Nuestros líderes de Comunidad en Sevilla, España

Siguiendo la crisis financiera de 2007 -08, la economía española entró en recesión, y en un ciclo de desarrollo negativo macroeconómico. Esto impactó la manera cómo era visto el emprendimiento en diferentes ciudades alrededor del país, especialmente aquellas que siempre fueron muy tradicionales. Tuve la oportunidad de hablar con Jaime Aranda Serralbo acerca del crecimiento de la comunidad de emprendimiento de Sevilla y su camino como líder de comunidad.

 

Nacido en Córdoba, pero establecido en Sevilla desde hace muchos años, Jaime ha sido uno de los principales catalizador del movimiento de emprendimiento en esa ciudad. Junto con otro participante de Startup Weekend Córdoba en Diciembre de 2012, fue el primero en llevar Startup Weekend a Sevilla en mayo del 2013. Esta acción– que fue después de abrir un espacio de co-working y ser organizador de más de 120 eventos– fue el inicio de la comunidad, que al día de hoy tiene el record de organización del Startup Weekend más grande de España.

De la recolección de datos que ha hecho, Jaime me cuenta que hay 8 startups y alrededor de 160 trabajos que se han generado gracias a esta comunidad de emprendimiento. Ahora, 3 años después de ese punto inicial, la comunidad de Sevilla, ha creado una organización sin ánimo de lucro que busca apoyar el emprendimiento y la inversión pública y privada en la ciudad, llamada Sevilla UP; con Jaime como su presidente. El objetivo principal de esta organización es ser un foro abierto a la innovación, la colaboración y las ideas que tengan sus socios y participantes.

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El primer Startup Weekend, que sucedió en Mayo del 2013, tuvo alrededor de 45 participantes. De ahí se movieron a 160 en el evento organizado durante Global Startup Weekend en 2014. En ese momento, el director de Techstars para Europa, el Medio Oriente y Africa, José Iglesias, sugirió al equipo organizador, hacer eventos verticalizados. En 2015, durante Global Startup Battle de ese año, hicieron su primer evento enfocado en gastronomía y comida, al cual asistieron 50 participantes.

Este año, tendrán la tercera edición de ese tema en Marzo, la segunda enfocada en aeroespacial y la primera enfocada en educación.

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Jaime, quien es emprendedor serial, piensa que en el 2017 después de la crisis y con el ecosistema emprendedor de Sevilla creciendo, las startups tendrán más madurez y serán capaces de crear profesionales dentro de sus equipos, proveyendo experiencias invaluables a sus empleados y al mismo tiempo dando valor a la sociedad y el mercado español. 








Community Highlight: Sevilla, Spain

Following the financial crisis of 2007–08, the Spanish economy’s plunged into recession, entering a cycle of negative macroeconomic performance. This impacted the way that entrepreneurship was seen in cities around the country. Specially those that were always very traditional. I got a chance to talk to Jaime Aranda Serralbo about the growth of Sevilla’s entrepreneurial community and his path as Community Leader.

 

Born in Cordoba, but now living in Sevilla since several years ago, Jaime has been a catalyst within the startup movement in Sevilla. Along with another participant of Startup Weekend Cordoba in late December of 2012, he was the first to bring Startup Weekend to Sevilla on May of 2013. This move, which came after Jaime’s successful opening of the biggest co-working space in the city – WorkINCompany – as well as having already organised around 120 events, was the starting point of the community, which as of today has held the biggest Startup Weekend event in the country – and one of the biggest in Europe.

From his recollection of data, Jaime says there are 8 startups and around 160 jobs that have been created thanks to the thriving community. Now, 3 years after the movement began, the community leaders of Sevilla, have created an non-profit to support entrepreneurship and investment in the city called Sevilla UP; with Jaime as President. This organization aims to be an open forum of collaboration, innovation and ideation.

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The first Startup Weekend, the one back in May 2013, had around 45 participants. They went up to host around 160 participants, during 2014’s Global Startup Battle. At that point, Techstars EMEA Director, José Iglesias, suggested that they should start doing verticalized events–focused events in a specific theme/industry. In 2015, during Global Startup Battle, they ran their first thematic Startup Weekend, focused on Food and gastronomy–they had around 50 participants. This year, they will run in March the 3rd edition of that theme, in June their 2nd focused in Aerospace and in July their first focused on Education.

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Jaime, who is a serial entrepreneur, thinks after the crisis and with the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem growing, in 2017, startups will become more mature, and will be able to create professionals within their teams, provide valuable experiences for their employees and at the same time provide value to both the society and the Spanish markets. We look forward to following their progress!








