Improving the Startup Weekend Experience
I've been organizing and attending more then a dozen events in the format of a Startup Weekend in the past three years. In my opinion the default shedule for the weekend as proposed by the up.com, the Startup Weekend Organization, is not educating the teams enough to focus on what matters in those 54 hours: validate their assumptions about the business idea and prepare a presentation. Therefore I've created a new shedule which includes more concrete deliverables and divides the weekend into distinct slots which put the focus on them. The goal is to prepare and equip every team with the material and knowledge they need to talk to investors and new team members–because this is what they will be doing after the weekend.
The new schedule at a glance
- The Friday schedule is kept unchanged. The difference is that once the teams have formed their task is to deliver their mission statement and an elevator pitch.
- The task for Saturday morning is to define three assumptions about the business, e.g. why this idea will succeed, who are the customers, what is the market. The team then uses the time after lunch until dinner to evaluate the assumptions by going into the city to conduct interviews and finding their first real customers.
- Sunday is dedicated to building a compelling pitch. This can be in the form of a presentation or a prototype. It is important to focus on every aspect of the idea: business, realization, team, uniqueness, and wit!
- The schedule also includes more clearly defined slots for the presence of the coaches.
Teams are tasked to deliver:
- a written mission statement (max. 10 words)
- an elevator pitch (max. 1000 characters)
- written assumptions about their business and evaluation plan
- a written evaluation of those assumptions
- a business plan presentation (max. 3 slides)
- a pitch slidedeck
|1930||Welcome & Pitches Start||Optionally line up to give your pitch||Present for introduction|
|2030||Voting||Attendees vote for the top pitches||Present|
|2100||Form Teams||Find your team for the weekend||Coaches briefing|
|2200||Mission Statement||Begin to work on your idea.||Assist team building, mission statement|
|2300||Deliver||Written mission statement (max. 10 words) and elevator pitch (max. 1000 characters).||Coaches leave|
|2300||Build||Work on your idea until the venue closes.||-|
|0900||Assumptions||Define three assumptions about your business and plan how to evaluate them.||-|
|1100||Assumptions||"||Present to give feedback.|
|1200||Deliver||Written assumptions and evaluation plan.||Present|
|Feedback||Get feedback from the coaches.||Present|
|1300||Evaluate||Leave the location and go to the city to evaluate your idea by talkting to possible clients. Try to find your first customers!||Presence optional|
|1830||Dinner||Return to the venue to replenish your energy||"|
|1900||Evaluate||Evaluate what you have learned together with the coaches. Write down what you have learned.||Coaches help interpreting the learnings.|
|2000||Deliver||Written evaluation of your assumptions.||-|
|Business Plan||Formulate your business plan.||Coaches help to get you started.|
|2200||Deliver||Deliver your business plan presentation. Three slides max.||Coaches leave|
|Build||Work on your idea until the venue closes.||-|
|0900||Pitch slidedeck||Work on your pitch presentation and slidedeck. The slidedeck must include: a summary of your saturday learnings, the business plan slides, team presentation with names and contact information.||-|
|1300||Pitch slidedeck||"||Present to give feedback|
|1500||Deliver||Pitch slidedeck. Failure to deliver will result in pitching without a deck.||-|
|Pitch practice||Practice your pitch||Present to give feedback|
|1700||Pitches!||Time to shine on stage||-|
|1830||Judging||-||Present to answer judges questions|