entrepreneurship, Little Known Fact, startup

On Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne

Startup Weekend NEXT is an intensive three week educational program to help more startups survive by having the startup teams getting out of the building and into the real world applying the knowledge we now have about what makes startups succeed or fail.

There are two personal stories behind my involvement in Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne that I want to take a moment to share.


First up, I think it is important that everybody knows that NEXT Cologne is very much a team effort. Lukas Strniste (@yeromee), Puja Abbassi (@puja108), Till Ohrmann (@tohrmann) and Startplatz (@StartPlatz) together with some awesome coaches like Francis Dierick (@francis_dierick), Lorenz Gräf (@lgraef), Manuel Koelman (@manuelkoelman) and Thomas Grota (@thomasgr) are all putting their time, network, resources and experiences together in a tremendous effort – and on a volunteer basis – with the kind support and guidance from Startup Weekend, Udacity, TechStars, Startup America, Steve Blank (@sgblank), Bob Dorf (@bobdorf), Joey Aquino (@Joey_Aquino) and our very own special advisor to Cologne, Eric Koester (@erickoester), co-founder of Zaarly.

I’m just playing my small part to help place the vibrant Cologne startup scene on the map internationally in any way I can, and as you might know I’m already a part of organizing the first ever Startup Weekend Cologne (get your tickets now before they sell out!) I think I would have been stupid to pass up this insanely great opportunity to leverage that towards helping young startups in Cologne mitigate some of the many risks of catastrophic failure with the Startup Weekend NEXT program.

The second story I want to share is a more entrepreneurial and perhaps egotistical one.

The first time I met Steve Blank, I pitched him my startup Gauss – The People Magnet at Startup America SXSW in March 2012 and he told us we had a “killer app”.

The Gauss guys hanging with the Awesome Steve Blank at #sxsw!

The second time I met Steve Blank was at Startup Weekend Amsterdam in July 2012 I asked him what it would take to have him invest in European startups. He answered that a good starting point would be to take some of his classes. Those that are looking to create a startup must do so by taking a good look at the sector they want to go into and researching how they can be a part of that scene whether that be home-grown or European, there are even some startups that will get created in a different country and apply for a startup visa as well as that countries financial assistance so they can better market to their intended audience. It all depends on what they want to get out of their business and how they want to interact with their audience.

The AWESOMENESS! Steve Blank surprise keynote at Startup Weekend Amsterdam! Hi again @sgblank :) #swams

Unfortunately, I’m not quite able ready to go to California just yet and Standford still seems far away. But as Lukas (@yeromee) bought to our attention that Startup Weekend NEXT was happening in the immediate future, I figured the second best shot at taking some of Steve Blank’s classes would be for me to attend a local NEXT. However, as we could find no other city near Cologne signing up for hosting the new upcoming NEXT program, we figured we’d just have to go ahead and host it ourselves!

So… The third time I met Steve Blank was on the Startup Weekend NEXT introductory video conference last week as a facilitator for Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne.

Let’s take it from there and see what Steve Blank says the NEXT time I ask if he’s ready to start investing in European startups. ;)