Andy Cars, Lean Ventures: fall in love with the problem, not solution!

Andy is the founder of Lean Ventures, where he works with large companies to build their innovation capabilities. Focus is on innovation strategy, lean startup, business modelling and creating strong connections with the startup community. By drawing on the experience from working with hundreds of startup teams as a lean startup coach, mentor and business angel, Andy provides unique insights into what it takes to successfully innovate. Andy has also been involved in designing startup accelerator programs and advising on how to create and grow startup ecosystems both locally and internationally.

How did you start your career?

I started out as a sound engineer and producer in the 90-ies. In -95 I sold my first company to Bertelsmann Music Group and ended up working for them as an A&R (artist & repertoire). Since then I’ve directly participated in starting, growing and selling a few companies — no big exits or anything — but great fun nevertheless.

I’ve spent most of my 25 year career running my own entrepreneurial ventures and helping others succeed with theirs. I am not the type who fits the role of running “business as usual” projects in an established company working “9 to 5”. I’m more found of building stuff from scratch, tearing down and re-shaping what’s there, aiming to unlock much greater values compared to just pushing for more of the same or minor incremental improvements.

What other industries have you worked in besides the music industry?

I’ve worked with over 200 startup teams and 10+ large companies in industries ranging from cleantech, healthcare, telecom to the financial industry. After BMG I switched to the fincial industry, first working for a large bank and then as an investment manager at a small boutique venture capital firm.

What are you focusing on today?

Today I’m working with large companies helping them to get better at, and accelerating the pace, of innovation. There are many methods and tools out there, but we need to use them in practice. Big companies need to adopt the right mindset, break-down old barriers to innovation and really “walk the talk”.

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

Depending on how you see it but from a financial point of view, I was fully invested during the dotcom crash and lost a lot of money. I was young and stupid. On a different level I feel that when I was working for BMG I should have pushed harder for change when we were discussing the importance of MP3s and the digitization of the music industry. The record company executives that I worked with at that time did not really see the threat. They felt that it would be the same as when cassettes came out. Initially people were scared that it would lead to lower record sales. The opposite happened. They thought it would be the same with MP3s. They were wrong. We should have spent more time discussing how these shifts would affect our industry and what new business models we could start experimenting with to adapt to these changes.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

Well, in Stockholm we have a huge banking sector, so it becomes a natural focal point. There is also the same kind of feeling as when the internet came — that it will change everything. I’m not talking so much about Bitcoin itself as the blockchain technology behind bitcoin that is giving us the same kind of feeling small children have the days running up to Christmas and when they get to open all their presents. I’m very much looking forward to seeing all the applications and solutions that will come about as a result of the blockchain.

So you think that blockchain technology is the biggest gamechanger in fintech?

Absolutely, I am very excited about seeing how it will fundamentally change what we are doing today. We are talking about disruptions, not just incremental changes. And it’s up to these teams out there to start experimenting and developing solutions, understanding the problems and constraints and start changing the sector bit by bit.

Do you use bitcoins?

No, I don’t, but I have tried and I also have invested in it. But it’s not something I recommend for the faint-hearted. Bitcoin goes up and down like a roller-coaster. I recommend that you do not put most of your investments into Bitcoin!

Can you imagine a world with only cryptocurrencies that will take over traditional currencies?

Yes, I think this is the direction that we are moving towards.

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive?

The banking sector is facing tremendous challenges but also great opportunities. But to grab these opportunities they have to become even more agile. This means asking themselves if they think they have struck a good balance between “business as usual” and developing the business models of tomorrow. Basically developing entirely new ways of doing business that eventually will go on to replace their current ways.

I see a lot of activities in this sector, and yes they are investing into startups and running accelerator programs etc. But is it too little too late? Time will tell. My challenge to the banking industry would be to ask how many percent of their revenue is invested into developing potentially disruptive technologies and business models? If the answer is

0,01%, I would ask if they consider this to be a good balance or if perhaps some resources should be shifted or re-allocated.

Today a lot of startups are unbundling the business models of traditional banks doing many of the tasks better, cheaper, faster. If those startups starts to collaborate, then they can completely reinvent the banking sector as we know it.

