60 seconds on the clock, a pitch for co-founders
Microphone in hand, hopeful entrepreneurs began their pitches: a more portable sailboat?, a social network for food lovers?, a way to track when the next bus is coming?
Sixty seconds is all the time they have. Once the digital timer starts beeping, time is up and all they can do is the hope you've convinced enough people to jump on your startup idea bandwagon.
"It’s hard. You gotta pick out the most important details of what you’re actually doing and get it in there the best you actually can," said Ian Dickerson, a senior at Syracuse University. Dickerson and a friend pitched their idea: a fundraiser and marketing firm for nonprofits.
That's how the first few hours of a Startup Weekend unfold. This past weekend, Syracuse held its second one at the Technology Garden, a startup incubator downtown.
More than 700 Startup Weekends have been held around the world and they're spreading across New York state too.
About 100 people spent the weekend holed up working on the dozen or so favorite ideas coming out of the Friday evening pitches.
After working on their ideas, the newly formed startups again pitched their ideas Sunday evening - this time with more than 60 seconds to work with - to a panel of judges. Cash prizes went to the favorites.
This weekend's top winner was Dickerson's micro-donation platform Centsere, followed by ones called Wishr and RecCircle.
But the ultimate goal of Startup Weekends, organizers say, is sparking creativity, forging connections and growing startup communities.