Meet the Tech Giants Helping Startup Weekend DC Flip the Ratio

It’s Saturday afternoon, and another Startup Weekend DC event is underway. Participants met last night at 1776 in Crystal City, where they formed teams to prototype ideas within 54 hours.

Those teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges tomorrow night: Allyson Burns, SVP of Communications at Revolution LLC; Shavanna Miller, Co-Founder & CEO of Bloompop; Arti Anand, Co-Founder + CMO of Prevoo; and Caron De Mars of the Connect to Success women’s entrepreneurship program at the US Embassy in Portugal.

We can’t wait to see these ideas come to life — because we know that this city helps innovators fulfill their potential. DC is already America’s best city for women in tech; 37% of our local tech workforce is filled by women.

We are so close to 50-50 parity  — and events like Flip the Ratio this weekend highlight the collective work being done to get there.

We could not host Flip the Ratio without our sponsors and community partners. Their tireless efforts throughout the DC tech scene have helped bring this weekend to life.

Learn more about their efforts below:

Platinum Sponsor

Crystal City is is home to the Consumer Electronics Association (producers of ICES, the world’s largest electronics show), PBS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and countless other companies. It is also the largest downtown area in Arlington — and known as its most innovative.

Gold Sponsor

Arlington, Virginia, is the second largest principal city in the Washington, DC Metro area. It is also a community that embraces entrepreneurship — and welcomes new companies from outside the area. Startup Arlington is offering one tech startup three months of free office and living space, as well as legal advice, public transport incentives, and more. Learn more and apply by October 17.

Silver Sponsor

Halcyon Incubator is committed to solving 21st century challenges throughout the nation and world. By helping social entrepreneurs transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures, the Halcyon Incubator acts as a catalyst for measurable social outcomes. Think you can help them make a difference? Applications for are open through October 14th.

Community Partners

General Assembly DC  holds classes on tech, business, and design with top tier instructors. They transform thinkers into creators, and were named the world’s most innovative education startup by Fast Company.

UXDC Conference (on October 9th and 10th) offers insights from the people influencing UX strategy and delivering results across DC’s unique mix of government, nonprofit, association, and business organizations. It is the largest 2-day conference in the DC Metro area designed to help user experience professionals get ahead. Use the code STARTUPWEEKEND15OFF for 15% off your ticket.

DCFemtech is a coalition of women leaders aimed at amplifying women in tech organizations, sharing resources, and bringing leaders together to close the gender gap. Their monthlong Tour de Code kicks off this Wednesday, September 30; click here to learn more.

Modev is a community committed to connecting developers (and those in the development ecosystem) to on the latest platforms, methods, and ideas to stay ahead.

DC Web Women is a professional organization of more than 3,000 members located in the Washington, DC metro area. As part of their goal to support the DC tech scene, DCWW partners with like-minded local tech and non-tech communities and groups

Night Owls is an open and inclusive after-hours community of adventurous self-starters turning big ideas into exciting projects. They do this by organizing co-working sessions at businesses and co-working spaces around town each week.

Girl Develop It DC provides a community where women can learn how to code with no prior experience. While they focus their mission and messaging on women, they’re women inclusive — not women only. Like Flip the Ratio, Girls Develop DC encourages men to join them as teachers, teacher assistants, sponsors, even students!

Iron Yard DC offers immersive coding courses. Students can study Back End Engineering, Data Science, Front End Engineering, and Mobile Engineering — all with the goal to kickstart new careers.

Impact Hub is an events and coworking space for a global community of professionals taking action to drive positive social and environmental change.

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund helping startups transform industries that impact millions of lives every day — education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation, and cities.

Web Content Mavens is a DC-based networking group focused on web and mobile management, technology, marketing, and strategy.

DCINNO offers news, insight, and analysis about DC tech, startups, lifestyle, and sports.

SILICON HILL reports on the DC tech and startup scene to bring readers the latest news, events, and relevant insights.

Digital Partner

Glassbreakers offers mentorship for the modern workforce and enterprise software solutions for diversity. They believe that transformative change is possible when we all participate. Accordingly, their mission is to empower everyone to break the glass ceiling.

Startup Weekend is coming to Kuwait again!


