This February, the Evansville entrepreneurial community will mark the fifth year of Startup Weekend, a weekend of innovative competition, entrepreneurial education, and iterative collaboration designed to bring great ideas to life. Lieberman Technologies has supported this event in multiple ways since its inception, even though some years the winner of the competition doesn’t have anything to do with technology. That’s okay, because we feel that Evansville needs a wide variety of businesses in order for the community to succeed and grow. We’re happy to lend our expertise to the event as judges, coaches, and mentors.
What you can expect
The first day is dedicated to pitching ideas, voting on ideas to move forward, and organically developing teams. The remainder of the weekend is all about working together as a team to validate ideas, develop a go-to-market strategy, and refine your idea demo pitch. Final pitches are made on the third day of the event and awards are presented to the top teams that best represent the desired outcomes of Startup Weekend Evansville.
Do I need to come with an idea?
Startup Weekend’s engine runs on two types of fuel – ideas and execution. Not everyone who comes to participate in the weekend has an idea, but everyone who participates brings a skill set that enhances a team. Maybe your expertise lies in manufacturing processes or you have marketing know-how. For every idea that’s chosen for development, a team of diverse individuals is needed to move that idea along. It’s probably the best exercise in entrepreneurship you’ll ever get without needing to quit your day job.
What do I need to bring?
Once you’ve registered for the event, here’s what you’ll need to bring:
- Business Cards
- Something to take notes
- STUDENTS – Bring your student ID
- Lots of energy
You don’t need to bring a paper ticket with you, however – your completed registration generates your needed credentials which will be available when you arrive at the event.
What kinds of ideas do participants bring?
From year to year, the ideas presented at Startup Weekend Evansville have varied widely. Some involve a physical product, while others revolve around a service. One of the exciting things about the first night of the weekend is hearing all the different ideas and working to select the ones that will move forward into the competition.
As an example, here are the winners from Startup Weekend 4.0 (2015):
1st place: DripDrop – a small personal electronic device supplying a Wi-Fi hotspot, flash drive storage, and a power bank
2nd place: Bubble – a smartphone app connecting with people in the moment at conferences and tradeshows
3rd place: Clever Cubes – a power strip that eliminates wires and cables from becoming tangled
If you’ve got an idea that you want to pitch, you’ll need to make sure you can explain it quickly and provide relevant context to be easily understood by the audience during the pitch presentations on the first night. You’ll only have one minute to pitch your idea, so the Startup Weekend committee recommends this format:
- Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
- What is the problem that your 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
You won’t be able to use any slides or props – so your pitch will rely on the strength of your oral presentation. Make it great by practicing! After the pitches are complete you’ll have some time to mingle and recruit people for your team, and then the crowd will vote for the ideas that will move on to the development stage for the weekend.
If you have an idea that you’d like to have further developed, or if you have the talent and experience to move an idea forward; sign up for Startup Weekend Evansville. You never know where it might lead you.