Life after Startup Weekend Groningen. Meet the guys from
Dennis (27) and Mark (23)

We could go on and on about how participating in Startup Weekend Groningen is the experience of a lifetime. And if you think that’s quite the bold statement; after eleven editions we have a long list of amazing stories that were woven during one of the startup events in Groningen. Stories of people who developed their ideas, who made lifelong friends and started their own companies. This is the story of Dennis (27) and Mark (23), who started their enterprise after Startup Weekend Groningen 2016.

Hi guys, let’s start at the beginning: how did you meet?

“Hi! We met during the 2016 Startup Weekend Groningen event. Dennis pitched one of his ideas and I liked it so I joined his group”, says Mark. “We wanted to develop a website that would help you create wishlists by finding gifts based on your interests. By swiping through the suggested gifts you would train the algorithm to give better suggestions. We called it Swippy. After the Startup Weekend we noticed that some of the team were less involved in the development. That’s when our motivation for the idea started lacking. In the end we both decided that we liked working together much more than we liked the Swippy idea…”

How did you hear about Startup Weekend Groningen? And were there any doubts about participating?

“I was told about Startup Weekend during my minor entrepreneurship”, explains Mark. “Colleagues from the company where I did my internship were very enthusiastic about the 2015 Startup Weekend”, adds Dennis. “We didn’t really have doubts, but we were a bit tense because we didn’t know what we could expect. Participating was our first small step into the big world of entrepreneurship, that made it a lot more exciting.”

What made you decide to participate?

Mark: “The curiosity was larger than the drawbacks. And when I talk about the drawbacks, I mean that it is a bit of an investment for students and that I would have to speak English during the whole weekend – a language I am not very well versed in.” 

Dennis: “The fact that my fellow interns were so enthusiastic was enough for me to want to have a look!”

When did you find out that you made good business partners? And what makes that so?

Dennis: “Our collaboration works well, because we are two different guys when it comes to our skill sets and our characters. This leads to good, positive discussions that keep us sharp. And of course there is the personal click we have.” Mark nods: “Dennis was even the best man at my wedding.”

How did you develop the idea for

“The two of us went looking for a new project, so we could keep working together. I proposed making an online tool to create maps, so that I could get a map of my favorite city printed on the cheap”, explains Dennis. “Mark said that it would be a good idea to sell these to other people. That’s when we decided to turn it into a company.” Mark continues: “The first version of was ready in May 2017. The day we launched we made our first sale: an A0 poster to someone we didn’t know. Later that month we sold a couple different posters and the MVP (minimum viable product) was approved.”

Aren’t there enough similar ideas on the market?

Dennis: “Yes, we have competitors that do the same, but everyone offers maps in different styles and with different additions. Besides that, there is a large price difference. That means there is room for to grow; in the Netherlands and internationally. We are quite a bit cheaper than our competitors and our maps are printed on higher quality papers. How? By working with a very good supplier in Groningen.”

What is the best story or memory of Startup Weekend Groningen?

“The best memory is the vibe during the entire weekend; it was just super chill. I have participated three times now”, says Dennis. Mark participated twice in Startup Weekend. “It’s different every time and you always meet new people. So we can tell you about our best memories, but if we can give some actual advice: it’s better to go and experience the whole thing for yourself.”

What have you gained from participating in Startup Weekend Groningen? Does it still play a part in your business?

Dennis & Mark: “Startup Weekend Groningen gave us a good collaboration and a great friendship. That we are working on for almost two-and-a-half years now is a nice added benefit. Without Startup Weekend there would be no or

What are your biggest future challenges?

“We both stopped working at this point”, says Dennis, “that’s why the biggest challenge is to develop all aspects of In addition to that we want to start a new project.” “This is a project (Routfit) with which we hope to make the fashion industry less wasteful”, says Mark. “The industry pollutes a lot and many clothes are never sold, but are burned instead. If you ask us what really makes us tick, then we would say it is to change the world for the better – to have a positive impact in some way.”

What are your biggest insecurities when it comes to entrepreneurship and how do you deal with them?

Dennis & Mark: “Well the biggest insecurity we felt was when we took the risk to quit our jobs and to fully delve into doing what we liked the most. Now that we’ve taken the leap, we are very happy with it. The better your company is doing, the less insecurity you experience, of course – the hardest part is taking the leap off the deep end. We can make a living off our business now, but it has been a lot of hard work to get there.”

