Startup Weekend is an intense 54 hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application which could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together people with different skillsets - primarily software developers, graphics designers and business people - to build applications and develop a commercial case around them.

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PitchFire and Presentations

On Friday night at 7:20pm, 20-40 individuals will be presenting their ideas at the Tech Valley Startup Weekend to be held at GrandSlam Alley 500 Federal 4th Floor.  On Sunday night at 5:00pm you’ll be able to see what these ideas turned into over the 54 hour event.  If you would like to attend but do not want to take part in the whole weekend, feel free to register for PitchFire and Presentation ONLY tickets now.  Click on “Register” in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Participants – Get your pitches ready!

What to bring

  • Laptop
  • Business cards
  • Something to take notes on
  • Lots of energy

Pitches

Pitches on Friday night be in a “pitch-fire” format, which means you will have just 60 seconds to get the audience interested in your idea. You will have no slides or props – just a microphone and a smile. You won’t have time to go over features, so just focus on the core of the idea and make your enthusiasm contagious. Here is the format for pitches that we recommend:

  • Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
  • What is the problem that you product is solving? Or, begin with a story (10-20 Seconds)
  • Explain the product and how it solves the problem (10-20 seconds)
  • Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?) (5-10 seconds)
  • Finally, make up a name for your startup so the facilitator can give it a title

Voting & Forming Teams

After pitches, you will have more time to mingle. If you pitched an idea, this is your time to start recruiting others that are interested in your idea. If you did not pitch, or if you are having trouble finding others to join your team, use this time to seek out those that pitched other ideas that you found interesting.

Next, the crowd votes on their favorite pitches. This is a simply a way to encourage quick team forming. This is by no means an exclusive process and if you pitch an idea and it is not voted as one of the top ideas, you are more than welcome to work on it if you find some other people who want to work on the idea with you. From there we will form teams and these are the startup ideas that will be worked on over the weekend.

Judging Criteria

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighed equally):

 

  1. Business Model
The heart of it all. If you haven’t got answers to these questions, you’ve spent too much time on frills & features and need to get back to the basics:
    1. Who is your customer?
    2. What is your core value proposition?
    3. What are your key activities?
    4. What are your revenue streams?
    5. What is your cost structure?
    6. Who/what are your key partners/resources?
    7. What are your distribution channels?
    8. What is your roll-out strategy?

 

  1. Customer Validation
Have you taken the proper steps to ensure that the people who matter (your future customers) support and reinforce your assumptions? Think of Customer Validation as ‘evidence’ to back up the core structure of your ‘theory’ (your Business Model). The more feedback you gather (quantity), the more this feedback comes from your specific target market (quality), and the more you’re able to actually integrate this feedback into the Business Model and product development (execution), the better.

 

  1. Execution
The nitty gritty: what has your team been able to actually build over the weekend? Even the strongest of Business Plans are useless in the hands of those who can’t properly execute on them. Getting as far as possible in the development of your product/prototype not only helps give Judges a tangible vision of what the final product could be, but proves your strength and skills as a team. This is what truly matters: investors don’t invest as in ideas so much as teams.

Getting Ready for your Pitch?????

Getting ready for Start Up Weekend, Some FAQ to all our participants.

What types of ideas should I be ready to pitch?

Most of the ideas are web-based or mobile applications. Generally, ideas which involve creating a physical product do not work well because you need something to present to the panel on Sunday. If you have any idea at all, we encourage you to pitch it!

How do I pitch my idea?

The pitches on Friday night will be very informal (no PowerPoint allowed) and you will be allotted 60 seconds to explain your idea.

Should I be worried about my idea getting stolen?

Startup Weekend pitches are done in an open forum and no non-disclosures will be signed. If you are really concerned about your idea being stolen, by all means keep it private. But remember, it’s rarely the idea that is the winner but the people and the execution behind it.

Does Startup Weekend have any ownership rights to ideas or products conceived at the event?

Absolutely not. Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization and any ownership rights are completely up to the teams and participants. We don’t recommend worrying too much about this during the event – there will be lots of time for that when you take your startup to the next level. It’s imperative that everyone is open during the event. If you have an idea that you’ve already been working on and want to move it forward over the weekend, make sure your intentions are clear. Don’t come to the event to get free work done on your pre-existing startup. That’s not the spirit of the event.

How do we form the teams?

We allow the teams to form themselves. Once the pitches are done we allow everyone to gravitate to the idea they would like to pursue for the weekend. Generally teams of approximately 3-6 members work best. Feel free to get your friends and colleagues together to put some pieces of the team together in advance, but don’t shy away from adding new people who you meet for the first time. Remember that part of the value is in the startup/founder dating component of Startup Weekend.

How will I know what someone else’s specialty is?

This is where the networking aspect of the event comes in. To put a good team together, you need to walk around and talk to people. We will use color coded name tags to delineate between Developers, Designers, Non-Technical Professional (Business People) but you need to talk to people to find out what they can offer.

What time should I get there on Friday?

Try to arrive at 5:30pm so you have a chance to eat and network with other attendees. We have a lot to do on Friday night so need to get things moving and get you all working!

Do I need to bring a computer?

Yes bring your computer – laptops are preferred of course but whatever you need to get the job done.

Anything else I should bring?

Business cards, and if you have an extra extension cord and/or power strip please bring it. Also, bring a great attitude and a lot of energy.

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