A few weeks ago we shared the exciting news that Startup Weekend is coming to the Twin Cities over the weekend of September 18. This 54 hour hackfest will bring together 50-100 startup enthusiasts at CoCo MSP to create and launch real products in a fun, fast and collaborative environment. Registration for the event is growing daily and early bird tickets are available here until September 1st.
We checked in with organizer Shane Reiser earlier this morning to find out how things are moving along — starting with the speaker lineup:
Friday night will feature Robert Stephens, CTO of Best Buy & Founder of The Geek Squad; Jon Dahl, Co-Founder of YC-backed Zencoder; Lisa Foote, Co-founder of mobile venture MixMobi. These three speakers will be discussing lessons learned from their respective startup experiences.
On Saturday morning, I, Jeff Pesek*, will be thinking out-loud and at random, about the future Minnesota’s startup community (for whatever that is worth). Later in the afternoon, Rob Weber will be telling his story, “from dorm to millions”, around the conception of w3i (originally Freeze.com), an Internet-based company he Co-founded in 2000 with with his two brothers Aaron and Ryan.
Fingers crossed, it’s quite possible that another well-accomplished Minnesota tech entrepreneur could be making a stop at CoCo MSP on Saturday afternoon to meet, greet and inspire the teams (more on this as it’s known).
On Sunday night, a judging panel including: Pete Birkeland, Ernest Grumbles, Kathy Grayson, Luke Francl, Dan Grigsby, Matt Bauer and TECHdotMN’s own Mike Bollinger will be deciding which team and technology has the greatest potential to grow into a full-fledged startup company.
Above and beyond recruiting all the names above, organizing the logistics and setting up the vendors, Shane has been busy sweetening the pot for the the Startup Weekend champions. CoCo MSP has donated 2 free months of Co-working to the winning team and 5 hours of consulting (IP, fundraising and business logic) is provided by MOJO Minnesota. If the biz has real legs, midVentures, a technology consulting group in Chicago, has reserved a spot for the winners of Twin Cities Startup Weekend in either the COMPETE track or MVDEMO area at their upcoming midVentures Launch, a midwest startup conference on Sept. 28 in Chicago.
From the peer to peer interactions to the speakers, judges, recognition and prizes — Startup Weekend Twin Cities is shaping up to be a most remarkable experience for those doers throughout Minnesota who love to create new things, meet new people and ultimately, expand their horizons.
“I’m amazed by the hospitality of Minnesota’s startup community and those who have stepped up to help execute this event. Thanks to our speakers, panelists, promotional supporters and sponsors like CoCo MSP and The Nerdery, I’m seeing more early interest in the Twin Cities than in any other city in which I’ve previously organized Startup Weekends, including NYC.” – Shane Reiser, Startup Weekend.
To inquire about sponsorship and prize packages, Shane Reiser can be reached at [Shane@startupweekend.org]
*Disclosure: I wrote this article and have a personal interest in seeing Minnesota tech be all that it can be. Can you dig it?