Written by Daniela Bolzmann, WeDeliver
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in Startup Weekend for my second time, this time as a coach. My first Startup Weekend as an attendee resulted in a first place win and the decision to quit my job. Here’s why.
After relocating to Chicago from California, I had but a handful of friends in Chicago. I saw Startup Weekend as a fun opportunity for me to network, meet new people and finally pitch an idea that I had been itching to build.
I showed up, pitched my idea, and recruited a team (full step-by-step guide to winning startup weekend here). It was then that I realized, if I wanted to get the most out of the weekend, a strong team was more important than my personal idea. I then scouted the room, interviewed entrepreneurs with ideas that caught my eye, and ultimately landed on the team of Jimmy Odom, of WeDeliver (formerly WhyDeliver).
As Jen shared in this post, we did everything wrong and still came away with a first place win. The weekend came to an end and I agreed to help the team when I could because I was still busy with my full-time job. Little did I know that a few hours here and there would turn into nights and weekends. The team, the idea, the momentum kept me up at night and became all-consuming. As my priorities began to shift, I realized that building something incredible with this team is what truly made me happy and that if I didn’t go all-in at this moment in my life I would always regret my decision.
Now, I’m not suggesting anyone follow in my footsteps. We’ve chosen to bootstrap WeDeliver and with that choice comes its own set of hurdles. Ramen seems to be the meal of choice these days. What I am saying is that, as cheesy as it may sound, the stars aligned for me at Startup Weekend. I found my dream team with the right idea at the right time for the market. Startup Weekend truly changed my life, my team is like my family, and we are all going through this journey together.
In the months following Startup Weekend:
• 6 of our 7 team members are still with us from our original Startup Weekend team of 12.
• Made it to the final 30 in over 900 applicants to TechStars Chicago.
• A waiting list of over 50 top Chicago retailers eager to work with us.
• WeDeliver’d for Startup Weekend Chicago 2013 and look forward to sponsoring, coaching, and participating in future events.
• Our team mate Kirk is planning Startup Weekend Trinidad
**Keep up with her!