The Kauffman Foundation is sponsoring Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010 which runs November 15-21. GEW is bookended by two weekends full of Startup Weekend events across the globe. The Startup Weekend teams are also participating in the Global Startup Battle which will reward the winning team with a trip to San Francisco to meet with notable entrepreneurs and a bevy of other prizes.
Twilio wanted to be a part of helping launch these new companies so I embarked on a ‘Super Startup Weekend’ wherein I’ll be visiting Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago Startup Weekends. I’ll be posting a recap of each city as I visit them.
I kicked off my weekend in Detroit and upon arriving could immediately sense the excitement from the attendees. Startup Weekend is spreading like a fire in Michigan with offshoots of the main event in Detroit springing up in other areas of the state like Lansing and Ann Arbor. This weekend’s event is being hosted at TechTown, a technology park that is harboring the next generation of companies that will be integral to the future of Detroit and greater Michigan.
The first few hours of a Startup Weekend are intense. Meeting so many new people with so many new and interesting ideas is really inspiring. My favorite conversation was with a fellow with a background in aerospace engineering with an idea on how to fix fluctuations in demand on the power grid. Despite my prodding to pitch the idea to the group, he decided to save it for a time when he had more than 54 hours to work on it.
I had to leave for my next destination in the middle of the pitches, but you can read a recap of the teams that were formed on the Detroit Startup Weekend site. Next stop, Cleveland.