Where founders can come up for air and get the moral support they need to slog on
Next Monday (June 19th) kicks off Maine Startup & Create Week. This week of events, networking and workshops brings together all the entrepreneurs and innovators of New England. Our own Sam Mateosian helped dream up this event years ago, and we're excited to have a chance to be so involved this year.
As software developers who support tech startup founders we build MVPs (minimum viable products) and full-feature applications, so we know the struggle of the entrepreneur. We work side-by-side for years with our startup partners as their technology has evolved and grown to achieve success. This has given us a unique perspective on this niche of the startup world. Our Catalyst Program was designed to support the startup community and fill the gap we saw between technical founders who could easily bring their idea to market, and non-technical founders with strong business ideas but who might lack the technical knowledge needed to pitch, build and test a technical product.
Did we mention we also have our own startup - Yarn Corporation, that is in the process of fundraising right now? So, yeah. We are looking forward to commiserating and sharing lessons learned.
Thanks to Jess and the MSCW team for putting this crazy event together.
Here are a few of the workshops and events the Big Room team will be hosting:
Virtual Reality Demo - ART, SEEN
Happening all week (Maine College of Art, ICA)
Inside the Virtual Experiences of Art, Music, and Design in the Real Portland Maine. You may feel like you know Portland, ME - but this virtual reality experience let's you see downtown Portland in a way you never have before.
Workshop: Zero to One Hundred: Find your First (and Most Loyal) Customers (hosted by Emily Straubel)
Tuesday June 20th @ 10:45am
With limited budgets and short runways, early-stage startups need to focus on rapid user growth in order to become profitable and win over investors. The first 100 customers are the most valuable and the hardest to get.
Most general marketing recommendations focus on leveraging brand recognition and growing small audiences. But new startups can’t rely on the same tactics. Finding your first customers and convincing them to try something new requires a completely different set of strategies.
We will look at the best ways to grow an audience and how to turn skeptics and ambivalent followers into the loyal brand ambassadors that will set your product up for growth and scalability. This will be an interactive workshop that directly approaches the problems attendees are facing and will look at specific examples of how successful startups have gained early traction.
The same tactics that startups use for early growth can be used for businesses who are pivoting, or who may have a large, but lackluster audience.
Attendees will leave this workshop with a list of tactics that are unique to their business and brand. They will also start to build a list of the assets they’ll need to define or create in order to start growing their brand and increasing loyalty with fans.
Wednesday June 21st @ 8pm
Our 4th Annual shindig where startup founders can get together and share war stories and drink great beer. Where the Maine startup community can celebrate the entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and extrapreneurs who make Maine the best place to build cool stuff.
We'll have beer on tap and some light snacks for those with the munchies. There will be VR gear available to try, if you're curious, although we suggest avoiding VR after a few beers. Just trust us on this...
Please RSVP early, we've got limited space.
See you there.
Workshop: Minimum Viable Product 101 for Non-Technical Startup Founders (hosted by Max Felker - Developer)
Friday June 23rd @ 10:45am
Most new business ventures involve an app, website or new technology component. And while you don’t need to be a developer to launch a startup, you do need to know how to make smart tech decisions. Understanding the different platforms, languages, and options around your first prototype, or MVP (minimum viable product) can help you save money, time and could potentially even save your business from falling apart.
In this workshop, we will walk non-technical founders through the process of building an MVP or prototype of an app. We’ll educate them on the steps of the process and help them start to answer some of the important questions that will influence the success of any technology project.
Attendees will leave the workshop with a step-by-step understanding of what is involved with building a successful MVP for their business, along with a list of the most important questions they need to be exploring before beginning their development process. We’ll present a timeline of options to help attendees understand where they are in the development process and what the next steps are for their unique business.