Day 1: Startup Weekend Zürich Spring Edition 2016

„Today you have the chance to find the person you want to work together forever.” – David Andersen from Denmark opened the Startup Weekend Zürich 2016 Spring edition!

We are happy to announce that the doors of Startup Weekend Zürich are open again and we were welcoming our participants at a new and beautiful location of Samsung. 86 people registered for the event. Sold out event! The weather hasn’t been that nice this year – but it is for the Startup Weekend, it seems it tries to show off for all the people who are coming to Zürich from different countries for the Startup Weekend. It is great to see the energy in the room and motivation of participants.


David, the SWZH facilitator from Denmark broke the ice even more. We jumped, we clapped, we were giving high fives and we baked ideas. He emphasized to let the ideas growing, go out, meet local people, test your ideas during the weekend and join a team even if your own idea hasn’t been chosen. Since you will learn the most from the working process, methodologies and from the others. As we heard in the introduction, who knows, maybe you find your future business partner already this weekend.


No talk – all action. This is the motto of Startup Weekend. David talked about the importance of the energy and vibe. “Let’s get the energy going!” The video of the Insane Drummer to visualise on how to do it.

8pm, time for the pitchfire. People were lining up to pitch their ideas and more people joined in. More people gained the courage to pitch and stood up as well. We listened to 35 ideas, this number beat last years and it is not going to be an easy competition this year neither. The marketplace was loud and busy, but the 14 best ideas got chosen by the participants themselves. Teams have been formed and the work already started on the first evening.

Let’s see how they proceed on the following days.


A few things you may be wondering about…


Startup Weekend Zurich
May 6th – 8th, 2016

What types of ideas should I be ready to pitch?

Most of the ideas are web-based or mobile applications. Generally, ideas which involve creating a physical product do not work well because you need something to present to the panel on Sunday. If you have any idea at all, we encourage you to pitch it!

How do I pitch my idea? 

The pitches on Friday night will be informal (no PowerPoint allowed) and you will be allotted no more than 60 seconds to explain your idea.

Should I be worried about my idea getting stolen?

Startup Weekend pitches are done in an open forum and no non-disclosures will be signed. If you are really concerned about your idea being stolen, by all means keep it private. But remember, it’s rarely the idea that is the winner but the people and the execution behind it.

Does Startup Weekend have any ownership rights to ideas or products conceived at the event?

Absolutely not. Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization and any ownership rights are completely up to the teams and participants. We don’t recommend worrying too much about this during the event – there will be lots of time for that when you take your startup to the next level.

Can I pitch an idea I’ve already been working on?

No! It’s imperative that everyone is open during the event. Startup Weekend is all about meeting new people and creating innovative solutions to real problems TOGETHER. You can research your idea ahead of time. If you come with an idea you’ve already worked on, it’s not fair to the other participants and teams. Play fair – as a general guideline – if you’ve created code, a logo, snagged a domain name, or already sold something – then don’t pitch it during the weekend. You will meet some amazing people who may be able to help you with your existing idea after the weekend.

How do we form the teams?

We allow the teams to form themselves. Each participant will get 3 notes. Each represents a vote. The pitch ideas will be posted around the room. Place your votes on the ideas you like best. You can vote for yourself! The pitch ideas with the most votes will move on to form teams and build the idea during the weekend. Generally teams of approximately 5 members work best.

How will I know what someone else’s specialty is?

This is where the networking aspect of the event comes in. To put a good team together, you need to walk around and talk to people. Last time, we used colour coded name tags and we might do that again but you need to talk to people to find out what they can offer.

What time should I get there on Friday?

Try to arrive between 5:30pm and 6:00pm so you have a chance to eat and network with other attendees. We have a lot to do on Friday night so need to get things moving and get you all working!

How do I get there?

We’re at Samsung Switzerland, Giesshübelstrasse 30, 8045 Zürich – just opposite of Sihlcity, Tram stop 5 & 13 as well as S-Bahn 4 and Bus 72 are just in front of the entrance.
We will have some balloons pointing you to the right direction.

Do I need to bring a computer?

Yes, make sure to bring a laptop and whatever you need to get the job done.

Anything else I should bring?

Business cards, also, bring a great attitude and a lot of energy!

