INTERVIEWS

Startup Weekend Facilitator: Just Go There and Pitch Your Idea

Startup Weekend

Friday night, the 7th edition of Bratislava’s Startup Weekend will break out. If you have your idea, don’t be afraid to come and pitch it. Any crazy thought can become a good business, as Dani puts it. Dani Arnaout, a Startup Weekend enthusiast and co-founder of Saily, is coming as facilitator for the Weekend.

Dani, what is your story?

A couple of years back, during my engineering studies, a Startup Weekend event took place in Lebanon. I decided to participate to know more about the competition, and I liked one of the ideas that were pitched. So I joined the team, and we ‘accidentally’ won. Since then, Startup Weekend has become my addiction, so to speak. I started participating more and more at Startup Weekends and in other startup competitions – volunteering, mentoring, organizing, judging and later on facilitating those events.

After some time, I realized that I’d been promoting startup events and I still had my regular job. This is where I teamed up with my co-founder and started Saily.

You are coming to Bratislava as a facilitator at the Startup Weekend. Can you describe your role?

The facilitator is the face of Startup Weekend brand in any given city. The facilitator’s role involves helping the organizers, guiding the coaches & judges, and spreading startup awareness among all attendees.

The facilitator is responsible for hosting the event on Friday and Sunday. His/her job is to welcome the attendees and explain the 54-hour weekend in detail, from pitching ideas, to forming teams, and working hard to present an MVP by the end of the weekend.

What is necessary if someone would like to become a facilitator?

People who want to have an impact beyond just their local community and who have organized at least two Startup Weekend events are eligible to become facilitators.

You still have to go through an online course that prepares you for the position. After which you’ll be interviewed by one of the regional managers to assess your knowledge and ability to facilitate events.

Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend Groningen

Do you recall your best Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend Groningen that was held in The Netherlands is my best weekend so far. People over there really like to have a lot of fun. They held a laser-tag competition, and they even had a go-karting arena! Heineken was one of the sponsors, so they had beer all over the place! People there were very friendly, happy, and excited to work on their projects. I truly enjoyed the whole experience.

What would be your hints for people that are coming to Startup Weekend Bratislava to pitch their ideas?

The best thing to do is just to go and pitch. Do not be afraid of people thinking that your idea is stupid or crazy. In fact, a lot of crazy and weird ideas just made it and became something really big. Take for example Snapchat. Who would have ever thought that an app where you send a picture and it just disappears after a couple of seconds would become a multibillion dollar company?

Startup Weekend is your chance to meet co-founders, develop an actual product, and establish a profitable business. Why should you miss it?


We bring you the interview in cooperation with Startup Weekend Bratislava. There are still some tickets left, so use the promo code “SWBA7_SLOVAKSTARTUP20” and you’ll get 20% off.

Photos: Dani Arnaout

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