Making a Zero Waste economy possible at Techstars Startup Weekend Paris

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills or incinerators.

We got the chance to talk to the team behind Techstars Startup Weekend Paris, about their motivations to host this event with the thematic of Zero Waste. Here’s what they shared:

1. What was your thinking behind doing a Startup Weekend, Zero Waste edition? What did you want to achieve?

I saw a lot of Startup Weekends and love the people, the state of mind and the magic happening there. But despite the fact that we are at the heart of the innovation, I saw few projects and people deeply concerned about sustainable development. I wanted to help changing that, so we formed a team of awesome organizers and we built this edition.

“Zero Waste” is a concept that most people understand immediately, it’s a fast growing movement, and a perfect way to get people concretely interested in sustainable development.

Behind the Zero Waste philosophy there is a new way of consuming and living. This more sustainable way needs a new sector full of initiatives and businesses that starts to flourish : the circular economy sector. We deeply believe that there is a lot of business opportunities coming with the rise of circular economy. We wanted to help people and projects going in this sustainable direction.

2. How did you ensure that the theme of circular economy and zero waste was a philosophy throughout your event?

We started by making this event zero waste itself ! The idea was to show that it is possible to have an entire event hosting more than 100 people without producing almost any waste.

We then tried to involve participants in this, explaining it to them in advance and asking them to take their own pens and their own cloth table-napkin, because we won’t provide disposable ones. We also explained a bit more the concept of circular economy, and made a conference about it a week before the SW.

Finally we looked for sponsors that have real interest in sustainable development, because for now almost all companies practice green washing, but very few started to take the problem seriously.

3. What was your highlight from the weekend? What was most challenging?

We were very happy to see the quality of the ideas on the Friday night’s pitchs. All the ideas proposed by the participants were also totally in the circular economy philosophy.

The participants were very interested about sustainable development and the projects developed during the weekend were highly qualitative. I found it awesome to gather in the same place a lot of people and energies interested in the same goal.

Everything went very well, and we didn’t really had challenging parts at the end, even washing the dishes in team for 100 people was quite fun!

4. Do you have any top tips / best practices for anyone who is keen to host a more environmentally-friendly Startup Weekend?

Of course 🙂 Regardless of the Startup Weekend’s theme, you can organize a Techstars Startup Weekend without generating almost any waste. For us it was actually easier than I thought.

I wrote an article with more information about how we did it, and am available to help or to receive more tips. 2 coming Parisian Techstars Startup Weekends will already adopt a zero waste approach to their organization, and I hope much more will go the same way afterwards.

For sure we’ll organize a second edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Zero Waste in Paris, and I hope that others cities will tackle the same theme full of potential!

If you want to organize a Techstars Startup Weekend event, apply here.

Techstars FounderCon Europe 2017

Techstars Accelerator founders from Europe are coming together for the second annual Techstars FounderCon Europe in Berlin on June 21st-22nd, 2017.

Community Leader Spotlight: Maciej Jankowski

From Startup Weekend organiser… to Community Leader… to Techstars Associate. How Maciej Jankowski from Poland has truly embarked on the Entrepreneur’s Journey.

Maciej Jankowski first became involved in developing the local startup/tech community in his hometown Szczecin (Poland) in 2007, when he started organising Netcamp meetups. Events grew quickly and 3 years later became a base to launch Netcamp Foundation, a local NGO supporting development of startup ecosystem and tech education.

It wasn’t until April 2011 when Maciej met Jarek Białek who took part in Startup Weekend Eindhoven a few months before when he was inspired to organize SW in Poland. He was very impressed about the benefits it gave to entrepreneurs.

After Startup Weekend Warsaw, Maciej in Szczecin in October 2011, he decided to co-organised the 3rd Startup Weekend in Poland. He decided to organise the first Polish-German event, in order to start a cooperation with the Berlin startup community. This way a great way to show that the nationality of founders is not important when solving technological problems and creating new companies. The winner of that event–Scatchup– won all 3 categories, then raised around €200k seed investment from HackFwd after just 6 months moved to Berlin.

Maciej was already hooked to the wonderful world of Startup Weekend. It was after his second event, that he realised the most important thing to him was the impact the events had in fostering local startup ecosystems. It is a fact that most of the teams after a Startup Weekend event split up. However, many participants stay involved in the community and often get involved in other projects with people they worked with during the event.  In the 2nd edition of Startup Weekend Szczecin, a young team from Wroclaw received a special award from some of the mentors, and were invited to an acceleration program in Gdansk.

Despite the first event’s success, the next Startup Weekend event in Szczecin took 4 years to happen. The problem was building a new organising team, as Jarek, one of the lead organisers, had moved to another city. The next event therefore took place in 2015, and in the meantime, Maciej organized Nethack and other city focused hackathons, whilst also focusing on building the TEDx community in his city.

In September 2016, Maciej got accepted as Techstars Associate in the METRO Berlin Program, he travelled to Spain to speak at a conference there, went on to Warsaw to attend the Techstars Europe Unsummit, and ended up starting his exciting new journey in Berlin a few days later.

“It’s a really intensive program, especially for founders,” he said. For Maciej in particular it was also intense as he was participating in three Techstars programs in parallel–coordinating Startup Weekend Szczecin – Smart City/IoT back home, working as an associate in Berlin and becoming a volunteer for the pilot of the Startup Next mobility edition with Ford. Those 2 months were very busy for him –working 15 hours per day both helping founders and also leading his Startup Weekend team, making the two hour drive back to Szczecin each weekend to meet with them.

During the METRO program in Berlin, Maciej was very surprised because half of the associates team were from the US. They had moved just to join the program. A really important take away was to see how entrepreneurs from different countries build startups and the sort of problems they want to solve based on their local communities. It really doesn’t matter if you live in Canada or Australia when it comes to the way you build your startup.

An interesting part for him was being involved in the mentor madness sessions–2 full weeks with mentors talking with founders to give their advice and feedback. Maciej loved the vibrant feeling of Berlin, the startup ecosystem and many startup events gave him a global perspective on Startups and what’s going on in the startup world.

One of Maciej’s favourite moments was one of his first successes in the program. Every Thursday there was ‘social thursday’– in the METRO program each associate had to organise one of them. When it was his turn, he organised it based on the feedback of the participants and it turned out to be one of the best social thursdays, playing pool and integrating in one of Berlin’s awesome clubs. Another highlight was standing on stage during demo day in a big cinema room full of 600 people: founders & associates were invited to go on stage being recognised for their work.

When asked what advice Maciej would give to anyone wanting to become a Techstars Associate, he said that if you are an expert on something or simply love working with startups and are open to learn then this is a great starting point. “I was involved for many years in the Startup ecosystem so I think I got some extra points for my Startup Weekend initiatives and other things I had been doing for startups, which showed the managing team that I had the passion and some work experience to support them.”

For Maciej the biggest take-away from the experience was extending his network, meeting many cool people in Berlin, and seeing how a Techstars accelerator works from the inside. “You can of course read a book like Do More Faster’, but a much better way is to get a real life experience and participate as an associate. For me it was also kind of a hack –how to get accepted into a TS accelerator without being a startup that has to build a really strong team, a great product, have a traction, and compete with hundreds of other great founders all around the world. I got a very similar experience as an associate, so that was a good choice for me.”

When comparing the difference between Berlin and Poland in terms of startup activity, Maciej noted important differences on how talent is accessed in tech. In Poland we have some of the best developers in the world but most of our founders have mediocre sales/marketing skills and not enough experience on how to scale startups globally. In Germany or the UK the situation is the opposite. There is also a lot more money raised by Berlin startups –with bigger rounds than in Central and Eastern Europe.

Number of accelerators, many corporate-backed and access to seed funding was another main difference, which was more international in Berlin. Germany still has a lot more success stories than Poland does, and when talking about the whole ecosystem there is a culture problem –not just for Poland but for the whole Central and Eastern Europe region. There is still a lack of openness and trust to talk about what you are doing, your ideas with other people, whereas in Berlin people are much more open and willing to talk and network.

Maciej has now moved back to Szczecin and as a co-founder of Startup Poland is working on a new startup support program with the local government. His goal is to attract more VC money to the region. He is considering opening a local pre-acceleration program that could be a good link to cooperation with the Berlin startup ecosystem.

When he was asked what comes to mind when someone says the word Techstars, he said “I think it’s all about community/network of open-minded people that believe in this #GiveFirst attitude of helping each other. Even if the founders are doing something similar,they are not competing against each other, if they see they can share knowledge and help others. That’s a big differentiator of Techstars. The Give First mentality which is what I love the most.”

To connect with Maciej personally, reach him out on linkedin or email or better give him a high five during next Startup Weekend Unsummit 24-26 March in Valencia.

Apply to a Techstars Accelerator Program now.

European Community Leader Highlight: Jernej Dekleva

Meet Jernej Dekleva, Community Leader in Copenhagen, Denmark but originally from Slovenia

When did you first get involved with Startup Weekend?

I attended my first Startup Weekend in 2012. I just moved from Slovenia to Denmark and I wanted to meet people who are also interested in startups and wanted to work on new projects. I had an amazing experience and after first one, I decided to attend next one as well.
It was a coincidence that I decided to organize my first startup weekend. Startup Weekends were happening quite regular in Copenhagen at that stage. Few months before Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Denmark in November 2014, Aleksander Bordvik and I noticed that there is no Startup Weekend scheduled in Copenhagen for Fall 2014. We saw a great opportunity for us to contribute to Copenhagen startup scene and with a big help of the previous organizer Monika Luniewska we started planning our very first Startup Weekend.

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

In the last few months, I asked myself what do I really want to do and what am I good at. I want to stay close to the local startup community, providing a framework for bringing new ideas to the marketplace and create memorable experiences for first-time entrepreneurs. I co-founded Norvai – Nordic Venture and innovation, where together with corporates are bringing new startup projects, services and experiences to the market.

What is your favourite thing about the Startup Weekend community?

I love the fact that people are very open and genuinely determined to make a change through entrepreneurship. Seeing so many passionate people in one place is just mindblowing for me. We are a community with a very diverse backgrounds and each person has it’s own story of how he/she ended up in Startup Weekend community. Next time you see the past attendee, current organizer or facilitator, ask that person why is she part of the community or what motivates him to be part of the global movement. These answers are very powerful in my opinion.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

Together with Startup Weekend Copenhagen team, we have quite big plans for this year. We want to create biggest Startup Weekend in Copenhagen so far in Fall 2017 by a number of attendees. Also, we are keeping one on the long term strategy as well: we would like that more Startup Weekend facilitators will emerge from Startup Weekend Copenhagen “school” in the next 2 years. We are very proud to say that the current team, had welcomed 3 new facilitators to the family last year who were helping us since 2014. I am very excited to see what the future brings.

Do you have any funny stories to share from any Startup Weekend event?

In Copenhagen, we created our own “tradition” when we organize Startup Weekends. This March for a third time in a row, all the organizers and a facilitator have to pass “Winter canal jumping” test. Of course, the bravest attendees are also invited. Last year in March, we were approximately 15 startup weekend survivors who few hours before the final presentations jumped into a sea on a snowy day. Proven method to get you pumped before final pitching.  

Community Leader Spotlight: Andrei Cosmin

From Timisoara, Romania, Andrei shares with us his experience as Community Leader in Europe.
Andrei Cosmin

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I’m a geek 🙂 I work full time as a Software Test Engineer at a big automotive company. Besides the techie side there’s of course the community part where there’s enthusiasm from the community to help organise tech & startup events.

Oh, and we’re also working on opening a co-working space.

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

I first heard about Startup Weekend in 2013. The 1st edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara was about to take place, so I bought a ticket the rest was history. It was an amazing experience: I got to learn a lot from the event, made friends and from that point on I was hooked.

I jumped to help the local organizing team prepare the 2nd edition of SWTimisoara where I got a chance to learn what happens behind the curtains. It got me even more enthusiastic and I decided to lead the organising team for a great 3rd edition of SWTimisoara.

This just got me even more excited about the entire SW movement. I wanted to be a facilitator to get to see how things are happening in other entrepreneurial communities across Europe. In 2015 I became a Global Facilitator and since then I have facilitated a bunch of great events across Europe.

If I had to summarize it all: amazing, energetic, roller coaster of awesomeness.

What is the funniest thing that you have witnessed and/or experienced with your team?

Organizing Startup Weekends is as much of a roller coaster ride as participating in an event.

There are so many funny / crazy & amazing things happening at Startup Weekends – helium balloons, Batman and Superman cupcakes as mentors, cards against humanity SW, Nerf guns, VR corners to name a few!

One thing I want to mention here and for sure it’s the most important thing (coming back to being serious): there’s always an amazing team behind each Startup Weekend event. In Timisoara there’s a great team which has evolved from event to event and they’re THE BEST!

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?  

Our community in Timisoara has potential to grow a lot when it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot of potential.

We’re striving to direct that drive of the community in a direction while also offering the framework that the ecosystem needs to flourish and grow.

