My Startup Weekend Starter Kit


My name is Kelvin Schutz and I am one of the Startup Weekend St. Cloud Organizers and also a past Startup Weekend participant. From making the decision to attend my first Startup Weekend to putting together my own Startup Weekend event a year and a half later, there are two fundamental things I’ve learned through Startup Weekend:

  • You’re gonna have fun, learn, and be challenged, despite your friends trying to convince you that rewatching every season of LOST with them would be a better use of that weekend. (I know, the strength I must have had to say ‘no’)
  • Your worldview of how businesses get built and how [insert expletive ‘s’ word] gets done, absolutely changes.

If you’ve done Startup Weekend, the first one is a given. Number two is a challenge to put into words, however. To keep a long self-reflection about how I learned and applied Startup Weekend material to my life, without said reflection turning into a badly parodied Rocky montage, I’ve condensed the golden nuggets of such learning into a list of valuable resources. If there were a playlist akin to the jams one listens to before a serious weightlifting routine, I think I’ve got the perfect mix below. Enjoy!

My Startup Weekend Playlist

Steve Blank on Startup Weekend: [At the very least, watch these]
Customer Development – Part 1
Customer Development – Part 2
Customer Development – Part 3
Customer Development – Part 4

The Lean Launchpad – Steve Blank Startup Online Course
80% of Results Come from 20% of the Effort – Understanding the Pareto Principle
The Essentials of Creating a Business in 1 Weekend – A Case-Study with Noah Kagan
How to Build a Web Startup – Using the 10-Step Lean Launchpad Method
13 Ways to $10 Million in Revenue – TechCrunch Teardown
The Pitch Podcast – Hear How Others Pitch Their Startups to Investors
Tim Ferriss & Noah Kagan on Validating Startup Ideas – CreativeLive w/ Tim Ferriss
Ditch the Survey: Customer Development with Empathy Interviewing – Shane Reiser
Steve Blank’s Startup Tools – Mega Resource Website

Rapid Prototyping Tools
Mockingbird – Sometimes, all you need is a mockup to test part of a concept
InVision – When you need a bit of interaction to bring your mockup to life
Unity – If you can learn the basics, it is an EXTREMELY versatile prototyping tool

Validation Tools
Unbounce – Prove that people want the solution/concept you are wanting to make
QuickMVP – Like Unbounce, but adds in some customer research tools
MailChimp – Everyone needs an email list… everyone.

Pre-Startup Weekend Workshop!

We’ll be hosting a pre-event workshop on Tuesday, November 3rd. Rob Weber, CEO and Co-Founder of NativeX, will be giving a presentation on his advice for pitching to investors. After the presentation, we’ll be going over some Startup Weekend basics and giving some tips on how to optimize results during the weekend. It will be a great time to meet people who will be at the event, perfect your pitch (if you have one), and have any questions about Startup Weekend answered.

When: Tuesday, November 3rd 3-5 pm.

Where: The Alumni Room, Atwood Center, St. Cloud State University

This event is not limited to Startup Weekend participants. If you can’t make it, be sure to mark down November 18th on your calendar, when we’ll be having our inaugural Startup Drinks in St. Cloud at the Red Carpet Martini Lounge.


Meet Our Judges

The judging panel has been set for the inaugural Startup Weekend St. Cloud and we couldn’t be more excited. We have an awesome lineup of successful people and great business experience.

Will Imholte

Will Imholte is a Founder and Chief Product Designer at Prime. Prime is a technology company that help people communicate about their health by syncing their medical records from their doctors and providing a private and secure way to message family members. Before founding Prime, Will worked as a designer and developer for various startups in the Bay Area. Will has a BFA from SCSU and is a St. Cloud native. Will is also our keynote speaker. 

Tom Ressemann

Tom has over 25 years of experience in the medical device industry, including positions as founder, President & CEO, Vice President, marketing management, process development engineer and research and development engineer. Tom is currently the President and CEO of Amphora Medical and founded Entellus Medical (recently went public) and Incubex, LLC. He is an inventor on more than 50 U.S. patents.

