Startup Weekend Judging Criteria

Startup Weekend Judging Criteria

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

  • Business Model
    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation
    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design
    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

Startup Weekend is coming back to Berlin

It’s been more than 2 years since the last Startup Weekend took place in Berlin and today we’re proud to announce that with a fresh team and heaps of enthusiasm, we’re bringing your most beloved startup event back into the local ecosystem.

Get ready for an amazing experience, 54 intense hours that will take you through the learning loops and ups & downs of startup life.

Startup Weekend Berlin will take place on November 17 – 19, coinciding the Global Entrepreneurship Week. How’s that for a powerful comeback?

Why Join

Get to know your local startup scene
During Startup Weekend you’ll have the chance to learn best practices from established startup founders who will be your mentors throughout the event.

Access a global community
With 4500+ events having been organized globally to date, Startup Weekend’s strongest asset is in the end, the community, which you will become a part of once you have attended the event.  

Get Started
Either you already have a business idea that you want to launch, or you simply want to get a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit, Startup Weekend is a great place to start; with the support of the mentors, organizers, judges & the other participants, you are guaranteed to find the answers you are looking for and get inspired.

How it works

Open to All
Startup Weekend is open to everybody – students, graduates, developers, designers, hackers, VC’s – we want you all!

We have special student discounts and early bird tickets meant to go fast, so have a look at our ticketing page and reserve your spot.

Feel free to reach out to as for any questions at

See you on November 17th!

Seeing the community’s perspective: Story #2 Alex Papanagis

I love a creative challenge, and I am eager to see new ideas be fleshed out, which improve people’s lives, therefore I applied for startup weekend.

For me it is an opportunity to learn, stretch my thinking, refuel my motivation to create, be a part of a stimulating team

I am a graphic designer and hope to be able to add beauty, elegance, ease and pleasure to the use to whatever my team creates

Here’s how a tax attorney became an online course queen!

Supermom from Kajabi


Most us have plans for our lives. Career plans, vacation plans, family plans, retirement plans, etc.

Life, however, often has a funny way of shifting priorities and changing major life intentions altogether.

That’s what happened to Tamsen Horton.

Tamsen was in search of a career that would provide more income for her and her family. Opting to go a more traditional route, she enrolled in law school and started her career after graduating. Much to her dismay, she quickly found that it wasn’t the field for her.

Pregnant and seeking something less volatile and cumbersome, Tamsen decided that working for the IRS would be more agreeable for her lifestyle.

Tamsen had a plan: Give birth to her child, take the summer to care for her newborn, and go to work for the IRS once things settled.

When she gave birth, however, everything changed:

“I remember being in the hospital and having Kip. . . And I looked at [my husband] and said, ‘I don’t know what we’re doing, but I’m never leaving this baby.’”

In lieu of the IRS, Tamsen figured out how to live life on her terms. Today, she’s a stay-at-home mom who makes a living selling online courses.

That’s a big transition. To find out more about how Tamsen went from a tax attorney to figure out what online courses are, to turning her online existence into a full-time gig, Tamsen’s story is universally appealing.

If you’re interested in learning how you too can make the same leap as this motivated mom, read on and prepare to get inspired.

From a Tax Attorney to an online Course Queen

After leaving the field she had gone to school for, through conversations with many friends, Tamsen began to realize that many of these parents didn’t have wills or any of the necessary legal documents needed in case a tragedy would befall them and the kids were left alone.

Through this realization and her experience as an attorney, Tamsen identified a need among her friends that she could fill.

Knowing all too well how impersonal, inconvenient, and insensitive law offices could be (not to mention difficult to bring kids to), Tamsen wanted to provide parents with a more compassionate and respectful alternative:

“I found this beautiful niche that no lawyers were serving, which was talking to parents at home via the computer when the kids are in bed. . . I quickly saw that my audience, families with children, who needed help with their estate planning was very receptive to my approach of talking with them while bouncing my son on my lap.

Tamsen ended up coaching moms via Skype where it wouldn’t matter if kids were present, crying, or running around in the background.

“After a few months, I realized that I could take the common content that I was talking about every single family and put that into a course so that I could better leverage my time and help make the price as affordable for these loving families as possible.”

Through this realization, she ended up creating a WordPress website and her first online course, My Kid, My Plan.

While this was a step in the right direction for Tamsen, she had a much bigger vision than her WordPress website would enable her to fulfill. She wanted to provide her clients with more resources and tried to do so with various plugins and add-ons.

