Interview with the participant of last year and the mentor of this year: “Great connections, positive vibe and … the second place!”


Startup Weekend gathers all kinds of people. No matter how different we are, our intention is the same – to improve, to learn, to socialize. However, not everyone can call themselves winners, and not everyone comes back again to share what they have learnt during the past year. I am happy to introduce Guilherme, our delegated Mentor and, proud to say, a successful entrepreneur. His participation at Startup Weekend brought him valuable connections which are now essential for his business growth. Over the years his business faced ups n’ downs, and now he is willing to share his advices, based on his personal experience. Enjoy reading his journey at Startup Weekend, and do not forget to write down some useful tips for your own. 

So, tell us something about your participation at SwUtrecht’16…

I had a very positive overall experience. I have met a lot of talented people out there, including participants who already own businesses. Also, I was very pleased with the high paced program. There was a high amount of energy floating around the group of young and ambitious people. I had fun talking with everyone and I liked the competitive element of the program.

What was your motivation for attending the event?

I really wanted to meet entrepreneurial like-minded people as well as to be inspired by new ideas and concepts.

Could you introduce your pitching idea, or, should I name it ExamenOverzicht now?

Not exactly. At Startup Weekend last year, I worked with a team on an app that helps people find the perfect roommate. The app was called Roomie and our team ended up in a second place, which was great. But in everyday life, I am the owner of, a platform that helps Dutch high school students prepare for their final exams.

What did you gain out of the event?

And I am very happy that I have partnered with a great team of Coffeeit people who are now building a new web app and mobile hybrid app for ExamenOverzicht. The new app will provide high value for our customers and help us grow the business.

What about the atmosphere there?

In one word: energetic! The atmosphere was fun and vibrant, there was a contagious positive vibe and competitive spirit. I am really looking forward to be inspired again by the upcoming edition of Startup Weekend!

As we know this year you come back as a mentor. Sounds great! How come?

I have become a big fan of the event and would like to act as an ambassador for Startup Weekend. I hope that my business experience will add value for beginning entrepreneurs.

Many potential entrepreneurs struggle at the beginning of their business journey, so to say. Do you have any advice for our starters based on your own experience?

I do! Here are some practical tips:

  • The best way to get a startup idea, is not to brainstorm, but to focus on finding a solution to a personal frustration. If you are frustrated by something, chances are someone else is also frustrated about it.
  • When you have an idea, convert it into a product by building a test version – the basic concept of your product, just to get a feedback. I would agree with Reid Hoffman, who said “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late”.
  • Gather as much feedback as you can, and improve the product continuously. You are on the right track if customer’s feedback slowly shifts from ‘things to improve’ to compliments.
  • Choose your business partners wisely. You will work with them for years (hopefully), so make sure you know them well before you start an adventure together.
  • Making the right choices. When you start to earn money, don’t spend it on luxurious things you don’t need, but instead invest that money back into your company.
Any business goals for this year?

This year’s goal for my website is to triple in revenue again, as we have done every year over the last 4 years. Our main objective is to be the number 1 platform to help high school students graduate for their final exam in 2020.

Build your own experience! Get more advices on how to become a successful entrepreneur!

Your ticket is here!

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Your pitch CAN be funny!

Are you hesitating to do a pitch at Startup Weekends? You should NOT any longer! With the help of this guy, David Nihill, you will become a pro in winning the audience’s attention and sympathy. I loved his talk at Google HQ in Dublin, and his book is also very helpful.

Workshop: How to Become a Better and Funnier Speaker?

The interesting fact is that David Nihill was terrified about public speaking. After years of studies and experiences, he returned confident and.. funny! Now he performs at multiple stand-up routines and story telling competitions in front of big audiences. Inspired by this story, I would like to remind you, that everything is possible, just believe in yourself!

David Nihill: “Do You Talk Funny?” 

Ready for your own stand-up? Do not hesitate any longer and join our stage in Utrecht in November 2017!

Get your ticket here!

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From business idea to successful startup: how did I win Startup Weekend Utrecht

Startup Weekend creates opportunity to learn, connect, develop and spend some quality time together with like-minded individuals. However, we all expect it to be more than just a weekend. Probably you have asked yourself ‘Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Is my idea good enough? Should I actually try?’ . And guess what, you are not the only one. We could count loads of different public figures and successful CEOs who were only one decision away from a totally different life and a dream come true.

Put aside all the ‘what ifs’ and take a moment to hear a story from Tey – the owner of TYKN and the winner of Startup Weekend Utrecht’ 16. Sorry, not just a story, the success story, full of inspiration, faith and great memories – enough to make you to make your own decision. Enjoy!

Why did you join Startup Weekend Utrecht?

After working 4 years in the Netherlands, I became a Refugee. I am of Syrian Origins and was sitting in my room at the AZC of Zeist. So I thought to myself, why not go attend the event and participate? It was my first time ever pitching and never heard of Startup Weekend.

Could you describe the winning pitch?

On my driver license, it is written I was born in Unknown because I do not have a Birth Certificate. I was born in Kuwait and the Gulf War destroyed my certificate. After applying for asylum the stories of Refugees losing their documents was similar to mine. Since I am a Bitcoin Evangelist, then I saw the opportunities this technology can offer in solving this problem. By leveraging blockchain technology we are able to protect public records against permanent loss and unlawful changes.

Can you share your experiences and feelings from Startup Weekend Utrecht?

Food was lovely and the Mentors were always happy to answer our questions! I also liked the location and the cool BMWs there! However, it was intense two days. First I had the largest team, so managing them was a challenge. Second we had a diverse team and very young members. I had to explain the solution and Blockchain technology to all of my 10 teammates. Slowly we dived in the details of validation, business model canvas, and pitch practice!

How would you describe the atmosphere of the event?

Rich of surprises and a place to discover your limits. A place to discover what owning your own business is like for two days.

How did participation at Startup Weekend influence your business?

It gave us credibility and motivation to continue forward with our idea. We always present ourselves as winners of Startup Weekend Utrecht.  I would like to say thanks to the whole team that gave us the chance to change our lives and the lives of millions of people.

For whom would you advise to attend the event?

Everyone looking for a chance to succeed and believes in himself that he / she can do that!

Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs?

You will hear the word Roller Coaster a lot – it describes the emotional phases you go thru in the life cycle of your business venture. Well the word is not even close to get the real meaning… All in all, my advice – do what you love and you will never fail!

If you feel like building your own success story, register NOW!

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Meet our Greatest Mentors (Part 1)

Startup Weekend Mentors are experienced entrepreneurs, investors, startup incubators & accelerators and multiple subjects experts who are definitely one of the key features of the event. During the weekend, Mentors provide actionable advises and valuable insights, help to design the experiments and guide new entrepreneurs in building a strong business foundation. Sharing their competence, knowledge and aspiration, Mentors will make sure your team has the right environment to unleash your potential.

Martijn Leinweber  

Space Business Innovation Centre

Martijn is a community manager at ESA’s Business Incubation Centre in Noordwijk. He supports startups who are using space technology for down-to-earth applications. Passionate about startups, hospitality and sports. Martijn likes trying out new tools, experiment and learn new things.

Wendy Mensink

Co-founder & Chief Design Officer @RavenViridian

Wendy is a Dutch independent graphic designer who focuses on translating space missions and complex technical content to the public. Next to that, she’s co-founder and designer at Viridian Raven, an application that provides risk assessment for forest management against insect outbreaks, with the use of satellite data.

Jon Woodroof

Cycling Industry & B2B Sales Consultant

Bikes & Tech Since 09. Founder of @twotoneams. They help startups & cycling brands around the world with sales & PR. Also weekly #earlytobedearlytoshred with @rollcallams & co-organizer of @saleshackerams. Formerly Springest UK & @SpringestDE and led sales @BigNerdRanch in Europe.

Guilherme dos Santos

Entrepreneur @ExamenOverzicht

Guilherme is the founder of, a company changing the way Dutch students prepare for their final exams of high school. Prior to that, he was an IT Consultant at KPMG. Specialized in business modelling and leveraging strategic partnerships in order to gain traction. Born in Portugal and raised in the Netherlands.

Would you like to meet them in person? Have a business idea or simply want to build connections and learn new things?

