2 DAYS TO STARTUP: METRO

Join our vibrant community of technical professionals, creative innovators, and startup enthusiasts as they embark upon a fun, weekend-long innovation program and discover how they can take an idea from concept to profitability. 

2 Days to Startup kicks off Friday night when attendees pitch ideas, form teams, and select projects to work on for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday are spent fleshing out ideas with the input of coaches and mentors, and Sunday evening features "Shark Tank™" style pitches, feedback from judges, voting and the spoils of victory. It is a whirlwind, and one of the most fun, immersive and hands-on learning experiences on which participants will ever embark.

Two days can change everything.  The "Metro Edition" is a collaboration with the City of Little Rock. Participants will have access to open data sets from the City via "smart city" APIs. Join the vibrant community of technical professionals, creative innovators, and startup enthusiasts for a fun, weekend-long
innovation program and discover how you can take an idea from concept to profitability.

 
 

So, why should you come to this event? 
You'll finally be able to pitch that idea that's been rattling around in your brain
You get to make cool things in the span of a weekend
You'll meet helpful contacts, potential co-founders, or new friends
You'll be among the first to access The City of Little Rock's shiny new APIs
Plus, we feed you SEVEN times, so...

Devs/Tech - Be a part of building something new. Develop the "next big thing" at 2 Days to Startup.

  • Meet Trey Bowles, one of the brightest startup minds and "smart cities" experts in the region.
  • Connect with experts from IBM's Watson team and leverage Watson's APIs.
  • Be first in line to access open data streams from the City of Little Rock APIs
  • Help develop the next generation of tech talent in Central Arkansas

Designers - Broaden your horizons and help create something special. Leverage your skills to bridge the gap between tech and design, collaborating with some of the best minds in Central Arkansas.

  • Build your network
  • Collaborate on a team turing a vision into reality in 2 short days.
  • Learn more about leveraging tech to expand your UI/UX skills.

Non-Tech Talent - Learn more about what's happening in tech and how you can leverage it to expand your professional skill sets.

  • Leverage this opportunity to better understand tech in a hands-on way.
  • Connect with design and tech experts to broaden your network right here in Central Arkansas.
  • Collaborate to create something epic in a single weekend

Community Members - Trigger your creativity and be a part of something new. 

  • See the exciting things that are happening in Central AR
  •  Be a part of the development of the "next big thing"
  • Learn that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to make great things happen. You can do this!  Let us show you how.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

MENTORS

COACHES

ORGANIZERS

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY

6:00 PM Kickoff Dinner & Networking

11:00 PM - End for the Night

SATURDAY

8:00 AM - Doors Open & Breakfast

9-11 - Mentor & Coach Office Hours

Noon - Team Check-in & Lunch

2-4 - Mentor & Coach Office Hours

6:00 PM - Team Check-in & Dinner

SUNDAY

8:00 AM - Doors Open & Breakfast

9-11 - Mentor & Coach Office Hour

Noon - Team Check-in & Lunch

3:00 PM - Pitch Practice

6:00 PM - Final Pitches, Judging & Dinner

 
 
 
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Before 2 Days

Who Should Attend the Event? If you're interested in entrepreneurism, then 2 Days to Startup is for you. Whether you are just an enthusiast or a serial entrepreneur, these are your people! Participants range in background from business or technical professionals to graduate students and researchers.

Do I Need a Startup Idea to Participate? No, you do not. Many participants show up with the intention of joining a team to work on someone else's idea during the weekend. Others have told us that they came to the weekend just to see what the "buzz" was about, and participating in the weekend sparked an idea that turned into a real business.

How Do I Register? You can register on the 2 Days to Startup page.

Can I Register/Pay At the Door? In order to plan food, drinks, swag and other logistics, on-site registration is not allowed. If you have trouble registering/paying online, reach out to our office at 501-404-9875 and we'll be happy to register you over the phone.

Do I Have to Participate All 3 Days? Mentors, Coaches and the Press are not expected to participate the entire weekend.

The program is designed to create insane progress in a very short period of time. To preserve the integrity of the process and provide an environment of minimal interruption and distraction for working teams, attendees are expected to participate the entire weekend.

We have made a special "Pitch Observer" ticket available for family and friends who wish to observe the final pitches at the conclusion of the weekend.

Do I Need a Team to Participate? The weekend is designed for radical progress and participants are expected to participate on a team. This is to support the progress of ideas and to minimize distraction and interruption to working teams. If you don't have your own idea to pitch Friday night, that's okay. Come and join someone else's team/idea. If you are only attending the pitches at the end of the weekend, you can purchase a "Pitch Observer" ticket.

What Type of Ticket Should I Purchase? Purchase the type of ticket which best represents your background, skill set and experience.

What Are Accommodations for the Weekend? Attendees are responsible for lodging and transportation. If you're attending from out of town, please reach out to us with any specific lodging/transportation-related questions you may have.

Do I Have to Pitch an Idea? No, however, we encourage all attendees to pitch an idea. It can be an idea you've had for years or one that pops into your head. You never know where the road could lead. Go for it! That's what the weekend is all about.

What Should I Bring?

