Friday, June 13, 2008

Columbus Startup Weekend Coming



RICK ADAMCZAK

Daily Reporter Staff Writer



Starting a new business can be daunting, but doing it in one weekend is a challenge beyond most people's imagination. Regardless, more than 100 Columbus-area information technology specialists will take on the challenge this summer.

The city is scheduled to host a 54-hour networking event designed to link software technicians and business developers wanting to start new technology businesses.

The event, Columbus Startup Weekend, is part of a national series of such events that began last year.

Columbus was chosen through voting on the event's primary Web site, www.startupweekend.com.

"They try to identify which city has interest in doing this and they contacted us about whether we can pull this off," said Chris Anderson, start-up specialist at TechColumbus, a Columbus organization that promotes the area's technology development efforts.

TechColumbus will host the event at its offices on July 18-20.

"One unique piece we'll offer is that we have tech labs and platforms right here on site," Anderson.

He said between 100 and 140 people are expected to attend the event and that there already are 50 people registered for the event.

The concept of the event is to bring IT specialists together with entrepreneurs, businessmen and people specializing in marketing to essentially transform an idea into an application in 52 hours.

Attendees will select ideas and then break into teams to develop the application, create the marketing strategies and chart the revenue model.

Teams consist of entrepreneurs, software developers, attorneys, marketers, designers, sales professionals and others working together to create multiple businesses from scratch all in one weekend.

Not that organizers are expecting the next Google or Yahoo! to be formed during that short period, but if nothing else, some long-term networking relationships should be formed.

"The companies that have been created (in other cities), there has been some interest from big players. I don't know if we'll see any venture capital interest," said Anderson. "We could see five or so individuals move on something that's viable."

Since its inception less than a year ago there have been similar events held in 15 cities, including London and Hamburg, Germany. Five other cities, besides Columbus, are scheduled for this year.

Columbus has received nearly 400 votes through the StartUp Weekend Web site, whereas North Carolina's Research Triangle has 190 votes.

"I've never seen a city rise so fast in a mere matter of hours," said Raymond Angel who runs the events for Startup Weekend LLC.

Much of the voting for Columbus has been spearheaded by local IT bloggers, Anderson said, noting that many of those individuals work in the IT field in the Columbus area.

"The majority of people who are going are people who are employed somewhere else and are looking to move on or start their own company. Or, they have started a company and are looking for help," Anderson said.

The event will start with short presentations by entrepreneurs who will describe the business idea.

"People will then gravitate toward the ideas that they are interested in and want to develop," said Anderson.

Even if no businesses are formed, he said that the Columbus IT community will benefit in the long run.

"The primary focus is on the IT side, the software development. Getting the idea person together with the software developer," said Anderson. "We want the two groups interacting, the software people and the business developers. Our role is to help any company think through the competitive landscape."

He said there are not many resources in the Columbus area to help link software developers with business developers.

"I think a lot of relationships will develop after this," said Anderson. "This sounds like a great opportunity to help talented software developers network with people who know how to develop a business model."

Web consultant Andrew Hyde of Boulder, Colo. created StartUp Weekend last year when he decided to bring his friends together for a spontaneous project.

The cost to participate is $40. For more information, visit: http://startupweekendcolumbus.eventbrite.com/

Ben's note: Since this article was written more people have singed up bringing the total to 70

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Alvin said...

Thank you for spreading the word. We now have over 80 people signed up. We've capped the number at 140, but I personally think 100 is perfect. If Ann Arbor is any indication, we'll get a bunch signing up the week of the event. So I encourage people to sign up early in case we sell out.

June 18, 2008 at 10:14 AM  

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