Du hast eine geniale Startup Idee? Es wird ein kreatives, originelles und innovatives gewerbliches oder industrielles Startup mit oder ohne hohe Wachstumsabsichten? Du wirst diese Idee an diesem Wochenende am Startup Weekend Lucerne 2015 ausarbeiten (falls nicht, hier gibt es noch Tickets!)? Und für den richtigen Knall zum Start fehlt Dir nur noch das nötige Kleingeld?
Dann bist Du hier genau richtig! Die besten Geschäftsideen der Schweiz werden im Rahmen der SWISS STARTUPS AWARDS 2015 mit CHF 200‘000 Startkapital prämiert.
Last year, SXSWEdu was a blast, (if you need any reminding, check out our photo album). We’re certain that this year will be even better! From March 9-12th, we’ll be in Austin, TX participating in five SXSWEdu events.
1. LAUNCHedu Competition
Early-stage startups seeking feedback, investment, strategic partnerships and exposure were invited to apply online to have their company considered for the competition. The promising startups that are selected as finalists in the competition will present their early stage business concepts before a judging panel of industry experts, early adopters and educators, as well as a live audience at SXSWedu. More details.
2. Workshop: Understanding and Empathizing With Education Users
How well do you think you know your user? Whether you’re a teacher trying to understand the needs of students in your classroom or an entrepreneur trying to understand the needs of teachers and students who use your product, empathy and understanding is the secret weapon of successful entrepreneurs. In this workshop, you will discover and practice techniques for understanding your user’s needs. More details.
3. Panel: Redesigning School As We Know It
Why does school mean four walls, one teacher and 20 students? Ever had an idea for how to reinvent a school from the ground up? This panel will discuss how to design schools of the future that create opportunities for students and teachers to thrive. What are the frameworks for thinking about what is needed in a new school model? If you’re interested in designing personalized learning and competency-based education, then this panel is for you. Meet the panelists and find out where this event will be hosted.
4. Edtech Community Builders Meetup powered by Edtech Austin
Leading edtech events, programs or organizations in your community? Looking to take the edtech scene in your city to the next level? Edtech community builders from around the world are gathering at SXSWedu to swap stories and share tactics. More details.
Free entry and free drink tickets, but you must RSVP here.
A few of our Education Entrepreneurs Community Leaders are also hosting events:
Gaming the System: Teachers Hacking the Classroom, featuring Community Leader Courtney Francis
A growing number of teachers are creating games of all shapes and sizes for their own classrooms. They’re defying conventions in creative ways that inspire and engage students (and teachers!) to learn through game play. Let’s talk about what that’s like, and lead the way for other innovative teachers. We’ll share remarkable work, discuss the creation process and inspire one another to think like game designers. Learn how to create, adapt, remix, mash up and integrate games in classrooms. More details.
Building an EdTech Bill of Rights, featuring Community Leader Katrina Stevens
In this 2-hour, hands-on interactive session, we’ll use a design process to collectively create an “Edtech Bill of Rights” that suggests the responsibilities of different members of the EdTech ecosystem and fosters authentic partnerships. Goal is to facilitate dialogue among teachers, EdTech leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, with a focus on educator voices, for the purpose of working together across the ecosystem on innovative ideas that will improve student learning. More details.
For more information about Education Entrepreneurs, visit our website.
Startup Weekends are 54hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and nontechnical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centered on action, innovation, and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs. Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with likeminded individuals outside of their daily networks.
Who you’ll meet at Startup Weekend:
Startup Weekends attendees’ backgrounds are roughly
● 50% technical (developers, coders, designers)
● 50% business (marketing, finance, law).
Why people come to Startup Weekend:
29% of Startup Weekend participants attend an event to network,
20% attend to develop/build a product
13% attend to learn how to create a new venture.
After the conference is over, roughly 80% of attendees plan on continuing to work on their
startup after the weekend.
