How to Get the Most Out of Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition

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This is the third installment of our series on Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition, so here goes!

You’ve bought your ticket and the weekend is quickly approaching. You suddenly realize that you have no idea what to expect and you start to panic. What do I need? Who is going to help me build my business? What if nobody likes my idea? Will there be food? Did I leave the oven on? What is the meaning of life?

Stop. Take a deep breath. We’ve got your back.

Here is a list of the things you should bring:

  • Laptop + charger
  • Phone charger
  • Business Cards
  • Something to take notes on
  • A paper ticket is not required. Your name is on a list.
  • Students bring your student ID

When you arrive on Friday night you’ll have some time to mingle with your peers before we get started with initial pitches. You’ll be in a room with a ton of talented and motivated individuals so use this time to get to know them, to scope out who you’d like to work with, and maybe even get people thinking about how brilliant your business idea is. After everyone grabs some pizza and the organizing team does brief intros we’ll jump right into initial pitches. If you came to Startup Weekend with an idea this is your chance to win over the crowd.

What types of ideas can I pitch?

You can pitch pretty much anything you want, but you will need to get other people to support your idea. The theme for the event is the Beverage Industry so it should probably be somehow related to it. You can only pitch one idea, so if you have multiple, pick your best one & roll with it! Additionally, the purpose of Startup Weekend is to launch new startups and pitching an existing business isn’t permitted. You want the others on your team to be your cofounders, not just employees, so they’re willing to put in the sweat equity even after Startup Weekend is over and you’re on your way to creating an awesome startup! Enough talk about your idea, let’s pitch!

You, a microphone, and 60 seconds to convince everyone that your idea deserves to be built.

  • Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 Seconds)
  • What is the problem that your product is solving? Or begin with a story (10-20 Seconds)
  • Explain the product and how it solves the problem (10-20 seconds)
  • Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer?) (5-10 seconds)
  • Finally, make up a name for your startup so the facilitator can give it a title

After everyone who came with an idea does an initial pitch we’ll narrow the ideas down through a voting system. There could be 50 ideas pitched and somewhere around 10 will be chosen to be worked on over the course of the weekend.

What if my idea doesn’t get chosen?

Chin up. You’ve got two options:

  1. Join someone else’s startup. You’ve got skills and they’ve got needs. Figure out which idea you can get behind and become a cofounder.
  2. Convince at least 3 other people that your idea deserves to be built and recruit them to join your team. I hope your sales skills are better than your initial pitch because you have to have at least 4 team members to move forward with the idea. We’ve seen teams who didn’t make it through initial pitch voting go on to win the weekend!

Keep in mind when choosing your team, it is good to find people with complementary skills. You’ll want business people, marketers, designers, developers, and hustlers to help you bring your startup to life.

Now you’ve got an idea and you’ve got a team. What’s next?

Friday night you’ll flesh out your idea and figure out what role everyone is going to play. Consider using this time to research competitors as well as nail down your value proposition and how you plan to validate it. Accomplish as much as you want before you go home and get some rest or stay up all night working.

Breakfast will be served at 9:00am on Saturday & Sunday. And you’ll be working till 5:00pm on Sunday. Go home to get some rest when you need it or stay up all night to finalize your pitch.

Everything that happens in between then is totally up to you.

You’ll need tenacity, passion, determination, and a great attitude to stay productive and positive throughout the course of the weekend. Get to know your team and how they operate to ensure that you’re getting the most out of everyone. Our organizing team and experienced mentors will be there to guide you throughout the course of the weekend. We’ll also have some lean startup concepts and scrum/agile development principles to get you thinking, not to mention tons of food, coffee, and Red Bull. We’ll lay out the judging criteria for you early so you can keep that in mind as you are building your minimum viable products and honing in on your business model. Come Sunday you should be getting ready to pitch. This could be a working demonstration of your product, a video, or anything you can come up with to win the judges over.

This weekend is going to be intense, but more than anything it should be fun.

Startup Weekend is a one of a kind event where you can get some real hands on experience. It is one big learning process so don’t stress too much when everything doesn’t go smoothly. You’re going to meet a ton of incredible people that are driving towards their passions and the energy that you all create is going to leave you feeling like you could take on the world.

