Entrepreneurs: Dial Up An Awesome Flight Plan With Sikorsky

sikorsky, entrepreneurial challenge, competition, startup weekend

Calling all entrepreneurs! Sikorsky Innovation, the development company behind Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has created its first Entrepreneurial Challenge to help foster innovation in the next generation of vertical flight. Almost anyone can sign up for the competition and for Startup Weekend attendees, the due date can be extended to April 1st!

This is an awesome opportunity to bring your ideas to a company with over 90 years in their industry. They aren’t just looking for engineers either, they want creative individuals with ideas on how to define the future of flight, transportation, and related apps.

So why should you take a look at this?

  • The competition is designed to identify and accelerate the development of emerging, revolutionary technologies in aerospace and beyond.
  • The Challenge is open to any small company with revenue under $5M, including newly formed and pre-revenue entities.
  • Every winning team will receive one year rent-free space utilization within the new Stamford Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art incubator located in Stamford, CT.
  • While in the Stamford iCenter, teams will have access to all services and programs offered by the Center at no additional charge.
  • In addition, each team will participate in a 3-month long Sikorsky education program, designed to provide both targeted technical and business strategy guidance.
  • Each winning entity will be assigned a technical mentor and be given access to the full body of Sikorsky technical experts and business professionals.
  • Upon completion of a maturation cycle in the incubator, each team will also benefit from an investment evaluation in which judging criteria will focus on technical and business maturity.

sikorsky, entrepreneurial challenge, competition, startup weekendFor more information and the full list of application guidelines, contest rules and judging guidelines, please visit the Entrepreneurial Challenge website. We encourage all those within the Entrepreneurial community to apply and wish everyone the best of luck. The Application deadline for the first Entrepreneurial Challenge is 5:00pm Eastern time on March 30th.


Zaarly and Startup Weekend Party For A Good Cause At SXSW

explore austin, sxsw, charity, fundraisingZaarly and Startup Weekend were honored to host one of the go-to parties at SXSW this year, but it wasn’t all just fun and games. The party, and other great events put on by Zaarly and SW in Austin, was also a fundraiser that helped raise money for an organization called Explore Austin. The non-profit has a great mission to help inner city kids gain self-confidence, leadership skills, and responsibility by exploring the outdoors with others. Mentors provide guidance and they work hard to give kids an experience they wouldn’t otherwise have.

We were extremely honored and excited to work with Zaarly and Explore Austin and when all was said and done, almost $2000 was raised for the organization. The money will go to help fund a summer wilderness retreat and more Saturday excursions for classes of ‘Explorers’.

We also wanted to to share a little bit more about Explore Austin and encourage you to check out this great organization.

To date, Explore Austin has provided over 67 Explorers with:

  • Over 21,000 mentoring hours
  • 72 Saturday Events
  • 10 weeks of Summer Wilderness Trips

Real impact: “The difference between a person in Explore and one that’s not is if you’re in Explore you actually feel like you’re actually doing something to make yourself better.” -Explorer

Startup Weekend Book Published In French!

We have quite the treat for all our French speaking friends. Today, the French language version of Startup Weekend book goes up for sale. If you’ve been looking to get your hands on one of these, but the English version just wasn’t for you, this is your lucky day. There is also some special content only found in this edition so read on!

french edition, startup weekend book, startup weekend book french, startup weekend

Special to the French edition:

An entire chapter dedicated to the rapid development of Startup Weekend in Francophone countries, Francophone case studies, success stories, and a photo album; a Preface by Pierre Kosciusko Morizet; contributions by Alice Zagury, Guilhem Bertholet, and Luc Bretones; and stories and experiences submitted by members of the global Startup Weekend community.

You can find the book in stores, but for a limited time, the book is being offered at a special price (just 15 euros) at this site here. Learn about how to launch a startup in just 54 hours!

