Startup Weekend Day by Day Breakdown: Sunday


Its 9AM and you only 8 hours left and there is still so much to do!


Validation never stops. You can never have too much feedback from your potential customers. Keep at it.

Your MVP

By now you should have a refined MVP that is either working on the web or on your local laptop. You will be working on it till the last minute before your presentation so keep building!


There will be some coaches and mentors coming around on Sunday as well. Use this time to get some feedback on what you have done over the 24 hours.


Preparing your presentations

All work stops and presentations start at 5PM sharp. You will have 5 mins to present your idea and demo the app. The presentation is followed up with 5 mins of QA from the judges.

Nick Stevens, an awesome organizer out of the UK has put together a great mini-guide on creating your Sunday presentations: and

In NYC, we like to hold “presentation dry runs”. We have the teams pitch what they have done so far in front of some coaches/mentors to get some feedback. Each team will get 10 mins (5 mins for presentation, 5 mins for feedback). This is completely optional.

So hopefully this mini-guide helps you throughout the weekend. This guide is a living document and will get better over time with feedback from you folks. So if you have a suggestion on how to make this guide better, send them along!

-Andrew Young
Startup Weekend NYC

Pitching your idea at Startup Weekend!

full_1381354002photo22Are you going to be pitching an idea at Startup Weekend?

Each person will get 60 seconds to pitch their idea to the audience. Only 10-15 ideas will be selected to move into the weekend. Pitching an idea is not an easy task. It takes practice to sell your idea & vision in 60 seconds.

As a reminder, you can’t pitch your existing business/app. Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend and a central value for participants is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.

If you have an idea and you have been doing some customer research, researching on the internet, designed some wireframes, talked to businesses to see if there is any demand, then great! Thats fine. We expect you folks to do your own due diligence before hand. As long as you havent launched, have customers or an MVP of the app.

In 60 seconds you need to:

5-10s Who are you?

10-20s What’s the problem? Use this time to set up the story. How did you discover this problem? How can we (the audience) relate to it? How many people are affected by this problem? Build that connection to the audience to capture their attention.

10-20s What’s your solution? Mobile? Web? Something physical?

5-10s Who do you need? Developers? Designers? Product folks?

Take the time and practice your pitch. Practice in front of your friends and see if you can convince them to vote for you.


Seattle Pitch Karaoke… What is it anyway?

August 28th marks the 2nd Startup Weekend Bootcamp that Seattle has hosted this year and we’re hoping to make it something really special.

BattleDecks (aka PowerPoint Karaoke) is “an improvisational activity in which a participant must deliver a presentation based on a set of slides that they have never seen before.” (Wikipedia-official definition y’all)

As far as we can tell, in Seattle, this has only been done once before by Creative Mornings which was both 1) a blast and 2) a learning experience.

As part of the Seattle Startup Community, we at UP Global HQ are excited to resurrect this nifty activity with our own little twist.

1) We’re gonna make it all about pitching startups!

2) We’re gonna do it at night, over drinks!

3) We’re gonna learn something!

Behold, PITCH KARAOKE! An untraditional take on pitch prep featuring 6 mystery pitch-decks, 6 unprepared pitchers, laughs, learning, and beer.

Pitch Karaoke seeks to support anyone interested in startups and entrepreneurship by:
– helping people overcome public speaking fears
– educating the community on the critical elements of a 5 minute pitch presentation
– pushing future entrepreneurs to be comfortable with the concept of failure
– bringing together the Seattle startup community in a humorous yet relevant environment

The Format:
6 mystery slide decks will be created to showcase 6 imaginary startups.On the day of the event, volunteers from the crowd will be asked to pitch these startups in front of Seattle’s welcoming, friendly, and HUMBLE entrepreneur community. 😉

The Caveat?
– They will NOT see the slides in advance of their presentation.
– They will NOT be told the outline of critical presentation elements.
– The startups will be imaginary. They do not exist in real life… yet.
– Presentations are Ignite-style: 5 minutes total – 20 slides auto-advancing every 20 seconds.

At the conclusion of the pitches, the audience & pitchers will gather to discuss the critical elements of a good pitch and to recap highlights from the evening.

Check out this sample of what’s to come:

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Hope to see you there!

5 Hot Tips For Pitching Your Startup To The Press

I’m Managing Editor of the UP Global blog. I receive countless emails from eager entrepreneurs wanting to get their story in front of our global audience. I wish I could help every startup craft their unique and subtly-branded pitch but the work-load (as for most editors) is just too high.

Unless you’re being interviewed and covered by the BBC – editors don’t have time to develop a story for you. That’s your job.

I don’t ever want to see a press release! Seriously, NO.


1) The key to getting your startup in the press is by telling an original story. That’s it. You don’t need a fictitious plot or made-up characters – just a little creativity and some writing chops. If you don’t have writing chops, find someone who does.