What you’ll get out of the event:
1. Education: Startup Weekends are all about learning by doing, whether you’re learning a new skill or a new way of thinking. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
2. CoFounder Dating: The people who come to Startup Weekend are serious about learning how to build and launch startups. Create relationships that last long past the weekend.
3. Have fun: During the weekend working alongside awesome people who share your ideas. Startup Weekend is meant to be fun and entertaining so enjoy it.
4. Solve local problems with your ideas. Do you think that one of your idea can change your town or have a positive impact in your group of people? Bring your idea notebook with you and start making a positive change in your local community.
5. Build Your Network: Startup Weekend works hard to recruit high quality, driven entrepreneurs like you!
6. Learn New Skills: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or give marketing a try. With nothing to lose there’s no reason not to step outside your comfort zone.
7. Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): Startup Weekend is the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology.
8. Mentorship: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends and give feedback to participants. Interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
9. Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources: By participating in Startup Weekend you are given instant access to great products and tools. No one leaves Startup Weekend empty handed! Click here to learn more about some of the offers our Global Sponsors provide during the event.
10. Save Money: Startup Weekends are affordable (typically $99, only $50 for students). Your ticket includes seven meals, snacks, and all the coffee you can drink.
Join our community!
We’re a nonprofit on a mission! Startup Weekend has hosted events in countries all over the world. Join us!
Congratulations, you have just launched a startup; you have finally taken the first step of transforming that seed of an idea you had into a business. Maybe you’re a part-time web developer looking to turn your hobby into a new career, or maybe you have found a way to take the best of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and combine it into an exciting product that will have even the most seasoned Tech journalist giddy with excitement. It always starts small, and unless you have been extremely lucky, you’re doing this with very limited finances, and in your spare time. A bootstrapped startup with your savings depleted, credit cards maxed out and a nightmarish overdraft.
The odds of your startup being successful vary considerably depending on the sector it falls within, the concept and the amount of effort you put in. The fact that about 40 percent of startups fail within their first three years (and only 35 percent make it to 10 years) should not serve as a deterrent, but rather as a motivator to continue working full-time as you incubate your startup in your spare time. Following this route can be challenging, especially if you don’t plan carefully or adjust your strategy as needed – but it does lower many of the associated risks. Attending a Startup Weekend event early in your planning stage can give you valuable exposure to other entrepreneurs and ideas, while also serving as an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and refine your strategy.
Pre-Launch and Planning
Once you have made the decision to launch a startup you will need to address a few basic, but crucial points:
Compile an informal business plan, even if you are self-financing the startup. Look at your business plan as a blueprint for your business idea, outlining the basic idea or concept, what needs to be done before you launch and once you have launched, how the day-to-day operations will work, and future development and growth plans. It should be a working document, something that you refer to constantly (to keep you focused) and are not afraid to modify as needed.
Register your business and business name as soon as possible, in accordance with the applicable laws of your country. Investigate the different types of business entities available, along with the benefits and risks of each in terms of legal issues, financial risk and tax requirements.
Once you have registered your business you will need to open a business bank account. Never mix your personal finances with that of your startup, even if you are the sole owner doing this in your spare time.
Notify Your Employer
Although not common, it still isn’t unusual to find employment contracts that either prohibit employees from starting their own business (even from home, and in their own free time), or that claim ownership of any projects you start at home. Read through your employment contract again, paying careful attention to the wording relating to personal projects. Regardless of what your employment contract states, you should still make an appointment to discuss your personal project with your employer.
Keep the discussion simple and focus on the following:
- refer to it as a hobby, not a business
- point out that it does not conflict with your work in anyway (assuming that it does not)
- point out that you only work on this at home, and in your own time
- confirm that it does not conflict with your employment contract by highlighting the relevant parts of your employment contract. confirm that there is a possibility that it may generate an additional income for you
This can all be done with your immediate manager, but it is advisable to also discuss this with someone at a very senior level who is authorized to act or speak on behalf of the company.