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

You have to break it down to what is relevant for this particular 6 year old. But it would perhaps go something like this: ‘You probably have a weekly allowance, how much is it? 50 kronor? Ok. What do you do with this money? “I buy ice-cream” or “I give to the homeless”. Whatever it is that you’re doing, with “fintech” you will be able to do it better, faster, cheaper and with more trust and confidence than you can ever imagine. “So maybe I can get two ice creams for the same amount of money!”. Yes, maybe. J

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

Elon Musk was the part of the PayPal mafia, so he was one of the co-founders of the initiating movement. In the US, you have Stripe, with the Collison’s. In Sweden I would say those at the forefront of fintech are the founders of Klarna and iZettle. I think they know a thing or two about fintech. Then ofcourse you also have Startupbootcamp here in Europe. They’re running a first-class accelerator program for startups in Copenhagen in the insurance industry, or insurtech, which is part of fintech. The mentors and coaches connected to that program are all super competent people. Startupbootcamp is connecting big banks and insurance companies with startups through their accelerator programs. There isn’t just one person out there to follow in fintech, there are lots of great minds to reach out to.

Speaking about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

I think by the time we get to Mars, and we start thinking about financial transactions, I don’t think there are going to be banks anymore, there will be something entirely different. Banks as we know them today, won’t exist. It’s very doubtful if we will need these huge institutions acting as middle-men in the future. The problems to be solved are how do we establish trust and validity around our asset transactions, how do we speed them up, reduce the costs and distribute the solutions for everyone to use. I don’t see the big institutions playing a part in that unless they completely re-think their current business models.

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

I would not tell him much, I would rather be asking him lots and lots of questions. Doesn’t he seriously think that what they have been creating by running near zero percent interest rates for almost a decade has created an enormous asset bubble, and that’s plain wrong to do that? Aren’t they just shifting the problem in-front of themselves? I know he would probably give me a politically astute answer that would make my head spin, but nevertheless I see there is a huge risk in playing with the lives of millions of people who live hand-to-mouth. They’re the once who suffer greatly from the financial crisis. Not the rich, the rich will always manage well. How does he see his moral responsibility as a human?

What message would you send to wannabe entrepreneurs?

Find your purpose, find something that you are absolutely passionate about. Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. Because if you are only focusing on the money, it will lead to a very dry life. And if you’re only focusing on the solution you’ll probably end up wasting lots of time building stuff that no-one wants. We all have many problems, or jobs-to-be-done, but there are very few problems for which we are willing to offer some form of sacrifice. Don’t just pitch your idea or solution. Begin by understanding the problems your early adopters face, and make sure you understand them at a deeper level than your competitors. That’s were you’ll find the gold dust of innovation.

More information about the event and registration here:

Use the code Minus40ToDisruptors to get a special -40% discount from Andy!

Check out what Mr. Bitcoin has to say: meet Ludvig Öberg!

Ludvig Öberg is the co-founder of Safello, SC2BTC, Swedish Bitcoin Foundation and Satoshi Square Stockholm. One of Veckans Affärers top 101 Supertalents of 2016 with over 5 years of experience within Blockchain and Bitcoin. He started Safello in 2013 and since then it has become one of the leading bitcoin exchanges in Sweden. Last year he joined ChromaWay, that is developing blockchain and smart contract solutions.

How did you start your career in fintech?

It wasn’t on a hackathon, I actually started my career by co-founding Safello with three other people. I am myself more of a business background.

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

It probably has to do something with different press releases, when something went wrong and we needed to fix it and half of the article came out with the right message and half of it did not.

But otherwise it might be like being overconfident with a client and at the end we couldn’t deliver in time. These were not single events, but more like general mistakes I’ve been doing. The important thing is to learn from these mistakes and ask for help if you need to. Don’t be afraid to take the advice of those who have more experience than you do.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

A few years ago we didn’t really know which way things would go. We didn’t know if we had to fight this technology and try to keep it out or try to join and innovate. Now I think it is clear that the second option should be taken and we need to integrate it into our systems. That, together with opening up data and encouraging open competition, can lead to better services for customers.

We need to push this fintech wave and we’ll only grow if we follow these trends like in the new EU regulatory framework, so there will be more and more competition where fintech startups are coming and take a bit of the cake.

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive in this situation?

They should not only innovate for the innovation’s sake — as I feel that most banks are innovating for the PR. They should actually look for long-term goals and how it integrates with their system and with who they are as a company.

If you only do a shallow corporation, then it does not lead to anything long-term and it will be just a waste of time for everybody. Banks need to think about integrating the ideas created in startup ecosystems. Different banks are doing this in different ways, but most of the time there is someone high up, like a Chief Innovation Manager, who knows the whole corporate structure and who can help startups to get to the right places within the banks.

