Techstars startupweekend Maldives – The first of Many (hopefully)

It’s been a while since i’ve updated the blog, life happened.. andits been a week since we held the first startupweekend here in Maldives, (27th to 29th Oct 2017) that experience has been enough for me to dust off the old blog and put some of the thoughts i’ve been having about the event and the startup culture here in Maldives on metaphorical paper here!

Being part of the organising team has been an insane experience, even though Techstars provides a ton of reference materials, checklists and other support, this has been a learning experience personally, draining but hugely rewarding, and we couldn’t have done without the amazing team we had, some of them i met for the first time, others i have known for a while. All of them committed to making this happen, giving their time and effort out of passion for starting and developing a startup culture here in Maldives. Thank you guys, it has been a wonderful ride.

Our team minus Niushad and the amazing facilitator Anurag from Techstars 

I was involved in running a number of similar-ish events before, couple of hackathons, by kickstart , other community talks, and events. I have to admit I came into this with some assumptions / reservations / worries / concerns about the event. I’m glad to be proven wrong… i’ll list down just 3….


Assumption 1 – The right people might not show up!

Considering the events held previously, and the questions we got pre-event, i was wondering if people would come for the experience that is startupweekend or for the prizes, the organising team along with guidance from our facilitator anurag decided not to publish any prizes before the event.. surprisingly, we sold out all our seats regardless, people were interested, they were just unaware of how it worked.

Assumption 2 – Most participants won’t pitch the 60 second pitch!

So glad i was wrong about this, it was incredible to see the participants line up immediately. i think all of the organizers were pleasantly surprised by the response. the guys just rocked the pitch, 41 ideas in total for the first one out of 50+ participants is just an amazing ratio.

Assumption 3 – Mentors wont have the time!

The mentors were absolute stars! We brought in experts in multiple fields who are really super busy, but they set aside everything and spent a huge chunk of the time with the participants, some even flew in! the participants soaked up their expertise and it could be seen in their change of conversations and approaches to problems from day one to day three.  We couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of mentors.

So the big question is, did we make a difference? i think we did. The conversations with the participants post event most are committed to try to make their idea a reality some are already in talks with potential investors, they loved the event in general and want more of it. Some talked about how it altered their thinking towards a more all encompassing approach towards starting up something.

We’ve already met with some participants who want to help organize more startupweekends here in Maldives and thats encouraging,

The road to building a proper startup culture wont pave itself in one weekend, its a concept thats new here and will take a lot of time and effort,  but this has been one time i think i’ve genuinely believed that theres hope for such a culture.

Looking forward to being involved in a bunch more of these events!! Till next time.. this has been Fun!