This past weekend marked the 3rd Annual Triangle Startup Weekend. What is Startup Weekend? It’s a place where developers, marketers and savvy entrepreneurs turn a business idea from concept to company in just 54 hours.
With a record turnout of over 300+ participants attending this year’s Startup Weekend there certainly wasn’t a shortage of great ideas or passionate entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend kicked off on Friday with initial ideas being pitched to the attendees. Ideas included: Photoslam, a social photo challenge game (created by FWV’s own Hudson Haines), Truxie (winners of TSW 2012) an App interface that allows people to order food at food-trucks via
their mobile device, Docstr, a platform for scheduling all types of doctor’s appointments online, Wanderful, a platform where users can leave “history points” on a map and find other dropped points using the camera on their phone, and over 50 more innovative ideas from Triangle locals.
After the pitching wrapped up around 10:00 PM Friday night, the crowd voted for the top 20 ideas and all attendees were able to join a team that had made it through. The teams began feverishly coding, planning, developing and strategizing, which continued until the final presentations on Sunday. Throughout the weekend the event sponsors provided food, drinks, technology and advice to each of the teams. Some of the local event sponsors included RedHat, SmartOnline, AgileZen, Triangle Business Law, French West Vaughan, The London Bridge Pub, Bull City Co+Working and many others.
In addition to building a company in 54 hours, attendees had the opportunity to learn from 3 proven entrepreneurial talents: Richard White, Scott Moody and Jason Massey. Each speaker had a personal connection with the area and helped the attendees embrace the vibrant, creative ecosystem that is rapidly growing in Raleigh, NC. Stressing the importance of paying a visit to Silicon Valley, Jason Massey explained that you could travel out, absorb the inspirational culture and return reinvigorated to the Triangle area. Richard White, the CEO of UserVoice, spoke at length about pivoting (a word that would soon become the most overused word of the weekend) when encountering problems. Instead of looking at failures as failures, he believed you had to look at them as successes that led you in a different direction than originally expected.
The key takeaways for entrepreneurs from the speakers were:
- Go with your gut
- Market the team before you market the product
- Love the problem you’re solving
- Don’t be so clever
- People only fail when they stop
- There are no new ideas
- Be a joiner and not a loner
Triangle Startup Weekend raised over $20,000 and sold over 300 tickets over the course of the weekend. More importantly, it challenged 300 people to take a concept and turn it into a company in 54 hours. While some achieved more success than they could have imagined; others walked away having learned and experienced something new.