Startup Super Group Initiative Launched: Startup America, Startup Weekend, TechStars, Udacity, Steve Blank

What do you get when you put together Startup America, Startup Weekend, TechStars, and Udacity, and then let Steve Blank run the whole thing? Startup Weekend Next, that’s what!

Startup Weekend announced the largest Startup initiative to date today. The startup “super group” (as our good friend Michael del Castillo calls it), consists of Startup America, Startup Weekend, TechStars, and Udacity. It’s all being led by Blank who wrote the book on startups “The Startup Owners Manual”.

The four organizations, and Blank are teaming up to help launch 10,000 startups. Startup Weekend Next will be a rolling four week program with hands on training, education and inspiration.

The backbone behind Startup Weekend Next will be The Lean Launchpad Class that Blank came up with, adapting the ideas and lessons from the Startup Owners Manual and applying them to real life companies and scenarios. The class is currently taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Caltech,Princeton, the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech.

Blank also recently put the class online at Udacity where over 50,000 people have already started taking the course.

Certainly with the Udacity online course tens of thousands more entrepreneurs are able to take the course without being enrolled in some of the top colleges in the United States. As Blank points out in his blog though, the online version

“… doesn’t require you to form a team, and there’s no immediate instructor feedback. More importantly, it makes no demands of you to stand and deliver your weekly customer development progress in front of your peers. In sum, it lacks the rigorous and collaborative hands-on experience that entrepreneurs get in our university classes”

After pondering and then collaborating to find ways to make the Lean Launch Pad accessible to entrepreneurs in a classroom environment the Startup Weekend Next initiative was born.

Startup America will leverage their 30 startup regions, and their Startup America Regional Champions throughout the country to assist, promote and engage entrepreneurs in the classes. Techstars will leverage it’s world class mentor network to help coach the teams.

There is a small fee between $140 and $299 assessed to basically just cover the costs of hosting the classes.

Blank described on his blog how Startup Weekend Next will work:

  • You form a startup team (if you don’t have one, taking the 54-hour Startup Weekend class is a great a way to find one) and come into class with an initial idea
  • Your team arrives with an initial Business Model Canvas. (Your pre-class reading is to watch the Lean LaunchPad initial lectures on Udacity)
  • You present your hypotheses and what you learned in front of your peers and coaches
  • Your team gets live coaching and advice from Startup Weekend Next mentors.
  • You’ll take the suggestions from the meeting, get out of the building and talk to ten plus customers per week.
  • You’ll refine your business model by iterating or pivoting your product, your target customers, pricing, channels, partners, etc.
  • Repeat for four weeks– all while working with volunteer mentor partners from Startup Weekend, Startup America and TechStars – serial entrepreneurs and seasoned startup investors – to see whether your business idea was truly a vision or simply a hallucination.

Blank is calling this endeavor a “pre-accelerator”. The possibilities of where a startup can go after Startup Weekend Next are endless.


Steve Blank’s Blog

Startup Weekend Next website

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