This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the second edition of Startup Weekend Nantes, hosted at La Cantine par Atlantic 2.0. If you don’t know what Startup Weekend is, read any of my other posts on the event to get a better idea – summary version: 54 Hours to create a startup. I will do an article soon on my First Impressions of the event itself, but this post is much more about what I got out of it.
“…But you know what, they were right – about the startup, and about the experience…”
Before going, I had already met some Startup Weekend veterans and staff, and everyone talked about it with such exaltation – I had to admit, I was skeptic. I mean a startup… in 54 hours… with people I’ve never met? But you know what, they were right – about the startup, and about the experience.
On Friday evening I pitched my own idea In French – while I got some pretty strong affirmations that the idea was good, ultimately I ended up abandoning and joining one of the two other pitches I liked. The group I joined was working on facilitating networking at events, and I figured I could add some input, having gone to half a dozen events in the past month. At the end of the first evening, I was hopeless. Everyone had such haughty visions with no conception of how they would play out, and I felt like every opinion I gave was a fight against the project pitcher and the rest of the team; nevertheless, we all hashed out our thoughts and decided to pick it up again Saturday morning.
We hit the bar down the street, joked around, and did some serious bonding.
Saturday morning, after a few coffees, we sat down and everything began to click. Ideas became organized, visions became molded, and we found ourselves with building blocks on which to focus our ideas. Tech people got to work on building some sort of demo-able product, design cranked away on a website, business people split off into marketing and business model, and we reconvened a few hours later.
Around noon Saturday, we realized that each person had understood differently the vision of the product. We sat down, hashed it out, and came to an agreeable conclusion. Out of the conclusion, we got some new greater vision on the idea. This cycle repeated itself four times through the day, and at the end of the day, we all had smiles on our face, and we realized we had touched something right. One group had been polling teams throughout the day for their startup, and around 2:30AM, on their 6th pass by our group, said “you know, everyone else has sort of stopped working by now, but you guys always seem hard at work.” We were, and we liked it.
Four hours of sleep on a couch. I woke up, hit my head on a metal stairwell over my head, and thought “I need to get this pitch and presentation ready.”
On Sunday everything fell apart like a sand castle at high tide. The tech team had misunderstood my requests demo-wise, the presentation wasn’t started, and we still didn’t have a website secured (which makes a demo quite hard). I struggled to keep everyone on task, with the help of my amazing designer and Julie, but it looked like everything was going to come together right on time (I mean… it had to).
Cut to 4:45PM, and Julia and I are sitting alone running through the pitch
Cut to 4:45PM, and Julia and I are sitting alone running through the pitch, having Cedric Giorgi of Seesmic help us with explaining our business model. We got called over to the group to sit for the beginning of pitches – Julia turned to me and said “I hope we go first, I can’t bear to wait,” and a minute later, Eventize gave its pitch.
While we didn’t win, we had already decided before we pitched that we were happy with the result. The feedback we got was amazing and some among our group will be discussing this week to see if Eventize has a future.
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