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“Techstars Startup Weekend saved my life, literally!” said Synergy Space Founder and Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator Sean Paul Shanor. It would be difficult to find a more enthusiastic advocate for these events, and he’s always willing to do whatever it takes to make another happen: “As a thank you and to spark as many as possible, I have every single weekend open to facilitate any event, anywhere on the planet. I’m in. Just ask.”

It was his mother who got Sean Paul to his first Techstars Startup Weekend (“thanks, Mom!”). After over a decade working in event operations and management, running major pro golf events around the world, Sean lost his “passion for life,” as he put it, and went home to Norway to find himself. One Friday evening, his mother kicked him out of the house, telling him, “Go to this thing called Startup Weekend. Looks like something you might enjoy.”

Catching the Startup Bug

For Sean Paul, the experience was a revelation: “First time in my life exposed to a 60-second pitch. Building websites and products in hours, not months. Brainstorming ideas and thoughts on a whiteboard. Feeling the openness and curiosity flourish. Meeting others in the same boat. Becoming aware of an entire ecosystem full of people willing to help, guide, and teach. In short, I got the startup bug. I found a new piece of myself to explore, and to this day I have never looked back.”

Ever since that first Techstars Startup Weekend, entrepreneurship has been Sean Paul’s driving force. But for him, it’s less about starting companies himself than about helping others. “I’m passionate about entrepreneurship,” Sean Paul said. “But infinitely more passionate about sharing my experiences and teaching others how they can become entrepreneurs. How anyone can be the impact they wish to be. It’s just a matter of choice.”

Living Give First

Sean Paul lives the Techstars value Give First. He segments his time in order to balance his priorities, and make sure he makes time for everything he considers most important. “I am privileged in being able to design an 80/20 balance for work,” Sean Paul explained. “80% is spent coaching individuals and teams, facilitating workshops, pitch training, and giving keynotes to inspire action—and finally, relaunching my own startup, Synergy Space. This allows me to fully volunteer 20% to help student projects and Techstars Startup Weekends.”

This is simply a response to Sean Paul’s deep belief that “everyone is an entrepreneur at heart. It’s just a matter of giving everyone a chance, teaching, and providing guidance where it’s needed the most.”

In Sean Paul’s view of humanity, “We are all entrepreneurial inside.” He sees many different ways this can play out. As he explained: “This applies to yourself as a living and breathing human, as an intrapreneur shaking up corporates positively, as a game-changing leader and cofounder. All require you to be strong on the inside, understand yourself and those around you, to listen, to learn, to fail, to get up and try again.”

And in case you were wondering whether Sean Paul might want to come to your next Techstars Startup Weekend, he said again: “I am not kidding when I say I am here for penciling-in any Techstars Startup Weekend, anywhere!”


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