because nobody really likes breadsticks

Less than two weeks to go till Startup Weekend Groningen will kick off! Tickets are going fast and we are almost sold out. Things are coming together and the organizing team is very happy!

T-shirts are ready to be printed, volunteers are ready to get in action and the catering has been arranged, and we can tell you that it will be very tasty. The venue owners and the Startup Weekend organizing team have checked to make sure that everything will be ready during the weekend. There will be enough space with chairs, tables, light, electric points and of course working WiFi. Next to this, small things like pens, paper and drinking cups may also not be forgotten.

All these things are needed to let the teams work their butts of during the weekend. But to make sure teams get to relax and have fun too, we’ve arranged a ‘chill-corner’ again. Rumor has it there will be Fatboys, mini ping pong tables and some creative people from SAUS who will make the attendees weekend an even greater experience!

Lovely sponsors make all this possible! Without them we would be t-shirtless, unhappy and we’d be eating breadsticks (and let’s face it, nobody really likes breadsticks).

If you were planning on coming and you don’t have a ticket yet: get them while you still can!

Interview with Startup Weekend Alumnus: Peter Jaap Blaakmeer

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Peter Jaap Blaakmeer
Age: 27
Work: elgentos ecommerce solutions
How much Startup weekends attended: 6

When and where was your first Startup weekend?
My first Startup Weekend was Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2011. It was pretty exciting! I came there totally oblivious to what SW is all about and kinda jumped in on recommendation of one of my friends, then an organiser (Vincent van Leeuwen). I was giving up my weekend to attend so I figured I wanted to work on something fun and I wasn’t really there to start a start-up. That was my initial thought when hearing about SW; that the goal of the weekend is to start a startup. Turns out, my initial idea of just having fun and not aiming for something so ambitious was perfectly aligned with what SW is aiming for; the goal is not to start a start-up but to get you excited about the possibility of starting a start-up, whilst having a lot of fun. I quickly joined teams with Dan Fennessy and together with 6 other guys we quickly launched ‘Party with a Local’. It’s still going strong with Dan being the driving force behind it. He’s launched an iOS app and an Android app along the way and is getting a lot of rightfully deserved attention nowadays!

What is the most important thing you learned during startup weekend?
That starting a start-up is all about the team. The idea could be fun, worthless, boring or worth millions, or a combination of these and more, but that’s just what it is; an idea. To turn an idea into a business you need execution and for that, you need a team. Pivoting (changing focus or altogether changing the product itself) happens a lot during Startup Weekend and is usually a great thing; recognising something doesn’t work (by customer validation!) and shifting gears could be detrimental to success but the thing that stays constant throughout this process is the team itself.

Also, Nick can’t drink. (Editor: Here is being referred to Nick Stevens, the facilitator. Do challenge him for a drinking game)

What is your favourite SW-project?
I think my favourite was a project that came to be born on the Sunday of one of the Amsterdam events. The guys were working on something that didn’t work and eventually didn’t want to pitch it on Sunday. But they did have a time slot available for pitching so they came up with a brilliant idea named ‘Cube‘. The idea was simple; really rich people buy fancy sports cars all the time and don’t drive in them but just look at them. But they are stored in a garage somewhere! Cube offered a great service to these extremely wealthy car lovers; they will buy a really expensive car (like a Bugatti Veyron or a Porsche 918 Spyder) and they will put it in a car crusher, making a cube out of it. Then they will put up this cube on a pedestal for displaying purposes in house. Awesome! They never executed it unfortunately… it’s not just for really rich people, I would have loved to have my first car ‘Cubed’!

If you have to convince someone to join #SwGro14 in a few words, how would you do that?
You won’t regret going. I don’t know what you’re going to do, who you’re going to meet and how much partying you’ll do (as opposed to working) but you’re definitely going to think it was well worth the weekend! Go in blind!

Anything else you want to say about Startup weekend?

Interview with Startup Weekend Alumnus: Ivan Malykh

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Ivan Malykh
Age: 28
Work: UMCG (The University Medical Center of Groningen) and from time to time freelancing.
Startup weekends attended: One

When and where was your first Startup weekend?
November 2013 was the first SW I ever attended. It was in Groningen. Me and my colleague Joël bought us two tickets and didn’t know exactly what to expect. But the weekend was great! About 100 nice people with even more great ideas came together in Het Kasteel. In my opinion a very nice place for such a weekend. Our team worked hard. We took the needed amount of beers and rested enough to finish our business model with a demo and a presentation just in time. The business model our team came up with was the key to win the Startup Weekend.

What is the most important thing you learned during startup weekend?
An idea is not enough. You need developers. Developers are not enough. You need designers. Having idea, developers and designers is not enough. Your idea must create value to other people, otherwise they won’t pay.
Last but not least: great team makes a great product. Select the right people to join your team.

What is your favourite SW-project?
A couple of projects come in to my mind right now:
BarTunes – because to me it’s one of the most successful projects by SW Groningen alumni.
Splintr – one of the most creative projects of 2013.
Game of Drones – guys did a great work and had a lot of fun with coding and testing those drones.

If you have to convince someone to join #SwGro14 in a few words, how would you do that?
I suck at convincing, but here comes one: THERE IS BEER!

Anything else you want to say about Startup weekend?
Great weekend! Hope it will be even better in 2014!

Interview with Startup Weekend Alumnus: Wout Laban

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Wout Laban
Age: 24
Startup weekends attended: 5 (2 as an organiser)

When and where was your first Startup weekend?
In the beautiful city of Groningen, back then my home town. During my first startup weekend I was still a student and barely knew what a startup was, let alone how to start one. The weekend was full of surprises for me, a true roller coaster where I learned loads of stuff about words like; customer development, lean methodology and pitching. But also what networking actually meant.
The event was a true eye opener for me, I’d say it was my introduction to the wonderful world of startups!

What is the most important thing you learned during startup weekend?
Two things really stand out from my first Startup Weekend:
1. I already knew that you could do a lot in a short time, but to actually experience it was a amazing. To have an idea with a group of strangers and within two days turn that idea into something real (in our case really something, not just an app but a fully operating balcony farm.) 
2. My skill-set: I learned that I had certain talents that were a true value for the team, but I also learned that there we so many things I had never even knew existed. Something you can only learn by experiencing (and failing at) it.

What is your favourite SW-project?
I think it has to be one of my own projects. It was at Startup Weekend Cologne. I pitched an idea that I wanted a service that would send me: A Daily Reminder to Not Shave Your Beard. It was an instant hit! We had so much fun the whole weekend. Almost everybody at the event got involved with our project and through all the fun I connected with so many people, one of the true powers of Startup Weekend.

The best thing, I actually did not shave for 6 months and had a bad-ass beard!

If you have to convince someone to join #SwGro14 in a few words, how would you do that?
Your life will not get easier after attending a Startup Weekend, but it will get more awesome!

Anything else you want to say about Startup weekend?
Thank you!

Launch Party Startup Weekend Groningen

A very big thank you to all the lovely people who came out to ‘De Bovenkamer van Groningen’ for the Startup Weekend Launch Party. We saw many familiar faces and a lot of new people who were eager to learn more about the concept of Startup Weekend. One of them is Michelle Roberts, spices lover and overall life enjoyer. She joined the Launch party to see and hear more about Startup Weekend. During the evening she talked to different entrepreneurs and became enthusiastic, which led her to buying a ticket for the main event on 7,8 and 9 November. Another new face who will be attending Startup Weekend Groningen is Joëlle Hooijer. She won a ticket for the main event on the Launch Party: congratulations!

In between the crowd there where also some people who where already acquainted with Startup Weekend. After asking them what made them come to the Launch Party, the answers where quite different from one another. Some said they wanted to see the venue, see the new team, win a ticket or went because a friend went too. But most of them went for the great vibe, or the ‘gezelligheid’ as they say in Dutch, and of course the beer. Which is okay, because it was indeed ‘gezellig’ with all of you!

So, People mingled, drank some beer and walked around to explore the beautiful venue. We were not kidding when we said we had an awesome space for the Launch Party. Many ‘oh’s’ and ‘ah’s’ were overheard on the top floor of the building mainly because of the amazing view over the city and the park.

The person who was especially grateful with these reactions is owner Ralph Steenbergen. He said he was happy about the overall great vibe and the amount of (new) people at the Launch Party.

We like to thank Ralph for letting us use ‘De Bovenkamer van Groningen’ and we can’t say enough how happy the team is with all the people who went to the Launch Party. No doubt about it that we would love to see you all on the main event! Buy your tickets here.



The magic of Startup Weekend

In the year 2014 there are approximately 1200 Startup Weekends planned. Take a moment to let that number sink in… Remember there are ‘only’ 52 weekends in a year. Roughly it would mean that there are 23 Startup Weekends every weekend. Wait, what? Yes! That’s immense! 

What some people may not realise is that all these Startup events are organised by volunteers. The organising teams make these weekends happen out of love for the community. Okay, that is not strictly true, because we can’t pay all the bills with love (unfortunately). That’s why all the Startup Weekend organisers seek for sponsors who share the same love and believe in the magic of Startup Weekend. It’s a win=win situation: Sponsors love Startup Weekend and the organisers love sponsors.

To give an idea how much time is spent on organising Startup Weekend Groningen: The team often starts meetings in the month May. The event itself is in November so that gives them six months. From July till November there are weekly meetings planned to get everybody up to date and which steps are next to take. The biggest part is getting the sponsors, because they make almost everything happen. The more sponsor money, the more awesome things a Startup Weekend team can arrange for the event! Think of good food, drinks and entertainment.

So the organising team spends countless hours to prepare and promote the event. To think that these people also have a full time day job and therefore deal with their Startup tasks mostly during free time. On the event itself there are even more volunteers in play. Think of the Coaches/Mentors, the facilitator, judges and the extra volunteers who make it easier for the organising team.

Volunteers and sponsors are needed in making a Startup Weekend happen. Are you a company and do you believe in the magic of Startup Weekend? Don’t hesitate to contact the team! The same goes for enthusiastic people who would like to help during the weekend as volunteer. We need you!


Up Global and Startup Weekend


Some of you may have noticed that the Startup Weekend Groningen page has changed. For the new visitors to this website it’s less, or actually, not at all obvious. Well, we can inform you that the website has had a complete make-over indeed. The Startup weekend team wants everybody of the Groningen community to be informed why the look has changed.

Have you heard of the organisation Up Global? If not, it is time you read up on them! They have a mission to make the world a more innovative and prosperous place, one community at a time. Up Global supports the community leaders who are at the core of every strong entrepreneurial community. What does Up Global have to do with Startup Weekend? Good question! Up Global can be seen as the mother ship of all Startup Weekends that are organised. They’ve always been there, but as they say: one community at a time. This year it’s Groningen time to shine and make the change to the new ‘look and feel’ of Up Global. We are going to empower the Groningen entrepreneurs and the community with it.

And now? Apart from the new look and making Groningen a community of entrepreneurs, not much has changed. Startup Weekend will still be an awesome weekend for people who want to build a business in a weekend.

Up Global doesn’t only support Startup Weekend. It also takes care of Startup Next, Startup Digest and Startup Education. Our community here in Groningen already has their own Startup Digest. Sign up via the Startup Weekend page to get all the latest events in your calendar! Visit the Up Global website for more information.

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