March 23rd 2012
By Richard Lee
Budding entrepreneurs with Web-based business ideas will be spotlighted at Stamford’s first Startup Weekend from Friday through next Sunday at the Stamford Innovation Center.
Registration for entrepreneurs and programmers to participate in the intense, 54-hour concept-to-pitch competition is under way. One hundred tickets will be sold. They cover seven meals, refreshments, snacks and access to resources. To register, visit Stamford.startupweekend.org.
“We want to ensure we have the right balance of skill sets to make this the most exciting weekend for technologists, entrepreneurs and designers to come together to create business ideas,” said Edward Petner, an organizer and a founder of the center at 175 Atlantic St.
Startup Weekend is a platform for technology and entrepreneurial communities to gather to co-create new applications and develop their commercial cases, according to Petner, who said the event starts Friday at 6:30 p.m. Team presentations, judging and awards will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. at the University of Connecticut-Stamford campus.
“Understanding what investors look for in a new company and how to get that information into a pitch is a crucial hurdle for entrepreneurs,” Petner said. “Too often, companies may not get funded for what seems like a solid idea simply because they fail to clearly and concisely build their business case.”
On Friday, the audience will vote on up to 40 presentations. The top 10 ideas advance with audience members having the chance to work with the finalists as they prepare a presentation to a panel of judges. Prizes totalling $20,000 in free services will be awarded.
“We have teams of mentors who are experts in Web design and development, marketing, corporate strategy and content verification,” Petner said. “It’s a way for entrepreneurs to get exposure to investors.”
Earlier Startup Weekends, with Connecticut Light & Power Co. and Wiggin and Dana as platinum sponsors, were held in Hartford, New Haven and Storrs. Shipman & Goodwin is a platinum sponsor of this event.
Startup Weekend is well-suited for the Innovation Center, converted from Stamford’s old town, said Laure Aubuchon, the city’s economic development director, noting it was designed to provide incubator space for new, cutting-edge businesses in the high-tech market.
“The Innovation Center is not just a building,” she said. “It’s a signal that Stamford welcomes entrepreneurs.”