How to Attend Startup Weekend

Friday, November 9 – 11, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

The Commons Event Center
4712 Mountain Lakes Blvd
Redding, CA 96003

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:

  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Jake and Todd Discuss Startup weekend Redding

Jake Hinton:        Hey, my name is Jake, I work with Cloud Potential. I’m here with Todd Jones, with Shasta EDC, and Todd is going to share with us an upcoming event, Startup Weekend Redding.

Todd Jones:         Yes.

Jake Hinton:        So, Todd, why don’t you tell us what the event is, and then tell us a little bit about it.

Todd Jones:        Yeah, so this is our fourth annual Startup Weekend Redding, and it’s going to take place November the 9th to the 11th, which is just over two weeks away. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, starting Friday night at about 6:00 PM, and going until Sunday night at about 8:00 PM or so.

All the participants that come, and last year we had 80, will have a chance to pitch an idea, and they have one minute to pitch that idea, and the goal is to pitch something that is kind of new, that they haven’t worked on, so everyone has a level playing field, and then they have the rest of the weekend to come up with a minimum viable product that they can pitch, and they have five minutes to do so, on Sunday night.

Now, you might be thinking, “Wow, how many amazing companies are going to come from this?” And the answer is, probably not that many, because it’s really not about the company that’s formed or the product that’s created over the course of the weekend. It’s really more about what it takes to start a business, and 54-hours to validate that idea, to get out and talk to people, talk to potential customers, build a business plan, and put together a really great pitch that’s going to woo the five judges that we have on Sunday night. And, it’s a lot of fun.

Jake Hinton:        Awesome. So, remember, I’ve been to several of these, off and on, they were at the Shasta Venture Hub when it was up on Caterpillar, which we aren’t there any longer.

Todd Jones:         Right.

Jake Hinton:        So, don’t go to the Caterpillar building, if you’ve done that in the past. Where’s the new location that it’s going to be in?

Todd Jones:         Yeah, so its at the Commons Event Center, and many of you might not know where that is, but the Commons Event Center is at 4712 Mountain Lakes Boulevard, here in Redding, and a business by the name of Moseley Family Cellars is one of the businesses there, and the Commons Event Center is upstairs, through the front lobby of that building, and it holds a couple hundred people, it has a kitchen, and everything we need for a great Startup Weekend.

You can get your tickets right now at www.startupweekendredding.org, and there are a couple of different ticket options. A regular ticket price, and a student ticket price, and with that ticket, not only comes a great experience, but you also get all of your meals covered, Friday night through Sunday night, local beer from Wild Card Brewing Company, coffee from Theory Collaborative Coffee, and a bunch of great local food throughout the entire weekend.

So, it’s a lot of fun. We expect anywhere from 80 to 125 people this year, and 125 people is our cap. We cannot have any more than that. And if you can’t make it for the whole weekend, come out on Friday at about 6:30 PM, when we get the pitches started, and we’ll have pizza there from Westside Pizza and beer flowing from Wild Card Brewing, and then on Sunday night when those finalists figure out their ideas, and they form that final pitch, that’s also open to the public, and that will start closer to 6:00 PM.

Todd Jones:         You can check it out on Facebook at Startup Weekend Redding, or you can go to Techstars Startup Weekend Redding, for more information and to get tickets.

Jake Hinton:        I’d think about going just because Wild Card’s going to be there.

Todd Jones:         Yeah. All you can drink.

Jake Hinton:        That’s enough reason for me.

Todd Jones:         People get pretty intense, they get pretty into it, so we don’t have a bunch of people drinking way too much.

Jake Hinton:        Right, it’s not a party.

Todd Jones:         It’s kind of a party. It’s fun.

Jake Hinton:        It’s a lot of fun.

Todd Jones:         People are pretty heads down, and the idea that won last year, is an idea by the name of Elevate Adventure if I’m not mistaken, and what it was, was basically blue apron meets backpacking. So, everything you need to go backpacking for a weekend, all your meals, all your spices, all of your other desserts and treats, and things like that, all included. So, that was something a local entrepreneur by the name of Luke Miner came up with. It felt very real on Sunday night, as did all of the pitches that happened, and they got over 400 responses in 24 hours to their idea, to help validate that idea, for the minimum viable product that they pitched on Sunday, which had a website and social media, and if felt pretty real.

