In a few days the 5th Athens Startup Weekend takes place. ASW is a 54 hour event which can help you to get your business idea to the next step. At ASW you can pitch your idea, get developers/designers/business people in your team, get support from advisors and work intensively on your idea for 54 hours. At the end, you present it to a panel of judges and get feedback and extra support.
Since 2008, more than 150 ideas have been pitched and some of them continued to become startups: Colab Athens, Babelverse, Useum are some of them. Check a small video from 2010 to see what this is all about:
Here are a few tips to get prepared for ASW and make the most out of it:
1. Learn how to pitch your idea
You will have one minute to pitch your idea. Read some posts on how you can pitch here and here. Remember: You are trying to solve a problem that a consumer/business has, with your business idea – no matter what is the way to do it (mobile apps/ tablet apps/ web services/ software solution). So, in general a pitch has the following format:
Hi. The problem I want to solve is [description of the problem and why it is important] and this is targeted to [description of your customers]. My idea/solution to this is [description of the solution you want to develop]. The way to monetize this is [description of your business model or how you plan to make money]. My profile is [description of your expertise] and I need to build a team with [ description of the additional skills that you need, eg. a web developer/designer/business plan/marketer].
Let’s see a simple example:
“Hi. Imagine the following: You are on the beach, you want to get into the sea and swim but you have to leave your mobile/ money out on the beach chair – hanging there unsafe. My idea is to create a safe box that can easily fit to any beach chair and will allow you to keep your belongings safe while you enjoy the sea. You will send an sms to a specific number, get a limited time passcode and this will be your password to the safebox. This targets around 500k people who use beach chairs in Greece every summer. The revenue will come from premium SMS and it will be shared with the owner of the place that has the beach chairs. I am a mechanical engineer who has built and designed 10 objects and I need a developer who will build the SMS integration and a person to do the marketing.”
2. Analyze what kind of skills you need in your team
Do your exercise before the event and pinpoint what kind of skills you need to develop your idea. Do you need a developer? If yes, in which platform? only for the web? mobile developer? Do you need a web designer? a product designer? someone to do the marketing? (social/web marketing? B2B marketing?)
There will be 10, 20 or even more pitches about ideas. After the pitches, you would like to get the best team for your idea. Try to network as much as possible and find out the skills of every person who may be interested in your idea. Try to attract the best talent. The more work you put into your pitch and refinement of your idea and skills you need, the easier it will be to attract the most suited persons.
4. Keep it structured
When forming a new team, it is easy to get lost in lengthy conversations about anything..business plans, technical requirements, business models etc.. Agree to a specific plan of action with your team, get advices from mentors and start executing. Make a list of all action items to be made in the next 54 hours and who does what. E.g.
– Find a business name. Fotis and George to brainstorm and team to approve. 1 hour.
– Register domain name and a hosting provide. Eleni. Half an hour.
– Develop Logo. Dimitra. 3 hours
– Find the most suited business models for the idea. George with mentors. 2 hours.
– Develop the code for the prototype application. Fotis. 20 hours.
5. Ask for help
You will have a lot of mentors/advisors next to you in the 2 and half days of the event. Get to them and ask for support/ideas/feedback. As much as possible. Filter it. Integrate the best feedback into your plan and continue to execute.
6. Prepare to Present
You can assign to one person to be responsible for the presentations and start working on it. Use Microsoft Movie Maker or www.animoto.com for videos, fotos, screenshots of your prototype or even better a working demo of your solution. Find similar presentation from Startup Weekend at Slideshare, (e.g. this one)
Good luck to the ones joining the event for the first time…And for the veterans, here is your small present :)