HOT TIP: Hit up your friends who majored in English, Marketing, or Journalism. Ask them to help brainstorm, write, or edit.

2) Once you’ve identified a person who can write effectively – research the blog, magazine or publication you’d like to place your story in. Take note of the articles they publish. Are they running advertorials written for and by companies? Of course not – because as Tech Crunch puts so eloquently – it’s gross and come on, you know it’s gross.


It’s up to you to find the balance between your business interests and a reasonable discussion of topics that are also relevant to everybody else.

HOT TIP: Tie your product update, thought-leadership, or announcement to something happening NOW in the news. This tie-in will give your story an urgency that editors can’t ignore.

If you can answer YES to one of the following questions – you are in business. 

  1. Does this story complement a trend being covered by current media outlets? Why a war and shrinking economy cant stop Syrian innovation.
  2. Does this story affect people? Women Entrepreneurs: Making the world a better place one startup at a time.
  3. Is this story a first? Is this story about something new? Oakland’s First Black Male Achievement Event A Success.
  4. Is this something that hasn’t been written about by up Global before? From Active Duty to Civilian Life: Entrepreneurship is the Path, Startup Weekend is the Vehicle.
  5. Is the location of the story controversial or newsworthy in any way? An Update From Our Friends In Kiev, Ukranie.
  6. Does this story involve someone of local prominence? Startup Weekend Announces Board of Directors and Launches Startup Foundation.
  7. Does this story have a hero? Lessons from Ugly Outfitters: Making Ugly and Everyday Brand.
  8. Can this story be written in list format and provided as a resource? 10 Tips from Female Founders.
  9. Does this story include digital media? (Video, Podcast, Audio, Infographic) From Hobby to a Business: The Reality (comic)

3) Now, you’ve found an ‘angle’ that presents something new, relevant and interesting. You don’t have to write the entire story… yet! Create a pitch – a short ‘intro’ to what the story will be about. Don’t bring your personal motivations (i.e. your trendy startup) into it. Email the editor with all the information presented concisely. Seriously, keep it short! No one has time to read a 5-paragraph history on you and your company.


HOT TIP: Don’t write the entire article just yet. The editor might have another angle that would work better for the publication. Be open to changes and feedback.

4) Along with your pitch, include 4-5 headlines the editor can salivate over. According to “The Father of Advertising”, David Ogilvy – on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. You should begin and end every article with the question: “Would this make me want to read on?”


HOT TIP: Write down 10 headlines. Present the best 4.

Here’s a simple headline-writing formula: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise (SEE EXAMPLE HERE)

5) Make sure you have available media – videos, images, podcasts, playlists, whatever – ready to go. Interesting, large photos can enhance your story dramatically! Include them in your pitch email.

HOT TIP: Any thought, example, or person in your story you can enhance via images – do it.

If you don’t hear back – follow up 3 days later.  After that, take a hint and pitch something different.

Speaking of…do you have a story UP Global would be interested in? Email me ( with YOUR pitch.



Why you should Pitch your Passion

This post is written by Ben Martin, Startup Weekend Alum and founder of Johnny on the Spot – The Surfers Personal Diary.

Back in November 2013 I had one of the best surfs of my life. I was buzzing for a week afterwards.


The following weekend I attended a Startup Weekend and talked about an idea I’d had after that surf session that would help me do more of what I love.

I had no business experience. No programming skills. No previous thoughts of ever owning a tech startup. What I did have was an immense amount of passion, and less than six months later, Johnny on the Spot, the Surfer’s Personal Diary, is in the App Store.

Here’s why I think turning your passion into your business is a great way to go.

You are the expert

I’d spent the last decade traveling around the world, looking for the best waves and working out what makes them happen. Without trying, I’d built up a vast knowledge that became essential as we built Johnny on the Spot.  Create something around what you love and you’ll be amazed by just how much you know, and how useful this suddenly is.

You are your target market

Whether your passion is surfing, cycling, trainspotting or playing the banjo, you have a unique knowledge of something that is very hard for an outsider to understand. There will be terminology and jargon specific to your passion. There will be a huge range of personality types, but at the end of the day they are all turned on by the same thing. As an insider, you speak their language and you understand their needs. That kind of knowledge is gold when it comes to marketing your product.

People don’t buy what you do…

They buy why you do it. I didn’t say this – it’s the motif of a TED talk that a friend sent to me towards the end of the process. It helped me realize why the Startup Weekend judges picked my idea ahead of several others which I thought more commercially viable. It helped me to understand why a 5-strong team of busy developers and designers have all worked without pay for the last six months. And why, now it’s released, the reception has been better than I could ever have imagined. My primary motivation behind Johnny on the Spot was never money – it was a desire to do more of what I love. People pick up on this, and genuine passion goes a long, long way.

