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, 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 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, 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:


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, 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 


Co-founded the creative agency @BrthrsAgency B.V. Robert is also responsible for the app Scheduled ( 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:


What I’ve Learned from Winning Startup Weekend – Henk Beijert


There has never been a better time to start a business… While knowledge, ideas and inspiration have never been this accessible, the biggest barrier for starting a business has become something else: you.

Startup Weekend changed the way I think

When I look at the way I make decisions, the way I approach challenges these days, I can connect them to some of the valuable experiences I had during Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend planted valuable seeds. It influenced the way I think, work and do business now: going for it.

Gaining startup knowledge

I’ve read a lot about startups, entrepreneurship and technology and I’m still deeply fascinated by these themes. When you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur, the internet is a great source of knowledge. You can learn from the many founders that have shared their inspiring journeys.

Startup knowledge is useless

However, knowledge gives us a false feeling of comfort. Knowledge is useless, unless you can make it relevant to your own situation by experience. Therefore, challenge yourself! This creates real valuable to you. Create your own inspiring journey! Build a team, then feel the pain of “breaking up” with your team. Work long hours on your product and then ditching 80% again of what you’ve done. Maybe start over, but always: go for it.

Starting a company in 54 hours is hard

Don’t get discouraged, Startup Weekend will be great fun!!! But you will have some really tough moments as well. We had discussions on our team, about different ideas and visions, a huge lack of sleep and we made continuous changes in the business model. When we thought we had a solid plan, there were these mentors that gave us a hard time… Don’t get me wrong, these people were great, I really appreciate them. But I hated some of their feedback at the time… Now I see these moments as my most valuable experiences. They still resonate today.

What to do after Startup Weekend?

My team and I won Startup Weekend 2014. But more important: I learned to make a choice: to go for it, 100%. Not as a side project but to give it all I’ve got. Creating my own inspiring startup journey with valuable experiences every day.
No matter what ideas you may have, remember that the biggest barrier is not your lack of knowledge but missing out on the valuable experience by not going for it. So stop reading and start doing. Go for it! Give it all you’ve got!

Written by Henk BeijertFounder of GreenBricks

Teamily brings team power to Startup Weekend Utrecht


Did you know that 50% of teams are struggling with unclear roles?

During Startup Weekend Utrecht teams are not only put under PRESSURE to set up a startup in 54 hours. They also have to set up an awesome team and get along during the weekend: challenges guaranteed!

Raimo, CEO at Teamily knows how to make teams work together. During Startup Weekend Utrecht you get to know his newest and latest tool TEAM DRIVER SNAPSHOTS. It is the quickest and simplest way to get crucial insights on team roles.

TEAMDRIVER SNAPSHOTS gives team’s breakthrough insights on their strengths and weaknesses. Let the team answer some questions and get immediately an interactive and online representation of the team’s current state.

Take a SNAPSHOT now!

A SNAPSHOT will give you instant:

  • Insight in your preferred roles in projects
  • Mapping of all team members and their preferred project challenge
  • Clarity on where your team needs re-enforcement
  • A score on your team’s current sentiment


Teamily’s TEAMDRIVER is a fresh new way to work better in teams together, increasing team performance. It gets the right person to drive the right challenge in your projects. We call these persons drivers. TEAMDRIVER gives teams the tools to safely hand-over projects to their team members. This way you always have the best person at the wheel at every stage of your project.

Learn more about TEAMDRIVER here.

Learn more about Startup Weekend Utrecht here.


Written by Cindy Spelt, Lead Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016


From a Startup Weekend Mentor to an Organizer

In 2015, I had my first experience with Startup Weekend and it was remarkable. I was invited to be one of the mentors at the Startup Weekend Space held in Gdansk, Poland. At the event, I was inspired by many great ideas, met a lot interesting people and had a lot of fun. The Startup Weekend encouraged people to work on and pitch their ideas, have ideas validated and the ability to meet like-minded people. It was a great platform for people with innovative ideas to kick start their entrepreneurial journey.


So, when I noticed that Startup Weekend Utrecht was to be organized in November 2016, I didn’t hesitate to contact one of the lead organizers, Cindy Spelt, and asked her if I could join the team. With my background organizing similiar events like hackathons for my work, I was sure I could bring value to the team. I was really excited to meet new people who I can learn from and to share my experiences with.

From the moment I started, I can say that I am part of a great team. Our pre-event was a blast, we have great mentors and judges on board, we arranged social activities and I learned a lot. With such pleasant experiences, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to the main event in November.


