Garage48 is one of those startup weekend type events, where people gather together for about 48 hours and develop something that could potentially be founded into a startup. The concept isn’t all that old, but the people behind it have been active. This weekend Garage48 will take place in Riga and in the coming months, a lot of other cities will also see a Garage48 event take place. In April (15th-17th), Garage48 will take place in Tallinn, at the end of August in Tartu. Later in the year Garage48 will most likely be visiting Stockholm and Helsinki as well. Additionally, the team will have 5 events in Africa this year.
I talked to Priit Salumaa about the concept and how the feedback has been in Riga. “The inital feeback has been very good, we sold out the event a month before and when we added 15 more places 1.5 weeks before these were sold out in 35 minutes. Interest is very high and we are hoping for a great event!” Salumaa states.
I participated personally as a “visionary project manager” in the Helsinki event in January and can say that it was a demanding weekend, but very enjoyable. I met lots of people and the energy people had throughout the weekend to get something interesting done was amazing.
Salumaa continues, “we are changing the format every time a bit – with regard the feedback we get from the previous event. In Riga we’ll add an additional demo practice session for Sunday, so the demos in the evening would be better. We’ll also try to emphasize besides the development of the prototype or a service, the importance of developing the idea itself – more work for attending visioneers and marketing people.”
Even though there has been some questioning of the importance of Garage48 -type of events in creating startups, for example by Sten Tamkivi, I don’t think anyone argues that they should be discontinued. I personally think, while the events themselves might not produce that many startups, they are extremely good ways for people to play around with executing of ideas. Hopefully, some will like it enough to do something about it in the future.