No matter how generous or understanding your employer is you should never use company time or resources for anything relating to your startup. Using your personal cellphone during your lunch break to make a few urgent calls is fine, but don’t even think about using your employers computers, Internet access or telephone for anything other than what you were hired to do.
Even on those odd quiet days where you have nothing to do for 2-3 hours.
Finally, avoid any behavior that could be seen as promotional, including discussing your project with fellow employees or your employer’s clients and suppliers.
Two of the biggest challenges you will face with incubating a startup in your spare time are managing customer and tech support, and managing your own time. Any startup, whether managed full-time or part-time, requires a lot of time, especially in the beginning when you are doing everything yourself, or only have a very small team working with you. Launching it in your spare time sees you losing 8 working hours each day, and that’s without taking into account sleep, commuting time and various other time-consuming incidentals. This leaves you having to manage the remaining hours very carefully and strictly.
Well done if you’re a time management ninja and able to account for all your time, per activity, every day. For everyone else in the early stages of launching a startup now would be the time to take a careful and critical look at time management apps and tools. Ideally you are looking for something that is:
- Easy to use,
- Cross platform, and
- Able to scale as your startup and team grows.
Photo by Wunderlist.
Wunderlist is one of many tools available, but it stands out because it meets all of the criteria listed above, moving from a free plan when you’re still solo, through to a paid business plan as you add new team members. Wunderlist is great for managing your to-do list, giving you an overview of pending and upcoming tasks, but what about managing your time spent on each task?
Photo by Pomodoro Technique website.
The pomodoro technique is a great way to rediscover disciplined time management through segmented time scheduling. Using this technique, you break all tasks down into 25-minute sessions, with a 5-minute break between each session. During each session you work on nothing other than the assigned task – no social media, email, phone calls or other distractions. Personal social media interactions, email messages and phone calls can be taken care of during your 5-minute break, with business related email and phone calls given their own periodic 25-minute session. Some people might find the pomodoro technique too rigid, but it is especially useful if you find yourself regularly jumping between several different tasks and never actually finishing anything.
When adding tasks and scheduling your time, don’t forget to work in some social and networking time. Networking events are important not only in terms of maintaining your social skills, but also in terms of marketing your startup – exposing you to potential clients, investors and even future employees.
Tech and Customer Support
The use of company time and resources for anything relating to your startup has already been discussed, limiting you to only being able to manage any tech and customer related issues is your own free time. If there is no chance of you being able to afford to pay someone to cover this for you the rest of the time, you are going to have to work very creatively to ensure that your startup can still succeed and grow with very limited support.
Photo by Amazon Web Services.
Using a service such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host your website and applications allows you to spend more of your limited time on actual development, instead of worrying too much about server capacity, speed and resources. For customer support, consider SnapEngage for live chat support integrated directly into your website, orZenDesk for a more rounded approach that offers support ticketing, knowledge base and FAQ features along with apps for all major smartphone operating systems.
Soft Launch and Beyond
It is quite possible to do all of the planning, and most of the development, for your startup on your own, but at some point you are going to need to bring in extra help. AngelList should be bookmarked by all startup founders, ready for once you start considering the idea of outside investment, or when you start hiring employees. Co-founders and hires can be:
- business partners with specific skills who invest their time, and maybe money, in return for future payment or percentage ownership of the startup,
- paid freelancers or contract workers, only as needed, to take care of particular tasks, or
- full-time employees
Whichever route you follow, you will need to find ways to properly communicate project ideas and tasks. The global nature of business and the marketplace means there is a strong possibility that your partners or hires won’t always be based in the same country as you, let alone the same city. Even if they are, their schedule won’t always be in sync with yours.
Luckily there is an abundance of apps and tools that make managing remote work as easy as managing a single office.
Project and Task Management
The collaborative features of Wunderlist, Asana and Trello (along with the low cost), make them ideally suited to general task and project management. For managing all web or app development aspects of your startup you will need to consider something more robust and specifically aimed at developers, such as PivotalTracker. PivotalTracker is designed to simplify the process of breaking all development projects into smaller tasks that can be assigned, tracked and discussed in great detail. PivotalTracker is favored by both early and late stage startups, and organizations with 1 to 100+ employees. Use PivotalTracker in conjunction with GitHub to manage almost all aspects of your development projects from the planning stage through to coding, bug tracking and more.