How much does it cost (remember, we’re a non-profit and have to cover our costs)?

Cost to participate is 80 CHF and you must buy a ticket to officially become registered. We have discounted tickets for students using the code STUDENT. The cost includes food/drinks to be provided throughout the weekend, along with coaching, fun, prizes, swag and more…


If you tweet about this event on Twitter, please use the #swzh16 hashtag so that we can include you in the sidebar and make it easier for others to connect with you. Please follow the official Startup Weekend Zurich twitter feed (@SWZurich) as well to stay up-to-date with recent information regarding the event.

The Why, the Who, and the How

Let’s review a few questions people who’ve never been to a Startup Weekend usually ask:

Why attend Startup Weekend ?

  • Education: Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating.  Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
  • Build your network: This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a job or even an investor.
  • Find a co-founder: We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.
  • Learn something new: Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.
  • Get face time with thought leaders: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends as coaches and judges. Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in your community.
  • Actually launch a business: Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months.  Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.

Who should attend Startup Weekend Zurich ?

Come with an open mind and get ready to build something truly amazing and innovative. Designers, developers, scientists, students, teachers, marketing, sales, strategy, etc; you are most welcome to participate in the weekend. Diversity drives innovation and success.

Do I need to come with an idea?

If you have an idea for a startup, then great! We hope you pitch for the weekend. If you don’t have an idea, that’s also alright! Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched and maybe something strikes your interest. The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and learning from each other.

Register for the event here.

5 things to expect at Startup Weekend


1. Late nights and lots of coffee

Startup Weekend kicks off Friday night with 1 minute pitches and ends with the final presentations on Sunday evening. That’s not a whole lot of time to do everything needed to wow the judges, including customer validation, design, and the actual building of your idea. To make the most out of this time, you might have to sacrifice some sleep. Be prepared to stay up late coding and up early the next morning getting back at it. I promise, it’ll be worth it. And coffee helps!

2. Learn something new

Have you been wanting to learn a new coding language like Node.js, play with cool things like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and 3D Printers, or have an idea you think could turn into a business? Well there’s no better place to do it then a Startup Weekend.

3. Meet some cool people

Startup Weekend is going to be packed full of talented designers, developers, hardware hackers, marketers, and people who love startups. Expect to work closely with your team and mingle with everyone else. You never know, that person might be your future co-founder, next employee, or someone who can help you with your day job.

4. Actually build something

Startup Weekend’s slogan is “No talk, All action”. That means there’s no time to hum and haw over options and there’s certainly no red tape to cut though. If you have an idea, you can build it immediately. Aim to have something built by the final presentation on Sunday and maybe, if you’re brave enough, even do a live demo!

5. Mentorship and advice from experts

At Startup Weekend, there will be a whole slew of mentors there to help your team out. These will be people with a whole lot of experience building things so I suggest you ask them questions and have them scrutinize your plan. The more help you get, the better your final pitch will be and the better chance you’ll have at taking home the grand prize!


Bonus: You’ll quit your job and start a company

This might not happen to everyone, but I’m willing to bet it will happen to someone. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll be validating your ideas, talking to customers, and building a ton of awesome things. But after Sunday, everything doesn’t have to stop. You can take what you’ve worked on and turn it into a real business that might even let you quit your job. It happens every time at Startup Weekends.

