Capturing people’s attention is not an easy task, particularly in a very competitive environment as it is during the Startup Weekend. When surrounded by fierce entrepreneurs and disruptive innovators, you’ll have to stand out to gather the best team around you! Therefore, you need to prepare yourself to face the crowd and pitch your business idea. Here are three pieces of advice that will help you make a great first impression.



Be your brand

You have a great idea, you are an awesome entrepreneur, become your brand! Decide who you want to be seen as and become this person. Start with an eye-catching outfit or flyer or object that will help you get the crowd’s attention. Use a simple design that would give a clear vision of your project and helps to define your idea easily. On stage, you’ll begin your branding and lay the foundations for your logo, website and business card. And doing so you will help your audience form opinions about you and start building your reputation.


Get your story ready

Every company is based on a story, so write and use your own story to introduce your mission, core values and vision to your public. Storytelling isn’t making up facts! It is about bringing your business idea to life and explaining why it matters to you and others. Using a story is a clever way to package your message and explore different angles when addressing to different crowds. It is also a good way to create emotions and connect with your target group. Make sure to keep your story interesting and relevant and don’t forget to stay positive, remembering to highlight the benefits of your business or idea.


Pitch like a boss

Make sure you know who you are talking to (future employees, potential clients or investors) and how much they know about you, so that you can adapt your pitch. At the Startup Weekend, likely no-one knows you yet – the challenge is high! Be straight to the point, coherent and clear. Make your target audience know about you, your offer, your characteristics and interact with them to better understand their needs. Practice your speech beforehand so you can develop your story, values and solution in one minute. If you make it, you win!



In a nutshell, train yourself to make a short presentation of your business idea using stories and visual elements to support your speech. At 99designs, we help thousands of entrepreneurs everyday to build their brand identity. Find inspiration on 99designs today and get a free design consultation on your brand identity. We wish you a great first impression during the Startup Weekend and loads of fun!


Camille Franc | Marketing Manager France99Designs

Introducing UP Global's New Program Brands

UP Global’s design team is tasked with visually communicating how and why UP Global works. Not just by what colors are chosen, or by the shape of a logo, but by giving each program an identity that ties it to the whole organization.

Design is so simple, it’s complicated. Companies have tried and failed to visually tell their story and provide a clear brand narrative. With months of hard work behind us, and even more ahead, we hope UP Global’s design will help take your events and impact to the next level.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

– Steve Jobs

UP Global is the overarching parent brand and underlying foundation of all activity within our organization. Programs like Startup Weekend, Startup Next, and Startup Education, while important on their own, must be built upon a stable foundation to have longevity.

This system reflects the way our community operates: We all lead unique programs, events, and local efforts, but we come together under one entrepreneurial movement and share many common goals for bettering our own communities and the world as a whole.


This brand structure and hierarchy is called a ‘House-Blend’. This is an architecture based on sub-brands with added credibility coming from the parent brand. Each program has unique offerings and benefits, yet are connected by visual cues and a similar naming structure. By using this system, we can not only house all programs under the UP brand, but connect them in a way that adds recognition and trust.

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Our Logo

Our logo is the flagship element of our brand and one of the most visible elements in our identity system. This mark provides a universal signature across all UP Global communications, necessitating meticulous care and consideration when using it.

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When creating a new brand for one of UP’s programs, the design team asks four key questions: Does the logo represent the core values of the program? Will the subject matter be universally recognizable? Does it fit within the brand system? And lastly, is it aesthetically pleasing?

Here are some quick descriptions of the meaning behind each program logo:

Startup Weekend, UP GlobalStartup Weekend: The Startup Weekend logo represents two fundamental elements of the program; the beaker, which speaks to the creative aspect while the figures inside represent the importance of team. However, the real soul of the brand lies in its interactive qualities. Much like the version before it, the Startup Weekend brand was created to be used and built upon. One look at the event t-shirt wall in UP’s Seattle HQ says it all. Image after image created using the logo – tweaked to represent individual community personalities. This is where the heart and soul of this identity system lies.



Startup Next, UP Global, Accelerator

Startup Next: If Startup Next’s logo could be summed up in one line, it would be: helping your startup find the direction it needs. The logo uses a rocket – an iconic image known well in the entrepreneurial community, but gives it a fresh twist by combining it with a compass rose – a representation of finding direction. These two elements work together to create a mark that can grow and evolve along with the leading global pre-accelerator – Startup Next.


Startup Digest, UP Global, Reading ListsStartup Digest: Startup Digest’s branding combines the image of a mailing stamp and a newsletter in one cohesive mark. The logo was created to be an efficient, readable anchor for the brand, aimed at communicating the brand’s evergreen, core elements.


Startup Education, UP Global, EducationStartup Education: When looking for something iconic to represent the spirit of both entrepreneurship and education, our design team kept coming back to the same answer; the lightbulb is a globally understood icon for thought, ideas, and innovation – the “ah-ha!” moment present in both entrepreneurship and education . On the other end of the mark is the pencil. Not only is this a recognized icon of education, it puts the thoughts and ideas of the light bulb into action, which is evocative of the entrepreneurial spirit.

The design team is continuing to roll out updated branding for older programs as well as new branding for Startup Week and Entrepreneurs Across Borders.




The Authentic Brand Is An Endangered Creature.

“There’s more power in authenticity. Don’t try to be Silicon Valley.”Angela Benton.


‘Authentic’ branding is not manufactured. The lone opportunity for communities (entrepreneurial or otherwise,) to earn a branding of authenticity is to focus on the originality of what they produce, and the way in which they produce it.

The authentic brand is an endangered creature: undomesticated, devoid of the ability to breed in captivity. In the abundant wilderness of creative production is where authenticity (and the entrepreneur) wishes to be. It is where authentic risks must be taken to grow, where complementary strength exists between singularity and solidarity, and where parasitic emulation is left to lurk fearfully in the margins. It is a challenging, genuine environment in which ideas are galvanized, and self-awareness in product and process is mastered.

Humans evaluate authenticity in leadership, expertise, and intention by reviewing large bodies of data, very quickly. Brands, transitioning from wild unknown to marketplace, are evaluated as an extension of this entrenched social process. When pitched on the authenticity of anything, we subconsciously rifle through every silver-tongued politician, motivational speaker, and snake-oil salesmen on record, scanning our instincts for the ticks and whistles that scream, “CHEATER!” A worthy leader faces this test in the same way that an authenticated brand does: through proactively focusing on production rather than projection.

When suggesting the power of authenticity, Angela Benton advocates that entrepreneurs choose focal self-awareness in lieu of mimicry. As a community, Silicon Valley has demonstrated its ability to authenticate certain products/services, but has never done so through trying to achieve an ulterior identity. At their best, successful brands from Silicon Valley have focused on authenticity in the cohesion, quality, and innovation that makes their product possible… not on branding aspirations of being deemed as authentic.

Authenticity is inexorably connected with a known, distinct point of origin: an original virtue that cannot be faked. Leaders who wish to brand with authenticity must undertake the unavoidable, precursory commitment to creating something new.