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Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, creators, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups!

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

This was Startup Weekend Groningen 2012

Preliminary Schedule


Nov 1
  • This schedule is subject to change
  • Doors open
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speaker
  • Pitches Start
  • Voting & team formation
  • Doors close, teams can go home or start working during the night


Nov 2
  • Doors open
  • Breakfast
  • Work, work, work!
  • Mentors become available
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Doors close, but teams inside can continue working like heroes


Nov 3
  • Doors Open
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Tech check & presentation practice
  • Stop Working
  • Dinner
  • Final Presentations
  • Winners Announced
  • After Party - @ Launch Cafe

Merijn Everaarts

Founder - Dopper   |  LinkedIn

The success story of a water bottle. Dopper is on a mission: Get rid of all the single-use plastic bottles in the world by creating fun awareness campaigns around single-use plastic waste and offering a reusable waterbottle. Merijn will share his story on how an idea turned into a world wide organisation.

Gold Sponsors

Herman Kienhuis

Investment Director Sanoma Ventures   |  LinkedIn

We're very happy to welcome Herman back to Startup Weekend Groningen.

Herman is investment director of SanomaVentures, Sanoma’s new initiative to fund digital startups. For the last four years, he has led the digital business development initiatives of Sanoma Media Netherlands, focused on video, social and mobile. He combines a strong interest in digital media, innovation and sustainable development with a love for vintage design, indie music, family life and slowfood.

Karin Husslage

Chief editor of Sprout   |  LinkedIn

Karin is chief editor of Sprout, the coolest entrepreneur magazine in the Netherlands. In five years at Sprout, she has spoken to thousands of entrepreneurs. Therefore, she can see when an entrepreneur is talking nonsense and knows when a business plan is spot-on. She is always looking for good startup stories, and you can talk to her about media issues or advice on doing a great pitch. Besides her job at Sprout magazine, she is host at 7 Ditches TV, the online television station for entrepreneurs.

Wessel Kooyman

CEO Cole Street   |  LinkedIn

He is one of our mentors and will also take a seat in the jury! Wessel is a technology expert and entrepreneur, who's been active in the startup world since 1998. He spent 8 years in Silicon Valley, and is a mentor at Le Camping, Seedcamp, and other events and accelerators. Cole Street is a web and mobile development company that specializes in working with startups.

Mark Vletter

Founder Voys Telecom   |  LinkedIn

Mark Vletter tries to steer around 30 profesionals that make up Voys in the right direction. He knows how to translate technology into business opportunities and connect the right people to the concept. If you're not afraid of some blunt Dutch honesty he's the right guy to get you started.

Voys Telecom is one of the fastest growing Dutch telecom providers. Many SME's and corporates like Gazprom, Nuon and MSI use the services of the TNO spin-off.

Silver Sponsors

Sebastiaan Hooft

Entrepreneur   |  LinkedIn

Personal quote: "Helping new ventures get off the ground, the three things I personally care about are entrepreneurship, internet and health."

Sebastiaan is no stranger to Startup Weekend - he's been an attendee, as well as a mentor at several events across The Netherlands. He'll join us for the weekend, and be able to give you some great perspective on what it takes to be a modern startup.

Wessel Kooyman

CEO Cole Street   |  LinkedIn

Wessel is a technology expert and entrepreneur, who's been active in the startup world since 1998. He spent 8 years in Silicon Valley, and is a mentor at Le Camping, Seedcamp, and other events and accelerators. Cole Street is a web and mobile development company that specializes in working with startups.

Jeroen Sprangers

Partner at Rein Advocaten en Adviseurs   |  LinkedIn

Jeroen Sprangers is no ordinary lawyer. He is the owner of REIN Advocaten and as founder of Cannonballs he arranges unusual events and trips for entrepreneurs. As a lawyer he specialises in restructuring organisations, and is expert in the laws of bankruptcy, information technology and intellectual property. As the managing partner of his law firm he is often consultant to companies about corporate and strategic development, he has an interest in the growth of entrepreneurship, new inventions and startups. Above all he is a sharp and pragmatic thinker.