Also, banks cannot do everything, and I think that the time, when banks provided all services for everyone is over and they have to specialize in what they are good at and cooperate with new startups and people offering services and integrate these for their customers.

Still the banks are the hubs where customers are looking for all the services. I think they should dare to perceive it as an ecosystem where other people can have access to their customers, rather than to let them leave and go away from the main platform.

If you had a chance to meet, Ben Bernanke, what would you tell him?

I would probably ask him about all his negative comments about bitcoin and then the way he became a pro in the blockchain technologies, so I would probably talk with him about that. He probably has some Keynesian economic thoughts, but it would be interesting to hear how bitcoin will fit into the current infrastructure in the financial sector.

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?

Cryptocurrencies, and blockchange technologies are game changers because they have the capabilities to change the whole financial industry not just a specific sector. I think it can do it so in a very substantial way. I see this as if it was the start of the internet, we can build new applications and a whole new infrastructure, which makes me very enthusiastic about it.

If you were hitting on a girl/man working with fintech, what would be your pickup line?

Some people have called me the Mr. Bitcoin of Sweden, so I might would use that one then. Hopefully it would work 😀

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

If you look at how the world has changed, you might see that your parents used to read newspapers, now you have an iPad. If you look at the banks, the same thing happens. The future of banks are going to be drastically different. That is quite natural, so it is very interesting field to be in, because it affects everyone. Everyone uses financial services, everyone takes a loan or buy things, send payments, and so on.

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

I would say that is Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented bitcoin, but we don’t know who that is. So I think that Sebastian from Klarna is doing a great job if we are looking at Sweden. I think that there are lot of people who are doing a great work, but I wouldn’t say that any of them are superstars, but I think that there are a lot of different companies doing a lot of cool things.

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

If we get to Mars, there are probably gonna be banks, yes, I assume so. How will they look when we come to that point, I don’t know. There might be a delete all and might not be physical banks on Mars, but at least there may be banking services.

Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

Yes, i think we are getting closer and closer there. I think we might end up with a lot of different ones, we might end up with different national currencies, but more and more of the kind of traditional fashion is to look at bitcoin and blockchain technologies and kind of use that technology to get an updated infrastructure, so we might end up in a world, where bitcoin will be a world currency that is not used for everyday purchases, but more for international transactions.

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

Yes, I use bitoins often. Webhallen in Sweden is one of the biggest stores you can use Bitcoins to buy electronics, for example. I have bought T-shirts, and so on. I don’t do it on a daily basis, but I do use bitcoins regularly.

What message would you send to wannabe entrepreneurs?

You should dare to take risks and get help from other people. Throw yourself out there and try to validate your ideas and see if they stick and get help from other people, because you don’t know everything when you are starting up. So dare things, that is my most important piece of advice.

Do you there throwing yourself out there? Join us and try on Startup Weekend Fintech on the 27–29 January in SUP46!

More information about the event and registration here:

Use the code Minus40ToDisruptors to get a special -40% discount from Ludvig!

Ludvig Öberg
Ludvig Öberg

The story of SW-Alumni Daniel Bartel

Where did you first hear about Startup Weekend Cologne?

I found an announcement for the first Startup Weekend in Germany in the Coworking0711-Newsletter, a coworking-space based in Stuttgart. On a cold autumn night in 2010 I decided that this would be the right event for me. Continue reading “The story of SW-Alumni Daniel Bartel”

Meet Daniel Roos, mentor of Startup Weekend Fintech!

We had a chat with Startup Weekend Fintech’s mentor, Daniel Roos.

Daniel is the co-founder and CTO of Vest Financial. He has experience building and selling fintech systems as well as running them at banks. Daniel co-founded a startup that went through Y Combinator and is now a growing company.

Why do you think there is so much buzz around fintech?

There is a big buzz around fintech because finance is a huge, traditional industry that  is important to almost everybody – thus it needs a lot of innovation and disruption. Fintech is absolutely awesome in both technology and market perspective. It’s connected to the market and it is also a real technical challenge.

How did you start your career in fintech?

It was actually totally random 🙂 I worked in the business for 15 years.  

I had a classic career in an very large company. Then a high school buddy from the US called me with an idea that was fintech related. So I took an eye on it, spent a couple of evenings with it and provided a ton of feedback.

So I went to the US, check it out and realized it was worth going for, soon after quit my job and  moved to California once we go into Y Combinator.

Generally the norm is to fund a startup early  and then if it doesn’t work out, you start a “normal career”. In my case, the “normal career” was first and then the startup one. It gave me a bit more experience and for me was actually good timing.

