Judges and Mentors Lineup for Startup Weekend Seattle: Data Science

With just 9 days away, we’re full steam ahead for our event and rallied several experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, data science, and software development. Behold!



Daniela Braga

Co-Founder, President, Chief Scientist



Sean Green

Data Research Analyst

City of Seattle


Taylor Winters

Strategy Director, Co-Founder



Carole McCluskey

Chief Technology Officer

MOD Pizza


Ryan Orban

Executive Vice President of Strategy





Allen Chen

CEO and Co-Founder



Jeremy Foster

Developer Platform Evangelist



Caitlin Goetze

Cohort Director

9 Mile Labs


Trent Hauck


Data Engineering and Science


Joachim Hill-Grannec




Saranya Karuppusamy

City Director

Women Who Code


Thibaut Labarre

Lead Software Development Engineer



Claire Lyles

Co-Founder, Front-End Developer



Sean Ottey

Technical Evangelist



Sandra Persing

Co-Executive Director

Women Who Code


Mehar Pratap Singh

CEO and Co-Founder



Vetri Vellore

CEO and Co-Founder



Thank you to everyone who volunteered to support this event!

Tickets are selling out soon! Go here to RSVP: swseads2016.eventbrite.com

Interested in sponsoring? Contact Lee Ngo at lee.ngo@galvanize.com.

One Month Away to SW Seattle: Data Science! Claim Your Sponsored Discounted Tickets by 4/30!

Hello, there! Startup Weekend Seattle: Data Science is moving right along!
With half of our tickets sold and a month left until May 20th, we’re projecting to sell out!


Promotional codes still available!

In return for the support from the following entities, we’re offering promo codes at 50% off for up to 10 people:


Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA)

The WTIA has graciously written a post about our efforts! Read more here:

Claim the WTIA discount with “WTIA” or go here:

New Tech Northwest

Long-time friends of the Puget Sound community, New Tech is supporting our promotional efforts as well.

Claim the New Tech Northwest discount with “NEWTECHNW” or go here:


Our local news source for all things startup and technology, GeekWire has graciously promoted us on their active website.

Claim the GeekWire discount with “GeekWire” or go here:

This and many other promotions currently available will expire in less than one week by April 30! Claim your tickets soon and join the fun!


New Bronze Sponsor: Algorithmia!

We’re grateful to add another sponsor to the mix! For the uninitiated, Algorithmia is an open marketplace for algorithms, to help data scientists and developers monetize their brilliant creations.

Thank you, Algorithmia! For more questions about our event, email us at seattledata@startupweekend.org.

Don’t forget to register! Follow this link or sign up below: swseads2016.eventbrite.com


Lee Ngo
Lead Organizer
Startup Weekend Seattle: Data Science

Time to Upgrade: Our Data Science Experiment on Startup Weekend Seattle

After attending 15 Startup Weekends over the course of four years (wow, that’s both impressive and embarrassing), I’ve noticed a pattern in the ideas worked on during the 54-hour worldwide phenomenon of a startup competition:

Everyone thinks they know how to work in big data, but few people know how to actually do it.


Paramount Pictures. Source. How we usually do Startup Weekend.


Many startups begin their companies based on what they know (stop me if you haven’t heard one of these at a Startup Weekend before):

  • User-driven advertising campaigns (i.e. the Facebook model)
  • Freemium-premium subscription models (i.e. the Pandora model)
  • Commission-based transactions on demand (i.e. the Uber model)
  • Software-as-a-service directly to enterprises (i.e. the B2B model)
Sony Pictures Television. Source. This is how I react on the inside.


What Startup Weekend newbies fail to realize is that there is a fruitful underlying approach to modeling their technology, even among startups: tapping into the enormous collection of data collected by all of these apps. This data can be re-structured in ways to create meaningful, valuable insights for some particularly interested entities.

However, what is the difference between meaningful and non-meaningful data, and how can that be commercialized within the confines of a weekend competition? Enter the data scientist.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Source. Science.


Data science is the hottest field in software technology right now. Even the companies listed above are applying themselves more in the data science sectors, improving upon their predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms. Whenever technology hits the news, it’s due to some experimentation in artificial intelligence or improved automation: all of which extend from the field of data science.

Universal Pictures. Source. Brought to you in part by data science.


Thus, I have been inspired for a while to do a data science-themed event, one that creates an entire category specifically for data scientists to participate and work with the standard developers, designers, and non-technical entrepreneurs.

I want the broader startup community to discover the direction the high tech industry is taking while exposing data scientists to the fun and excitement of entrepreneurship.

NBC Studios. Source. Teamwork is everything.


Perhaps it’s time for Startup Weekenders to focus less on what’s already been done and more on what everyone wants them to do: innovating in the space of big data.

On May 20th at Galvanize Seattle in Pioneer Square, we will launch the first-ever data science-themed Startup Weekend. Tickets are available at swseads2016.eventbrite.com.

In just a few weeks, we already have the support of the following groups:


Galvanize is an education company providing support for developers, data scientists, and entrepreneurs at several campuses throughout the U.S.


LIFFFT is a product development acceleration service that help customer-focused organizations learn more, build faster, and experiment at lower risk.


