Entrepreneurs + Passion + All Nighters = StartUp Weekend Toronto

by Nehal Kazim

StartUp Weekend TorontoHave an idea that you’ve been itching to get to market but don’t know graphic design, backend coding, or have absolutely no clue to market it, welcome to StartUp Weekend.

Startup Weekend is a community building startup event. Participants get together with local developers, marketers, designers, enthusiasts and start companies in just 54 hours. This is the first time StartUp Weekend is being held in Toronto. 

The weekend started with two sessions to ease entrepreneurs into the weekend. Mike McDerment, Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks talked about how entrepreneurs should market their web apps. He mentioned the importance of story, understanding competition and clearly outlining benefits, as a few of the highlights.

Next were panel discussion with a well-rounded leaders in the Toronto tech community. The speakers included:

  • Dan Martell, Co-Founder of Flowtown
  • Mike McDerment, Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks
  • April Dunford, Principal Consultant, Rocket Launch Marketing
  • Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO, Sprouter
  • Leila Boujnane, CEO, Idee Inc 

Individuals pitched their idea in under 90 seconds to get the audience excited and get them to buy in to the idea. Pitches were narrowed down to 20 ideas. From there, marketers, developers, designers all got together for a project they thought was interesting.

Day 2: Ready, Set, Go!

It’s was time to work! Teams got together nice and early at 9am to discuss their ideas, start planning, and start developing/designing. I have never seen a bunch of smart, focused people all moving towards one goal.

To pump some sanity into the minds of these superstars, StartUp Weekend brought in speakers who have been there, done that.  James Lanthier, COO of Mood Media talked about his experience with non-traditional startups. Tim Smith, CEO of GridCentric discussed what not to do with a startup. Lastly, Mark Ruddock, former CEO of Viigo (recently acquired by RIM) talked about pitching to your first VC. With Ruddock’s experience on being on both sides of the table, he shared interesting insights from building relationships with VCs to presentation styles.

Day 3: Final Day

Today is Day 3. With angel investors and VC buzzing, entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses, get judged and win prizes.

Here are a few of the prizes:

For more prizes and information about StartUp Weekend Toronto, visit toronto.startupweekend.org. Look out for a final wrap up of Startup Weekend Toronto on Monday, September 27.

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Nehal Kazim

Nehal Kazim

Nehal writes on technology and social media news in Toronto. Currently, he is pursuing degree in Business Management from Ryerson University with specialization in Finance and Entrepreneurship. more

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