So congratulations, you’re about to build something remarkable!

Startup Weekend tackles the Beverage Industry (pt. 2)

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This is part 2 of our exploration of Startup Weekend & the Beverage Industry! In short, Startup Weekend is a 54 hour, action-oriented competition of innovation in enterprise, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. People of all ages and walks of life come together to build and launch businesses and then pitch them to a panel of highly esteemed entrepreneurs and professionals from around Tampa Bay. Startup Weekend has held 2000+ events in 135+ countries around the world, and we are looking forward to hosting yet another successful event this May. Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition will be one of the few places in the southeastern U.S. where both innovators and entrepreneurs from across various states will come together to develop new products for consumers. Our goals for this event are to facilitate innovation, start new trends, and solve problems prevalent in the beverage industry, while still having some fun!

Some of the keys for success in the brewing industry are:

  • the establishment of brand-names
  • product marketing
  • effective quality control
  • management of seasonal products
  • access to niche markets
  • ability to control stock in hand, effective cost controls
  • and establishing links with potential suppliers
  • check out our write-up of the Beverage Panel we hosted last week for more

Startup Weekend will offer everyone the chance to learn and develop all of these characteristics mentioned. Since the event will be attended by entrepreneurs and professionals from around the U.S. who specialize in the beverage industry, the event will be one of the few places around to develop any beverage related idea, product, or business to share with the world!

This is how Startup Weekend works: First, Pitch an idea, vote for your favorites, and form your team or join someone else’s. Second, Put your talents to work and build a real product, team, and brand for execution in the real world. You’ll have 54 hours which means you can stay up all night at our host partners institution if you so choose to. Third, put final touches on your presentation to blow the Judges away & win Startup Weekend! Look out for our third installment in this trilogy for more info & details about this Startup Weekend.

In short, Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition will be an event that anyone with a passion for brewing (including but not limited to: alcoholic and soft drinks) will not want to miss! Because of the fact that aspiring beverage entrepreneurs will be able to develop a competitive advantage that will help fend off competition from it’s main rivals, not to mention, develop valuable skills and connections within Tampa Bay and beyond that will be extremely beneficial in the short and long-run. So what are you waiting for? Click here to obtain tickets and gather more info on the event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Startup Weekend, Beverages, and Santa Claus (pt. 1)

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What if I told you that one of the oldest American industries still has room for improvement? What if I told you that you could be the one to help move this multi-billion dollar enterprise forward? The beverage industry wields great influence and their branding has fundamentally changed American culture. The industry’s long history, however, has caused the key players to establish their niches and stick to them. Startups can help move the industry further and faster than we can imagine. Every year, these small firms enter the market with their innovation and cutting-edge ideas. Just ask the entrepreneurs who contributed more than half a billion dollars to the industry in just the last year! Though the beverage industry is big and old, there is plenty of room for entrepreneurs.

It only took one good idea to move Coca-Cola from a drink company to the pinnacle of cultural symbolism. One hundred years ago, Santa Claus was nothing like the jolly old man we have all come to know and love. In the early 1900s, “Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf,” but in the 60s Coca-Cola began running advertisements with the image of the now iconic Christmas hero. This single idea transformed Christmas from the pious holy day to the consumerist holiday it has since become.


Startups help create a platform for established corporations like Coca-Cola to consider new ideas. Tampa has been an ideal environment for startups, but many still struggle to obtain simple elements like consulting or networking. There is still room for improvement in the ways small businesses obtain access to the tools corporations have had for decades. We offer Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition to bring the entrepreneurship community together to support their efforts. Find out more about Startup Weekend: Beverage Edition in Part 2!

(“The True History of the Modern Day Santa Claus,”)

Startup Panel – Tampa

Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Beverage Industry

This past Thursday, the Attic Cafe graciously hosted a panel chaired by community leaders in the hospitality and beverage industry who were more than adamant about sharing their ideas as well as discussing current trends affecting their industry. It’s always a great opportunity to hear the challenges facing any business leader in their respective industry for the simple fact that they often provide the best insights and, being entrepreneurs themselves, are often the best people to spot opportunities. With all that in mind, the panel did not disappoint!

