Startup Weekend Cologne 2017

    Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Startup Weekend Cologne 2017

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Im Mediapark 5
Cologne, Germany 50670

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Find, evaluate and execute your business model 54 hours!

What is Startup Weekend?  Get your first insight right here!
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.  Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations.  Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurials. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.  Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup. Startup Weekend Cologne is completely in english!

Friday night:
 60-second pitches that result in the formation of small teams around the best, most viable education concepts.  Educators validate ideas, then all attendees vote.  We hope you’ll pitch, but definitely not required!
Saturday and Sunday: Work days! Teams focus on user research, customer development, validating their ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced coaches from the education and entrepreneurial world.  You’re welcome to stay and work as long as the venue will allow!
Sunday evening: Teams demo their education products and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges.  Winning teams take home a grab bag of great tools to help launch their company!


Friday March 31st

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday April 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

10:00 am
Lean Startup Workshop
by Matthias Malurdy & Christian Jantz

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

3:30 pm
Growth Workshop
by Hendrik Lennarz

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday April 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Lorenz Gräf
Investor und Business Angel Familie Gräf Holding GmbH; Co-Founder of Startplatz

Dr. Lorenz Gräf is the founder of the internet company Globalpark. As an entrepreneur he led his business to success and established it as an international renown company. In summer 2011 he merged his company Globalpark AG with the company Questback in order to take position as european market leader. Lorenz Gräf left Globalpark in 2012 and concentrated his interests in the Familie Gräf Holding GmbH (FGH). Today Dr. Lorenz Gräf is CEO of the social media agency Boostpark GmbH, based in Cologne.

Since 1988 he does research in the field of social science informatics and online market research. He is an expert for online based interaction and communication as well as author of different articles and textbooks. Further Dr.Lorenz Gräf is co-founder oft he DGOF e.V. (German association of online-research) and was member of the board from 1997 until 2004.

He founded STARTPLATZ in 2012 together with his son Matthias Gräf. The main aim is to make STARTPLATZ the hotspot for digital natives, entrepreneurs and startups. The infrastructure given is not only for young startups in search for answers and office space it is also a place to support established startups with know-how as well as capital.

Thomas Bachem
Serial Entrepreneur & Member of the Board Bundesverband Deutsche Startups

Thomas “Tom” Bachem is a passionate entrepreneur and founder of several startups. Starting his entrepreneurial career in his very youth, the list of companies he founded includes the media platform sevenload (sold to Hubert Burda Media in 2010), the gaming startup Fliplife (sold to KaiserGames in 2012), online resume editor (sold to XING in 2014) and hosting company Scaling Technologies. Though he studied International Business at Cologne Business School, his true passion lies in tech, and he spends a lot of his time designing, coding and building products himself. He volunteers as Vice Chairman at the German Startups Association, which he co-founded in 2012 to strengthen Germany's startup ecosystem. Currently he is founding the CODE University of Applied Sciences, a private university for software developers, designers & digital entrepreneurs. Tom is an active business angel and frequent speaker.

Marc Brucherseifer

Marc Brucherseifer participates in the equity of medium-sized, non-listed companies in the areas of telecommunications, media & lifestyle, real estate, renewable energies, industry and start-ups from Web & App.

Manuel Koelman
Chairman at

Manuel is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and chairman of He has experienced the entrepreneurial rollercoaster first-hand.
Because of his vast startup experience Manuel is a sought-after advisor to corporates. He helps them understand technological disruption and startup dna. Manuel also invests as an angel investor in startups. His main investment focus is in tech-focused very early stage companies in the machine intelligence space.

Johannes Rohde
Principal at Capnamic Ventures

Capnamic Ventures ( is one of Europe’s leading early-stage tech VC funds, based
in Berlin and Cologne. The venture capital firm invests most of its funds in tech-startups in German-
speaking regions and joins forces with multinational investors in Europe and the USA. Capnamic connects
all portfolio companies with its corporate investors network and established industry players. The venture
capital fund combines expertise drawn from more than 70 investments, 13 IPOs, 40+ years of venture capital, and a strong entrepreneurial track record in the team.

Coaches and Mentors

Christoph Plamper
Brand Consultant & Founder Plamper Consulting

Christoph is a strategic brand consultant with a deep knowledge in digital marketing strategies and experience of working with agencies, consultancies, startups and growth companies in several industries (B2B / B2C). He has a fondness for innovative education and communication products, particularly online learning, gamification and new working spaces. He is a mentor in several business plan competitions and accelerators and likes to work with startups. He has participated at Startup Weekends several times as a member.

David Son
Founder and Managing Director of WIRECLOUD, Advisor & Serial Entrepreneur

David is founder of WIRECLOUD - a cloud based PBX telephone system for SMEs - which supports easy system integration to CRM and ticket solutions like Odoo, Salesforce or Zendesk. In the past David founded DCalling  a service to make voice calls abroad from mobile with ultra low rates. Further more he offers IT solutions for web, app and voice. With his outsourcing company based in India, Bangalore he offers high quality software development services. Here in Germany he offers building high availability infrastructure solutions. He studied computer science at RWTH Aachen and is specialist in IT architectures, business modelling and development. He worked in serveral IT projects for public and privat customers.

