Organizer Rules and Requirements

We support thousands of events in countries all around the world, which means we’ve seen nearly every possible scenario, good and bad. While we’re not a rule-oriented organization, these guidelines provide a high level of quality and consistency to ensure that your event provides maximum value to its participants. Organizers are expected to abide by the following:

Organizer Requirements

You must participate in a Techstars Startup Weekend prior to organizing one of your own.

Simply put, if you haven’t been at a Techstars Startup Weekend, it’s impossible for you to deliver the experience to others. Attending an event beforehand will ensure you understand the full participant experience and give you a better idea of how to plan.

All Organizers are individuals: you cannot organize a Techstars Startup Weekend on behalf of another organization, group, or institution without specific approval from your Regional Manager (nor can a team solely consist of members of the same organization.)

Grassroots communities are led by individuals, not organizations. We want Techstars Startup Weekend to be run by people who are passionate about building their startups and their local community, not by people who are told to do it as part of their job.

Techstars Startup Weekends must be organized by a team (not one individual).

Ideally 1 lead organizer and 3-5 other members of the team. Suggested team size is no less than 3 and no more than 8. It takes a lot of effort to create the Techstars Startup Weekend experience. Sharing this workload reduces both the pressure on each Organizer and reduces the risk of things going wrong.

Lead Organizers should be prepared to share and/or hand over responsibilities to new Organizers after two or three events.

No city should have to rely on the same one or two people to run their Techstars Startup Weekend forever. Part of the role of an Organizer is to help cultivate new leaders to ensure your community thrives.

There’s no formal ownership of any city or region (no organizer or team has exclusive rights to a city or community). 

Anyone in the community who meets the organizer criteria is allowed to put on the event. In every case, we make sure that any teams close in proximity are connected with each other or teams are at least aware of the new applications in their area before anything is confirmed or authorized by HQ.

Organizers are expected to live within (or close by) the community in which they plan to organize, unless you have prior approval from your Regional Manager. 

As an organizer, we consider your team the local experts. If you are not local, it can be very difficult to find the right resources and people to contact. Not to mention the perks that come from organizing will come from the local relationships you form within your community. For online events, please let us know if you are working with people who are outside your region. 

General Event Requirements

All Techstars Startup Weekend events must follow the standard 3 day, weekend-long format.

Well, apart from the fact we are called Techstars Startup Weekend, this is the format that’s proven to work. We’ve tested it a lot.

All events must be open to the public (exceptions require specific approval from Techstars).

Techstars Startup Weekend isn’t an elitist club. Our aim is to inspire anyone to take entrepreneurial action in their life. Blocking people from entry goes against our mission. That being said, we’ve developed some tricks to boost event quality while keeping the event open to the general public. Let us know if you have any concerns beforehand.

No legal documentation or contracts of any kind are allowed to be signed at the event. 

Techstars Startup Weekend aims to deliver experiential education and inspiration. Legally binding documents are for after the event, and should be handled by the appropriate professionals. If this becomes an issue during your event, your Facilitator is trained to help participants resolve these sorts of issues.

You may not organize a themed event without prior authorization from your Regional Manager or Customer Success Coordinator. 

We’ve tried a lot of different formulas and the weekend-long formula doesn’t serve some industries very well, unless it is organized under specific guidelines. For all events, we want our Organizers to be set up for success. If we find your team is capable of hosting the event, we’ll allow it with additional guidelines.

For themed events, at least one-third of the organizing team should represent that theme.

For example, a group of 6 people applying to organize a Startup Weekend Education event should have at least 2 people with a background in education on their team. Themed events should be bringing in the local community and expertise of that theme. We’ve found that this is the best way to ensure that.

All Techstars Startup Weekends must have a certified Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator chosen by the Techstars Community Support Contact, and associated expenses must be included within the event budget.

A Facilitator is someone who has organized at least 2-3 Techstars Startup Weekend themselves, and is trained to handle big crowds, sticky situations, and effectively deliver the Techstars Startup Weekend experience to participants. This helps our organization ensure all events have a consistently high level of quality across the world. You can think of your Facilitator as an extra level of support to make your event a success.

No in-person Techstars Startup Weekend should have more than 125 active participants.

We’ve found that event quality starts to decrease once an event reaches more than 125 participants. Bigger events mean there are fewer resources available to attendees (and it can be very overwhelming to have everyone sit through 25 presentations on Sunday night). For online Techstars Startup Weekend events, we suggest no more than 400 participants. If organizers are interested in hosting an event with more than 125 participants, please let the Regional Manager know. 

Only new ideas (no pre-existing work done) are allowed to be pitched and worked on at Techstars Startup Weekend events.

More often than not, preformed ideas or companies means that the founder is only looking for people to help build their predetermined vision. Nobody wants to work on an existing project for free and at Techstars Startup Weekend, all members should be starting with equal ownership and the ability to shape and change the vision of their concept.

All Techstars Startup Weekends must give proper recognition to global partners and local sponsors.

