Learn how to start your own business, all in one weekend!
Every spring, Madison Startup Weekend descends on University Research Park for 54 straight hours. Learn what it takes to get an idea off the ground from serial entrepreneurs in a fun, off-kilter race against the clock!
Attendees will have the chance to pitch a product or service idea Friday night (pitching is NOT required). Teams will organically form around the most creative and strongest pitches, and then folks will rush to get a working vision crafted in just a few days for final presentations Sunday night. The team with the best presentation wins!
Milwaukee's Mobcraft formed at a past Madison Startup Weekend (MSW), and Madison's Doyenne Group and Open Homes were also influenced by MSW events, just to name a few. Designers, accountants, ironworkers, entrepreneurs, gardeners, tech folks, students, you name it - everyone has something to offer!
100%! Multiple members of the organizing team have dietary restrictions, and we make a concerted effort to ensure there's food available for everyone. We label all mealtime food with relevant information (animal products, dairy, nuts, gluten-free, etc.), and have a wide variety of snacks available throughout the weekend.
If you have a more specific dietary need (such as halal, kosher, or an allergy), please let us know ahead of time so we can make accommodations for you. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns!
(If you actually only eat candy, we will, in fact, have you covered - but we strongly recommend you rethink this life choice. 🤔)
We highly encourage attendees to consider pitching an idea for a product or service, but if that's just not your thing, that's totally fine.
Even if you do pitch, your idea might not be selected, and that's OK, too! There are always more good ideas pitched than are able to advance, but no matter what team you join, you'll learn a ton (and have fun doing it).
You can learn more about the pitch process here.
We do! And we take it very seriously. At Startup Weekend Madison, we prioritize marginalized people's safety over privileged people's comfort. You can view the entire CoC here; all participants must agree to to abide by it before purchasing their ticket, and we review its contents each day during the event.
Your ticket includes meals all weekend and copious amounts of snacks - and we're talking good food, like curry, Mediterranean buffet and a taco bar. We also provide high-quality, ethically sourced T-shirts (available in fitted and straight-cut styles), and are looking to add water bottles to the mix this year, as well!
Additionally, we have a slew of amazing mentors, speakers and judges lined up, including Mary Burke, Kara Bubb, Rasheid Atlas and Alex Lindenmeyer, just to name a few; learn more!
Each person (or a representative, if you're part of a pre-formed group) gets 30 seconds to stand in front of everyone and pitch their idea - basically, drum up interest for your product or service.
All the ideas are then taped to the wall, and attendees vote on their favorite ideas. Each person gets three votes, and you can put them all on one idea, spread them out among two or three ideas, vote all for you own idea ... it's totally up to you!
After pitching phase is finished, all the ideas are then taped to the wall, and attendees vote on their favorite ideas. Each person gets three votes, and you can put them all on one idea, spread them out among two or three ideas, vote all for you own idea ... it's totally up to you!
We'll announce the top five to eight vote-getters (depending on final attendance numbers, number of ties, etc.), and then everyone gets a few minutes to chat with the pitch-ers to figure out where they might best fit.
Once teams are settled, it's go time! You have the rest of Friday night, all day Saturday and most of Sunday to put your heads down and come up with promomtional angles, a prototype, do some user testing, etc. (We provide a ton of materials to guide you throughout the weekend.)
Mentors from a variety of backgrounds will be available Saturday to answer any questions, share their expertise and experience, and help nudge folks in the right direction.
On Sunday evening, each team will present on their business to a panel of judges, who will critique presentations according to specific criteria (which is shared with teams at the beginning of the weekend).
The judges will vote on each team, and the team with the most votes wins!
Prizes to be distributed among the top teams include:
You heard right!
The top teams (as determined by the judges during Sunday's final presentations) will each receive prizes to help them further their entrepreneurial journeys. Prizes to be awarded to the various teams include: