4 Nov 2019

Economic Development, Business Development

It wasn’t just hyperbole—there really was something for everyone.

An exciting Lincoln Startup Week from October 18-25 had many different events and meetups to take in, including the exciting and well-attended Inside Outside Innovation Summit. In its third year, the IO Summit, held October 20-22, brought innovators from all over the world to Lincoln with the goal of networking and showcasing and celebrating the local startup community.

Not only did the IO Summit attract a record attendance of nearly 400 people at the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, but Lincoln Startup Week as a whole, attracted more interest and continues to grow.

Christina Oldfather, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, says startup week’s evolution has been incredible to see, benefitting local entrepreneurs.

“Lincoln Startup Week has continued to grow and offer content and sessions for startups at every stage, from how to find an idea to tactical growth strategies,” Oldfather points out.

“Startup Week also brings opportunities for the entire community to connect and engage in all entrepreneurial spaces around our community.”

With networking and educational events scattered throughout the week, it was important for attendees to branch out and make the most of their opportunities to make collisions and connect.

The biggest draw remained the IO Summit. In its third year, the IO Summit built on its billing as the premier conference for innovators and entrepreneurs. This year, the IO Summit featured over 20 amazing keynote speakers, including Lorrie Vogel, who helped bring innovation to Nike as the former VP of Material Science and Innovation; Zainab Ghadiyali, Product Lead at Airbnb and former Tech Lead at Facebook; and Fernando Garibay, an American record producer, songwriter, DJ and entrepreneur.

In a week jam-packed with presentations and ideas, the summit helped create a buzz that ramped up as the week continued.

“The IO Summit was a great addition to Lincoln Startup Week, creating a lot of momentum and leveraging a lot of great speakers that we were able to bring into Lincoln for those unable to attend the Summit,” according to Oldfather.

The big winner from the Startup Pitch Competition at the IO Summit was Lincoln-based startup Layer, whose management app makes it easier for building and construction professionals to manage and update their project workloads. Winning the pitch competition secured a $25,000 LaunchLNK Grant from the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development in addition to other services from local Lincoln companies.

After the conclusion of the IO Summit, Thursday evening’s events at Turbine Flats featured the Startup Tech Crawl, which helped connect local startups and tech organizations to potential interns and employees, and Startup Grind x Lincoln, which saw Oldfather and an audience conduct a fireside chat with Doug Durham, CEO of Don’t Panic Labs and co-founder of Nebraska Global.

Turbine Flats joined other venues in hosting a variety of events, such as the Carson Center, FUSE Coworking, The Barnyard, Catalyst, Union Bank and Trust, The Foundry and Arrive Coworking.

Ultimately, the idea is to celebrate the startup network that exists in Lincoln and to inspire others who have designs on becoming an entrepreneur themselves.

“Whether you are just starting or a seasoned entrepreneur, the ability to learn and connect during startup week is a benefit for everyone,” Oldfather says.

“It gives founders, mentors and innovators the opportunity to give back, connect and continue to help build our community, which is vital to creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow. There truly is something for everyone to learn and take away from Lincoln Startup Week.”