Startup Weekend Cologne

    Friday, January 30 - February 1, 2015

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

Friday, January 30 - February 1, 2015

Friday, January 30 - February 1, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Im Mediapark 5
Köln, NRW

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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 Cologne is BACK for its 3rd installment selling out two years in a row - 125 participants, over 200 people coming together including mentors, judges and visitors over the course of 54 hours on a weekend - Register now before it sells out this year too!

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; As of November 2014, 1,900 events have been held, involving over 150,000 entrepreneurs across more than 500 cities in over 127 countries and over 10,000 startups have been created.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 500 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long events 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!

The official Startup Weekend Cologne language is English. The organizers, the pitchers, the coaches and the jury will be speaking English Why? Because it's the Lingua Franca of startups, because we have invited international mentors and jury members, because we don't want to exclude other nationalities e.g. from the nearby BeNeLux countries and we want the world outside to know and understand what the heck we're doing here. :)

Students pay only 49,- by entering the code "STUDENT" when ordering regular tickets or "STUDENTBIRD" when ordering early-bird tickets. You MUST provide a valid student ID at the door. If you fail to do so, you will pay the difference to enter or face the walk of shame home.

Designers and creatives (not non-tech or dev) can invite another designer or creative and get a free ticket for them (2 for 1) by first buying their own ticket, then mail us at with both designer names to get the free code. Beware, we will check if you are a designer or other creative. We love initiative, but cheaters will pay full price to enter.


Friday January 30th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 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 January 31st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

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!

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 February 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

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

Tim Schumacher
Entrepreneur and Investor

Tim Schumacher cofounded and was the longtime CEO of the publicly traded company Sedo AG (, which currently has revenues of 130m euros per year and maintains approximately 350 employees. Since 2012 he has dedicated his professional career to the German start-up scene, acting both as business angel and mentor for young companies with economic potential. His current start-ups, among others, are Eyeo/Adblock Plus, Aklamio, Stuffle and Ecosia.

Thomas Grota
Investment Director at T-Venture Holding

Thomas is Investment Director at T-Venture Holding, the corporate VC of Deutschte Telekom AG. With his entrepreneurial spirit he supports startups and new entrants to establish a successfull business and grow shareholder value. His main fields of investments are media propositions, social gaming and enabling software technologies. Thomas is responsible for T-Venture investment in MyTaxi, flaregames, Smarchive, 6Wunderkinder, apprupt and others. Additionally Thomas is Mentor at seedcamp and hackfwd - both incubators to accelerate startups. Thomas was listed as one of the 100 most influential technology investors in Europe by The Telegraph UK in 2011 (see - See more at:

Kai Schmude
Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Venista Ventures GmbH & Co. KG

Kai Schmude is the Chief Operating Officer at Venista Ventures. Kai joined the company in 2011 and oversees the development of Venista’s Mobile Business Incubator and early-stage investment activities. He is a graduate from the University of Technology, Aachen, in both Engineering and Business. After founding and establishing an Internet startup and years in management consulting, Kai served as the Vice President of Cologne’s international Trade Fair and was responsible for the development and establishment of all IT and digital media shows including the world leading events dmexco and gamescom. Based on his broad experience in setting up and growing digital businesses, Kai is an expert in business development and acceleration and has an expansive network within the digital industry.

Robert C. Bush Jr
Founder & CEO, Majlis Partners

Dr. Robert C. Bush Jr is the Managing Partner of Majlis GmbH where he focuses on investing in innovative European companies with global appeal.

From 2008 - 2012, he was the CEO of Majlis Partners based in the United Arab Emirates where he advised family business, governments and institutions on foreign direct investment and wealth management. 

From 2004 – 2009, he was a Managing Director / Senior Adviser to The Corporate Office of Dubai World, a global investment holding company of the Government of Dubai.

He studied Philosophy at Amherst College, Economics at Johns Hopkins University SAIS and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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.

Coaches and Mentors

Stephan Pavlovic
Developer and Advisor at Railslove

Stephan is a web developer at the cologne based agency Railslove and specialized in front-end development and ux concepts, where he worked for startup clients like

With a master degree in media informatics and an academic focus on semantic web technologies he is lecturing courses about next generation web technologies at the university of applied science cologne for a couple of years now. Besides coding and teaching he advises several early state startups in there technological progress.

Frontened Development
Semantic Web / Linked Data

Jakob Hilden

Marc Egger
Co-Founder Insius

Marc Egger studied Information Systems in Cologne before he worked as CTO at the MIT Spin-Off GalaxyAdvisors in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After that he co-founded Insius, a Company that develops Software and Services to automatically analyse consumer conversations on the web. In his spare time he works on his PhD Thesis in the fields of Information Extraction and Social Network Analysis. As a researcher at the University of Cologne he teaches classes in (Emerging) Electronic Business.

Stefanie Weidner
Co-Founder Solution Space

Stefanie is the founder of a co-working space called Solution Space, a super-connector in cologne's start-up scene and event coordinator of „So what’s on your plate, Cologne“. As an ambitious service designer with focus on service innovation she creats with her partner Sahrah the house of innovations, a lab for working environments of the future. On her blog she writes about the future of work and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Ruth Cremer
Investment Manager

Ibo Evsan
Founder & Managing Director Social Trademarks GmbH

Lars Haßler
Founder C4 - explosive marketing

Lars started right after School as a freelance webdesign & -developer. While studying Computer Science at RWTH Aachen he founded C4 - explosive marketing, which started out as a marketing agency, but later turned into a Agency for web development. Lars focus and passion lies on User Interface & User Experience for the web.
Lars is active in the startup community in Aachen as a former organizer and now mentor at 3 Day Startup and since 2013 also part of the Pirate Summit team, organizing one of the craziest tech conferences in the heart of Cologne.
Born near Cologne, he’s a loyal fan of both 1. FC Köln as well as Kölner Haie and a “echte kölche Jeck”.

Oliver Pitsch
Co-Founder and Managing Director of Reputami

Oliver Twardowski is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Reputami, a Cologne-based Startup wich enables owners of local businesses and branch networks to easily listen to, understand and properly respond to online customer feedback. In addition to that, Reputami provides useful guidance on how to improve their online reputation. Before Reputami Oliver was a Freelance User Interface Designer for several successfull startups and app agencies.

Ali Saffari
Co-Founder and Managing Director of Reputami

Ali Saffari is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Reputami, a Cologne-based Startup wich enables owners of local businesses and branch networks to easily listen to, understand and properly respond to online customer feedback. In addition to that, Reputami provides useful guidance on how to improve their online reputation. Before Reputami Ali gained 20 years of experience in developing and marketing of successfull web products as well as management consulting.

Johannes Ellenberg
CEO Accelerate Stuttgart

As cofounder and CEO of Accelerate Stuttgart, Johannes is building an accelerator program for startups in the Neckar-Valley. His main goal is to establish and maintain a vibrant startup community in Baden-Württemberg. Find out more and connect at

Timo Hoffmann

Daniel Bartel

DesignThinker & Lean Entrepreneur since '87. Built @ifbi_de @KoKonsum @autonetzer @KlickReform. Fellow @UPEurope @StartupVerband @StartupStgt. I ♥ sharing!

Hans van Gent
Founder and Chief Strategist at User Growth

Hans van Gent is the founder and chief strategist at User Growth, a growth-focused and ROI driven online marketing agency.
User Growth knows how to drive traffic, convert sales and do it at scale, profitably!

He believes that any form of advertising and marketing is only a success when it brings more business to their clients.

He's also named one of the top 20 Content Marketers to follow worldwide by Small Business Trends, and he built Audience Builder, a tool that helps bring more bang for your buck when it comes to advertising on Facebook.

Felix Stäritz
Partner at eight ventures, Founder of dailypresent, Advisor & Serial Entrepreneur

Excelling in complex and high pressure environments, a doer and achiever, company-builder, previous management consultant for boutique and top consultancies in high-tech and digital-media, a speaker and visionary. Co-Founder of KochAbo, having set up the leading e-food concept in 5 countries within 12 months. Business angel & advisor to startups.