Ruth Cremer
Investment Manager

Martin Donath
Freelance Full-Stack Engineer / Consultant

Martin is a freelance full-stack engineer and has been working in the software industry for more than 10 years. Having founded a startup himself he is bringing the entrepreneurial spirit to his client projects, building solutions that scale and persuade.

Hendrik Lennarz
Product Manager & Growth Hacking Consultant for Startups and Companies

Hendrik Lennarz is involved in the digital business as Product Manager and Growth Hacker for more than ten years. Most of his experiences are based on his job as Executive Director of Product & Technology at Trusted Shops, the European leading trust solution provider, located in Cologne. Hendrik built up, managed and synchronised up to seven agile product teams with more than 55 tech experts and helped Trusted Shops to increase its userbase up to more than 20.000 online retailers. In 2016, Hendrik started his own consulting business, because he is very passionate about supporting startups and corporates with their individual digital strategy challenges. In March 2017 Hendrik´s book "Growth Hacking with Strategy has been published.

Lars Hassler
Owner, C4 - explosive marketing

Lars is co-founder and CEO of C4 - explosive marketing, which started out as a marketing agency and transformed into a digital agency, helping companies as IT and strategy consultants. After years of helping auction houses with their digital strategy C4 is now transitioning into the Software as a Service space with their offering remobid offers a full fledged CMS and is currently under development to support real live bidding for auctions.
Lars started right after school as a freelance webdesign & -developer. While studying computer science at RWTH Aachen he teamed up with his co-founder and founded C4 - explosive marketing.
Born near Cologne, he’s a loyal fan of both 1. FC Köln as well as Kölner Haie and is an “echte kölsche Jeck”.

Caro Gattermann
Head of Communications & PR by STARTPLATZ

Carolin gained her PR and Marketing skills in several companies and agencies, before she settled for the pulsating startup scene. Since 2015, she is Head of Communications at STARTPLATZ, the largest startup-incubator in NRW. The Know-How and experiences from several national and international projects and years of work, she also teaches to Entrepreneurs and Students in workshops and lectures.

Christian Jantz
Digital Native & Founder

Chris grew up with a deep interest in tech which started with developing websites and moving on to administer servers. After working as a Scrum Master for startups and Cloud Expert for corporates he strives to implement lean thinking and see projects evolve to the better. As a founder he started and

Thomas Müller
Chief Executive Officer at Mueller Business Holding UG

Hans van Gent
Founder at Inbound Rocket, Client Service Director Digital at Havas

Marketing is running through the veins of Hans, always hustling to get the most out of life and out of business. He works in advertising as Client Service Director Digital at Havas WorldWide Brussels. And he recently launched Inbound Rocket as a way for struggling startups and small/medium enterprises to generate more leads through their (WordPress) website. In his work, he’s always pushing the envelope of technology, digital media and looking for new creative ways to solve “problems" for his clients. In the past, he worked successfully on various campaigns and online platforms for some of the big brands of Unilever, Nestlé, Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the European Commission and others. Next to his work in advertising, he teaches (early stage) startups about customer development and applying lean startup mechanics all the way from the first idea, the eventual launch and the marketing that comes in all steps of a business. He mentors and helps to organise at StartupBus, the Startup Foundation Experience, and StartupWeekend. Next to that he teaches early stage startups about customer development and applying lean startup mechanics not just in the launch and building of their product but also in marketing and other areas. He can be found coaching and organising at events like the StartupBus, Startup Foundation Experience (Previous Evolv) and other places where his expertise is needed.

Florian Merkel
Assistant Manager at KPMG AG

Florian Merkel is one of the co-founders of SMART START at KPMG AG and has been supporting and counseling startups and venture capitalists for over four years now. As a legal professional at KPMG AG in Cologne, he advises corporations and partnerships on national and international tax structuring issues and supports innovative and fast growing startups from their formation until the exit. Within the last years he has gained relevant experience in startup related mezzanine investment and holding structures, esop related tax issues as well as cross-border tax issues.

Timm Rode
Certified Tax Advisor and Senior Manager at KPMG AG

Timm is Senior Manager and in charge of kpmg’s startup and venture capital practice called SMART START in Cologne. Together with his international and interdisciplinary team he provides innovative and fast growing startups with the tax, legal, accounting and consulting services they need at each phase of their lifecycles. Timm himself is a certified tax advisor and specialized in international tax structuring, mergers & acquisition and tax due diligence of international companies. He has gained relevant experiences on projects in the Silicon Valley and London and is in charge of the tax consultancy of numerous successful startups.

Bonny Lengersdorf
Lawyer at WSS Redpoint

Bonny is a lawyer at WSS Redoint Rechtsanwälte and advises mainly start-ups and emerging companies in IT-law (eg licensing agreements) and data protection law. Bonny also advises on intellectual property rights (e.g. copyright), gambling law and media law (e.g., marketing).

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Cologne 2017 team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.





Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Cologne is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Hamid
  • Joey
  • Victoria
  • Laszlo
  • Carolin
  • Steffen
  • Tom
  • Matthias
  • Christine


Stavros Messinis
Startup Weekend Facilitator

Stavros is a sought after Startup Weekend facilitator who enjoys the economic empowerment aspect of the events worldwide. Founder of The Cube, a startup cluster in Athens, he also works in the maker space by hosting events and mentoring young startups.
This is Stavros' first trip to Canada so we welcome his insight into the ocean sector and the opportunities that participants will explore.

Event Blog

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