Which area do you think is a game changer in fintech right now and why?  

Many areas are important, but the one that is particularly interesting is consumer oriented finance. Bringing the consumers the same capabilities that have only been available for the private wealth management sector.

How would you pitch fintech to a 6 years old kid?

For a 6 year old kid, I’d say: “Money is important and you know you need to save your money. Do you like iPads? IPad is technology.  Fintech is sort of like working with iPads and money.”

As we know humans learn only from mistakes, could you tell us your biggest professional fuckup?

My biggest fuckup was pushing a system into production two weeks too early and living a month of pain because of it.

Who is the Elon Musk of fintech on your opinion?

I don’t think there is one, fintech is missing that kind of superstar personality.. Maybe they are to be discovered!

Being very traditional and staggering entities, what do you think can help banks to survive?  

For banks to survive, it is a matter of embracing change. They need to work with technology and become part of the fintech industry.

Continuing question about Elon Musk, do you think that there will be banks on Mars?

Absolutely, without a doubt!

Let’s speak about cryptocurrencies. Do you think cryptocurrencies will take over traditional currencies?

I can see cryptocurrencies taking a bit chunk of it, but probably as part of the mainstream. Central banks are already considering them, so, within that context they can get really big, otherwise they will stay to be a niche.

Are you using bitcoin from time to time?

I’ve only used bitcoin once. That was a weird promotion where you had to use bitcoin to get a good deal online.

What message would you send to you in the past,  let’s say you 20 years younger?

I would tell myself to go and try different things earlier. I spent 10 years at my first job..

Check out the interview with Daniel and prepare for Startup Weekend Fintech on the 27-29 January in SUP46!

Hurry up and register for Stockholm Startup Weekend Fintech on January 27-29!  

More information about the event and registration here:

FAQ #swparma – Le nostre risposte alle vostre domande

In molti ci avete scritto per avere informazioni su Startup Weekend Parma; a seguire quindi abbiamo deciso di raccogliere le nostre risposte alle domande più frequenti.

Per partecipare devo avere per forza un’idea da presentare?

No, non è obbligatorio, ma ti incoraggiamo a farlo! Puoi presentare un’idea a cui stai pensando da anni, o un’idea dell’ultimo minuto che ti viene in mente all’inizio dell’evento. È anche un’ottima opportunità per fare pratica per parlare davanti a un pubblico.

Come devo presentare la mia idea il venerdì sera?

Il venerdì sera tutti coloro che hanno un’idea avranno 60 secondi di tempo per presentarla agli altri partecipanti. La presentazione sarà fatta a voce, senza bisogno di mostrare alcun prototipo/demo e senza l’utilizzo di slide o video. Al termine delle presentazioni tutti i partecipanti voteranno le idee che ritengono migliori, e le più votate verranno sviluppate durante il weekend.

Posso proporre più di un’idea?

Dipende dal numero di idee che verranno proposte e dal tempo che resterà a disposizione; per sicurezza quindi ti consigliamo di presentare per prima l’idea che tu consideri migliore.

Cosa succede se la mia idea non viene selezionata?

Lo scopo della selezione d’idee il venerdì sera non è per escluderne a priori alcune, ma per semplificare la ricerca di quei progetti che potrebbero avere più potenziale nel riuscire a trovare facilmente dei membri per il loro team, così che per ognuno di essi ci sia un vasto numero di competenze diverse.

Se la tua idea non è stata selezionata ma sei riuscito comunque a formare un team per lavorarci va benissimo, puoi tranquillamente portare avanti il tuo progetto durante il weekend. Se decidi di farlo però, ricordati di avvisare gli organizzatori, così che il tuo team possa essere considerato in gara per le premiazioni.

Se invece non hai la possibilità di portare avanti la tua idea non preoccuparti, unisciti ad una delle idee selezionate che più si avvicina alla tua o che più ti interessa. E’ sufficiente andare da chi ha presentato l’idea e chiedergli di far parte del suo team, presentando le proprie competenze e spiegando in che modo può essere utile allo sviluppo del progetto durante il weekend. Lavorare ad un altro progetto è comunque un ottimo modo per imparare, per raccogliere spunti e sviluppare contatti utili.

Non ho competenze tecniche per sviluppare la mia idea, posso partecipare comunque?

Certo, si partecipa ad uno Startup Weekend anche per cercare membri del team che possono aiutarti a sviluppare il tuo progetto. Prepara bene il tuo pitch per la sera di venerdì e non scordare di dire di cosa hai bisogno.