  • Laptop and charger/cord
  • Noise canceling headphones if they will help you work better
  • Business cards
  • Camera / phone - we're active on social media and you'll want to engage and create memories of the weekend
  • A second monitor / keyboard  - The key is productivity
  • Jacket/Sweater - Whatever you need to be comfortable

How Should I Prepare? Do some research if you have an idea you're bringing to pitch. Gather market research or other research which will help you be better prepared to tackle your project.

Prepare your 60-second pitch. This is how participants will decide which ideas are worked on over the weekend. It's entirely democratic, so set yourself up for success.

Be fully rested and bring a friend (or 2--or 10) to share the experience with!

What is the Refund Policy? We do not offer refunds prior to the event as the food and snacks along with the swag is ordered well in advance and cannot be refunded.

During 2 Days

What is the Schedule?

Friday – Day One:

  • Participants arrive for dinner and networking between 5 and 7 p.m.
  • Speaker will present lean methodology overview and pitching best practices/tips
  • 60-second "pitch-athon" - just you, your idea, and the microphone. (Don't worry about a pitch deck/presentation or props)
  • After pitches are done, everyone will vote for their favorites and the top ideas will be selected and participants will join teams around those ideas.

Saturday – Day Two:

  • Teams work all day with short breaks for topical talks. Mentors will be available for support throughout the day.

Sunday – Day Three:

  • Teams continue working till early afternoon. Prototypes or projects will be wrapped up in preparation for the final pitches/presentations.
  • Each team will have 3-5 minutes to pitch with 1-3 minutes for Q&A from judges. Winners will be announced after the judges deliberation.

What Type of Idea Should I Pitch? All business ideas are welcome. Due to the intense, short timeframe, most of the ideas at a 2 Days event are tech-related ideas. If your idea is a traditional business, we encourage your team to focus on tech-related delivery of your product or service (such as website/eCommerce platform, etc) by the time Sunday rolls around.  This just ensures maximum forward momentum for your team/idea.

Can I Pitch an Existing Business? No. The purpose of the 2 Days to Startup program is to stimulate the growth of new ideas. In fairness to all participants and to preserve the atmosphere and "feel" of the program, all teams are expected to build from the ground up.

How Do I Keep Someone from Stealing My Idea? 2 Days to Startup focuses on beginning stage ideas starting from nothing. The short answer is that you can't keep someone from taking your idea, however the magic of successful businesses lies largely in their ability to execute. You can limit your pitch to a basic framework and then divulge more information to your team.

Unless you are confident that your idea is truly an easily-implemented, never-thought-of technology then you probably don't need to worry. The benefit you'll gain from the expertise of those on your team and the mentors/coaches will outweigh the risk of someone taking your idea and running with it.  The reality is that most of the ideas pitched at a 2 Days to Startup are ideas that have been pitched before. The challenge is to take an idea and make something new, different or better from it.

What if My Idea Isn't Chosen? The goal of the format of 2 Days to Startup is not to be exclusionary, but to highlight the most interesting/popular ideas with greatest potential for development within the 2 Days framework. This doesn't mean your idea isn't interesting or doesn't have potential. It just may not fit as well in the intense, short timeframe structure of 2 Days to Startup. We urge all participants to schedule a free Huddle Hour session with our mentors at the Venture Center after the event in order to vet their idea.

What About Intellectual Property/Ownership of the Idea? The team decides. The Venture Center does not participate in the ownership of any of the ideas at 2 Days to Startup. Likewise, we do not participate in the signing, endorsement or support of any legal agreements or documents. Mentors with legal background may give general legal input, but are forbidden to provide specific legal advice. We've found that the teams are more productive when they wait until there is a clear need for these types of discussions (generally when there is a clear product or service that is ready to be deployed/monetized).

What Can I Expect to Have Accomplished by the End of the Weekend? The purpose of this program is to gain customer validation, develop a minimum viable product (MVP), develop a business model, or design a product or service.

When it comes to presentations, make it visible. Can you employ any of the following?

  • a wireframe
  • mobile app (mockup/skeleton to fully functional)
  • slide decks
  • videos
  • live product demo
  • prototype demo
  • skit / demonstration

Your creativity is the limit when it comes to presenting the viability of your project. Go all out.

Why is It a Competition? Although the competition is not central to the structure of 2 Days to Startup, we have found that the best practices in modern technical and professional development engage competition as a tool to drive progress. Engaging in competition not only moves ideas forward, but it helps to stimulate learning and development

Next Steps

What is the Next Step for My Team? This is up to you. A quarter of the teams decide they want to continue working on their idea after the 2 Days to Startup. If you or your team want to continue the validation it takes to turn your idea into a viable business, The Venture Center is here to help.

  • Mentorship - Sign up for a free Huddle Hour with one of our world-class mentors to unpack your idea and develop a plan for next steps.
  • Pre-Accelerator - If you think you have something really special and are ready to do the work, join our startup bootcamp program pre-accelerator.  It's a 14-week program that launches each Spring and Fall. You can take this course after work hours. We'll walk you through the process of developing a solid MVP and doing serious customer validation to ensure you have a viable business before you take the big plunge. In a short 3 months, you'll have your answer and be ready to take the next step toward joining a full accelerator or seeking early-stage investment.

I Have More Questions... If you didn't find the answer to your question, please reach out to us by phone at 501-404-9875 or via e-mail.