As Amadeus for Startups continues to grow and mature in North America and beyond, the Amadeus team has been spending more time attending startup-focused events and conferences. We have been fortunate to connect with others in the startup ecosystem and create valuable partnerships and alliances with accelerators, VCs, incubators and other startup-focused companies.
We recently had the opportunity to co-sponsor and judge Startup Weekend Travel Tech New York along with our partner, VoyagerHQ. The weekend was fast-paced, exciting and an overall learning experience for everyone involved – just like a startup. Sixty ideas were pitched and narrowed down to 10 with the most viable business models. Over the following day and half those 10 teams created, conferred, researched and pivoted their plans tirelessly. Ultimately, three startups were chosen as winners and received some great prizes and benefits. The overall experience was invaluable for everyone involved.
Here are a few key takeaways from my experience.
- No idea is a bad idea
Sort of cliché, but it really rings quite true at an event like this. Over 100 people came together to share their ideas, and learn from experts in the hopes of creating a business. Sixty one-minute elevator pitches were heard on Friday night, and 10 were selected for the next level, but almost all the original ideas added some value to the end result. Each participant brought a unique perspective and skill that was needed to create the results, which were presented during the Sunday night pitch competition. It was a collaborative process where teams learned from each other and coaches, mentors and Amadeus provided guidance and shared expertise to help refine and validate the ideas.
- Don’t be so set in your ways
We see this every day at Amadeus for Startups – entrepreneurs who think they have identified a problem, and have all the answers that oftentimes don’t succeed. You have to be open to advice, straight-forward discussions and constructive criticism from mentors, advisors and investors. Listening and taking feedback is the difference between perceived arrogance and preferred confidence. But if you are truly passionate about something specific, stick to your guns, do your homework, and create that great story. The most successful ideas of the weekend were from the groups that really worked as a team, asking questions, and embracing differing thoughts and opinions from each other and the mentors and coaches. This approach along with the creative ways teams validated their MVP’s allowed each team to pivot if necessary and pitch a viable business model in the course of a weekend.
- The winners aren’t the only successful ones
And vice versa. We worked with a ton of entrepreneurs over the course of three days. The winning team was certainly very deserving, but all the participants walked away with valuable lessons, amazing connections and a roadmap to help them continue to grow.
The weekend was an amazing event from start to finish. It was inspiring, exciting and a true testament to the collaborative spirit I have come to understand in the startup ecosystem. It is all about community, giving back, supporting unique ideas, learning, networking, and watching the magic happen. At Amadeus for Startups, we are honored to be part of this growing channel and look forward to continuing to do our part in shaping the future of travel with our startup partners.