So, that’s just one of the ideas, it’s not all tech stuff, it could be anything you imagine and can be pitched. I’m going to participate this year, and I’m planning to win, so we’ll see how that goes. There’s a little stiff competition in this local area, with a lot of very bright people, but maybe you could win, out there, and anyone could win.

Jake Hinton:        So, anyone who has an idea, they get to pitch. Is it on Friday or Saturday that they actually make the pitches?

Todd Jones:         Friday night.

Jake Hinton:        Friday night. So, 80 to 120 people pitch their ideas. If you have an idea, you pitch yours.

Todd Jones:         Yes.

Jake Hinton:        Anyone can go to this?

Todd Jones:         If you’re a participant. You’ve got to register.

Jake Hinton:        Okay, so you have to have a ticket.

Todd Jones:         Yeah, you’ve got to have a ticket for the weekend. You can’t just show up. You can pay at the door, which we did last year for several people.

Jake Hinton:        And how many people are on each team?

Todd Jones:         Good question. So, last year, as an example of how this kind of breaks down, we had 80 people participating. On Friday night, we had 40 people pitch one-minute ideas. There were a lot finding we are hard-core, one minute. So, it has to be one minute and you’re done.

Todd Jones:         We’ll take the microphone and we literally will shove you off the stage, in a nice way.

Jake Hinton:        Well, 120 people, you have to.

Todd Jones:         You have to, it takes a long time, but it’s really fun. It’s a lot of fun to hear these people pitch, everyone’s drinking beer and enjoying themselves. So, I’m talking about beer a lot, but I’m excited because Wild Card is great.

 So, back to your original question, 40 people pitched. From those 40 pitches, 12 teams were formed. Teams were as small as two, was the smallest team, because they just were die-hard about their idea. The largest team was probably almost like 12 people, I think is what, 12 to 14 people in the largest team. So, they range anywhere between two to twelve people. One person can do Startup Weekend by themselves if they are so gung-ho about their idea that they don’t want to let it go, and then 12 to 14 is an unruly size team. I would say somewhere around six to seven is a little more appropriate, because that way everyone can really engage. It’s not like a test, there are no participation points, but you definitely want to have your whole team engaged in the idea, to walk through that process of starting a business because that’s what it’s all about.

Jake Hinton:        And get more people bringing their competencies to the team.

Todd Jones:         Exactly. So, when you pitch on Friday night, one of the things we recommend is saying, “Hey, my name is Todd. My idea is to solve finding a dog walker,” which there are hundreds of apps out there that do that, “and I am looking for someone that can help me develop this as a prototype app, potentially, over the weekend. So, you throw out your needs in that 60-second pitch, and you want to get people excited because it’s based on popularity.

Todd Jones:         Everyone has a sticker, they have three stickers, and they just put their stickers on the three ideas, or they put them all on one. It’s the dot voting method.

Jake Hinton:        So, the greater your pitch, the greater the chances that people are going to vote for you, people are going to want to join your team?

Todd Jones:         Yes

Jake Hinton:        You are going to achieve that goal of voting on Sunday.

Todd Jones:         Starting on Sunday.

Jake Hinton:        Yeah, and you mentioned this, that its not necessarily about starting the business, but going through the process, see what it takes, look at all the moving parts, and just a rapid, this is everything you need to do to start a business, but you don’t necessarily go out at the end of it and have a business. You just know what to do now.

Todd Jones:         Right.

Jake Hinton:        And you have a list of people who you know can do, can help with those things.

Todd Jones:         Yeah, a lesson. The reason we pick November, there’s a lot of reasons but one of them is its part of Techstars, who is the host group that does Startup Weekends all over the world. It’s Techstars Global Startup Week. So, there are going to be over 2,000 Startup Weekends happening, all over the world, on the same weekend we’re doing ours.

Todd Jones:         So, what the means is people that win can go to a regional battle, which is North America, it’s a big region, and then they can go on to the global battle to be the Startup Weekend winners of the entire world.

Jake Hinton:        How long have they been doing the global battles?

Todd Jones:         The global battles have been going on for, I believe, eight to ten years.

