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Who attends a Startup Weekend and who would win in a bar fight?

The developer

The designer


The entrepreneur

Okay, they didn’t walk into a bar, but they did walk into Biz Dojo for another edition of Startup Weekend Wellington (SWWLG).

Each Startup Weekend a bunch of strangers get together to tackle real world problems, create businesses and learn some new and rather unique skills.

How does it work?

People buy tickets to the weekend long Startup event. Participants pitch an idea on a Friday evening. Teams then form around the most popular ideas. The newly formed teams spend the rest of the weekend exploring the idea in more detail with the aim of pitching a validated and functional business idea to a Panel of expert judges on the Sunday evening.

The Designer


Name: Warren

Design discipline: Graphic

Why did you come to SWWLG?  I like being able to do something outside of my normal working realm. I like competition and jumping out of my comfort zone.

As a designer, what did you learn? At SWWLG you can’t just dive into a project and then re-scope. Here you don’t have that time. You have to go back to the roots of the design process, there is no time for error. SWWLG and our business (Tane Kaha) made me go back to the creative process and be really thorough.

Who would win in a bar fight? Whoever is the better fighter. Whoever loses is the person that assumes they are the best.

Why is design important? Communication.

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? Expect the unexpected and find the best team!

Final words: I was really impressed with all of the volunteers and people running the programme. To see them all come together on this!

The Developer


Name: Jordan

Best thing about being a dev? The ability to create shit. I enjoy the ability to make some of these real!

Role this weekend? I led the team

Who would win in a bar fight? The designer probably cares about what they look like and goes to the gym so they would kick my ass.

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? Take advice with a grain of salt.

What do you wish you knew before you came in?

I enjoyed being thrown in the deep end and trying to get a team together and develop an idea.

Did you have a moment when you thought shit this won’t work? Saturday afternoon around 4pm when we started looking into raising capital

Final words: This has been a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

The Entrepreneur (non-technical)


Name: Katy

Role this weekend? Business development and market research. I’m also pitching!

Day jobs: Full time running Square (event discovery platform) and part time running Iruya (ethical trading with accessories)

What can a non-tech bring to SWWLG? It is really important because a lot of this weekend involves idea validation – talk to potential customers to refine the value proposition – how we can solve their problem. Really identify where we fit in the market. Big picture perspective.

Who would win in a bar fight? Non-tech because we are used to using all of the resources and thinking outside the box (Jackie Chan styles… you do what you can to win the fight)

What advice would you give to someone coming to the next event? It’s really important before you come to figure out that if you want to work on an idea you are really passionate about or if you want to learn about the process. What is your goal?

Final words: You don’t need a tech idea to come and do this. A lot of the ideas that are here now don’t have much to do with tech!

The Mentor


Name: Sunit

Expertise: Business Models

Have you ever participated in SWWLG? Yes, I came in with an idea of having an online platform to match performers with venues.

Wisdom drop: Clarity of thought. Speed of execution.

Why should someone come to SWWLG? It’s a really good training ground for early stage entrepreneurs. If you have an idea that you want to see if it has any merit or traction then this is a really good space to learn.

Who would win in a bar fight? You are missing the hustler, they will always win because she will bring the money home!

What is one bit of advice you give every Startup weekend? I don’t give advice. I ask questions, what are you trying to do? What is the problem you are trying to solve?

Can you think of a time when you really helped a team out of a rut? A lot of the time the teams that form at SWWLG miss the finance person – that’s where I feel I have the most impact.

Final words: Do not miss this event! There are so many good things happening in Silicon Welly – don’t miss this one!

The Judge


Name: Suse

Expertise: Angel investment and international trade (I’m a used diplomat)

What Judges tips do you give out every Startup Weekend? First, be your very best self, especially when you are working with investors. It’s like a marriage, if you aren’t honest going in, then there will be problems. Secondly, Don’t take it personally if you don’t get investment, even though it is personal. You aren’t going to connect with every investor.

Have you ever participated in a startup weekend?

Yes, it was so much fun. I remember the energy and then getting to the end of sunday evening and feeling wrung out. People were so excited about what they had achieved.

Who would win in a bar fight? The entrepreneur because they conjure up an image of somebody who has broad shoulders and a beard and they’d be good in a fight.

What is the first thing you notice when a team comes up to pitch? Are they smiling. Does it matter if they are smiling? No. It just gives me a sense of the kind of person that they are.

Have you ever told anyone to stop in the middle of their pitch? No

Final words: The world needs more of you!

The Team

There is no weekend without the organising team – did you know they are all volunteers? Hats off to you – SWWLG Squad!

Hannah Wignall Hannah Wignall