For our French friends:

Startup Weekend : 54 heures pour créer une entreprise – l’édition française

Partout dans le monde, le phénomène des Startup Weekend se propage comme une traînée de poudre : toujours plus de personnes, passionnées par la création d’entreprise et débordant de créativité, se réunissent le temps d’un week-end pour échanger leurs idées, former une équipe et réaliser un prototype dans le but de monter une startup.

Les trois fondateurs de Startup Weekend rassemblent ici les meilleurs conseils et pratiques directement inspirés des expériences vécues par les participants. Quelles sont les méthodes de travail gagnantes ? Comment former une équipe ? Comment créer une start-up en lean ? Quelles sont les clés du succès ?

Bonus de l’édition française : un chapitre entier consacré au formidable développement des Startup Weekends dans les pays francophones, des études de cas, des témoignages, et un album photo ! Préface de Pierre Kosciusko Morizet, contributions d’Alice ZaguryGuilhem BertholetLuc Bretones, et de toute la communauté Startup Weekend!

Dropifi Makes Memeburns Top List Of Brilliant African Startups

startups, dropifi, startup weekendDropifi is out there disrupting the “Contact Us” form you see on almost every website and people are taking notice. Since winning the Startup Weekend in Accra, Dropifi has gone on to claim a number of honors including taking #4 on Memeburn’s list of most brilliant startups in Africa and making Forbes top 20 startups in Africa.

For those not familiar with Dropifi, the idea behind it is to make the contact form part of your website much simpler. Doing what they do best, they put it simply, “We help companies better analyze, visualize and respond to incoming messages from contacts.”

Check out their site and think about a Startup Weekend if you have any semblance of an idea, you never know what can happen! We love to hear Startup Weekend success stories, even ones about teams and individuals that didn’t win, but went on to do something else after their experience so feel free to share them with us! You can send a message to social@startupweekend.org, we’d love to hear your story too.

Startup Weekend is Entrepreneurship’s Democratizer

We realize this is juuuuust a bit outdated, but we wanted to be sure and share it anyway. Inc.com did an awesome piece on Startup Weekend and talked with Marc about why Startup Weekend events have the magical effect on entrepreneurs that they do. Check it out, throw a ‘like’ on there, and then let us know what you think about it!

SOSummit 2012!

What happens when you gather up over 150 of the awesome Startup Weekend ogranizers from all over the world and put them in a room together? SOSummit 2012 of course! We just got back from the second annual organizer’s event in Austin, TX and we had such a great time we had to write a little more about it. We’ve even got some pictures for you, so more motivation to come back next year or to get there next time if you didn’t this year.

startup weekend, sosummit, pictures, swos, sxsw

We started with registration and a photobooth and then moved on to some great speakers like Bo Fishback (Zaarly), Joey Aquino (Facilitator) (Make sure to check out his posts on SOSummit here and here!), Wendy Overton (Baton Rouge), Ahmed Faidy (Egypt), Eric Koester (Zaarly), Kristjan Kristjansson (Iceland), Maja Adrianensen (Eastern Europe), Kyle Kesterson (Seattle), Marc Nager, Franck Nouyrigat, and Andrew Hyde (Founder, Startup Weekend).

There were also some great workshops covering topics like targeting specific attendee types, organizing a successful vertical-specific event, organizer succession/knowledge transfer, mentor management, using social media to sell out events, and what makes a good event organizing team. Thanks to all those who hosted these great workshops!

The important theme that came out of SOSummit was that Startup Weekend is about changing lives and giving people the confidence to change what they were doing before. Yes, it’s a competition, but that is secondary. Andrew and Eric highlighted cases in their talks about teams from SW that utterly failed, but whose members have gone on to do great things. This is what we’re the most excited about and we have all our amazing organizers to thank for making these events possible; you are out there changing lives and it’s incredible!

startup weekend, sosummit, sxsw
The day summed up with some great talks and as reminders for those that were there or more information if you weren’t, here are a couple links we think are important to check out. Franck mentioned a TED talk he recommends on vulnerabilities and there is also a great look at the waves of innovation and how they are moving ever closer together. We live in an exciting time and you all are right at the heart of it!
We sincerely thank you all and are so excited to keep working with you on more great events and of course, see you at the next epic SOSummit in 2013!

