Why Accelerators Love Events Like Startup Weekend

If you’ve ever participated in a hackathon-like event or even something more globally like Startup Weekend then you already know how enlightening it can really be.

For those that survive that 54-hour or so slugfest of exhaustion and exhilaration it can be a molotov cocktail that provides existing entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts a nail-biting reminder of why they do what they do.

You see, building something out of nothing in a short, concentrated, and intense amount of time is just straight up awesome and it’s why accelerators (and many of in our network) love these types of events.

The recipe is quite simple: You gather passionate and talented people in the same room, incentivize them heavily (while providing ample caffeine-related beverages), and give them room to breathe life into their own creations.

In many ways this is the exact same recipe for many of our accelerators as they, too, concentrate talented people with big dreams and then provide them with room to grow. This is why accelerators should be consistently participating in Startup Weekend-like events that remind us all that people just like us can do incredible things.

I’ll admit, I’m still a bit exhausted from this past weekends sprint as I mentored and judged the first ever Spartanburg Startup Weekend. We had over 40 people participate with 18 pitches that eventually coalesced into 6 teams that ran toward the pitch night that would have the winner take home, among other things, a year free membership to one of our coworking environments.

Besides the obvious fun and excitement of this type of event it was an opportunity for us to observe the natural talent in the area as well as source potential candidates for our Accelerator Program in the same location. We interfaced with passionate entrepreneurs who had the idea, the drive, and the creativity to make it happen, some of whom fit quite well into our acceleration and investment thesis.

It seems to obvious to me now but in hindsight I hadn’t seen it so clearly: Putting together a mini-accelerator event like a hackathon is a relatively-simple and painless endeavor that could source incredible talent for a much larger and longer acceleration program.

Can you say: “Duh?!

My encouragement to you and to all of you who manage, run, and facilitate accelerators is to get involved with one that’s local to you (or start a new one). Partnering with them and creating value for their programs is worth it’s weight in gold and it’ll give you the opportunity to interface with fresh talent that might be worth investing in over a longer period of time.

Stranger things have happened, right? Get to it and hack one together this year.