Last Thursday, HQ Raleigh and Forward Impact hosted the first ever regional Datapalooza, a demo-day-like event showcasing three startups and projects that have emerged since the NC Datajam this April. There have been other similar Datapaloozas across the country, but this marked the first utilizing open government data sourced from the city, county and state level.
The open data movement is fueled by governments releasing the mountains of data it generates in the form of useable datasets and APIs that can then be monetized by entrepreneurs. Once the datasets are released, the government entity gets out of the way and lets the innovation happen. The results can be ventures that impact our daily lives like The Weather Channel (utilizing GPS data) or PlotWatt, a local startup that helps manage energy consumption.
The truly exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs is that the open data movement is still in its infancy and we're only starting to realize the potential to have a positive citizen and monetary impact by utilizing government data.
Competition Fuels Entrepreneurs After a half day of brainstorming at the Datajam in April, various teams emerged and three were selected to participate in a 30-day accelerator, leading up to Datapalooza. The three teams were: --Read On
Beyond being a regular contributor to ExitEvent, Mital Patel is the lead organizer and facilitator of Triangle Startup Weekend (a volunteer position). His day job is as a startup attorney in Raleigh.
On Friday, July 12, the Triangle's newest entrepreneurial coworking space, American Underground @ Main St, will be packed and buzzing with the energy of 150+ of the Triangle's veteran and new entrepreneurs.
The 6th Triangle Startup Weekend (TSW) will have VCs, angels, entrepreneurs with multiple successful exits under their belts, college students, first time entrepreneurs, and even some teenagers just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey. There's literally a place and need for everyone at Triangle Startup Weekend, whether you've been there and done that or are just curious and looking for a unique weekend experience.
No Talk. All Action.
What makes Triangle Startup Weekend different than meetups, conferences, and most other startup events is that the emphasis is on doing rather than talking. Sure, there's value in ideating, brainstorming, and strategizing, but with the pressure of a 54 hour deadline, participants rightfully place their emphasis on what matters most: Executing.
On Friday night, participants each have (but aren't required to use) 60 seconds to pitch their startup idea. Attendees vote and teams will form based on which ideas attendees want to see come to life. Some teams will maximize their time, hit the ground running, and work late into Friday night. Others will opt for a good night's sleep and head home.
On Saturday, the teams are aided by a who's who cast of coaches (mostly successful entrepreneurs) to help guide their work. There's plenty of food (including food trucks!) and caffeine to fuel the hard work participants put into their businesses.
For the past 4 years, I have considered myself extraordinarily fortunate to have been involved as an organizer/facilitator of Triangle Startup Weekend and regional champion with Startup America, helping to launch Startup NC.
These are all completely voluntary and unpaid roles, but I've always worked on the premise that the Triangle's involvement in these programs is mandatory -- in the sense that, we'd be missing out, leaving a lot on the table and it'd be just plain silly not to participate, engage and play a role as the leader that we are as a region.
Internationally, Startup Weekend has impacted over 100,000 entrepreneurs in the 4 years since it became a nonprofit. In about two short years, Startup America has launched local regions in 32 states. The two organizations have combined to form UP Global, an umbrella organization that will serve as a platform for entrepreneurial programs spanning the entire spectrum.
Guiding and advising the new UP Global organization is a who's who of entrepreneurship. Up Global's board members and advisors include Steve Case, Steve Blank, Brad Feld, Reid Hoffman, Michael Dell, Magic Johnson, and Tory Burch. Up Global will be supported in part by The Kauffman Foundation, the Case Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, Microsoft and The Coca-Cola Company. --Read On