Startup Weekend: Challenges, Learnings, and Recommendations

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Over a 54 hour time period, over 100 attendees came together to start something new at Techstars Seattle International Startup Weekend. Attendees shared initial problems they’d like to solve, formed teams, received coaching support, and pitched final business plans.

As the event ended, I spoke with a few teams about their Startup Weekend experience; their challenges, their learnings, and their recommendations for others.

What challenges did your team face during Startup Weekend?

  • Figuring out the most salient information to share. 
  • Validation. It was difficult to go out, and talk with people on a Saturday. We tried to ask people questions, but due to our business problem most people weren’t available to speak with us.
  • Time management. We started to practice pitching later in the day on Sunday. We had our deck ready on Saturday, but didn’t start practicing our pitch until fairly late. 

What did you learn from Startup Weekend?

  • We should have thought about market validation sooner, especially on the supply side. 
  • I wish we had thought of ways to get customer insights faster, and in a more scalable way.
  • It’s important to learn the business side of things, so you can quickly identify whether something is a good or bad idea.

What recommendations do you have for others attending Startup Weekend?

  • Develop a process for listening efficiently within the group, and with coaches and mentors; you don’t want to go around and around discussing the same topic.
  • Practice pitching.
  • For the pitch, it was less important about having a working prototype, than it was having information showing you validated the business idea; don’t stress if you don’t have a developer on your team.
  • Be willing to pivot your idea based on customer research insights.
  • Do your research of the business model canvas ahead of time; having a background in that will be helpful. 
  • Focus on problem definition and validation.
  • Take advantage of the time you have here at Startup Weekend, and commit to it.

To learn more about Techstars Startup Weekend, please visit: https://startupweekend.org/

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