Creating a business or startup in 54 hours is an ambitious step but not impossible. I must confess it was an awesome experience when I witnessed passionate developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing leaders, graphic artists and entrepreneurs in training create and develop innovative new products at the just ended Accra Startup Weekend. I watched 8 teams develop ideas into real-world, viable models in just 54 hours.
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!
Judges at Startup Weekends do not really care that you created your prototype, business concept or model and even created a wonderful presentation all in 54 hours. They want to see what problems you are solving, how you intend to solve that, how different your product will be from the many out there, how you intend to make money and even a working prototype. Is that too much to ask in 54 hours? If you happen not to have answers for their questions, they think you have not thought through your idea and probably don’t know what you are doing. But they forget you did all that in 54 hours or less. But you signed up for it and knew the process before hand. The process is worth it, it makes you strong and prepared for the real pitch to the investor who will finally invest in your idea or concept.
Zaarly, FoodSpotting, Memolane, inDinero, CloudBot, ReportGrid, Cloudmine, Saygent, PocketTales, Giant Think Well, Jimmy Fairly, KeepStream, Volly, LaunchRock were all started at startup weekends. But of course a lot has changed over the years in these startups. Some of them have raised millions of dollars after the 54 hours. I believe in the model. Its a stepping stone to what can be achieved when the right resources, people and management are put together.
Zaarly Raises $14 Million two months ago and they even brought on board former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Foodspotting raised $3 Million Series A earlier this year.
What happens after the weekend is the most important part of the process. Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.
Accra Startup Weekend was awesome and I am happy to have contributed to its organization.