Networking: Bright ideas were tested during a marathon IT fest in Esch over the weekend.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Learning, experimenting and networking to bring technology-based ideas to life is what Luxembourg Startup Weekend has been about since it was founded here in 2012. The latest event was on 5-7 June at the Technoport in Esch. This was the sixth time it has been organised, and this time was based around the idea of the “internet of things”.
Startup Weekend is a global movement founded in the US that brings entrepreneurs together to experiment and discuss. The ultimate aim is to bring products and services to market with short product development cycles in order to reduce risk and cut the need for large investment.
“Businesses plans can be a waste of time in a fast moving tech environment where ideas do not necessarily fit a linear pattern,” explained co-organiser Sylvain Chery. “This platform offers entrepreneurs the chance to learn and develop their ideas in a quick, practical, flexible manner,” he added.
Building on great ideas
He cites ContinuousPHP as their most notable success-story to date. It won first prize in May 2013 thanks to its innovative platform that enables websites to be updated using the PHP programming language. Located in the Technoport business incubator, it now employs half a dozen people. “It was already a great idea, and the Startup Weekend enabled the founders to access highly relevant advice from experienced players and helped attract interest from potential partners,” said Chery.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same model. Anyone is welcome to pitch their start-up idea, and this time Esch saw over 60 bright ideas being aired. Teams then formed around the most popular ideas (a vote is taken) followed by 54 hours of creative discussion, coding and designing.
On Sunday evening, the nine best of these honed ideas were presented to a jury of local business people who offered further constructive criticism and selected their favourites. Most participants are based in Luxembourg, but some travelled specifically to the country for this event.
Four prize winners
An anti-tech tech device won the jury’s “Coup de Coeur” (jury’s choice) prize. SCRMBLD is a smart phone app which will enable you to politely ask and then temporarily disable your family and friends’ wi-fi and mobile networks. The aim is to avoid social gatherings from becoming atomised as people drift away to check their phones.
The “Business Model” prize went to Smart Inbox, which creates an email notification when you receive traditional “snail mail” in your letterbox. Other prizes went to Connected Rope (which alerts boat owners to a tear or break in the rope holding their vessel to the pier) and Easy Parking (a detector for vacant parking-spaces).
“The big difference at this event was that many teams came with hardware devices, including full prototypes, and this has not been so common in the past when software was most common,” Chery noted. “Teams came together with experienced people who were able to challenge and advise,” he added.