Why designers should attend Startup Weekend?

Q: How does a designer feel in a hackathon dominated by people from business and tech fields?

It’s going to be challenging but you have a lot to contribute because you’re definitely needed. That also makes it easier to find a team that you’re interested in.

Q: In Startup Weekend what’s particularly interesting for a designer?

For me Startup Weekend is about trying ideas, some of them might breakthrough and become something that you may continue working on.

Most designers that I know are into creating something new and thinking about the user and customer side to make the best service, experience or product. I think all of the teams need to think about the triangle of feasibility, desirability and durability and they need people like designers to think about the desirability.

Q: What do you love about Startup Weekend apart from the great food?

I think the best part; the most rewarding part is that your network is expanding. You start working with people and you get to know them much better in a very short time. It’s not just sitting somewhere and talking, you’re actually working together intensely for two days.

Q: What sets Startup Weekend apart from other hackathons?

Startup Weekend is very open, people can come there and you can choose from a pool of various ideas. It’s very different and there are many different fields represented. I’ve been involved with medical startups, apps, games, social impact projects and services for companies. If you have time during the weekend there’s a lot that you can try, see and get inspired from.

Q: Would you and why would you encourage other designers to participate in Startup Weekend?

Because I know they can do a lot. Designers can help a team put their project into a tangible form that people can make sense out of after two days when you’re presenting it.

Q: What can a designer expect from an event like Startup Weekend?

Inspiration, networking, learning, getting to know more people and getting opportunities. You can get to know valuable people that you might need later on or they might contact you afterwards. You might find an interesting partner that you continue with afterwards which has happened many times for me.

Q: Has Startup Weekend ever helped your professional career?

Yeah, I found people that I’m now working with, some of them turned into good friends. I also have been working on some of the projects afterwards. It has always been inspiring for me and at the end of every Startup Weekend I’ve always come out happily no matter what happened. I’ve never regretted spending my weekend at Startup Weekend.

 

Pouria is now leading a startup called Grib that works in 3D solutions, check them out!

https://www.facebook.com/3dgrib

 

Startup Weekend Helsinki is organising another event in November find out more here: bit.ly/SWhki








Startup Weekend Winners: A Q&A with Orate Co-Founder Sara Capra

Sara Capra is the co-founder of Orate – a DC-based startup that makes it simple for event organizers to find speakers within their budgets.

Orate’s story began last year at Startup Weekend DC – an event where participants launch startups in less than 54 hours. Orate took first place in that weekend’s competition – even though Capra had taken a chance to be there in the first place.

Capra entered Startup Weekend with some concerns that her idea wouldn’t resonate with event participants. She was quickly proved wrong — she and Orate co-founder Veronica Eklund ended up building the largest team, which developed a mock-up of the future platform.

Sara shared Orate’s journey with Startup Weekend DC’s Elvina Kamalova. Answers have been edited for length and clarity:

Tell us about Orate.

Orate is an online platform that simplifies the process of finding, vetting, and booking public speakers simple. Our mission is twofold: 1) Make it easy to find quality speakers on any budget; and 2) Assist speakers in more effectively marketing themselves and getting them in front of the right audiences.

What was the role of Startup Weekend in starting and developing your project?

The Orate journey began at Startup Weekend DC in 2014. It was the launch pad for what Orate has become, and sparked the initial evolution of the concept. We began with an idea to alleviate the stress of filling last minute speaking cancellations. That resonated with many people, but through the feedback process over the weekend, we decided the business model around that was not one that would be sustainable.

Through our mentors, sending out surveys, and in-depth conversations with the team, we decided the business model needed to be based on more than that. Startup Weekend helped to give us the ecosystem and structure we needed to take our first big step in understanding how to test and validate our ideas.

How did you build your team?

Building the team during startup weekend was mostly organic. Initially, I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough interest. One of the great things about Startup Weekend is that you only need two people to work on an idea. My co-founder attended and joined my team, so we would be able to explore the idea no matter what. It turns out there was quite a bit of interest, and we ended up with the largest team in the competition. I thought our most important team member would be a developer, ideally one who knew front and back end since this was meant to be a web and mobile app.

One of the most important lessons I learned that weekend was how much you can do with a little bit of resourcefulness and creativity, when there’s a lack of technical expertise. We had a wonderful graphic designer.

