Missouri Startup Weekend, formerly called Columbia Startup Weekend, will take place March 10-12, 2023. The three-day business pitch and development event is led by Scale, EquipmentShare, Paytient and Zapier. After a successful Columbia Startup Weekend in 2022 in which the winner, Appreciate, went from an idea to raising institutional funding in fewer than eight months, the program is excited to see the caliber of ideas in 2023.
“The weekend opened my eyes to the potential of starting a real technology startup in the heart of the Midwest regardless of experience. As a Mizzou student, I had strong support from the university, which led to me taking the leap to building Appreciate,” said Nick Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Appreciate.
Historically, this event has been a cornerstone of the Mid-Missouri tech community. Now, Missouri Startup Weekend hopes to attract aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the state. The weekend offers a unique opportunity for anyone to be an entrepreneur while providing the talent, mentorship and resources needed to launch a generational company. Participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas on Friday night then form teams around the top ideas. Teams will work on their ideas throughout the weekend (e.g., talking to customers, researching the market, etc.) and pitch on Sunday, when they will be judged by successful local entrepreneurs.
"Whether you are learning about entrepreneurship for the first time or have a big idea, Missouri Startup Weekend is a fantastic place with welcoming people to help you explore and build new ideas. Zapier wouldn't be where it is without the original spark of Startup Weekend," said Wade Foster, CEO and co-founder of Zapier.
This year, the winner will receive a ticket to Scale’s next accelerator cohort, a $2, 500 cash prize, full legal entity formation by Transitions Law Group, marketing support and long-term support from the Scale team.
"Scale is a perfect example of how we can coalesce as a community to support and empower the next generation of inspiring entrepreneurs using events like Missouri Startup Weekend as catalyzers for awareness.
This vital institution and event are essential to fulfilling our critical need for economic growth and innovation in the Midwest, and I am proud to support its mission," said Missouri Sen. Travis Fitzwater.
This year, participants and spectators will see a rebrand to the event in order to reach a diverse talent pool from Kansas City to St. Louis and beyond. The weekend boasts sponsors like KCRise, Dundee VC, Cultivation Capital, Devstride and TechSTL, plus local support from Mizzou, Healium, DivisionD and Influence & Co. We believe this will be the start of a new and stronger startup network in Missouri.
“The move to rename the event to Missouri Startup Weekend aligns with Scale’s other initiatives, like Flyover Tech, to better connect the fragmented midwestern ecosystems. We want the startup community to have a renewed sense of the Show-Me State as the place to start and grow game-changing companies like EquipmentShare and Zapier ,” said Brett Calhoun, managing director and partner at Scale.
This year’s Missouri Startup Weekend will be hosted by Scale, an accelerator fund and venture studio based in Columbia, and EquipmentShare 2015 winner, a Y Combinator top 25 company and unicorn). It is supported by leading sponsors Zapier (2012 winner, YC top 25 company and unicorn) and Paytient (Columbia-founded financial technology startup, which has raised $60M+). Scale has united some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Columbia and now wants to do this for all of Missouri.
“Missouri Startup Weekend not only forces entrepreneurs to validate an idea, but it presents the key ingredients to accelerating success: network effects and knowledge sharing,” said Willy Schlacks, co-founder of EquipmentShare and Scale.
Missouri Startup Weekend tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/missouri-startup-weekend-tickets-503646218397
Scale is an accelerator fund and venture studio that invests monetary and social capital in early stage tech founders who are strengthened by struggle. Scale brings a team of dedicated operators who have the insights and support from building billion-dollar companies to remove unnecessary barriers, so founders can focus on the hard stuff that matters. To date, Scale has invested in and supported 23 companies across a broad array of sectors and geographies.