But the extras she added to her site never worked properly and proved to be nothing more than “. . . very expensive digital duct tape.”

Choosing the Right Platform for Her Business

Frustrated with her current WordPress setup and uber pregnant, a friend who was already using Kajabi introduced her to the platform via a video.

After watching the video, she was thrilled to get started as building courses and an online store was as easy as “playing with Legos.” As Tamsen put it:

“If the heavens could open and angels could sing… It’s like [Kajabi] got in my head and built what I never could have said; this is what I needed.”

Understanding how simple the course creation process was, and knowing that the platform also provided powerful features like email marketing systems, analytics features, upselling elements, and an assortment of other beneficial components, Tamsen quickly got herself signed up and began producing and selling courses.

“As I began to see results in terms of time saved, money earned, and enjoyment maximized – I knew 100% that online courses were exactly what I needed to do to help families and myself all at the same time – it was the craziest win-win I’d ever personally seen. . . I felt like I had hit a secret lottery. . . Now six years later – I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Today, Tamsen provides her audience with an array of courses, books, and other materials that support parents in preparing for the future of their families. She also has courses to help anyone get started using online course creation tools.

Tamsen online course

How Others Can Get Inspired by This Story

For a lot of moms out there, staying at home doesn’t seem feasible. Just like college isn’t the ideal next step for every high school graduate. The burst of online companies has provided priceless new opportunities to people who are called to walk a different path.

Tamsen has a passionate message for anyone who is looking for a different way to make money:

“Everyone has something in them and they can get it out there. . . You can be free; you can do this. You don’t need to get stuck. You don’t need to be miserable. . . Life is way too short.”

Everyone has knowledge and abilities from the various paths they have walked in life. Everyone has learned valuable information from skills they learned on the job, life experiences, hobbies, and other adventures; everyone has something to offer.

Tamsen’s Advice for Getting Started

Tamsen isn’t one to guard her secrets to success; she is eager to share this tremendous gift with anyone who is interested in following a similar path.

Her advice for getting started is super simple, too.

She recommends starting off by giving yourself permission to dream (and believe) that you are far beyond what your current job or profession tells you that you are.

Then, read Tamsen’s book Easy As PB&J as it walks through every step that goes into becoming an online course creator.

Finally, “Become part of the Kajabi family. Plain and simple I can’t recommend anything else. To have your system become part of your team and your family is an event that I’ve not seen happen with any other company on the market servicing online business. . . Kajabi is helping me protect what matters most to me and that makes my mamattorney heart so incredibly happy.”

As Tamsen has clearly shown, you can take the knowledge you already have and start teaching others those same lessons. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but this “mamattorney” is living proof that a dose of self-belief, crafty usage of user-friendly but powerful tools, and a dedication to hard work can manifest not only a dream job but a dream life. It’s all within your reach.


5 Reasons to take part in SWPrague as a Developer by alumumnus Petr Holík

5 Reasons to Take Part in SW as a Developer by alumnus Petr Holík

Proven Concept

Describing Hackathon in one sentence?

A weekend spent in front of a screen, full of coding, where boredom is plentiful, where one goes from frontend to backend, from coffee to Red Bull.

Does this apply to Startup Weekend?

No. The main goal of SW is to come up with the best possible concept of a product, validate it and maybe create a basic prototype. Whatever the outcome – a poster, a presentation, a mock-up or a fully functioning app – the most important part is the process, the verification of the design, business and technical aspects of the given product.


You can create and develop home alone, in a café with friends or with colleagues at work. Would it not be much better though if you could get immediate feedback from a creative design student, an experienced businessman or an overly critical investor?

It is not surprising that such an environment, where people of all ages and from different educational and cultural backgrounds interact, the most creative ideas emerge because of these synergies. You will have the unique opportunity to think about your ideas from new perspectives thanks to meeting and discussing with your team, mentors and judges.   

A New Perspective

Us IT specialists are often considered weirdos living in their bizarre world of ones and zeros. And if we are honest, it is often the case. These days though, being only good at coding is not the recipe for success. Developing is a complex combination of skills with programming being only a necessary requirement. SW is the perfect opportunity to step out of that bizarre world thanks to cooperating with various people that you would not have the possibility to meet otherwise. Stepping up your game is, therefore, a positive side effect that will make you a better person and a better developer.