ProCogia is a technology firm that takes out the ambiguity from decision making by providing timely actionable insights from analysis of your data.



New Tech Northwest is one of the largest community-driven technological resources in the Pacific Northwest area, hosting monthly meetups and engaging content.

Washington Technology Industry Association is the state’s ‘fixed point’ for the technology community, mobilizing industry, education and government to make the region the leading technology community in the world.

We are still looking for support to keep costs low and encourage others from underrepresented communities to participate. Email me at lee.ngo@galvanize.com if you’d like to help.


Join us in this grand experiment of taking Startup Weekend into the future with data science.

Lee Ngo
Startup Weekend Seattle: Data Science

Startup Weekend GIRLS Set To Inspire Seattle’s Entrepreneurs-In-The-Making

Seattle, WA – March 3, 2015 – On May 15, 16, and 17, entrepreneurs and creative minds will be taking over Lake Washington Girls Middle School – Seattle’s first middle school for girls.  – for a Startup Weekend like no other: one specifically designed for fifth through tenth grade GIRLS. Organizers and volunteers of Startup Weekend GIRLS have been working to ensure that this event provides not only inspiration, but also the resources required for building and launching a viable, scalable company. There has never been a Startup Weekend designed specifically for girls; it feels only natural that it happens first here in Seattle, and at a school for girls that was a startup in its own right.

Startup Weekends are about learning through the act of creating. Participants don’t just listen to theory; they present their own ideas, build their own products, and put them to test while collaborating with like-minded, passionate individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. On top of that, Startup Weekenders receive invaluable one-on-one time with the movers and shakers within the community, as local tech and startup leaders take part in Startup Weekends as mentors/coaches and judges. Some of the people we have lined up for this year include Rebecca Lovell (Startup Liaison, City of Seattle), Monica Guzman (GeekWire), Casi Schwisow (Girls Who Code), T.A. McCann (RivalIQ), Stacey Kinked (Rivet & Cuff), Bryan Lhuillier (Shiftboard), and Zach Smith (Substantial).

Startup Weekend GIRLS Edition is specially designed for the next generation’s entrepreneurs-in-the-making, fifth through tenth  grade girls. Our team of highly innovative and connected mentors and judges will create an atmosphere of exercises and experiences that will teach girls how to come up with business ideas, conduct market research, prototype, work in teams, and “pitch” their ideas to a room full of people. Our goal is to give girls the confidence to innovate and create they will need to succeed in all aspects of life.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model – which will massaged a little bit to fit the needs of our aspiring entrepreneurs: participants pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote), and then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

If you’d like to get involved with Startup Weekend GIRLS, let us know here, or at lwgms.org/su-weekend-girls. If you are a girl in fifth through tenth grade and would like to attend, get your tickets soon…we only have 35-40 spots!

We hope to see you there!

For Additional Information Please Contact:
Contact: Shannon Blaisdell
Phone: (206) 709-3800
Email: swgirls@startupweekend.org
Twitter: @StartupWGirls
Website: Startup Weekend Girls
Tickets: Eventbrite

About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.


Lighthouse: SWEDUsea 1st prize and public favorite wins Global Startup Battle 2014 Education Track

 Team Lighthouse and judges at SWEDUsea 2014

Team Lighthouse and judges at SWEDUsea 2014

Team Lighthouse won 1st prize and public favorite at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU on November 23rd. The startup went on to be selected as the winner of the Global Startup Battle Education, Empowered Track sponsored by General Assembly.


Watch the video pitch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoezOLaJrc0

Lighthouse is a smart solution for special needs students and teachers. It provides confidence students are where they are supposed to be and alerts you when they’re not.

A small device is attached to the student, uniquely identifying them to the teacher. The teacher uses the Lighthouse app to keep track of their students while they are on school grounds, during school hours. If a student wanders off or is with the wrong person, an alert is sent to their teacher. When a teacher requires assistance to bring a student back to class, they can notify all faculty with information about the student.

Sam Woodard: math teacher turned startup founder at SWEDUsea 2013

Winner of Startup Weekend Education 2013

It was pretty late on a Friday evening of November 2013. Sam Woodard, a math teacher at the Cleveland High School in Seattle, was watching the Startup Weekend Education pitches from his seat in the University of Washington Paccar Hall Auditorium.  He did not know anyone at all and was initially planning on joining a team and seeing what the event was like for his first Startup Weekend. But as he heard more and more 60 minute pitches he felt that he could present his own idea. A nudge from another teacher seated next to him was enough to get Sam to stand up and wait in line for his time to share his idea: MyWorksheets, an iPad app to capture worksheets and make it possible for students to fill them in digitally.

Sam recruited a multi disciplinary team of developers, designers and business people and they built the app that ended up winning the first prize of Startup Weekend Seattle EDU 2013. Using the prizes that they won, the team ended up pushing the project further with a video for the Global Startup Battle and the winning pitch for the Northwest battle pitch competition in December.

mathchatIn another serendipitous event, Software Engineer Kostub Deshmukh, Sam’s current co-founder and CTO, discovered the MyWorksheets video on the Global Startup Battle website and decided to join forces with him. Based on the feedback they got during customer validation sessions, they decided to pivot and work on MathChat instead. MathChat is an iOS app that makes it easy for students to help each other to solve math problems over chat. Sam and his co-founder are now going through the Imagine K12 incubator in San Francisco and getting more and more users for their app!

