Published On November 1, 2016
- posted in Blog, Opinion

They say that leaders aren’t born, they’re made. The same can be said about entrepreneurs.

Anyone can become an entrepreneur and Startup Weekend is just the place for it.

What’s Startup Weekend?

It’s like a mini boot camp for entrepreneur – an event where entrepreneurs who want to learn about startups come together for the weekend to pitch ideas, form teams and start companies.

All events follow the same organization: attendees pitch their idea, ideas get voted and teams form around the top ones. Next, teams get 54 hours to code, design and validate their ideas. At the end of the weekend, each team presents their project in front of local entrepreneurial leaders and get feedback.

Currently, there have been over 1800 events in 120 countries over the world. Startup Weekend helps entrepreneurs by providing access to a wide network where they can find support, a cofounder or pick up a new skill.

Startup Weekend Oradea, 2nd edition

October 7th – 9th hosted the 2nd edition of Startup Weekend Oradea. The event brought together 38 participants at Oradea Trade Center. Participants were coached by:

  • Jan Lukacs – co-founder & CEO Paymo
  • Adrian Gheara – consultant, tech startup investor
  • Adrian Pica – founder of 150sec.com, Product Manager Telenav
  • Raul Popa – co-founder & CEO TypingDNA
  • Alin Merches – co-founder Neobyte Solutions
  • Andrei Firoiu – co-founder at Obli.co

The judges were:

  • Tibor Lazlo – managing partner Qubiz with proven experience in a broad range of projects
  • Eric Prenen – senior management executive, advisor with extensive digital experience
  • Franz Osvald – CEO Cylex, technology entrepreneur, top manager and open-source evangelist

And the winners:

  • 1st place: Merepere – a marketplace that connects fruit & vegetable providers with potential buyers
  • 2nd place: Rent a lawyer – a platform where users can find and hire lawyers
  • 3rd place: Visualscout – a mobile app with which you can take a photo of a product and find the best available prices for it

According to the organizers, there was a considerable improvement in the quality of ideas, their implementation, and the number of sponsors: Qubiz, Cylex, E-spres-oh, Mobiversal, Neobyte Solutions, Paymo, Romcom and Due Fratelli.

‘But you can get so much more out of Startup Weekend…’

Our one and only Misu decided (by himself) to attend the event. His team won 2nd place (whoa Misu!!!) and we wanted to see the event from an attendee’s perspective.

Why did you attend Startup Weekend?
Mostly out of curiosity. I hadn’t attended the event before, and I wanted to see if there are ways to come up with new ideas and check for recurring ones. I was also curious about meeting new people, passionate about startups – possibly with complementary skills for creating and launching product. And I wanted to know the mentors – who they are, how they can help you, if you can start a relationship and reach out for advice in the future.

How did you like it?
It’s awesome just because you get to meet people who share interests and curiosities. You don’t get that chance often – I see that as the biggest plus. Another thing I liked: the mentors, the fact that you can interact with them to see what apps others tried and failed. It’s very important to learn from other people’s failures.

What’s one thing you learned over the weekend?
Before you rate your idea as good or bad, you need to validate it with direct users. Why? Anyone can have an opinion – one that’s not necessarily based on solid arguments. That’s why you need to work extra hard to validate. If you don’t, you risk working on a bad idea and walking away from a good one – both equally bad. One big thing I’ve learned over the weekend is that even if someone doesn’t believe in your idea, it can still be a good one. The easiest way to validate is to check for similar products. As long as there are similar products, there is a market.

What do you think of the Startup Weekend concept?
It’s a very cool networking place and you can learn how to validate your ideas. A lot of people see it as developers pulling in all nighters to code. But you can get much, much more out of Startup Weekend if you meet as many people as you can, if you talk to all the mentors and the jury – so you understand how they validate ideas. That’s the most valuable thing – if you can try to steal that. Idea validation is not an exact science, it’s a skill you need to pick up. You get some clues and it’s up to you to decide if it works as a business model.

Do you recommend attending?
Yes, definitely – even if it’s only for those two things: how others validate ideas and meeting new people. A large network can be a great help when you least expect it. Also – if you do attend, put forward an idea instead of just following other people’s ideas. You get less out of the event if you don’t pitch your own ideas.

Image credit: Startup Weekend Oradea. See more on Facebook.01401

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