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 businesses when we organized the first Accra Startup Weekend two years ago. 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! Startup Weekend is now a great initiative with a global presence and guess what it works and making impact across the globe. 54 intense hours is all you get to form a team, pitch an idea, build a prototype and validate it. This model has proven to an effective way to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be a part of the startup world.
It’s a make or break in 54 hours!
Judges at Startup Weekends do not really care how you created your prototype or your presentation all in 54 hours. They want to see what problems you are solving, what model you intend to adopt, 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?
No chance for mediocre ideas
The judges at Startup Weekends can easily shot down your idea in less than 5 minutes if you don’t do a good job. But they forget you did all that in 54 hours or less, oh they don’t care about that. You signed up for it and knew the process before hand. But 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. And guess what, that investor you want to meet will ask a lot more questions and will want to explore all possible flaws of your business.
Can you Launch a business in 54 hours?
The startup Weekend model works. It’s a stepping stone to what can be achieved when the right resources, people and management are put together. The idea and model can be replicated in other business sectors. But the big question is-can you and your team make it work for yourselves when you are not being watched, monitored or judged. Can you put yourself under the pressure to bootstrap your way to success in 54 intense hours when it matters.
You could do it, if you are passionate and hungry enough to get started and actually launch a business in 54 hours. There is no harm in trying. Set a goal, find out what you are good at and get started on a Friday and out your business out for feedback by Sunday night. If you can get others involved, the better. You can hire freelancers from Elance or Odesk to help you build a working prototype if you are convinced about your startup idea and have done the necessary idea validation processes.
Startup Weekend Works!
The likes of Zaarly, FoodSpotting, Memolane, inDinero, CloudBot, ReportGrid, Cloudmine, Saygent, PocketTales, Giant Think Well, Jimmy Fairly, KeepStream, Volly, LaunchRock and Dropifi now a 500 startups company 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 and others have been acquired.
Startup Weekend Success stories
Zaarly raised $14 million in funding and even brought on board former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Foodspotting, a restaurant finding and dish sharing app that relaunched itself as a discovery service saw more than 3 million downloads with 2 million monthly sessions. Foodspotting was acquired for $10 million in cash by OpenTable in January 2013.
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.
If you want to be part of the Startup Weekend community, find the nearest event near you and go share your brilliant idea with others, you could end up with a great co-founder, a business and great contacts you could leverage in the future.