Sure Montana isn’t the first state that we think about when talking about startups and startup communities, but obviously there is something going on there as well. The most exposure many “techies” have gotten to Montana was the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon Cooper runs away to Bozeman Montana after his apartment is robbed.
Well according to Bob Clay, the lead organizer for Startup Weekend Missoula, and the CEO of SameSky Systems, he personally accepted a challenge from startup community evangelist Brad Feld, when Feld was speaking at a Montana Programmers Meetup over the summer. Feld told the programmers that they should do a Startup Weekend event in Montana. A week later, Clay reached out to Feld who then put him in touch with Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager.
Startup Weekend is the Kauffman Foundation backed, “official” three day hackathon event to build companies. During a 54 hour period beginning Friday evening and running through Sunday evening, founders, entrepreneurs, coders, developers, business development people and others pitch ideas for companies and than work all weekend to make viable business models.
Greg Gianforte, the founder of Right Now Technologies, a startup that sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion, will be the keynote speaker for Startup Weekend Missoula on January 18th.
Registration will begin on Friday evening at 6:00pm at The Life Long Learning Center, 310 Curtis Street, Missoula MT 59801. That will be followed by great networking dinner where attendees will be able to size up the competition and the possible teammates for the weekend. The Keynote presentation will begin at 7:15pm. At around 8:00pm the “Friday Night” pitches will begin. We’ve covered a lot of startup weekends and you can see plenty of Friday night pitches here at nibletz.com.
The Friday night pitches are 60 seconds and hard timed by a Startup Weekend official. In that 60 seconds you need to sell the audience your idea and why it should be built over the next 53 hours. After everyone who wants to pitch has been given the opportunity, community voting will commence. It’s a rather diplomatic process. Usually the pitchers will hold up a sign with their startup name on it and attendees will put a sticker on the idea they like the best. At the end of the process, those with the most stickers will have their ideas developed.
Friday evening typically tops off with team selection and then some icebreaker time with the teams. From there the teams break off and start working on the startup idea.
Saturday, the community coaches come into play. These seasoned entrepreneurs and local business folks are there to help answer questions for each team and provide ideas and suggestions. The coaches for Startup Weekend Missoula are; Michael Fitzgerald, CEO of Submittable; Wes Hunt, Founder of Armigent; Jason Lengstorf, Senior Developer, Copter Labs; Trevor Loy, General Partner, Flywheel Ventures; Clyde W. Neu, Venture Partner; Doug Odegard, Consultant & Software Engineer; and Harold Shinsato, Senior Software Dev Engineer, SAP.
Saturday is also the day that most teams take to the streets, the phones, the emails and the interwebs to get customer validation on their startup project. All the while designers, developers and coders are working on pitch decks, wire frames, prototypes and products.
Sunday is the day the teams put the finishing touches on both their products and their presentations. At 5:00pm and not a second later, the selected teams will have five minutes to pitch their idea and have a brief Q&A with the judges. Startup Weekend Missoula judges have not been announced yet.
This happens to be the biggest startup conference in the US check out: everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference