Beyond being a regular contributor to ExitEvent, Mital Patel is the lead organizer and facilitator of Triangle Startup Weekend (a volunteer position). His day job is as a startup attorney in Raleigh.
On Friday, July 12, the Triangle’s newest entrepreneurial coworking space, American Underground @ Main St, will be packed and buzzing with the energy of 150+ of the Triangle’s veteran and new entrepreneurs.
The 6th Triangle Startup Weekend (TSW) will have VCs, angels, entrepreneurs with multiple successful exits under their belts, college students, first time entrepreneurs, and even some teenagers just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey. There’s literally a place and need for everyone at Triangle Startup Weekend, whether you’ve been there and done that or are just curious and looking for a unique weekend experience.
No Talk. All Action.
What makes Triangle Startup Weekend different than meetups, conferences, and most other startup events is that the emphasis is on doing rather than talking. Sure, there’s value in ideating, brainstorming, and strategizing, but with the pressure of a 54 hour deadline, participants rightfully place their emphasis on what matters most: Executing.
On Friday night, participants each have (but aren’t required to use) 60 seconds to pitch their startup idea. Attendees vote and teams will form based on which ideas attendees want to see come to life. Some teams will maximize their time, hit the ground running, and work late into Friday night. Others will opt for a good night’s sleep and head home.
On Saturday, the teams are aided by a who’s who cast of coaches (mostly successful entrepreneurs) to help guide their work. There’s plenty of food (including food trucks!) and caffeine to fuel the hard work participants put into their businesses.
On Sunday afternoon, the teams each present their progress to a panel of judges.
Developers, Designers, Businesspeople….Children, Grandparents and Neighbors (Potential Customers!)
Regardless of your skillset, there’s a place (and need) for you at Triangle Startup Weekend. Sure, developers write the code, designers make it look great, and general “business people” think through marketing and feasible revenue models. But some of TSW’s past participants that have contributed the most value to their teams (and gotten the most out of the weekend themselves) have been the ones who bring the everyday perspective of potential users and customers. When everyone’s adrenaline is flowing, it’s these participants that provide the real world experience and feedback that can’t be replicated on a whiteboard.
Try Before you Buy
Bypassing a steady job, risking your mortgage and other financial responsibilities is NOT for everyone. The “all-in” risk and commitment of a full blown startup isn’t to be taken lightly. That’s where Startup Weekend comes in: you can “try before you buy,” so to speak. And even if you decide not to go all-in, you’ll likely emerge a better entrepreneurial employee, thinker, and doer than you did before the weekend started.
Renew and Re-energize
If you currently work at a startup or have had your share of the entrepreneurial experience, you may be looking for something to re-energize and renew you. That’s exactly what happened to Scott Moody, who will be a judge for TSW this weekend.
By the time he came to Triangle Startup Weekend two years ago, Scott had been on, by all objective measures, a successful entrepreneurial journey. He had co-founded a company, raised $70 million in venture capital, and took it public. He walked away from Triangle Startup Weekend re-energized, and was inspired enough to move back to the Triangle from Florida.
Be Pleasantly Surprised
Maybe you’re already involved in a startup or have no intention of pursuing a startup. Maybe you’re just curious about this robust and talented Triangle startup community that you read and hear about. You may be pleasantly surprised, as UserVoice CEO Richard White was, when he returned home and realized the engineers in the Triangle are just as talented as the engineers he courts in San Francisco. Richard took a page out of the “all action” playbook and opened a UserVoice office in the Triangle
By late Sunday afternoon at Startup Weekend, future co-founders will have met and worked together for the first time, attendees will have found new jobs, investors will have seen new ideas, and friendships will have been made. And without fail, this is when I get the most gratifying feelings of organizing and facilitating Startup Weekends, participants come up to the organizers, thank us, and tell us that Triangle Startup Weekend has changed their lives.
All of this is reason for celebration, and that’s exactly how we end the weekend. After the Sunday presentations, we’ll all head to Motorco (one of downtown Durham’s coolest venues) to share food and drinks as participants, coaches, and judges reflect on the weekend and start conversations that will last well beyond the weekend.
Whether you’re just looking to meet new people or roll up your sleeves and work hard for a weekend, there’s something for everyone at Triangle Startup Weekend. Tickets are limited, so register now or see the Triangle Startup Weekend website for more information.