Can Startup Weekend Seedlings Thrive?


I didn’t know anything about Startup Weekend when I first heard about it at Digital Fertilizer. We had been talking about how awesome it would be to get together with a bunch of the talent in the area and just make something happen locally. But at the time I didn’t even know that these events had been popping up all over the world already. So after Perry and others told me that it was already in the works for this spring, I set out to learn more and see if there was really anything that could come out of just a few days of concentrated work locally.

Here’s some of what I found.

zaarly-logo was proposed as a mobile app that would help users find products or services nearby and place bids. It ended up winning first place at the Los Angeles April 2012 Startup Weekend and by November had over 100,000 users signed up. The founder later said “If the same idea had been executed in a more traditional fashion, it’s quite possible that no one would have ever heard of it.”

foodspotting-logo was started on that idea that even bad restaurants sometimes have something that is excellent. In In August 2009 the founder Alexa Adnrzejewski went to a SF Startup Weekend with the hopes of finding a co-founder to develop the app where users could take pictures and comment on foods they found. She didn’t find a developer to work with there, but she did get so much excitement about the idea that she was offered seed funding on the spot by an investor who was present. She was also able to consult with a range of professionals for suggestions and help developing strategies for partnering with restaurants. Now just a few years later it’s a very polished site with a huge database of user content and activity all over the world.

rover-logo did Startup Weekend Seattle, 2011 and this last year raised 7 million in Series B Round funding to grow it’s already hugely popular pet-sitting connection service.

zapier-logo provides an application service that connects the APIs of premium web services like SalesForce to others like BaseCamp. They started at a startup weekend in September 2011 and were accepted into ycombinator in October 2012 after some significant successes in invite only beta testing.

truckily-logo makes marketing software for food trucks so they can update their location so hungry people can find where their truck is in real time. They did the first Startup Weekend Kansas City, in Apr 2012 and then went on to be selected for the ARK challenge in November 2012 which as an accellerator gave them access to funding, product development and design support, promotion, networking with advisors and funders, as well as intensive mentoring from a group of community-based and national mentors.

These are just a few of the early examples. There are many more companies that got their start at a Startup Weekend in the last few years. As of this writing there have been 1068 events worldwide. Organizers have worked in 478 cities. And 8190 startups have been created by over 100,000 entrepreneurs. It’s estimated that 35% of teams stay together after the event to keep building their startup.

With numbers like this, it’s easy to get excited about the coming weekend. I personally am excited to meet so many new and talented people while getting to spend all weekend working with the great teams we will form. Let’s build one of the next big success stories!

*Fair use statement.  The logos in this post may be trademarks of their respective companies and are used to assist in identifying those companies as is protected under Trademark Fair Use laws. The author claims no affiliation with any of the mentioned companies. This use of these trademarks is not an indication of participation or endorsement by any of these companies.