Greg Gottesman at Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend, the Seattle-based non profit which coordinates 54-hour startup marathons at locations across the globe, has formed a new board with leading venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and execs from the Kauffman Foundation.

New members include Carl Schramm, CEO of The Kauffman Foundation;  Steve Blank, an entrepreneur and professor at Stanford and Berkeley;  Greg Gottesman, managing director at Madrona Venture Group and a frequent Startup Weekend participant; Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars and managing director Foundry Group; Laura McKnight, President & CEO of the Great Kansas City Community Foundation; and Nick Seguin, manager of entrepreneurship at The Kauffman Foundation.

Startup Weekend organizers Marc Nager and Jennifer Cabala

“A couple of years ago we were just 3 guys in a condo trying to make rent pursuing an audacious dream, and these were the people we dreamed of just talking to,” said Startup Weekend’s Marc Nager. “It’s been an incredible journey so far. We’ve got an incredible team, passionate and ready to make the next steps, and  I couldn’t imagine a more accomplished team to help us continue to discover and achieve our amazing potential.”

The organization also is sharing additional details about the Startup Foundation, which is a new community-based program supported by the Kauffman Foundation and designed to support entrepreneurship. We first wrote about the Startup Foundation — which is researching and mapping the startup ecosystems in eight cities — last month.

To date, Startup Weekend has hosted 295 events with more than 2,450 startups created. The organization has become truly global, with upcoming events planned for Tunisia, Slovakia, Brazil and other locales.

A Startup Weekend with an education focus will take place in Seattle at the University of Washington this weekend, with venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and entrepreneur Mitch Kapor serving as guest speakers.

Editor’s note: GeekWire is a media sponsor of Startup Weekend EDU in Seattle.

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  • Maya Bisineer

    Congrats @startupweekend team! Yay @greggottesman – having been with Greg at a Startupweekend, I know he is a true cheerleader.

  • Ray Burt

    How many startups have succeeded (eg. exited) from previous Startup Weekends?  

    • Anonymous

      Hey Ray. I can’t speak for Startup Weekend but full disclosure, am a community advisor for the organization. Working with entrepreneurs for years (and now joining their ranks), it’s safe to say creating a successful company isn’t an overnight (or even a weekend-long) phenomenon.  It’s a marathan, and to say otherwise would be an insult to hard-working Ramen-eating entrepreneurs everywhere.   

      Listening to their major funder (the Kauffman Foundation) at an organizers’ meeting in Kansas City last year, and seeing the energy at these events, here’s my take.  These crazy intense weekends ignite a spark in potential entrepreneurs, catalyze relationships, and help folks get over that “analysis paralysis” that can be an occupational hazard of perfectionist types. 

      If it scares off the faint of heart, great (better now than when they quit their day job or drop out of school). But if Startup Weekend can unlock potential and spur tomorrow’s entrepreneurs into action, awesome!  If some newly-formed companies survive the weekend and the grueling months beyond, icing on the cake.  I’ll let the real experts answer your direct question, but I have different metrics for success.  

      • Nick White


    • marcnager

      Hey Ray, it’s not unusual for people to look at SW and determine that our measure for success should be the number of successful ventures that come from the weekend; however, it is not. Startup Weekend is a model of experiential education. It is a simulation of most elements of launching a company, but it just so happens that many successful firms have come out of the events.

      Startup Weekend is and always will be about educating entrepreneurs. If we were just about creating companies, we’d be a for profit company taking equity stakes in the resulting teams which we don’t do (we’re a 501c3). It is an incredible model that pulls together individuals spanning the entire ecosystem, from the most accomplished veterans, largest VCs, most senior engineers, or ambitious college students. There is no better way to learn how to start a company than to build a diverse team around real world problems that each of them is passionate about.

      I encourage you to join us for an event and you’ll know what I mean. :)

  • ‘Red’ Russak

    More good news for team SW. Congrats guys! Cool idea: Get the board members to form their own team and see what they come up with ;)

  • Anonymous

    Congrats guys! Keep fighting the good fight.

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