A Diversity Discussion from CES

How do we move from just talking about the topic to taking action?

During CES 2017, on Friday at Startup Stage, a diversity discussion took place between Brad Feld, managing director of Foundry Group; Jenny Fielding, MD for Techstars IoT in NYC; Anielle Guedes, CEO & co-founder at Urban 3D, Jinger Zeng, co-founder at Drone Smith, and Jayant Ratti, co-founder at Vairdo. This panel discussed the specific actions startups can take on the issue, rather than just talking about a hot topic with a lot of buzz.

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Having diversity creates a better working environment
For Anielle, a Brazilian Founder of Urban 3D, it is important to have people from different backgrounds on her team. One of the perks of having a diverse team, is that they can go into different markets and regions on a shorter timeline. Having people from India, Brazil and the USA, makes it easier for them to achieve the goal of expansion for the startup because of connections and language barriers that no longer exist.

Surround yourself with people who think differently, and who have a distinct life experience
Jayant, who studied engineering, has a PhD in Robotics, and is co-founder at Vairdo,  thinks it’s extremely important to have people on your team who can challenge your point of view. Differences in background and the contrast in thinking often lead to the most innovative ideas and solutions.  

Be aware of your Unconscious Bias so you understand diversity better
As Managing Director of Techstars Internet of Things, founder of several companies, and with a long background in tech entrepreneurship, Jenny Fielding is — on many occasions — the only female voice in the room. She gave an example of a meeting with venture capitalists, where all the questions for the product were aimed at her co-founders (both males). The VCs ignored her.

She explained the importance of awareness over something as small as eye contact, which can make you feel good or bad. This is all part of the unconscious bias we have within because of how we were raised, our level of education, and other factors that influence it. Learn more about Unconscious Bias and how to prevent it here.

Enhancing entrepreneurship through age diversity
For Jinger Zeng, founder at Dronesmith, she has been dealing with age discrimination as she has built her company. On several occasions she felt that potential customers would not take her seriously or who saw her only as very young and didn’t think she had enough experience to be credible. She understood that business owners sometimes rely heavily on experience (age) to purchase a product or be convinced that it works. One way she handled this was to ask her mentors to help her team reach people who would not respond to them directly.

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The conversation then moved to the Techstars Foundation, which is committed to improving diversity in tech entrepreneurship. We do this by investing in organizations with grant money and leveraging the Techstars network to empower these organizations to accelerate their mission.

Here are a few ways we encourage founders and startups to take action to improve diversity:

  • Set up office hours where you invite interns or high school students to learn about entrepreneurship and startups
  • Invite youth or veterans to learn about the environment in startups.
  • Mentor a Startup Weekend
  • Make time to teach entrepreneurial concepts in places where people are eager to learn– Schools, underprivileged sectors.

For even more ways to learn about what actions you can take to improve diversity, visit www.techstars.com/bealeader.








Fireside Chat with Fitbit: From Inspiration to IPO

At CES, Brad Feld, CEO of the Foundry Group, led a fireside chat with James Park, Co-Founder and CEO of Fitbit, about the startup journey and the ups and downs they’ve experienced since they started and all the way through to IPO.

How did Fitbit get started?

In late 2006, James Park and his co-founder, Eric Friedman, were working at a company which is now part of CBS. Nintendo had just released the Nintendo Wii, which was the first consumer device that had accelerometers, and it was the first product that proved gaming was begging to be made into something fun and active for users. During April 2007, they decided to start Fitbit. At the time, the company was just Eric, James, and some consultants helping part time.

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How long did it take for Fitbit to have something that would look like a Fitbit?

By the time they created their first prototype, they were raising Series A investment. People started to get more interested in the company once they saw a fancy object (that was actually made out of plastic).

Around the IPO, they went back to review their pitch decks. The slides read, “Automated personal trainer and nutritionist in your pocket.” It is not far from what they are now, even though they pivoted every six months. Fitbit has held through the original vision, however they weren’t presenting much to investors.

How much money did the company raise before Series A?

Thanks to friends and family, James and Eric were able to raise around $400K. This initial funding is what took them to production and launched the product. However, the money ran out quickly.

In September 2007, raising for Series A was different – they went to TechCrunch Disrupt with a prototype that “kind of worked” for the demo. They told people that they were shipping at Christmas (but they didn’t say which Christmas!) — and everyone was excited.