Leah Leyendecker

Leah is an attorney in the Intellectual Property, Technology and Privacy Practice Group at Gray Plant Mooty. Leah advises clients on trademark and copyright prosecution and enforcement, brand strategy, and privacy and social media issues. She also assists clients in drafting, negotiating, and executing technology, software, licensing, and general corporate agreements. Leah grew up in St. Cloud and went to Apollo High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of St. Thomas and her JD at the University of Minnesota Law School. Leah enjoys traveling, dancing ballet, playing with her adorable puppy, Harper, and being active.

Doug Ramler

Doug is the Principal of the Entrepreneurial Services and Technology practice groups at Gray Plant Mooty. He cofounded Kipsu, a company leveraging technology for real-time customer engagement. Doug also is an angel investor and founding member of IrishAngels.

Brian Schoenborn

Brian Schoenborn practices out of Stinson Leonard Street’s St. Cloud, Minnesota, office, where he focuses on family and closely held businesses. Brian has substantial experience providing general counsel representation to closely held and family businesses within manufacturing, high technology and sports and entertainment industries. This experience includes business acquisitions and sales, business succession planning, real estate development and estate planning.


We’re looking forward to having the judges evaluate all of the pitches on Sunday evening.

What Should I Bring?

We’re about two weeks away from Startup Weekend St. Cloud and it’s time to address a question that most first-timers and even the Startup Weekend pros have: what should I bring?

Based on Startup Weekend experience, we recommend bringing:

– Yourself

– Laptop

– Power cord (often left at home by accident)

– Notebook

– A second monitor and build tools ready to go (this one is directed at you, developers)

– Cell phone (customer validation is a BIG deal)

– Comfortable clothing

– Headphones

– An open mind and creative energy

What should I leave at home?

– Your suit

– Previously worked-on business ideas

These are just some of the items that we think are essential, feel free to bring whatever you feel will help productivity. Just remember you have to keep track of everything in a chaotic environment.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Startup Weekend St. Cloud

As we inch closer to the launch of Startup Weekend St. Cloud, here are the top five reasons to attend.

1. Expand Your Network
Entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and marketers will be there and you’ll want to connect with them. Local tech and startup leaders will be at Startup Weekend as mentors and judges.  Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in St. Cloud and beyond.  Just look at our judging panel and coaches. Plus, Startup Weekend is a great way to show off your skills and meet awesome talent in the community.

2. Re-Energize
Free your mind off the daily routine and feel inspired by working on a fast paced project or idea for the weekend. At Startup Weekend attendees are excited to participate, work, and to help others create something great.

3. Work Outside of Your Box
“If you’re curious to test the waters as a front-end or backend developer for apps or websites, or if you have a skill for sales communication that you’d like to sharpen, this is the perfect opportunity to dabble. Startup Weekend is a learning environment and there are always people of different skill levels in attendance. Those attending with more experience are happy to teach others and give advice.” -Jaclyn Hudak, Ready Maker Design @JaclynHudak

4. Challenge Yourself
Are you an expert in website design and want to learn app development? Is there an area of design that you wish you had more experience in? Whether it’s creating apps, websites, logos, or marketing, you can join a team who needs you to create something quickly; a great way to challenge yourself and build new skills without the pressure to be absolutely perfect.

5. Build A Business
“The bottom line is that Startup Weekend is the best place to launch a startup. If you’ve had an idea in your head but haven’t done anything about it, there’s no better event to get started. You’ll be surrounded by really smart and driven people who want to work together on building something from the ground up. Maybe you’ll work on your idea, or maybe someone else’s idea will pique your interest. Startup Weekend is the place to validate a business idea, build a product and launch a startup in just 54 hours.” – Mike Chan, Co-founder of Ribl @mikewchan

Convinced? We still have tickets remaining for the event 

2015 Innovation Summit

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the 2015 Innovation Summit, which was organized by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. The event showcased the region’s best and brightest companies and organizations with an emphasis on innovation throughout the St. Cloud community.

I admittedly came into the event a little unprepared– I knew the basics of where I needed to be and when, but that was it. When I arrived, I was blown away by the range of everything on display. The expo floor covered the majority of the Haws room at the River’s Edge Convention Center and included robots, drones, and electric cars. It was incredible to see the amount of innovation happening in our community, and shattered any expectations I had.

