Special Thanks to the Farash Foundation and Excell Partners


The organizers of Rochester Startup Weekend have to thank our excellent supporters and partners at the Farash Foundation and Excell Partners. There’s no way our ticket sales could support the scale of the event we put on. The people behind theseorganizations are truly our “angel investors,” and we greatly appreciate their investment in our Rochester startup community. 


Meet Your #RSW2015 Judges: Don Golini, Theresa Mazzullo and Alex Zapesochny

Don Golini

Don Golini is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the development, management and commercialization of new technologies. As President and Founder of QED Technologies, Don took a novel finishing process from a university laboratory to worldwide commercial success. Today, QED develops, manufactures and markets precision finishing and metrology equipment for the optics industry. QED grew from 5 to more than 50 employees with personnel in 5 countries. QED was acquired in June 2006, by Illinois—based Cabot Microelectronics Corporation (NASDAQ: CCMP), and Golini stayed on as President until 2010.

Today, Don serves as Chairman of the Rochester Angel Network (RAN), is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at High Tech of Rochester, serves on various boards and advises several companies in the Rochester area.

Theresa Mazzullo

Theresa Mazzullo has been the CEO of Excell Partners since 2006. She has a 30-year track record in business, finance and entrepreneurship. In her role as CEO of Excell Partners, her duties include portfolio management, governance, compliance, reporting, community integration, finance and fundraising.

Theresa spent six years as President & Principal of EPIC Advisors, Inc a 401(k) retirement plan company with $1.5 billion in retirement plan assets. In her capacity as President, she built an infrastructure that supported annual revenue growth of 20%.  She also directed business-planning process regarding business strategy and tactics in the areas of finance, sales, marketing, administration, operations and information technology to ensure increased profitability and the achievement of the company vision. Ultimately, she led the team to a successful exit in 2005.

Alex Zapesochny

Alex Zapesochny is an attorney and President and CEO of iCardiac Technology. Prior to co-founding iCardiac, he served as General Counsel and Director of Business Development for Lenel Systems, a developer and global supplier of enterprise software, hardware and services for the electronic security industry. The company expanded to serve over 10,000 organizations throughout 75 countries, including over sixty percent of all Fortune 100 companies. The company’s financial growth earned it 39th place on Inc. magazine’s ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing privately-held companies, and Lenel was ultimately acquired for $440 million by United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX).

In private practice, Alex has provided legal and business counsel to early-stage companies.

Meet #RSW2015 Keynote Speaker Cort Johnson from Atlas Venture

Cort Johnson from Atlas Venture

The organizing team at Rochester Startup Weekend is pleased to announce that Cort Johnson, a Venture Partner at Atlas Venture in Cambridge, Mass., will be this year’s keynote speaker. Cort will be addressing all the attendees of #RSW2015 on the afternoon of Saturday, March 21, 2015 at Brand Networks.

This is great timing; the tech team at Atlas made national news this week by opening up a contest to crowdsource its new brand. The winning entrant will receive a $50,000 stake in the firm’s new $200M fund!


Prior to joining Atlas in 2014, Cort co-founded Terrible Labs, a leading product design and development shop based in Boston. At Terrible Labs, he led business development, marketing and operations, collaborating with both Fortune 500 companies and startups to build web and mobile products.

While at Terrible Labs, Cort also co-founded and spun out TicketZen, a mobile app that allows citizens to scan and pay parking tickets with their mobile phones. TicketZen can be used to pay parking tickets in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

Before Terrible Labs, Cort was Chief Evangelist at SCVNGR, a location based services startup in Boston, where he helped grow the mobile-based platform to millions of users and thousands of customers.

Cort broke into the startup scene after founding DartBoston, an organization focused on bringing together Boston’s twenty-somethings and college students interested in building companies. DartBoston hosted hundreds of events, connecting thousands of Bostonians looking to get more involved in the startup community.


In addition to being a premier speaker with exactly the kind of experience we look for in selecting keynote speakers for Rochester Startup Weekend, Cort brings a little something extra to the party this year — he’s a die-hard fan of Rochester as a native of the city.

We are excited to hear how Cort sees the evolution of Boston’s startup economy and to pick his brain about how we can drive our own startup economy forward.

Please join us in welcoming him back to Rochester by tweeting @cortlandt  …and don’t forget to use the weekend’s hashtag: #RSW2015

Addition to the First Place Prize Package at SWEDU Rochester

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 5.43.33 PMFirst place prize winners will have an interview in Tech & Learning Magazine with Kevin Hogan, Content Director & Editor.
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Kevin Hogan ihogans the Content Director for the Technology & Learning Media Group, which includes the magazine, websites, and events associated with the Technology & Learning brand. Previously he worked for Scholastic Administrator, where he was Executive Editor since September 2004. Prior to Scholastic, Hogan was Senior Editor of MIT Technology Review and Editor of the magazine’s website. He was also formerly a Features editor for Business2.0 magazine. Hogan has been reporting and writing about the intersection of business and technology since 1993.

