54H to lauch a startup? The startup weekend challenge

What is a Startup weekend ? This event for which people are willing to sacrifice an entire weekend. Well, from Friday to Sunday, the participants work tirelessly to realize their entrepreneurship project. Each team has the chance of being in contact with a facilitator and coaches who guide them during their 54 hour adventure. In the end, the team that convinces the jury in terms of their project’s viability wins a prize !

No time to lose !

After a pretty calm Friday, the teams begin very early Saturday morning. First step : set up a business plan and a value proposition that will be the basis of their project the whole weekend long. For most people, this is their first experience building a startup, but they can count on the coaches that are here to challenge them and make sure the right questions are asked at the right moment. They also allow the teams to verify if their project is actually realistic and viable. If it isn’t the case, they need to come up with an updated idea, which happens quite often to be honest.

Failure is totally cool, as soon as you learn something from it ! -Sean Paul-

One of the weekend’s many assets is its coaches : Raphaël Lutz, Julien Lepetit, Miguel Delecourt, Réginald Bien-Aimé, Amilcar Gomes and Max-André Haas.  One law specialist, several marketing and communication experts, all whom have experience in the process of start-up creation. These coaches bring to the table their skills and expertise which they developed by passion. For example, one of the coaches who is competent in the domain of restoration, enabled one of the teams to develop their own idea. Thus, all are given the tools to build their ideas with their own minds.

The rest of the weekend is dedicated to taking the business plan and its value proposition from theory to practice. Each team has to perfectly know its needs. Create an app ? Maybe a website ? Will the product be tangible ? In any case, the one problem that concerns everyone is time. The participants are not used to working on something in a such brief time lapse…

Nonetheless, all projects were finished in time and the quality of the different start-up ideas puts the judges in a delicate situation. They couldn’t settle on a single winner! So, they decided to award prizes to three teams and not only one. This was possible thanks to Genilem and MassChallenge, two companies who propose adapted coaching to specific situations threw out a startup accelerator program. Genilem offered three months of coaching to two of the teams and MassChallenge allowed the third to pass the first stage of their program’s selection.

Do not fall in love with your first idea. -Sean Paul-


Sean Paul, weekend facilitator

First winner : LiveHero. Their idea is to bring athletes closer to their fans by facilitating their interactions. A member of the team who is a semi-professional cross country skier recognized a great appeal for such a platform. They also attracted a potential investor which is pretty exceptional!

Another winner is Armati. They developed a platform that optimises student-professor exchanges on university forums. They found out that the existing ones weren’t adapted to today’s need of such a platform. The main strength of their project is that they were able to elaborate a functionality, enabling companies to also use these forums, in exchange for a certain amount, in order to find solutions to their problems.

Last but not least, the final winner is OurDate. Their goal : propose a solution to couples who want to spice up their relation after several years of marriage. They organize dates that are held secret until the last second… By the end of the weekend, OurDate had already found two potential clients !

In conclusion, let’s salute the incredible organisation of this event by the Start Lausanne association. An idea in mind ? Then don’t wait and sign up for the next Startup weekend ! These events are organized all over the world, so find the one nearest to you as fast as you can and begin the adventure !

Rayan Hamam

Translated by William Ery

Last modified: 31 août 2020

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