Aspiring entrepreneurs will enjoy the opportunity to transform their ideas into functional start-ups when the third Guadalajara Startup Weekend takes place Nov. 9-11. “Powered” by the Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit organization from Kansas that supports entrepreneurship and education, this hands-on experience gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to test the viability of their business ideas and to show off Mexico’s high technology talent.
During the 54-hour Startup Weekends, developers, designers, marketers and product managers come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch their own businesses. They will receive the opportunity to learn new skills, test and implement ideas, meet potential business partners and get advice from experts.
Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2007, Startup Weekend opened its first regional offices in London and Mexico City in June 2012. To date, the organization has held 672 events in over 90 countries, with another 313 planned for the future. Some 57,000 entrepreneurs have taken part, with 5,005 start-ups receiving funding.
Events usually attract 60 to 120 entrants, more or less evenly divided between those with technical or design backgrounds and those with more general business experience. About 80 percent of participants plan to continue working with their team after each Startup Weekend, and over 36 percent of start-ups are still going strong three months later.
Mexico’s first Startup Weekend took place in the capital city in 2011. The winner was NuFlick, an online distribution platform for filmmakers, founded by Celeste North. The subsequent publicity quickly led to investment from MexicanVC, a Silicon Valley venture capital seed fund for Mexican start-ups.
Striking the Startup Spark
“At the beginning we saw ourselves as a service for independent filmmakers to upload their movies to a video-on-demand rental platform, where their followers, film fans and everyone interested could rent quality entertaining movies which don’t get the attention or distribution of mainstream entertainment,” said North, who will be one of the coaches for the upcoming edition of Startup Weekend in Guadalajara.
“Startup Weekend helped us discover we were ready to jump into the start-up train,“ North said, noting NuFlick developed a product concept, art concept, business model and a working prototype during the labor-intensive weekend. “We ran through thousands of numbers, templates, lines of code and hours practicing our sales pitch.”
Added North: “The next couple of days after Startup Weekend changed our lives; we wanted to continue working on the project because we all saw potential in it. Some decided to continue with their life priorities, some of us decided to quit our jobs and make NuFlick our new life priority.”
Startup Weekend Details
The Guadalajara Startup Weekend will be held at the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESO) university campus. It begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 11 at 8 pm. Participants must pay a fee of 650 pesos ($50 US).
The event kicks off on Friday with an open mic session in which attendees pitch their ideas to persuade others to join their team. In the following two days, participants focus on developing their products, following Eric Ries’ “Lean Startup” principles. On Sunday evening the teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts who announce the winners.
Other events take place all over the world and in the Mexican cities of Aguascalientes, Hermosillo, Mexico City and San Luis Potosi the same weekend, with Ciudad Juarez, Monterrey and Morelia hosting Startup Weekends the following week.
The winner of the last Guadalajara event was Contabot, a simple but effective accounting application for the Mexican market, while the runner up was playVC, a game in which users learn about venture capitalism by investing virtual shares in a simulated stock market for start-ups.
The Bigger Picture
Startup Weekend could not yet confirm the specific prizes on offer for the forthcoming Guadalajara event, but a representative confirmed that the winner will go on to take part in the Global Startup Battle, the world’s largest start-up competition that runs from Nov. 9-19.
Over 10,000 participants in 1,200 teams from more than 100 cities will take part in the overall competition, with winning teams from each city given 24 hours to present their start-up in a 90-second video pitch and a 15-word description. Each video pitch will then be posted online, with a worldwide vote to decide the winners.
Grand prizes include a free trip to Rio de Janeiro for Global Entrepreneurship Congress; a free trip to San Francisco to tour the Googleplex and meet with founders, mentors and investors; a $5,000 (US) public relations launch package; $5,000 worth of design services; and $5,000 of legal support.