What happens when you take dozens of smart, creative, motivated people, put them in one space with some great tools, and give them from Friday night until Sunday evening to create something while making sure they have plenty of caffeine and sugar? How about a new way to go to the movies? Or a new tool for disaster relief agencies? How about a new way to collect data for MS patients and encourage more healthy lifestyles?
These are just a few of the ideas that turned into models this past weekend at the University of Delaware’s Lerner Hall. This was the first StartUp Weekend Delaware – similar weekends have been held in other parts of the country – and organizers are already talking about the next StartUp Weekend.
Organized by Tom Nagle, Lee Mikles, and Dan Freeman, Faculty Director for the Entrepreneurial Studies Program at the University of Delaware, the weekend started with dozens of ideas pitched and voted on by the group. From there, the nine concepts chosen became the focus – people joined up with whichever team they felt was working on the most interesting project. Saturday is spent shaping the ideas, doing market research, and developing a business model. Sunday evening you could feel the electricity in the air as the nine ideas were presented – 5 minutes to make the pitch, 5 minutes for the judges to ask questions. By the time the judges were finished naming winners based on customer validation, business model, and execution – many in the room were already starting to collaborate on new ideas.