Click HERE to find out more about the event

For other enquiries please contact us:


Meet our Greatest Mentors (Part 2)

Startup Weekend Mentors are experienced entrepreneurs, investors, startup incubators & accelerators and multiple subjects experts who are definitely one of the key features of the event. During the weekend Mentors provide actionable advises and valuable insights, help to design the experiments and guide new entrepreneurs on building a strong business foundation. Sharing their competence, knowledge and aspiration, Mentors will make sure your team has the right environment to unleash your potential.

Vincent Hosman

Country Manager @Foodora

Vincent Hosman is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Foodora, an on-demand restaurant delivery service, in The Netherlands. He is leading the team responsible for launching and scaling the business in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Eindhoven, Haarlem and Leiden. Prior to joining Foodora, Vincent was a Strategy Consultant at Accenture working across FMCG, Utilities, Technology and Energy industries. 

Melinda Jacobs

Entrepreneur and User Psychology Expert

Melinda S. Jacobs, M.A. is an entrepreneur and user experience expert specializing in changing behaviour through play and games. She started consulting and creating digital experiences for companies in 2011 and based on this passion she founded her own company Subatomic. She frequently gives talks and workshops on product design, gamification, and play around the world. In her free time she is an avid reader, beer brewer, and N7 paragon.

Ewoud Goorts

Co-founder & Head of Operations @FlorAccess

Ewoud is Founder and Head of Operations at, an online vertical marketplace for the horticulture industry, founded in 2010. Raised in the Netherlands and Spain. Lives to travel while sharing food with (new) friends. Specialized in platforms and product management.

Claartje Aarts

Director @Protospace

ProtoSpace is an innovationlab for early stage prototyping. With 3D printing/designing , industrial design and embedded software ProtoSpace has the skills and equipment to prototype almost all physical productideas. Claartje’s main focal points as director are strategy, co-design, partnerships and acquisition. Claartje has a background in commercial product development for innovative products.

Robert Keus 


Co-founded the creative agency @BrthrsAgency B.V. Robert is also responsible for the app Scheduled ( concept creation and overall product development. He has overseen the planning and successful execution of several high profile mobile products. A key example is Live TV, a mobile television app with over 1.000.000 downloads, also the Eneco Sun Simulator App.

Would you like to meet them in person? Have a business idea or simply want to build connections and learn new things?

Click HERE to find out more about the event

For other enquiries please contact us:


Have a look at our 1st Sponsor of Startup Weekend Zwolle!

hanz sponsor startup weekend zwolle

Finding a great location is one of the most important things you want to do when organizing a Startup Weekend. And we have succeeded to do just that! The 1st Edition of Startup Weekend Zwolle will be organized at Hanz, an inspiring place where innovation and connection go hand in hand.

The Hanz’ building is located in ‘Hanzeland’. Its location is almost perfect because of the nearby train station and connection to the highway. Besides that, the facilities are also pretty great.

sponsor startup weekend zwolle

However, these are certainly not the only things we took into consideration. We are also delighted by the mission and vision of Thijs van Dieren and Johan Neerhof, the men behind the realization and success of Hanz.

Putting their ideas into action, Thijs and Johan wanted to create the perfect playground for innovation: an inspiring place where entrepreneurs, government and education would meet eachother and connect with their environment. As you can imagine, this matches pretty well with Startup Weekend.

We’re thankfull and very proud of Hanz to be our very first sponsor. And we’re convinced that it will be the right place of organizing the 1st edition of Startup Weekend Zwolle!

Guest Post: What Should Your MVP Look Like? A Technical Feasibility Scan Helps You Find Out


Startup founders without programming skills often get stuck while getting started. Typically, they face questions like “I want to build the next Uber for X, but I don’t know what my MVP should look like.” It’s hard to know if your idea can translate into a viable MVP build if you don’t have a programming background. A Technical Feasibility Scan (TFS) can help you get out of the deadlock and make difficult decisions with confidence.

What is a Technical Feasibility Scan?

A TFS is an evaluation that helps you find out what your MVP should actually look like technologically. It helps you:

  • Draw up a potential architecture.
  • Estimate the amount of work.
  • Identify technical risks such as: scalability, complexity or need for rare skills.
  • Make a draft design that you can use in early marketing and pitch decks.

