Mentor Spotlight: Lesley Jane Smith

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our mentors, Lesley Jane Smith. She will work intimately with you and your team, disseminating her knowledge and experiences, making sure you and your team will be successful.

Lesley Jane Smith

Professor Dr. Lesley Jane Smith has been teaching international, European and commercial law for over 20 years. She was appointed a Full Professor of International and European Economic law at the Leuphana University Lüneburg in 1996. Lesley Jane was appointed for several years as Rector to the Riga Graduate School of Law, University of Latvia, a specialist school of European and international law established by Sweden to facilitate the country’s transition on regaining its independence and negotiating its accession to the EU.

Lesley Jane has extensive professional and academic contacts to the main law schools and universities focusing on international space law across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Her own research interests in space law cover the areas of liability for commercial space activities and related issues of space debris, commercial issues of industrial and agency procurement, as well as regulatory aspects of GNSS and intellectual property issues relating to outer space activities. She has published widely on an extensive range of space-related legal questions and co-authored studies for the Academy, currently co-chairing a study group on cosmic debris. Lesley Jane latterly contributed to all three volumes of the Cologne Commentary on Space Law (CoCoSL), where she is the lead author on all aspects of liability for space activities and legal issues of Earth observation.

Lesley Jane became a member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) in 2003, and was appointed as Board member at the Naples AGM in 2012. She became a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in 2010. She is a longstanding member of the European Center of Space Law (ECSL), which is hosted by ESA. In 2012 Lesley Jane was appointed Board member of the European section of Women in Aerospace (WIA-E). She lives in Bremen, is married and has three young adult children.

Mentor Spotlight: Claudia Kessler

On behalf of the StartupWeekend Space Team, I would like to introduce you to one of our mentors, Claudia Kessler. She will work intimately with you and your team, disseminating her knowledge and experiences, making sure you and your team will be successful.

Claudia Kessler

Claudia has been CEO of HE Space since 2008 and is one of the rare female leaders in the space business. Qualified as an aerospace engineer and MBA, Claudia has worked for more than 20 years in international space environment. Since opening the first German office of HE Space in Bremen in April 2004 she has built it up to become one of the most significant suppliers of engineering services to the space industry. Claudia was a founder of Women in Aerospace Europe and she is passionate about supporting female high-potentials with their career development. She is a member of the International Aeronautical Academy (IAA) and a board member of the German Aerospace Association DGLR. Claudia is married and mother of a daughter.

Day 2 at #SWDub – Lean. Mentors. Pizza

SEE: A recap of the first day at #SWDub

One of the many valuable things attendees get from the Startup Weekend is the quality of speakers with wide range of expertise that come to share their knowledge. These speakers range from investors, accelerator managers, and product developers to founders and successful entrepreneurs.


The second day of #SWDub kicked off with a presentation by NRDC‘s Gary Leyden. He covered the Lean Canvas touching on the need for participants to focus on potential customers – walking up to them on the streets, targeting them through Facebook and LinkedIn ads, or even cold calling others for validation.

Other touch points included the need to aim at launching scalable ventures and to get this, there’d be need to be focus on ‘who‘ more than ‘what‘. Key metrics for scaling include –  Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referal. In addition locking down the a revenue model by asking the question of pricing – Who’s going to pay for it? is very important.


Startup Weekend Dublin also attracts a very high calibre of coaches and mentors with expertise and background in design, business, and technology. We reached out to 10 of them for tips and here’s what they said.

 SEE: 10 tips from mentors at the #SWDub

It was very evident and impressive to see all the teams make progress in validating their ideas, forking out MVPs and even pivoting and rebranding. No doubt the final pitches tomorrow will see amazing ideas on showcase.

Thanks to our sponsors at Google (for Entrepreneurs), Dominos Pizza and Red Bull, we were treated to very tasty meals and big thanks to Slattery‘s who gets to host us for after-drinks and networking party.

Excited about tomorrow? Bring on the final pitches!

Final Pitch Tickets here.

10 tips from mentors at the #SWDub

Startup Weekend Dublin attracts a very high calibre of coaches and mentors with expertise and background in design, business, and technology. We reached out to 10 of them for tips and here’s what they said.

10. Don’t ask prospective customers if they will use your product. They almost always say Yes. Instead, ask about their experience, find the pain points and see if what you offer is really a solution – Louise Caldwell



9. Co-Creation is very important when it comes to execution – David Tighe

wangfeng print


8. Never be afraid to ask – Lisa Domican



7. Always remember to know nothing – Conor Nolan



6. Tell a story, goddammit – Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh



5. Have a killer tagline – Chico Charlesworth



4. Kill every bias and expectations; and when it comes to coding, less is more – Adrian Mihai



3. People are lazy and will keep doing the same thing, so build software that’d help them do things efficiently –  Ian Lucey



2. Forget about the tech today and just focus on the consumer’s needs – Alex Beregszaszi



1. Focus on one thing and keep it simple – Paul Watson & Serena Fistch


All Photos credits to Compfight CC

A recap of the first day at #SWDub

The November edition of Startup Weekend kicked off in Dublin on a very high note. It was interesting to see a good number of entrepreneurs – designers, developers, and business people gathered for an amazing weekend.

It sure didn’t take long before the ideas started flowing. The ‘Half Baked‘ activity just went to show how creative people could be on the fly with ideas like Green Samurias, Unicorn Shampoo, and Baby Microphone – solutions to real life problems with interesting business models too. 

SEE: 5 tips going into Startup Weekend

An amazing dinner was made possible by our sponsors Burritos & Blues and Tom Crean’s; and really cool schwggs from Google (for Entrepreneurs) and Bank of Ireland.


