Startup weekend? From now on at least once a year!

Our newly launched Startup Weekend attracted many interested participants.

In short: A Startup Weekend is a public "weekend job" organized by volunteers. Worldwide and partly with a thematic focus. About a hundred people meet on Friday evening, go through a standardized program together and on Sunday evening the groups present (aka pitching) their ideas for big problems of this world in front of a jury. Then it's party time and everyone has spent 54 exciting hours, is inspired and has met many exciting people.

My recommendation: Be sure to participate!

Namics beim Startup Weekend
Source: Namics

Here are some more pictures from the Startup Weekend Zürich 2018 (#swzurich) on the penultimate weekend at the Westhive in Zürich, a post from Léo Davesne and of course the videos of the "Final Pitches" Vol.1, Vol.2 and Vol.3. Super organized and moderated by Cindy, Daniela, Erik, Ralph, Dominique and Philipp.

Friday

After a few warm-up exercises (e.g. a pitch training like "half-baked") all participants are asked to present the idea they want to work on for one minute. On #swzurich almost forty people did this.

Each person with an idea stands with a sheet of paper in the room and each participant distributes a maximum number of points to express his or her preference (or even to himself or herself). At the #swzurich there were four points to distribute and 15 teams were formed through prioritization. All other participants voluntarily joined these teams (which happened 100% in Zurich).

The people should be found along the three criteria:

  • Clear & aligned interests
  • complimentary skill
  • Energy & enthusiasm

Also very important is the willingness to share the idea (co-ownership) and the openness to adapt or change it on the common path (pivot). At least half of all groups on the #swzurich have done this. As a result, the team now has to "fill the following boxes with life".

Startup Weekend Plan
Source: startupweekend.org

Saturday

Saturday is all about validating the idea. To do this, the idea has to be made understandable and the teams have to go out and prove in the pitch how they did it and what the answers were. So on #swzurich the team "My Raincoat" with the idea to send condoms by subscription interviewed 31 people on the street about their need for condoms, buying strategy and interest in a condom subscription. Already for this job it's worth to participate ;).

Also part of Saturday is that each team gets pitched in the morning in front of an experienced mentor (of which I was one) and then three of them are assigned. These will help them to get ahead faster by answering questions. You could already feel the co-ownership and pivot: In almost all teams another person pitched in front of the mentors on #swzurich than the evening before and some ideas were already adjusted (before validation).

Sunday

Sunday is all about the final pitch before the jury. This is of course connected with the elaboration of the solution in detail. Some of them had already created designs, built websites or even tinkered with the product as MVP.

The team dynamics, the exchange between the people and the tangle is hard to describe. So the attempt with a few pictures. But it feels great.

Foto Collage vom Startup Weekend in Zürich
Source: Namics

The Startup Weekend is concluded with the final pitches in front of the jury from 17.00 hrs (videos on the FB-Page of the Startup Weekend Zurich). Judged according to the following criteria:

  • Business Model: How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation: Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design: Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

With winners, of course. But winners are everyone, inspired by exciting people and ideas. And online there is a lot of information about it, so incl. support of the organizers also on http://www.startupweekend.org/. On one map you can see all events worldwide. So next weekend there will be 18 opportunities to get inspired and make new friends.