Organizing events and having the community to meet up is one way we plan on growing. Together we’re stronger & better.

Europe: 540+ VCs and €23.8B in the Last Two Years

321 Seed Stage, 256 Series A and 111 Series B Investors in Europe..

After months of collecting, comparing and making sense of investor data in Europe, we are shipping the latest version of our Investors in Europe map, but this time with a twist….


Click for high definition version which you can download

With thanks to our friends at DHL Innovation Center, we’re mailing this map to 1,000 companies throughout Europe, including all the VCs featured and to as many incubators, accelerators and Startup Hubs we can find.

This map represents the VC landscape of European investors investing in European companies from Seed stage to Series B. The list of investors has been stored in a very simple Google spreadsheet which can be seen, used and shared here.

How to Use the Map

The size of the circles on the map represents the number of VCs in a particular location and the colour of the circles represent the amount of capital raised by startups who are based in these locations and ecosystems.



What does the data tell us?

“The only places that a startup can go on a fundraising road trip in Europe is in London and Berlin” – Pawel Chudzinski, Point Nine Capital

Pawel said this on a panel he was speaking on at FounderCon (Techstars alumni event) in June. I believe he was referring to startups raising larger Seed and Series A rounds and were looking to travel to meet investors with deeper pockets!

We’ve counted 321 VCs in Europe investing at Seed Stage with 59 located in London, 32 in Berlin, 19 in Paris, 16 in Barcelona and 13 in Stockholm.

When it comes to Series A, we’ve got 256 VCs in Europe writing cheques. Again, London is coming out on top with 62 VCs followed by Berlin with 24, Paris with 18, Amsterdam with 17 and Munich with 15.

For later stage growth capital, we’ve identified 111 Series B investors fueling the next generation of great internet companies. Where do you think they are based? You guessed it; again, London comes out on top with 36 Series B VCs, Berlin next with 13, followed by Paris with 12, Munich with 10 and Stockholm with five.

The Legacy of London and the Rise of Paris and Berlin

Just looking at the map, the first thing you’ll notice is how big the investor and startup ecosystem is in London. It’s hands down bigger than anywhere else, with the most amount of activity in previous years. It will be interesting to monitor this over the next couple of years to see if there are any major changes in how/where startups are raising capital, and whether or not London remains the capital in the European startup ecosystem.

We’ve seen a huge rise of activity in Berlin and Paris and the ever growing strength of the Nordics. And on top of that, throwing in the knock on effects to come from Brexit into the mix.

What do you think is going to change? Leave comments in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts!

Note: European startups continue to raise capital from the U.S. The following infographic from Dealroom shows the source of VC funding by rounds size and the percentage contribution from each country.


With the help of Dealroom’s data, we’ve identified €23.8B that has been invested in European startups since 2014 from early stage investments to later stage, growth rounds.

For early stage startups, it’s definitely possible to raise angel / seed money from local investors, in most places in Europe. Use the map and the Google Sheet to find out who’s in your neighbourhood and who’s investing at your stage and in your sector. For larger Seed rounds and Series A – you might need to jump on a plane and go visit VCs in London or Berlin, or if you’re from the Nordics, take a trip to Stockholm or Helsinki.

All throughout Europe you can find money and VCs, but in terms of writing cheques, VCs in London, Berlin and Paris are standing out.

Perhaps this comes down to fewer successful founders in these other areas, which usually means less investment money in the ecosystem. Perhaps we’re still suffering from a more conservative approach to investment in Europe, but I’m sure mindsets are going to change over the next five years or so as a new generation of investors emerge and as companies successfully return money to their investors.

Thank Yous

A big thanks again to Dealroom and who’ve been incredibly helpful when it comes to putting more data behind our research project. They really helped us bring this map to the next level, showing trends in the European tech scene over the last couple of years.

A very special thank you to Scurri whose platform made it very simple to organise and manage the fleet of 1,000 shipments across Europe. And finally, last but certainly not least, a very big thank you to the DHL Innovation Center and the DHL Trend Research team who got excited about shipping this map all over Europe and wanted to be part of it.


They’re based near DHL HQ in Bonn, Germany, dealing with topics such as AR, Robots, and Self-Driving Vehicles, and if you’re in that part of the world, reach out to them and go visit their super cool facility.

If you’re a VC and we’ve missed you on the map and sheet, please feel free to leave comments on the Google Sheet here. We’ll look into your company and will add you as soon as possible.


