Eight top tips to winning a Startup Weekend

feature-StartupWeekend-thumbIt’s fast approaching Startup Weekend time again – the quick-fire start-up get together is set to return to Sydney on November 9.


Last year, the 54-hour sprint to dream up and create a venture was held in more than 100 countries around the world. In Australia, the concept now spans Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and, most recently, Perth.


Startup Weekend opens the door to investor funding and commercialisation of ideas, but it also provides something far more intangible to tech-minded soloists – the opportunity to meet others, discuss ideas and collaborate on projects.


So how can you put together a winning proposition that will wow the Startup Weekend judges?


Below, Isaac Souweine, general manager of Pollenizer Southeast Asia, gives his eight top tips:


1. Explain why your solution makes sense


Your start-up solves a problem. Great! But how much better is your approach than what people have access to today?


And why hasn’t anyone else tried the solution you’re proposing? Or if others have tried it, why haven’t they succeeded?


Answering these deeper questions makes your story more convincing and reassures the judges that you aren’t oversimplifying.


2. Don’t ignore user acquisition


Most Startup Weekend pitches focus on product and business model, while relegating user acquisition to generalisations about viral marketing or social media.


Set your pitch apart by identifying specific strategies for acquiring early adopters and tangible ideas for building user acquisition into the DNA of your product.


3. Go beyond surveys


Surveys are a good starting point for customer validation. But the cost for someone to affirm your idea via a survey is low.


One way to go deeper is through intensive customer interviews with potential power users. Even better is to validate customer interest through an exchange of value, e.g. collecting email sign-ups for a beta launch.


For super extra credit, see if you can sell your product or service to a customer before the weekend is over.


4. Do your market sizing


Back of the envelope calculations to estimate your market size are easy to do and can be built on top of publicly available information.


Take the time to estimate how many users you could realistically attain. A quick exercise in market sizing will also help you to precisely define your target user.


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