A Weekend in an Entrepreneurs Shoes
By Beth Portesi
Over the weekend of November 22nd-24th, The Freight House hosted Reno’s 2nd Startup Weekend. Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! If you don’t fall under one of those categories, chances are you still have something to offer or just a great opportunity to live a weekend in the life of an entrepreneur. This was the 3rd Startup Weekend I have attended in the last 5 weeks and by far the best.
So, What’s the Drill?
The event began Friday evening with a casual dinner and introductions. You enter a space full of strangers and begin to network. (Without knowing you will leave Sunday with a few great friends and potential business partners.) If you weren’t networking, chances are you were being mesmerized by the 3D printer that was provided courtesy of UNR’s DeLaMare Library.
We were then divided into groups for an ice breaker called Half-Baked. Each team was assigned two random words and had 10 minutes to develop a business model around their newly acquired words. Business models were built around words from “Communicate Tech” to ”Turkey Twerk”. After seemingly interesting and hilarious 60-second pitches, we heard from the guest speakers. Tony DeVincenzi of “Sold”, spoke to attendees and provided relevant advice for the weekend and startup world in general. (Like pointing out the importance of being on the right side of crazy.) Reno was fortunate enough to have CEO of Startup Weekend, Marc Nager, facilitate our event. After FAQ’s, Marc kicked off pitchfire, the fast paced 60-second pitch routine. An overwhelming amount of good ideas and 30-something minutes later, attendees voted and joined their favorite team. With newly formed teams and a weekend of work in front of us, we brainstormed until 11pm and returned first thing Saturday morning.
Saturday morning our team “Whatizzat” (a 3D in-flight simulator app) as well as two other teams, were chosen to present our ideas to the Bosma on Business show on News Talk KOH 780. It was a fantastic opportunity to get the word out to the community and work through our business models on the spot.
The 14-hour days continued as teams worked through technicalities, financial plans, marketing strategies, and pitches. Judges arrived Sunday evening and teams presented their start ups. Our team “Whatizzat” received honorable mention with Most Passionate. “Live Retention”, a real time customer survey app won 1st place. They will continue in the Global Startup Battle against other Startup Weekend winners and participants with potential to win BIG prizes.
In conclusion, the weekend was a fantastic learning experience. The planning for Lake Tahoe’s 1st Startup Weekend is underway so be on the lookout for the event early 2014 and follow @SWTahoe!
A quick recap of why it’s a great experience:
Watch ideas turn into real businesses.
The people are nothing short of awesome.
They feed you.
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