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What is a Startup Weekend?

The Startup Weekend is a non-commercial event promoting aspiring entrepreneurs with entrepreneurial experience. Teams with similar interests will be heavily supported throughout the first stages of developing individual business ideas - from the very initial inspiration to a viable business model. Eventually, the final pitches will be presented in front of and awarded by a panel of judges consisting of (inter-)nationally well-experienced actors within the startup scene.

How does a Startup Weekend work?

In general terms, everyone with a potential business idea aiming at further developing and implementing it after the weekend, will be encouraged to pitch it in front of all participants in order to find suitable team members to work with during the weekend. The following two days, each team will individually work on their business idea. As these advance throughout the process of building their business, mentors specialised in different fields (Management, Marketing, IT, Finance etc.) will provide guidance and support by sharing their profound knowledge and experience. The results will finally be pitched in front of a panel of judges that evaluates each concept. The best presentations and teams are then awarded with valuable prices.

Who should participate?

Each and everyone being on a lookout for new challenges should participate, particularly those enjoying conceptual work within a very dynamic and highly inspiring environment, and everybody who feels intrigued by developing a viable and profound business idea within a short time period.

What awaits you?

From a very rough founding idea to the creation of an enterprise within 54 hours: Take full advantage of the great potential provided by the network of well-versed business angels, mentors, speakers and judges. They are experts and sovereign actors within the startup scene within and outside of Germany, present and available during the entire weekend.

Do I have to pitch an own business idea?

No, you don't have to reveal your idea, if you prefer not to. Anyways, you may miss out on a great chance to learn how to avoid mistakes that most inexperienced entrepreneurs make and how to turn your very own startup idea into a profitable business. At worst, another team will pitch the same or a similar idea at yet another Startup Weekend, win the competition and successfully enter the market. Be entrepreneurial, be courageous, live the spirit , live progress, be open-minded and have no regrets! Join Startup Weekend Mittelhessen! We are all in this together!

What happens after the weekend?

The outcome will absolutely depend on you. Maybe you want to jump at the opportunity and translate your business idea into action with the team members you have shared the weekend with. Maybe not. Eventually, it will depend on your long-term aspirations and individual goals.

What do we offer you?

We gladly provide for a common platform here in Mittelhessen for you to gain first insights and experience within the startup environment. I.e. you will have the exclusive opportunity to develop and pitch your business idea in front of a panel of experienced and well-chosen actors of the (inter-)national startup scene and profit from profound feedback. The first three pitches will be awarded valuable prices. Beside, the best startup idea in the field of Life Sciences will be separately awarded! Other than that mentioned, you will benefit from professional input provided by versed mentors. And that is not all: Naturally, you will also be 'powered' with food and drinks throughout the entire weekend!

Why should you participate?

Discover the facets of entrepreneurship and broaden your horizon working in a startup environment. Acquire new competences, gain profound feedback from experienced mentors and judges, meet potential investors and competent team members you couldn't wait to convince to put your business idea into practise with! Still wondering why to participate?



Magdalena Pusch, Co Founder &  CMO FRAMEN 

Magdalena is the Co-Founder and CMO of the Berlin tech start-up FRAMEN, which was recently bought by the media group Axel Springer. She founded her first start-up in Silicon Valley and worked for Google for several years. In addition to FRAMEN, she is a board member of the Marketing Club Berlin and a mentor for several startups. As a founder her expertise lies in business development, brand building, marketing and finance. She was nominated for the "Digital Female Leader Award" in 2020. Magdalena is a regular speaker at conferences and universities. Fun fact: from 2016-2018 Magdalena was co-organizer of the Techsars Startup-Weekend Mittelhessen. 



Fabian Annich, Founder TalentZ & managing director STATION 
As an organizational developer Fabian started his career at the Lufthansa Group and is now the managing director of STATION. STATION is the largest regional networking platform for start-ups. In addition, he runs a club in Frankfurt. On his way he also stopped in Mittelhessen, where he won first place with his first start-up TalentZ. In our session he will talk about his learnings as well as his concerns nowadays. He will also be happy to answer your questions.

Lars Conrad, Head of Salesprojects at MASCHMEYER GROUP 
Lars is a formal professional swimmer, European champion, world champion, three-time Olympian and silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics. During his sporting career, he successfully completed a business degree at the Leibniz-University in Hannover. After the last Olympic Games, he began his career in the financial services industry as a personal assistant to the CEO of a company listed on the M-Dax. Lars is currently Head of Salesprojects at the Maschmeyer Group and responsible for sales development for the B2B SaaS portfolio companies of Alstin Capital and Seed & Speed Ventures. His passion: helping founders to achieve their vision faster.

Philipp Glock, Lawyer & venture capital expert 
Philipp Glock is a lawyer and venture capital expert at Luther, one of the leading commercial law firms in Germany. He advises founders, start-ups and investors (venture capital/private equity) and has already accompanied many start-ups from foundation to a successful exit. Philipp is a regular speaker at nationwide venture capital events. 

Alexander Grau, Start-up-ecosystem project manager StartHub Hessen 
I am exploring the international start-up scene since 2018. While I was studying, I already organized own start-up events, explored the international start-up scene with my YouTube vlog and gained a lot of start-up experience in my own marketing agency. As a mentor, I help start-ups with marketing and business model development. I have been actively supporting the start-up ecosystem in StartHub Hesse, the start-up contact point with the Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH, for a year. With a holistic view of the start-up world, I will help you with the planning of your own start-up and with giving you suitable network contacts. 

Tomas Herzberger, Digital marketing & growth hacking expert  

I am helping people with the grow of their companies since 2006 - with digital marketing and growth hacking. As a speaker I show current trends. As a coach I give workshops and seminars to make your team smarter and more competent in a short time. As an interim manager I support start-ups and innovative companies in generating more traffic, customers and conversions. I know the processes and challenges for start-ups as well as for corporations, B2B marketing as well as B2C. I wrote the bestsellers "Growth Hacking" and "Think Growth", and I am co-founder of Stratos and INGA. I am the initiator of the growth hacking meetups in Germany and Austria (e.g. Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna), mentor at Unibator of the Goethe University and a father of two.  


Julia Kümper, CEO VentureVilla Accelerator GmbH, Ventreneurs GmbH i.Gr & Match-Watch GmbH  

Julia Kümper has been the founder and managing partner of the Match-Watch GmbH since 2015. She received the New Work Award from XING and was named a role model entrepreneur by the BMWi in 2018. Julia became managing director of the VentureVilla Accelerator GmbH in 2018, and has since been even more intensively involved with the topics of female founders, venture capital and role models. She is interested in the design of work and living spaces as well as the strengthening of diversity in all its facets. Her latest foundation is the Ventreneurs GmbH, a blended value incubator that rediscovers and develops start-ups and forms of participation. 

Verena Krakau, CEO & Co-Founder Cognilize  

Verena Krakau is the co-founder of Cognilize which was founded in 2019. It is a sport technology company that uses virtual game situations to innovatively improve training methods in professional sports. Her digital trainings concept is in demand – with Cognilize she won the start-up competition “Hessen Ideen 2018” and got in to the final for the “Football Innovation Award”. The 27-year-old has already received numerous scholarships and was one of a total of nine European scholarships holders for the international sales competitions of the American Marketing Association and there the only European finalist in the “Perfect Pitch” category.  


Julia Lange,  StartHub Hessen project manager  

One year ago, the State of Hesse founded the StartHub Hessen as the first point of contact for Hessian start-ups. Hessen Trade& Invest is the promoter.   My focus in the team is on financing and funding. Most of all I provide initial orientation when start-ups do not know who to turn to and see how I can present the topic even more clearly to start-ups. (We have just put a funding portal online with relevant funding offers for start-ups. Here they can find the most important grants with the respective contact person.) I originally come from the PR and marketing sector and once founded a start-up for lawn care. That’s why I know the concerns of founders and start-ups. 

Lucas Lobmeyer, CTO & Co-Founder New Motion Labs 
Lucas (28) grew up in Central Hesse. After a master’s degree from the University of Capetown his way led him to London, where he became a part of the start-up New Motion labs. The company opened a location in Central Hesse recently. As CTO of the company and managing director for the location in Central Hesse, Lucas accompanied the start-up from the idea to the product launch. The company was part of the Plug & Play format in Stuttgart and is currently listed in the Deep Tech 500 Start-ups. Lucas will speak on the subjects of product development and prototyping and he will also be a mentor to you. He would like to share with you his experiences and enthusiasm for pitching. 

