Startup Weekend looking for software developers, designers

Startup Weekend, an entrepreneurial-based event running 54 hours from Friday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 11, is still recruiting software developers and graphic designers to assist in creating 15 to 20 Milwaukee-area software companies.

The weekend, part of a worldwide grassroots entrepreneurial movement that held more than 400 startup events in 100 countries in 2011, will provide a collaborative space for developers, designers and entrepreneurs to begin building software-focused companies. According to co-organizer Matt Cordio, who also cofounded Milwaukee-based Skills Pipeline and Startup Milwaukee, the event has sold out of entrepreneur spots. More than 100 people have registered.

Mentors from Milwaukee’s startup community will be on hand throughout the weekend to offer guidance to startup teams.

“The mentors are all experienced entrepreneurs, and they will be providing feedback to the teams and support during the weekend,” Cordio said. “Many of them view it as their way to give back to the community and to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs in Milwaukee.”

Mentors include entrepreneurs from local companies like 7Summits and Spreenkler Creative. 

Mentor Joe Kirgues, who cofounded Gener8tor, an accelerator in Milwaukee and Madison that invests in software and hardware startups, attended Wisconsin’s first Startup Weekend held in Madison earlier this year. Gener8tor sponsored that Startup Weekend and will also be a sponsor of Milwaukee’s version.

Kirgues said Madison’s Startup Weekend was an incredible reflection of what entrepreneurs can accomplish when they work together to put on an event.

With other mentors, he will encourage Milwaukee startup teams to start building and get ideas in locomotion.   

“These (mentors) are people who want to help the next generation,” Kirgues said. “They want to pass it forward, and sometimes it’s difficult to know who to pass it forward to.”

He said Startup Weekend enables entrepreneurs to self-identify and join the broader startup community.

“This should get a lot of momentum going,” Kirgues said.

A panel of judges will evaluate each startup company at the end of the weekend and will award the top three concepts. The winners will have an opportunity to pitch their companies to Gener8tor and will receive small gifts donated by Google. The team in first place will also be awarded incorporation services at a reduced rate from Godrey & Kahn.  

Startup Weekend will be held at Marquette University’s Discovery Learning Complex, 1637 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee.

Registration for the weekend is open to the public. Cost is $99 for community members and $45 for students. Cost includes meals, snacks, parking and resources all weekend. BizTimes Media is serving as a premier sponsor of the event. For more information or to register, visit http://swmke.eventbrite.com/.

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