Third Startup Weekend is coming to town again! The goal of this event is to create an environment where passionate people can come together to get things done; to learn, network, bridge the gap between trades, expose potential and see actual results. Continue reading “Startup Weekend is coming to Kuwait again!”

I HAVE AN IDEA! shhhh dont tell anybody…

Have you ever heard or said this before?


“I have an idea, but don’t tell anybody”


Check out these ideas on sharing your idea by experienced entrepreneur Darren Cook


Mackay Startup Weekend 2015 Launched!

Startup Weekend Mackay 2015 (Up Global Banner)

Startup Weekend Mackay 2015

23 to 25 October 2015

Hosted at Building 1 – Central Queensland University Mackay, Ooralea

This is the 1st Startup Weekend ever held in Mackay, Queensland Australia!

Our community, Startup Mackay has only just formed in the last 3 months and in that time, it has been rapidly expanding!  With this Startup Weekend, we’re going to further ignite the flame of innovation in the region and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs. Come along and help make your mark!

The goal is to create an environment where passionate people can come together to get things done; to learn, network, bridge the gap between trades, expose potential and see actual results.

We’re in the process of lining up judges, mentors, and speakers right now, but suffice to say there’s some exciting things in store for the weekend.  You’ll talk to successful local startup founders and CEOs through to design creatives and other National figures.

If you’re in Central Queensland or just want to join us for the weekend, come along to Mackay Startup Weekend 2015! Tickets are available now!

Even if you can’t make it, join our Meetup group, and check out the awesome live updates on Twitter.  We’ll have some super-duper videos and reports out of the weekend too.

Startup Weekend Limerick is Back!!!!

We are back and this time it is personal 🙂

We are launching Limericks third ever Startup Weekend, This October 2nd-October 4th at the Nexus Innovation Centre and the CSIS Building in the University of Limerick. On the back of two previous and highly successful startup weekends in Limerick. October is huge for Limerick, Innovate Limerick are running the first ever International Cluster Conference in Ireland, we have Startup Weekend and this is followed by The Startup Gathering week and Limerick Enterprise week. We had to run a Startup Weekend. 11-12 days straight of Startupppy events on in Limerick, this must be some kind of record!!!

What is a Startup Weekend?

“Startup Weekend is fundamentally disrupting the way the world is approaching entrepreneurial education” – Startup Weekend

“Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide experiential education for technical and non-technical 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 Pitch competition to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs”

It is an electric experience of idea generation, validation and testing. Teams are pushed hard by each other, there are some really quality mentors there to guide and assist you… After all you are building a startup idea in just 54hrs. Minimal Viable Product is key!! Well that and getting to know Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh really early (That is a free Tip)

Here is a little Video: Startup Weekend Trailer

Who is it for?

Startup weekend is for anybody of any age who is interested in the Startup world, maybe you’re interested in testing an idea or maybe you just want to have an incredible experience while meeting really ambitious, cool and creative people. So we are calling out Product Designers, Developers, Marketers, Professionals, Students, Innovators to get involved. We have had solicitors, high ranking Multi-National staff and even professional rugby players involved before. Spread the word… That is your job (After you sign up of course 🙂

Why should you attend?

Outside of the free T-shirts, Advice, Food and Drink for the weekend, the new relationships you build and the chance to build a startup in 54hrs… it being a really cool experience with truly amazing people. It is a huge opportunity to test an idea and/or be involved in a team. The weekend is electric, the ideas are incredible and it really is a weekend you won’t forget.

A colourful crew :)
A colourful crew 🙂

What Startup Weekend can do for you?

Gene Murphy a fan of Startup Weekend. – From Red Eye Media – Click Here to hear what Gene had to say.

This is an opportunity to not only meet new people, it is a real chance to challenge yourself and push social norms!! Startup Weekend gives you a very different way of thinking and this gets this new way of thinking embedded in your thoughts process really quickly. The place will be buzzing and so will you introverts and extroverts alike. I’ve personally seen people become very different after startup weekends. I’ll put it another don’t be shocked if for a couple of weeks after – the day job just isn’t enough.

How can you help?

By assisting us in spreading the word. We want to have a huge audience on the Sunday night for the pitch competition. We’re talking 200-300 people. That is what these teams deserve and that is what we will deliver with your help. So…. Get this out to Developers/Programmers, Media/Press, SMEs, Startups, Multi-Nationals, Business People, Lecturers and Students that you know and help us run the best Startup Weekend we possibly can.

If you have any questions Tweet us on @SWLimerick or Email on

An impressive social side ;)

15 Things Overheard at Startup Weekend NYC’s Health Innovation Panel

This post was written by Kimberly Kyle Hall, our moderator for the panel, and Co-Lead Organizer for our Health + Fitness Edition, coming on June 12 to 14, 2015. Tickets on sale here.

From left to right, Dr. Bobby Green, an attendee asking a question, Derek Flanzraich, Michael Kopko, Fon Powell, and Dr. Calvin Hwang
From left to right, Dr. Bobby Green of Flatiron Health, an attendee asking a question, Derek Flanzraich of Greatist, Michael Kopko of Oscar Health Insurance, Fon Powell of SALT LLC, and Calvin Hwang of CityMD. (Photos by Frank Fukuchi)

For our second “pre-event” leading up to our Health + Fitness Edition in NYC (the first being a ride with SoulCycle!), Startup Weekend NYC hosted a panel to discuss innovation and growth opportunities in the Healthcare Industry. This was a sold out event held at WeWork Soho Lounge, and included a group meditation facilitated by Buddhify. We were fortunate to be joined by:

  • Derek Flanzraich: Founder and CEO of Greatist
  • Dr. Bobby Green: VP of Clinical Strategy of Flatiron Health
  • Calvin Hwang: CXO of CityMD
  • Mike Kopko: Head of Business Development of Oscar Health Insurance
  • Fon Powell: Founder of SALT (Sodium Analyte Level Test LLC)

After an hour of very lively discussion and facilitating questions from the attendees, we pulled together this list of 15 things that were most interesting points to come from the event:

  1. Healthcare is having a tremendous moment now!
  2. Surprisingly, numbers point to the reality that millennials are not any healthier than their age group was a generation ago.
  3. NYC is a “startup” startup-scene.
  4. Let’s get doctors doing more doctor stuff less administrative work.
  5. Opportunities around the “consumerization” of healthcare have never been so numerous and fantastic!
  6. NYC is offering startups incredible science and technology resources to build amazing Health tech solutions.
  7. It’s exciting to hear about how technology is completely changing how an entire industry is operating.
  8. I am not sure we are seeing another industry be so completely disrupted.
  9. Building a company in the healthcare space is challenging but knowing those unique differences can make or break a company.
  10. Preventive health is a broader and more impactful approach to health living!
  11. We need to create partnerships in healthcare to help push prevention to the forefront of people mindset.
  12. An integrated view of health history is super important to provide consumers with the best tools to work with doctors.
  13. Healthcare very scattered, not enough focus on patients and patient care specifically. Data will change things!
  14. Responsibility around regulations and privacy is very high.
  15. NYC offering next level tech talent and a great consumer base for consistent growth!

Female adventure travel startup team wins Summit County Startup

History repeated itself this weekend in Summit County. The winning team of Startup Weekend – Adrenaline Escapes – came from behind to win the business event. The same scenario happened last year for Gr8tful Giveback, the winning team of the first Startup Weekend.

Shawna Henderson from Adrenaline Escapes puts the finishing touches on her pitch for the Sunday night judging event at Summit County Startup Weekend

Shawna Henderson, the visionary behind Adrenaline Escapes, pitched her idea on Friday. She wasn’t voted into the top six ideas in the first round. But, like a true entrepreneur, she heard “no,” persisted and morphed her idea with the help of her fiery teammate and now CFO Kimberly Swank. The two of them spent all weekend working alongside four other teams to emerge as the winner of the final pitch on Sunday night.

Startup Weekend is an event designed to help entrepreneurs, visionaries and dreamers bring their ideas to life and launch a business in a weekend. Summit County Startup Weekend was hosted from April 10 to 12 at two new coworking spaces in Frisco – ELEVATE coSPACE and evo3 Workspace – and attracted about 50 people. The weekend helped to launch five new business ideas.

