From participant to mentor: “Great connections, positive vibe and … the second place!”

 

Startup Weekend brings together all kinds of people. No matter how different we are, our intention is the same – to improve, to learn, to socialize. However, not everyone wins, 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 some 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 ExamenOverzicht.nl, a platform that helps Dutch high school students prepare for their final exams.

What did you gain out of the event?

I am very happy that I have partnered with a great team of Coffee IT 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 far 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 ExamenOverzicht.nl 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.

  • Want to win? Get ready!
  • Want to improve public speaking skills? Read this!
  • Get to know your Mentor: Part 1 and Part 2!

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?” 

  • Want to win? Read this!
  • Need some tips for your business? Enjoy!
  • Get to know our Mentors: Part 1 and Part 2!

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!

  • Want to improve public speaking skills? Read this!
  • Need some tips for your business? Enjoy!
  • Get to know our Mentors: Part 1 and Part 2!

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 ExamenOverzicht.nl, 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.

  • Please get to know our other Mentors (Part 2)
  • Want to win ? Read this!
  • Want to improve public speaking skills? Right here!
  • Need some tips for your business? Enjoy!

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:
utrecht@startupweekend.org

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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 FlorAccess.com, 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 

Entrepreneur

Co-founded the creative agency @BrthrsAgency B.V. Robert is also responsible for the app Scheduled (scheduledapp.co) 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:
utrecht@startupweekend.org

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