Startup Weekend Zurich – Day#3 & Final Results

Last day of the Startup Weekend came. People seemed a bit tired in the morning, but instead of giving up, they need to make a full attack in order to be the best in the afternoon.
Pitch tech checks go quick. Teams come one-by-one to check their presentation and get some tips from the organizers. The challenge is big. They need to work out an idea, put together a presentation, convince the judges and make sure that the pitch is no longer than 4 minutes. This is definitely not easy. In the working area there is a tense mood, group pictures are done for the presentations, participants are staring at the computer, the presentation needs to be very smart.
4 pm, pitch room is ready, visitors start to arrive to watch the final pitches. Interesting to see how big the interest is for the event. The apero room is full of people. The energy of building a startup in 54 hours reached a lot of people, and the atmosphere was active and energized, only the ones who was presenting at the final were a bit nervous.
At 5 pm the event started. After the introduction of the judges the teams had the chance to show what they were worked on the whole weekend.
Over 130 people and the 3 judges in the pitch room at Microsoft heard great presentations. It can really be said that they did their best and every team took the competition very seriously. We had projects related to health care, real estate, but there were also ones related to dining, travel or technology. The jury didn’t have an easy job this time neither. But they made their decision, and I am happy to announce the winning teams:
  • Best Pitch: ConnectContact – Full fledged solution to keep up to date your business contacts
  • Best prototype: Insumo –  Brings you real success stories that will make your heart beat faster and motivate you in your ventures
  • Custom Motor won the special price of a design coaching by creative hub –  A platform for engineers to design small individual customized motors
  • The overall winner is team Dentra: trusted platform for hand picked dental services in Europe! Congrats!!
Such a great event and such a great occasion to meet great people. I wish all the teams to manage to develop their ideas in the future and became a startuper once for living.
[Thank you Orsi for writing these blog posts! & Werner Büchel for the great pictures and memories]

Startup Weekend Zürich – Day #2 – The day of hard work

The teams that have been formed on Friday evening arrived back early on Saturday morning to Microsoft Switzerland, the location where Startup Weekend takes place in Zürich this time. The work they planned yesterday needs to be accomplished today. This is not easy, but they all knew this, that is why they applied. The venue is full of flow-charts, time-lines, post-its and filled lean-canvases.

Before lunch we had the chance to say hello to our fellow startupers in Trondheim, Norway via Skype. There are six Startup Weekends going on different locations all over the world this weekend, hard to imagine though that any of those would be more international than the one in Zürich right now.


During the afternoon we welcomed the couches, 13 mentors with many different professions. It was nice to see how the couches got energised from the atmosphere and the environment of Satrtup Weekend from the very first time. The teams presented their project and the couches also introduced themselves. So matching the teams with couches became easy, they could choose how they would like to work together.


During the afternoon we had a very useful speech from Carlos Morales, the co-organiser of Lean Startup Zürich Meetup about how to put a great idea into practice. We also had the chance to listen to Ash Maurya himself, the author of the Running Lean and Creator of Lean Canvas – Helping Entrepreneurs Everywhere Succeed. He joined us via Skype from the US and talked more about lean canvas and answered questions of the audience.


We finished the day with even more work and better defined ideas. The time was passing very quick, the day was over and the teams need to be ready with the first version of the pitch right on Sunday morning. Let’s see how they succeed.

Startup Weekend Zürich – Day #1 – Let’s get started!

The day came. Venue is ready. Name tags are printed. Facilitator made the final tech-check. You can almost touch the excitement of the organisers. 5pm, first participant arrived and I am happy to announce the Startup Weekend Zürich 2015 fall Edition officially started.


Almost 80 participants, 80 ambitious and enthusiastic people from all around the world came to test and compete their startup ideas or help others to reach success. We have startupers from UK, France, Hungary, Slovnenia, Italy, Denmark, Germany and more – besides Switzerland. We heard 33 pitches, all very good ideas. So the competition is already big from the very beginning, since only 13 ideas were chosen to be developed during the weekend. Teams have been formed, they have already started to work and put the base down for their projects.


Teams in 2015 Fall are:

  • DIGA
  • Frame it!
  • Link nexus
  • Custom Motor
  • White card
  • Heathgram
  • Reality Estate
  • No Q
  • me
  • Indoor Locate
  • Flat Form
  • Intermed

I can say that everyone went to bed exhausted but full of experiences after the first afternoon. Many thanks for Microsoft Schweiz to provide us this beautiful venue for the event.


99designs: 4 reason why branding is essential for startups and small businesses [sponsored]

How to brand your business for under CHF 400

99designs is very proud to be a sponsor of the Startup Weekend in Zurich. To show how much we love startups, we decided to share some useful insights about branding for small businesses.

4 reason why branding is essential for startups and small businesses

No smalltalk needed when it comes to branding. Here are the 4 main reasons, why you should think of branding your business right away.

  1. Branding builds brand awareness

Your brand ultimately defines what your business stands for. If you build a sense of brand awareness in your target market, the chances of customers coming back, buying your product or promoting your business through word of mouth will most likely increase.