How did you get people excited about Fitbit?

The initial excitement came after the company joined Kickstarter. Later, the weekend before TechCrunch Disrupt, James shared photos of his friends using the device. Their website was poorly built on a ‘sketchy’ platform, so they didn’t think anyone was going to pre-order the device. But less than a month after the conference, they had over one thousand pre-orders.

Since the production wasn’t ready for release, James created a blog and a Flickr account to keep people updated on the status of the product, including what they were doing to get the product ready for customers. This consistent communication kept people from rioting and hating the company.

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Did any of you have a background in consumer electronics products?

James only had a single semester of school under his belt, so no. Eric, on the other hand, had a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s. Eric was responsible for software and James was responsible for hardware.

How did it feel the first moment you had the box in your hand with the produced Fitbit?

Both co-founders did not feel 100% confident in the product. Unlike software, they couldn’t fix it and patch it up once it was released and shipped; this was hardware, it required different kind of work. We were lucky enough to tap into something people were passionate about, so people just ignored the first few mistakes.

What was the path like going forward after the first production line?

In the beginning, during the Christmas of 2008, 5000 units were out after a couple of months of production. They had 25K to 30K pre-orders in their platform and by the end of 2009 they had about $500K in revenue. In 2010, the production was up to 50K devices with $5M in revenue.

When James and Eric were seeking to raise their Series B, they were looking for around $12M in financing. During this time, they met with around 40 VCs. In the end, they were rejected by all of them and ended up raising a Series A-1 instead.

By the time they met with Brad Feld as a potential investor, Fitbit already had Fitbit One, which was the product they were releasing after Fitbit Classic and Fitbit Ultra, and that’s when things started to really move. Classic and Ultra were both released before any type of mobile connectivity, so in order for them to get data from the device to the backend, they had to develop their own platform. It was not a quality experience for the user.

When they heard Apple was releasing third party app development, they stopped coding the backend, because they decided to bet on Apple to do that, even though it was just a rumor. When it finally happened, that’s when the business took off; Fitbit went from $15M to $76M in revenue, which signified 5x growth over a year.

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What made Fitbit different from other companies?

The keywords to describe Fitbit was “fitness tracker” or “activity tracker.” Information that was invisible before was made visible so people could play with it, adding different sorts of data to provide a personalized coaching or guidance experience which used information in a smart way. That change brought them from $70M to $300M in revenue.

Next, they changed the marketing strategy. Before, they only used social media platforms and word of mouth, maybe a blog post here and there. But in order to go from $300M to $750M, they needed to change their distribution in a major way, starting with their distribution deal with Best Buy. Marketing dollars were invested in channel marketing, buying displays and putting them in stores, which helped with advertising, but also helped educating staff of stores by having POP marketing at the stores.

What would you have done differently since you started Fitbit?

Fitbit was lucky to end up with a small pool of investors, which meant there was a lot of cohesiveness on the board and practically no egos; it was focused on getting stuff done. At some point as a company, they were really desperate for investment but now are grateful to not have accepted some of those investors on the board, because the key ingredient was having people that believed in the product.

One of James’ biggest transitions was when he stopped coding. He went to manage the hardware part of the business in the summer of 2014, but he was still involved in the company’s internal operations. A lot of stuff was being neglected, for example, they were still using Quickbooks until they had about $300M in revenue, so they hired a CFO that helped them prepare for the IPO.

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What was it like going from a private to a public company?

The transition from private to public was one of the hardest things for the founders to do. They experienced incredibly fast paced growth and launched a new product called Fitbit 4, which included Color ID and alphanumeric display. At the time, they sold around 600K units and within a couple of months, discovered the product had health risks and people were starting to get skin irritation. They had already raised about $65M by that point and had $300M in revenue.

The exposure and liability included inventory, stock that they owed the suppliers, and the cost of that production mistake, which was close to $100M. In terms of cash flow, it was a hit they could take, but the risk was losing consumer confidence. They had to work on convincing the suppliers to stack their displays with other Fitbit products instead of their competitors.

The IPO process started in late 2014, Fitbit started all the documentation in January 2015 and went public by June of that year.

What’s coming for Fitbit in 2017?

Fitbit’s vision is to make everyone in the world healthier, and they want to do it from a consumer point of view. The goal is to make Fitbit an essential part of the healthcare ecosystem. Currently they’re developing sensors and the software that will support them.

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What is the best advice for entrepreneurs?

