Startup Weekend: What can you build in 54 hours?


This February 21-23, Startup Weekend is coming to the Grain District of downtown Spartanburg. If you’ve never experienced the adrenaline rush of a Startup Weekend, this is a great place to start a company, find a cofounder, learn a new skill, experience the beautiful chaos of startup life, and meet other like minded people you don’t already know.

Watch the Startup Weekend trailer on Vimeo
Startup Weekend – Trailer from Eighteen Eighty on Vimeo.

I attended my first Startup Weekend in Charlotte last year, and it jump started a (somewhat) healthy addiction to these marathon events. There’s nothing like pushing the gas pedal to the floor for 54 hours and seeing where it takes you. With all the food, beer, and ping pong you need to charge and recharge fully provided by the organizers, the weekend is truly yours for the taking. Sure, Monday morning kind of sucks, but isn’t this kind of thing what we live for?

Startup Weekends happen all over the world, and they all follow roughly the same model. Anyone can pitch a startup idea on Friday night. The crowd votes, and the favorite ideas are green lit for the weekend. From apps to hot dog stands, you can pitch whatever you want. All participants vote on their favorite concepts, and people organically form teams based on interest. Then, it begins. The frenzy of business model creation, development, design, and customer validation is set in motion and the wheels don’t stop turning for 54 hours. It all culminates with a pitch event on Sunday evening where judges with experience investing in startups give feedback and pick a winner.

The pitch event is a great exercise in standing up in front of investors, and laying it all out on the line. This year, we have an awesome roster of judges including Peter Barth, CEO of The Iron Yard, Matt Dunbar Managing Director of Upstate Carolina Angel Network,Scott Cochran, Dean of The Space at Wofford College, and Jack McBride, CEO of Contec. The winning team will receive a bunch of gift-in-kind services like free legal help to get incorporated and hosting space as well as bragging rights. Everyone will get valuable feedback.

How many entrepreneurs can you fit in one hotel room? For out of towners, we have booked a block of affordable rooms at the downtown Marriott, walking distance from The Iron Yard.

Register now to be a part of the madness!

Kate McCarthy
Program Director, The Iron Yard accelerator programs