Test your idea

If you bring your own idea to SW get ready for criticism, seeking compromise and struggling to push through your point of view. No one will play nice with you and it will not always be easy. But nothing is more important than constructive criticism, and you will be able to capitalize on this experience.

SW Is Just the Beginning

I brought an idea for a perfect start-up to SW. At the end of the weekend, I was able, together with my friend and 5 other fantastic people, to come up with a project that had little to do with the original design. And this process is exactly what SW is all about.

Three members of our team still work together on new projects, making use of the perspective and experience gained on our journey.

Do you want to be part of the next startupweekend?

Grab your ticket and use code “developersdevelopers” for 20% off the price.

Representa al Perú en Francia en un encuentro de Inteligencia Artificial

Esta es la oportunidad que buscas para realizar tus ideas de negocio de emprendimiento tecnológico en inteligencia artificial. Será un fin de semana lleno de aprendizaje del viernes 22 al domingo 24 de setiembre de este año 2017.

Global Startup Weekend Lima Artificial Intelligence

Startup Weekend Global Artificial Intelligence es un evento de 54 horas de Emprendimiento Tecnológico en donde se desarrollarán emprendimiento dentro del ámbito de la Inteligencia Artificial. Como todos sabemos, la inteligencia artificial está cada vez más presente en nuestras vidas.

Desde autos que se conducen solos hasta programas de computadora que reconocen si una persona tiene una enfermedad sólo analizando una simple muestra de su sangre, el cielo es el límite en lo que refiere a las aplicaciones de la IA.

Es por eso que Startup Weekend de Techstars (una de las más grandes organizaciones mundiales que ayudan a los emprendedores a lograr el éxito) de la mano de Startup UNI de la Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería – UNI organizan un evento de 3 días desde el viernes 22 de setiembre hasta el domingo 24. ¿Sientes que a veces no le sacas un verdadero provecho a tus fin de semanas? ¡Pues esta es tu oportunidad de hacer algo diferente y por qué no de cambiar el mundo!

¿Qué hace de diferente a este evento?

Este Startup Weekend no es como cualquier otro. En esta ocasión se realizará este evento en simultáneo con otras  11 Startup Weekend en paralelo en todo el mundo. ¡Lima no estará ajeno a este mega evento mundial y tú tienes la oportunidad de estar ahí! No sólo eso sino que el ganador global alcanzará un pase para el encuentro mundial de Inteligencia Artificial a celebrarse en Francia.

Más información

Lugar: INICTEL UNI Av. San Luis 1771, San Borja Lima, Lima

Puedes encontrar más información del evento haciendo click aquí y adquirir tus entradas aquí.

También puedes estar al tanto del evento en la página de Facebook.

How I got into entrepreneurship and startups – por Salina Mendoza

I went from crunching numbers to testing ideas.

As a young latina, I never imagined myself working in business yet alone startups. I didn’t even know what a startup was until my junior year of college. Growing up my life took many turns, I found out about college in 3rd grade and I was never the same.

I grew up in LA with my drug addicted mother and mentally abusive father. I took my anger from my home life and channeled it into art and math. I became obsessed with math and i’ve always had a competitive drive to be the best at whatever I was doing at the moment. Even though I grew up in poverty, I took any opportunity to learn as much as I can by whatever means possible. Often, I wasn’t the kid with the working computer at home because my mother was too high on meth to understand she cannot take apart computers to make them go faster. I ended up taking advantage of educational computer games when my computer was actually functioning. I also became obsessed with math workbooks from stores like Staples and Office Depot. I would finish them and move onto the next grade because I constantly needed stimulus. Most of the time, I was 2 or 3 grades ahead of my peers.

By the end of 2nd grade, I was recognized by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth program (CTY) for being the top 3% in the nation in mathematics. I consistently scored in the 99% percentile in all math subjects on the SAT 9’s. I tested at a math level that’s higher than most high school students in the US.

In fifth grade, I graduated from my elementary school in North Hollywood, CA. At my graduation, I spoke on the microphone and said I would become an accountant for Intel. During that time, my dad was a computer engineer for compaq (previously Tandem and would become HP). I learned to build my first computer with him and he introduced me to my first educational computer games. I became obsessed with tech because of him and I knew math was one of my favorites things to do. I learned about accountants and quickly decided that was the route I would take.

