This post is by Tyler Koblasa, a long time Startup Weekend participant and the Founder and CEO at Ming.ly.
Wow. What a weekend!
Coming hot off the coattails of February’s Startup Weekend LA where Zaarly launched, this LASW was nothing less than amazing and as someone put, one of the best tech events in LA they had ever been to.
When tickets went on sale over a month ago, we expected the regular ticket sales cycle, however we were more than surprised when Startup Weekend LA sold out in 6 hours! When LASW kicked off Friday evening at Coloft, we had over 100 on the waitlist and countless requests from others to join the event.
Those who didn’t get a ticket in time turned to Zaarly where tickets sold on the SW “grey-market” for up to $450 per ticket (this being up for discussion with potential upcoming policy changes).
Friday evening rolled around and Startup Weekend LA was underway! Special guests joining us at the event included Nick Seguin of Kauffman Foundation, Marc Nager (Global Director and CEO of Startup Weekend), Joey Pomerenke (Chief Marketing Officer at Startup Weekend) along with attendees visiting from across the country including Omaha, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Seattle, San Francisco and someone even in from Hong Kong.
With the pitching energy escalating in the room, regular pitches began a short after. We had over 30 pitches and classic SW team voting that followed, resulting in the final 12 most popular ideas. Team formation and recruiting was underway!
Everyone joined back at Coloft at 9:00 AM the following morning and worked hard throughout the day. Several teams disassembled themselves, joining other teams as well as one new company surfaced off in the corner with no one seeming to notice. Throughout the day, random shouts of “Startup Weekend success!” could be heard when a new feature was added or revelation came to mind.
Saturday evening wrapped up with Avesta Rasouli (Co-founder of Coloft and LASW Co-organizer) playing the LASW Saturday evening ritual of Alec Baldwin’s famous scene in “Glengarry Glen Ross” — Coffee is for Closers, go sell something! Throughout Coloft, there are pieces of art (and stickers) around this theme.
Groups returned Sunday morning to be greeted by a full service breakfast–there’s nothing like having an delicious avocado, cheese, bacon scramble along with breakfast burritos and bagels after a Saturday Startup Weekend hacking hangover. Some attendees came in a bit later on Sunday as they coded and designed throughout the previous night however everyone was “in the Loft” by mid-morning, along with other guests.
Music cranked throughout the day with repeated playing of “Eye of the Tiger” and the “Final Countdown” mixed in with tracks from Deadmau5 — keeping the energy at elevated levels at all times. The countdown to 5:00 PM came near and teams were then cut off from continuing to work. Groups rehearsed in every way possible, making sure their presentation covered the Problem, the Solution, How it makes Money along with showing off a killer demo.
Evening guests and judges and guests, visitors and teams mingled away enjoying appetizers and snacks.
Finally, it was time for final presentations! 14 teams took the stage and after in-depth deliberations by the judges, prizes were awarded:
1st Place – Look.io
2nd Place – Skillop
3rd Place – Omaze
Honorable Mention – Swadar
Factual Kindle giveaway (Amazon Kindle’s given to the entire team) – Company.is
CyberCoders also awarded best “hacker award” of DRONES to 1st and 2nd place team’s “best hacker.”
The week ended with a bang with quite a turn out and really a new level of presentations and all around hard work. Nice work by everyone and congrats to our winners!!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @tylerkoblasa on Twitter.
Get out there and sell something. Coffee is for closers!