Self-starters gear up for Startup Weekend in Dublin

6 Jun 2013

Stu Fergus and Floriana Pelagi, two of the organisers of Dublin Startup Weekend, pictured with some of the Google volunteers who will be helping out during the weekend

Aspiring entrepreneurs will be teaming up with designers, marketers and coders at Google’s Dublin offices this weekend for a 54-hour brainstorming session called Startup Weekend to pool their ideas for potential new start-ups.

Since the grassroots movement was founded in Seattle in 2007, hundreds of Startup Weekends have been hosted in cities around the globe. Just this past March, a Startup Weekend was held in Cork.

The aim is to get an eclectic mix of attendees, ranging from those with a technical or design background to people with a business background, to share their ideas, form teams and work on new start-ups for 54 hours.

Dublin Startup Weekend will take place in Google’s EMEA headquarters on Barrow Street, and over 100 people have already signed up for the event, according to Stu Fergus, one of the organisers.

Fergus, who works at Google in Dublin, has organised the weekend along with Floriana Pelagi, Keith Reid, Brian Daly and Russell Banks.

“We still have a few tickets left for designers and developers,” explains Fergus. He was one of the attendees at last year’s Startup Weekend in Dublin.

“We were happy to pass the 100-attendee mark last week and to get the word out there to more designers. The non-technical tickets went very quickly,” he says.

Forming start-ups

As for the Startup Weekend schedule, on Friday evening people will be invited to give a 60-second pitch of their ideas.

Based on these pitches, the other attendees will vote for their favourite start-up ideas.

“Out of the 40 ideas that were pitched last year, 14 teams were formed. We will probably will looking at the same number of teams this year,” says Fergus.

Ideally, the goal is to have a good mix of designers, coders and business minds on each team.

On Saturday, 19 mentors will come in to Google to work with the teams and pitch in with advice. Such mentors will include game developer Andrea Magnorsky, co-founder of BatCat Games; Mark Kearns from the NDRC; and Karl Aherne from Wayra Ireland.

“We will also have a couple of pitching workshops on the Saturday to give the team leads a chance to do a dry run of their presentation,” explains Fergus.

On Sunday, the teams will be putting the finishing touches to their presentations before they make their pitches to a judging panel that evening

The five judges will be Paddy Cosgrave, founder of the Dublin Web Summit; Barry O’Sullivan, senior vice-president at Cisco and investor on Dragons’ Den; Barry O’Neill, CEO, StoryToys; Eamon Leonard, vice-president of engineering at Engine Yard; and Gene Murphy, founder, Redeem & Get.

“We will have a first, second and third prize as well as a special prize for the most innovative idea and the best actual presentation,” adds Fergus.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic