There is something magical that happens when you put 100 strangers in a room for a weekend. Sprinkle some startup pixie dust over the top and you see something even more amazing.
Last weekend, November 4th — 6th, Startup Weekend returned to Perth for its ninth time. Since launching locally four years ago, the event has become a pivotal part of the growing startup ecosystem and a perfect introduction to people interested in entrepreneurship and tech startups.
Over 54 hours, nearly 100 people from diverse backgrounds and experiences came together to work on a new startup idea; to hack, hurry and hustle their way from concept to validated product.
At the close, 14 teams pitched on the Sunday night, many having built a functional product, some having gained real revenue, but all emerging from the weekend with new skills, friendships and hopefully an enlivened passion for solving real customer problems.
Startup Weekend is a global movement of entrepreneurs, led by TechStars and sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2007, the event has been held in 155 countries and has involved more than 200,000 attendees.
At its heart, Startup Weekend is about community building. Its true value is in helping grow local startup ecosystems through an immersive education experience that focusses on connection-making rather than competition.
The weekends are no easy feats. The teams leave the weekend emotionally and physically exhausted, having going through an expedited version of the tough realities of a real startup in just 54 hours.
In Perth, we are proud to be supported by a number of fantastic sponsors who help make Startup Weekend possible:
Thanks to our sponsors: City of Perth, Scitech, IP Australia, Beacham Group, Vocus Upstart, Inspiring Australia and Spacecubed
Whilst Startup Weekend is not about winning, four teams were recognised for the efforts over the weekend. It was a hard decision by the judges, with the winners split by a hair!
Second Runner-Up: Pro Gamer Academy, connecting gamers with pro-gamer coaches
Runner-up: Happy Robbie, for the awesome implementation of a Facebook chatbot and for getting revenue over the the weekend
The Winner: GetFished, helping avid fishers fish more by connecting them with boat owners
Startup Weekend #9 was my first time as facilitator and lead organiser of the event. Whilst I had participated before and helped organise #7 and #8, I was excited to step and have a crack leading the show.
As an organiser, you can’t help but feel pride and amazement at the way the attendees tackle the weekend. Many people participating in Startup Weekend do so uninitiated in the lean startup approach, technical product development or the tough life of a founder. Irrespective, the weekend overflows with creativity and passion; something you often don’t get to witness at the scale of 100 people at once. It is truly magic in motion.
Lastly, a huge thank you to our mentors, judges, sponsors and organisers. Startup Weekend’ers: we are very proud of you all and hope that this weekend has generated the spark for you to continue your entrepreneurial journey.
SOMA, or Skills of the Modern Age, is a future skills academy helping Australians get ready for the future of work. Through in-person events, workshops and courses, we deliver practical training programs in the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow.
From programming to product design, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, we're on a mission to retool Australia, one learner at a time.