Columbus Startup Weekend


The weekend of Mar 28-30 I was lucky enough to go to Columbus Startup Weekend on behalf of 43North and as a mentor.

Wait, you haven’t heard of 43North? It’s the world’s largest business plan competition and it’s based out of Buffalo. It’s actually all about Buffalo – building the startup community in Buffalo by giving away 5 Million Dollars to 11 Startups. They’ll have to move to Buffalo for a year to work out of an incubator in Buffalo where they’ll receive space and mentorship. We hope they’ll stay longer, for good even, but either way those 11-30 people (or more) will be a great addition to the community. It’s part of Cuomo’s Billion for Buffalo and I think it’s great. I love the idea of investing in startups – I feel we’re more likely for the next Facebook or Google to start in Buffalo then we are to convince an existing company to move to Buffalo. While the $1,000,000 (that’s 1 million!) prize is impressive, I think the fact that 11 companies will get funding is more meaningful. 4 will receive $250,000, 6 will get $500,000 and then the big prize. All in return for 5% equity stake in the new company, non-voting and non-dillutable.

Anyway, look more into that and consider entering.

Let me just say that I love Startup Weekends. I’ve been one of the organizers for all 3 Buffalo Startup Weekends (and will be for the 4th one, scheduled for October) though come the start of each of the 3 Buffalo events I switch to participant. Before we had our first event I also attended Startup Weekend Cornell.

But back to Startup Weekend Columbus. It was a really great event. Great venue – Tech Columbus – man I wish we had a place like it in Buffalo. Great ideas were pitched and 15 teams were formed. The facilitator, Suzy Bureau did an amazing job, really she just ran everything so smoothly and made it fun for everyone. I learned some things that I want to implement in SWB #4.

All in all I had a great weekend, it was fun to mentor the teams, and I was able to talk a lot about 43North. I was impressed that a lot of people had heard of 43North and I encouraged all 60 people that pitched to enter. I hope a lot of them do. I’d love to have them come to Buffalo to start a new company.




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