Twilio Kicks Off Nationwide Sponsorship of Startup Weekend

We’re excited to share the announcement that Twilio is now a sponsor for all Startup Weekend events in North America.  Startup Weekend is a combination hackathon and business plan competition.  It is comprised of an intense 54 hours, starting with pitches on Friday night and wrapping up with presentations and live demos on Sunday evening.

Over the past year we’ve been proud to be a part of Startup Weekend as a participant and later as a sponsor, and over 20 Startup Weekend projects have already launched with Twilio integration in cities across the United States.  In addition to announcements here, make sure to check out the Twilio Startup Weekend blog.

Startup Weekend was founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde of TechStars, and is now run by Mark Nager and Clint Nelsen.

The event has already met with success in over 52 cities, 12 countries, and growing! Read more about Startup Weekend here…

What This Means for Startup Weekend Attendees

As part of our sponsorship, participants of Startup Weekend will receive discounts on Twilio’s services if they elect to use Twilio APIs as part of their startup weekend project.  We’ll also be attending events nationwide to share our skills and startup experience.  

Finally, we are launching another Startup Weekend contest for any participants who use Twilio as part of their projects.  The winning team(s) will receive various prizes from Twilio, and more information can be found on our Startup Weekend sponsor page.

Kicking Things Off at Startup Weekend Boulder

We officially got started last weekend at Startup Weekend Boulder, where John Sheehan attended to spread the word about Twilio and also worked on winning team Twelp.me, a Yelp-like service for brands on Twitter.

John’s Reflections on Startup Weekend Boulder

I didn’t know what to expect going into my first Startup Weekend this past weekend in Boulder, CO. What I discovered is a 48-hour startup crash course where developers, designers, entrepreneurs (and those that are both or all three) get together to go from idea to reality in one weekend.

If you’ve never attended before, it goes like this. On Friday the attendees vote on the best pitches, form teams and start brainstorming how to make it happen. Saturday is spent building the startup and, not uncommonly, finalizing the hardest part: naming the product/service/company. Things wrap up on Sunday with a race to the deadline and presentations from the companies that survived the weekend.

I was immediately drawn to an idea pitched by Kipp Chambers. Kipp wanted to find the companies providing the best customer service on Twitter. My first thought was “Yelp for Twitter” so I approached him during team formation and said I wanted to help him build it. Over the weekend our team grew to six: two developers (me and @ornstwitt), two biz dev (@cliffrosell and @tricisco) and two marketing people (Kipp and @corichavez) that doubled as designers. I worked on harvesting tweets and Orn worked on the front-end Twitter integration and UI, while the others did their thing. By Sunday we had a demo-worth prototype and Cliff and Kipp rocked the presentation to the rest of the group.

When it came time for the judging we were fortunate enough to be selected as the winners. Kipp has decided to run with it and is going to be using the prize money and other prizes to further refine the idea and turn our prototype into a working service. I’m excited to see where he takes it next.

Even though our team won, as cliche as it is, there really are no losers. You can’t attend a Startup Weekend and not get something out of it. The very nature of the event forces you out of your comfort zone. You are working with people you’ve never worked with before on something that’s probably never been built before. And somewhere in there, you’ve got to find time to sleep. It’s more than challenging, it’s a rush.