Startup Weekend is gearing up for its return to Santa Barbara on Nov. 15-17.
The event is a three-day creative sprint that brings together technical experts, designers and business minds to create a company idea over a weekend. The idea took off with support from the Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft and Google, with local groups organizing events in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo.
This year’s Santa Barbara event hosts a roster of successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists as speakers and judges. Speaking will be bestselling author Patrick Vlaskovits and Kevin O’Connor, founder of Summerland-based FindTheBest and before that a co-founder of DoubleClick, which is now part of Google. Among the judges will be Klaus Schauser, the founder of what is now Citrix Online in Goleta, and Jon Funk of Ocean Road Partners and Matthew McCall of New World Ventures, among others.
Lead organizer Kyle Ashby said securing some venture capitalists for the judging panel was an big win this year. That’s important because Startup Weekends in the region have spun off several operating businesses and helped the team members at others meet one another. San Luis Obispo-based Grappple, for example, was sold to Google after launching at a Startup Weekend. Several key team members at mobile stock photography Snapwire in Santa Barbara met one of the events.
Ashby said another key improvement this year is the invitation of several 3-D printing companies and electronics experts to encourage more companies focused on creating tangible products rather than software-based companies.
“We’re trying to get a bunch of makers in the room to do something new,” Ashby said. “With 3-D business and the interest in hard products at the last few StartupSB events, we think it’s a great thing to do, and there are people here who are good at it.”
The event will be held at several locations, and the opening and closing nights are open to the public. For more information, visit www.startupweekendsb.com.