1st Place Prizes Announced for SWEDU Rochester

Are you thinking of joining SWEDU Rochester? It’s not too late, and check out the 1st place prizes!

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 9.01.01 AM1.  Five (5) tickets for the winning team for the ISTE Annual Conference in Philadelphia, June 28 – July 1, 2015 (valued at $2,250). Registration includes:

  • Four full days brimming with rich, inspirational and highly relevant professional learning opportunities.
  • Three powerful keynote addresses from leaders and experts in the field of ed tech.
  • The opportunity to choose from hundreds of sessions in a variety of formats, including lecture, BYOD and hands-on learning environments.
  • Access to a massive expo hall featuring the latest ed tech products and services from more than 500 companies and 1,400 industry reps.
  • Unlimited networking opportunities with the nearly 18,000 educators, education leaders and corporate representatives from around the world.
  • One-year standard membership to ISTE (when paying the non-member rate).

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 5.30.21 PM2.  A $250 credit at AskEducators.com. AskEducators offers on-demand market research services for those seeking timely and objective insight from K-12 educators. As a startup you need timely access to non-biased (objective) feedback from your market. The faster you can gather such feedback the faster you can iterate and the more likely you are to deliver a winning product or service. Unlike long form surveys, AskEducators treats every question as an independent survey. AskEducators guarantees a select number of unique responses for every question, but does not guarantee multiple questions, if submitted at the same time, will be completed by the same set of unique respondents. AskEducators guarantees all responses will be received by the researcher within 24 hours.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 5.32.02 PM3.  A personal consultation with Michael Riedlinger, the Director of the Rochester BioVentural Center and High Tech Rochester (HTR) Technology Commercialization Manager. Prior to his roles at HTR, he served as president and founder of Technology Sales and Licensing Services. Michael is also a co-founder of Diffinity Genomics, Inc., a developer of platform technologies related to purification and detection of nucleic acid and NaturalNano, a nanomaterials company. Michael serves as a board member of Diffinity Genomics and the Cornell Center for Material Research Industrial Advisory Board.

As Director of the Rochester BioVenture Center, Michael manages a 40,000-square-foot, multi-tenant, BSL-2 wet-lab business incubator and provides tenants with services to facilitate growth of their businesses. In the role of Technology Commercialization Manager, he provides business development, grant sourcing support, new product development and partnership facilitation assistance to technology companies in the Upstate New York region. Additionally, he runs several programs for entrepreneurs and inventors in the Rochester region, including the PreSeed Workshop, TEC Forum and BioVenture Center roundtables.

Michael has a B.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester. He has also completed training for the National Science Foundation I-Corps program at Stanford University (valued at priceless!).

Startup Weekend Recife Organizer Shares "Words of Wisdom"

GersonStartup Weekend Edu Recife (Brazil) organizer, Gerson Ribeiro shared some “words of wisdom” for SWEDU participants:

1 – Right now Education is going thru a Global Revolution, and all the participants and organizers of SWEDU are active members in this international movement.

2 –  All actions that happen inside the event will echo for the years to come. Like a rock in a lake. These small ideas will have impact in thousands of peoples lives. This is a great responsibility and a honor. Be proud 🙂

3 – Think about the problem and come with solutions to that. But always start with the problem.

4 – Always remember there must be a solid business model behind your business. Your solution could be beautiful, but if there is no cash flow it will die soon.

5 – Have fun!!!

Gerson believes that the most important legacy we can give to our community is to empower it by teaching people how to be real entrepreneurs. Organizing an event is training people how to move out of the status quo, learning by doing, and making them realize that they can make great things happen in only 54 hours. He says that it’s truly one of the most rewarding experience that he has ever had. He also believes that we will never be able to measure the everlasting and deep positive impact in our community that an event like this has.

A New Judge Joins Startup Weekend Edu in Rochester

Jason Moyse head shotJason Moyes joins the jury for Startup Weekend Edu in Rochester, NY! Jason has served on global teams implementing major customer experience initiatives and served as a connector/doer/spark and key trusted advisor to the C-Suite, Senior Leadership and Governance Teams for legal and business matters.

A lawyer by training, Jason has also served as a corporate manager, strategist, project leader, operations program developer and relationship owner with key vendor/partners.

With a depth of experience leading and facilitating cross functional teams, Jason has served as a core or extended team member on numerous change management projects impacting legal, finance, I.T. and customer experience, often via a Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Jason is part of the “NewLaw”  movement which is mid-revolution on reinventing legal services beyond the traditional partnership model, abolishing the billable hour and leveraging the good sense business practices which have eluded the industry for far too long.  The fusion of technology, design, process improvement and automation are a source of endless fascination, especially in their application to legal and advisory services.  Of late, he is enjoying teaching, writing and advising on topics of interest including legal technology, project management and start-up culture.