In seventh grade, I moved to Arizona suddenly without telling anyone. Living life in LA, I adapted to my environment and became something I never intended to. I had one of the hardest times of my life at home. Mental illness, domestic violence, mental abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, and gang life – I had to make a drastic change. If I wanted to become the accountant I said I would be on my fifth grade graduation, I needed to start over. My father, at the time, was living in Arizona and was about to get married to his second wife. She had kids and after a short stint of staying with them, I knew this was something I wanted. I wanted to live in a home with a family. It was something I’ve always craved and desperately needed for my next step in life.

I graduated high school in 2010 with Honors from Hamilton High School in Chandler, AZ. I took over 6 AP classes, played 3 sports, volunteered at two organizations, had 2 jobs, and was dedicated to getting into college with a scholarship. In 2010, I received the Dell Scholarship award for $20,000. I applied to 25 universities without paying a single dime in application fees or SAT/ACT exams. I got into 14 universities and I was in between Purdue University and Syracuse University. I had an offer from ASU that would literally pay me to go there every year but I needed to get away from my father and gain back my independence. My very last choice was Chapman University. At the last minute, my financial aid packages didn’t seem as realistic as I thought so I checked Chapman’s package. To my surprise, they had the biggest package out of all the top-tier universities. Chapman ended up being the best decision i’ve ever made in my life.

I got into a car accident a month before I went to college and was thought to be dead from the impact alone. I was going 5 mph and was slammed into by a driver going 55 mph in a 40 mph zone to beat the yellow light. My father asked me shortly after what I was going to do to get to college. Looking at him with disgust and confusion, I went into panic mode. Everything i’ve worked so hard for was being taken from me in an instant. I called one of my friends and convinced her to drive me to college. I sold my rare shoe collection for gas money, food, and miscellaneous stuff we’d need on the way. We got there at 3 am and slept in the car right before she helped move me into my new dorm.

During college, I had no other choice but to work as many hours as possible while going to school full-time. At the time, I was envious of my peers. Most of them were wealthy, had family helping them, and didn’t need to struggle to make ends meet during their college experience. It was a typical private university. Looking back, i’m thankful I had that experience. I was forced to get out of my comfort zone early and to continuously discover myself. Since I was forced to volunteer in high school, I became used to it and continued finding organizations I could help during college. I started volunteering as an Condom Safesite for the Great American Condom Campaign and an Athlete Ally for a new nonprofit called, “Athlete Ally”. I continued to polish my social media skills from my previous position in high school. I then started working at my university’s donation center then I moved onto being a brand ambassador for VitaminWater.

I failed my first exam as an accounting major. Instantly, I dropped that class and retook it with another professor. I went from getting F’s to getting A+’s. After that experience, I learned that I did not want to do this not because i’m not good at it but because I can pay someone else to do it. I started to learn about entrepreneurship as I was looking for other majors or emphasis’ to change to. I scanned the classes that were offered and their descriptions. I instantly fell in love and soon it became an obsession of mine. I took to Twitter to find out as much as I can about entrepreneurship, being an entrepreneur, and how to start a startup. I learned that it was a journey not a race and most entrepreneurs had a skill they started off with. I spent countless hours in the library skimming books because I often had already rented out the maximum. I took time to audit what I am good at and decided on social media. Back then, social media was said to be a “fad”. Many friends and peers told me I was wasting my time but I knew this was the future of communication and marketing. I found my first internship with a start-up shortly after with (DIA) and began to build my first brand.

At the time, Facebook was young in age and valued organic reach. This was prior to the heavy timeline and feed restrictions made by the pay-to-play model. I grew DIA’s Facebook to over 30k likes in one year without spending a dime on marketing. This is when I knew the potential of social media and building brands. I continued to use tactics i’ve learned for my volunteer projects and day jobs (most were brand ambassador positions). Towards the end of junior year, I knew it was crunch time and I needed to find a job that I could turn into a career right after I graduate. Even though I was having success with social media, I didn’t quite have enough knowledge to run my own agency. Between seasons in the beverage industry, I was stuck and needed to find a source of cash quick. I went on craigslist and found a position in solar with gen110. It was positioned as a brand ambassador position and I felt like if I was good at what I do in promotions then i’m sure I can rock it in solar.

