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Startup Weekend Article by Boston Innovation

August 7, 2010

 

Startup Weekend Boston: Building Community to Support Idea Launch

Adjustable High Heel Shoes featured in this article

Ali Powell | June 5th, 2010

Startup Weekend has made its way to Boston again, and kicked off with a bang last night. This weekend a hundred plus entrepreneurs, developers, marketers, attorneys, social media gurus, and startup enthusiasts have come together at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Kendall Square to take part in a 54-hour boot camp. The event hopes to transform pitches into actual prototypes with the goal of building Boston’s next hot startup.

Andrew Hyde founded Startup Weekend in 2007 out of motivation behind an idea that was coined at TechStars. He wanted to help bring together people in a fun and engaging way to create great companies in a community driven format.  Andrew Hyde saw the need and set out to build one of the world’s largest startup incubators. Startup Weekend has since touched over 100 cities in over 25 countries, and there are plans to launch Startup Weekend in 60 cities around the world this year.

“We model entrepreneurship instead of teach[ing] it. The event is the difference between an experience and an exercise. Here, you get to experience what it’s really like to work in a team environment. You can test your skills and actually implement something in the course of one weekend. For most people it’s more than you would get done in one week,” says Marc Nager, the Director of Startup Weekend. Nager has traveled to over 13 countries and 22 cities in the US to lead Startup Weekends. He is a strong proponent of the Boston startup ecosystem because of the tight-knit community here.

Startup Weekend is a proven formula for gathering people from the entrepreneurial ecosystem together and working togther to make great things happen. The culture at a Startup Weekend is one of support, openness and creativity, yielding productivity and results.  Laura Fitton of oneforty, who has taken part in Startup Weekend in the past, says, “The most important thing you will gain this weekend is a 48 hour b-school.”

Forty-two inspiring entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to the crowd. The best 17, as voted by the crowd, will survive throughout the weekend. Teams will then be formed around the winners and real work will begin. Watching these new ideas morph and mature during the weekend is sure to be an exciting and insightful experience. Here are the 17 ideas that were selected last night. Teams have been formed around each, and they’ll be working like crazy to get their development work finalized throughout the day today (the number next to the idea or company name is the order in which they pitched last night):

25. Bandora: Website where bands can let people bid for their services for a gig, a house party, club appearance,  etc.

30. Adjustable high heel shoes: The heel would twist on and off and go from an inch and up.

3. Zip code based app: Helping merchants and buyers search by location.

33. Referral bonus: Democratizing the recruiting process.

14. Groupon for stuff: What if there were a way to combine Groupon and retail?

1. Yelp for manufacturers: Helping to differentiate the manufacturers that startup companies can use.

11. Rosetta stone for non-technical founders: Figuring out a simple way to get people to understand programming through an online curriculum.

12. Mystery science theatre for YouTube: Sharing video in a much more social and communal way.

13. Impact – open calendar: Events calendar to support getting face time with the right people in the ecosystem.

16. Naughty Nutrition: You can eat foods that are healthy for you and make you feel naughty.

37. Social co-working: An app where you can share where you are working and what you are working on so you can connect with people  close by.

23. Voting game for twitter: Click the link on a question to vote, retweet it.

7. Pepper: Casual real time fantasy sports.

17. Manivu: Real time photo movement.

27. OSSTing – Easy web hosting deployment app: Online marketplace for mobile phones.

38. Cogent mobile voice app: An app that addresses voice user interface utilizing voice input and output in an interactive space.

19. Riotvine: Wholesale Foursquare integration.

On Sunday night, only a few of these companies can be crowned the champions of Startup Weekend Boston.  Prizes for the winners include thousands of dollars in free legal services and valuable mentoring, including sessions with Shawn Broderick, the Executive Director of TechStars Boston.

Which ideas do you think will end up launching companies at the end of Startup Weekend Boston? Share your ideas here. Be sure to follow Startup Weekend on twitter with the hashtag #swboston. Also, make sure to check out our coverage from the last Boston Startup Weekend.

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