Michael Lukaszczyk, Co-Founder & CEO GraphCMS 
Michael Lukaszczyk is co-founder and CEO of the Giessen based software-as-a-service start-up GraphCMS, whose journey began at the first start-up weekend Mittelhessen in 2016. GraphCMS builds a content management system, that enables a comfortable integration of digital content on all platforms. A financing round was recently concluded. Michael will support the start-up-weekend teams in the areas of tech, marketing and business development. 

Anna Lena Rupp, Business unit manager Ads&Friends* 
As a business unit manager at Ads&Friends*Anna Lena supports start-ups and SMEs from all industries in positioning their services and products in the target group. She is the specialist for modern mixed marketing and
together with her team she always finds the right mix of branding, performance and content creation – whether online, on social media or out-of-home. The focus is always on finding a sustainable solution for every advertising project. 

Noel Zeh, Partner Alstin Capital 

Noel Zeh has been a partner at ALSTIN CAPITAL since june 2020 and has been in the start-up-environment for almost 20 years. He knows best how he supports founders on their path to success: He has already successfully founded and sold companies several times; the first in the field of e-commerce during his studies in 2002. From 2013, he also passed on his broad experience as a founder as an active investor. Among other things he accompanied the logistic start-up PackLink with fundraising and internationalization. With his LITTLEROCK vehicle he invested in seed-phase tech companies around the world. For this purpose, together with his LITTLEROCK team, he developed a special founder scoring, which analyzed 19 KPI’s to assess the founding team. 

Open Table

Thomas Peter, Funding advice, economic and infrastructure bank Hesse 
We advise start-ups and companies on the wide range of funding opportunities form the state, the federal government or the EU. This is important, so that the money gets where it should. The founders can contact the funding advise of the State of Hesse at WIBank, free of charge, individually and independently.   


Apart from the regular program the WiBank will be available to you on May 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.. You can meet them in the advice lounge for a direct exchange and advices on the right financial aids for your business model. 


Martin Lacroix  

Martin is the initiator of the event and brought the Start-up Weekend to Central Hesse in 2016. He is active in various roles in the Rhein-Main start-up ecosystem and engages as a mentor for start-ups. Martin advises Universities and start-up centres, while he also works on his own start-up. 

Prof. Dr. Nils Madeja, Management degree program digital business, THM 
Nils Madeja is professor for digital business at the THM in Gießen, where he heads the master's course of the same name. His work focuses on digital business models and digital transformation and he is also interested in the German-Japanese cooperation. Before becoming a professor, Nils was a venture-capital investor for over 8 years; altogether he has more than 20 years of work experience in the digital sector. Nils has a degree in electrical engineering (Dipl.-Ing) from the University of Kiel and a degree in business administration from the WHU. 

Photo: Anja Jahn
Photo: Anja Jahn

Bärbel Schäfer - Journalist, author and podcaster 
Bärbel Schäfer was a TV producer and presenter of successful talk formats (RTL, ARD, WDR) for a long time. In 2017 and 2018 she was nominated for the German Radio Price with her Sunday radio show at hr3. She writes successful non-fiction-books on socially relevant topics. For more than 10 years, she has been holding discussions for the print magazine Emotion exclusively with men (e.g. Nico Rosberg, Deniz Yücel, Yoram Ottolenghi and Matthias Schweighöfer). Together with her friend – the bestseller author Susanne Fröhlich - she has her own podcast Ausgesprochen: Fröhlich mit Schäfer, since the beginning of the covid19-pandemic. The podcast has already more than 1 million listeners.

Michael Schmidt, Head of Department Efficiency & Productivity, elkamet 
My name is Michael Schmidt, rooted in beautiful Central Hesse, I am the head of the efficiency and productivity department at the medium-sized company Elkamet Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Biedenkopf. In addition to the task of optimizing processes and procedures, I dedicate myself to opening up new fields of activity. With approaches from a wide variety of management and working methods, I support and promote the company culture with regard to future opportunities. Before that, I worked in a managerial position for Johnson Controls for over 20 years, most recently as a as a site manager. It is my passion to improve life and with this intention I would like to provide the participants of the event with a good starting point for their projects. 