Arjan Yspeert

Entrepreneur and Startup Mentor   |  LinkedIn

Arjan Yspeert is an Internet marketeer with a broad experience in the use of offline marketing tools as well. Travels up and down between strategy, tactical and operational activities.

Tactics and operations meaning traffic and conversion improvement for websites and apps: seo, sea, linkbuilding, affiliate, e-mailshots, social media campaigning and the likes.

Deeply interested in mentoring internet start-ups (webapps) as they 'blow his mind'. He loves to see young, bright developers, designers and marketeers come together in an effort to improve software and take the world by storm.

Niek Huizenga

Startups fanatic and co-founder of Launch Cafe   |  LinkedIn

In the last decade Niek has been involved in a number of startups as advisor, investor and founder. Working from the startup center "Launch Cafe" (he co-founded), Niek helps startups with their business strategy and investments.

Niek also teaches entrepreneurship at the Hanze University in Groningen and North West University in Johannesburg. His lectures are based on Effectuation Theory and the Lean Launch Pad methodology.

Quote: "Every year the SWG teams develop brilliant concepts. My mission this year is to shape these concepts into real startups with serious business potential."

Lauren Valbert

Owner, Empowering Management   |  LinkedIn

I am myself an entrepreneur, and my company, Empowering Management, is an entrepreneurial consultancy helping businesses with customer development, business development, and marketing. Customer centrism is the philosophy behind the company’s focus: how do companies attract, retain, and motivate the customers that will make their business successful and profitable? I work with companies to create customer profiles, which then are tested and validated, and which can then be used to build growth-oriented business and product development strategies. In addition, once the customer profiles have been validated, I help companies develop branding, marketing messages, and channels to target those customers with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.

Franco Papeschi

Service Design Expert at World Wide Web Foundation   |  LinkedIn

I work as Service Design Expert at the Web Foundation, where I am responsible for the creation of a series of Mobile Innovation Labs in Africa. Currently active in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal – the labs are community catalysts, training centres and incubation hot-spots for transforming ideas into start-ups able to generate useful, sustainable services to local communities.

Also, I am one of the co-founders of the Design Jams initiative: one-or-two-day design sessions, during which people team up and collaborate to tackle engaging User Experience (UX) challenges.

Prior to joining the Web Foundation, I worked as User Experience manager in Vodafone Group, taking a human-centered approach to envision innovative and meaningful services.

Michel van Galen

Mentor, coach, consultant at NHL University of Applied Science   |  LinkedIn

As mentor / coach / consultant at NHL University of Applied Science in Leeuwarden Michel is surrounded by potential start-ups. With a great team of collegues he is coördinating the minor Concepting as part of CMD (Communication & Multimedia Design). The minor functions as a community of practice in which creative talents get the opportunity to develop innovative concepts delivering a conscious, valuable contribution to themselves, those around them and society at large.

Michel enjoys helping young (digital) creatives explore their full potential and showing them the beauty and possibilities of the unbeaten path. After working as a creative (manager) for several advertising agencies for more then a decade, he now finds it very inspiring to be a coach consultant. He has a focus on concept development, design & strategy.

"Ideas should enrich our daily live. Everyone who comes up with that one 'brilliant idea', especially start-ups, should be very well able to explain the 'why' of their idea, instead of focussing on entrepreneurship and business potential solely…

Xen Buijs

Manager Startups and Developers at Esri   |  LinkedIn

Xen Buijs is a marketing, product management and above all entrepreneurial guy. Xen has a background in marketing at several small and big companies, his product management skills helps him set up new products and businesses. He advised a lot of different companies about their marketing strategy, online but also offline. Xen has (co-)founded different startups, his last startup named Geotender focused on social media at specific geographical areas. This startup was acquired on December 2012. Xen is now working at Esri where he is advising startups and developers. Esri is the world’s leading company in Geo Information Systems and has a wide range of tools, api’s and sdk that can be used by startups and developers worldwide.

Roeland Vugts
Jeroen Panjer
Renate Verstappen
Robbin Hof
Matthijs Menses
Ralph Steenbergen
Matthijs Smit
Nick Stevens

Presentation 101

by swgroningen

Here’s the slide deck that Nick used in the earlier “how to pitch” workshop. swPrishtina-Presentation101

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