Startup Weekend–the sleepless challenge events that aim to launch companies in one weekend– is often more meaningful outside of known startup hubs than it is within them. Yes, there are Startup Weekends happening just about every Saturday and Sunday somewhere around Silicon Valley. And yes, New York and Boston startup weekend consistently sell out. But those events basically run themselves. It’s why I rarely hear about Startup Weekend above the noise in New York, but can’t get away from it the minute I leave the city. The more interesting events are outside Silicon Valley/Alley, which is why the non-profit organization has turned up its development efforts there.
This year Startup Weekends–which sometimes lead to the creation of real companies, and often the creation of strong networks–have grown to support chapters in 330 cities in 100 countries.
In November, the organization will unite all of those chapters for a global battle between 1200 teams around the world. The event will be twice as big as it was last year. There are a few other differences in this year’s competition:
Rather than let use online voting to determine the winner, Startup Weekend will have a panel of VCs choose from the top 15 entries, as voted online. The prizes are significantly more impressive, too.
Winners receive a trip to Rio de Janeiro for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress conference, a round of meetings with Google-related PRs, mentors and investors, a PR package from Geben Communications, design services, a legal and incorporation package from Cooley LLP, and $20,000 worth of Google Cloud Credit.
The event takes place from November 9 to 11 and 16 to 18.
Last year a Hong Kong-based company called Aftership won the global battle with its e-commerce order tracking service. The company went on to raise a small seed round of funding from Australian form Business Switch.
The competition happens in conjunction with “Global Entrepreneurship Week,” an weeklong activity-event-competition-fest for entreprenuers in 123 countries with 24,000 partner organizations participating. It is supported by the Kauffman Foundation.
Startup Weekend has grown exponentially in emerging markets. With 75 percent of its events now happening outside of the US, the non-profit is finding Startup Weekends have bigger impacts in smaller ecosystems. Events in Egypt have sold out within minutes. This year 25 Startup Weekends have happened in Africa; the organization plans to double that next year.