What to Expect at Startup Weekend


If this is your first Startup Weekend, it can be hard to imagine what the experience will be like. Indeed, every Startup Weekend will be different and every individual experience will be different within that, but we’ve tried to piece together for you an idea of how the 54 hours should roll out:

On Friday night we will all start arriving at SocietyM from 5:30pm onwards. Networking starts the minute you enter the venue! Bring along some business cards and start meeting people. After dinner, we will hear from the speakers and then move on to the pitches.  This is an exciting start where people from the audience have the opportunity to pitch their Sustainability/Cleantech startup idea to the room. There can be as few as 10 pitches or as many as 100, we keep on pitching until everyone is done!  We do a simple vote of everyone’s favorite 3 to narrow down the ideas to the top 20%. Individuals then gather around the remaining ideas, discuss feasibility, and identify what they need as far as skill sets and resources to get to work and thus form teams.  People are free to work on any idea that interests them that they feel they will have a value-add for.

Once the teams are formed (on Friday night), they get down to work. SocietyM is available for you to stay and work as late as you like, so it’s a great time for the team to get to know one another, talk about what skills you each have, and where you need to start. Wake up fresh and ready on Saturday morning for the real work to begin! From this point the experience becomes unique to each individual. This all depends on the idea you’re working on and your role within the team but there are typically 5 states:

Team Meetings – planning, decision making and status updates.
Whiteboarding –  in groups of 2 or 3 to flesh out an idea or solve a problem
In the zone – working solo to deliver your piece of the puzzle on time
Collaborating with mentors – validating your vision, seeking advice
Cruising – getting amongst the other teams to gather more data, opinions, expertise

In addition to working on your idea, we will at times ask you to take a break and be inspired by insightful and motivating speakers. Once your team is finalised on Saturday morning, our media team will also come around and get your social media details (start a Twitter handle!).

Like we said, every experience will surely be quite different. The only certainty of course is that for 54 hours the energy level in the room is going to be super high and you’ll be surrounded by intelligent, talented and innovative people just like yourself.

What better way to spend a weekend?