Win A $25,000 Makeover For Your Office!

We just had to let you know about this great opportunity from Turnstone (some great people!) to win a super sweet makeover for your office. It’s really easy to enter, just check out this video below if you have any doubts about how awesome this is (featuring the sweet offices and people of Zaarly) and then head over to turnstone.com to submit a video and enter the contest. We recommend liking their Facebook page as well!

Guest Post: Startup Weekend New Haven Winners Blaze Funding Trail

You have to check out this great look at two awesome Startup Weekend companies. This post comes courtesy of Derek Koch and the original article can be found on the The Whiteboard site. For more about Derek, check out the info at the end of this piece. Thanks Derek and way to go Startup Weekend New Haven, MeritBooster, and Applicate, you guys rock!

November 2011 was a big month for the startup community in New Haven, and the Connecticut entrepreneurial ecosystem. The first ever Startup Weekend New Haven had the city buzzing with entrepreneurial energy. During the event, which drew about 140 participants, a total of 14 teams formed, pitching ideas from education, to technology, charity, and yes, even dating. At the end of an amazing weekend, not only did everyone go home with a renewed entrepreneurial zeal, three teams were also officially declared winners.

But all of the teams were left with a question: Where does all that excitement lead? And maybe more important, can I translate my Startup Weekend win into lasting success?

This March, New Haven has at least part of the answer to those questions. By raising funding through a new accelerator program called TechStart, the top two teams from SW New Haven (Applivate and MeritBooster) are blazing a trail, and showing that they are here to stay.

The Repeat is Sweet

In conjunction with a Jobs Bill passed in October 2011 by Connecticut’s legislature, Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s “state VC firm,” announced a plan to deploy a hefty $250 millionin the local entrepreneurial ecosystem over the course of the next five years. More immediately, CI announced a plan to help more startups get off of the ground with their new TechStart program.

This 10-week venture acceleration program makes available $25,000 in debt funding and will provide startups with the resources and mentoring that they need in order to make sure that their startup hits it hard.

Winning a spot in the program wasn’t a cake walk. Of all the applications made to the TechStart program, 9 were accepted into the program. Two of those nine – Applivate and Merit Booster – got their start at Startup Weekend New Haven (the second Startup Weekend held in Connecticut, following Hartford):

  • Applivate (New Haven)
  • Dealizio (Niantic)
  • eBrevia (Stamford)
  • Merit Booster (New Haven)
  • My Luck Club (New Canaan)
  • Red Ox Technologies (New Haven)
  • Scaled Liquid Systems (New Haven)
  • Seldera (New Haven)
  • Snippet (Hamden)

The Winners Profiled

Both teams have a unique mission, and exemplify the diverse spirit of the local startup community.

Last month, we asked John Fitzpatrick of Applivate our eight questions for entrepreneurs. He explained that his venture is focused on giving back to thecommunity through positive action. As he explains:

“We make a smartphone app called ShugaTrak. Parents use ShugaTrak to reward teens with diabetes for checking their blood sugar. ShugaTrak connects the teen’s phone to the teen’s glucose meter and reminds the teen when to check blood sugar. When the teen does check blood sugar, ShugaTrak notifies the parent, praises the teen, and issues a reward to the teen. If the teen goes too long without checking blood sugar, ShugaTrak sends an alert to both the parent and the teen.”

Applivate was the first place winner of Startup Weekend New Haven. Their eight person team took home a spot in the Global Startup Battle, an impressive trophy from The Entrepreneurship Foundation, seed capital totaling $1,500 from The Entrepreneurship Foundation and Bad Girl Ventures, $2,500 in legal services from Wiggin & Dana, six months of incubator space from CTech @Science Park at Yale, and six months of free hosting from ISG.

