Startup Weekend: Tech Valley

Startup Weekend.jpg

The next big software idea may come out of Troy this March.

Gamers, web developers, entrepreneurs and people who think they have the next big software idea will converge on the Collar City on the first weekend in March for 54 hours of intense brainstorming, education and competition in the first ever Tech Valley Startup Weekend.

Like TED conferences, Startup Weekends have taken place in cities all over the world, but rather than just discussing ideas, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts form teams, build products and actually launch startups in a weekend long competition. By then end of the weekend teams demo their prototypes, listen to judges' feedback and win prizes.

At the Tech Valley Start Up Weekend there will also be angel investors on-hand, so some of the ideas could get funded.

Six time entrepreneur John Max Miller is one of the people responsible for bringing the Startup Weekend to Troy. The event is slated to take place in GrandSlam Alley, a 10,000 square foot business accelerator he's planning to open on Federal Street in Troy. He hopes it will be a space that game, app and web developers as well as business people can share, work collaboratively and create new products.

Miller moved to Lake George a few years ago after starting companies that do everything from whiten teeth to locate keys at car dealerships. He's a big supporter of the Capital Region, especially Troy.

"Troy and the Tech Valley have a very strong gaming and software initiative that is growing right now," says Miller. He says he's met a lot of great, creative people in the region, but many that don't know where to get help to start a new venture or get a new business off the ground.

The Startup Weekends are competitive, but Miller says everyone gets something out of them. "It's an opportunity for gamers, programmers and designers and business people to come together to conceptualize and then actually put together software products over a weekend. Our hope is that we'll bring together 150 to 200 like minded people who want to see software and games created locally."

What kind of products? "Anything from an iPhone app that someone came up with one morning when they decided they wanted to track the calories they eat in their cereal to an for a game they think millions of people would play."

Miller has been involved in two Startup Weekends in the past. One of his favorite products to come out of them was an app for waiting in line at restaurants. "There was a gaming aspect to it. Instead of giving you a buzzer while you wait, it was done with your phone. While you were waiting you could play a game and you could win a free appetizer and challenge other people at the bar or in the restaurant to play against you."

You don't have to have design experience to get in on the weekend, it's wide open to creative people from all backgrounds. "I don't care if you're a 15 year old soccer player with an idea for an Iphone soccer game that's better than any you've ever seen. If you've got an idea and it's a great one and you're the person to execute it, then we want to see you."

Registration for the weekend is $89 in advance and $99 the weekend of the event. Here's the schedule of events.

Here's more on start up weekends:

Startup Weekend - Full from Eighteen Eighty on Vimeo.


looking forward to this. Hopefully there's a number of great business ideas that come out of this

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