Anything you would like to say to those that are on the fence of participating in Startup Weekend Groningen?

Dennis & Mark: “Don’t doubt for a second, just go. You always leave with something valuable after a startup weekend event: a good idea, a new friendship or a great experience.”

Fall 2018 Resources

Customer Discovery Workshop SWWGRO

Tools used

Sunday AM: Pitch Overview

Pitch Overview & Juding Criteria

Featured items:

Slide Requirements & Presentation

  • Use 16:9 ratio (wide screen)
  • You will be provided a clicker
  • Prepare multiple laptops with the deck & tech check
  • Use video or screenshots for your demo; a live demo is risky & is prone to errors
  • Slide #1 & the last slide must be slide #1 in this PowerPoint deck
  • No backup slides for Q&A, the next team will be connecting their tech
  • Laptop requirements: Video/beamer connection: Mac Minidisplay port or HDMI (no USB-C); audio via 3.5mm headphone jack (not HDMI)
  • Q&A: All team members on the presentation stage

Presentation Sample:
Startup Weekend 2011

Team Registration

F6S Register here

Tech Check Schedule

Time Team
1330 GreenWay Soundwalls; Bep App; burglartwo
1335 RE-DRESS; packmen; Date <3 Keeper;
1340 CareerCode; mazii, #Trashtalk;
1345 Flippin Bitches; Victor; Good Sam;
1350 The Brain Cafe; Easter App; SmashTray

Pitch Order


Finding a job during Startup Weekend

At first, let me introduce myself: my name is Kristen Bos, I am 25 years old and I work as an online marketeer at Besides that, I’m one of the organizers of Startup Weekend Groningen. This is my second year of organizing and my main focus lies on the marketing and social media.


I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Marketing from Hanzehogeschool Groningen last year. Shortly before graduating, I came back from Aruba where I lived for six months and organized a kite- and windsurf event. I had to choose a minor and my teacher said: ‘Kristen, you have to choose a minor where you have the freedom to explore and learn as much as you can besides the regular school system’. She recommended the minor: Da Vinci. All right, I thought, sounds like a plan. 

Big Building

The minor Da Vinci is focused on design thinking and effectuation. These theories are being used by entrepreneurs in starting businesses and they stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour and concept development. Furthermore, the minor was located at The Big Building back then. When I came there for the first time, I didn’t know where to look. What a great environment and so many cool start-ups were located here! I followed this minor in the last year of my studies and I was not sure what I wanted to do when I would graduate. That’s why I decided to meet as much people possible during my time in The Big Building, so I could build up my network.  

At a rainy day, we had a vrimibo on a boat with some guys from The Big Building. That is when I met Luuk Hartsema. We were talking about organizing events and Luuk told me about this event he was organizing, called Startup Weekend Groningen. And this is how I ended up in the Startup Weekend organisation. Normally you have to participate in a Startup Weekend event before you can organize one. However, with my experience as an event planner it was not a problem that I had not participated before. 

Job search

In the meantime, I finished my studies and I quit working at the Perry Sport (it was my side job). Startup Weekend took a lot of my time and I had no idea where I had to search for a job. I got to know a lot of people during the period of organizing Startup Weekend. One day we I a ticket sale meeting with Bram and Ryco (from Op Scherp) at ‘Het Kwadraat’ and Bouke Majoor was passing by. Bouke is the founder of Bram told me: ‘You have to go to Bouke! He has a company based on online marketing and you are good with the social media and marketing from Startup Weekend. He is looking for new team members’. But at that time, I just had my focus on organising Startup Weekend and didn’t know what to do with this. 

Startup Weekend

During Startup Weekend there were a couple of girls who were just as enthusiastic as I am and we had a good connection. Then all of a sudden, Bouke showed up again and it turned out that the girls I was talking with were working with Bouke at We chatted about them searching for a new team member and because of that I decided to apply for a job at Currently I’m already working for Bouke since March.


My point is that you don’t have to go to Startup Weekend with the intention to start a business. You can also join Startup Weekend for you network, because you’ll meet a bunch of new people and might find a job during the weekend. The people that participate at Startup Weekend are awesome and the community is great.

