Rockstart: A better incubator?

The start-up as a rock band. It is an interesting metaphor. For one you need a team to really perform well, you need practice as a team to develop, and you need a stage and publicity. You can be a talented musician in the privacy of your own home, but you need an audience to become famous.

CEO Marijn Deurloo presenting at the rockstart stage

Rockstart: entrepreneurs as the new rockstars

Rockstart is the name of a new initiative in the world of startups and uses this metaphor when putting entrepreneurs on stage. At June 15 2012 the first 10 companies that are supported by Rockstart took to their stage and presented themselves for a crowded room of investors. As you can see that stage was complete with lighting, smoke, a drum kit and every person approached the stage with its own soundtrack. Above you see Marijn Deurloo presenting the Imgzine team. Below is Pepijn de Visscher of Ideedock.

Ideedock presenting at Rockstart

Ideedock presenting at Rockstart

Rockstart is a crossover between one time ‘events’ like business plan competitions and startup weekends, and incubators that permanently offer space to startups. Rockstart works in classes. The first class just finished their intensive 100-day of coaching and are now entering a second. Less intensive phase ending in a trip to silicon valley. After that, they presumably graduate. Rockstart was founded in Amsterdam in 2011 by Don Ritzen, James Digby and Oscar Kneppers. In their first class they selected 10 companies, and Rockstart also invested in these companies: Peerby,,, Postcron, Ideedock, VideoAvatars, Owlin, imgZine and Wercker.

Their class idea seems very promising. Not only has it worked well for universities, but it also forces everyone to work towards a realistic deadline: not as tight as a business plan competition, but still tight enough to make everyone focus. Whether it really helps to grow more companies, only time can tell. But it for sure has resulted into well produced, well prepared investor pitches. Any serious investor should definitely try to be at the next event.

What do you think about the class idea? Helpful, or limiting? And which of their first class appeals most to you? Please give your answers in the comments. I look forward to hear your comments! And do not hesitate to twitter J about this blogs, it helps to change the startup climate in The Netherlands. (Sieuwert, Amsterdam, June 20)

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