I had no idea what I was getting into. My first day I showed up for training and it was this other girl and I in an undecorated room in a ghetto area of Placentia, CA. I had no idea if I was going to get hurt or if I was about to get trained for my new job. I started as a door knocker and quickly climbed to the top of the leaderboard in the first month. During 2013-2014, the solar industry was having the highest period of growth in history. I loved my team, the culture, and the raw skills I was learning/using. Everyday I pitched to people at the comfort of their homes and learned how to flourish in uncomfortable scenarios. I became obsessed with the cause and after a month, I received a secondary position as a recruiter. I eventually was training my recruits, working out in the field with them, and soon started running all Talent Acquisition for the company as a junior in college. I often would answer calls during class time just to make sure my candidates had the best experience possible. Shortly after, I took on a Brand manager position while still running Talent Acquisition. At the time, there was zero social media presence and quickly changed that to be one of the first solar companies to build a strong presence and following (yes, before SolarCity and such). We didn’t spend a dime on social media and grew quickly from the tactics I’ve learned studying/experimenting in social media.

While I was out in the field as a door knocker, I had a lot of time to think while I was on my route. I decided to start my Instagram by taking pictures along my daily route. I also took time to think of everyday problems and solutions. I stumbled upon a recycling technology idea (LEEF) at the same time I was taking a New Product Development class. We needed to create a startup idea and a new product so my team decided to work on it with me. We went through various prototype ideas. First it was a vending machine and then it was an app with an add-on. Working with gen110 (solar startup), I learned what it takes to disrupt an industry and where you do and do not take shortcuts. Recycling has yet to be taken to it’s highest form and what’s fascinating is that it’s an industry that many people mistaken for “cheap” and “you won’t make any money”. With the right system and inputs, it’s a million or even trillion dollar industry. After a few classes and groups working on it, it was looking like a viable startup idea.

I graduated college in 2014 and moved to the Bay Area for gen110’s expansion. I had my first salary, my own office on the 10th floor, and my own team of recruiters/recruitment manager. I thought I had all I needed until that quickly did not become the case. We were acquired my junior year by a larger franchise but merged soon after I moved up to the Bay Area where we began to kill the gen110 brand. We were acting as two different brands due to the brand positioning and culture being vastly different from one another. But, it was time. We rebranded into a new company called, “REPOWER by Solar Universe”.

During my time in the Bay, I had plans to meet with investors about LEEF. In theory, it was the perfect situation. I had a smash and grab with my car leaving me with my backpack stolen. My backpack had my company laptop, some valuables, and most importantly my pitch deck for investors that I had just finished for LEEF. At this time, I was working on my second startup idea called, “SuitePitch”. I gravitated towards my second idea and started to see it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to bring it (LEEF) to life. I decided shortly after that I would find someone to give it to. I didn’t care about selling it but I did care that it went to someone that cared and had the means to bring it to life. While browsing on LinkedIn, I found a recycling technology startup with a similar idea but LEEF had put more thought into certain aspects and processes. I got in contact with the team. The founders were lawyers and it was a perfect match for the complexity of the product/service. I scheduled a Google Hangout with them during my lunch break and explained/gave them everything. I shared the deck I had and gave them key insights into how to build certain partnerships i.e. who they should talk to and where they can find them.

After I gave it away, I was done forever. I started to spend more time on my second idea. During the same time, I started my consulting agency, I knew that whatever I did in business I would be able to integrate social media and do it at an economical price. This is how I  came up with socialomical. I took on my first client,, for free. I consulted the founder on social media direction, branding, and growth through organic reach. Shortly after, I got my first paid client, Kohana Coffee, from Twitter. I grew their social media following within a few months and hired a social media manager for them.

I got laid off in the solar industry due to decentralization of our franchise network. I built processes, documents, brand bibles, DIY Recruitment manuals, and audiobooks to help franchise owners do in-home recruitment and culture development at low-cost. After that, they no longer needed me and my team.

Scrambling for what was to come next, I got a call from someone I had recently met at a friend’s wine get together. He spoke about his startup when we met and was intrigued about what I do for brands/growth. He mentioned he would love to work with me and I nodded as I didn’t want to commit to anything. Oddly enough, that call was from him, Peter Dickinson of He apologized about my circumstances and knew how much the brand/team meant to me. He then took the opportunity to ask if i’d be open to meeting about WeGreenlight (WGL). I agreed and we met at a Whole Foods. He didn’t have much money to pay me at all and it wouldn’t even pay my rent but I agreed under one condition. I would lead the rebrand of WGL as long as I can throw away every single thing that pertained to branding and marketing. His face instantly showed that he was caught off guard and terrified. After a brief pause, he says with a cracking voice, “OK”.

