Until 2013 Wales had never had the excitement of a Startup Weekend. Now, two years on, Swansea has seen two successful events, 18 teams go through the process, eight companies being formed who are still trading today.
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurs come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups.
The events begin with open mic pitches on the Friday night, where attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN startup methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
Swansea Startup Weekend 2013
November 2013 saw the first ever Welsh Startup Weekend. Held in Swansea's Dylan Thomas Centre, a total of 64 people attended and nine teams were formed on the Friday night with ideas ranging from surfing apps to games to an advertising platform.
The event was a massive success with many of the attendees discovering Startup Weekend for the first time
Swansea Startup Weekend 2013
The highlights of the Swansea Startup Weekend 2013
Over the last two weekends in November there are over 200 Startup Weekends happening all around the world. Each year they compete in a Twitter Hashtag battle during the fortnight and all teams have the opportunity to enter the Global Startup Battle after their weekend event.
For both years, by the Sunday night, Swansea has topped the global top ten in the Hashtag Battle and in 2013 Adlet won the Global Startup Battle in the Women's Circle, receiving mentoring and support from Coca-Cola and a trip to their head office in Atlanta, Georgia.
“It has been a long held ambition of mine, since being part of the London Startup Weekend 2011 winning team, to organise my own Startup Weekend. When in 2013 it became possible to hold one in Swansea I jumped at the chance. To help bring Startup Weekend to a new country and city was amazing.
I have run my own software development agency, Clockwork Bear, for over six years now and spend a lot of time in Schools and universities promoting careers in Technology and entrepreneurship as part of the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Role Model project. Working in a startup company is amazing and I love helping other get involved in technology and startups” Adam Curtis of Clockwork Bear Software Development agency.
Swansea Startup Weekend 2014
After the success of 2013 there was a lot of expectation for Swansea Startup Weekend 2014. The same organisers from 2013 came together again to put the event on and it was held for the second year in the Dylan Thomas Centre.
2014 saw numbers swell to over 75 people and 10 teams form. From the weekend four new companies, Skippr, Innovo, I See and Kaboogle were created and are still going strong.
Skippr was the overall Swansea 2014 Startup Weekend winner, while Innovo, I See and Kaboogle all made it through to the 2014 Global Battle finals for three different categories. Though none of the teams ultimately won a category in 2014 to have such a high number of finalists was amazing.
It is very important to all the organisers to see global recognition for Swansea and South Wales and lead organizer Adam Curtis headed up the drive to see year on year growth in Swansea's representation in the Global Startup Battle.
In the future, Startup Weekend Swansea has ambitions to see more Startup Weekends in Wales. Another Swansea winner of the Global Startup Battle is high on our agenda as well as creating enough demand to hold two Swansea Startup Weekends. To hold a summer event to will allow us to make the most of the beach on the doorstep of the venue.