Fabian Jager
Co-Founder dawawas,

Fabian is one of the founders of dawawas, a cloud-based photo sharing service that started its business in 2012. At present he additionally is involved in several activities that focus on giving enterprises consultative advice within the online sector. Before focusing on his educational studies of Computational Visualistics, Fabian already discovered his passion in 1999 when he designed and implemented one of the first mp3 search engines in Germany. During his studies he was able to utilize his knowledge while working for several online agencies and startups. In 2006 he co-founded During peak times the German Social Network registered over 9 million users who aggregated more than 5 billion page impressions per month. The founders’ exit of operational activities happened in 2010 after the company was profitably sold to one of Germany’s leading media cooperation’s RTL in 2009. It was in 2013 that Fabian was involved in founding dailypresent, a highly user engaging gamification platform. He also outperformed the position as CTO for the company. In Fabian’s occupational career it has always been the goal to get the most valuable out of given resources. Due to his fervor of viral products and efficient development he aims to create new products and services that people just love to use. 

Jens Scharnetzki
Product Owner & Team Lead Digital Customer Experience at Yello Strom GmbH

Jens has been journeying the online industry for more than 16 years enhancing customer experience with new technologies and design. With a special interest in behavior change methods, he has worked as interaction designer, web frontend developer, information architect and UX designer as freelancer or in digitale agency for e.g. for customers like Deinhard, Henkel & Co, EMI Electrola, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Currently, Jens is responsible for the digital customer experience at Yello Strom GmbH ( Aside from his very original vision of building the best interface ever, he is heavily engaged in establishing an effective combination of design thinking, agile and lean startup methods in the corporate world.

Pablo Beyen
IT Professional and Founder of bevuta IT

Pablo started his own IT business more than 15 years ago. The company is called bevuta IT GmbH ( und is active in the market of software development. In addition, he’s involved in various other businesses as Business Angel, amongst others in the 
telecommunications sector and in the fabrication of home accessories. He successfully sold a business in the media sector. Having a diverse history in the information technology he possesses a wide range of knowledge - from internet and realising business processes in IT to mobile apps and cryptography. Pablo is therefore an outstanding go-to guy for every new idea where it is yet unclear how to best and/or most efficiently implement it in IT. Of course, he advises his own 
investments in all things IT, but wants to share his knowledge with others, too.

Matthias Gräf
Co-Founder and CEO of Startplatz; CEO of Golf Post

Matthias Graef studied Business Administration at the University of Cologne and the Asian Institute of Management. During his studies he supported the student organisation SIFE and coached young entrepreneurs. After finishing university he worked at Booz & Company, where he consulted international companies of the FMCG and telecommunication industry in the fields of competition analysis, marketing and transformation programs.

After his time at the consulting company he developed an internet portal for the Familie Graef Holding. In November 2012 Matthias Gräf founded STARTPLATZ, a Cologne based hub for entrepreneurs in the Rheinland area. With STARTPLATZ he wants to accelerate high potential startups and lead them to success.

Patrick Ohler
Co-Founder dawawas,

Patrick is co-founder of dawawas – a cloud service for photos – and advisor to startups and well-established corporations. He founded (a German social network) with 80+ employees and more than 5,5 billion requests/month, which was acquired by Germanys leading media cooperation RTL. Patrick is a computer scientist with longtime experiences in building high-traffic and high-availability web infrastructures.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Cologne 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

  • Elisa
  • Hamid
  • Joey
  • Mladen
  • Puja
  • Vidar


Adrian Pica
Product Manager

Adrian is a veteran Startup Weekend Facilitator. He founded, a news/media outlet that covers tech and startups in the CEE region that he later sold to an American media group.
Previously he also co-founded Oblico, a location based networking app for events and conferences, a project that came out of a Startup Weekend, was part of the TechPeaks accelerator and received a grant from Telecom Italia.
 Currently he's creating awesome stuff as Product Manager at Telenav INC. Adrian is a lean startup fan and experienced in pitch training and public speaking. You can reach him anytime on FB. He has one of the biggest collections of Startup Weekend T-shirts.

Event Staff

Stefan Lochner

Product manager / product owner in web and IT projects, especially startups. Co-founder of a social commerce startup ( LikedBy ) in 2011, which failed. Co-Founder of

Roman Grochol

Benjamin Teeuwsen

To explore, elaborate and excel strategic planning. To encourage people to do the same! #strategy #agile #fuckupnights

Event Blog

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Last revised: July 29, 2019
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