Startup Weekend London Brings Together UK Tech Entrepreneurs


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Most people look forward to the weekend because they can relax, sleep in and take care of overdue errands.  With that said, there is a growing group of individuals who roll up their sleeves and commit to creating new companies in just 54 hours.  This is being made possible by an organization known as Startup Weekend.  Started in Boulder, Colorado in 2007 with the aim of bringin together passionate entrepreneurs for a weekend still rings true today with success stories including companies like Zaarly, Foodspoting and CloudMine.

SendGrid is a global sponsor of Startup Weekend because we support innovation in the tech community.  We’re happy to share we will be attending Startup Weekend London June 29th – July 1st, 2012 in London!  While the event sold out in a record time of three hours, you can still follow along on the Twitter hashtag #swlondon and check out the site for pre and post event blog posts.

I had the chance to sit down and talk with the organizers of Startup Weekend London, Deborah Rippol and Eric Brotto , while I was in London last week for LeWeb  and ask them a few questions about the recipe for success when it comes to holding these weekend long hackathons.  In addition to being the London organizer, Deborah is also the European Coordinator for Startup Weekend.

The event is kept small, with 100 participants.  This allows attendees to meet each other and form into teams more quickly.  They can then focus on building.  When it comes to ticket distribution, the ticket types break down into 30% developers and 30% designers with the remaining 30% going to business/product development and entrepreneurs.  London does things a bit differently than most Startup Weekend events, reserving 10% of tickets for giveaways through partners and sponsors.

Campus, Google’s initiative in London to provide space dedicated to helping entrepreneurs connect and build community, will again be hosting the event.  The space contains dedicated offices that can be rented by companies as well as desks managed by  Techhub.   There is also a cafe where registered members can gather, enjoying the free wireless in the neighborhood known Silicon Roundabout.

Google’s thinking behind this space, according to their FAQ, is that all companies start somewhere and providing a centralized co-working space in the middle of London’s growing startup community is the right thing to do.  With a Techhub membership for a dedicated desk costing as little as 31£ (or $48) per month and the option to pay per visit with open seating in the Central Working cafe, this space is a reliable alternative to crowded coffee shops and spotty internet access for entrepreneurs.

While not every team will stay together after the weekend, approximately 35% of teams are still working together after three months according to Joey Pomerenke, Startup Weekend’s chief marketing officer.

A local success story from the last London event was Pollarize.me, a social polling app.  The team didn’t know each other before meeting the first time at Startup Weekend London Deborah told me.  In fact, one of the members, Michael Hobson, had won his ticket via a contest held by The Next Web.  Being a designer and illustrator, Michael’s skill set is highly sought after at Startup Weekend events to polish the look and feel of an app once the developers have fleshed out the functionality.  Not only did they come together to build something, the judges selected their team as the winner and they won a spot in the new tech accelerator, Wayra, which is funded and supported by Telefonica.  Make sure to read Michael Hobson’s Startup Weekend story.

If you’re attending, come and find me – I’ll be wearing a SendGrid shirt!

To find the next upcoming event in your city, check out Startup Weekend.

Find out where SendGrid is heading to next via our events page.

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Adria is a developer evangelist at SendGrid. Originally from Minnesota but now living in San Francisco, she attends hackathons, conferences and local meetups showing developers how to leverage the SendGrid API. Adria has been a speaker at SXSW, O'Reilly Web 2.0, BlogHer and is involved in helping women programmers like herself learn to code. Loves bacon, snowboarding and endless Wikipedia surfing.

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