Lessons to build a startup after a Techstars Startup Weekend ends

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Over the course of the last weekend, we saw the latest iteration of Startup Weekend in Sri Lanka. This was Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka, where we saw five startup ideas were born. However, a Techstars Startup Weekend is merely a starting point. So what’s the next step to build a successful startup? We asked that question from some of the mentors. Here’s what we learned from them.

Validating startup ideas from actual customers

Over the course of the weekend, many of participants had only validated their ideas amongst their fellow participants. As such, Tharindu Dassanayake – Founder of SquareMobile and ShoutOUT Labs shared that the teams need to validate their ideas further. He stated that it was important that the teams speak to their initial customers and work on their MVP.

Tharindu Dassanayaka mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka
Tharindu Dassanayaka mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka

But he shared that mere online surveys won’t work. This is because questions on online surveys tend to be biased towards potential customers saying the idea is valid when it might not be. As such, Tharindu said the teams need to meet customers face to face and ask questions. This meeting shouldn’t simply ask questions but actually, see if the idea is valid.

Sharper business skills

Ziyam Abdeen – Chairman at WinSYS Networks commended the technical skills of the participants at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka. In fact, some of the teams developed their mobile apps and websites overnight, with a little help from our internet partner, Hutch. However, the teams now had to work on their business skills.

Ziyam Abdeen mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka
Ziyam Abdeen mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka

Ziyam shared that the teams need to generate an idea for a problem, research, and develop a solution. Once the solution has been developed, they should be able to make money and keep working on it towards the future.

That’s what’s expected, yet many teams hadn’t thought about this. As such, Ziyam shared that for their startups to be successful, the teams would need to sharpen their business skills.

A clear pitch deck

Of course, along with clear business skills, the teams also need to create a strong pitch deck. This was the point, which Lashan Silva – CEO of Enhanzer, emphasized. It’s important for any startup to have a good pitch deck. He describes a good pitch deck as one that clearly explains three things.

Lashan Silva mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka
Lashan Silva mentoring one of the teams at Techstars Startup Weekend Hikka

These three things are: what the product is, what problem the startup is aiming to solve, and how it’ll make money. Whether its convincing investors or simply understanding the little details of the business, a good pitch deck is a strong tool for any startup to have. If you need examples of what a good pitch deck looks like, there’s plenty.

Ultimately this is only the start

At the end of the day, a Techstars Startup Weekend is a starting point for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin their journey. There’s a long journey ahead of the participants that seek to become entrepreneurs when the weekend ends. A long journey that’s full of struggles, which will test them long before they find success.

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