Startup Weekend Judging Criteria

StartupWeekend

 

So you got out of the building & did your market & product validation. That’s awesome! You’re working on refining your MVP for Sunday’s final presentation, maybe you even had to pivot your idea based on the feedback you were getting. So now what? If you’re not aware the Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections, teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

Business Model

    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?

Customer Validation

    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?

Execution & Design

    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?







Judging Criteria at Startup Weekend Charleston

Startup Weekend Charleston Judges
Startup Weekend Charleston Judges, from top-left: Patrick Bryant, Kevin Eichelberger, Karan Sorensen, Jamee Haley, Derek Willis

Startup Weekend Charleston kicks off ay 6:30 PM on Friday, September 18th, 2015. Many of you are working on your pitch and thinking through all the last-minute details. Take a few minutes to get familiar with the judging criteria below and factor it into your vision.

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

1. Business Model

How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?

2. Customer Validation

Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?

3. Execution & Design

Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

Are You Ready?

During Startup Weekend, Mentors and Coaches will be looking for the teams that are solving real problems while also answering the questions outlined above. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.








How to Win at Startup Weekend – pt 3

In part 1 of our series, we learned what to expect at Startup Weekend. In part 2, Steve Blank introduced some tools to make the best of your weekend. In our final part of the series on how to win Startup Weekend, Steve Blank goes over some examples of customer development.

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How to Win at Startup Weekend – pt 1

This is the first of a multi-part series with tips on how to win at Startup Weekend.

The legendary Steve Blank, professor at Stanford as well as a handful of other universities, is an evangelist of sorts for Startup Weekend. His backstory can be found here. Now, we could explain the concept and process in words. But Steve has taken the time to put it on video. He is a master at customer development and is spot on with his explanation of our weekend event.

So here is a primer from Steve, including the judging criteria. It’s a little dated, but still holds true. Enjoy!

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Startup Weekend Final Presentations: How to Impress the Judges

Winning at Startup Weekend means lots of things. It means learning more than you ever thought you could learn in a weekend. It means meeting more interesting people than you ever thought you’d meet in your lifetime. It means starting something and changing your life.

It also means ranking as the best team as voted on by the judges.

Here is a rundown of what the judges consider. Bear in mind that there is no rubric for judging, and your best bet is to make as much progress in each of these areas as possible. Be careful not to put all of your eggs into one basket: don’t make beautiful mockups without validating your idea and don’t build features before you’ve built your core functionality.

Here’s what the judges are looking for:

Have you validated your idea and core value proposition with your target customer or market?

You came in with a smashing pitch, rallied a great team, and built some cool stuff. But does anyone care? Have you surveyed your Startup Weekend attendees and all of your Facebook friends? Have you interviewed anyone and found anyone who will use your product? If you have, you’ve validated your idea and will win bonus points in the eyes of your judges.

Have you figured out the revenue streams that turn the product into a business? 

If the judges were investors, they’d want to know how their investment will turn into cold hard cash. If you can have cash in hand at the end of the weekend from a paying customer, even better.

Does it work? 

Focus your efforts over the weekend on building a functional minimum viable product. Once you’ve validated your idea with customers and built the first iteration of your product, it’s time to begin the cycle again by getting real feedback from real customers on the functionality and usability. Judges are looking for a baseline level of core functionality that can be used to get customer feedback for the next iteration.

How does it look?

Don’t go for pretty, go for usability. Design an interface that encourages people to sign up, pay for, and use your product. But don’t spend too much time on the details. Minimum viable product applies to functionality and design. You’re going to test everything and continue to improve the usability later on.

How do you and your team work together?

Remember: startups get funded when investors believe in the capability and perseverance of the founding team. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, that you can execute, and that you know what you’re doing.

 

A few basics on the final presentations for Startup Weekend:

How much time do I have to pitch?

You are allowed to pitch for a maximum of 5 minutes. There is no extra time for showing a demo, if you want to do that, fit it within the 5 minutes of your presentation.

Can I use my own laptop?

You must! Additionally, it’s mandatory that you attend the pitch practice (3PM) to check that your device works properly.

How much time will there be for the judges’ to ask their questions and for you to answer them?

Three minutes.

 

It’s also worth reading this great piece from the winner of Startup Weekend San Jose. Teaser:

1) We were the only team without any working product that presented to the judges.
2) We won first place.
3) Six months after the pitch, our service launched at one of most well known retail hardware store chains in San Francisco and is now used for 100% of their rentals.








4 Judging Criteria at Startup Weekend Bellevue

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 4 criteria (weighed equally):

StartupWeekend Bellevue Judging Criteria

  • Business Model

    • Can this idea make money? Is there positive customer growth or revenue? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic? Is the idea/team ready for capital and execution? Would you invest in this company at this point?

  • Customer Validation

    • Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What channels of communication are used? Product/Market fit?

  • Technical – Execution

    • Is there a functional product (e.g.in the case of an app, did they build one)? Were architecture diagrams and API signatures included? Which services did they integrate with? How much of the product is running on a real server with non-sample data?

  • Design – Execution

    • Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?

    Judging kicks off at Startup Weekend Bellevue Demo Day!