The expo was followed by the presentation of the I-Awards and nine different speakers from around the community covering topics such as GREAT Theatre’s impact on the community, agriculture, the development of downtown lofts, conflict resolution, and Startup Weekend St. Cloud coach, Carter Tatge, speaking on the ‘how’ of doing things.

There are so many talented people buzzing around central Minnesota and they all congregated in downtown St. Cloud this morning. It was incredible to see over 500 members of the community come out and support innovation. Even more exciting was the fact that so many established companies supported the event and are continuing to foster innovation in the community. Startup Weekend St. Cloud sponsors DAYTA Marketing, Granite Equity Partners, eBureau, St. Cloud State, and Microbiologics all played a large part in making this event a success and are also the driving force behind Startup Weekend St. Cloud.

The Innovation Summit made us all incredibly excited for what is to come. We’re hoping to harness some of the creative energy in the coming weeks with Startup Weekend and Startup Drinks. The driving force behind these events is to create an outlet for people to innovate and connect with other innovators.

Innovation is alive and well here. Let’s keep it going.

Save the Date: Startup Drinks is Coming to St. Cloud Nov. 18th!

We’re incredibly excited to announce Startup Drinks St. Cloud.4092581313_ef7bfcf725

When: Wednesday, November 18th 5:30-7:00

Where: Red Carpet Martini Bar

Reserve your free ticket:

We were going to announce this on Sunday night of Startup Weekend, but we don’t look highly upon secrets.

Startup Drinks is a monthly event hosted by the Startup Weekend St. Cloud team, with the sole purpose of getting people together to eat, drink, and be merry.

As a way to facilitate new relationships and conversation, each event we nominate Startup Drinks Captains. These are people in the community who were involved with Startup Weekend, a leader in the community, or are just doing cool stuff in the community.

We hope to see you there!

Why Not Here?




We think St. Cloud is awesome and we’re trying to convince everyone.

Startup Weekend Fargo organizer, Greg Tehven, wrote an awesome article about geographical bullying and his experience in Fargo.

Many of the elements Greg highlights are also found right here in St. Cloud. To much of the world, a community in central Minnesota might not have much to add to global economy. But in reality, we have leading companies, fantastic universities, great healthcare, and fantastic intellectual capital. The area is a great place to live, work, and change the world. It’s time to show everyone else that as well.

One of the driving forces behind Startup Weekend St. Cloud is to help connect the thinkers and doers in the community. We believe this is a paramount element in helping prove our worth to the rest of the world. We want to create an environment where pursuing ideas is encouraged and supported by a community, allowing new ideas to flourish.

Startup Weekend St. Cloud is just the beginning. We’re not going to make dramatic changes in 54 hours, but we’re hoping to plant the seeds. Will you be there?

Side Effects of Startup Weekend


Startup Weekend is a global movement that holds local events to promote entrepreneurship and to teach, help, and empower entrepreneurs all around the world. Startup Weekend brings together software developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch web and mobile startups. — All over the course of 54 hours! It is an intense experience focused on action, not talk. Startup Weekend provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn what it takes to launch a company, expand their network, and learn new skills while receiving great feedback from experienced entrepreneurs.

I attended my first Startup Weekend in Columbus, OH during the spring of 2013 and I was not only hooked, but I also experienced some highly empowering side effects. I warn you. If you decide to attend Startup Weekend, you will most likely experience the following side effects.

