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Shane Reiser joins Startup Weekend team full-time

This past weekend, 164 individuals gathered in the coworking space of New Work City for Startup Weekend New York, a 54-hour event challenging attendees to present ideas, form teams, plan, implement, and then present their just-born startup. Leading the planned chaos was Shane Reiser of Des Moines, a now full-time employee of Startup Weekend. Prior

Shane Reiser of Des Moines speaks to attendees at Startup Weekend New York. Photo Elizabeth Fuller via Flickr.

This past weekend, 164 individuals gathered in the coworking space of New Work City for Startup Weekend New York, a 54-hour event challenging attendees to present ideas, form teams, plan, implement, and then present their just-born startup. Leading the planned chaos was Shane Reiser of Des Moines, a now full-time employee of Startup Weekend.

Prior to joining the Startup Weekend team, which he announced August 31st, Reiser was an analyst at Aviva Investors.

To learn more about the non-profit behind Startup Weekend, Reiser’s past involvement with it – next weekend he’ll be attending his ninth startup weekend – and what’s ahead for him and the organization, we conducted an email interview with Reiser.

Silicon Prairie News: What is Startup Weekend and what is your position?

Shane Reiser: Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization based in Seattle. Our mission is to be a leading catalyst for startup creation, co-founder dating and entrepreneurship education in startup ecosystems around the world. To date, Startup Weekend has been in over 100 cities across 30 countries. My position will be chief operating officer.

When did you first get involved with Startup Weekend?

I volunteered to organize an event in Des Moines last year because I thought it would benefit the local community. Soon after, an event in NYC needed a last-minute facilitator and Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen called me in. I had a blast at both and began volunteering to lead more and more events, including the first one in Omaha. Then one day, about 16 months after I first started volunteering, Clint sent me an email that read “what would it take to get you to do this full-time?” I would have been crazy to pass it up.

Who makes up the Startup Weekend team – full-time, advisors and facilitators?

There are four directors: Marc Nager, Clint Nelsen, Franck Nouyrigat and myself. We are fortunate to have a very active, passionate board of advisors made up of Eric Koester, Dan Martell, Ayush Agarwal, John Seachrest and Danielle Morrill. We also have an amazing network of more than 125 volunteers that fly around the world and help organize events.

Image from startupweekend.org/about.

Will you be relocating to Startup Weekend’s home base of Seattle or remaining in Des Moines?

I’ll stay in Des Moines for a while. Seattle may be in my future next year depending on what works best for my wife (who’s currently a third-year medical student at Des Moines University). One of the perks of working with Startup Weekend is that I can be based out of pretty much anywhere. But wherever I go, I’ll always be rooting for the Midwest and the awesome city of Des Moines.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Organizing and facilitating events will continue to be a large part of what I do. As COO, I’ll be responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operating activities, including revenue and operational growth. I’ll also lead efforts in launching new innovative programs, establishing strategic partnerships and pursuing new sponsor relationships.

How many Startup Weekend events will you be attending each year?

I’m planning to attend between 20 to 30 events each year in the U.S. and abroad.

How does Startup Weekend cover operational costs?

We make a small amount on the events we do and rely on the rest from global sponsor support.

What’s to come from Startup Weekend in the future?

We want to establish ourselves in every community we go as an essential and valuable part of the early stage startup ecosystem. We believe that we can help create more, better entrepreneurs that go on to build more, successful businesses, and we will do everything in our ability to put as many support structures in place to help accomplish that goal.

On the event side, we’re testing themed events including education, mobile, arts+tech, finance+tech, social entrepreneurship and others. We’ll also be rolling out some pretty sweet initiatives, one of which I’m particularly excited about: an event designed for universities.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’ll add two things. First, get involved in your community. Join a meetup group. Start one if it doesn’t exist. Volunteer. These are the secrets to finding your passion and figuring out how to get paid to do it, which is something we should all constantly seek. Second, I feel extremely fortunate in many ways to have the opportunity to join the Startup Weekend guys on their journey to change the world. I just want to thank Marc, Clint and Franck for believing and investing in me. More importantly, I want to thank my wife Stephanie for her encouragement (and also for putting up with me).

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

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