After less than one year, we rebranded and brought the brand back from the dead. The community was built to over 65k with $1800 marketing spend within a year. Twitter hit over 10k and Instagram over 5k. We’ve had multiple success stories with our community members ranging from raising crowdfunding, pivoting to a new idea, pivoting to a new market, finding their target market, raising investment money, launching their products, and merging with competitors from the community.

Peter went from pitching to people that didn’t care at all about the company or brand to firms that instantly get the platform and concept. I also coached Peter along the way as I saw that he had the ambitions to disrupt an industry but didn’t have the attitude and mannerisms to make it out alive. Seeing first hand what it takes from the solar industry and the founders that made gen110 what it was, I knew with a little coaching and tough love that Peter would get there.

With WGL it’s been a bumpy ride, I had to eventually bring on more clients during that time to make up for the loss of income from being laid off and the lack of capital WGL could provide. Eventually seeing the potential, I fired all my clients except for WGL. I decided that WGL would be the client that I wanted to take to the next level together. It got really good. I brought in Fortune 500 clients to the table for marketing assessments but with these new clients WGL began to evolve into something different beyond our original expectations. We soon realized we would require both capital and development to truly grow. This chicken-egg scenario has caused WGL to pivot further and we are currently fundraising to take us to the next level. In the meantime, I had to find a new position.

I started contracting through Adecco for the Google Maps project working on-site with Google. It came at the perfect time for me as I was about to lose everything I had due to financial hardship. I still consult on the side but my main client is WeGreenlight. I am still working on SuitePitch and I am developing a new idea within the laundry industry.

You will constantly fail and you will constantly win. It’s about getting right back up and going back to the drawing board. You have to continuously reinvent yourself to get to where you need to be. Change is your friend and your circumstances will never define you. Take a chance with your crazy ideas. You never know where it will take you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Startup Weekend For?

It doesn’t matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including…

  • aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs
  • developers and other tech-related professionals
  • designers of all types
  • non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.)
  • students from colleges, universities, and even high schools
  • professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills
  • passionate visionaries
    and many more!

Your ticket includes:

  • Access to the full weekend-long event
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea on Thursday night @ Pitch Fire
  • Mentoring by all-stars from the startup community
  • Tasty meals all weekend
  • Collaboration with awesome professionals
  • All-star judges panel lead by startup leaders
  • A process for taking any idea from concept to creation in a matter of days, and
  • Over 75 awesome new friends!

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 quite all right!  Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched, and see if something strikes your interest!  The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and from your peers.

Why Should I Register?

Learn Something New: 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.

Networking: This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts the community’s best makers and do-ers.  And, 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 work with.

Mentoring:  Local leaders – business people, tech experts and entrepreneurs – participate in Startup Weekends as coaches and judges. You’ll get some one-on-one  and group time with local experts who can help you with your ideas.

Learn A New Skill: 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.

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.
Join the Startup Community: Join over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.

I already have a business, is this event for me?  

Yes! Startup Weekend if for everyone.  What you know is valuable and you’ll have the chance to share your skills and experiences with others who want to learn.

I don’t have any ideas! 

Technically, everyone has ideas.  What you probably mean is, I’m not sure if my idea is viable. This is the perfect opportunity to explore that idea. Not every idea is viable, but Startup Weekend will help you determine if your idea has legs…and if it doesn’t, that’s okay, you will join another team and help take someone else’s idea from prototype to pitch.

Does my idea have to be an app or involve technology? 

No, all ideas are welcome.  You might want to start a chain of coffee stores (remember, Starbucks was a startup, at some point), create a wedding business, develop a new gadget, or offer a service.  But, if you do have an app idea, that’s okay, we love those too.  The point is, you’re not limited to any specific area or type of idea.

Is this event for experienced people only?

No. We welcome all levels of experience. No matter what your background, you’ll learn a lot from your team, other participants, the coaches and judges!  Plus, we need experienced people to help build the teams and share lessons-learned.

I’ve already participated in a Startup Weekend. 

Great! You can participate in as many as you like!  Just because you’ve participated in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate again. Each weekend is unique because the ideas are different and there are so many different people to meet.

Interview with Henrike Lode

Hej Henrike! How are you? How is Johannesburg treating you?

Hi! I’m doing great, enjoying the warm weather and fantastic company. I’m very excited to attend A MAZE./ Johannesburg and preparing for my performance: a spoken word poem about games and empathy, interlaced with songs that I will be playing and singing myself.