  1. You will be inspired: There is nothing like creating a business out of an idea in one weekend. This is what you experience firsthand during Startup Weekend. Afterwards, you will start taking ideas more seriously, and more importantly, you will begin to take action more often and follow through on your ideas. Startup Weekend helped me see that the most important step to reach your dreams is the next step you take. Dreams, as well as ideas, are abundant, but they are nothing without taking that next step. After my first Startup Weekend, I was inspired to take action, I finished school and instead of following a normal career in engineering I decided to follow my dreams taking one step at a time. I’m still a noob when it comes down to dream building but I have already begun to move forward by repeatedly taking that next step everyday.
  2. You might have a life crisis: Yes that’s right. If you have been doubting your 9 to 5 job, or you have been stuck in the same cubicle doing busy work for years, Startup Weekend might make you go through a midlife or quarter life crisis. During the course of 54 hours you will meet and work alongside some of the most creative, bold, and unique individuals. Many of them have built their own careers and made their own path to success. That’s cool, but what is even cooler is hearing about how much they love what they do. Even if they are going through tough times, you will see and feel their energy, their passion, and their love for what they do. If you aren’t satisfied with where you are right now, this might push you towards a life crisis. But don’t worry; sometimes that is exactly what we need in order to wake up from a life of dissatisfaction.
  3. You might quit your job: It’s happened before. More than once. The combination of having a career crisis, a life changing experience, and being inspired beyond measure might lead you to quit your job. If that’s the case, then DO IT! Call your boss and quit right now! Just kidding, hopefully you continued reading before making that call…. I recommend that you don’t make any irrational decisions over the weekend. Take a week and really think it though. Talk to entrepreneurs and startup founders, and get their opinions. However, if you feel so strong about it, this may be a sign that your current job is not right for you. Want to read about a guy who quit his job after Startup Weekend? go here.
  4. You will make great friends: Startup Weekend is all about sharing your dreams and ideas and working hard with others to accomplish something great. There is something special about allowing yourself to think big and to openly recognize your dreams in front of others. It creates a level of susceptibility that helps people develop stronger friendships. I know this from personal experience. I still keep in touch with most of the people I met during my first Startup Weekend. I want to encourage you to speak up and share your dreams, ideas, and visions with others. There is no stupid idea. Don’t believe me? Think about Silly Bandz and imagine the founders pitching their idea to others.
  5. You will be exposed to great mentors: The entrepreneurial road is not easy. There are tons of ups and downs and millions of variables to consider when making decisions. The learning curve is tough but the best way to get through it is with great mentors. During Startup Weekend you will be bombarded with knowledge from mentors. There is so much advice going around that some call this “mentor whiplash”. Throughout the weekend you will hear great advice that will help you years down the road. However, the real benefit is that you can start building relationships with people that are currently one step ahead of you in the entrepreneurial path. They have been working to accomplish their dreams and they have committed many mistakes along the way. This is your chance to learn from their mistakes and to start building a relationship with them so that they can continue to guide you even outside of startup weekend.
  6. No other weekend will ever be the same: The amount of work you accomplish during startup weekend is unbelievable. Ideally, during the course of the weekend, you will go from an idea to a prototype, racing through all the stages of developing a new company. Knowing how much can be accomplished during a weekend will most certainly impact your future weekends. Just to put it in perspective, there are 52 weekends in a year. That equals to 104 weekend days in a year. How much can you accomplish in 100 days? The empire state was built in 100 days. I think. Maybe not. The point is that by using your time more wisely during the weekends you can start to build something great and move closer to reaching your dreams.

Don’t the side affects scare you away. Join a Startup Weekend near you and experience it for yourself!

Written by Daniel Petrarca. Originally posted @

Is This For Me?

Is this for me? This question runs through thousands of heads across the world as they decide whether or not attending Startup Weekend is a good idea.

We’ve heard most of the reasons why people think Startup Weekend isn’t a good fit for them:

– I’m not tech-savvy

– I’m not a business person

– I don’t have an interest in startups

– I’m not an entrepreneur

– I don’t enjoy challenges

– I’m morally opposed to fun

All of us here at Startup Weekend want you to know that these are terrible excuses not to attend Startup Weekend. This event is for everyone. Each person brings something different to the table, and this is essential for making a well rounded team. Our attendees are nearly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% non-technical (marketing, finance, law, education, and even people who aren’t sure what they are).

Every attendee is looking to work with a motivated, creative, skilled person to create a business or product in a weekend. We’re not concerned whether you’re a coding wizard or a business mogul, we just want an open mind and a willingness to take a risk.

Take the jump, you’ll be happy you did. Early-bird discount tickets go on sale Friday September 11th at 4 P.M.