Jumpstart Your Startup At Startup Weekend
Did you recently have one of those amazing “Aha!” moments where you figured out exactly what the next big app is going to be? If you’ve got a great idea but don’t think you’re quite ready for a full-blown accelerator, check out Startup Weekend. Over the course of only one weekend, this retreat for entrepreneur’s gives you a chance to pitch your idea, build a team, flesh out the idea, and then present a prototype. Following lean startup methodology, you could hit the ground running at the end of the weekend.
Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager is passionate about helping startups succeed and his organization has reached over 300 cities worldwide. After you read what he has to say, go check out their site and see if there’s one coming up in your town!
What’s the story behind Startup Weekend? Where’d you get the name?
Our name is simply intended to exemplify the nature of our central events: one weekend (54 hours) to build a team and form a startup.
Startup Weekend seems to me to almost be like a hyper-condensed accelerator. What do you think of that interpretation of what you guys do?
Startup Weekend is not about the companies that result from it. While successful teams after an event is a good indicator if we’re doing our job well, our core mission is about educating individuals and creating a lasting impact on their life and journey as an entrepreneur. The analogy of a hyper-condensed accelerator might be accurate in the context of how much someone can learn from attending an accelerator program; however, it is very different in terms of the criteria for success.
How many cities have had Startup Weekends so far?
671 events in 312 cities, 85 countries, and 78,200 attendees as of today.
Do you think the dramatic increase in global accelerators will benefit the startup world or do you think there is a risk of over-saturation?
The more programs we have supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs to be creative and innovative, the better. The long term impact and “success” of accelerators around the world is still out for verdict under the current standard models. Most certainly there is a risk of over-saturation just as with any new movement; however, it will force accelerators to differentiate and innovate their models more which is only a win in the long run for everyone involved.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs struggling to get their businesses off the ground?
It’s all about the team. If you’re doing it alone, find a co-founder. The single largest contributor to any new firm’s failure or success has nothing to do with the idea or the funding, it has to do with the team behind it. Are you and your co-founders’ interests aligned? Do you have the necessary expertise? Do you know how to be a good co-founder?
Before running out and mastering all of the methodologies, reading the case studies, taking classes, etc, make sure you know how to go about finding and building an incredible team. Generally, the only way to do that is to actually work with people trying to solve real problems. This is one of the most magical things about what we’ve been able to offer people the ability to learn at Startup Weekend.
Can you share what your latest “WOW” moment was?
This team just announced that it came from a Startup Weekend, went through an awesome new program in Seattle called Student R&D and is now in Y-Combinator… While it’s not our main metric for success, it is amazing to hear stories like this!