Reno, Start Up Weekend 2013

Ricardo Saldivar

Probably one of the best events that I have ever participated in. If you are always thinking about solutions to improve the day to day experience, this is your kind of event. Reno Startup Weekend it is a competition that attracts talent from different backgrounds to work together and create a business in 54h. This year the event was held at the Freight House District, it had more than 100 attendees and delivered 10 new businesses for Reno.
Everything starts with an idea. If you are like me, constantly thinking of ways to make money, this is the opportunity to connect with people that are on the same page. I usually spend some time everyday thinking of the more bizarres ideas, most of them are not feasible, but some of them actually make sense! I always try to focus in the problem, and after you have found a problem, then you try to come with the solution. I am sure that there are structures to come with new ideas, but I like the exercise of always thinking.
The event is full throttle. You do not stop and relax, there is no time for that, and you learn this in the first 30mins. The event organizer asks the attendees that would like to pitch their idea to come to the front. You have 60 seconds to explain your idea, after that, the other attendees will walk around you, while you hold a big white paper and will rate your idea. You play a big part in this, because you have seconds to PR with the crowd and convince them personally that you have something good in your head. The ideas with more votes get selected. The attendees have the chance to join a team for the weekend.
The groups average 6-8 people, more than that gets too big and it is hard to make quick decisions. Remember you only have 54h to come up with a solid business plan.
The last day, a panel of judges will select the winner. They basically judge you in 3 categories: customer validation, marketing research, and finances. In order to win, it is important to go out and talk to your target market, and make decision according to what your market wants. If you end up building a working prototype, it will give you some extra points.
The Startup Weekend is not for everybody, and is not a normal weekend. You will be more tired on Monday that you will ever be. There is loud techno music playing the entire time and obviously beers pop here and there.
The project that we worked on during that weekend was happening, a phone application that will show you in real time where the party is at. The application is under construction and we are hoping to launch it in 2014.

Ricardo Saldivar
I would like to thank my group that believed in my idea and supported with all their work and talent: a big shoutout to Liane O’neil, Joshua D. Smith, Diego Sabogal, Lauren Dick and Dan Langford.
Even thought we didn’t win, it was a great experience that exceeded any expectations, I am definitely doing it again.

Check out the next one in the area: Tahoe Startup Weekend 

Peace.

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