Once more, Startup Weekend Utrecht will bring great minds together and generate fountains of ideas and business solutions. These two days result in numerous opportunities and benefits that can open up many doors for the participants. We sat down with Henk Beijert, co-founder of GreenBricks, who won Startup Weekend Utrecht 2014. A year later, the startup is ready to enter the energy market with its online platform: GreenBricks Assist.
About GreenBricks – SWU 2014 winning idea
GreenBricks creates smart applications that aim to speed up the sustainability processes. Currently the company is building a digital personal assistant for contractors called GreenBricks Assist. The platform acts as a personal assistant for professionals like installers of solar panels or other energy related products that can be applied to buildings.
In my vision, the world needs to become more sustainable and the way to do it, is by making living space more sustainable.
How does the platform work?
The installer visits the consumer and fills in all data related to the house and the energy saving product in the application. As a result the application generates advice and a proposal which will help the concerned parties make a decision. GreenBricks Assist manages the whole process from incoming requests to billing. So contractors can focus on their work: installing solar panels or insulation. In short: super efficient administrative tool for energy related companies.
How Startup Weekend Utrecht helped GreenBricks happen
Henk Beijert and Johan Boer (co-founders of GreenBricks) went to Startup Weekend Utrecht inspired and ready to get the most out of it. During the event, they teamed up with Elmar Weber (Cupenya), Bart van den Bosch (Zonnepaneelwijzer) and Sjors Martens (Mobisol). Apparently, the chemistry and motivation was present among the team members, because they ended up Winning First prize after having successfully proved the market for their product, developed a working demo and created a solid business plan.
We asked Henk, what would he advise Startup Weekend newbies and he gave us a short but straight to the point answer: “If you are in doubt, do it!” He also encourages the participants to not be afraid to show themselves and speak out their opinion.
Startup Weekend is a small sprint of learning, building, coaching and great amount of inspiration.
Ups and Downs
The road was not always smooth. There are numerous challenges connected to starting a company that only other founders can empathize with. One of them is building a team from the ground up. A great success for the startup was the fact that they made it to the selection days of Startup Bootcamp. The biggest feedback they got from Startup Bootcamp was the fact that they didn’t have enough developing power in the team. Soon enough Henk and Johan hired 3 developers.
After all this feedback, in May 2015, the idea was outlined and the team was complete, so GreenBricks was ready to roll. On September 03, 2015, their closed Beta will be officially out.
What the future holds
The end of this year, GreenBricks will do small investment round among acquaintances and early 2016 another one will follow. After closed beta, the company has to figure out how big the market actually is and then they can launch the app commercially. The plan is to launch Open Beta mid 2016.
Startup Weekend Utrecht is back soon on Nov 13-14. Tickets are now available!