Some topics covered during the panel that may surprise many up-and-coming entrepreneurs were:

  • The apparent disconnect between great technology many tech people know of, but not many business leaders do (how can entrepreneurs bridge that gap?)
  • How can we take away the hassle of doing inventory after a long day at the bar/brewery?
  • Streamlining cost-benefit analysis for certain businesses? (i.e is it possible to develop a method/app that informs small breweries what amount to charge per pint/liter/pitcher given a certain batch volume?)

Other ideas floated by the panel were:

  • How to improve employee productivity (especially new hires)
  • How to connect new coffee shops to possible customers more efficiently
  • Can wearable technology be used to draw traffic to retailers and improve productivity (i.e maybe use an apple watch or smart-watch of some kind to remind employees that are busy during peak hours, that a sandwich has been cooking for 10 minutes now and needs to be taken out or risk damage/burning)
  • Last but not least how can wearable technology be used to track caloric intake since some beverage & food entrepreneurs focus and/or receive a good bit of business from the fitness community

While some of the problems may not look like a big deal, Daniel Speed from the Attic put a great perspective on it “the littlest rocks in the road can destroy your tires” and it’s true! As entrepreneurs, we should constantly be challenging the status-quo in the industry while at the same time create efficiency and technological gains that will benefit firms both in the short and long-run.

We can’t wait to see what participants at Startup Weekend will come up with this year! Be sure to become not only a part of the solution but also learn about this up and coming billion-dollar industry by participating at Startup Weekend, we hope to see you there!



Startup Weekend Judging Criteria



So you got out of the building & did your market & product validation. That’s awesome! You’re working on refining your MVP for Sunday’s final presentation, maybe you even had to pivot your idea based on the feedback you were getting. So now what? If you’re not aware the Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections, teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

Business Model

    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?

Customer Validation

    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?

Execution & Design

    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

What is Global Startup Battle?

GSB Statistics

Startup Weekend & Global Startup Battle explained:

We’re all super excited for this year’s Startup Weekend and not only that, but also for the Global Startup Battle that is happening as well. That means that not only will you be able to try your skills against your local entrepreneurs, but also be able to compete for some awesome prizes in a number of different tracks against participants in over 100 countries! So what does this all mean? Let’s break it down.

But first you should take a look at this awesome infographic about the 2014 Global Startup Battle just to get an idea of what’s in store for this year!

OK. So what are the details you ask? Very simple:

  • In order to compete in the GSB 2015 you will need to attend a Startup Weekend event on either the weekend of Nov 13 or Nov 20 (Since you already signed up for the event this shouldn’t be a problem!)
  • After the end of the event you will need to submit a 90 second video of your pitch within 48 hours of the event ending
  • You can submit to as many Tracks as you wish, as long as your team meets their requirements
  • Please see the GSB 2015 Attendee Pack for additional information
  • Hashtag Battle: have a little fun during the event & tweet with #GSB2015 and #SWTampa to create buzz about Tampa Bay & Startup Weekend!

Tracks? What are these tracks you speak of?

  • The Champions Track: the top 3 winning teams from each Startup Weekend event are able to compete against other teams from across the globe.
  • Didn’t win, but still have an awesome idea? No worries, there’s plenty of Themed Tracks for everyone!
  • Great in the Making Track – Made great by Mr. Coffee: If you seek to make a difference (a great difference) in the lives of others, this is your track.
  • The Innovators Track – Powered by .CO: Calling all Startup Weekend teams that are launching their brilliant ideas on a .CO domain!
  • Disruptors & Big Ideas Track – Powered By Transpose: For the entrepreneurs setting out to change industries with visionary ideas.
  • Education through Video and Beyond Track – Powered by YouTube: How will you harness video to make great educational experiences possible around the world?
  • Mobile Growth Track – Sponsored By Branch: Calling all app developers and enthusiasts! Let Branch help you launch your next big idea!
  • Startup Women Track – Supported by Techstars Foundation: Join us and help create diversity in technology entrepreneurship around the world.
  • Open Track – Sponsored By A brand new way to compete! This Track is for teams who do not attend a GSB event and are in the early stages of launching their ideas.

This all sounds awesome, how do I start? If you have yet to sign up (really, why haven’t you signed up yet?) then just follow this handy link and register today!