Devo venire con un team o si può partecipare da soli?

Si può partecipare da soli. Nel caso si decidesse di venire in gruppo può essere utile suddividersi in più team di lavoro, così che una o due persone lavorino allo sviluppo dell’idea presentata e le altre lavorino negli altri team, così da apprendere know-how trasversale, diverse modalità di lavoro e per fare più networking.

Ho visto che è un evento a pagamento. Cosa è compreso nel costo del biglietto?

L’evento è no-profit e tutto il ricavato è necessario a coprire i costi vivi dell’evento. Nello specifico i biglietti coprono una parte dei costi quali:

  • Il Welcome Kit che viene dato a ciascun partecipante
  • La piattaforma Themeisle offrirà gratuitamente ai partecipanti l’accesso ai loro temi wordpress, così che possano realizzare una pagina web per la loro startup
  • 6 pasti (2 colazioni, 2 pranzi, 2 cene) + caffè a volontà
  • Aperitivo conclusivo della domenica
  • Cancelleria (biro, pennarelli, post-it ecc.) 
  • una zona quiet dove è possibile riposare la notte (vi consigliamo quindi di munirvi di sacco a pelo)
  • maglietta

La necessità di un biglietto a pagamento inoltre serve per dissuadere le persone non realmente interessate a partecipare all’evento.

Posso prendere il biglietto sul posto invece di comprarlo online?

Sì, ma il costo del biglietto sarà superiore del 20% dei prezzi late (50 – 55 euro), quindi ti consigliamo di comprarlo entro l’8 febbraio 2017 online.

Se compro il biglietto e poi non partecipo, posso essere rimborsato?

No, ci dispiace ma non sono previsti rimborsi.

Cosa posso/devo portare durante il weekend?

Porta tutto quello che ritieni ti possa servire per lo sviluppo della tua idea.
In generale le cose da portare sono:

  • Laptop/tablet
  • Cavo d’alimentazione
  • Bigliettini da visita
  • Fotocamera (fai foto e condividile con gli altri partecipanti!)
  • Un secondo monitor, tavoletta grafica, tastiera… qualunque cosa pensi possa servirti per il tuo lavoro
  • un sacco a pelo (se desideri fermarti a dormire la notte)
  • Tanta creatività

Posso partecipare all’evento come spettatore?

Sì, ma solo la domenica pomeriggio, per assistere alle presentazioni finali dei vari progetti di startup sviluppati durante il weekend e la loro premiazione. L’ingresso per partecipare è gratuito, ma è necessario prendere precedentemente il biglietto online riservato al pubblico. Come orario attualmente abbiamo indicato le ore 17,30, ma per sicurezza vi consigliamo di tenere controllata la nostra agenda sul sito nel caso ci fossero dei cambi di programma.

Possono partecipare startup già avviate?

Dipende da voi, perché lo scopo di Startup Weekend è selezionare le migliori idee che partono dal basso per far partire un nuovo business durante il weekend. Lo Startup Weekend infatti è una sorta gara di idee, durante il quale si lavora alle idee presentate e selezionate dagli stessi partecipanti durante 54 ore per trasformarli in progetti di impresa, coadiuvati da mentors e coach e poi premiati dalla giuria.

Per le startup già avviate quindi potrebbe essere un’occasione per mettersi in gioco, per ragionare e perché no rimettere in discussione il proprio core business e può servire sia a startup costituite così come ad aziende consolidate (in realtà molte aziende promuovono Startup Weekend come strumento di open innovation). In più è un’occasione per promuoversi, fare nuovi contatti, conoscere potenziali futuri collaboratori.

Come posso proteggermi dal rischio che qualcuno rubi la mia idea?

La risposta breve è che non puoi. Se sei davvero preoccupato, puoi limitare la presentazione della tua idea di startup senza entrare nel dettaglio, così da non dare troppe informazioni. La risposta più dettagliata invece è che non hai nulla di cui preoccuparti. La verità infatti è che il 90% delle idee presentate durante lo Startup Weekend sono già state esposte in passato, probabilmente numerose volte. Questo non significa che l’idea non è buona, ma ciò che conta davvero e fa la differenza è come tu e il tuo team riuscirete a svilupparla questa idea. “Una persona può rubare l’idea, ma nessuno può rubarne l’esecuzione o la passione”.

