Assean Sheikh (standing) and the E-cellerator team hash out ideas at Portland's Startup Weekend held last October.

Assean Sheikh (standing) and the E-cellerator team hash out ideas at Portland’s Startup Weekend held last October.


Bangor’s inaugural Startup Weekend was scheduled to begin this evening, but will not go forward because of a dearth of participants.

Weak anticipated attendance was the reason for postponing the event, according to Jesse Moriarty, who works at the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Innovation and is one of the event’s organizers. The goal was to attract between 50 and 75 people who would gather Friday night and spend the next 54 hours building a startup business from scratch. Early registrations, however, suggested the event would not get close to meeting that goal, Moriarty said.

In the end, it turned out to be a weekend rife with conflicting events that would have likely siphoned participants away from Startup Weekend, she said.

Among the other events going on this weekend are the Common Ground Fair in Unity, the Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure in Bangor on Sunday, and the BangPop! Comic Con.

“I think those three things really put a drag on participation. We certainly had some signups, but not enough to make it the fun, dynamic event that is has been in Portland,” she said, adding that perhaps the prospect of there not being too many more nice weekends contributed to the lack of interest.

Portland has to date held three successful Startup Weekends. The first was held in March 2013 and spawned a few businesses that are still around, including bizzieMe, a multimedia education platform for smartphones and tablet computers.

Startup Weekends are not unique to Maine. It’s actually a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that helps run these events all over the world. There have been more than 1,500 Startup Weekends held in 726 cities around the world since it launched in 2007. For example, this weekend there are Startup Weekends scheduled in Hermosillo, Mexico; Youssoufia, Morocco; Geraldton, Australia; Milan, Italy; Skopje, Macedonia; Odessa, Ukraine; and Delhi, India, among many others.

The Bangor event is tentatively being rescheduled for the first weekend in February.

“I think we’re bummed about Startup Weekend, but we’re not discouraged,” Moriarty said. “There’s so much momentum and so many great things going on, I’m sure we’re going to fill (the February event).”

For instance, the BigGig business pitch event is on Tuesday evening and there are already 50 RSVPs to that event, she said.

“There’s been a lot of momentum, so ultimately I don’t think (postponing the event) is a reflection on this startup community at all,” she said.

The next Startup Weekend in Maine will be held in Auburn on Nov. 14-16. It will also be that community’s inaugural Startup Weekend. Check the UP Maine website for more information about the Startup Weekends being planned for Maine.