  1. Branding encourages loyalty

If you can provide people with a memorable service, coupled with a clear and consistent design, you are making it very easy for them to return to you.

  1. Branding promotes brand recognition

A strong visual identity will promote brand recognition in the conscious and sub conscious of your target audience. There is a lot of competition out there in todays market, so very often it is the extra  touches in design or experience which end up winning you that return customer.

  1. Branding allows you to action the 3 Cs

Actioning the 3 C‘s will give your brand the reinforcement it needs to succeed. This means Consistency, Clarity  and Communication are the key to a successful business. Branding allows you to communicate your ideas, values and products to your target audience in a memorable way.

How to use 99designs to get the branding that your business needs

Working with a community of over 1 Million graphic designers, 99designs has been able to help out over 450.000 customers to get the design they need. In order to meet our customers expectations, we’ve been creating new products during the past year, that will make it even easier to get your business running right away.

We partnered up with Jimdo to bring you an exclusive Custom Logo + Website package for just CHF 398. This is the ultimate and fastest way to get a professional logo design and a complete website.

What you’ll get:

  • Logo Design
  • Mobile Friendly Website
  • Hosting + Domain Name
  • No Coding Required

Wondering how to start a design contest? Watch our helpful How it works video.

Are you getting excited about Startup Weekend Zurich?

pitch defined-01

Components of a great pitch:

Hi, I’m [name]! The problem solving is [problem]. My solution is [solution]. To do this, we’ll need [team].

Where [name] = your name, [problem] = the thing that you are trying to solve AND who does it help, [solution] = name of your solution AND why it is unique AND how it’s used, if time permits [team] = types of people who can help you solve the problem.


  • Who can make a pitch? Anyone who has a ticket to the Weekend (sorry volunteers, mentors, and judges – you’ll have to get a ticket to pitch!). All participants are encouraged to make a pitch!  It’s part of the fun of Startup Weekend.
  • How long are the pitches? No longer than 60 seconds.  There will be a timer and you’re time is up at exactly 1 minute.
  • How do I sign up to make a pitch? Just show up Friday night.  When it’s pitch time, put up your hand if you’d like to make a pitch.
  • Can I use a slide presentation for the pitch? No slides.  Remember, you only have 1 minute.
  • Can I pitch an idea I’ve already been working on? No!  Startup Weekend is all about meeting new people and creating innovative solutions to real problems TOGETHER.  You can research your idea ahead of time. If you come with an idea you’ve already worked on, it’s not fair to the other participants and teams.  Play fair – as a general guideline – if you’ve created code, a logo, snagged a domain name, or already sold something – then don’t pitch it during the weekend.  You will meet some amazing people who may be able to help you with your existing idea after the weekend.
  • How will the pitches be voted on? Each participant will get 3 Notes.  Each represents a vote. The pitch ideas will be posted around the room. Place your votes on the ideas you like best. You can vote for yourself!  The pitch ideas with the most votes will move on to form teams and build the idea during the weekend.
  • My pitch idea was not selected, can I still work on my idea during the weekend?  Yes, but you need to recruit at least two other participants to be on your team.  Also, supplies will first be distributed to teams that were voted in. Your best bet is to join another team.

Judging Criteria

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

Validation Execution and Design Business Model

Customer Validation (does the business have a good understand customers and their needs)

○      Did your team get out and talk to customers?

○      Who will be your users, who will be your customers (are they different)?

○      How many users have you interviewed?

○      Did you target the correct people to interview?

○      What did you learn from your customer interviews (revenue)?

○      What are the core needs of your users?

Execution & Design 

○      What feedback have you gotten to inspire your Minimum Viable Product?

○      Did you build a prototype (paper or powerpoint is ok)?

○      How effective is your a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (be it software, hardware, etc.)?

○      How functional is your technical demo?

○      How easy is it for the user to navigate and use your product?

○      Were you able to incorporate customer feedback into the solution?

Business Model (is this business feasible)

○      Is it a big/unique idea?

○      What is your key value proposition?

○      How do you plan on making this a successful business?

○      Have you thought about competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, revenue model etc.?

○      Have you identified a specific target market?

○      How will they acquire their first 100 customers?