June 2, 2014
Today, merged with Startup America, Startup Weekend now has a core team of almost 60 people at UP Global. Their larger community includes about 7,000 volunteers and an extended network of about 20,000 people. But Startup Weekend was a startup once, too.
“We lived the startup stereotype – ‘ramen noodles’ kind of days for about the first year and a half,” Nager told us at UP Summit. When Andrew Hyde sold Startup Weekend to him, Clint Nelson, and Franck Nouyrigat, the trio was living together in an 800-square-foot apartment with Nager’s girlfriend, and two of them (including Nager) were on unemployment.
“It was every day just a grind and every day going to bed worrying, ‘Alright, am I going to get up and do this again tomorrow?’ And not really knowing and constantly questioning yourself,” said Nager. “It’s a hard thing, especially when you have people around you – getting on the phone with my grandmother and she’s like, ‘Are you doing okay? Are you selling drugs? What are you doing?’ I’m being facetious, but it’s a little bit of a scary journey.”
It was only two years in when they really started hiring people and made some key partnerships with companies like Google and the Kauffman Foundation – and finally started paying themselves.
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