Startup Weekend (#sweuroseattle)

On Friday, Feb 10 more than 90 attendees gathered in Amazon’s Arizona Building in South Lake Union to participate in EuroSeattle Startup Weekend, 2017.

This 3 day event is run by the Tech Stars organization which also runs global accelerator programs as well as the StartUp Week and StartUp Weekend events that happen here in Seattle and around the world.

Startup Weekend participants are asked to bring new ideas to work on with their teams – so the Gondola project was ineligible to participate directly.

However, it was a TON of FUN to get out and engage with the Seattle startup community for a full weekend and help others pursue product/market fit for their own ideas.

Here’s a quick recap of how this Startup Weekend went down.

Friday Night

startupweekend

  • Dinner + Social: participants gather at venue, meet fellow entrepreneurs
  • Idea Pitch: each participant can write an idea on a giant sticky note and present to the crowd in a pitch format that lasts <~60 seconds.
  • Q&A + Voting: Participants are encouraged to mingle with other founders, ask questions, and assign 3 votes for favorite pitch ideas
  • Team Formation: Ideas with the most votes move on to the team formation phase, where individuals

Saturday

startupweekend2

  • All-Day Working Session: teams discuss, whiteboard, and otherwise work together to develop ideas, execution plans, and conduct research in pursuit of product/market fit
  • Customer Engagement: in our case, we posted online surveys and literally ‘hit the streets’ of downtown Seattle to conduct brief survey questions related to our product hypothesis
  • Organized Mentoring: check out the fantastic lineup of mentors that were available to meet with over the weekend.
  • Peer Mentoring: besides the official list noted on the website, there were a number of startup weekend alumni and mentors such as John Sechrest participating in the event too – as well as facilitators Marion Desmazières and Ewelina Kieley.

Sunday

startup-weekend-00-1007x1106

  • Refinement of Business Idea and Pitch: by Sunday morning, the clock is ticking to boil-down an execution plan, and refine a pitch that describes the business model
  • Final Presentations: starting at 3pm, each team gets a chance to give the ‘elevator pitch’ in front of judges representing various parts of industry and community
  • Judging: at 5:30 pm – the Judges adjourn for discussion and voting on the best ideas – the winners receiving bragging rights, and startup prize package as well to help foster continuation of the ideas.

Takeaways

  • Excitement vs. Focus in Ideation: during the early phases of a startup – as the team begins to form and excitement builds, one idea begets another, and it’s easy for the proposed scope of a solution to swell quickly. We realized quickly that we’d need to ratchet back scope and focus on a specific niche to test our initial market
  • The Fun of Community: it is simply wonderful to be in a supportive, diverse community like Seattle – where people are genuinely excited to come together to solve myriad problems and make the world a better place. It was really fun helping out an hearing the ideas of others – and it is definitely worth checking out if you have an opportunity.
  • Special Thanks:  to mentors Marion Chereau, Karolina Haraldsdottir, Paolo Sciarra, David Valpey, and Jonathan Gagliardoni for insights during the weekend.

So Ciao #sweuroseattle. and MERCI for a great kick-off to startup events in 2017!   😉

And check out a quick summary below for some favorite ideas proposed during the event:

  • Project Mayo: an app for geo-locating and crowdsourcing help with small tasks
  • MeMinder: a simple wrist-based device to assist caregivers and patients with dementia
  • StowPlex: the ‘AirBnb’ of personal storage.
  • StoryTeller: Alexa powered service that provides ‘sound effects’ to accompany your voice while reading books to children
  • CookiesOnWheels: how to improve the quality of late-night snacks for collegiate populations
  • Kanadoro: promoting a new approach to the pomodoro technique

 


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