Great guest post by Gene Murphy. First appeared here

Friday the 6th of May was my first time as a Startup Weekend Facilitator. I was nervous, I was excited, and as it turns out I was also on a plane that had something broken on it. That last part was a bit of a concerning start to events.

After a redirection to a longer runway, an awesome landing and a free train ticket I was finally en route from the sunny hamlet of South End via the zippity fast rail network I’d been gifted a free ticket for before bundling into a cab to get to Google Campus. Invariably I felt like I was reliving a one man version of the comedy classic Trains, Planes and Automobiles.


This being my first Startup Weekend to facilitate being delayed and popped into the wrong airport was far from ideal. To give a little insight the job of a facilitator in the shortest description is to work with the local organizing team who have pulled the event together in their spare time as volunteers. Facilitators have to have organised Startup Weekends before and manage some of the front of house work and when needed are ready to jump into any role to help the team create a brilliant experience for attendees. Suffice to say, I didn’t want to mess this up for everyone.

We opened proceedings to a packed ground floor event space at Google Campus thanks to the monumental work in advance by Erling Amble, Matt Stephens, Jon Taylor, Katriina Karvonen, (who had traveled to Dublin to help organise a Startup Weekend!) and Aimee Clancy (previously both a Startup Weekend winner and another organiser of Startup Weekend Dublin!).

Once we had introduced our team, spoken about Startup Weekend and what would happen in the coming 54 hours it was into getting our participants to pitch their ideas. In total we had 27 ideas which was then whittled down to 10 final teams after our attendees voted for their favorite ideas.

Once our teams pitched again to remind attendees what they did and what skill sets they needed on board the team formations began. At this point teams quickly formed and got down to business with dumping all of their ideas out of their brains, onto paper and realizing what a big challenge they had ahead of themselves. Thankfully Saturday was just a few hours away with the promise of lessons in how to validate their ideas, figure our what their customer needs were and also get some tough love from our mentors.

It was time for bed.


Saturday morning started on the 3rd floor of google campus. The heat was rolling through the city thanks to a mini heat wave and we weren’t sure if the air-con was going to be able to deal with the heat from the city and the heat from attendees brains. That was when the mini event Startup Weekend Fantech was started by lead organiser Erl as documented in the above video.

With teams getting ready for our mentors there was time for one quick team check in to see how our teams ideas was progressing. Once they arrived it as straight into design, tech and business help with some really great nuggets of information for our teams.

As is the case from having attended a number (aka a lot) of Startup Weekends, Saturday is probably the toughest day. Nailing down your idea, making sure to validate to really learn what a customer needs and not being overloaded by mentors is a pretty tough challenge. In itself I think it develops the skills to be able to prioritize, lead a team and execute on tasks.

A late night showing of Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh’s movie masterpiece, ‘How to Present Presentations’ thanks to the power of the internets, was the last piece of info we could update our teams brains with on Saturday.

It was time for a last few hours of sleep before getting to grips with final tasks, validation and presentations.


This was the day it was all going to come together for our teams. After lots of validating on Saturday with interviews and surveys with potential customers followed by revisions of the teams initial ideas coupled to time with mentors it was the point to start prepping for pitch time and to get last iterations out of the way. Some people declared their need to hustle hard by moving their hoodie to the up ‘I’m hustling don’t distract me,’ position. As demonstrated above.

Attendees, guests and mentors assembled back in the ground floor event space at Google Campus. It was show time and we were in for a treat. It was back on stage with me to welcome our guests and recap that with 80 attendees, 27 ideas and 10 final teams it was over to our 5 judges to see what our teams had created in 54 hours. So it was over teams with their following ideas:

Win more, together

Points Capital
We convert loyalty points into equity

Seamless bar tab payment app: security, tab control, bill splitting

So What
Helping people understand what financial news means for them

Flux money
Smart people don’t do their accounting. They let flux do it.

A secondary market for startup shares

HomeRun Mortgages
Online Mortgage Application (End-to-End)

Fairer Access to Mortgages for Freelancers

Personal Finance Management software that works seamlessly across borders

Social investment platform (in my excitement to tweet I ruined their name in my tweet above, sorry gang!!!)

After all our participating teams had pitched it was down to the daunting task of judging these fine few. Above you can see some of the judges that had this task ahead of them. As usual after some hearty heated debates amongst the judges, consensus was reached. We had our winners.

Before that we had a community vote winner to announce! This particular prize was sponsored by our mini event from Saturday, Startup Weekend Fantech edition! Someone was going to win the opportunity to take home the coveted fin from the fan as featured in Startup Weekend Fantech the movie…

So with that in mind, the winner of the Community Vote was Finomenal the Personal Finance Management platform that works cross border. Held aloft is the official fan blade signed by Erl. Things don’t get better than that I guess.

Well, maybe not better, but definitely on par with winning a fan blade! After a weekend of ideas, pitching, mentoring, validating and lots of others words in the same vein it was time to announce the winners!

If pictures speak a thousand words then hold onto your handrails for this mini movie I cooked on my Train, Plane and Automobile route back from home London to Dublin. I think you’ll like it, because I loved it! Congrats again to all of the attendees, mentors and organisers on a tough but brilliant Startup Weekend London Fintech Edition. Roll the movie…

Great work again gang, it was a blast! If you’re ready to embark on a Starutp Weekend and see what you can do in 54 hours then click this link and find out all about Startup Weekend Dublin this June 10th?—?12th supported by Google for Entrepreneurs and Bank of Ireland. It’s going to be fun.

PS I did manage to make it to a plane that landed in the expected airport the following evening.

PPS I didn’t go home empty handed thanks to the Startup Weekend London Fintech Edition organisers!

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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