He presently serves as Director of Innovation and Execution for CognitionLLP – an alternative provider of legal services.

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Mandela Schumacher-Hodge

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.04.24 PM

Andrew Wheelock from Coffee with a Geek interviewed Director of Startup Education for Up Global, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge. Mandela is a previous Startup Weekend Winner and will be the Facilitator for Startup Weekend Education in Rochester, November 21- 23. She will also be the Keynote Speaker for the Opening Banquet and Awards Dinner for the NYSCATE Annual Conference on Sunday, November 23.

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An Entrepreneur and a Superintendent of Schools at SWEDU Rochester

An entrepreneur at a startup weekend? Sure. But why a Superintendent of Schools? Startup Weekend Edu is little different than Startup Weekend. The premise is the same: a 54-hour event that brings together entrepreneurs, designers, and developers to embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. But in this case, educators participate to vet the ideas that are pitched on opening night. Then they join teams and help plan, research, and design apps for the education marketplace.

TNL_colorFirst we want to welcome Dr. Teresa Lawrence to the SWEDU Rochester jury! She has worked in the educational arena for over 23 years to include roles as teacher, administrator and R&D in public education, university and private industry. Teresa is recognized as a lead developer of the Williamsville Information Tracking System (WITS), a multi-faceted information management system. Dr. Lawrence currently serves as Superintendent of Schools for the Grand Island Central School District, located in Western New York.

greggNext we want to welcome Gregg Steinberg as a mentor who will be available to consult with teams during the weekend. Gregg is founder and CEO of Charlemagne Global Advisory, a strategy and operations advisory firm for both for profit and not for profit entities. Charlemagne’s current and recent advisory clients include:
Snips.com (Chicago based disruptive digital media content monetization platform), USARAD and Secondopinions.com  (Florida based leading tele-radiology / tele-medicine companies), Give2gether (Israel based crowd funding platform for not for profit development and donor campaigns), Aduro Energy (Toronto based heavy oil production enhancement and clean tech), Omnitas (Israel based group developing a technology park and airport in Arad), iLyngo (developer of Cyfr a disruptive Instant Messaging app that integrates revenue generating mobile commerce / e-commerce and user rewards directly into a mobile platform), DealersLab (Israel based developer of e-commerce community exchange coupling the crowd, social media, financial exchange models and e-commerce), Humble Pie Group is a CPG company manufacturing proprietary branded gourmet fresh and frozen food products, Quantum Group (Florida based cloud SaaS electronic medical records) where he was also a past Member of the Board of Directors and served on Nominations and Audit committees, Pardes (Jerusalem based education Amutah), PresenTense (Jerusalem and New York based not for profit educating and launching social entrepreneurs), and, UPONUS (Chicago based encryption and compression technology developer), GuRu Venture Cluster was intended to be an Israel based early stage sustainable technologies incubator and seed stage venture located in the Advanced Technologies Park adjacent to Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva Previously Gregg was the President and/or Managing Officer of numerous associated companies, which combined, formed the largest consulting firm in the world delivering a broad spectrum of management consulting and other professional services solely to the small and medium sized business marketplace and their entrepreneurs. Combined the companies reached approximately 1,800+ employees throughout North America and $250 million in annual revenue.  The company was listed twice (both times in the 10) by INC. magazine in the INC. 500.  Cumulative revenues under Gregg’s presidency exceeded $2 billion. In Gregg’s earlier career he held various positions including, Vice President of a hotel management company, President of a financial advisory firm, Assistant Director Mergers & Acquisitions for a national investment banking firm, and Director of Corporate Finance for a public accounting firm. Gregg is member of the Board of Governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot Israel and of the American Committees national Board. He is also a member of the Board of Touchstones Discussion Project and of the Institute of Global Leadership at Tufts University. Greg serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, NY and as the Managing Director of the school’s student run venture capital fund. Gregg is a past member of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council, its Homeland Security Task Force, its International Policy Council, its Business Civic Leadership Council and the BCLC’s Working Group on Disaster Recovery. Graduate of the University of Arizona, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  Graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management (formerly the American Graduate School of International Management), Masters International Management / Masters Business Administration.

Entrepreneurs, Designers & Developers, Get Ready for Feedback from EdTech Specialists!

Dr. Darlynda Miktuk has joined the the ranks of coaches that will Miktuk photo be available at SWEDU Rochester. Dr. Miktuk was a science teacher for 5 years, and a coordinator of technology in the classroom for 8 years. Currently she is the Technology Integration Coordinator at Erie 1 BOCES, where she trains K-12 educators on how to integrate various technologies such as interactive whiteboards and mobile devices into their classrooms. During the summer of 2012, she earned a PhD in Educational Leadership. Dr. Miktuk is a lover of mobile technology such as an iPad, check out her website iPad Resources for All. She champions the use of social media as a PLN and is ready to talk innovative education ideas! You can follow Darlynda on Twitter @DarlyndaMiktuk.