  • Be prepared for a lot of grey hairs.
  • Raise efficient capital – mistakes are really expensive.
  • Try to have the right investor base.
  • Co-found your startup with someone you have chemistry with.







Community Leader Highlight: Arturo Guizar

In memory of our dear friend Carole Granade, director, president, mother and wife. We will make sure that the entrepreneurial flame never dies in Lyon.


My name is Arturo Guizar, I am from Mexico City but I live in Lyon, France for almost 10 years. Since then, I have been traveling around the world but I always come back to Lyon.

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What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I consider myself as a hound and a hustler, two terms I learned from the startup culture. I use these terms to describe my two backgrounds as young scientist (hound) and entrepreneur (hustler). I did my PhD on wearable technologies at the CITI Lab, a joint Inria-INSA laboratory devoted to do research in the telecom sector. I am also co-cofounder of a non-profit organization BeyondLab which aims to connect the research and entrepreneur communities to create strong collaborations and democratise the discoveries of science to turn them into innovative projects. For that, we organise events and build scientific/business communities to reduce the cultural gap. My job here is to help on the community building and find money to continue growing. Since our first event in Grenoble, two years ago, we organised more than 50 events across France, from Lille to Marseille, and worldwide too, in Tokyo, Lausanne and Barcelona. We have worked with local partners, such as EPFL, Inria, CEA, The Family, Kic InnoEnergy, EDF, Withings and more.

For us, Startup Weekend has been a big inspiration, as well as Brad Feld’s philosophy about Startup Communities. We want to continue creating transdisciplinary hubs around the world to help scientist to find entrepreneurs and go beyond the lab.

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

The first time I heard about Startup Weekend was in 2011 when I was trying to create my first startup, but I missed the opportunity to participate in Lyon. At that time, I didn’t know it was an international community and I waited a whole year for the next event in Lyon. So, my first SW was on November 2012 in a vertical (SW OpenLabs which now is called SW Science) where scientists pitch their ideas and then, we work with them during the weekend to create startups using technologies coming from research.

This experience was so crazy, I learned a lot, especially about organization, team management and the importance of having a complementary team for the innovation process. I loved so much the concept of startup communities (thanks to Bernabé Chumpitazi), so I wanted to learn more about it and build our own for scientists/entrepreneurs. After that, I started organizing in Lyon (2013) and then facilitating in France (2014).

Startup Weekend inspired me to create BeyondLab (with Xavier Blot and Raphaël Meyer) in Lyon and Grenoble. But now, it’s becoming worldwide.

What is your favorite thing about Startup Weekend and the community?

Transdisciplinarity, international dimension and the fun. I’ve been involved in this community for almost 4 years and I got the opportunity to meet people from everywhere sharing the same values about community, economy and innovation. I also love to see passionate people trying to help their local ecosystem and I always learn something new by listening their background, everyone has an interesting history to tell

What is the funniest thing that you have witnessed and/or experienced with your team?

Each Startup Weekend is different, I have seen many funny and amazing things. But on the last two weeks (during the Global Startup Weekend), I saw for the first time a connected community without frontiers in real time. I connected with many communities using appear.in from Bolivia to US and even Australia. I found always someone to have a chat with and share moments/experience. That’s how we came with the idea to make the Mannequin Challenge during the GSW, it was fun and magical.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?  

In Lyon, we believe that Startup Weekend is the perfect way to create strong communities for the local economy. The last time we organized a horizontal Startup Weekend was in 2014. Since then, there is always a theme (Science, Food, Makers, Women, MedTech, …). And for each one of them, we have a different team that shares the same passion for that vertical. As a result, we build multiple communities that continue doing things to keep growing our local ecosystem. For instance, the MedTech team also created a new community called Exponential Medicine that organized meetings and Hackathons to improve our healthcare system, find new solutions for pathologies, and more. Nonetheless, they continue organizing other Startup Weekends and we are waiting for the next SW MedTech.  

So, we try to create these ad hoc communities using team building and community chat sessions (every first Monday of each month). The next step is to create more community leaders and increase our local family. But also, we are open to help neighbor cities to create their own.

If you want to become a Techstars Startup Program organiser, go to techstars.com for more information.








Community Leader Highlight: Rayanny Nunes

Brazil CLEu sou co-fundadora da startup Klipbox e All Bugdet, uma apaixonada por empreendedorismo e por organizar eventos nessa área, fomentando comunidades e empoderando pessoas no meu país.