As opposed to trying to build out any applications over the weekend, she instead mocked up what we wanted the website to look like. That way, we could walk the audience through the customer journey, without getting too bogged down with feature aspirations and technical details. After all, it was just the beginning! We knew if so much could change in one weekend, there were many more changes to come.

What are the biggest challenges in your startup journey?

The biggest challenges have shifted over time. Initially it was staying focused. There were so many things to be excited about – potential partnerships, big ideas, ideas within those ideas, the way you envision the company 1, 2, 3 years down the road.

The challenge is taking that long-term vision and working backward to map out your trajectory starting with today, and breaking down steps for initial short-term growth. We’re over a year in and have now seen a lot of our early ideas come to fruition. We are still constantly brainstorming, but we’re much more skilled at capturing ideas for a future state, and continuing to stay focused on the short-term execution to make them happen.

The other challenge we face is getting into the heads of our customers. Collectively, we’ve conducted hundreds of formal and informal interviews, feedback surveys, and tests. While there are times that what users say and what they do are parallel, we have found that monitoring their actions is most effective.

Did you have technical skills coming to SW?

Aside from some basic HTML (we all had MySpace, right?), I didn’t have any experience with coding going into Startup Weekend DC. However, attending the event and launching the company inspired me to spend more time learning about software development, and gave me the ability to discuss the basics of other languages when I need to.

Tell us how you realized your goal for building your venture.

I’m still getting there! We are in the middle of fundraising to get to our next phase. We have achieved a lot so far. We’ve scaled our speaker database extensively, had only positive feedback from clients, and launched a new website and subscription service. While I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, we don’t rest on our laurels. We have big plans moving forward and the wonderful team me and my co-founder have built is at the core of making those happen.

How did you raise your first funding?

We socialized Orate early and often. We pitched a lot, organized the data and financial information we had to help us have informed conversations, and put all of our cards and chips on the table. Our initial round was mostly from angel investors, and some funding came from the accelerator program Orate participated in called The Startup Factory.

What would be your advice to starting entrepreneurs?

Sharpen your communication skills. Entrepreneurs must always be networking and selling, even if their title or job responsibilities don’t formally include it. Entrepreneurs have to effectively communicate with and motivate their team to execute on the vision. They need to be good role models, and inspire the team to be brand advocates. Establishing and growing relationships are crucial to starting a company. Being a genuine, impactful, and effective communicator, is instrumental in that process.

It’s also important to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Take the “no’s,” the risk, the ambiguity, self-doubt, and constant change, and learn from it all. After you learn from it, embrace it. Two of the best things about life are that almost nothing is final and the possibilities are endless. Reflect on the lessons you learned, what led you there, and use them to make better, more informed decisions moving forward. This is one of the reasons it’s crucial to have good advisors and mentors. You need a brain trust that can help you step back, put things in perspective, and work through challenges.

To start your own startup story, join us for Startup Weekend on September 25-27. Register here and buy your tickets today!








Meet the Crew: David (organiser) – Townsville Startup Weekend 2015

Ever wondered who’s behind Townsville Startup Weekend 2015?

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David’s an organiser for this year’s event and shares his insight into what inspires him in the startup space and why he’s volunteered as an organiser in 2015.

The video was self-produced at beautiful Pallarenda, Townsville, Queensland, Australia and overlooks Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island.  It was a little windy, so as a viewer, you get the authentic Townsville waterfront experience.

Stay tuned for more videos in this series every few days!








VIDEO Retrospective of Startup Weekend Riga 2015-1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxb21MSqkr0








Mentor Spotlight: Olga Batura

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our mentors, Olga Batura. She will work intimately with you and your team, disseminating her knowledge and experiences, making sure you and your team will be successful.

Biography
Olga Batura

Olga specialises in international and European economic law. Her major research focus is on regulation of telecommunications, transnational trade in services and competition law. Olga studied in Minsk (Belarus), Bremen and Hamburg and defended her PhD thesis on regulation of universal service provision in 2013 at the University of Bremen. She is an associate professor for European law at the European Humanities University in Vilnius (Lithuania) and a research assistant at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.








Mentor Spotlight: Stephan Schöning

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our mentors, Stephan Schöning. He will work intimately with you and your team, disseminating his knowledge and experiences, making sure you and your team will be successful.

