Beginning this Friday night, Startup Tucson will host Tucson’s fourth annual Startup Weekend Tucson. The high-energy event pairs Tucson’s best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs with the talent, tools, training and support resources necessary to quickly take innovative business ideas from concept to launch in 54 hours.
“Entrepreneurs need to move quickly and can’t afford to waste time and money working on a bad idea,” said Justin Williams, CEO of Startup Tucson. “During Startup Weekend Tucson we help entrepreneurs quickly explore the market potential for their idea and support them as they work to develop their idea into real businesses.”
The event kicks-off Friday night with a rocket pitch contest where attendees make 1-minute pitches for their ideas. These attendees vote for the best ideas, form teams and then work with future customers, other founders, investors and startup veterans to shape their product or service to meet the customer’s needs.
Startup Weekend Tucson takes place Friday, September 12th through Sunday September 14th at CoLab Workspace, a collaborative workspace inside the historic Pioneer Building in downtown Tucson. For information and tickets visit www.startuptucson.com/weekend/.
Startup Shark Tank
Startup Weekend culminates with Startup Shark Tank, an event similar to the popular television show, where teams formed during Startup Weekend will present their new ventures to a public audience and a panel of investor-judges for feedback, awards, and citywide “bragging rights”.
Thanks to support from Connect Coworking, Startup Shark Tank is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, September 14th, at the Rialto Theater at 318 E Congress St. Shark Tank information and tickets are available online at www.startuptucson.com/sharktank/.
Past Success Stories
Startup Weekend Tucson participants from each of the first three years have gone on to significant success.
In 2013, Heather Hiscox launched Wish List Hero as an innovative approach to charitable online giving by helping the community support local charities by sponsoring a wish and giving a tangible item, donating funds online towards the purchase the item, or launching a ‘Hero Campaign’ to use your personal network to raise funds necessary to grant the wish.
“Participating in Startup Weekend and being involved with Startup Tucson changed my life. I gained the skills, knowledge, and network to launch my company AND make a big difference in the community,” said Wish List Hero Founder, Heather Hiscox.
Stephen Ost, founder of Ufree, came to network and learn, but walked away with more than he expected. Ost says that “from participating in Startup Weekend, I was connected to Lean Launchpad and the Arizona Center for Innovation. It has been the most beneficial year of my life!” Ost eventually named one of five national finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2013”.
In 2011, Dr. Yi-Chang Chiu, founder of Metropia and creator of Smartrek traffic management mobile application, attended Startup Tucson’s first ever Startup Weekend. Chiu said that the “event was a critical catalyst for successfully moving my research from the lab into the marketplace. In the subsequent years we have grown our prototype into a fast-growing business with several contracts signed or to be signed totaling more than $2 million.”