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Registration ends Friday for Kirkland’s first Startup Weekend

Kirkland resident Peter Wilson will speak at Kirkland
Kirkland resident Peter Wilson will speak at Kirkland's first Startup Weekend on Nov. 9. Wilson, who has worked with Google and Microsoft, co-founded Rel8tion in 2010. Facebook acquired the mobile advertising startup and he is now an executive director with the company.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Kirkland’s first Startup Weekend will commence Friday, Nov. 9 as the start of a 54-hour creative scurry by local entrepreneurs to organize and develop a business model, set to be judged by regional innovators, CEO’s and businessmen across Washington.

Bruce Wynn, the executive director of Kirkland’s Greater Chamber of Commerce, hopes the startup will draw 100 participants to the Woodmark Hotel at Carillon Point over the weekend so that Kirkland can reclaim its name of being a hotspot for businesses in technology. Last week, Wynn said 75 people had signed up but people were “signing up by the hour.”

Some successful ventures that spawn from Seattle Startup Weekend events include Rover.com and Freak'n Genius.

Typical startup ideas include games and practical uses for smart phone applications,  but in regard to ideas, the sky’s the limit - as long as the pieces fit.

Participants break into groups and are made up of about 50 percent technical developers, coders and designers. Business people such as those with expertise in marketing, finance and business law comprise the other half.

But before it begins, Kirkland resident Peter Wilson, an engineering director with Facebook, will speak on Friday. Wilson has worked at Microsoft and Google but in 2012 he co-founded a mobile advertising startup called Rel8tion, which Facebook acquired a year later.

"People should focus on solving real problems that startups can tackle with technology," Wilson said. "People should look at building companies and not just building 'apps.'"

Wilson added that he's excited a city the size of Kirkland is able to hold this type of event and that Kirkland has had some great innovation in the past.

Startup patrons will pitch ideas for their business/product, form groups and begin to organize on Friday with full immersion on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Coach Eric Zocher of Microsoft will be available throughout the weekend to answer questions and provide feedback.

Zocher is the leader of a team that has built Microsoft tools such as Expression Blend, SketchFlow, Web and Encoder. Zocher founded Silicon Beach Software, NetBot and Time4.com before working at Microsoft. He was also held high positions at Adobe, Go2Net and Plumtree.

On Sunday, Nov. 11 participants will present their idea at 5 p.m., with judging and awards to follow.

Wynn said judges will deem first, second and third places. And while there is a possibility of a job offer in the midst, nothing can beat “bragging rights,” according to Wynn.

“We always wish there was a wealthy investor in the audience and that could happen - it does happen,” Wynn said.

In addition to bragging rights, entrepreneurs could get advice from people who’ve turned their ideas into success.

Startup Weekend is a nonprofit organization, which is headquartered in Seattle. There have been more than 400 events in 100 countries around the world in 2011 alone. Some have even ventured so far as Mongolia and South Africa.

Kirkland’s largest sponsors include Google, Intrix, Clear, Carillon Real Estate Group, with Microsoft as an international sponsor for the global movement.

Registration costs $99 and will include the cost of seven meals.

The website kirkland.startupweekend.org also provides a “Startup Weekend pitch timer” as well as other advice on the website's blog section and a full schedule of the weekend-long event.

For further questions, contact Kirkland Chamber of Commerce executive director Bruce Wynn at brucew@kirklandchamber.org.

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