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Breakthrough Weekend: Starting up in 54 hours

Why start a company in 54 hours?

Traditional companies take anywhere from months to years to validate a concept. We’re challenging entrepreneurs to do it in a weekend. Why? We believe in timing, market validation and strong messaging more than we believe in the bells and whistles of a company founded without a clear vision statement, or a list of potential customers. We also think there’s something to be said about participating in an immersive outcome-driven weekend. The excitement and pace of the weekend builds on momentum and propels dynamic thinkers and builders forward.

One of the most important steps to building your company is understanding the person, organization and pain point you’re solving. Breakthrough Weekend makes you name, names. Literally, 20 customers the first day. We’re rooting this weekend in sheer speed and validation. Seriously. We’re packing this weekend with mentors and stage time. Practice is key, immersion is key, validation is key.  What better way to see if you should dedicate time, (let alone money) into a company than having core milestones achieved, customers to call, and a newly formed team to back it up.

What happens at the event?

In its simplest form, this is a sprint to take a concept to a company! In 54-hours, we want to see you either push a concept of your own forward or join a team and do the same. You’ll kickoff the weekend on Friday in one of two ways: pitching your concept to the crowd hoping they’ll rally behind you and form a team OR listening to others pitch concepts and determining which concept you’ll spend the weekend working through. On Sunday, your team will pitch the concept and the early customer discovery you’ve achieved.

Do I need a team?

You can go about this multiple ways! Come as a solo and team up OR come with a team already formed. The important thing is that everyone is expected to be inclusive to new teammates and concept evolutions based on discovery. If you want to know our stance on the importance of team, check out this article in SPN from TSC Cofounder Nathan Preheim.

Do I need to come with a concept?

You have a couple options on how prepared you want to be at the start of the event. (We’d advocate the more prepared!)

  1. Complete pre-work (mentioned above) with TSC’s team and earn a free ticket, while doing some early customer validation that will accelerate your concept’s growth during the weekend.
  2. Come with a concept (tightly attached to a market problem that needs solved!) to pitch on Friday night. Make your pitch good, this is how other participants will plan to join your team.
  3. Come without a concept or pre-work and plan on joining a team on the spot.

What do I need to bring to the weekend?

  • Laptop
  • Cell phone for customer discovery calls
  • Power cords
  • Whatever else you need to be hyper productive (second monitors, comfy clothes, etc.)

Who’s participating this year?

Students, entrepreneurs, community leaders and more!

Morgan Freeman, Inclusive Communications Consultant, and no stranger to the Omaha entrepreneurial scene is participating in Breakthrough Weekend for mentor validation —

“I’m participating because I’m interested in having access to industry subject matter experts, who have the time and capacity to help me make my dream a tangible reality. That in itself is an opportunity too good to pass up.”

Luke Hoffman talent manager of the Greater Omaha Young Professionals, is running through the weekend to better grip problem solving on a community building level —

“I’m excited to address old problems in new ways by leveraging the experience of participating in Breakthrough Weekend. When you’re able to problem solve in a creative setting like this, you can use the creative tension that always comes with community building to break through those barriers that are preventing you from having a fully formed idea.”

Andrew Prystai, serial entrepreneur and 2016 Techstars Mobility participant is running through Breakthrough Weekend to make connections with the burgeoning talent pool —

“I’m excited for breakthrough weekend because it lends extra motivation to step out of the day-to-day and validate a new idea. Even if the idea doesn’t go past this weekend the old relationships I’ll strengthen and the new ones I’ll forge will make this weekend a highlight of the year.”

Want a free ticket? Got an idea that you know you want to bring that weekend? Sign up for pre-work sessions with the Startup Collaborative’s cofounders by clicking here. Once you meet certain pre-work outcomes, not only do you get a free ticket, but also free inclusion in TSC’s fellowship for up to 6 months following the event.


Caty O’Brien leads The Startup Collaborative’s member experience and marketing efforts. She was TSC’s first employee – a critical role suited only for the scrappiest, most strategic of candidates.

Hailing from a stint with Greenslate Development where Caty helped curate the burgeoning neighborhood, her knack for community building, culture setting and overall brand experience is unmatched.

Now, Caty is the lead on pivotal community building initiatives like 1 Million Cups, Startup Week and much more. Caty is also the managing editor of TSC’s Fellow Outcome Microblog. She is responsible for brand development and awareness throughout the entire region on behalf of The Startup Collaborative. She has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Nebraska–Omaha, which lends itself to the necessary storytelling associated with the Collaborative.

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