Today is all about actually getting started and doing something. We started by going backwards- packing up everything and heading out towards Santa Cruz.
On the way there, we spotted Hangar 1. It had a fascinating story behind it. It is one of the largest freestanding structures in the world, spanning 8 acres, residing under the control of NASA. It has been leased to a Google subsidiary (Planetary Ventures) since 2014 and they have reportedly been testing drones and other projects there.
Shortly after, we arrived at Plug and Play Tech Center where we were taken through their programs and how they help the startups that go through them. PNP has an interesting model in that they have lots of corporations investing and helping the startups out. They also have huge investment opportunities with the who's who of venture capital.
They've had such success stories as PayPal, SocketPlane and Matcha (which was acquired by Apple and likely powers their Siri search functionality on the Apple TV).
They have also invested in big companies like Dropbox, SoundHound, Zoosk and AddThis.
We then saw a bunch of startups pitch with varying levels of ability. I'm generally not a negative person, but I will call it as I see it- the same way those being pitched to gave their feedback. The pitches definitely varied in key areas like slide decks, confidence, speaking rate and key point coverage. It was good to see the variance and see what the good ones are and why.
After this was lunch time! We headed to a place called Jon Jon's BBQ. And HFS was it good! It was absolutely amazing and I will make the trip back to SV just for that.
Then it was off to Santa Cruz. We had a look around the Boardwalk and Wharf before hitting NextSpace to begin Startup Weekend Santa Cruz!
The community here feels really positive and it's their first SW, so what better time for Aussies to crash? There are 20 Aussies of 61 participants in total, so we make up a fair proportion.
Each of the SC crew pitched their idea (for the record, mine was a subscription box for sustainable products like home automation kits), with a total of ~40 pitches.
I ended up on a team with 3 SC people and 3 locals, working to build a chatbot which supports entrepreneurs to build their startup (but, as SW go, this may change...).
That's all for tonight, I'm headed to bed, big weekend ahead. Not sure if I will post tomorrow night or just do a wrap up on Sunday. Stay tuned.