Startup Weekend 2022: the highlights

After two long years of lockdowns, Startup Weekend Groningen is back with a vengeance! Around 50 entrepreneurial enthusiasts spent the weekend at the Euroborg soccer stadium to work tirelessly on eight different ideas. On Sunday, they presented their startup ideas to the judges, ranging from shooting dearly departed loved ones into space, to helping refugees and a crypto trading bot.

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event with editions around the world, where developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, students, marketing gurus and graphic artists get together and collaborate. They pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening, in front of a panel of judges. This year, that panel consisted of Ellen van Acht (director of Re-z Ontwikkeling), Ytsen van der Meer (investment manager at NOM) and Tim Velthuis (founder AttachingIT and currently Senior Information Technology Consultant at Bossers & Cnossen).

Ashtronauts & Influencers

The first person to pitch on Sunday was the already successful entrepreneur and CEO of Streaminar and Jet-Stream, Stef van der Ziel. The idea was bold: shoot the remains of your loved ones into space. This is something you can already do for a small fortune, but this team figured out how to do it for a measly 1000 bucks, by piggybacking off SpaceX rockets.

While some ideas are bold, others are unsuccessful, as was the case for the second team, who wanted to create a TikTok influencer in a single weekend and make a profit of €100,000. They ended up with ‘17 fatal disagreements’ and one agreement: they didn’t agree on anything. They also ended up losing money, but at least they got points for a hilarious pitch and they had a lot of fun in the process. 

Plantastic & Better Together

Pretty much all of the potting soil contains peat. Even though peat is of course entirely organic and can actually store large amounts of carbon dioxide, harvesting it will release everything back in the air. Team Plantastic came up with a peat-free alternative and managed to impress both the City of Groningen and gardening chain store BAUHAUS, who were already on the lookout for an alternative. The Better Together Foundation (which included our Founded colleague Melissa) also wanted to make a real impact and help newly arrived refugees with a platform that connects them with local organizations and companies that could really use their skills and talents.

BitBot & Couchmates 

The fifth team came up with the BitBot, a crypto trading bot you can use without having to write a single line of code. Based on historical trading data, the bot will come up with trading strategies for crypto enthusiasts. The sixth team came up with a low-key solution to help combat loneliness, with a platform where users can host or join movie nights. The super smooth pitch was done by the youngest Startup Weekend participant, who was pitching like a pro at the age of 15. 

MonYAY & Butter Bitches

Team MonYAY wanted to make the worst day of the week a little better. With a subscription service, you can get yourself or a friend a weekly surprise to get through the Monday blues. And last but not least, butter just got interesting! The Butter Bitches came up with a range of different flavors, from mocha, to curry and barbecue. Their tasty samples already gained quite a fanbase over the weekend.

And the winners are…

The teams were judged on three things: validation, execution & design and a solid business model. Did they go out and check if there was an actual need for their idea? How far along are they with a working prototype? And how will they make money? After some deliberation, the judges decided on four winners, instead of three. Coming in fourth, BitBot. Third place went to The Better Together Foundation. Second place and also, unsurprisingly audience favorite went to the Butter Bitches. First place went to… cue drumroll… Plantastic! Prizes included Flinc Consultancy Hours, a Startup Assist Donar Membership, a Concept7 UX Roast event or Studio at Mediacentrale and of course some cool merch.