Communicating with your team, and with customers, is hardly challenging regardless of where they are based. Over and above using tools such as PivotalTracker and Wunderlistto assign and monitor tasks, you should be using Skype, HipChat and email to remain in regular, if not constant, contact with each other. Video and voice calls might sometimes seem easier, but written communication, be it a detailed email or a lengthy chat, is more reliable in that
- you can check that you have covered all the points you want to communicate,
- they can be tracked,
- they can be referred back to constantly.
Daily communication with your team is essential, but try to also schedule a weekly meeting that focuses more precisely on everyone’s progress, obstacles encountered, and to discuss and assign tasks for the coming week. Strategic meetings between co-founders and partners can be scheduled as necessary, but never less than quarterly.
When it comes to communicating with your customers, very little beats traditional email, especially when you’re still doing everything on your own and in your spare time. Make sure your email address is highly visible and use an auto-responder to notify your customers of when they can expect a response. You will also want to establish a presence on social networks that are relevant to both your industry and your target market, and explore using a CRM such as Nimble. A CRM is good not only for managing leads, but also for managing your contacts and certain aspects of your customer service.
The final piece of your communication strategy will obviously be both your website and blog. Both should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and what the benefits of your product or service are. Keep your blog updated with news about developments within your startup, new and existing features, planned changes or enhancements, and industry news that would be of interest to your audience.
Formulating and launching a startup in your spare time can be extremely challenging, but remember that very few startups are profitable within the first year. The benefit of still having a primary income allows you to not only continue supporting yourself, but to also focus on getting your startup to the stage where the revenue it generates covers all operating costs and further growth investment.
The tools and apps highlighted in this article all offer either a free basic plan, or are very affordable for early stage startups. Furthermore, they all offer additional plans that can still accommodate your startup as it grows. You want to spend as much of your available time on development and implementation, so use whatever is available to simplify your life, especially in areas not directly related to development.
Poll any entrepreneur – new, old, successful, flailing, product-focused, service-focused, solo or with a team – and they will all say the same thing:
“What I thought, was definitely not what I got”, each one would scream in unison.
We’ve rounded up some of the commonest misconceptions and surprises about entrepreneurship for you below. The list may help you be better prepared for the journey.
What entrepreneurs thought, before launching their ventures:
- “Money will start pouring in.” -Guess what, it only actually trickles!
- “Customers would be clamoring for my product and I have to be prepared because my servers may crash.” -This is actually a great problem to have – alas it never happened.
- “I can handle it alone.” -The reality is that no one can.
- “I am in control.” -Nope, you’ll have to deal with the unforeseen everyday.
- “Job satisfation is a given since I’ll be working on what I want.” -It’s not a guarantee.
- “I’ll be an overnight success” -The definition of overnight can be 3,4,5 or more years!
- “I’ll use all my knowledge from my Big company and MBA.” -My previous learnings weren’t really applicable.
- “I’ll just get online and do some social media outreach to grow my company.” -Digital marketing is a science and an art, not just a few posts slapped together.
- “Cheap labor is great for my small budget.” -You get what you pay for.
- “I’ll be ready to deliver in a week.” -It’s always at least 3x longer than anticipated.
- “I’m launching my own business to be happy, not for money.” -Try being happy when your business isn’t sustainable.
Did we miss any in the list? Let us know “what you thought, and what you got” in the comments below!
This post and comic were originally created for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.
The rollout of UP Europe signifies a shift towards greater cohesion between UP programs and supports the goals to serve more than 100,000 entrepreneurs by 2016.