Meu primeiro Startup Weekend como participante foi em 2013 em Recife, uma experiência transformadora e que marcou para sempre minha jornada empreendedora. Me apaixonei completamente pelo evento, pelo propósito e pela comunidade que estávamos construindo. Então, em 2014 organizei duas edições em Natal e participei do primeiro Statup Weekend Women do Brasil em João Pessoa. Ainda nesse ano, fui convidada para mentorar o Startup Weekend Campina Grande.

Definitivamente o Startup Weekend fazia (faz) parte da minha vida, em 2015  fui convidada para mentorar em outros eventos e  participei de mais 5 edições como mentora e voluntária, organizei mais uma edição em Natal e entrei pro time de facilitadores do Brasil.  

No Summit, pude conhecer outras líderes de comunidade do país, nos unimos para organizar um Startup Weekend Women simultâneo, foram cinco eventos realizados em cidades de quatro regiões e que impactou mais de 600 pessoas, você poderá encontrar alguns dados aqui.

O Startup Weekend Women é uma paixão ainda maior, a causa me atrai e meu desejo é que cada vez mais tenhamos mais mulheres  no movimento empreendedor. Assumi a liderança desse movimento e me orgulho muito do trabalho incrível que nossas líderes vem realizando em suas comunidades. Após esse movimento, aumentamos a participação de mulheres em mais de 20% nos eventos do Startup Weekend.  

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Depois de realizar o maior Startup Weekend Women do mundo, nós resolvemos aumentar o desafio para 2016 e impactar ainda mais participantes. Estamos realizando nove edições em diferentes cidades do país (Recife, Florianópolis, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, São Paulo, Natal e Manaus), tive o prazer de facilitar dois desses eventos (Recife e Florianópolis) e contribuir com a construção dos demais.

Hoje estou participando de um programa de aceleração focado em fundadoras mulheres no Chile (The S Factory), os aprendizados, habilidades, desafios e as conexões que o Startup Weekend me proporcionaram, contribuíram muito para essa conquista.

Os planos para 2017 incluem o desafio de impactar mais pessoas e levar o SW Women para outras cidades do país, sonhamos com 15 cidades, assim seguimos ampliando as conexões e participação das mulheres na tecnologia e no empreendedorismo. O desafio é grande, mas estamos preparadas!

Linkedin: https://br.linkedin.com/in/rayannynunes








Community leader Highlight: Mike Michalec, Bangkok (Thailand)

1.When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

My very first exposure to the Startup Weekend community was way back in 2012 in Bangkok when I was working for a startup. Two of our team members were asked to mentor at Startup Weekend so I tagged along to see what all the hype was about and I’ve been hooked ever since contributing most recently the past few years as an organizer, facilitator, mentor, and judge.  

  1. What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I’m a consultant in the international development sector so I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to a lot of impactful social and economic development projects throughout the world that influence things like climate finance, education budgeting, literacy, disaster preparation, innovation, etc. Most of my work is for organizations like UNESCO, UNICEF, or USAID contractors but I also occasionally work for corporate clients. I don’t really have a lot of free time but when there is I like to get away from congested places and hike for as long as my legs will let me! There’s some great treks within our region like Chiang Dao in northern Thailand, Rinjani in Lombok, and pretty much anything in Nepal is awesome. I’m also a big fan of black and white photography and have a website with my work over the years, bwphotography.org

  1. What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

That’s the million dollar question! I think about this everyday and to be honest the plans are constantly being refined as the regional edtech ecosystem and community evolves. As we engage the community we’re always finding new ways to bring value to stakeholders and catalyze growth in the edtech sector either through events, capacity building, research, product, programs, data, etc. Startup Weekend definitely plays a big role in this as we’re keen to keep introducing new groups of people throughout the region to entrepreneurship with the intent to solve problems and improve education outcomes. There are so many unique opportunities to have positive impact by empowering others, creating employment, and transforming education, it’s an exciting time in Asia and we’re quite happy to be here helping to make some of these changes happen.  

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn or follow his endeavours on Facebook.

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Community Leader Highlight: Andrei Cosmin

From Timisoara, Romania, Andrei shares with us his experience as Community Leader in Europe.
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What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I’m a geek 🙂 I work full time as a Software Test Engineer at a big automotive company. Besides the techie side there’s of course the community part where there’s enthusiasm from the community to help organise tech & startup events.

Oh, and we’re also working on opening a co-working space.

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

I first heard about Startup Weekend in 2013. The 1st edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara was about to take place, so I bought a ticket the rest was history. It was an amazing experience: I got to learn a lot from the event, made friends and from that point on I was hooked.

