Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Herculean effort: Startup Weekend Nashville

Since publishing our story Monday about voting for 'Startup Weekend Nashville', the pro-Nashville tally has risen 50 percent, and two local techies have disclosed they hope to lead the project: Jason Moore (right), the Nashville-based partner in bigWebApps; and, Nicholas Holland (at left) of CentreSource. They'll need all the help they can get for what is, by all accounts, a herculean undertaking. In separate interviews yesterday, both men confirmed they're tentatively planning to conduct a small-scale beta for the project in August, then hold a full-scale startup generator in October. (The duo seems unphased by the fact that Nashville BarCamp2 is also in October.) Moore, who was apparently first to make contact with the Boulder, Colo., organizers of Startup Weekend, said a key question is whether the Nashville event will be mainly a social-networking gathering in which you "try to push something out by Sunday"...or, a 54-hour enduro that actually produces a sustainable venture. Moore's Atlanta-based partner in bigWebApps, Patrick Clements, participated in Atlanta's successful Startup Weekend, and Clements' experience spurred Moore to start agitating for Nashville. Meanwhile, VNC's contacts with veterans of Memphis and Houston S/W's suggest the event would probably be worthwhile for the communal experience, alone. The big question is whether the work and play would actually produce a startup. In addition, the national coordinator of S/W's has been going through changes in both leadership and model, leaving its goodwill intact, but raising questions about how best to leverage the national group. For our earlier story on Memphis Startup Weekend, click right here.


Josh Tabin said...

Startup Houston was actively involved in Startup Weekend when it was in Houston last year and I agree with Milt that it can be a seminal event in the development of a technology startup community. I know that the process has developed since we were involved which should increase the chance of success for the team involved. However, the real value is not in a launch, but the relationships it builds after 3 straight days working in the trenches with your fellow Nashville brethren.

Nicholas Holland said...

I agree... when we first started investigating, everyone was asking about the legality of "who owns what we create". This appears to be one of the main drivers behind StartupWeekend's new format - they don't promote everyone focusing on 1 idea/startup. They focus on letting different groups do their thing... all while building the community.

From that standpoint, I think we're ready to rock.

And you're right Milt... I WAS unphased by BarCamp2 UNTIL you reminded me it was in October :) Perhaps we'll shoot for November for the main event.


Venture Nashville said...

It's my understanding that Startup Weekend LLC no longer exacts a piece of equity as part of the deal. The next S/W is at Ann Arbor, Mich., I believe and I like what they're saying on their homepage:
AA's the archetype of the American college town, and they have the Business Accelerator to prove it. Milt

Jason Moore said...

I agree that the main goal/spirit of SW is the social aspect and gathering a like minds. This is what originally peaked my interest in bringing it to the Nashville community. My selfish reasons being that I really look for the weekend to be a great place to meet more people in the technology/business community here.

BarCamp2's date is still yet to be determined until a venue is confirmed. The planning committee is aware that we are attempting to bring SW here in the same timeframe.

It is correct that SW no longer has any ownership stake in resulting ventures.

Looking forward to getting more and more conversation going around this topic.


rqualls said...

Let me know if there is anything that the Angel Capital Group can do to help you guys get this going.

Venture Nashville said...

The post above is from Rachael Qualls, head of the Angel Capital Group (, which is also hosting an open session with entrepreneurs presenting to Angels, June 19, 3 p.m., 4th Flr. Conference Rm. in Cummins Station. Milt