Jake Hinton:        And then my real question is, I guess, do the winners of that, is there a high likelihood that those businesses are starting branding right now? Do you know?

Todd Jones:         Some of those businesses are. Sometimes people use it as something that’s similar to the business that they are working on, to try to get either team numbers, and people have started companies based on their teams from Startup Weekend, even in our area, here, or they’re maybe just trying to validate one piece of a business.

Todd Jones:         So, yes, businesses do go off from Startup Weekends. It’s usually about 7% of people actually start that business after Startup Weekend, and that’s a global number. So, there’s been thousands and thousands over the years. So, there’s a handful out there that actually did go on to start a company, and get funding.

Jake Hinton:        Good. So, it’s a pretty big commitment, then? You said, what, how many hours?

Todd Jones:         It’s 54 hours, and then sometimes people will stay all night on Friday night because everyone’s really excited. Usually, people will not stay quite as late on Saturday, but we will have the venue open, basically 24/7.

Todd Jones:         So, last year, most people left around midnight, and I was there every morning at six, starting the coffee pots up.

Todd Jones:         It’s a lot of fun, but it’s definitely a commitment. It’s not something you can passively sign up for. If you sign up, be prepared to be a part of your team, and if you don’t want to sign up, you’re welcome to stop by throughout the weekend and check it out, and then Friday night and Sunday night are open to the public, for everyone to come and enjoy what people come up with.

Jake Hinton:        So, the Friday night, the night the pitches occur.

Todd Jones:         Yes.

Jake Hinton:        Sunday night, the night the startup teams show what they’ve accomplished.

Todd Jones:         Exactly.

 

Jake Hinton:        Okay, so friends, family can show up.

Todd Jones:         Yeah, we encourage people to invite their friends and family. It is a stiff competition, people take it very, very seriously, but at the end of the day, it’s all about learning something new, learning how to start a business in a short amount of time, and having fun.

Todd Jones:         So, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a really good weekend.

Jake Hinton:        Now, and I think in the years past, there have been business mentors or business people who have stepped in to coach. Is that also happening this year?

Todd Jones:         Right. Yes, we have two layers of people. We have mentors, who are people in the community that typically own their own business, or they’re in a role, or they’re supervising people, or business development, or some capacity. So we have a handful of mentors that will be assigned to teams, to help them through the weekend and bounce ideas off, because sometimes you can just get a silo and they’ll ask you some of those hard questions.

Todd Jones:         And really, the goal is to prepare you for a really good pitch on Sunday. That’s what it’s all about because you want to win, that’s the goal of the weekend.

Todd Jones:         The other side is we have business coaches, who are subject matter experts. So, we’ll have people who will come in and talk about marketing, and you can book times with them. Finance, customer evaluation, there are about six people that we bring in that are subject matter experts. Branding and marketing are usually the biggest one, and those people you can set a time for on Saturday, with your team, to have them come in and just give you about 30 minutes of their time.

Todd Jones:         Then on Sunday night, we have five judges that represent different parts of our startup community, so someone from the local Angels Investors group, some business CEO’s, and some other people that have played a part in building our startup community, here, locally.

 

Jake Hinton:        And if someone wants to get more information on the hours, what might be required of them, where can they go? Where can they find more info?

Todd Jones:         Click here: Startup Weekend Redding for the entire schedule,  Techstars just prints out there for us, that we use, so some of the times can shift a little bit, but the entire schedule for the weekend is there, and you can buy a ticket as well.

Jake Hinton:        Awesome. Anything else you want to add about the weekend?

Todd Jones:         Buy a ticket now, and join us, because it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Jake Hinton:        Are tickets available at the door?

Todd Jones:       Tickets are available at the door. We encourage everyone to buy their tickets ahead of time, so we can plan for food and meals, but we have had people, only about one or two people, typically, would buy a ticket at the door.

Jake Hinton:        Okay. Awesome. Well, thanks, Todd.

Todd Jones:         Thanks, Jake.

Jake Hinton:        Yeah. I’m hoping a lot of people sign up and show up to Startup Weekend in Redding.

Todd Jones:         It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Jake Hinton:        Cool.

Todd Jones:         Thanks.

Jake Hinton:        Well, thanks for coming on.

Todd Jones:         Thanks, Jake.