Our global partners & local sponsors provide a lot of support for our events, and often times this consists of more than just money (participant resources, mentors, marketing, etc). It’s important your team gives them the recognition they deserve, especially if you want to create a long-lasting relationship with them.

No cash prizes may be given at a TechstarsStartup Weekend.

We encourage in-kind prizes (donated co-working space, networking opportunities, product use, etc.) that directly impact the progress and success of Techstars Startup Weekend teams. Cash prizes can create legal issues, but more importantly we’ve found that participants end up dividing the cash amongst themselves instead of using them to grow their startup.

Our goal at Techstars Startup Weekend is to create impact, and we want prizes to reward participants with opportunity instead of physical goods. We recommend finding prizes that help advance the participants’ journey into entrepreneurship. Reach out to your Techstars Community Support Contact if you would like some prize suggestions.

 

Branding Requirements

Techstars Startup Weekends are stand-alone events and cannot be co-branded.

Co-branded events rarely add extra value to Techstars Startup Weekend and frequently cause additional problems and/or add unnecessary pressure to the local organizers.

When referring to Techstars Startup Weekend in text, use Techstars Startup Weekend at 1st Reference.

Including Techstars in the first reference brings awareness to Startup Weekend being part of Techstars. We want the world to know that Techstars provides a greater network that can help an entrepreneur at any stage of their journey. Referencing the name helps us connect our programming and presents more opportunities for Community Leaders to leverage the later stage resources & programming within the Techstars network.

The Techstars Startup Weekend lock up logo cannot be altered. The Beaker, Startup Weekend text and Techstars logo must be included. If city and name are added to the logo, they must follow the format listed on our branding page.

Keeping our logo consistent creates more brand recognition for Techstars Startup Weekend. Having everyone follow the same format strengthens our global brand, which helps create more opportunities for everyone. For more details on how to use the Techstars Startup Weekend logo, access our branding resource page

When using text, all Techstars Startup Weekend events must be named according to the following standard:

Techstars Startup Weekend + [City] + [Vertical] + Powered by Google for Startups

This requirement does not apply for Corporate Events. Please contact the Techstars team for alternative naming arrangements. This helps us keep our branding consistent, and will make it much easier for participants to find events in your city.

All event logos, banners, and other marketing materials must include the following:

  • The Techstars Startup Weekend logo lockup or Canvas

  • The text: “Powered by Google for Startups”

This helps preserve and strengthen the global brand (which in turn will help organizers locally). In order to cater for localization, minor customization of the beaker image is allowed, but the beaker must remain readily identifiable and intact.

 

Website Requirements

All Techstars Startup Weekend events must have a dedicated website in order to explain the format and purpose of the event to the public, showcase the event’s Mentors, Speakers, Judges, and Organizers, and provide proper recognition to the event partners & sponsors.

All Techstars Startup Weekend event websites must contain:

  • A header/logo that adheres to the Branding & Naming Requirements (listed above)

  • The event’s Mentors, Speakers, and Panelists

  • The Techstars Startup Weekend Global Partner Bar

  • A page/section dedicated to online ticketing

Unless otherwise agreed, all Organizers must use the Website Template provided by the Techstars Startup Weekend team. Once your Application has been approved you’ll work with your Techstars Community Support Contact to build the page. Having an event website helps participants be able to find event details, and consistent messaging and branding.

 

Financial Requirements

The organizing team is responsible for managing all finances locally (Exception: Brazil)

Financial management and raising funds for the event is 100% the responsibility of the organizing team. There is no financial or accounting support. While Techstars can provide general guidelines for managing your event budget, you will need to familiarize yourself with your local business legislation to ensure compliance with local reporting requirements and regulations. The great news is that all event profits will be yours to keep! 

We suggest that you delegate one team member to manage the finances and event budget. The event finance lead manages the budget from start to finish while keeping control and centralizing all the financial information and ensuring compliance with local reporting requirements. We have built a series of Eventbrite templates and will guide your team with updating banking information.

Please be aware that for business operations, you may need to establish a separate legal entity, or partner with an existing entity, depending on the regulations in your country. This may also require opening a new business bank account. 

Unless otherwise agreed upon with your Techstars Community Support Contact, all in-person Startup Weekends must charge an admission fee to participants.

Experience shows us that a small barrier to entry, in the form of a ticket price, increases the quality of the attendees and significantly decreases the cancellation and drop-out rate.

The Facilitator travel and accommodation costs must be covered from the event budget.

Facilitator cost is a required cost and must come from the event budget. Please reach out to your facilitator early on to ensure sufficient budget for facilitator travel and to agree on the reimbursement process.

Techstars Startup Weekend Organizing teams are required to honor refund requests up to 7 days before the first day of the event. 

This is a standard policy which is integrated into our event management platforms. Please ensure there’s a designated person on the team responsible for processing attendee refunds and related inquiries. 

No cash prizes are permitted.

While we encourage in-kind prizes (donated co-working space, networking opportunities, product use, etc.) that directly impact the progress and success of Startup Weekend teams, no cash prizes may be given!