If you are interested in entrepreneurship the answer is most likely yes. Techstars Startup Weekend attendee backgrounds are roughly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% business (marketing, finance, law). Whether you are a serial entrepreneur or new to the startup scene, if you motivated to build a product or startup and open to new ideas you’ll fit right in.
Apart from Organizers, selected Coaches, Speakers, and press, everyone who attends the event is expected to participate all three days. This is important not only to preserve the ‘vibe’ of the weekend (“no talk, all action”) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for working teams. However, at most Techstars Startup Weekends a “Sunday Presentations Only” registration option is available for those wishing to only view the teams’ final presentations. (Please check the registration page of your city’s website for availability.)
Every Techstars Startup Weekend event has a corresponding website (typically with the URL “[city].up.co”) with a registration page. Please see our events page at startupweekend.org/events for a complete list of upcoming events. If registration is not open, ticketing has either not yet opened or is already sold out.
Please note the different ticket types: if Business tickets are sold out and you fall into the Business category, you’ll have to wait for the next event (which won’t be far off!). This is an important part of our efforts to maintain a balance between attendees’ backgrounds and skill sets in order to maximize the event’s value for each participant.
In most cases you cannot pay at the door of the event. Organizers need to order the food and supplies in advance to meet the needs of the weekend. If you live in a city where online payment is extremely difficult, there may be an exception. If you are physically unable to pay online, reach out to the local organizers to arrange payment.
Everyone who attends the event as an attendee is expected to participate on a team. This is important not only to preserve the mission of Techstars Startup Weekend (teamwork!) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for all working teams.
At most Techstars Startup Weekends, a “Sunday Presentations Only” registration option is available for those wishing to view only the teams’ final presentations. (Please check the registration page of your city’s website for availability.)
Pitching is open to every attendee! We recommend you purchse the ticket that best represents your skill set.
Attendees are responsible for booking their own transportation and lodging (if needed). If you are traveling and unfamilar with the location, reach out to the local organizing team to ask for nearby recommendations. Some venues will allow attendees to stay over night, but please make sure to check with the organizers beforehand.
No, but we encourage you to! You can pitch an idea you've been thinking about for years, or something last minute you think of during the event. It's a great experience and invaluable practice for public speaking.
Each event has their schedule posted on the local event site.
The short answer is we do not refund tickets the week before the event, so that organizers can order and plan for food and supplies. See our Refund Policy for full details.
We have rules for the weekend that ensure everyone has a great experience. These are detailed in our Terms of Agreement.
Friday: Participants arrive between 5-7 PM, begin networking, and eat dinner. After an ice-breaking game and a short introduction by the Facilitator, there will typically be 1 short speaker talk on practical topics ranging from Pitching Best Practices to Lean Startup Methodology and more. Then the “Pitchfire” will commence: anyone intending to pitch will have 60 seconds to give their best pitch. No presentations or props needed for Friday, it will just be you and a mic. After pitches are finished, all attendees will vote on their favorites, and using these votes the top ideas will be selected to be worked on over the weekend. Teams will form organically, consolidate, and begin working.
Saturday: Teams will work all day, with the occasional breaks to eat or listen to 1-2 short talks. Coaches will be circulating to provide advice in the field of their expertise for those teams that want it.
Sunday: Teams will work uninterrupted from morning until mid-afternoon. They’ll begin wrapping up their product/prototype and presentation around 3-4 PM to do tech-checks and practice their demonstration. After all Judges have arrived presentations will begin. Each team typically has 5 minutes plus 2-3 minutes Q&A from the judges (this varies occasionally.) The judges will select the top teams, give out prizes (if applicable), and the event ends (and celebration begins!)
Any business ideas are eligible (whether for profit, ‘social’ businesses, nonprofit organizations, etc.), however the event is strongly tech-oriented. Approximately 95% of all ideas are mobile or web focused, and given the short time-frame, we strongly recommend that even non-tech ideas focus on a tech-related deliverable (i.e., website) by Sunday.
Depending on the number of ideas pitched and the schedule, you may or may not be able to pitch multiple ideas. Prioritize your ideas: pitch your best idea (and the one you have most prepared for) first.
