13 Teams, 100 People, 54 Hours: Lessons from Startup Weekend in Seattle


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over these weekends go on to start businesses. Of the 13 teams that presented their demo on Sunday, will any of these go on to build a business around that technology? Hard to say. My guess is you’ll have at least a handful that will try and “keep the band together” or find some way to get their products far enough along to get them into the hands of consumers.

The reality is, building a Startup Weekend product is like meeting someone at a bar on Friday night, getting married in the morning, and then not planning to see each other again after the weekend. It’s fast; it’s intense; and then it’s over. These teams jump in quickly and usually don’t worry about what comes next. So the fact of the matter is, many of these teams have no intention of sticking together, and that’s the great thing about Startup Weekend.

But rather than focus on whether or not Digri becomes the next Foursquare, SwarrmApp takes marketshare from GameStop, or Raising Uncle Jesse takes on Farmville, it is probably most important to understand that this event has a broader social graph. You may work with a developer, designer, or marketing person who may become part of your next company, or you might encourage them to apply for a job opening you know about.

Startup Weekend has become a global phenomenon (events held in 60 cities and 18 countries last year) thanks to the hard work of the Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen. And here in Seattle, the continued community support will help more companies “graduate” from Startup Weekend or will help attendees leverage the Weekend to build their next startup.

In Seattle, we saw TechStars offer an “expedited review” of any application submitted by a Startup Weekend alum; we saw a panel of judges on Sunday made up of leading entrepreneurs, investors, and startup aficionados; we’ve seen large companies from Adobe to Google to Microsoft offer their facilities to Startup Weekend, and we saw the larger community embrace the teams attending Startup Weekend 4.

Quite a weekend. Now I think there are 100 or so people who could all use a nap (me included). Can’t wait to do it again at Startup Weekend Seattle 5. Hope you can make it.

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Eric Koester is co-founder and COO of Zaarly and an attorney, formerly with Cooley LLP. Follow @

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