The agenda for the Philly Startup Weekend 3.0 was intriguing: people pitch, attendees vote, and then everyone joins a team for the weekend. I knew it was going to be intense – each night wrapped up around 11:30 p.m., but I was game for a new adventure and Philly Startup Weekend delivered!The folks ran a spectacularly organized event. Tom Nagle served as the master of ceremonies, with Yuriy Porytko, Brad Olyer, Alli Blum, Chris Baglieri and Melissa Morris Ivone rounding out the organizers team.
When we first arrived, we all were assigned to numbered tables where we got to meet some of the other folks. There was a fun ice breaking exercise where we had to pitch a product based on a nonsense combination of words. Then the real pitches began. About 40 people took their turn to present the concept they were hoping to transform into reality.
Yuriy served as the timekeeper for the pitches – ensuring that people didn’t go over. The team quickly responded when faced with a small challenge – like not enough extension cords for all the laptops – someone headed to the store and bought some. It was the organizers’ attention to detail that kept the event running smoothly.
After the pitches, folks went around and placed stickies on their top three picks – and based on that voting, Philly Startup Weekend had 18 teams! The attendees took time to speak to the different team leads, to find out more about the project, and to see if their skill set would benefit the team. Then the groups grabbed a table, and got to work.
I decided I wanted to be part of the StagFund.co team. Our project would plan and facilitate funding for Bachelor Parties. I didn’t know at first that I was on a team with Startup Weekend veterans. Ted Mann, our team lead, was on the winning team last year. Brad Oyler – well, he was also working with the rest of the Philly Startup organizers to keep things on track. Jake Wells, Brendan Harney and Kyle Martin rounded out our team doing market research, and design.
My role was project manager, and I also called potential business partners, created mockups, and stamped. Research was a blast – but my only concern was that I would forever be inundated with ads for strip clubs since I had been contributing to our target acquisition strategy. Fortunately, I think Google knows it was just a fling.
Sunday night we all grabbed our chairs and made our way back to the main room to hear the team pitches. Austin Neudecker, Chris Fralic, Wayne Kimmel and Alan Greenberger graciously served as the judges.SeedPhilly and SendGrid provided the beer and Lokalty sourced the tasty food throughout the weekend. A big shout out to the organizations that made our meals:
- University of the Arts
- Breakfast from Cake and the Beanstalk
- Sandwiches/Pasta from Enzo’s
- Pizza from Powelton Pizza
- Burritos from Mexico on the Square
I loved how the event was a blend of tech and design – the posters and nametags were beautiful, and on the last night, I picked up my t-shirt that I’ll proudly wear. The vibe throughout the weekend was a mix of elated, serious, punchy, but always friendly.People made new connections and we’re still keeping in touch. I can’t wait to see the progress the teams make over the coming months. If you’re looking for a chance to transform your product, portfolio or career – check out Philly Startup Weekend!
Recap written by Diane Cooney.
Diane is a consultant specializing in change management and technical communications. She is the Principal of Perceive Media Group. She has an MBA from Villanova University, and a BA in Biology and English from Immaculata University. She’s currently working on her thesis as part of a MA, Communications, also at Villanova. Her writing experience includes corporate communications, public relations and freelance writing for magazines.