Techstars’ Digital ‘Investors in Europe’ Map

Today we invite you to check out the digital version of our ‘Investors in Europe’ map, helping you find VCs who invest in European startups. A big thanks to Dealroom for helping us digitize the work we started last year, making useful European Investor information even more accessible to entrepreneurs and investors all over the world.

You can check out the digital map here.

Note that it also includes some U.S. and other investors located in different parts of the world who also invest in the European startups.

At the end of last year we published a large amount of data on the VC scene in Europe. At the time we had up to date information on just over 300 VCs investing in European companies. We got this data from our own networks, demo days and events that we’ve run. We stored it in this public Google Sheet and gave everyone comment rights. We launched it alongside a rich infographic map that visually represented where these VCs in Europe are located.

Version 1 of our Investors in Europe Map. Version 2 coming soon.


VCs all over the world responded incredibly well and were super eager to update their information. Those who we missed, got in touch to get on the Google sheet and map and the whole community got behind us and pushed it out into their networks.

This was our first step to liberating useful data for startups and investors in the European tech ecosystem. We want to Give First and help startups and investors save time by doing some of that research for them. Right now you can go to the Google sheet, make a copy and filter the sheet to find relevant investors for your needs.

With the outreach from the community and from doing some deeper research, we’ve now identified over 501+ Investors investing in European startups.

Digital Version of our Investors in Europe Map

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.23.11 PM

According to Dealroom, since 2014 startups in Europe have raised €23B+ with a whopping €17B+ raised in London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris and Tel Aviv. This really goes to show where the money is and where deals are being done.

The top five cities in which investors have offices in Europe according to our research are as follows:

  1. London
  2. Stockholm
  3. Berlin
  4. Paris
  5. Helsinki

You can find the Google sheet of included investors here. We’re always looking for VCs we’ve missed, so if you spot one missing, please let us know.

We’re very thankful to Dealroom who’ve produced a digital version of this map and have hosted it on the Techstars domain. You can find it over at

We want to make it as easy as possible for you as a startup to identify potential investors in specific regions with certain sector focuses and for you as an investor to identify other investors for potential collaborations or to do a competitor analysis.

Version 2 is Coming

Version 2 of the investor map will be a landscape map focusing on Europe and Israel and will show the number of VCs (size of the circles) in each city and how much funding startups in each city have raised (color of the circles) since 2014.

We are printing it and sending it to the 501+ investors who are on the map and to every coworking space, incubator, accelerator and hubs that host startups in Europe.

If you fall into one of these subsets and would like a printed map sent to you, let us know over here.


Everything You Need To Know About Patents in Europe (Infographic)

Did you know: There were 265,690 European Patent Filings in 2013 but only 66,712 were granted?


This post was submitted by James Sherwin

Infographic: Business Etiquette Around The World (Western Europe Edition)

This post is written by tech writer and photographer, Ivan Serrano.

Congratulations, your business has grown and you are nowhere near stopping. You’ve blossomed from that tiny startup in your parents’ basement, moved beyond passing out cheap brochures advertising your company to neighbors, and survived the full throttle that “startup” mode has to offer. No, you’ve hit the big leagues, and your company has gone global.

The work is far from done. Keeping customers pleased, happy and reliable takes more than just a few successful business negotiations. Keeping customers requires a deeper respect for them, their culture, their country, their politics… The list can go on for a long time.

Although English may be the universal language, America is not at the center of the world. For budding entrepreneurs, learning the culture of the country you’re about to do business with is fundamental not only to getting them as a client, but even more so to keeping a longstanding and meaningful relationship with them. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind when doing business overseas.



Sweden in top 3 most innovative countries in the world

Sweden, United Kingdom & Switzerland topped this year’s Global Innovation Index(GII), Sweden has been ranked as the third most innovative country in the world, a step down from last year in the annual rankings published by Cornell University, INSEAD, the French business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

“Sweden is showing spectacular results without any big weaknesses, and is one of the world’s most innovative countries,” CEO of INSEAD, Bruno Lanvin said at a press conference.

Every year, the Global Innovation Index ranks the innovation performance of more than
140 countries and economies around the world. The ranking is based on 81 indicators.

World top 10 Innovative countries

A number of Europe’s most innovative & internationally successful companies came from Sweden, including furnishing giant IKEA and online music streaming service Spotify AB.

Top 3 per region innovation

There is still a large gap between commercialization & innovation, however it is positive, really to say that there is large potential for Sweden’s immediate future.