(Photo by Michelai Graham)
This year’s third annual event series for startups brought out more than 5, 000 attendees, according to organizers. There were more than 120 sessions with over 220 speakers that sat on panels hosted throughout the DMV, all in a week’s work. Before DC Startup Week began, Techstars Startup Weekend in partnership with Grow with Google kicked off where more than 100 people attended to take part in the 54-hour entrepreneurial competition. The event took place Sept. 21–23 at WeWork in Washington, D.C.
Of the 51 ideas pitched, only nine made the cut to present to a panel of judges on the final day, and only three came out on top:
- First place: Wally, a gardening coaching app that helps first time homeowners
- Second place: Mommy’s Helper, a go-to service for new moms who need more help
- Third place: Sage-it, a peer-to-peer tutoring service that showcases its students talents
Wally took home $3,000 in Google Cloud credits, a one-hour remote mentoring session with Google, and WeWork hot desk credits. All of the winnings teams received an Ambar Restaurant gift card.
Strangers to co-creators to friends – all in a span of 54 hours. Thank you to @sw_dc & @AccelwithGoogle for hosting an incredible weekend by bringing together a special group of passionate, curious individuals who were willing to navigate the messy process of launching a start-up pic.twitter.com/mFQeLG14Wh
— Sarah Mobin (@smobin) September 24, 2018
Some fun facts about the competing teams:
- All teams were lead by women founders
- Gallaudet University’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation partnered with the event to handle interpreter logistics
- Some participants traveled from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago to participate
Here’s a recap of some of the week’s events that we think you should know about:
This panel discussion was led by Adam Mutschler, founder and CEO of podcast The Founder’s Mind at 1776. Mutschler opened the discussion saying the talk will focus on scaling from founder to any executive position. He discussed how to scale yourself up by focusing on what he called “little habits” in your company like slowing down to focus properly, taking in all feedback from your coworkers and constant communication.
“An organization is a network of conversations,” Mutschler said during the discussion.
Mutschler hosts The Founder’s Mind podcast to expand on the topics he discussed at the event.
Naveem Nigam, Google’s North American head of developer relations, led this talk. He discussed Google’s products, services and strategies when it comes to artificial intelligence. Some key takeaways from his discussion:
- Make products accessible to all
- Invest in making champions of your own mission
- Three key principles: focus on the user, 10 percent on thinking and give freedom to innovate
This panel featured local journalists discussing their own experiences covering startups and #dctech. The panel was moderated by Tara Silver of SilverStrategy and joined by yours truly, Technical.ly DC Market Editor Michelai Graham, DC Inno’s Kieran McQuilkin and Rob Pegoraro, contributor and columnist at Yahoo Tech and USA Today.
Graham and McQuilkin are fresh to their positions so they touched on things they’ve noticed when startups communicate with the media and how they can improve. McQuilkin stressed the importance of timing and when it’s appropriate to share pitches and press releases. I focused on discussing the importance of emails and how the subject line should read like the headline of an article.
— SilverStrategy (@SilverStrategy) September 27, 2018
Technically Media CEO Christopher Wink moderated this discussion about workforce development and what #dctech companies are doing differently in the hiring process to better equip their teams.
The panelists were:
- Paul Klein, Chief of Staff at Hatch Apps
- Matt Lozada, Senior Executive at Pype.io
- Mawulom Nenonene, Talent Leader and Diversity and Inclusion Advocate at Nava
- Lori Leadingham, Chief of Staff at GSP Financial
“Be realistic with your team- know the skills they have and the skills they don’t have” GSP Chief of Staff on DC Hiring @DCstartupweek @TechnicallyDC #dcstartupweek #dcsw18 #startups #hiring #dctech #startup #dcstartup pic.twitter.com/PZ1FbhJMNU
— GSPFA (@gspfa) September 27, 2018
Each panelists discussed their roles in the hiring process. In an interview with Technical.ly DC, Navaa’s Nenonene said, “Our values guide the way we approach our work, help us ask the right questions, and ultimately help us serve the public,” and that he focuses on these qualities when interviewing a candidate:
- Subject matter competency
Some events were live-streamed on the DC Startup Week Facebook page. More videos can be found here.
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