Photo by Amy Kemp

All five of the teams are planning to continue their work, said Larry Sullivan, lead organizer. According to Sullivan, all five of the teams had viable ideas and businesses. Needless to say, it was a difficult decision for the judges.

The winners – selected for customer validation, business model and execution/design – of Summit County Startup Weekend were:

1st place: Adrenaline Escapes with Shawna Henderson and Kimberly Swank

An app to connect adventure travel visitors to local guides to help them push their limits, find the local stashes and elevate their trip

2nd place: Malaria Detection Systems led by Scott Byker

A software system that connects with a digital microscope to detect malaria in blood samples much faster and much more accurately to help prevent malaria deaths

Merrily Talbott from Team Savvy pitches to the judges on Sunday night during Summit County Startup Weekend.

3rd place: Savvy led by Merrily Talbott

A counseling program to help college-age students (and other young adults) get real-time advice and support from trained counselors through text messages and phone calls

The other teams who will continue pursuing their businesses are:

Eazy Shade led by Bobby Gibbs

A retractable sun shade that easily mounts to your windshield and can be printed/branded with company or sports team logos

Skillit led by Michael Lazarus

An app geared toward young men who don’t know how to cook. The app offers step-by-step professionally produced videos of specific recipes, a recipe finder and how to videos

Congrats to all of the teams. For more information about Startup Weekend, follow us on social: or @summitcountysw.


Starting Your Business in Norway? KPMG Advises on Responsible Accounting

In support of the startup community in Norway, Startup Weekend Stavanger (SWS) were invited to do an exclusive interview with KPMG’s legal accounting team. Read on to find out what they advise from the most common accounting mistakes that startups make in year one to the key tax issues to consider when starting a new business.

KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
SWS: What is the most common accounting mistakes that new businesses make in year one of their startup business?

KPMG: The most common mistake is that new businesses underestimate the value of good routines for bookkeeping. If you do not establish routines, and get behind with this, you will have big challenges even though you have the greatest business idea. We often see lack of knowledge and competence connected to accounting and to the legal framework, especially for small enterprises with few employees and lack of people with economic background. However, good order and systems will sometimes even be more important than knowledge and competence. New businesses must also be aware of the liquidity. When expanding, it might take some time until you see the income, however, salary costs and other costs will apply continuously.

SWS: What are the key tax issues to consider when starting a business in Norway?

KPMG: The overall main issue is to act in accordance with reporting requirements and tax reporting deadlines from the first day. If you start failing on this, it might be time consuming and expensive to align afterwards. Of course, it is of importance to investigate which tax rules that will apply for you, based on how your business is organized. For example, there is a beneficial rule named “SkatteFUNN” that might lead to reduced taxes for businesses conducting research and development.

If you sell goods and/or services to other countries, please note that such business activity might lead to tax- and reporting obligation in the other country.

If you hire employees, it is important, among others, to make the required registrations, establish a separate bank account for withholding tax, and establish the required pension scheme (OTP) Incidentally, we recommend that you hire an accountant to handle the above, potentially with assistance from a tax adviser.

SWS: For simplicity and cost savings, many startups begin their business as a sole proprietorship. What advice would you give from an accounting and tax perspective when starting a business under this company form?

KPMG: The advantage of establishing a Sole Proprietorship is that it is easy to establish. However, please note that you are personal responsible. A Private Limited company will in principle limit your risk to the share capital. A private Limited company will also often be perceived as more professional in the market.

SWS: Many startups get confused about VAT, such as knowing when to charge VAT and knowing when to register themselves as a VAT registered business. What is your advice to startups to avoid any tax and accounting issues with VAT?

KPMG: From the time you exceed a turnover of NOK 50 000, you are obliged to register for VAT. However, some business are exempt, for example financial services, health and education. Some advice that could imply a significant benefit is to apply for an advance registration in the VAT register. This is possible if you have had investments exceeding NOK 250 000 including VAT, and it means that you are permitted to deduct VAT even if you have no turnover. It is also important to be aware of the possibility of exception within some industries, for example the petroleum industry.

SWS: In the first year of a business, startups often don’t have the funds to employ a professional accountant or lawyer to assist them with their business activities. What is your advice to startups in this situation?