11 tips to pick the right (domain) name for your startup

Guest blog by Coen Berkhout (Dataprovider)

Sticky. Short. Simple. Spellable? Words that describe a good (domain) name for your startup. It may seem like a small, somewhat insignificant detail in the grand scheme of everything you need to do and think about during Startup Weekend Groningen 2018. But your domain name should not be overlooked.

There’s already a lot to think about in the days leading up to your Startup Weekend experience. Am I going to give a pitch? What am I going to pitch? Who will be in my team? Will the coaches be nice? What’s going to be for dinner? And now we’re mentioning the importance of picking a great name and website domain. It is, after all, the front door to your startup – how people ‘enter’ your website. It’s what people will search for or type into their browser to find you. So it’s not something to be taken lightly.

If only there was a website that spits out great startup domain names. Surely it would prevent a lot of discussion and headaches for entrepreneurs trying to set up their business. Unfortunately, a website like that doesn’t exist (we’ve Googled). That’s why we – the Dataprovider team – have written down 11 tips for picking the perfect name for your startup and website. So take the five minutes to read this post and you’ll be well prepared when crunch-time comes around.” <- This does not exist, you are on your own

What’s in a name? Quite a lot! So here’s some tips for choosing the right one. If you don’t have a name for your startup yet, these tips may help you choose one. If you already have a name you’re happy with, these tips should help you convert your business name into a fitting domain name for your website.

1) Make it sticky

A great name is unique and memorable. You want your customers to remember it and tell their friends and colleagues about it. Don’t forget that our name is the first thing to come out of our mouths when we introduce ourselves, things will be the same when you pitch your startup. Never underestimate how many choices consumers have. Stand out. It can all start with your company name, which people will be typing and clicking (or tapping) on every day.

The name of your startup – and by extension your domain name – has to be sticky. People shouldn’t forget it once they’ve heard it. And to make sure they don’t forget what your startup is all about, you want it to trigger an emotional response. No one will remember a name and a company that they are indifferent about.

2) Make it short, but not too short

Shorter is better. If you can’t get your domain name down to one memorable word, then consider adding one or at most two more words. Combinations of two words have worked great for websites like or However, don’t make it too short and use an acronym.
People will never remember the letters unless it’s a highly catchy name.

Domainr is a great tool for finding ways to shorten your amazing, but slightly long, company name into a great domain name.

3) Make it spellable

If you have to spell out your domain name more than once for it to be understood, then it won’t work. Keep the name simple to remember and easy to enter in an address bar or search field. Why is simplicity important? Because you don’t want your future visitors to incorrectly type your name
and be directed to a different site. A classic example is the popular photo sharing website, Four years after its inception in 2005, the company had to acquire for a large sum of money in order to redirect the many visitors who misspelled the website’s name.

If you’re determined to have an oddly spelled name, make sure common misspellings are also available so you can register them and redirect visitors to your actual website. Also, make sure three times over that your name does not allow for unfortunate misspellings or misreadings.

We’re sure that the owner of did not mean for the website to be the butt of the joke. Then again, their tagline is: “We Specialize In Wood”

(Image: screenshot taken from, 01/11/2018)

4) Brainstorm (and ask your friends)

Now that you know some rules your name should follow, it’s time to crunch the letters. There are a lot of (free!) online tools that make your brainstorming session easier: (gives you a visual around a keyword) (provides a startup company name generator) (allows you to generate names based on a theme)

If you end up with a few domain names you really like, that’s nothing to worry about. You can register these domains too and have them redirect to your main website. That way you get ahead of copycats that snatch unclaimed domains of businesses once they take off, saving costs in the long run.

5) Ask your fellow start-uppers

When you have narrowed down the domain names to a few you really like, conduct a simple A/B test to see which name resonates more with your colleagues at the Startup Weekend. The test is very simple: record their response to your chosen domain names. Ask questions that tell you how they feel about the name, like: ‘what do you like most about this name?’, ‘how does reading this name make you feel?’ and ‘what images do you associate with this name?’ The most important thing to record is the emotional response to the name. Remember: it has to be sticky, and for a name to last you want to make sure it resonates with your audience.

If you have someone in your group who is tech-savvy or great at drawing, consider creating a landing page or a logo to see the response to that.

