Lots of hard work, laughter, some karaoke and very little sleep. Startup enthusiasts formed 14 different teams and worked around the clock last weekend, to come up with the next big startup idea during Startup Weekend Groningen.
On Friday, participants pitched their own startup idea at Het Kwadraat. For those who aren’t familiar with the kickass 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 experts. This year, the expert panel consisted of Anna van Nunen (co-founder and former CEO Innofest), Alfred Welink (serial entrepreneur, investor and former chairman VNO-NCW) and Claudia van der Pol (CEO multinational Apollo).
Wizards, burnouts and a business beehive
D&D Interactive, the first team to pitch, wants to create a Twitch based, live interactive Dungeons and Dragons sessions, where people can donate to influence the storylines. To illustrate, one of the team members puts on a wizard hat and continues his pitch in a wizardly accent. The second team wants to help companies and employees deal with occupational burnouts, by letting people with first hand experience coach people suffering from burnouts.
Beehive, the third team, developed a subscription based app to connect entrepreneurs with all manner of questions about their business, finance, etc. Using LinkedIn, you’ll be matched with another entrepreneur and have the option to send a message or call.
Data science, morale and bike accidents
Team Apex wants to sell data science as a service to help game developers retain players, by pinpointing where they get stuck and offer an in-game option to skip something for a small fee. Team Agora wants to help track morale in company teams, by letting members anonymously pick a mood. Team Bikebox wants to help international students learn to ride bicycles safely with a box filled with useful booklets and a couple of gadgets.
Hemp socks, “I’m not high” and creatives
Fun and Fair Socks wants to sell sustainable designer socks made from hemp and even found a local producer willing to help out. Speaking of design and hemp related things, High Kites wants to produce sustainable joint rolling papers with cool designs and use part of the profits to plant trees. Even though the presenting team member loses his train of thought halfway through his pitch, he jokingly assures the audience he’s not high right now. As for the price of these papers, you guessed it: €4.20.
Team Groningen Creatives is working on a marketplace platform to find and hire local creative professionals. The pitching team member is also a real Startup Weekend veteran, because this is his tenth time competing.
Green meals, cheesy Christmas and work/life balance
“Which is more sustainable, an apple or an avocado?” asks the presenting team member of My Green Meal. As he explains, it takes 70 litres of water to cultivate a single avocado. With My Green Meal, consumers can check how sustainable certain products are. Team KaaS offers Christmas decorations as a service to offices, while at the same time providing christmas decorations for the elderly. Team Five Hours wants to be the Internet’s single biggest source of information for anything related to work/life balance and creating a movement for 5 hour work days.
Black Box and Artlink
Thinking about things like death and your funeral are things we happily avoid. To make discussing these things a little easier, Team Black Box created a digital will and collection of memories and photographs, to be used at your funeral. The final team created Artlink, a knowledge sharing platform for aspiring and beginning artists, to help connect them to gallery owners and advance their career.
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 a long jury deliberation, three teams came out on top. In third place, Fun and Fair Socks. Second place went to Black Box, who, to loud applause, promised to turn their idea into a real company. And the big winner of the evening: Beehive.
Photo credits: Joost Nuijten