A huge thanks to the amazing Startup Weekend Belgrade team with Zoja & Marina on point and to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander Foundation for Education and The Royal Council for Entrepreneurship for executing a spectacular weekend!
And thank you for making me feel like a VIP rockstar with my own bodyguard from the Crown Prince’s court, sneaking past every line at the airport – An example more Startup Weekends should follow. ;)
If you can read Serbian, here’s a write-up of the event.
Where the river Sava meets the Danube, that’s where you’ll find Belgrade, Serbia.
Where the rivers meet
The jaw-dropping location for SW Belgrade: The White Castle
The Crown Prince opening Startup Weekend Belgrade
Then this guy started to heat things up
…and made them play “Half -Baked” to break the ice. (Which works every time, every where)
Then we pitched for realz
We voted for who would get to form teams
Then those who got voted had to build a team
And then it was off to work!
Day 2 of 3 saw the coaches come in and help out
Coaching session in the palace gardens
All meals and drinks as fancy as befitting the royal grounds
And did I mention the venue was awesome already? The White Palace.
More coaching outside
And this was the room in The White Castle that was used by the Serbian government to plan and represent during the recent war on Balkan – I was very happy we could put it to better use this weekend. I could feel the gravity of it.
A Royal Startup Weekend it was
And the Crown Prince himself gave me a guided tour of his palace – the other palace on the grounds. TWO PALACES for Startup Weekend Belgrade – Beat that.
Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia leading the way in to his humble abode – The Royal Palace. Good thing he has the keys to it.
One of the first cinemas in Serbia – In the basement of the royal palace. Funny anecdote; Tito and Slobo both used this to watch their favorite movies – American cowboy movies.
The view of the front garden
The amazing basement where all the interesting parties and gatherings were thrown, where gossip was shared, where deals were being struck.
Reminds me of Stanford
Palace with a view – The view from the hill on which it is situated
Of course you have the crest woven into the carpet in a royal palace
The famous whispering fountain, designed to drown out all conversation had in this basement room so it couldn’t be eavesdropped
Coaches still doing their thing
The Crown Prince being hands-on all weekend!
And teams working working WORKING
Day 3/3 it was time for the final presentations in front of a full white castle
Look, grandma! I’m hanging with Royalty now. :)
And it was time to present the results to the jury
And the jury deliberated
Lots of great and entertaining presentations for the audience
And the winner was…
EVERYBODY who made it through the whole weekend! :)
I also had some extra days in Belgrade to coach local startups at a local incubator and coworking space.
Coaching local startups
And being interviewed on Serbian TV.
I also had the opportunity to wander the beautiful city of Belgrade, that still have scars from the Balkan wars like this – The downtown police station bombed by NATO planes.
Belgrade still torn between preserving as a monument and restoring it.