Celebrating the 10th Startup Weekend at Réunion, France

Everything went great for the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion! We welcomed 120 highly motivated participants with some very inspirational projects! 47 ideas were pitched with, as usual, a huge variety of projects – from renewable energy, special pastries, food apps to a new generation of coffins! 12 projects were selected and pitched to our jury. Needless to say, they had a tough time selecting the winners.

Our first Techstars Startup Weekend took place in 2011 in St Denis, the capital of Réunion Island. Right from the off, we built a long term partnership with a local incubator which strongly promoted us, both through their media and notoriety and through financial support. We found 10 coaches who really added value to the first projects. Then we had the chance to quickly welcome successful entrepreneurs who built nice and visible startups. Thus media were attracted, together with new sponsors, including telcos, bank and local authorities. Techstars Startup Weekend events quickly became the flagship event for ‘to be’ startups in Reunion.

We also got early support from the Techstars Startup Weekend team who initially came to help us organise our first events, so it was an instant success. Now, Techstars Startup Weekend is well renowned in Réunion. Our participants get a lot of traction after the event. Students and participants mention it in their resumes and it gives them a very nice story to tell!

We always have amazing sponsors who strongly promote the event, insightful coaches, prestigious jury involving known individuals here in Réunion, we also have good prizes, we fight to get fresh news from our success stories’ startups to keep ‘light’ on them.

One advise: do what you can to have one or two success stories as quickly as possible and media, sponsors and participants will flow. This is a virtuous circle which starts with a reliable sponsor + a quick win ie a successful startup with high visibility.

We are organising two events per year which is already quite a lot of work… and fun of course! Still we have short-term plans to launch a third Techstars Startup Weekend per year, focusing on a particular vertical, probably centring around culture (art, music etc) or social impact. Thanks to everyone who has made the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion possible! Check out the recap video here.

If you want to organize a Techstars Startup Program, contact us through help@techstars.com

SWTimisoara #4: The Liftoff

After months of coordinated preparations, crafting stories and organizing info sessions, running after deals and contracts, but most of all, trying to make a journey for the upcoming startup adventurers, it’s finally here: Startup Weekend Timisoara is ready for the liftoff!

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.29.17

Timid faces waiting in line at the registration desk, wondering whether the M size for T-shirt or the ‘non-tech’ tag fits them, energetic future entrepreneurs, skilled pitchers, mature professionals, bright minded students–these would be the words for the people we’ve met on the first day of our event.

Yet, they all possess one special trait: the thrive for new experiences. And they sure do a delicious mix!

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.40.21Our Binary Star facilitator, Gwight Dunning has introduced them in the science behind Startup Weekend. In the attempt of entertaining and informing at the same time, he has managed to keep things on the right track.

Another vivid presence on the scene was Josef Dune, who shared some weighty startup lessons from his personal experience with Babelverse.

Half Baked was quite some fun to watch–and even more fun to explain. As you can see, the keywords were less than ordinary. Nonetheless, it was both an energizer and a think outside the box exercise. All credits go to our awesome facilitator for that!

We think that the pitching session was one of the most rewarding parts of the evening. Almost 20 pitches have fed the curiosity in the room, ranging from grocery purchase and delivery to job recruitment and medical history apps or online streaming platforms for coders. Of course, the ‘Uber for’ and ‘Siri-like’ ideas were not missed.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.44.41

However, only half of the intial ptiches managed to form teams around them. They have gone from ecstasy to agony and back in trying to tailor their startup idea according to their resources and team brainstorming results.

At around 10 o’clock, three teams were still trying to fill in the business model canvas. Downstairs, a squat was deliberately cleaning their vocabulary and imagination during a Cards Against Humanity session that lasted until closing. Outside, the terrace offered room for philosophical debates & jokes. Ambasada surely had plenty of room for all of us!

And let’s not forget that all of these wouldn’t have been possible without our supportive sponsors and partners!

This would sum up the first day of our journey. Stay tuned to see the outcome of Startup Weekend Timisoara 4th edition story!