand
- This will help ensure that your potential team members fully understand what the idea is
- Explain the problem you are solving with your idea
- Be personable and approachable
#SWMU18 is quickly approaching! If you haven’t already signed up, do so now and be a part of this amazing experience.
Blog Post Content
Watch this video (link is below) to understand why startups fail. It often is not the product. As you listen envision the business model canvas. Entrepreneurs must test assumptions. Which ones do they seem to miss?
Also note the concept of time. Time is a valuable resource for an entrepreneur and if misused can compromise startup success.
As you consider time and testing assumptions think about the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial teams. They will be important to demonstrate in this course.
The video discusses what investors look for and what customers look for. Consider what each seeks and why and how they are similar.
Watch the first 8:50 of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouHDNBT_leg&feature=youtu.be (Links to an external site.)
Customer Segments – also known as market segments:
An identifiable group of individuals, families, businesses, or organizations, sharing one or more characteristics or needs in an otherwise homogeneous market. Market segments generally respond in a predictable manner to a marketing or promotion offer.
The act of separating a group of clients into sets of similar individuals that are related from a marketing or demographic perspective. For example, a business that practices customer segmentation might group its current or potential customers according to their gender, buying tendencies, age group, and special interests.
Customer Problem also known as customer need:
Answer(s) suggested or implemented to try and solve a question or problem. A solution can be either simple or complex and may require few resources or many resources. For example, the solution to a math question may be addressed quickly with a calculator but the solution to preventing accounting fraud may be more complex and require a great deal of time to find.
Unique Value Proposition:
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer that value will be experienced. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products or services.
Creating a value proposition is a part of business strategy. Kaplan and Norton say “Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.”
Developing a value proposition is based on a review and analysis of the benefits, costs and value that an organization can deliver to its customers, prospective customers, and other constituent groups within and outside the organization. It is also a positioning of value, where Value = Benefits – Cost
Unfair Advantage also known as competitive advantage:
A superiority gained by an organization when it can provide the same value as its competitors but at a lower price, or can charge higher prices by providing greater value through differentiation. Competitive advantage results from matching core competencies to the opportunities.
Key Metrics sometimes known as key performance indicators:
Key business statistics such as number of new orders, cash collection efficiency, and return on investment (ROI), which measure a firm’s performance in critical areas. KPIs show the progress (or lack of it) toward realizing the firm’s objectives or strategic plans by monitoring activities which (if not properly performed) would likely cause severe losses or outright failure.
Channels sometimes known as distribution channel:
The path through which goods and services travel from the vendor to the consumer or payments for those products travel from the consumer to the vendor. A distribution channel can be as short as a direct transaction from the vendor to the consumer, or may include several interconnected intermediaries along the way such as wholesalers, distributers, agents andretailers. Each intermediary receives the item at one pricing point and movies it to the next higher pricing point until it reaches the final buyer.
Channels sometimes known as sales channel:
A way of bringing products or services to market so that they can be purchased by consumers. A sales channel can be direct if it involves a business selling directly to its customers, or it can be indirect if an intermediary such as a retailer or dealer is involved in selling the product to customers.
The income generated from sale of goods or services, or any other use of capital or assets, associated with the main operations of an organization before any costs or expenses are deducted. Revenue is shown usually as the top item in an income (profit and loss) statement from which all charges, costs, and expenses are subtracted to arrive at net income.
What is a business model? In this video Alexander Osterwalder, who created the concept of the business model canvas, explains the business model concept and its utility.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8zIESVOSEA&feature=youtu.be
Watch the short video at this link to understand the basic definition of a business model and note the simplicity of the concept. Often the term business model is one that is confusing and while there are several elements that make up a business model, in essence it comes down to this: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/businessmodel.asp (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Business Model Types
Read the article, 15 Business Models, to get a sense of the variety of ways a business can create value, the types of products and services they could offer and how they structure their operations to deliver the product or service.
Over the course of Startup Weekend you will learn the following:
- Understand the term entrepreneurship–what it is and what it is not
- Gain an understanding of the startup business landscape in the U.S.
- Understand models of how new products and services are developed and taken to market
- Understand what differentiates startups from other organizations
- Understand the terms business model and business model canvas and learn how to use a business model canvas
- Understand the fundamentals of how and why startups succeed or fail