You won’t give up

I thought I knew busy before I started this business. I was wrong. I could never have predicted how all-consuming this project would become. I’ve talked to enough other start-up entrepreneurs now to be confident that I’m not alone. Whatever you do as a startup, it’s almost certainly going to take up your time like nothing else, so bear this in mind when you embark on your new project. Would you rather be working late into the night on a commercially viable idea that means little to you, or grafting away to solve a problem that’s dear to your heart? Any Startup venture requires huge reserves of tenacity, and you’re far more likely to stick with it if you genuinely care about the end result.

There are people like you

Whatever your passion is, you can be sure that there are others who share it. So next time you are rock-climbing, embroidering, parasailing or searching for rare vinyl and you think… ‘Wouldn’t it be good if…?’ it’s very likely that a lot of other people will think so too. Do it, and see what happens.

Here’s what happened as a result of pitching my passion. If you know others who share my passion, please push this in their direction. I’m confident they’ll thank you for it. Now go and work on yours! Brings You, The Freestyle Pitch

This article is written by Erik Torenberg, CEO of itself was born from a freestyle. I didn’t know, nine months ago, at Startup Weekend Ann Arbor, that I would even pitch the concept, let alone pursue it full time in Detroit.

I had the idea for over a year, and thought it was good, but wasn’t sure others would agree. Well, Why Not, I thought, and grabbed the mic. now hosts live video rap competitions and cyphers, where you can rap, watch, and vote for who you like best.



Today, after the competition accomplishments, after the national press, after all the excitement and learning and even though we have not yet launched — not even begun — the experience has convinced me that—

Sometimes, you just have to freestyle. Even when people are listening.


It’s the morning of the Quicken Family Reunion, where CEOs from around the country have flown in to connect, contemplate, and collaborate.

Stevie, a team member, and I are in the bathroom, in adjacent stalls. He busts out the beatbox. I reply with some rhymes.

After about three minutes, we suddenly hear a voice from the other stall.

“Hey—Go do that on stage” A man says as though he owns the place. “I’m serious. That’s amazing.”

In the next stall over, hearing us freestyle and beatbox, is none other than Dan Gilbert, Chairman of Quicken Loans, who does, in fact, own the place.

“Holy shit it’s Dan Gilbert” I gasp, playing it cool.

Stevie takes over, assuring Gilbert that we can “make it”, and, by way of a rap, pitch

The crowd loves the unplanned performance. Our previously empty pockets flood with business cards, potential partnership ideas, and advice for This only further convinces me—

Sometimes, you just have to freestyle. You never know who’s listening.

Want to Build Your Startup Skills? Pitch and Pitch In!

This article was originally posted on the Catalytic Women Blog by Melanie Hamburger (CEO and Founder of Catalytic Women) 

If you’re looking to develop your startup leadership skills, try volunteering for a non-profit or attending a pitch conference. 

image1Having spent most of my career in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, I can tell you that there isn’t much reward for risk-taking. Two of the smartest things I ever did to build my leadership were: go to a pitch conference and volunteer.

Six months ago, I attended Launch. It changed my perspective on everything about my work. Specifically, it made me more focused on profitability and more fearless about playing with the boys. (Sorry to admit it, but seeing them get up there and struggle with pitches made it seem a lot more accessible to someone like me, a working woman new to startup culture.)

Last weekend, I got to walk the talk. I pitched an idea at SF Startup Weekend Women’s Edition. Out of 41 pitches and 14 finalists, our team came in third (with a product to offer impact investing to young professionals). The experience was crazy and awesome – totally out of my comfort zone. I went into it not really knowing anything about the process; at Launch I’d only seen the final result of what happens when you join a team of strangers for 36 hours to make a dream tangible.

What was so special about this Startup Weekend? For one, it focused on women entrepreneurs. And, it created a space where we could be in the majority, doing something that we do so well naturally – collaborate and problem-solve. It also made me think about another ecosystem that has been central to my career success: nonprofits.

Nonprofits offer a safe place for women to build leadership skills. The U.S. Dept. of Labor says that in 2012, “women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics.”

Let’s face it, we like to roll up our sleeves, get involved, and give back. Yet there’s another, more personal, reason for women to volunteer – it builds leadership skills that can launch our careers, especially in male-dominated professions.

No one tries to solve big problems on limited resources like a nonprofit. Volunteering –especially on a committee or board – is a great training ground for public speaking, budgeting, project management, and sales and relationship building (skills key to fundraising). Points of Light Foundation (which also has a Civic Incubator – how cool is that?) and VolunteerMatch list thousands of opportunities to get involved.

Women bring unique skills to the table. We knew that even before Lean In. If you’re not getting the leadership opportunities you want at work, get them by volunteering. And then bring them back to your company.

Your success may depend on it.