“STARTUP … .. WEEEKEND !! When the energy and power of strangers meet and work together, it becomes possible to achieve the impossible, and start a startup in 54 hours. A start-up weekend is more than just a geek or a Parisian startup. It is an experience in its own right, open to everyone, and for everyone. Here is my experience, and all you need to know before you start.
No talk, all action!
Presentation of the Startup weekend
It was during my conversion from manager to developer that I heard about this concept for the first time. Intrigued, I went to a “before” party that is used to present what is a start-up weekend, and answer questions from novices. That’s when I met Baptiste (now a friend), who convinced me in one sentence: “A start-up week-end is above all a human experience”. Several dozens of SWs to his credit, I believed him, and it all started …
You can find Startup Weekend around the world (my last was in Ubud in Bali), and often simultaneously. The movement is orchestrated by Techstars.
Open to all and for all
“I have nothing to contribute to a Weeekend Startup”
“I will not help anything”
“Neither dev, nor designer, I would not be useful”
“Being shy, I will never be able to fit in” …
False, false, fake, and fake. Beyond the skills, what matters is you and yourself. Whether you are a student, a foreigner, a multinational, disabled, jobseeker, tall, small, shy, extrovert or Cucurbitacist (I let you find the definition on the internet …), we do not care! Yes, having developers and designers is important, but it’s not the key, far from it! I am a developer, and it is very rare that I develop during a SW. I saw in my team of students fun to do market research, go do field surveys, videographers do storytelling, city dwellers share their experiences and participate actively in the reflection and debates.
Plus, you do not need to have a business idea to participate. You can join an idea that interests you without any problem, which is what most people do.
In short, whoever you are, come as you are and you will be perfect!
Ubud Startup Weekend: Digital Nomad Edition
It’s all well and good, but what do we do during a startup weekend? What is the Objective?
I have often heard this: 54h of a startup weekend equivalent to the first 6 months of the life of an entrepreneur, the team and more. That is true !
In 54h you will not only be part of a team but also start a business from A to Z. To do this you will be accompanied all weekend specialized mentors in many areas such as lawyers, accountants, business developers, experts, contractors etc … Basically you will have all the skills in addition to those of your team available.
So you will start a Business Canvas, develop an economic model, do a market study, create prototypes (products / services / sites / apps …) and many other things super interesting. The ultimate goal: To present a viable project on all aspects.
DETAILED COURSE DESCRIPTION.
A Startup Weekend always starts on Friday night (~ 17h) and ends on Sunday night. The program of a startup weekend is always the same (with small variations depending on the org):
Arrival of participants with a check-in at the entrance. We will give you a label or a support with your name first name, a super cool t-shirt, three stickers, and lots of little goodies from most partners.
My advice: Use this moment to talk to others, gauge the room, make yourself known, etc … it will serve you for the future
Presentation & Ice Breaker
Sense a presentation (often long ^ ^) of Techstars, values of the SW, the program, etc … The first time is nice, I admit that afterwards it’s a little repetitive.
Pitch of one minute
Time to pitch! All project promoters who wish can go on stage. 60 seconds per pitch and not one more. I repeat, but you are not obliged to come with an idea or a project and go pitcher. However I really recommend it, because it is impressive as an idea that you think surely “a little stupid” or “much too simple” or that I know can turn into a real startup.
You’ll see it’s pretty funny, but generally, there are people first who have prepared to pit before coming. Then, and after a few reminders by the facilitator, there are the “hesitant” who start, and finally, at the end, there are those who are denounced by their friends next to them . Believe me, the latest “improvised” ideas are often selected …
My advice: We all have ideas! Pitcher is really an interesting exercise. The ideal is to prepare upstream. Here is a little article on how to prepare a special one-minute Startup Weekend pitch.
Vote + Meal
Once all the past pitches you will have to put your three stickers on the projects you most convinced. You can put the three stickers on the same, dispatcher them, or even stick them on your own project if you have one. However, be sport and dispatcher is still preferable.
There are often between 10 and 15 teams selected (those who received the most stickers). Each project leader re-pitched 30 seconds to reposition his idea and especially to say what he needs (pipe expert, developer, designer, etc …).
My advice: Be cool and fun on this pitch. You will have no trouble recruiting if the participants feel your good mood at that time. The atmosphere and the team are the keys to a successful SW!
Startup Weekend Chateauroux: Hello Mentor Project
It’s time to recruit your team! In general, a team consists of 4 to 12 people. Either people come to express their desire to work on your project or it’s up to you to go and find the people / skills that interest you. If you have not pitched, do not hesitate to go see the project holders.
My advice: This is THE most important moment of the SW! Attention to large teams, complicated to manage and channel and too small teams where the exchange of ideas and lack of skills can be felt. The ideal for me is a team of 5-6 people. If you have the soul of a leader then it is perfect, otherwise try to find a person who will take this role, it is very important for the smooth running. As a reminder, a leader is not (at all) a team leader. It is simply a person who will be heard, channel the energies when it is necessary, motivate the troops during depressions, bring positive energy to abundance, etc …
Beginning of work
Once the team is formed, all you have to do is work. Take the time to get to know yourself, relax the atmosphere and build trust. You will spend 54 hours together …
At night, you can choose between sleeping or working (at home or on site). I once did the 54 hours without sleeping a minute and frankly it’s a terrible mistake. When the final pitches arrive, you are exhausted, irritable, you can not put your ideas in place, etc …
My advice: I like working at night anyway, I think it’s part of the charm of SW and it pushes a little its own usual limits. However, you have to sleep a little. For my part I sleep 3-4 hours on Friday and ditto on Saturday. It’s enough for the weekend and find (almost) all his mind. The only exception I made is in Bali, in the land of Zen and well-being so we sleep 9am and we start Sunday with a meditation .
