Pitch an idea. Form a team. Launch a product. All in 54 hours. Tickets for Startup Weekend Kalamazoo are now on sale. Buy tickets here. Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.
The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders
Optionally line up to give your pitch
Attendees vote for the top pitches
Teams start forming and discussing ideas
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow
Saturday January 31st
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow
Sunday February 1st
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
John Mueller is an assistant professor at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo where he teaches entrepreneurship. Prior to working on his PhD in Entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville, he started and ran several businesses in the software industry, including GolfSolutions.com. His work experiences have allowed him to live and work in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He enjoys being involved with exciting businesses in the startup community.
On a mission to measure and improve happiness at work. Angel investor, habit coach, workshop leader, adventurer. Previously founded @newmindgroup.
Coaches and Mentors
John Schmitt has been a consultant with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, housed at Western Michigan University, since 2007. Prior to his role with the MI-SBTDC, Schmitt was a serial entrepreneur opening a number of small businesses throughout Michigan over the past 30 years. These businesses have ranged from starting a restaurant, Food Dance Cafe, to a self storage facility, the StorRoom in Canton Michigan. John was awarded the MI-SBTDC Statewide Leadership Award for Business Consultants in 2009. Schmitt has served over 500 distinct clients during his tenure as a business consultant.
Gary tasted tech between the founding of Microsoft and Apple, and liked it. He dug into math and languages at Kalamazoo College where keyboard teaching and gigs carried him through graduate jazz studies. From the clubs, he transitioned (predictably) to Special Projects Cryptanalyst at NSA. His focus then turned to innovation in pharmaceutical validation, after which he founded and led (logically) a regional land conservancy.
Gary's 1996 startup -- a web change-monitoring service -- was acquired by a San Francisco firm in 2000. All his investors seemed ridiculously happy, briefly, he pretended to be "retired."
In 2001, Gary launched Nexcerpt news briefing service, which parsed its 200 millionth article in 2013. (In 2002, he also created Googlewhack, although he had not intended to do so.) He is a recognized expert in land use regulation, environmental policy, and Eastern Box Turtles.
I'm fiercely curious and I love starting new projects. After I graduated from Loy Norrix and KAMSC, I moved to Pasadena to do my undergraduate studies at CalTech and then I got my first taste of the start-up world in the late 90's San Francisco dot-com craze. I started coming to Startup Zoo meetups in 2012, after my family moved back to Kalamazoo.
I'm a lawyer at Honigman. The firm is based in Detroit and we have offices in Kalamazoo, Lansing, AA, Bloomfield Hills and Oakland County. It's a big firm, so we do a lot of different kinds of work, but we specialize in corporate transactions, real estate, and IP. It's a good fit for me because I have interests that span a variety of practice areas and the work here never gets repetitive. Before we came back to Michigan, I did a lot of copyright and trademark litigation work. At Honigman my practice is focused in two main areas, social media and advertising and commercial real estate, but we do a lot of corporate work as part of the RE practice also.
I joined the StartupZoo Board of Directors in September 2014. I'm a big believer in the Maker movement (see Makezine.com for an explanation of that), and I believe that the best way of learning something new is to go out and do it. I'm involved with StartupZoo's work to create a Makerspace in the Kalamazoo area.