Example of A/B testing for a website. By randomly serving visitors two versions of a website that differ only in the design of a single button element, the relative efficacy of the two designs can be measured.

(Image: Maxime Lorant, Wikimedia Commons)

And what about this domain-thing? There’s tips for that too!

6) Go with a ‘.com’ domain

Knowing the name of your domain name is the first step, but what about the extension? Almost 75% of all websites are ‘.com’ domains, making it the preferred extension for most customers and the one they are most likely to remember. This means that sometimes it’s better to go with your second choice if your number one name choice isn’t available as a dotcom domain, before looking elsewhere.

Some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the ‘.com’ website. Another reason for registering a more well known domain is that you will already have it when your startup takes off. Remember the Flickr story from tip 3?

7) Don’t go with a ‘.com’ domain

All the reasons for choosing a ‘dotcom’ Top-level domain for your startup are also reasons to look elsewhere. With the amount of domains registered, finding the one you want is difficult and expensive.

In the Netherlands, the .nl and .com domains make up more than 95% of all Dutch websites (according to the database). Recently a large amount of other Top-level domains have become available. Including domains that may be perfect for a startup that focuses on a specific market, like: ‘.study’, ‘.app’ or ‘.ai’. With some creativity you can surely find a cheap and available Top-level domain that fits your startup.

8) Make it fit your business – in the long term

Does your startup target customers in a particular country or a particular industry? Does your name say what your company does? What about in the future? Choosing a name that fits your startup now and after it takes off is equally important. ‘Grunnegs Goud’ may be a good name for a company that is based in and focuses on Groningen. But will it do well across the borders of the province?

The same goes for giving a clear and positive image of what your company does. Can people instantly understand what your business is about when they hear the name? It may be trendy to pick a name that doesn’t really say anything. This works out great if you’re say Google or Joomla. Overall,
though, a name that relates to your business does better in search engine results and helps people remember you.

If you can’t make it clear what it is you’re doing, how can you expect your customers to trust your business?

(Image: comic #1293, Creative Commons)

9) Check the availability (on social networks)

Before you register your desired domain name, it’s always a good idea to check social networks for the same name. To keep your site name constant and to build your brand, you want a name that is readily available. For example: check ‘’, ‘’ – and secure them as well. KnowEm is a great tool to use to see if certain names are already branded on social platforms.

10) Avoid trademark infringement

Once you’ve decided on your top choices for your website name, make sure you are not violating anyone’s trademarks. To check within the US, visit and conduct a search before you register the name.

For the countries in the Benelux Union you can check registered trademarks on the website of the Benelux-Bureau voor de Intellectuele Eigendom. It is always good to check for this early because it could kill a great website and business down the road.

Also, if you are going to include some big name product, such as Twitter or Facebook, review their terms and conditions. Most will not allow you to use their name in any part of your domain.

11) Make sure you love it

It sounds odd, but you have to be absolutely sure you love your domain name. Once chosen and bought, you’ll have it for years to come. And the name of your startup will be something you hear, say, write, and think about all the time. If you don’t like the name, don’t use it. Otherwise you’ll regret it, and that could impact your behavior and the way you run the business moving forward.

Example: ZZPeer

(Image: screenshot taken from, 01/11/2018)

A little case study on picking the perfect name for your startup. ZZPeer is a startup from 2017 that targets freelancers in the Netherlands, known as ZZP’ers (Zelfstandige Zonder Personeel).

ZZPeer is a great name. It’s short, sticky, easy to pronounce and write in Dutch and English, the name was available on many domains and social platforms, there is the connotation of fruit and a lightbulb, I could go on…

The way they came up with their name was by brainstorming a lot of names and logos and writing them down on post-its. I remember them having about twenty names and images drawn. Then they’d let the other people at the startup bootcamp have a look and they threw out all the ones that nobody
reacted to.

After that round they had a few left, and they would ask a few more people some specific questions about what they thought of the remaining names. ZZPeer was the name people reacted to the most; giving ideas for logos and asking questions about what it meant. It was the name they ended up choosing. That year ZZPeer won the starting subsidy of 20.000 euros.

Good luck and have fun! We hope you’re all ready to start your Startup Bootcamp journey. Rumour has it that the coaches are very nice and the food will be great. Let us know what name you ended up picking for your startup and if this post was helpful in the process.

The Dataprovider team