KPMG: We fully understand that the main focus is to build up the business, and that you do not want to spend much money on compliance. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, it is very important to handle at least the minimum requirements for tax and reporting. There is no doubt that it will save you from concerns and costs if you handle this correctly from the start. We also recommend to contact some advisers that you can contact when you need it.

SWS: Are there specific accounting practices in Norway that differ from other markets that startups need to be aware of? Where can startups learn more about these accounting laws?

KPMG: The rules will in general be the same. However, within some industries there might be separate rules and principles, for example within oil and gas and within some manufacturing enterprises.

If you need more information, please read about KPMG Accounting’s services on the following link here. [In Norwegian].

SWS: With thanks to the following KPMG representatives for their time and advice for this article:

  • Marius Basteviken, Partner, Attorney at law and Business Economist at KPMG Law. Specialist in corporate tax and Transfer Pricing
  • Anne Tengs-Pedersen, Attorney-at-Law at KPMG Law, and specialised in individual taxes and employment law for Norwegian employees as well as for cross border workers.
  • Marit Opstad, Associate Attorney-at-law at KPMG law, specialised in VAT

kpmg_logoSee KPMG‘s website for more information on their services.

Why doesn’t everyone want to start their own business?

Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event is sponsored by DNB, which is Norway’s largest financial services group. Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder, gives her perspective on partnering with Startup Weekend Stavanger as a Platinum Sponsor.

Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder
Kristine Moe Sirnes, DNB

After having worked hard (and a lot) with getting to know what Startup is all about, I can’t understand why everyone who is still trying to figure out what to do with their life, won’t consider starting their own business!

Okay, so you need a good idea, I get that 😉

All jokes aside, here’s some of what I’ve learned this past year or so.

Working with corporate marketing in DNB is fun, I enjoy almost every single day! We want to engage and encourage more people to start their own businesses. We are cheering for the entrepreneurs, the people who are willing to create not only their own, but new jobs for others as well! We want to share our knowledge and help people build healthy companies by cheering, coaching and giving them economical advice and counselling. No matter the circumstances, we aim at being there for all businesses. Every day. And when it matters the most.

I have learned a lot about entrepreneurship this past year. It’s a never ending learning process, and it thrills me every time I’m in touch with the startup-environment.

Throughout 2014 I was out and about a lot – participating, joining, meeting, presenting, communicating, listening and asking a lot of questions! What gives me a kick is that this is such an incredibly exciting business! We have met all sorts of people and entrepreneurs. So many interesting businesses – and it’s very rewarding when we get to work together with companies like Innovasjon Norge, Skape, Ipark and many more.I love what we have accomplished by working together and towards the same goal – helping and being the best for each other.

If you haven’t yet visited Open Coffee or any of the various co-working spaces in Stavanger east – Mess & Order, Absinthen, Erfjordgt. 8 or Tinnfabrikken yet, be sure to do so! And I am sure you’ll be as amazed as I am when you get to spend time in the exciting facilities hosting Startup Weekend right now – Innovation Dock. I love spending time in Stavanger East!

Anyway – one of the most fun, engaging and amazingly inspiring events we participated at last year when we were out and about, was Startup Weekend Stavanger in October. The concept is great! This is so edutainment! Loads of fun and extremely educational. All kinds of inspiring people, (most of them a lot younger than me though 😉 If I were to contemplate on starting my own business this would so be the event to attend! But, I sincerely think that the Startup Weekend event is a great place for anyone to join, as you get to embrace the positive energy that evolves when people eager to create and innovate get together.

Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
I am very glad we are engaged as a Startup Weekend Stavanger Platinum Sponsor again this year.

I have personally been impatiently waiting for a very interesting report that is soon to be released and published (20th of April). Menon Business Economics has studied a variety of successful Startups from 2003 and up until last year. Menon Business Economics has been digging for information on what successful entrepreneurs have in common. Do they have certain similarities? What do they have in common? What is it about these specific cases that made them successful? I don’t know of any similar study, which makes me very happy that it was DNB who decided to have this type of research done. I’m hoping this is a kind of recipe on how you might succeed as an entrepreneur.

