Startup Weekend is a great event. To date they’ve done over 560 Startup Weekend’s in 107 countries and that keeps on growing. While they hold events in Silicon Valley, Startup Weekend is a huge, community catalyst “everywhere else”.
Many cities like New York, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dallas and Los Angeles have had multiple Startup Weekend events, Startup Weekend CMO Joey Pomerenke told nibletz.com they still get excited when newbies organize their first event.
So what role does Startup Weekend play in the grand scheme of startup communities and startup ecosystems?
Well at a panel at SXSW, Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager, talked about that role specifically. “Where do you go with an idea” he asked the audience. Do you go to an investor, no that’s not going to work out. Do you go spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, and team just to start AB testing?
Startup Weekend provides a great platform to see if ideas have what it takes to move to the next level. During the 54 hour experience your peers will vote on whether they like the idea, then you’ll create something, do market research, and present it again. Doing this on your own, could take weeks, or months, with Startup Weekend you have 54 hours, and you’ll know whether to move on or not.
Does it work? Absolutely, companies like Zaarly, Rumgr, and Fundable are all Startup Weekend graduates.
Startup Weekend’s roots in the community go much further than a testing platform though. Nager said on the panel that they are working on getting different components of their own ecosystem to function in unison across the country and around the world. Startup Weekend is looking for their Startup Weekend, Startup Weekend NEXT and Startup Weekend EDU facilitators to work together in their communities. They are also looking to the Startup Digest curators to do that as well.
When all of the components work in harmony the entire Startup Weekend ecosystem, and the hundreds of communities it touches, benefit.
On the panel, moderator Lesa Mitchell, of the Kauffman Foundation, a major supporter of Startup Weekend, kept prying with Nager to find out what doesn’t work. He was hard pressed to find something that doesn’t work. Obviously at the entrepreneur level there can be issues. Egos can get in the way and even underhanded moves, like this, can get in the way.
Overall though, Startup Weekend continues to do a great job of driving communities worldwide.