Startup Weekend and Partners Launch Startup Weekend Next

Media Contacts:
Joey Pomerenke, Startup Weekend, joey@startupweekend.org
Chris Roche, Startup America Partnership, chris@s.co
Clare Tischer, TechStars press@techstars.com
Terri S. Vanech, terri@kandsranch.com or (203) 918-1270

30,000 entrepreneurs, 10,000 startups expected to join in hands-on "pre-accelerator" startup training

SEATTLE, OCT. 30, 2012 – In 30 days, entrepreneurs from Tampa to Toledo to Toronto will have access to the boldest entrepreneurial training program ever launched.

The program, called Startup Weekend Next, will inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and communities: some 30,000 entrepreneurs from 10,000 early-stage startups in more than 350 cities worldwide.

In a four-week class, founders will learn how to build a successful startup using the basics of Business Model Design and Customer Development, coached in live sessions by seasoned startup veterans.

Five entrepreneurial partners have teamed up to deliver the program. It's led by Startup Weekend, the Kauffman Foundation-funded global organization that's hosted more than 800 such events in over 350 cities worldwide.

Steve Blank provided the course content, his Lean LaunchPad class. Startup America Partnership will leverage its network of 30 Startup Regions to engage entrepreneurial leaders throughout the country. TechStars provides experienced startup mentors to coach the entrepreneurs, and Udacity.com produced and hosts Blank'sLean LaunchPad online lectures.

Startup Weekend's Next "pre-accelerator" program (see diagram) will teach early-stage founders how to turn their business ideas into successful companies.

Participants will learn and use basic tools for building successful companies, using Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Canvas to articulate their assumptions about their vision, and Steve Blank's Customer Development process to "get out of the building" and see if the vision is real or a hallucination.

Pilot tested in major cities from Athens to San Francisco, the program combines Startup Weekend's experiential approach with the best of mentor and cohort-based accelerators like TechStars, and Blank's popular Lean LaunchPad curriculum that's presently taught at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University, Caltech, Princeton and the National Science Foundation. More than 50,000 entrepreneurs have taken Blank's Lean LaunchPad program online on Udacity.com.

Startup Weekend's Next program turns Blank's online class into an experiential hands-on class with face-to-face feedback, discussion and coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs.

The first four-week Startup Weekend Next teams start work on Nov. 28, in more than 25 cities worldwide.

To date, more than 80,000 entrepreneurs have created over 7,500 startups through Startup Weekend's eponymous weekend programs.

"We're constantly asked 'what's next' by our participating entrepreneurs," says Startup Weekend founder and CEO Marc Nager. "We are thrilled to help entrepreneurs everywhere take their next step toward success," Nager says, "in a far more comprehensive program providing a new startup with a rigorous methodology, vital business tools, and a common language to discuss their progress with coaches, investors and team members."

Nager anticipates upwards of 200 Startup Weekend Next programs to be completed in 2013 alone.

"Startup Weekend's Next program and the Lean LaunchPad curriculum are based on the premise that we have cracked the code for early-stage entrepreneurship," Nager says. "While we don't know how to make a startup become the next Google or Facebook, we now know how to teach founders how to dramatically reduce their failure rate through the combination of business model design, customer development and agile development. We believe it is the new standard for startup success," he adds.

How it works
Startup Weekend's Next offers startup teams four intense weeks:

  • Forming a startup team and coming up with an initial idea
  • Coming into the first class having developed a Business Model Canvas via Blank's Lean LaunchPad class on Udacity.com
  • Receiving live coaching and suggestions from the Startup Weekend Next team

Taking the suggestions from each weekly meeting, and getting out of the building to talk to customers and refine their business models, including iteration of product, marketing, pricing, channels and more

  • Working with volunteer mentor partners from Startup Weekend, Startup America and TechStars – all serial entrepreneurs and seasoned startup investors – to begin bringing their business idea to life.

Upon graduation, participants will have a common startup "language" and understand the process needed to jump-start their startup ideas and turn them into successful, sustainable businesses.

Nominal cost of the program varies by city (range: $140 to $300), all of which covers event operations and expenses. Visit www.swnext.org for more details. To participate, startups teams are encouraged to attend one of Startup Weekend's global events (www.startupweekend.org/events).

Here's where Startup Weekend's Next fits in the startup ecosystem: