5 Take Aways From Startup Weekend Phoenix 2016 (+ the winners!)

Zach Ferres speaking at Startup Weekend Phoenix 2016

I just finished mentoring and being a judge at my first Startup Weekend and I wanted to share with you my five take aways from the event.

  1. Coplex team members are awesome!

Zach Ferres and his team put a lot in to this event. As I walked around throughout the weekend I was constantly bumping into Coplex team members. Not only did they help organize the event, they were a huge help to the startup teams.

2. The 54 hour weekend-long process is valuable, even if you don’t launch a startup out of it.

There is so much value in just going through the process. Participants learned about the Lean Startup Methodology, how Coplex plans (& builds) an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and what it is like to put a team together and build a business model. And it was a great opportunity to meet people in the community with a diverse skill set (think: potential co-founders!).

3. For first time entrepreneurs, the community is essential to success.

There are many valuable resources you need when starting a business, but perhaps one of the most valuable is the community. No startup is an island (or at least it shouldn’t be). The community is what steps in to refer a mentor, connect a co-founder, intro an investor, and hold events that allow you to soak up weeks of knowledge in a weekend.

4. Adversity brought out the best in people.

By Saturday morning startup Allergy Alert was down to one team member. With the help of the Coplex team, mentors, and some high school students, Allergy Alert made awesome progress and had a strong final presentation. I was one of the judges and I didn’t know all of this when myself and the rest of the judges picked them to win 3rd place! It was an awesome example of the #yesphx community coming together!

5. The #yesphx community has some amazing ideas + who won.

The startup that won first place, PunchList, was an app that helped homeowners design a home remodel project. It was Pinterest + Home Depot births a complete project build list. The idea is that homeowners need to figure out what they want in a home remodel project, and once they do, the result is a highly valuable lead for a home remodel contractor.

Second place went to startup SqueeClean, the Uber for mobile car washing and detailing at large venues. And this was the only startup to actually bring in revenue over the weekend. With a quick path to revenue and growth, this startup was a favorite of the judges.

Eight startups competed and it was not easy to pick the winners. Two of my favorites were Spontaneous and Jobbathehunt.

Spontaneous was an app that helped couples pick what to do on date night. After asking a few short questions the app would surface some unique ideas to solve the ever present question of “what do you want to do tonight?”. The entrepreneurs did a great job of dialing in on what the actual problem was (surfacing unique things to do as opposed to what movies are playing) and building a fun app UX to solve it. Great job!

Jobbathehunt was project management software for finding a job. Knowing a few people who are currently looking for a job I thought the startup solved for a real problem that people are having. The app helps job seekers keep track of where they were applying, what communications they’ve had, and how they were progressing through the process. I was impressed with the workflow and MVP that they built. Excellent work!

Thank you to the Startup Weekend Phoenix Team for inviting me to participate. I look forward to next year!