This last weekend, I got to attend Atlanta Startup Camper, a “Startup Weekend” style event put on by Semantic Seed. I pitched, joined a project that I thought would be fun, and even achieved a little something. Unfortunately, I missed the first brain storming session where they demonstrated the advancement of an idea into a business.
A different vibe from the start
There seemed to be a “less realist” and less about the joys of running your own business tune from the playing of the “Glengary Glen Ross” Always be closing clip off of youtube. Frankly, there is a piece to creating something on your own and directing it more than, “Always be closing”, “make the sale”, “make lots of money”; In fact the other view of this clip is how we can either hate our jobs or love our jobs – which is a much better vibe in my opinion.
All Star Leaders and Judges
The leaders and judges of the event were far ahead of what I’ve seen at either startup weekend or start atlanta. From the founders of Zaarly to CitizenSpace in San Francisco. The judges were also great at helping teams figure out business models. The judges ranged from web development shops, game creation studios, and capital market funds.
Lack of Developers
There was a noticeable lack of developers in attendance. Working with only one developer can quickly stress out a team and breaks the typical attitude of a team of two relatively technical people. My team was two technical people and 3 business people.
Cash Prizes and Seed Funding
The winners of 3 different tiers won different cash prizes based on the judges perspectives of the startups. First place, was $1000, which really rewards somebody for a weekend and encourages them to keep running the project (that pays for a lot of hosting, and a few man hours.) My team won 2nd place, which provided a nice $75/person winnings. Other groups also won Kindles or credits based on what api interfaces that they used.
The big differentiator was that there were investors willing to throw FU money at teams. Seed stage funding of $10,000 would be great to any team willing to have some full time workers (technical talent staying on is key) and is similar to an instant flashpoint or Shotput approval – and angels – or companies splitting a couple of thousand dollars to try some new projects is an inexpensive investment.