It was great to see people pitching startup ideas and forming teams across different areas including health, mobile, communication, social media, enterprise, productivity, educationtravel and more during the night. You can check out some of the favourites ideas here.


Perhaps the most important word for the evening was from event judge and Googler, Anatolyl when he said:

Day 1 of Startup Weekend – #SWDub ended with 15 teams looking to build products and solutions, validate, and pitch to a panel of judges at the end of the weekend.

Follow their progress on Twitter and Vine – @SWDub and tweet us your experience using the hashtag #SWDub.

5 tips going into Startup Weekend

The June edition was my first experience with Startup Weekend Dublin and it was worth my while as you can find in my daily recaps here, here, and here.

It’s great to be back this time as a co-organizer working along side a team that allowed me develop both an idea and myself under 54 hours. So in retrospects, here are 5 tips I’d like to share with you going into the weekend to start something amazing.


1. Be open to new ideas

My favourite ideas pitched at the last Startup Weekend where those that were thought up during the weekend, so be open to coming up with and listening to people with new ideas. It’s definitely easier to have a new team excited about an idea they all chipped in to form than another just one person brings to the table with an attempt to get a buy-in from others.


2. Be friendly and get talking

Smile. Walk around. Say hello to people. The weekend is meant for more of collaboration than competition. Get talking to other people, volunteers, organizers, the photographer, and the chef. They may just be the future customers that will validate your idea or give that priceless feedback. Everything to gain and nothing to lose by being friendly.


3. Leave the building

I cannot stress this enough. Get out of the building and get talking to prospective customers. If possible go ahead and make a sale. One thing you want to get out of Startup Weekend is to validate your idea and business model. So spend a good time having customer interviews. Call people up for feedback  and cold call to make sale if need be.


4. Network with mentors

These folks are industry leaders, technical superstars, business gurus, growth hackers, and more – and they will be hanging out with you all weekend. Use them! I remember last Startup Weekend when just a 2 minute conversation with a mentor cracked open the code on our business model.

5. And most importantly, have fun

No matter what happens this weekend. Don’t forget to have fun. Work hard but play harder. Don’t go running home and missing out on after-drinks. Take a break, ride the seesaw and try the gaming console. There’s also a #swdubselfie competition so don’t miss out on that.

That’s all for now. Follow @swdub on twitter and vine and share your experience with the hashtag #swdub.

Meet our #swCPH mentors: David Ventzel

David Ventzel

David as a business accelerator and investor at Accelerace has worked with several companies at startup level, helping them understand their markets and their customers’ needs and demands, overcoming obstacles and guiding them towards growth. Some of the companies David has worked with are: Penneo, Transporteca, Templafy, Bellmetrc, etc.

With vast focus on business development David’s expertise, experience, analytical and creative approach will manage to navigate Startup Weekend Copenhagen 2014 teams’ ideas in the right directions. 

Meet our #swCPH mentors: Jakob Marovt

Jakob is a co-founder and CMO of Pipetop. He combines computer science background with several years of startup marketing experience.


Jacob has been a part of some of the top accelerators (Techstars and Seedcamp) and has amassed a ton of experience during his years at early stage startups around the world.

He is looking forward to share his past accelerator experiences and mentor startup weekend participants in early stage marketing and product design with all attendees of Startup Weekend Copenhagen.

5 Things to Expect at Startup Weekend – by Global Startup Battle Winner

Guest post from Greg Connell – team member on Startup Weekend Toronto’s first place team and Global Startup Battle Champion (2012) for GroupNotes.
Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 - Groupnotes
Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 – Groupnotes
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
MakeWorks 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 happened to my team at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012. Who will be next?
Greg Connell

Meet The Man Who Put The Internet In 30 Million Homes

Steve Case is best known for founding AOL, you know, the little company that put Americans online in the 90’s. The scratchy dialup tone, which seemed to take forever, connected all of us through the magical powers of the ‘internet’. Ohhh, ahhhh.

Here’s your chance to meet him, in the flesh, and ask all those burning questions like…what was your original AIM screen name? Steve Case is offering up his time to treat one lucky winner to a mentor lunch! You can enter to win HERE.

Startup Weekend, UP Global

Obviously, you are going to win. So to better prepare you, here are 5 things you didn’t know about Steve Case.

BRIEF INTRO: Case’s revolutionary approach to internet access put him on the map, and even though he retired as chairman of AOL Time Warner in 2003, he has gone on to build a variety of new businesses through his investment company Revolution and The Case Foundation. He now serves on the board of UP Global helping to empower entrepreneurs and their communities around the world.



In 1982, Case joined Pizza Hut Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, serving as manager of new pizza marketing. He tested out different pizza combinations only to discover the most people prefer just – cheese and sauce. Seems like a no brainer.

Maybe try impressing him with your cultured taste in pizza. NO PINEAPPLE. NO RANCH DIPPING SAUCE.


The three key things Case looks for when investing in a company are (have these ready…)

  • “The idea. I have to fall in love with the idea, and believe it is a big idea that can change the world.”
  • “The people. I have to believe in the entrepreneur and in the team that is coming together around the idea.”
  • “The business model. I have to understand the plan to take the idea and turn it into a big sustainable business.”


Case can eat 3-4 tacos in one sitting (which really isn’t that impressive so I suggest you challenge him to a taco eating contest…you will win)


Case began his entrepreneurial career at age 6, when he and his older brother set up a juice stand, selling lime juice for 2¢ a cup. Not long after, he and his brother established Case Enterprises, which sold seeds and greeting cards through the mail and with door-to-door sales.


Case is actually a really nice guy who forgives people even though they hacked into AOL and pretended to be him.

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Take these talking points with you to ensure you have the best mentoring lunch ever! Hurry, enter to win now.