If people ask me why they should join the Startup Weekend, I would answer them with the same reason why I want to be involved:

“Startup Weekend is the place to meet open, friendly and enthusiastic people who want to share their experiences and are eager to learn from each other.”

The Startup Weekend offers a great opportunity to share and validate your ideas, and to support other ideas. It is the golden opportunity to meet your future co-founder, to be supported by mentors and to receive feedback from judges – all in just 54 hours.

“Startup Weekend lasts way longer than a weekend.”

Oh and another good reason to join is that a Startup Weekend lasts longer than just a weekend. I still have contact with people I met at the Startup Weekend Space in Poland. We stay in touch to share knowledge and visit other events together.

So don’t hesitate join, it is a great and lasting experience. Meet people, have fun & innovate. Hope to see you there!

Martijn Leinweber, Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016

Being a refugee is NOT a job title!


I know from experience that working in and moving to another country can be an hassle. In the beginning it all sounds adventurous and exciting. Lots of new impressions, meeting new people and making friends and lots of exciting information to process…. After some time you start looking around and asking yourself ‘how can I fit in?‘ The most challenging part starts when you want to become ‘one of them’. Learning the language, fitting in the (administrative) system and making a living…

We all want to live up to our full potential. Learning a language requires time, getting used to new manners and a culture also. This is ok. This is part of the deal. What is NOT ok is putting someone at a DISADVANTAGE: calling a person who travelled great distances to find a better life ‘a refugee’. This is not of any help.

The title ‘refugee’ is political and puts you in a BOX. We do not put people in boxes, we work together instead, no matter your background or life story. My suggestion is to start using the term: PROFESSIONALS WTH AN INTERNATIONAL BACKGROUND instead. Imagine the level of creativity, perseverance, humanity and authenticity they can bring in!

To make a DIFFERENCE we invite companies to SPONSOR tickets for Startup Weekend Utrecht. We believe that by getting to know the DUTCH entrepreneurial ECOSYSTEM people have an easier entrance by finding their way in making a living in the Netherlands.

Do you like to help us? Please DONATE tickets!

  • 5 tickets : € 450
  • we will select the people to join the event (designers, programmers, business people)
  • date of the event: 11-12-13 November, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • sponsorship: before 30th October 2016

For more information, please call me at +31 (6)1465 1424. We will take it from there. Thank you!

Written by Cindy Spelt – Lead Organizer  at Startup Weekend Utrecht

Why Do Startup Weekend Logos All Look Different?

Why do Startup Weekend logos all look different but somehow similar?

As of July 2016, Startup Weekend has reached 150 countries with over 1,000 organizers around the world. Yet, if you look at their logos, they all look different, while some elements seem to be preserved. What exactly are different and what are the same?

According to the official brand guidelines from Startup Weekend, every Startup Weekend organizer is allowed freedom to be creative with its logo as long as 2 key elements stay intact: the Beaker image and the text “Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs”. This flexibility allows organizers to differentiate themselves with unique logos, while strengthening the global brand of Startup Weekend.

Logo with text4 (1)

So What is the Story Behind Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016 Logo?

Key Image 1: The Palm

Our logo designer, Madelein Ovens, did encounter difficulties as there are already all kinds of variations made. Yet with her involvement in previous Startup Weekend Utrecht events, she experienced a strong sense of collaboration among the participants, mentors, judges and organizing team. This is the key message she wants the logo to convey.

To visualize the abstract concept of collaboration, she used the shape of a palm in the background. The “fingers” of the palm are 5 iconic buildings of Utrecht, which are Dom Tower, St Catherine’s Cathedral, Water Tower Utrecht, Province Utrecht Building and of course, a Dutch Windmill. The Province building was particularly chosen (instead of the City Hall) as the thumb for its most important symbolic meaning: Startup Weekend Utrecht is going beyond the city level to a wider province level.

buildings (1)

Key Image 2: The Beaker

With the palm in place, she put the beaker in the middle. The 3 circles at the side of the beaker not only resemble an ecosystem, but also to represent 3 key activities participants do during the event – Meet People, Have Fun, Innovate.

Miffy (Nijntje in dutch), the famous cute white female rabbit in children’s books, is undoubtedly the perfect representation of the citizens in Utrecht, as she was created by a dutch artist Dick Bruna, who was born in Utrecht. As the heart of the ecosystem, the Miffies situate right inside the beaker.

Every year our logo will be different. Do you have great ideas for our upcoming logos? You are more than welcome to let us know by emailing to or just come check out our upcoming events at!