I’ve used this method to scan and help build several startups and it tends to pay off. Squads customers can attest to it. Let me explain why.

A Solid Technical Foundation is Key to Convince Investors

Technical risks are financial risks. That’s why investors should not rely exclusively on the founders’ technical team to identify potential setbacks. I see more and more investors who hire third parties to assess a startup’s build plan — especially when the technology is at the core of the company’s growth strategy.

With a TFS, you can draw up a solid technical plan to present to your investor and answer key questions like “which skills do I need,” “can this be built in a few months,” and “what will it cost.”

Avoid Massive Re-writes during the MVP phase

Investors dread the word “rewrite.” It’s what happens when you find out that your application is beyond maintenance and you can’t add new features without rebuilding from scratch. Rewrites are sometimes inevitable, and they can be costly.

Having to do a massive re-write during the MVP phase can spell doom for your startup if you’re not prepared. If you’re just getting started and you expect to spend 50K, you better have an extra 50K in your pocket for unforeseen changes. Of course, going way over budget is not ideal. To avoid these kind of surprises, you need to build the optimal minimum and you need to anticipate possible risks. The TFS can help here as well. Let’s look an example.

Vandebron’s Approach

Vandebron is a Dutch company that is called the Airbnb of green energy. They help consumers connect directly with windmill owners and other energy producers, via the existing grid. The startup had a huge potential but needed to convince investors that their idea was technically feasible. They worked with Squads to get a TFS.

During the scan, we evaluated:

  • How the startups’ technical team should be built up.
  • Non-functional requirements (such as hosting and capacity).
  • Technical solution requirements.
  • Necessary budget for the build along with possible cost variations.
  • Risks and mitigation tactics.
  • Timeline and priorities.

The company secured its first funding round and worked with us to build a very successful MVP as a result. We also helped them recruit a CTO and build an in-house development team to carry the work forward. They are still working with our teams when they need extra capacity or specialist skills. Download our case study to learn more or contact me to discuss your needs.

This post also appeared on blog.

Build your business in 54 hours 🚀 by Michael van Lier

Have you ever imagined you could validate and build your business idea in just 54 hours? Together with over 100 like-minded participants, you’ll learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days. We make sure you are fueled with the best tools, techniques, and mentors available. Join We Are Builders during the Startup Weekend Amsterdam (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) on 12-14 May. RSVP now and stop talking and start building your business!

We Are Builders. And Gold Sponsor. 🥇

We Are Builders is a gold sponsor of Startup Weekend Amsterdam. The Lean Startup methodology learned us how to minimize the risk of failure when building startups. The Startup Weekend is the best place to advocate its’ importance, share our learnings and meet fellow hackers and entrepreneurs. Still, too many products and services are built that nobody needs, we’re glad to help prevent this from happening.

We Are Builders is a startup studio focussed on co-founding software startups. We’re constantly looking for hackers and entrepreneurs to start new businesses with. We bring our experience, tools, and money to get you through the first 18 months. And, the coffee is on us if you choose to run your business from our office.

We have a long-standing history with building online software and mobile apps. Our team is a balanced pack of developers, entrepreneurs, UX/UI designers, copywriters, and growth hackers. A mix of expertise every startup needs at some point in time.

From years of experience, successes, and failures we developed a process for crafting ideas into companies. The process consists of several steps strongly inspired by Lean Startup and agile development methodologies. These steps include ideation, validation, building, hustling and eventually champagne. We hope to toast with you on Sunday 14 May when the Startup Weekend ends!

Goals for the Weekend

Our main 🥅 is to help you get from idea to product in 54 hours. Bas Wenneker joins as a mentor and will help teams on Saturday and Sunday with customer development. Our awesome CTO Alex Buis teams up on Sunday.

For myself, I will be one of the four judges you’ll pitch to on Sunday afternoon.

Buy tickets here: Tickets!

This blog post was written by Michael van Lier – Founder & CEO at

Sponsor Highlight: These Companies Are Helping You Create the next Big Thing

The tech startup scene has seen a large growth pattern in the last decade because of many reasons. One of the reasons being the availability of infrastructure, mentoring, co-working spaces and more importantly a culture of giving back.