DNB cropped

And I can’t wait for us to be able to share this information with you and with everyone. You are hereby specially invited to spend half an hour with us on Saturday 25th of April, when we are ready to share the headlines with you. We will be celebrating the official opening of our flagship store in Stavanger city center by giving you a little festival with OnklP, Highasakite and Leo Ajkic, among others. Around noon we’ll present the report and show you some cool stuff 😉 (That said, I think you should join us for the entire day of course, check out details about the full program here. It’s free and there will be some great live music, an outdoor scene, entertainment and hopefully some great edutainment as well!

Lots of luck at the Startup Weekend event! I hope to see you all at our event by our Stavanger-flagshipstore on the 25th this month!

Best regards – Kristine

DNB is Norway’s largest financial services group and one of the largest in the Nordic region in terms of market capitalisation. The Group offers a full range of financial services, including loans, savings, advisory services, insurance and pension products for retail and corporate customers. For more information see here.

11 Brilliant Best Practices at Startup Weekend Education NYC

As a first-time facilitator for the 4th installment of Startup Weekend Education New York City (@SWNYCEDU, #NYCEDU), I was both literally and figuratively taken to school.

Led by the incomparable Deborah Chang, the well-synced and ragtag organizational team of David Fu, Benjamin Newton, Laura Patterson, and Ingrid Spielman (with community leader Andrew Young as advisor) delivered a sold-out, knock-out event on May 27th.

Let the games begin. (You can't read that without hearing the Bane voice.)
Let the games begin. (You can’t read that without hearing the Bane voice.)

In between real-talk mentoring and the occasional selfie, I took many mental notes about some best practices I saw at SWNYCEDU that I think should be replicated across all SWEDU events, if not Startup Weekend itself.

For your consideration:

1. Hold the event at a school, but in an open area

It’s a common understand that a SWEDU event (or Startup Weekend in general) should take place in a school – plenty of whiteboards, space, breakout rooms, and common areas. If teams are all in classrooms, however, they won’t interact with each other as much, which inhibits the core purpose of building community.

Wide open spaces. (Dixie Chicks serious.)
Wide open spaces. (Dixie Chicks serious.)

SWNYCEDU put most of the teams out in a common area, giving each station a huge whiteboards, sufficient tables, and open spaces to roam and float to other teams. The result: a willingness to share and collaborate that supersedes the spirit of competition.

2. Give out lanyards with ALL of the FAQ information you’ll need

“What’s the wifi password, again?”
“What’s the Twitter hashtag for this event?”
“How do I know you’re actually supposed to be here?”

I'm so excited to be wearing a lanyard that I'm practically crooning.
I’m so excited to be wearing a lanyard that I’m practically crooning.

Not a problem when it’s hanging around your neck at all times. Key information is great to have, and it’s also a reusable, standardized way to maintain formality and security at the event.

3. Use a text-messaging app to send out alerts

More compelling than email or social media, texting gets people’s attention faster and adds another method of outreach to a crowd of focused, stressed-out participants.

Alternatively, we could have Ben do this to all 100+ participants. Fun to watch, but not efficient.
Alternatively, we could have Ben do this to all 100+ participants. Fun to watch, but not efficient.

4. Provide advance information and office hours signups for mentors

Figuring out how to coordinate members seemed like an impossible art to me, but this group worked it out well by creating a station for teams to review and request mentors.

Mentors are perhaps the most valuable resource at any Startup Weekend event. Choose, but choose wisely.
Mentors are perhaps the most valuable resource at any Startup Weekend event.

Coaches were asked to come at specific times, and teams sign up to meet with them on a first-come, first-serve basis. This eased confusion greatly for everyone.

5. Provide 3 phases of mentoring: brainstorm, focus, and presentation

Traditionally in other Startup Weekends, mentors pop in an event at various, even unpredictable times, and sometimes their advice does not mesh well with the team’s general progress. Some are already validated and advanced, and some are still searching for that “thing.”

Ben and I brainstorm with one of the participants.
Ben and I brainstorm with one of the participants.

SWNYCEDU takes these variations into account and brings in mentors during Saturday morning and afternoon strictly for brainstorm and validation.

Deborah and a volunteer listen and provide feedback.

In the evening, they bring in mentors (usually Startup Weekend veterans) who aim to provide focus after a long day of retaining multiple opinions and ideas.

