What it takes to organize a 54-hour Startup Weekend

- July 12, 2018

Techstars Startup Weekend Social Impact Edition in Barcelona was made possible by a tireless team working round the clock. Here we look back at the people behind the scenes and how the event came about.

Techstars Startup Weekend Social Impact Edition Honor Roll

These are the people in Barcelona that made Startup Weekend happen.

Anna de Gea, Firefighter-In-Command. Anna basically got any task done at anytime. She stayed up until late until the early hours of the morning, making sure that everything was set and on time for the next day.

Cristina Rojas, Social Media Manager. Cristina was in charge of making #StartupWeekend and #ImpactingBCN trending topics on social media.

Edgar Pons, Hardware Magician. On the eve of the event, the people in charge of providing basic things like chairs and tables were not to be found. Edgar saved the day at the last minute and gave everyone the chance to actually sit and do their work. Standing desks are a great idea for short periods, but 54 hours would have been overkill, and we can all thank Edgar for his many contributions.

Gerard Martí, Graphic Design. Apart from being a waffle cook of excellence, Gerard made the event an aesthetically pleasing place to be with his sexy designs and stunning visuals.

Adelina Mihala, Project Manager. Adelina was anywhere and everywhere she was needed. Always asking how she could make the experience better, Adelina helped Novobrief secure interviews among the flurry of fast-paced networking and startup-making.

Sergi Gomez, Sponsorships Lead. Techstars Startup Weekend requires massive coordination from all fronts. Without Sergi there would be no sponsors, and without his help, Barcelona would have missed out on a great opportunity to develop and showcase its social impact talents.

Jan Carbonell, Facilitator. On the very first day of the event Jan quit his job, became the Master of Ceremonies, and he was seen doing everything from icebreaking activities to taking out the trash, and basically making sure that Startup Weekend was on schedule and that everyone was provided with working spaces, coffee, and food.

What went down at Techstars Startup Weekend Social Impact Edition Barcelona

What is Techstars Startup Weekend Social Impact Edition Barcelona about?

Startup Weekend, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, is non-profit entrepreneurship education event that brings together innovators, marketers, developers and designers. In just 54 hours, participants meet a dream startup team, do market research, build a product, and demonstrate their social impact business in front of judges and potential investors.

When did it take place?

July 6-8, 2018.


At Payment Innovation Hub, a fantastic venue under the sea level in the heart of Pier01, one of the hottest spots for entrepreneurs in Europe.

Why Barcelona?

Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona. The perfect spot for entrepreneurs. And more and more the city where the social business ecosystem is flourishing exponentially.

Why have a social impact edition?

Startup Weekend Social Impact edition means participants are focused on solving problems and creating opportunities for civic engagement, equal opportunity, economic development, environmental responsibility, and access to healthcare and education — but they are not limited to these topics.

Whether they have an idea to improve their local community or global ones, the ultimate objective of this event is to empower them to be the change we wish to see in the world!

Who are the organizers?

A highly motivated, sleep-less, group of organizers plus some amazing volunteers. Some of us have known each other for many years. We met when, as presidents of our different universities’ entrepreneurship students clubs, we got together to spread the entrepreneurship & innovation passion among university students from Barcelona.

Who are the attendees?

Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including  aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, developers and other tech-related professionals, designers of all types, non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.), students from universities and even high schools, professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills, and passionate visionaries.

How many attendees?

Around 90

How will startups benefit?

Winning teams will have the opportunity to gain lots of hours of consulting and co-working spaces to further develop their SW idea or others that may come.

Free coffee?


Networking opportunities?

Networking non stop! And with people from super divers backgrounds.

How about mentorship?

About 30 mentors came out to help out our participants at all different stages of the startup creation process. Mentors from all backgrounds: developers, designer, business, experts in social impact, pitching and speaking.

Opportunities for investment?

With some of the prizes, a fast track to enter acceleration processes is included. Which in turn can lead to the investment platforms of the accelerators.

With so many different backgrounds, was English the go-to language?


How much did people pay to participate?

50€ early bird, 70€ full price.


Plenty… lots of hours of consulting, spots on co-working spaces for tw months, discounts to enter coding courses, and tickets for UNLEASH, among many others.

What happens next?

Stats say that 12% will continue with their SW idea, but what matters the most are teams and people met, rather than ideas. The event is about meeting perfect matches for the startup of the participants’ dreams.

Moving forward

The first hackathon of its kind in Barcelona, the aim of this Startup Weekend was to develop social impact solutions that aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The idea was to go from zero to business in the span of just 54 hours, but as anyone who has been to Startup Weekend can tell you, it’s not all about who wins first prize, it’s about having a strong, dedicated team that is able to continue collaborating long after the hackathon ends.

Tim Hinchliffe

Tim Hinchliffe the editor in chief at Novobrief. Previously, he was a reporter for The Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. Principal at Espacio.