Startup Weekend NEXT comes to Lincoln to bridge gap in community - Omaha.com
Published Monday, February 3, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 2:16 pm
Startup Weekend NEXT comes to Lincoln to bridge gap in community

Lincoln has hosted a Startup Weekend. It also has an accelerator. But been nothing in between—until now.

Startup Weekend NEXT, a five-week program for entrepreneurs in between the steps of say a Startup Weekend and being prepared to apply to an accelerator, hopes to bridge a gap in the community.

The curriculum covers customer discovery, finding a market, funding, pitching and delivery. 

The classes begin in March and will be held from from 6-9 p.m. on Monday evenings. The program will be held at Catalyst in the Railyard at Seventh and Q streets.

The program costs between $200-$300 and five to eight teams will be accepted through an application process.

NMotion director Brian Ardinger, who also is the program's coordinator, said NEXT will prepare entrepreneurs for pitching or applying to accelerators.

"It will help validate ideas and learn lean startup methodology," he said. "It's learn by doing." 

This is the second NEXT program to be held in the Silicon Prairie—Kansas City also is participating. More than three dozen cities around the world are participating in NEXT programs and winners from each will be eligible to compete in a pitch off in San Francisco.

The intention of NEXT is to give early stage startups a platform to catapult their businesses forward, said Adam Haun, regional manager for UP Global, which runs Startup Weekend NEXT.

"A lot of startups are turned away from accelerators, NEXT improves the likelihood of them getting accepted, due to our focus on customer discovery, which in most cases, if not all, is the number one thing accelerators look for in startups," he said.

Mentors for the Lincoln program include Joseph Knecht, partner at i2rd and managing director at Vipa Solutions; Sourabh Chakraborty of HIVE UNL; Jill Thayer Liliedahl, marketing at Nelnet; and Terence Bowden, business accelerator director at Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Teams will learn how to focus on validating a problem and customer segment through continuous customer discovery, better understand the process of using customer development to find a product/market fit. Then there are classes on funding, pitching and going to market.

Haun said the layout of the curriculum is an advantage to the program

"It's 5 weeks long, 3 hours a week... This enables people to discover their customers without working on their startup full-time or without a co-founder," Haun said. "So in a way, it's a somewhat secure route to go down building your startup.

"You can do it without a co-founder, and you don't have to quit your job/income to pursue it."

Teams will have about 25 hours of outside homework, and will receive weekly coaching and feedback from mentors while growing a network of experts and other founders, according to the website.

Teams interested in participating in Startup Weekend NEXT, apply online

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