It’s a wrap!

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And the winner is… Tri-cycle!

Startup Weekend Utrecht 2013 is a wrap! The organisation as well as the participants had a busy and (at times) quite stressful weekend, filled with motivated pitches, good food, lots of coffee, brilliant ideas and long hours of discussing, presenting, typing and thinking. But the end justified the means: Utrecht was enriched by 16 new business ideas, and two special winners.

The Startup Weekend Utrecht HQ was buzzing with productivity all weekend. Not only were people actually working in the dynamic office building at Cório, Hoog Catharijne, but they were also validating their ideas with the shopping public, attending master classes and troubleshooting with our experienced mentors.

This year Startup Weekend was themed ‘open source’ and was all about opening your business. We saw this happening throughout the weekend as the participating teams were not just each others competition, but also each others helping hand. Designers with an hour to spare on the first days went to help out other teams, and people gave each other tips for the final presentations. That’s the ‘open’ spirit we like to see! Not only that, during the final presentations we saw that many teams thought about how to incorporate ‘open source’ into their startups. Our jury at Startup Weekend Utrecht thought ‘Room Escape’ did this the best, and sent them home with the special ‘open source’ price; a coffee machine and some open sourced coffee beans! That will come in handy when the teams goes on to professionalise their startup idea. Escape Room was the most physically present and active startup idea at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2013. The idea of a physical game room that you have to get out of, within a certain time limit, may sound a bit claustrophobic to some, but it also works great for bonding, problem solving skills and just having fun! The idea has already been implemented before, but what this team did differently is that they aim at being a mobile game room, thus giving them bigger opportunities by collaborating with business partners or other escape rooms.

And the winner is…

Tri-cycle! This startup idea was formed by students from the university of applied sciences. At first, they were present at the Statup Weekend Utrecht just to watch the excitement as special guests. But once inside the building, they figured they had quite a good idea themselves, and it showed! This business idea shone through its simplicity and probable feasibility with their target audience. Tri-cycle targets the Dutch bicycle as a mobile advertising platform. They will start by focusing on students and “regular” bikes. Students can sign up online, after which they will get a triangular flyer sent home each month. they need to validate their flyer being placed on their bikes by uploading a picture to Tri-cycle’s website, and off they go! As compensation for using their bicycle as advertising space, participants will be able to get their bicycles fixed for free at participating bicycle repair shops around the city. The judges stated the idea has a lot of potential and could be a very valuable business model. The guys went home with some nice startup prices, such as three months of startup support at UtrechtInc’s incubator. We hope to see many students biking around with the triangular flyers mounted on their bikes soon, so we know they made it!

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In the Picture: Tri-cycle

Who: Florinsz van Dijk Name
Startup: Tri-cycle

Florinsz van Dijk and Jeroen van Leeuwen saw a business opportunity right before their eyes, every day they went sycling to the city centre or university; bike flyers. In the Netherlands it is quite common that if you leave your bike in a crowded public place, you will have a flyer stuck at your steer or carrier when you come back. Most people rip them off immediately which leaves a big mess around the bike parking. These two students thought of a better solution.

Every month you get a triangular flyer in the mail. The holder for which you’ve already put on your bike some time ago. You click the flyer onto your bike, snap a picture with your phone and upload it to Tri-cycle. Once you’ve got it validated, you will get another month of bike insurance. This bike insurance entails that you will get your bike fixed anytime something is broken. Flat tire? Brakes starting to give in? Loose handles? Your local affiliated bike repair shops are there to help you out.

The guys behind tri-cycle already contacted some of these bike repair shops in Utrecht, and they were happy to see that the handymans were up for the idea. They could get a sort of subscription with them for the future Tri-cycle users.

The Tri-cycle users are mostly going to be students at first. This will be the target group for marketing during the first year. It also helps that most students have cheap ‘regular’ bikes that fit the design for the flyer holder that has to be put on the bikes. Because the holder will be put on the back of the bike, beneath the carrier, participants can’t use saddlebags or other things that would obscure the advertisment on their bikes.

In the Picture: Room Escape

Who: Lech Bakhuizen van den Brink
Name Startup: Room Escape

The people from ‘Room Escape’ were more than happy to connect their skills to their experienced gamedesigner teamleader, who had seen the idea implemented before in other cities. The idea of a physical game-room has already been realized in Budapest, Shanghai, Berlin and.. Bunschoten! The last one being the odd one out, the participants think the concept might be well suited for Utrecht. They seem confident that this idea might be the next big thing in Utrecht.

They are trying to tweak the concept in such a way that it becomes dynamic and mobile. This way they can pick up collaborations with different companies and alter the room where necessary to fit the wishes of their collaborateurs. They’ve already asked some of the represented companies at Startup Weekend Utrecht whether they would be open for this and got positive feedback. My colleagues from the reporting team at Startup Weekend Utrecht were also positive about the concept after giving the temporary setup here a test-run.

At Startup Weekend Utrecht HQ, the team has on Sunday already started testing their concept “break out of the NSA!”. 5 or 6 teams have already tried to find their way out of the room by solving puzzles, finding codes and smart thinking. They use the feedback they get from the test-runs to improve the concept and use the filmed content to liven up their presentation on Sunday.

They see multiple uses for their concept. Because it is mobile, they can come to officebuildings, homes or public areas and the contestants in the game don’t need to come to them. The game room can of course just be for a fun day out with family or friends, but it can also be used for teambuilding within companies or in an educational setting.