What do you have when you combine 48 passionate people and 19 creative business ideas packed into one auditorium on the campus of Wayne State University? The answer: Startup Weekend Detroit. [more below video]
For someone new to the idea of a Startup Weekend, Friday night begins with a little networking, dinner and “PitchFire.” PitchFire is when people get two minutes to convince the room they have an idea that can succeed. The ideas ranged the gamut from a mobile classroom to a website where people with food allergies can easily find restaurants they can eat at safely. At the end, everyone gets tickets to vote on the ideas they liked best and are willing to support.
Next people with pitches immediately went out to lobby for their idea. They had 45 minutes to get as many votes as they can, which quickly became an opportunity for the passionate to start forming their teams. Team formation is critical for several reasons.
The more technical ideas need more technical expertise, and the people with expertise were in high demand. Ideas with a more marketing and media focus were pining for the best marketers in the room to join their team.
In the end, six ideas were selected and teams were solidified. They will be working together (and we’ll be checking in on them) until Sunday at 4pm to define, refine and prepare their ideas for judging by a panel of potential investors. Along the way, entrepreneurs will be dropping in to give short speeches about how they got their start and what pitfalls await the teams as they develop their business ideas. Bonds will be formed, business alliances will grow while the entrepreneurial spirit of Detroit will be on display for the Startup Weekend world to witness.