Photo: Patrick Kuschfeld
Photo: Patrick Kuschfeld

Carolin Wagner, Co-founder & managing director STATION 
Carolin Wagner is the managing director and one out of three co-founders of STATION. STATION stands for start-ups and innovation. With the digital regional news and networking platform, she is at the ear of the start-up ecosystem in FrankfurtRheinMain and beyond the region.  She also organizes the event Start-up SAFARI FrankfurtRheinMain since 2017. Carolin Wagner is networker and community builder. She shares her expertise as a mentor or jury member of numerous programs and as a speaker at events. Carolin also enjoys being involved as a presenter at an event in order to further expand the network and to find new ways to strengthen the ecosystem


Christian Abt, Founder SAIL SOLUTION, management MakerSpace Friedberg 
Christian Abt organizes various workshops and events for students at the THM to inspire and prepare them for entrepreneurship. With the founding of MakerSpace Friedberg, the student management consultancy SAIL SOLUTIONS, the founder regular table “Ideenschmiede” and the establishment of the WI-Lernfabrik, he established the “Start-up District” at the THM. In the start-up ecosystem and his courses, he develops together with his student's innovative business ideas and business models. He is the founder and organizer of THM IDEECO and advises teams in all start-up phases.

Tristan Herbold, Managing director of Entrepreneurship Cluster Mittelhessen  

Tristan Herbold studied business administration with the focus on finance & entrepreneurial management. After his time as head of the HR department he became the managing director of Entrepreneruschip Cluster Mittelhessen (ECM) in 2018. The ECM is the university-wide start-up center of the Justus-Liebig University in Gießen. With numerous third-party funded offers, it supports more than 35.000 students and employee from all departments at JLU who are interested in founding a company. As a lecturer at JLU Tristan holds entrepreneruship seminars and has performed many jury and expert activities. As the managing director of ECM he has already accompanied more than 50 start-ups.  

Genevieve Larsen, CEO advanced food GmbH and founder of “selbstkreiert 
My name is Geneviev Larsen, freelance graphic designer, founder of two start-ups, author and blogger since 2018.  With my project “selbstkreiert I show my more than 50.00 followers my idea of a balanced and intuitive nutrition, fitness and a healthy life-style. Always in focus: the family, enjoyment and the fun of exercise. To share my experience and knowledge I advise companies on social media campaigns under the brand of Advanced Food GmbH and accompany them throughout their entire social media development 

Nils Seipel, Founder flux-impulse & manager Makerspace Giessen 
I have been active in Gießen since 2015 and together with Johannes Scmidt I founded the creative agency flux-impulse. We structure workshops, design communication and are active in several projects ourselves One example is the open workshop “MAGIE - Makerspace Gießen”, for which we take on the project management. Together with our partners TIG, THM and JLU our offers are also aimed at founders and companies – from the first material test to the prototype, almost anything is possible with us. Technologies are my passion – whether programming, AI or 3D printing. In addition, I have been working as sustainability consultant for several companies since 2017. 

Isatu Waag, Founder & former CEO ecozoins , lecturer at THM 

Isa studied business administration and agricultural economics in Gießen. After that she worked for a middle-sized company which plans and implements renewable energy projects, for several years. She founded her own company in 2016. Isa was CEO of the green Fintech ecozins until the end of 2020. These days she is concerned with the following question: “How do we want to live and work in the future?”. On her blog “Lahn&Pegnitz” you can follow how she is developing innovative usage concepts for listed properties. In addition, Isa is a lecturer for strategic corporate planning at the THM (StudiumPlus) and a mentor for Central Hessian start-ups. 


Our visionary goal is to promote the regional startup scene in Mittelhessen. By creating a common platform, the combined force and the full entrepreneurial potential of the region will come together and benefit everyone interested to gain (first) insights and perform within an entrepreneurial realm - no matter whether young or old, absolute beginners or established entrepreneurs. Everybody is invited to join us at the Startup Weekend Mittelhessen to get inspired, to exchange and create innovation!

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