No. Techstars Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend - and a central value for participants - is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in, and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.
The short answer is that you can’t. If you’re very concerned, you can limit your pitch to the rough outline of the idea without giving away key information.The longer answer is that this is not something worth worrying about. Unless you are confident your idea is a ‘key-in-hand’, easy-to-implement innovation that hasn’t been thought of yet, the advantages gained from getting broad-based feedback and a strong team motivated by collective ownership far outweigh the remote risks of someone stealing and executing on your idea. The truth is that over 90% of ideas pitched at any given Techstars Startup Weekend have already been pitched - probably many times - in the past. This doesn’t imply that the idea isn’t a good one, but rather that what truly matters is how well you and your team execute the idea. “One can steal ideas, but no one can steal execution or passion”
The purpose of the Friday voting and crowdsourcing isn’t to exclude certain ideas, but simply to highlight the most popular and high-potential pitches and end up with a manageable number of teams - ensuring that each team has a variety of backgrounds and skills. If your idea isn’t selected but you’ve formed a team around the idea, you’re welcome to work on it over the weekend. If you decide to do so, however, please tell the event Organizer, as this may be an issue regarding your teams’ eligibility for prizes.
No. At some events, certain teams will decide to work all through Friday and/or Saturday night, but this is by no means obligatory or expected. Whether or not you are allowed to work at the venue at night depends on the venue’s opening hours - please ask your local Organizer.
A key part of every Techstars Startup Weekend is the valuable advice and assistance provided by the event’s Speakers and Coaches. In the spirit of “No Talk, All Action” we try to keep talks short and sweet, focusing on practical issues (i.e. “how to give a persuasive pitch”, “best approaches to customer validation”) that can actually help you and your team better achieve your weekend goals. Mentors - community experts in various fields ranging from entrepreneurship, software development, marketing, finance, law, and more - dedicate their time to providing advice and actually rolling up their sleeves and working with teams.In addition to the most valuable resources at the weekend (the people), we’ve also put together a list of some of the most useful resources in all startup-related fields, for both before, during, and after the weekend. Check out startupweekend.org/resources for more info.
As with any startup, the team decides. Techstars Startup Weekend doesn’t support or take part in the signing of any legal documents at the events themselves, and while Mentors with legal backgrounds are often present and able to give general advice, they are not permitted to give specific legal counsel. While it doesn’t hurt to be clear about your individual expectations from the start, we’ve found that teams who don’t spend time addressing this issue until it actually matters (i.e., there is a tangible product to have ownership of) are much more productive and successful than those who do.
While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by Sunday, it’s in your best interest to plan your execution around what you’ll be judged for on Sunday:
As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):
Competition is not a central theme of Techstars Startup Weekend, and this is often reflected in the broad, horizontal allocation of prizes and general flexibility/leniency of the event ‘rules.’ If and when the competitive aspect comes into conflict with the positive atmosphere we try to cultivate, we consistently choose the latter. We do believe, however, that friendly competition is beneficial to all parties and, most importantly, more accurately reflects the realities of startup life. Just as it’s important to gather ‘real-world’ feedback over the weekend, it’s also important to have real-world pressures and obstacles.
Whether or not you continue to work on the idea with some or all of your team is completely up to you. Approximately 25% of Techstars Startup Weekend participants continue working on their idea with all of their team.
We love you, too! One of the beautiful things about Techstars Startup Weekend is that just about anybody can get involved, provided you are in it for the right reasons: to build communities and create startups. We can always use more help organizing events on a local level. Head over to startupweekend.org/organizers to learn how to get involved.
Techstars Startup Weekend primarily focuses on the entry point of entrepreneurship, but our support and community spans much farther beyond the weekend. Whether you are looking for more events in your city (Startup Digest), guidance for investing and mentorship (Startup Next) or a place to accelerate your business, we’re here to help anyway we can. Visit Techstars.com to learn more.
On a side note, we love hearing about Techstars Startup Weekend success stories! If your experience is share worthy send us an email! It'd make our day.