I jumped to help the local organizing team prepare the 2nd edition of SWTimisoara where I got a chance to learn what happens behind the curtains. It got me even more enthusiastic and I decided to lead the organising team for a great 3rd edition of SWTimisoara.

This just got me even more excited about the entire SW movement. I wanted to be a facilitator to get to see how things are happening in other entrepreneurial communities across Europe. In 2015 I became a Global Facilitator and since then I have facilitated a bunch of great events across Europe.

If I had to summarize it all: amazing, energetic, roller coaster of awesomeness.

What is the funniest thing that you have witnessed and/or experienced with your team?

Organizing Startup Weekends is as much of a roller coaster ride as participating in an event.

There are so many funny / crazy & amazing things happening at Startup Weekends – helium balloons, Batman and Superman cupcakes as mentors, cards against humanity SW, Nerf guns, VR corners to name a few!

One thing I want to mention here and for sure it’s the most important thing (coming back to being serious): there’s always an amazing team behind each Startup Weekend event. In Timisoara there’s a great team which has evolved from event to event and they’re THE BEST!

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?  

Our community in Timisoara has potential to grow a lot when it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot of potential.

We’re striving to direct that drive of the community in a direction while also offering the framework that the ecosystem needs to flourish and grow.

Organizing events and having the community to meet up is one way we plan on growing. Together we’re stronger & better.








Community Highlight: Maaike van der Post, Netherlands

Every month, we do a Community Leader Highlight in Europe. For October, we had the chance to ask Maaike, from the Netherlands, about her Startup Weekend involvement. This is what she said.

 

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I work part-time as a graphic designer at Kr8werk. Besides that I am the founder of the startups Baguru and Surprise Dinner and I organize events that are all startup (community) related.

My first Startup Weekend as a participant was in 2013 in Groningen. Wout Laban and Matthijs Menses convinced me to join that edition. I was still a student and one of my biggest fears was pitching. The next year Nick Stevens convinced me to grab the microphone, and I did! My project got enough votes and at the end of the weekend we won the second price. After this edition, I was hooked. In 2014 I participated in three Startup Weekends in Groningen and Amsterdam. Baguru and Surprise Dinner are still on their way to become real companies, I just had to find the right people to get them off the ground. And I found them!

After participating in five Startup Weekends it was time for me to join the organizing team. Last year I was the lead organizer of Startup Weekend Groningen together with David Hamoen. It was a great experience and I was able to work on my own skills and at the same time inspire and connect others. I really like the way startup weekend can make a change in the participants’ mindset.

That is also why a mini-startup weekend with kids is so valuable. It is important to show them that you don’t need to come from a wealthy family or join the highest education to become a successful entrepreneur. In the end, everyone can create their own future.

There are also smaller cities where there is no startup community yet. With Startup Weekend we can create a spark and make a real difference. Our community in the North of the Netherlands will make its next big step by introducing Startup Weekend Friesland. The challenge is to spread the Startup Weekend mentality and grow a community that spans across the several small cities in the province.

We expect that this will be a very different challenge compared to the one in Groningen, but it will be awesome!

Connect with Maaike on LinkedIn and follow Startup Weekend Groningen on Facebook.








Community Highlight: Stavros Messinis & Maria Calafatis, Greece

Every month, we do a Community Leader Highlight in Europe. For September, we had the chance to ask Stavros and Maria, from Greece, about their Startup Weekend involvement. This is what they said.

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Stavros Messinis & Maria Calafatis

 

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

We became involved with Startup Weekend in 2008 when Andrew Hyde came to Athens to do the first Startup Weekend Athens. Our idea was Blognudge – it went nowhere. At the second Startup Weekend Athens in 2009, we cofounded coLab – Athens’ first co-working space; that evolved into The Cube, our current business. Since then, we have had the privilege to host a Startup Weekend – so you could say we’ve come full circle.

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

Startup Weekend has changed of our lives for the better and we want it to do the same for everyone, so we’re always wearing our facilitator cape. When we’re not facilitating an actual event, we’re running The Cube or running after our children. Sometimes, we do some consulting too. In our spare time, we run a school for refugee children who have been uprooted by the Syrian conflict. It’s called SOLE Greece – a social enterprise whose aim is to offer a more disruptive learning method than is offered by our traditional school system.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

Our plans for the community are to facilitate growth and more entrepreneurial activation. We want to help a team organize a weekend in each city around Greece and perhaps a little further afield too.