Google to Host Startup Weekend in Seattle
Want 54 hours to start a tech company? You got it. In a few weeks, Google will be hosting a talented group of entrepreneurs from the startup community, giving them time and space over a weekend, and adding stimulating discussions, activities, and, yes, food. With that potent mix at work, local organizers want to see how many viable ideas, products, and even new startup companies may emerge.
That’s the concept behind Startup Weekend, a traveling event that’s coming to Seattle February 6-8. It will be the second Startup Weekend in Seattle; the last one happened last January at Adobe’s offices. This time, the weekend will be hosted at the Google offices in Fremont. It seems to me like a great way for the Internet search giant to get to know local developers and startup community leaders.
“We reached out to Google for hosting of the event,” says Rob Eickmann of Seattle-based Six Hour Startup, who is one of the local organizers. “They were more than willing to talk to us about it and provide us with space at their facility in Fremont.”
In the past few months, Eickmann and other entrepreneurs had meetings with local startup organizations around the question of what Seattle startups need. “Startup Weekend was highly praised for the way it created a core group of Internet entrepreneurs here in Seattle,” Eickmann says. “We hope to have that same effect this year as well.”
Startup Weekend is itself a startup, founded by Andrew Hyde of Boulder, CO-based TechStars. Since the summer of 2007, Startup Weekend has taken place in cities like New York, Boston, Boulder, London, Hamburg, Toronto, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The events tend to create a lot of buzz, and are known for helping build collaborations among entrepreneurs that last well after the weekend itself. “I met some of the best people in the community,” says Nathan Kaiser of the entrepreneurial resource site nPost, based in Seattle.
One of the promising ideas from last January’s Seattle Startup Weekend was Skillbit, a company that helped small businesses and organizations create searchable databases of their teams’ skills. It’s an intriguing idea, but Skillbit ran into issues with securities law and shut down earlier this year. Nevertheless, the community-building effect of Startup Weekend has apparently lasted.
Tickets to the Feburary event are $40, and participants with a variety of skills can sign up, like software developers (including architects and system administrators), designers, public relations people, user experience experts, legal, business development people, project managers, and even a cook. (I imagine the last category will be as competitive as any of the others, especially in Seattle.)