Today is an exciting day here at UP Europe and we’re thrilled to finally share what we have been working on. We are passionate about helping create and sustain startup ecosystems around the world. Nothing makes us happier than seeing local startup communities grow. But, communities don’t grow by themselves. They grow thanks to the 4000 incredible organizers, 200 superstar facilitators, and countless other volunteers who make quality events and initiatives for entrepreneurs possible.
UP volunteers generously donate their time, energy (and let’s face it, sweat) because they believe in a mission bigger than themselves, bigger than all of us – the empowerment of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
In Europe, 1000 dedicated Community Leaders organize 300 events per year in 160 different cities and we want to make sure we’re doing our best in helping to support them in their efforts. This is why UP united the popular programs Startup Weekend, Startup Next and StartupDigest. Organizing regional efforts intentionally allows UP to better support community leaders worldwide and better understand what those communities need.
What does this mean for UP Europe startup communities?
More activity: New opportunities to be involved with UP programs, partners, as well as any other initiatives that support entrepreneurs in these regions.
Better support from our team: Our local team lives and works alongside all of you, which allows us to be better in touch with your (and your community’s) unique needs.
More connections: Organizing communities more intentionally allows us to connect leaders to other leaders, resources, and opportunities so that they can better support local entrepreneurs and teams directly.
Regional Summits: With the UP regional model comes Regional Summits, which are great opportunities for the community to connect, share insights, and build relationships. If you’ve ever been to a Summit, you know great things always happen!
Knowledge share: The opportunity to operate in various environments through UP Regions gives the broader community a chance to learn from one another and share best practices.
Community megaphone: An emphasis on storytelling from these communities and regions will help us be better advocates for you, your entrepreneurs, and your startups.
Because we can’t do this alone, we have partnered with a new like-minded institution, The European Commission. In addition to the support from our Global Sponsors, our new regional partner believes in our mission just as much as we do and we feel extremely honored to have the support of such brilliant minds.
Why the EC? For those who have been following the news, the EC has a big and bold goal of their own called the 2020 Entrepreneurship Action Plan. The 2020 Plan aims to support entrepreneurship through education and infrastructure building, while providing tailored support for early-stage businesses.
As part of the 2020 Plan, the EC has developed FI-WARE, a unique, free and open-source developer platform intended to unleash the potential of cutting-edge internet technologies crucial to the future of smart cities, ioT, robotics, and cyber security. We’re really excited for our community to use their expertise and experience to help test and validate the EC’s FI-WARE developer platform.
With so much exciting news, we will be celebrating the launch of UP Europe and our European community at the Google Campus in London tonight. The event will gather Community Leaders from numerous European cities: Berlin, Oslo, Budapest, Amsterdam, Marseille, Bergen, and Lyon, just to name a few.
We will thus have the pleasure to raise our glasses in front of our partners, the supportive London tech ecosystem and our incredible organizers who have travelled from all over Europe to celebrate the big news with us.
Have a question about the launch? You can email us at email@example.com, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I have timely news for you. Your launch may take you twice as long and cost double what was expected, and that’s the best-case scenario. The bottom line is that it’s tough to deliver when and what you intend to. Schedules are shifted, budgets are rebalanced and the original scope is tweaked, prodded and pivoted. However, you are in good company – even our favorite fruit company had delayed their phone shipments in the past.
When I first decided to pursue one of my business ideas – I couldn’t wait to tell every person I met about the upcoming launch date and plans for growth in order to generate some future buzz. I naively believed that 2-3 months sounded like a fair benchmark – even though I never actually sat down to calculate the possible timelines, nor assess all the tasks required. As I started working, minutes swirled into weeks. As I approached nearly 4 months after my initial rants, I sheepishly shared a defunct prototype with just a few people. Everything took longer than I expected, and the output looked much more different than what was in my head.
To keep assess actual timelines and things on track, I recommend BaseCamp and Trello. Both have a free trial period, and are cloud-based solutions so you can use either immediately. Allocate tasks to your whole team, check on the status in real time and keep track of a lot more in order to avoid an #entrepreneurfail. These are all baby steps to delivering on your launch date.