Se hai bisogno di ulteriori informazioni, non esitare a contattarci al nostro indirizzo email:

Il team di Startup Weekend Parma



Startup Weekend: Judging criteria

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally)

  • Business Model
    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation
    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design
    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

What and How of Startup Weekend


It was in the summer of 2007, in Boulder, Colorado that some 70 young enthusiasts, creators and future leaders sat together driven by a common passion to create something, a startup specifically, in just 54 hours. Led by Andrew Hyde, began the journey of what would become over the course of a decade, the leading organization that both leads and is led by the creators of the world.

With their motto: “Build Community. Start Companies. No Talk. All Action”; Startup Weekend has grown into a global organization with presence in over 150 countries, and has a flourishing base of above 210,000 entrepreneurs

Startup weekend, a part of Techstars family of programs powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, essentially constitutes what is called a start-up community. It is a 54 hour weekend event during which people from a rich profusion of varying backgrounds come together to pitch ideas for new start-up companies and work to develop a prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening, principally in teams that are formed on the very first day of the event.

In addition to attendees, referred to as “Weekend Warriors”, attracts coaches, speakers, panellists as well as various sponsors and company representatives.  With presence of notable names in the local tech industry and well respected members of the local start up community, you get the privilege and opportunity to connect with people driven to build something new.


After a weekend of brainstorming and launching projects, a good share of teams keep the momentum going and work together, beyond the Startup Weekend itself, to build a fully operating start-up. Over 36% of all Startup Weekend teams still go strong after three months.  Others take with them the boot camp experience which teaches you more than what any other resource could offer. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their teams or startups after the weekend. “Rich and diverse talent is a Startup Weekend staple”, and you get to walk away with the wealth of a newly acquired membership of a like-minded yet diverse network- like minded owing to the common passion to create, and diverse owing to the varying fields that their skills and talents environ.

Since the program having been found, 3500+ such events have been held in 150+ countries over the globe. Once you have joined a Startup Weekend, you’ll become part of a global community with over 200,000 alumni.


Looking back at the Startup Weekend experience

By: Christoph Hartling, Lendy, the Winner of Startup Weekend Fall 2016

Startup Weekend Oulu Winner Lendy


It is almost exactly three months ago, when I made myself on the way to the city center of Oulu to participate in the Startup Weekend. Up to that point, I didn´t really know what was expecting me at the Startup Weekend Oulu, the only thing that was running through my mind was, that we somehow had to create a company within 54 hours!

When I arrived at the Business Kitchen venue, I was warmly welcomed and suddenly surrounded by dozens of young and likeminded people. Shortly after, the pitching started and I was impressed about the wide variety of different ideas, but also curious about how these ideas will develop during the Startup Weekend. After that, everything went really quick, we formed a team of four enthusiastic students and lost no time working on our business idea.

Even though, most of our team members had never participated in such a startup event before, we never felt lost or uncertain about our next steps. I can fairly say, that this was mainly through the great support of the Startup Weekend mentors.

In retrospect?

  • We got our own office space.
  • We launched our first website.
  • We found our first customers and early adopters.
  • We worked together and got supported by Finland’s biggest bank ─ OP Financial Group.
  • We went to Europe´s Leading Startup Event – Slush.

I guess answering the question, if it was worth participating at Startup Weekend Oulu is unnecessary, even if you have only read the last few sentences!

5 reasons why The Startup Weekend is different

There is a plenty of events in the startup world. Most of them let you listen to the stories of others. But only a few give you a chance to be heard. This is just one reason which makes Startup Weekend different. Check for more below.

  1. Your involvement is essential – you need to be:
    1. Prepared
    2. Focused
    3. Open minded
    4. Ready to work hard
    5. Remember. It’s not a conference – you’re not an observer.
  2. Pitch matters – craft one.
    If you have a business idea, prepare your pitch well. Base on them the participants will decide what to work on.
  3. It’s all about team work.
    Either if you don’t pitch or your idea is not selected you cannot stay alone. Find people with complementary experiences to team up. Your skills are irreplaceable.
  4. Mentors are to be used
    They are here not to deliver speeches and gather attention. Despite they are stars they are not here to shine, but to help and work with you. Be ready not to give applause but take advantage of their experience and knowledge.
  5. Show what you’ve done.
    The aim of your 54 hour work is to present its outcome. Since the very first hour, remember the result of your team’s work will be present to the audience. Everything you’ve done, must be good.

The story of ‘Radbonus’

A lot of great ideas were formed at earlier Startup Weekends. Read here the story behind Radbonus and the founder Nora Grazzini.
Continue reading “The story of ‘Radbonus’”