Merit Booster’s 14 year-old CEO Keshav Patel has his sights set high. A father & son team who came to the weekend as an educational experience, Merit Booster took second place at Startup Weekend New Haven and earned the ‘Team Choice’ award. Their prize package included $1,500 in legal services from Wiggin & Dana, and three months of free hosting from ISG.

In a recent interview, Keshav Patel explained his venture as such:

“We help aspiring young people rally support and funding for their projects (school related and extracurricular) by tapping their social networks. For Boosters (project funders), we give them a new way to find and support young people who are going above and beyond what their peers are doing – that’s what we mean in our tagline: “Find and Fund Youth Excellence.”

What’s Next?

The teams have ten weeks to line up their “three-peat,” but Connecticut Innovations anticipates that by the end of the program, the teams will be able to launch. To help them in their pursuit of a third win, they will also be given the chance to pitch to a group of investors in order to take the next big steps in growing their venture. Speaking on behalf of Connecticut Innovations, new CEO, Claire Leonardi expressed her thoughts about the popularity of this new program:

“We are excited that so many entrepreneurial teams applied to the fund and are pleased to support such a diverse group of new ventures. By combining funding with concentrated and focused guidance, we will ensure that these teams have the best chance to turn their new business concepts into successful tech-based companies – Connecticut’s companies of the future.”

New Haven’s Startup Weekend was followed by Startup Weekend Storrs in January 2012, andStartup Weekend Stamford is coming up at the end of March. The staff of Whiteboard is looking forward to hearing great news from Applivate, MeritBooster, and all the teams emerging from Startup Weekends in Connecticut. Good luck!

About Derek Koch

CEO of Independent Software, Editor in Chief of Whiteboard, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses create the next great web concept.

Startup Weekend Hits SXSW

startup weekend, sxsw, austin, startups, business, google, mixologyThat’s right, the Startup Weekend team is braving the potential downpours and heading to Austin for SXSW. We would love to see you all there and we’ve got some awesome events [and parties!] you can come visit us at.

And you thought the SW in SXSW was for Southwest…psh, ya’ll know it means Startup Weekend.

Come visit us for some great times!

Thursday, March 8th:

SOSummit: The second annual Startup Organizers Summit will kick off bright and early.   Organizers from all over the world will come together to share stories, talk strategy, and work on some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the SW community.  Sounds like fun, eh?  Well, if you want to join us next year, bring SW to your town! More info on becoming an event organizer can be found here.

sxsw, party, fun, startup weekend, startup weekend events


Friday, March 9th:

Startup Weekend, Twilio, and Zaarly Party: It’s gonna be gnarly! Free drinks and multiple DJs? You can’t beat that. Check out the event page here, things start rolling at Kingdom at 8pm so come see us.


Saturday, March 10th:

Love science and cocktails? Us too. That’s why we’re hosting an event combining the artistry of master mixologists shaken with the science behind the craft. Our goal is to enlighten developer cocktail enthusiasts through a hands-on interactive mixology experience. Be guided through various techniques, tricks and tastes.

Things start at 6pm so come chill with us and our awesome co-host, Google, at Icenhauer’s. More info here! It’s science, plus drinks, plus Google, plus Startup Weekend, what more could you ask for?

Monday, March 12th:

Mmm, can’t go to Texas and not get some BBQ! Join us at the Microsoft Bizpark ‘Meat Up’ at the Beauty Bar in Austin for some delicious dinner. We’re chowing down at 5:30 so don’t miss out! More info and RSVP right here.

New Community Manager: Mitchell Cuevas

Mitchell is a social media guru and someone with experience managing large communities and building sustainable strategies related to online and social marketing. He is an entrepreneur at heart is learning all he can to apply to his business dreams. He’s here to help us connect better with you, our wonderful community, and highlight the great things that happen every day in our organization. He is easy to find online and you can also message him at mitchell@startupweekend.org if you have a story you would like to have featured or think he can help you out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or…you get the idea. Say hey to him when you meet him and look for a bunch of great new stuff headed your way from our blog and social networks!