Biography
Stephan Schöning

Stephan Schöning is currently studying business administration on a postgraduate level at the University of Hamburg. Ever since his undergraduate studies he has been interested and involved in space related commercial activities and legal policy making. He has completed various internships in the aeronautic industry, the last one being with Lufthansa Technik in Shenzhen China, where his tasks included various procedural optimizations in view of export control compliance policies. As a former participant of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court, he is now an active research assistant at the University of Lüneburg and his primary interests lie at the interface of legal and business related topics in the space industry.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.








Judge Spotlight: Manfred Jaumann

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our judges, Manfred Jaumann. He will assess your team and your final product on Sunday evening, evaluating your business model, customer validation, technical and design execution.

Biography
Manfred Jaumann

Manfred Jaumann is currently Head of Operations Engineering & Services at Airbus Defence & Space, Business Line Space Systems in Bremen, Germany. Manfred has been with the Airbus Group since 1991, where he has held many positions at several locations and business sectors throughout Europe. Some of his many experiences include Head of Engineering Services, Head of Site Relations & New Projects, Head of International Affairs, and Head of Marketing with Airbus Defence & Space, Business Line Space Systems (formerly Astrium Space Transportation). He also has experience as the CEO of BEOS GmbH and Head of Offset Directorate at DASA Headquarters.

Manfred received his Master’s Degree in Air and Space Technology from the University of German Armed Forces Munich. He also received a diploma in Industrial Engineering and International Marketing from AKAD University. Manfred’s other experiences include serving in the German Armed Forces. He was a Captain in the German Air Force where he received an officer education in Surface-to-Air Missile systems such as HAWK and PATRIOT.

As a director in the leading European aerospace company, he is one of the leaders who will be driving change in the European space sector to usher in a new era where innovation and agility are key to maintaining our competiveness in the international market.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.








Speaker Spotlight: Tom Segert

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our speakers, Tom Segert.

Biography
Tom Segert

Tom is one of the founders of Berlin Space Technologies (BST); responsible for strategy and business development. BST is one of the five commercial companies in Germany that have the capability to build complete satellite systems and one of three that currently do. Prior the founding of BST in 2010 he has worked 5 years as cluster manager and speaker for the space industry network in Germany’s capital region (RiBB) and before that 3 years as project manager for space projects at TUB. In the last decade Tom has successfully challenged long held business paradigms and thus impacted the new space industry both globally and locally.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.








Judge Spotlight: Thomas Tanghe

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our judges, Thomas Tanghe. He will assess your team and your final product on Sunday evening, evaluating your business model, customer validation, technical and design execution.

Biography
Robert Bush Jr.

Thomas Tanghe is an Associate for SpaceTec Capital Partners, an advisory firm working with European institutions on high-tech strategies and providing start-up coaching on business development and internationalisation through its global network. SpaceTec is an accredited coaching partner from leading seed funds like Hightech-Gründerfonds and BayernKapital. Thomas’ expertise in innovative financing instruments for space ventures includes crowdfunding and other early-stage capital. Prior, he worked for the European Space Agency in the Industrial Policy Division at the research centre ESA ESTEC and the Policy Department at ESA HQ. Thomas started his consulting career as a Business Analyst for Deloitte Consulting. He has a Masters in General Management and a Masters in Industrial Engineering.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.








Mentor Spotlight: Silje Bareksten

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our mentors, Silje Bareksten. She will work intimately with you and your team, disseminating her knowledge and experiences, making sure you and your team will be successful.

Biography
Silje Bareksten

Silje has broad experience within startups and entrepreneurship; having engaged in starting several ventures in IT and tech, practicing entrepreneurship within established organizations and working with technology transfer processes taking top science from research to business. Her educational and professional background is in the crossing between science, technology and business with a BSc in Marketing and business development, a MSc in Science and Technology and a range of finance subjects. Silje is a specialist in merging tech solutions with business and commercial processes providing tactical and strategic advice. She also holds a BSc in Psychology and a coaching degree.

StartupWeekend Space is supported by the City of Bremen, the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, HE-Space, Design & Data, Space Angels Network, Startupbootcamp – Smart Transportation & Energy, Die Sparkasse Bremen, ZARM, Hill Media, as well as Up Global, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a hub for entrepreneurial space.