If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the most exciting ways to validate your idea is to participate in a startup challenge. These intense competitions pit fledgling startups against each other where they are forced to articulate their business ideas before the public as well as a scrutinizing panel of judges. Since the business world is always on the lookout for the next potentially game changing new startup, these competitions are one of the best ways to drive innovation and help entrepreneurs find out if they have what it takes to tackle the challenges of realizing their business dreams.
The WordPress community is about to get its very own startup challenge, created by Matt Medeiros. For the past year, Matt has hosted a successful WordPress business podcast for entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers. On the “Matt Report“, Matt regularly interviews folks who have made a living using WordPress. On Monday, Matt will be launching a new segment called “The WordPress Startup Challenge“. The challenge will feature early stage startups who will be thrown to the shark tank, a panel of judges comprised of proven WordPress entrepreneurs.
I had the chance to chat with Matt about the details of the WordPress Startup Challenge. While he expects the format to change and mature over time, the series will start out with judges delivering a score based on each startup’s pitch. “For the first episode, startups will pitch their idea and demonstrate their product or service to the judges. Judges will give them a score based on their pitch, the product and their estimated outlook to success of both. Most importantly, I’m giving the startups a chance to ask their most challenging question(s) to the panel for feedback.”
WordPress Entrepreneurs in the Shark Tank
While Matt would not reveal who will be on the panel of judges, I was able to find out a little more about his plans for what he is calling the “shark tank”. I asked if it would be purely educational or if there might be some dreams crushed in the process. He replied:
First and foremost, it’s about bringing real meaning to our startup ecosystem. For lack of a better comparison, “The TechCrunch effect” of our fellow WP entrepreneurs.
You see Matt Mullenweg interviewed on various startup shows like This Week in Startups and all the dialogue is about .com and publishing — but not about the multi-million dollar industry that has spawned from the .org product. (and community)
Be it themes, plugins or service there’s great stuff going on. That said, the first “season” will be a combo of education, awareness and entertainment.
So who’s suiting up to get thrown into the tank? Matt has approximately 32 early stage startups on board, including ideas ranging from customer relationship management to a crime vertical to client training and many other varieties. Matt said applicants include, “Some very interesting startups that are using WordPress to build mobile solutions for entire countries all the way down to niche WordPress service providers.”
Matt created his startup challenge with the desire to prove that the WordPress startup ecosystem should be taken seriously. “I’ve only scratched the surface. I’m already seeing super unique passionate individuals and small startups step up to the plate. It proves (to me at least) that building your business on top of WordPress is a real thing. I’m sure there’s plenty of other startups out there that have yet to discover me and the show.”
Matt has a list of goals that he’s hoping to accomplish through this first season as the WordPress Startup Challenge plays out:
- Validation of the WordPress startup scene
- A strong sense of community
- The vision of WordPress as the internet’s Operating System, be it far off, is not just a pipe dream
- For the audience to discover new opportunity while learning from the panel and startups
- What else can we do with WordPress?
If you’ve had a startup idea buzzing around in your head and you’re not afraid of the shark tank, send your pitch to Matt and get some feedback. There are a lot of people who have been down this road who may have some valuable advice to help you refine your idea.
The WordPress Startup Challenge has the potential to be very educational and will explore the strength of some exciting early stage startups. Tune in on Monday to find out if these innovators have what it takes to tackle the challenges of entrepreneurship in the WordPress community.