In 2007, Startup Weekend was founded in Boulder, Colorado by Andrew Hyde, which brought together 70 entrepreneurs to try to create a startup in just 54 hours. Fast forward 10 years later and Startup Weekend events ran in over 1000 cities around the world.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam is yet another example of one these 1000 successes. We have been lucky in Amsterdam to have a great ecosystem of successful entrepreneurs that have given back to the community and enabled an event like SWAMS to be possible in Amsterdam.

Take for example The Next Web, a media company that manages several initiatives focused on international technology news, business, and culture and one of our amazing sponsors. Started from humble beginnings as an event in 2006 to showcase startups and which has now evolved into brands that include TNW Blog, TNW Events, TNW Deals, and TNW Academy. TNW success spurned them to create TQ, whose mission statement is to help push tech startups towards exponential growth by providing residents & members with the right community, events and facilities. In turn SWAMS is excited to have the TQ as our venue this year for all our passionate attendees.

Another big thanks are because of companies like We Are Builders, who work with committed entrepreneurs to transform unique ideas and tech startups into strong and independent growing companies. They not only help ideas grow through their services, but by also supporting great events like SWAms to help accelerate that ecosystem in Amsterdam.

The list goes on with traditional Dutch companies like Ordina, who invent, build and manage IT applications in government, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare; KPN, a tele-communications company and De Bijenkorf, leading online luxury retailer with over 147 years of history are part of our support structure along with entrepreneurial movers like, the world’s largest online marketplace for on-demand teams to build digital products for your company or startup; Next Amsterdam, a startup studio that works with committed teams to build the companies of tomorrow; Beta List, who highlight and provide an overview of upcoming internet startups; Aim for the Moon, a startup studio that connects companies to corporate innovators and Bridge for Billions, an online incubator for early-stage ventures, Creative-Tim is a startup that creates design tools looking to make the development process faster and easier.

The success of an event like Startup Weekend Amsterdam is due to these amazing companies that continue to not only impact entrepreneurs and startups directly through their businesses, but by also actively work to give back to the community.

These core sponsors and supporters not only make #SWAms possible, but also provides an opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs and companies to develop, grow and one day hopefully give back to the community. As you can see it takes a literal village of support and sponsors for SWAMS to occur and we could not thank everyone enough that have supported our mission to create an exciting event this year and support the future entrepreneurs of Amsterdam.

Validate Your Startup Idea in 3 Days on Startup Weekend Amsterdam x Aimforthemoon

This guest post was written by our mentor Leonard Bukenya.

Starting your own business is a very big challenge. Starting a business that no one wants is a disaster. Therefore from the 12th-14th May Startup Weekend Amsterdam, Powered by Google for entrepreneurs, comes to help you validate your idea so that you build something scalable. It is your chance to go through the process of concept validation up to creation in just 3 days. For you as an entrepreneur it is also an great opportunity to meet passionate and talented entrepreneurs, learn and practice new skills and get introduced to the world of startups.

Why do we partner with Startup Weekend?

At Aimforthemoon we have the mission to build scalable ventures by connecting entrepreneurs and corporate partners. So far, we have build a community of more than 100 seasoned entrepreneurs and we find it essential to stay involved with the broader startup community. The Lean Startup Weekend is a perfect opportunity to connect with people driven by an entrepreneurial mindset, dreaming to validate and grow their business ideas.

Experiencing “give to give” as a core value of Aimforthemoon, I find it essential to participate in this kind of events. By sharing our expertise and knowledge, as well as the process we use for validating startup ideas, we can inspire each other to build impactful ventures.

As a coach at the Lean Startup Weekend, I aim to share my experience that I have accumulated at Aimforthemoon, KPN and Sanoma and help entrepreneurs validate their business ideas. I believe in connecting people and I am looking forward to coach the teams, learn about their passions and guide them through the process.

Aimforthemoon entrepreneurs

Get to know the other Aimforthemoon entrepreneurs that will mentor you at the Startup Weekend.

@Laurens van Leeuwen – Co Founder Wineclub

@Jorn Eiting van Liempt – Managing Partner ForPM

@Stan van den Heuvel – Entrepreneur @Aimforthemoon

See what the Startup Weekend is all about:

Excited to join the weekend and get a taste of what it is to be an entrepreneur?

Get your ticket right away!