48 Hour Launch
48Hour Launch started with a simple enough idea: when given access to diverse skill sets and a thick swamp of entrepreneurial know-how, folks can launch sustainable businesses very quickly. Today, 48HL is a tried and true model for promoting the development of local economies. Our inaugural event in November of 2009 helped us refine a curriculum and guide-book for the program, which is open and available to the public.
In short, 48HL is a weekend-long business start-up summit, designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level. 48HL brings bright minds together to participate in an intensive period of community building, planning, incubation, and launching. Relationships and connectivity are integral in the ecosystems of start-ups, and 48HL provides space and time for an environment of entrepreneurship to take root.
But understanding the process takes time on your feet. Here’s how we launch in just 48 hours.
Step 1: start the conversation
48HL starts with idea generation. Participants submit and vote on start-up ideas at http://48hourlaunch.org.
Step 2: meet your match
Launch day: it’s a beautiful thing. The process starts with presentations from the top handful of start-up ideas, which have been refined and fleshed-out since voting.
Step 3: get to know your neighbors
48HL is a collaborative project, so we bring entrepreneurs, writers, designers, developers, programmers, and marketing specialists together. Before dividing into teams, participants join in a Trade Show, mixing, mingling, and finding their perfect fit.
Step 4: caffeinate, caffeinate, caffeinate
Now the Dream Teams take the reins, and it’s a weekend full of innovation, development, and business planning. 48HL hosts provide the mission controllers with room to think, technology, energizing snacks and coffee—lots of it.
Step 5: build and refine
Through a series of rounds, the teams brand and design business identities, develop websites, and get their ducks in a row with legal prep. Team members can cross-collaborate, and even discuss the possibility of incorporating.
Step 6: countdown to take-off
As the weekend draws to a close, the teams present their launched businesses. Key team members then commit to take those businesses live, and become the proud parents of collaborative start-ups.
Step 7: launch
After a weekend of entrepreneurial fervor, participants leave with businesses in tow, and inspiration to boot.
And what happens after the launch? That’s really up to the participants. Some individuals will continue with their idea even after they leave, but others won’t. The businesses that come out of 48HL are just half of why we launch: the event also inspires invaluable entrepreneurial buzz and networking.
The inaugural event took place at CreateHere November 13-15, 2009, and was organized by SpringBoard, Knoxville Overground, Will This Float?, and Launch Memphis, four organizations specializing in entrepreneurship.
In the course of one weekend, a total of 89 participants helped launch 7 companies. The weekend’s roster included designers, web programmers, entrepreneurs, writers, marketing specialists, volunteers, and “jack of all trades.” Chattanoogans dropped by CreateHere at all hours to observe the launch teams completing different stages in business development, from marketing to coding to basic usability.
At the closing demonstration for 48HL on Sunday night, each team presented on their final products and prototypes.
John Prevost started the presentations with a brief demonstration of Flobuckle, a task-management system designed to serve small to medium sized creative agencies. Their goal? Make sure basic tasks aren’t “adding density to your day.” Flobuckle was launched through the teamwork of Steven Hill, Michael Snyder, Angel Brown, and Kyle Posey.
Alex Lavidge of Knoxville Overground presented on behalf of his group, which worked in partnership with Knoxville-based jewelry designer Jennifer Ellison. Ellison’s handmade accessories evoke rock ‘n’ roll, and the team--including Renée Holiday and CreateHere design fellow Michael Mahaffey--launched mStrandz, a visual identity and website for Ellison’s business. The site gives Ellison an opportunity to reach out to a broader audience, and within the next 5 years, she’d like to see her products compete in Atlanta’s difficult market. Additionally, mStrandz includes a community service component: a portion of all of mStrandz proceeds go to k-12 music appreciation programs in the Knoxville area.
Jason Luna presented on behalf of his group, which included Daniel Santa Cruz and Eric Polino. Working an abbreviated launch session of just under 15 hours, the team was able to start development on All My Stitches, a social network aggregator.
Hyvmynd, an ambitious project with several components, was developed by a larger team, many of which collaborated with fellow 48Hour Launchers. Using a type of currency and platform called “Brix,” the company provides custom build-out for online stores, linking buyers and sellers and managing supply chain. Hyvmynd was developed by Aaron Welch, Sydney Hale, Daniel Appleget, Benjamin Bane, Joshua Estes, Ed King, Bob Leffew, Travis Harvey, and James Long.
Lokewl was developed by Tim Shultz, Jeff Smith, Ron Todosichuk, Kim Ingram, and team members from Hyvmynd, who used this project as an example of how they hope to operate. Lokewl, a website and iPhone application, collects deals, sales, and coupons from local businesses exclusively. During the demonstration, Shultz expressed that the original goal of the project was to highlight local restaurants, but quickly they realized that “mom and pop” shops could benefit from this type of technology.
James Long headed up a one-man team, and used the weekend to develop an iPhone game called Farm Wars. This was one of Long’s first game development projects, and he used the group to record animal voices, which figure heavily into the games high-energy feel.
The final group to present was Chattanooga 3D, a non-profit project headed up by Stephen Culp and Karen Liwanpo of SmartFurniture. The team included Chris Wilson, Mark Bullock, Melanie Silva, Bill Johnson, Coffield King, Christina Haislip and Ash Wilson. Together, they used the weekend to develop 3D renderings of downtown and Main Street, to be used by Google Maps. This open-source platform can be used by anyone, and added to by all: at the end of a demonstration, Culp announced that this will be a community-owned project. For more information, visit the site.
Host a Launch
48Hour Launch was designed to be replicated, and we’ve created a package to help you host your own. Interested in learning more? Visit 48Hour Launch online to see about other cities passing the torch of entrepreneurship. Contact email@example.com for more details on how you, too, can help your community launch.