Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]
“No talk, all action. Launch a startup in 54 hours”, that’s the tagline for the hectic event coming up known otherwise as Startup Weekend.
The London Startup Weekend, kicks off on March 23 and is aimed at entrepreneurs who are learning the basics and setting up new ventures. It also be the first external event to take place at the new Google Campus at Silicon Roundabout in East London.
So what do participants get when they sign up? Apart from a fun frenzy that means working until midnight and hopes to actually launch businesses for attendees, it also means exposure to mentors who can provide the voice of experience.
The weekend starts with pitching and voting, followed by networking and idea selection on the first evening. Then from Saturday the real work starts on turning plans into action. By Sunday, when everyone is wired and ready to present, a panel of judges will vote and winners will be chosen for the best startup created there. Word of warning, I’m on that panel – so make it interesting!
Peer support and success stories
Startup Weekend events have seen successful businesses launch in the past like Rumgr the location-based market app and Foodspotting where users can find and share dishes. Deborah Rippol is the European Coordinator of Startup Weekend who says, “In 2011 the total number of successful businesses that grew out of Startup Weekend managed to raise 30 million dollars, and that’s just the ones that we know about.”
Excitingly, the breadth of ideas is unknown until the pitching starts and once it does, it is contagious. Rippol explains, “We don’t know how many of the participants will pitch or what their ideas might be before the event starts. We get about 40 or 50 pitches. Once others see the line of people getting up with their ideas, we always get at least ten more who are inspired by everyone else.”
The mentors this year are a great selection of engineers and startup business experts including Philipp Moehring, associate at Seedcamp, Anastasia Leng, new business development manager at Google, serial entrepreneur Andrew J Scott, Roxanne Varza of Girls in Tech and many more. So there’s good advice there for the taking and plenty of experience to draw upon.
It’s worth the challenge of pushing yourself in a hothouse environment, the feedback and constructive criticism alone is worthwhile for the inexperienced. The winners will get a fast track application to Telefonica’s business incubator as the event is being run in partnership with Wayra.
I’m looking forward to meeting fine minds with creative ideas, push themselves to the limit in a short and crazy weekend.
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