Team Wizart practices their pitch.
Team Wizart practices their pitch.

By Sunday, SWNYCEDU brings in coaches who specialize specifically in pitch practice and communication, not business content or validation. This overall strategy gives teams a bit more structure and clarity as they evolve their ideas into bona fide companies.

6. Use Google Slides to present pitches seamlessly…

Simply put, there are far too many different ways to present at a Startup Weekend. Teams tend to present off their own laptops and switch back and forth between operating systems and format. In my opinion, this is a clunky and volatile process.

I've got a fever, and the only prescription... is Google Slides.
I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription… is Google Slides.

SWNYCEDU had one computer for the entire presentation setup, so they used a single format (Google Slides) and uploaded everything into the cloud. A huge amount time was saved overall between transitions.

7. … make teams do web demos (and tech check in advance)…

Tech Check is a rough job, yet vital to the success of your event. Make sure you run it right.
Tech Check is a rough job, yet vital to the success of your event. Make sure you run it right.

Doing live demos are traditionally considered a big risk at Startup Weekend – technical failures are perhaps forgiven but not forgotten. With only one computer for all 13 presentations, all demos also had to be sent up to the cloud and tested by 3pm.

8. … and put links to both decks and demos in a single Google Doc

A little embarrassing backstory: Startup Weekenders should always consider Murphy’s Law – whatever can happen will happen. This happened to me when I foolishly opened up every single presentation and demo into a single web browser and, to no one with a basic understanding of IT, crashed the system.

How I was feeling during that stressful 20-minute tech reboot.
How I was feeling during that stressful 20-minute tech reboot.

Organizer David Fu stepped up in a huge way to reboot the system and put all of the links to the slides, demos, and videos in a chronologically organized Google Doc. Once everything was back in order, the process went smoothly. Despite the 20-minute technical delay, we finished the event on time.

9. Serve dinner while the judges deliberate

As a past organizer and volunteer, I’ve never known what to do with the judges deliberation period. Dinner usually is served after presentations are submitted, and in the past I’ve seen ways to pass the time such as Community Asks or some light video or entertainment.

Finally, a moment to relax in a 54-hour maelstrom.
Finally, a moment to relax in a 54-hour maelstrom.

Serving dinner gets people to talk across teams, offer congratulations, and take their minds off the anxious decision that awaits them. Good food placates all.

10. Make animated GIFs of yourselves whenever possible

Taking on a new initiative that gets communities also doing Startup Weekends simultaneously, we made some fun little animated images for our friends in D.C., who held a Maker-themed event of their own. I think this speaks for itself.

Nothing but love for #SWDCMaker. Photo generated by Laura Patterson with GIFMe!

If only we made more… Andrew Young, I’m looking right at you.

Finally, and most importantly of all:

11. Have a team that puts vision, guests, and team above ego

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Team SWNYCEDU. There was not an iota of attitude among any of them. When things went right, they showered each other with support and praise. When things went wrong, they responded to the problems with solutions rather than stand around and point fingers.

What a terrific team and Startup Weekend community!
What a terrific team and Startup Weekend community!

On top of that, they were an absolute pleasure to work with. I laughed at Laura and Ingrid’s wry jokes, felt secure by Ben and Deborah’s unflinching professionalism, and may have found some long-lost cousins in Fu and Young. You couldn’t buy a better team than this one – they’ll do it all for free.

In short, I learned a lot at Startup Weekend Education New York City. I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this, too. Can’t wait to come back next year… perhaps as a participant? =)

Lee Ngo was the facilitator of Startup Weekend Education New York and is a Regional Manager at UP Global, the parent organization of Startup Weekend. To learn more about UP Global and its efforts to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship throughout the world, you can email him at

To reach out or get involved with the Startup Weekend New York City community, reach out to or specifically to contact the SWNYCEDU organizers.

Photos from this event courtesy of Frank Fukuchi and the organizers and volunteers of Startup Weekend New York City. All rights reserved. 

More about Education Entrepreneurs

Education Entrepreneurs is the largest initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to improve education. Its suite of offerings include Startup Weekend Education, Startup Digest Education, Workshops, online resources, and a global network of Community Leaders. Spanning six continents, Education Entrepreneurs has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.