Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Events, innovation, Lean Launchpad, Lean Startup

Lean Innovation Educators Summit 2022

Recently I was honored and excited to attend my fifth “Lean Innovation Educators Summit” and exchange best-practices and catch up with fellow educators from around the world.

The Lean Innovation Educators Summit is designed to model the methodologies we teach, as we conduct beneficiary discovery with our fellow Lean LaunchPad educators to improve our courses. A key aspect of teaching the Lean LaunchPad methodology is encouraging students to “get out of the classroom” and talk to others. That’s exactly what we as Lean educators strive to do ourselves at the Summit.


“At our fifth Lean Innovation Educators Summit, we discussed the role of the university and other important organizations in supporting the critical mission of preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Attendees gleaned insights from keynote speaker Rich Lyons, the Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer of the University of California at Berkeley, about the opportunities and challenges faced by the Lean Innovation Educators community.”

Education, Events, startup

Keynote: Why exits matter @ DEEP Startup Ecosystem Conference 2021

Today I spoke a bit about why exits matter in startup communities at the DEEP Startup Ecosystem Conference 2021.

My main points were to refresh the audience on the Boulder Thesis, and press the importance of successfully exited entrepreneurs reinvesting their knowledge and money (and also not successfully exited founders reinvesting their knowledge) in the local ecosystem for it to thrive.

Events, pitching

The Rheinland Pitch is back in the real world!

As you might know, the Rheinland Pitch – Germany’s largest startup pitching event – also had to go online-only since March because of the pandemic.

This Monday, on September 14th we were finally back as a physical hybrid event as a part of the Startup Week Düsseldorf – with a reduced number of audience to comply with hygiene regulations – and streaming live on YouTube.

Four regional early-stage startups pitched a capped audience @ Startplatz Düsseldorf and online viewers.

And the winner is… digiblue

We hope to be able to do more events like this. Stay tuned and check the schedule!

For those new to the Rheinland Pitch; it is Germany’s largest Startup Pitch event that I co-founded together with Lorenz and Matthias Gräf of STARTPLATZ back in 2013.

At the time, we were already all convinced that the region of Rheinland holds great potential for startup founders and that we have some great talents around – but every time they tried to tell their story or pitch investors, it would be next to impossible to understand, let alone fund, what they were pitching.

So we thought about what we could do to improve the quality of the investor pitches in Rheinland. STARTPLATZ provided the venue and the network and I provided the pitch training as given to me by my US American mentors. And the result was The Rheinland Pitch, a monthly event free to startups and the public, where 3-4 selected startups are put on stage to pitch in front of investors, entrepreneurs, media and the general public.

A week before they are put on stage, we invite all applicants (average of 14) to a day of investor pitch training with me for free and then we select the 3 or 4 best to put on stage the following week, every last Monday of the month in the evening.

Every 6 months there is also a grand Summer and Winter Finals where the best-of-the-best are pitted against each other, with semi finals leading up to them. In 2018 the grand Summer Finals was at the Düsseldorf airport and saw an audience of over 1.400 people attending.

The result is an incredibly successful educational platform that has seen over 1.000 startups improving their pitch and gaining the knowledge of what it takes to successfully pitch investors today and an over 100.000 audience that have been educated about what a startup is and how it works.

For more information and how to apply, see