One Weekend, Seven Startups

By Hilary Darrah, Communications Officer, Edmonton

Have you ever wanted to create a startup in one weekend? Let me introduce you to Startup Weekend.

For those of you who do not know what a Startup Weekend is, it is a 54 hour event where developers, marketers, and entrepreneurs come together to pitch ideas, form teams, build products, and create startups. This was my second time at a Startup Weekend, though my first as an employee of Cybera.

Friday night is the brainstorming night. All the participants gather together in one room, and everyone has the opportunity to pitch their startup ideas. Teams are assembled, based on whichever project attendees want to work on. There is no team member limits; some teams may have 20 people, and some teams may only have two people.

Saturday is the day the teams gather and get to work. It usually starts at 10:00 a.m. (or even earlier) and goes until around 8:00 p.m. Most people go out afterwards to relax before Sunday, the crunch day. By 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, your product has to be ready to demonstrate. It does not have to be perfect but it should be functional.

At Edmonton's Startup Weekend 2, seven teams were formed to create a variety of products:

  • Launchwith.me, a type of "trading card" for developers, which rates their skills and teamwork, as a sort of fun version of Linked In (Team Victory, and also my team)
  • a web-based program called Swift, which processes invoices
  • the addition of sound to the Google Earth map, so for example, you could not only see the beach, you could hear waves crashing on the sand
  • two games: one was a Flash-based game called Flatlander and one was an iPhone app called Rubber Chicken Assassin
  • an app to help musicians with ear training, called Ear Tonic
  • a website called Helping Manual, designed to be the one-stop resource for helping outreach workers and homeless people find needed services.

These weekends always remind me of the amazing talent Edmonton has, and what a fantastically supportive community it is for startups.

Have you ever attended a Startup event? Talk about your experience in the comments!