“eGift Local” and “College Sitters” Win!

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Congratulations to Team “eGift Local” winner overall based on a great Team and Idea, excellent presentation, MVP and well thought out business model.

Congratulations to Team “College Sitters”, a vetted College Student to Parent connection service that makes it easy to find a great babysitter, winning based on an outstanding Team, Idea, Presentation and great business model.
Sunday presentations were great. Best ever for Startup Weekend Aspen.

Teams received clear Judging criteria early. Judges depend on team and Idea in evaluating the winner. The winning 2 teams had a beautifully organized handoff among team members.

The leader introduced the name of the product, its proposed value to a specific market segment, how they engaged others in validating that value proposal and what they learned.

Team leaders handed the stage to a team member who presented their area of expertise and detailed information before continuing the exchange.

Demos were built by prototyping and wireframe, as well as eGift presenting a real working system prototype online.
Overall, these final presentations demonstrated the teams strength, as well as the event’s learning value. Tuning the Idea, by validating with the customer, changing assumptions about competition, pricing, market segment, initial capital requirements, key resources as they needed.

SW tight time frame helps build teams by requiring results in 54 hours, even though statistically 35% of SW teams continue to work on their project for at least 90 days after the event.

The tight time-window works by forcing out elements that may be entirely viable, but not the minimum viable requirements to solve a problem in the market segment.
In that pressure cooker, team bond. They develop deeper ties, and learn to fail fast, if need be and move on. Errors in initial assumptions are vetted and team members dig deeply to find answers.

The human element is *the* element of SW that I find rewarding. By deciding to try to build something in a lighting quick environment, surrounded by like-minded helpful people, the heat of deadlines hammer out a product and presentation that can gain business very quickly.
Statistically, SW’s teams enjoy long lasting relationships. They focus on problem solving by encouraging personal growth and team building among each other. Leaders emerge.

But SW isn’t a set of rules. Its an experiential event. As Organizers, Coaches we facilitate launching a Startup. That requires people step out of their comfort zone.
Clearly, stepping out of a comfort zone isn’t for everyone. It takes courage, and the willingness to accept failure and move forward – Fail Fast is a good thing for Agile companies. Like test-early, SW teams validate with customers early. Imagine a home owner asking the builder to change the design of the foundation *after* the house has been built. Its much more efficient to accomodate change early.

SW is for entrepreneurs. They may be coders, designers, non-technical people. Its not well suited for corporate code maintainers that want predicable, consistent work over many years, unless they want to get out of their comfort zone.
The traditional 3-year waterfall approach to building a business often costs investors far too much. SW not for Sales VPs that want to walk into an existing market with a better, faster, cheaper product as the key differentiator. Traditional 2-5 year business planning still works for businesses that don’t feel they need to adapt to change.

SW is a crazy place with wild ideas. Those Ideas and teams might introduce a solution that completely disrupts existing solutions, making things radically better. Existing companies interested in new technology, method, process in business or non-profits that relieve pain for others or offer a way to gain sales, acceptance find high value in Startup Weekend.
Its a place where the organizers are facilitators that work to create an Entrepreneurial environment, rich with choices and support.

Its crazy, wonderful, and worth staying around for all 54 hours.

Startup Weekend Teams ROCK.  we’re here for you.

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