Develop Your Business or Product in Just Over 48 Hours at Venture Weekend
By Colin McEvoy on October 16, 2015
You can do a lot in one weekend. In fact, you can come up with an idea, build a team, develop a business model, and pitch your product to a panel of judges, all in a little over 48 hours.
That’s exactly what will happen at Venture Weekend, an event in which individuals collaborate on teams, challenge other teams, make their ideas into reality, and form long-lasting friendships and connections.
“It’s great to see the teams build their ideas over the weekend, but even better is seeing the impact after the event,” said Tim Lytle, event organizer. “Watching the collaboration continue once the weekend fades away.”
Teams are formed on Friday night around ideas that are pitched in 60 seconds or less. The following day, the teams work on their ventures, which involves perfecting a prototype, validating a market, and determining a revenue model.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, each team presents their idea and everything they’ve accomplished that weekend to a panel of judges, who picks the best Venture. Prizes for the winner have not yet been finalized.
The event centers around the idea that open collaboration is key, that technology isn’t just online, and that creativity, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit are not confined to startups, Lytle said.
“This is the first Venture weekend, but really it’s just the next iteration of the over the weekend startup event LVTech has been organizing for years,” Lytle said. “With this change we’re focusing more on entrepreneurial ideas, on ventures, than just startups.”
Last year’s winner was Code My Class, an app connecting teachers with developers so they can build games, demos, or instructional applications to help teach educational concepts to students.
The team led by Anthony and Jenna Curtis, a husband-and-wife duo from Easton. He works in web and mobile app development, and she is an eighth-grade social studies teacher in the Nazareth Area School District.
“Looking back it’s amazing,” Jenna Curtis said of the weekend. “Over the course of 54 hours, we individually contacted almost 90 teachers, created a prototype site to submit idea, built a brand, product roadmap, and put up a site for people to stay connected to the idea.”
Another previous winner was Skaffl, an iPad app by teacher Rita Chesterton that lets teachers distribute, collect, grade and return their students’ homework. After winning first place in 2012, Chesterton co-founded a company to design and sell the app.
Venture Lehigh Valley stemmed from the successful weekend events that LVTech has organized for years. The group, operated by Lytle, holds monthly LVTech MeetUps, which allow startups, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts in the Lehigh Valley to gather and discuss their projects.
Existing teams are welcome at venture Weekend, and even encouraged, Lytle said. Past participants have ranged from a 14-year-old girl, to people who have run their own startup companies.
“We’ve see quite the range of ideas and participants over the years,” Lytle said. “This time with the shift from a startup only event, we hope to expand that range even more.”
Venture Lehigh Valley is been holding events all week leading up to Venture Weekend. They started on Oct. 12, when Moe Rinkunas, head of entrepreneur development at Dreamit Ventures, discussed how to begin the process of planning and executing a venture.
On Oct. 16, Jeffrey Boerner, project manager for Northampton Community College’s Fab Lab, will host an event called “From Mind to Material,” in which he will discuss the tools available for modern prototyping.
Finally, Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services at Ben Franklin Technology Partners, will host “Success in 60 Seconds,” discussing how to communicate and pitch an idea effectively.
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