My Startup Weekend Experience

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Guest Post By Chloe Blondeau

Last February, my partner and I participated in the first Montreal start-up week-end. We decided to register for the event as a team building activity -well more “couple building”- and were ready to take the challenge of creating a start-up in 54 hours.

Inspiring Creativity.
First we were amazed by the number of people who pitched ideas. For 135 participants, 56 ideas were proposed! All so different from each other, and even though they were not all solving world problems, most of the time they were solving the pitcher’s. It’s so inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs gathering and sharing their energy and creativity.

After we all voted, only 17 ideas remained and it was time to choose our team. We decided to go with Adriano who presented Scistream as a killer-idea for the obsolete science publishing industry. At that point we didn’t really understand the product, but we saw the potential and the passion Adriano had when talking about this issue.

A Marathon Started.
Saturday morning after a quick early breakfast the serious game started. Brainstorm after brainstorm -based on the Business Model Canvas- we had to define the problem, the market and the product we wanted to focus on. Then the business team worked on the market, the customer validation and how to monetize while the techs worked on the product design, the demo, and the features. Mentors were around all week-end long being very supportive by bringing their suggestions and experiences while challenging us to deliver our best.

Soon it was already time to prepare the final 5 minute pitch that would be delivered in front of a jury of VCs, business angels and professionals. While it was interesting for the jury and audience to see a demo of the product we were more encouraged to focus the pitch on the problem we are solving and how we planed to grow. Why should they believe in our product and in our team?

Thank You SW!
After 30 minutes of deliberations, the Jury announced the winning startups. Thanks to the great job from our team, Scistream won the HEC prize and came second in the Mark Kandalaft Design prize. It’s always great to see your work rewarded but, even if you don’t win, SW is an awesome chance either to discover or to confirm what you want to live for: entrepreneurship!

Despite the little sleep we came back energized and passionate after having done something we loved, and we feel we learnt new skills, broadened our professional network, met friends and we want to do it again!

How to make the best of Ottawa SW?

  • Don’t be shy to get on the stage and pitch
  • Work smart and have fun
  • Be ready to meed inspired people
  • Learn from the teams, the mentors, and yourself.
  • Feel the energy

 

Alain Won, Amanda Fong & Geneviève St-Laurent produced a short film from Montreal Startup Weekend which sums up the experience nicely!