I know, that you do a lot of cool things, but let’s start with the best one. Lohika Aps, what is it about? What do you do and what do you want to achieve with your products? Why did you decide to have this approach (learning by playing games)?

While I’m a curious person who loves learning new things, primary and high school almost extinguished that flame entirely by forcing me to execute repetitive tasks, that was neither interesting or challenging for me, and didn’t present me with any real life applications or motivation. I founded my company Lohika in 2013 after graduating from a Master degree in Game Design at the IT University of Copenhagen. During my studies, I realized how passionate I was about transforming the concept of education and about making great educational games. I like exploring the core of a given scientific subject and turn it into game mechanics that are engaging and challenging. At Lohika we create an environment and atmosphere where the players are given plenty of motivation to explore on their own, where their curiosity is stimulated so that they will want to practice and enhance their skills in order to achieve goals they personally care about.

In our current game, To Be A Whalethat I’m working on together with Richard Baxter, the player’s’ avatar is a newborn whale whose movements are controlled through text commands. The player types command like “tail up” and “tail down” into a terminal to move the whale, and learns to write small behaviors in “whale code”, which is a fully functional programming language for controlling the avatar.

How is it to be a teacher for you? Could you tell us more about your course “Game design with a purpose” you teach at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts?

I love teaching because it gives me a chance to study the games I care about in more depth, discuss them with the students, and spark the idea in their minds that they can find a deeper meaning in the games they go on to develop. We have been covering educational games, games for health, games for social impact and gamification projects, by analyzing and discussing games, and creating prototypes in small groups. Every week the students study a game, article, podcast or video recording of a talk and present their analysis in class. Over the course of the semester, the students create 5 different prototypes in paper or digital form. Throughout the years I have been attending many different games conventions, making connections with indie developers all over the world, judging games at competitions, and I have attended every edition of the Lyst symposium on love, sex, and romance in video games. I was lucky to be exposed to many different games that deal with taboo topics or have been made by people that are underrepresented in the games industry.

Teaching allows me to pass on my experience and knowledge, and give my students a chance to see games in a different light than the classic commercial way.

I know you are interested in other things apart from games and learning. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

I am a feminist, and I’m working hard towards making the games industry a more fair, safe, and diverse place, where women, people of color, people of non-traditional sexual orientation and identity, and other minorities are as welcome and respected as anyone else. Making games and giving talks allows me to travel the world, grow my network of friends and creatives, and get to know new people, cultures, and lifestyles. I love going to game jams and always aim to work on games that push the boundaries of game design, as well as the topics games can cover. For example, I made a few personal games for my family, a game about identifying and banning female nipples on Instagram, and am working on concepts for games about menstruation and abortion.

Imagine, you happened to be a teacher at high school for one day in one class. What would you do?

The most important thing for kids in highschool is to figure out what they are personally passionate about and to learn that anyone can be creative.

I would introduce the class to some creative game design techniques, and demo some simple and free prototyping tools for apps, games, stories, websites, and film, to help them get started in the creative process. In my experience, once presented with a blank canvas and a set of tools, it becomes much easier for children to apply themselves, dig deeper into the creative technologies they are interested in, and create content that they deeply care about.

Henrike, thank you for the interview and see you soon, take care 🙂


Seeing the community’s perspective: Story #1 Panagiotis Xatziionaou

Startup Weekend is all about entrepreneurship. You come, you meet new people, and you form a team so that you can make a business idea happen in 54 hours. How cool is that? Imagine it like this. You get to see all the steps needed to create a real life venture on your own, without taking the risk of losing anything and at the same time you have the opportunity to make some very useful acquaintances or even get inspired to start working on an idea of yours. This event has multiple benefits for you. At the same time, you will get practical knowledge about business and how it works, the opportunity to let go of your fear of doing something like this, and also advice and guidance from people that have been in the business world for quite a long time. You may still be wondering, why would I ever spend my entire weekend inside a room working full time, while I could be hanging out with friends or going out and have fun? Well, let me ask you a question. Have you ever had an idea that you thought it was awesome, but did you not have the knowledge or tools needed to make it happen? Have you ever wanted to see how it is like inside a business and how all parts of it work together? Or maybe you wanted some inspiration so you can start a venture yourself. These are just some of the many things that Startup Weekend will offer you. So what are you waiting for? Join now one of the most inspiring events happening in Kavala. This is an opportunity worth taking.