Have you ever missed your launch deadlines? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
This comic was adapted from #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.
Today it was announced that Neustar, a publicly traded company based in Sterling, Va., that provides real-time information and analytics, has agreed to acquire .CO Internet S.A.S., which is the exclusive operator of the worldwide registry for Internet addresses with the “.co” top-level domain.
.CO has been a huge part of the UP Global community providing domain names to all Startup Weekend participants and free resources to support startup growth. They’re one of the hardest working groups out there and if you’ve ever been to an event or used their product, you know how well they take care of their customers and entrepreneurial community.
CEO Juan Diego Calle shared in the company’s blog that “it’s onward and upward for .CO”. Since .CO Internet’s global launch in 2010, names under management for .co have grown to more than 1.6 million in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
.CO’s dedication to entrepreneurs and startups is second to none. Just this past month, they supported Startup Weekend teams and community at LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco. The .CO Pavilion featured 4 Startup Weekend teams (see below).
RV Sherpa – Started by John Alexander at a Startup Weekend during Global Startup Battle, RV Sherpa is the ‘AirBnB of RV’s”. John is a longtime Organizer and Facilitator and is now on the other side of the equation as he seeks to make RV Sherpa a big success.
TinkerED – A team from one of our Startup Weekend Education events, TinkerED was founded by Suzy (teacher_suzy) on Twitter to solve one of her own pain points. TinkerED helps EdTech startups with teachers to shape the future of tech in our schools.
Visionboards – Global Startup Battle Team, VisionBoards were the winners of .CO’s Innovators Circle. Stephanie and Natalia have been working hard for months to meet demand for their product and were able to meet with several big names during LAUNCH including Mark Cuban and the founder of LivingSocial.
Amazi – Amazi actually means water in Rwanda. Founded by Crystal Plew, Amazi hopes to put existing services to better use to reduce plastic waste on our planet. Her company’s business model includes supplying water to those in need and educating people on not only where to get water to refill their containers around them, but also detailed information on water safety and the best sources.
It’s bright, it’s shiny, it’s new
You’ll surely discover an interesting thing or two
So stop what you’re doing and click here to view
Our brand new site is ready – the one we built specifically for you!
Ok, I think that’s about all the cheesy rhyming you can stomach in one sitting, plus I’m sure I’m losing “cool points” with every line, so I’ll get right to it: We have BIG news! In addition to Startup Weekend, NEXT, and Startup Digest, UP Global’s fourth program, Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU), just debuted a brand new website!
So What is This “SWEDU” Thing?
Founded in 2011, SWEDU is a global initiative that equips local communities with the entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, and network to effectively solve pressing education problems. Composed of passionate educators, entrepreneurs, developers, and designers, SWEDU is on a mission to revolutionize the education and learning markets. The program brings together people in these networks over the course of 54-hour events to help design and produce viable companies that solve some of education’s most pressing problems.
Thanks to the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SWEDU is broadening its program to provide more tactical support both prior to and after the event, as well as serve as a resource hub of timely and timeless content that education entrepreneurs can utilize to advance their endeavors. Only two and a half years old, SWEDU has already expanded into 30 cities and every continent in the world (except for that really really cold one), directly impacting the lives of thousands around the globe. Its expansion plans mark an unprecedented opportunity for anyone and everyone to play a role in creating the future of education, and the addition of the website, now makes it easier for people to find out how they can get involved.
A Quick Site Overview
There’s some really awesome information to dive into on the site, and plenty more to come over the next few months, but for now, here’s a quick run-down of some of the great things you’ll find:
You’re the Builder and We’re the Toolkit
One of our favorite quotes at SWEDU is “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi. It stands out to us because we recognize that it is you – the individual, the group, the community- that has the power to create a world you can be excited about and proud of. It is you who are the leaders of this movement of change, it is you who will shape the future of this world. And as for SWEDU, we simply want to provide you with the best resources, support, and network you’ll need along the way.
So here you go, builders, take a peak inside your starter-kit!