Competition is on a lot of people’s minds with the upcoming Superbowl and the recent start of the long-awaited NHL season, but this weekend there is another competition going on near the UW that has entrepreneurs fired up- Startup Weekend.
Startup Weekend is a movement which helps entrepreneurs learn the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. In a nutshell, teams have 54 hours to build a startup from scratch. Not just a proposal, but build a business model, code, design, and get market validation. You know, the kind of thing that can often take years.
At 7 p.m last night, more than 100 people poured through the doors of UW’s Alder Commons buzzing with excitement for the start of the weekend. The ages of participant ranged from 18-45 years old, their fields of expertise just as widely spread with psychology majors, MBA students, small business owners, engineers, and numerous others.
After they filed through registry, the participants were treated to pizza and a chance to mingle with others to start talking and getting an idea of who else was there for the weekend. There was an introduction to the event by Tom Nagle, who has overseen many Startup Weekends, followed by people being broken out into groups to come up with pitches for products in less than 10 minutes. The goal of this was to get everyone warmed up, and the results were hilarious. From Singing Pickle ecards, a bed that snuggles you back, and the winner – an electronic wristband that monitors your body for signs you are getting too cocky. It was like watching April Fools Day shopping on the internet. The winners of that brief competition were then given the chance to pitch their real ideas for the competition.
In all there were 51 actual pitches as possibilities for the weekend, which by the end of the weekend is narrowed down and will end up with around 15-18 projects being worked on. This isn’t just a get up and talk about something you want to make in the future, it is build a working prototype and show it, as well as show the marketing plans and financial viability. It is an utter brain marathon. The pitches were as varied as the ages and backgrounds of the participants. Come back to Flip after the weekend to see what the teams came up with.