The “Startup Weekend” that has been staged in over 100 cities around the globe was hosted on the Central Coast this past weekend, 18 to 20 September 2015. This event includes pitching start up ideas to investors and teams are formed to help develop the ideas into a reality. Andrew Caska, of Caska IP, was a mentor at this event. For more information see the following link: Central Coast Start Up Weekend.
The process of the Startup weekend is really quite intense and interesting to watch. Basically, at the beginning of the weekend people pitch their ideas and form teams to work on these ideas over the weekend. For most of Saturday and Sunday, the teams focus on developing the idea, validating the idea and building a minimal viable product (MVP)(like a basic website or an App). At the end of the weekend, the teams present the MVP to a panel of experts and investors were the judges.
The most interesting aspect that stood out from the Startup weekend was the focus on the target customer and then rapidly validating that the idea was going to work.
As patent and trade mark attorneys we are privileged to see a huge number of early-stage businesses every year and with our specialised knowledge of intellectual property and startup business we are uniquely positioned to advise in this area.
As a mentor, we assisted teams with identifying any intellectual property issues that may have arisen such as copyright, trademarks and software patents. For example, we gave the teams some general pointers about how to best choose a name for their startup that took into account factors such as a trademark law, branding and domain names.
The most interesting aspect that stood out from the Startup weekend was the focus on the target customer and then rapidly validating that the idea was going to work. They were intense discussions on identifying the customer’s pain points and who will actually be the ideal customer for the start-up. Once the customer was identified, then teams were rapidly seeking to build basic websites and launching simple Facebook and Google Adwords campaigns to test the idea such as achieving target customers contacting the Startup or signing up for more information.
This process of customer identification and validation is also key to the more complex technology Startup environment and certainly in our practice some of the very best inventions are those that solve a pain point for a clearly identified customer and that customer has already indicated that they would be interested in purchasing the product or technology.
As a modern patent and trademark attorney firm we are not just attorneys but also business advisers who assist our Clients’ with understanding the commercial environment and IP landscape. We have certainly taken note of the Startup weekend process and encourage all of our clients’ to undertake a structured customer identification and validation process during the development of any new invention – just make sure you don’t disclose your idea/invention before you discuss this with us – as you may need to firstly protect your idea/invention.