Between meals, entertainment, visiting mentors, etc. the day passes very quickly, so do not waste time, and remember: no talk, all action!
My advice: Ideally, you will have to go to bed on Saturday night having almost finished the support of your presentation the next day. This is important because if this day passes quickly, Sunday is even worse and you will have to focus on the final pitch of your team.
Last day! Dernière ligne droite. It is now that we will have to insure. If you have not already done so, designate who will pit (you can pit alone or with others) and train. Stop all the rest or divide the team if there really are important things to be done, but in no case should the person (s) pitching do anything other than practice again and again. Usually late in the morning / early afternoon, you can pitch a pitch in front of mentors. Take full advantage of this moment and take all the returns you are given. Sometimes it’s hard to cash, especially a few hours from the end, but they are usually regulars and their advice is always valuable.
Little story : I remember once when I was project manager at SW Orleans. The project was really great, and the whole team had worked like sick people. We were very proud of the result. Marcel, mythical and atypical mentor of the Orléans team, gives his verdict at the end of the white pitch. Basically here is his return: “I did not understand, I do not even know what you do and / or what you want to sell, and the presentation is really ugly.” Of course it was more argumentative, but in broad terms that’s what it meant. Marcel with a touch well known to us, it made me the effect of an uppercut that puts you knocked out while you were sure to win the fight. We had 2 hours to change the whole presentation. The whole team went to work following the advice of Marcel and others. As a result, we won this Startup Weekend. Thanks Marcel.
That’s when everything is played out. The final pitches last between 3 and 5 minutes + 3 to 5 minutes of questions from the juries. Use the 3Cs: clear, concise, captivating. Be original and stand out from others while respecting official recommendations.
My advice: I wrote an article to help you make a final final pitch of a startup week-end
Deliberation and awards ceremony
There are several “awards” that you can claim. The first 3 teams who best answered the criteria of the jury and the favorite prize. You will never earn money directly, but lots from SW partners and all the gear to carry out your team’s project (Amazon credit service, Google Business, etc …).
Startup Weekend of Orleans: The Lab’o
AFTER STARTUP WEEKEND
After a good night’s sleep, what will you get from this Startup Weekend?
Contacts: Spend 54 hours with people, eat together, sometimes sleep together, laugh, dance, engage, sing, work, laugh again, and travel in the emotional elevator of the SW necessarily created links. And contrary business meetings or other events to be known professionally, here are solid contacts that you will win, or even sometimes friends!
A project: Whether your team has won or not, it is not uncommon to see teams continue the project. It is even strongly encouraged by the community. However nothing requires you to do this and it is important to discuss it with your team at the end of the SW, to know if you continue the adventure or not.
A new passion (You will not say that I did not warn you): participating in a Startup Weekend is the assurance of becoming Addict to this kind of event. My last SW was in Ubud (Bali) and was the 10 th. I knew different roles: as a participant but also as a mentor and organizer.
THE STARTUP WEEKEND FAQ
Anyone tan take part.
Yes, everyone, regardless of age, skills, religion, skin color or disability. In SW, the difference is a force.
Is it necessary to have an idea to participate?
Of course. You can either pitch your idea if you have one, or integrate into an idea that you like. If your idea is not selected, you can obviously join another idea that inspires you.
Can we come with an already mature project?
In theory This is not the purpose of SW or philosophy. The idea is to co-build as a team and develop a product / service together. Now it is easy to chew and come and enjoy others to develop his idea. This type of person is quickly noticed, and do not have much to do in startup weekend. If the Orga Team realizes cheating, they are able to disqualify you.
Can we come as a team?
Yes, but again, do not come with your full team. The interest is to mix and discover other people.
How to become an organizer?
It’s very simple and really nice to do. For more information, I invite you to contact the referents of your city or region: Find a startup weekend close to home
Who are the juries?
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, former participants, people directly or indirectly related to the theme if there is one, representatives of investment funds etc …
What do you win?
It depends on the location of your SW, partners, and budget. But usually these are things related to the startup and all that is needed to mount his box. For example in Orleans, which is a “big” startup weekend, there was for the first $ 5000 of credits Amazon Service, an accompaniment of a start’up Ageona cloud services, Nuo Box cosmetics, 1 year of subscription to Google business, an iPad mini per person, gift vouchers etc …
Can we pit several?
Yes, but beware, it’s complicated. 3 min is really short, and if you add to that exchange between you it gets really hot. I have already seen several pitches that really hard, but you have to be well trained, give rhythm, and stay 3C: Clear, concise, Convincing!
Is it paying?
Yes, and it’s about $ 80 per person. Oh! I heard you, you just said “Oh shit it’s expensive anyway” …
No it’s not expensive, and to be passed Orga, the entries represent only a very small sum of the overall budget of a SW. For this price, you will enjoy a place often fun, eat 6 meals + gouters and drinks at will, have an environment conducive to work etc. And if it really represents an important budget for you, do not hesitate to take your places in EarlyBird, they are often much cheaper