Why should you go to Startup Weekend EDU? In Sam’s own words “You don’t know what’s going to happen but this may be the event that sparks an idea that ends up being your startup!”

It’s your turn. Sign up for Startup Weekend Education Seattle.

Not in Seattle? Find a Startup Weekend Education near you!

Winners of Seattle Legal Startup Weekend

This past weekend Seattle hosted its first ever Startup Weekend devoted entirely to innovations in legal technology. Lawyers and law students teamed up with developers, designers, business gurus, and other creative geniuses to bring change to the historically hard-to-shake legal industry. You can review the events of the weekend on Twitter with a search for #swlegal and by checking out the official event handle, @seattlelegalsw.

Below is a brief description of each winning team with links to their Twitter accounts and websites.

Winners List

Third Place

Third Place was a tie between CaseBooker and Commontary.

CaseBooker is a desktop and mobile app that matches law students with other law students at their school who want to buy used casebooks.
Twitter: @CaseBooker
Web: www.casebooker.lawyer

Commontary seeks to bridge the gap between the Internet and access to justice, acting as an online marketplace for efficient legal input where individuals and startups can get lawyer input on important legal documents.
Twitter: @CommontaryLegal
Web: signup.commontary.co

Second Place

Second Place went to Can I Drink Here (aka Stanley). Can I Drink Here is a web-based app that provides travelers a resource for the local drinking laws.
Twitter: @legaldrink
Web: legaldrink.co

First Place

The First Place winner was Restaurant Crisis, a web-based crisis management application for food service that actively leads an onsite manager through real-time accident management.
Twitter: @crisiscapture
Web: www.crisiscapture.co

photograph of Restaurant Crisis team
The Restaurant Crisis Team

Congratulations to our winners!

Unsure About How You Fit In This Whole Seattle Legal Startup Weekend Thing?

Whether you are on the fence about participating in a Startup Weekend, unsure about what you are going to do while you are there, or are just interested in new tools, here are some resources and ideas to check out that might help make your new startup a success! From getting an idea to pitch, to how to pitch in 60 seconds, to tools that you can use during the weekend, to how to create awesome presentations for the judges – It’s all here!

Now get that startup off the ground!

Here are a few recent articles spotlighting either different areas of law that may be ripe for innovation or how technology might work within the legal field. Skim through them if you are having trouble thinking of an idea to pitch.  It may trigger something!

A few of our very own organizers penned this piece about their vision for an event like this one for the Washington State Bar Association.

The American Bar Association Journal’s most recent issue included a piece highlighting the need for legal services to reach rural America.

The most recent print edition of the Economist featured an article on concerns in our criminal justice system – including the pressure to plead guilty and the increase in prosecutorial power.

For some inspiration: Here are two articles that may be worth reading. This one details how a smart phone app is changing the face of Uganda’s legal system.  This one identifies a current push for R&D in law firms.

Did you know that low-income people face more than 85% of their civil legal problems without the help of an attorney? The Task Force on Civil Equal Justice Funding’s complete findings are available … and they are astonishing. Washington State’s Access to Justice Technology Principles  consider how technology should be used within the justice system.


Please feel free to leave any other articles that people might find interesting in the comment section below.

The 60 Second Pitch. On Friday evening, anybody who wants to pitch an idea for the weekend can get up and plead your case. The kicker is that you only have 60 seconds and you don’t have any presentation materials to help you out. Below is one possible way to develop an idea and figure out how to pitch it.

Pitching – Part 1

It can be nerve racking but ultimately prepares your for future pitches and gives you some control over the weekend (if you attract enough votes).

At some events half the room will pitch. The most business viable proposals are often forgotten. Designers and developers are keen to work on interesting and creative projects. Pitch something that will gain the interest of a team, rather than funding. Concepts that will utilize popular technology are always popular.

i) First, brainstorm your ideas down on a piece a paper by considering the following:

– Problems – What things do I see everyday that I want to fix?

– Pain Points – What really annoys me? What is totally inefficient?

– Random – Whatever else is on your mind?


– Customer – Who is your target market?

– USP – What is your unique selling point/proposition (USP)?

An example of a simple template – Four boxes for each idea (Problem, Segment, Pros, Cons).


ii) Second, pick you favorites and attempt to apply a solution. Think about how the prototype will look and what elements it will incorporate:

– Web based application,

– Mobile based application,

– Social networking site,

– Location based,

– Game based.

You will dive deeper into the product once you form a team.


iii) Thirdly, combine these thoughts and pick the best one or two.

Discuss these ideas with your friends, family and/or colleagues.


Pitching – Part 2


Now you have your idea(s), it’s time to build the pitch. Commonly you only have a minute to sell yourself and idea. Split your 60 seconds into these sections:


– Who are you? (5-10s)

– What’s the problem? (10-15s)

– What’s the proposed solution? (10-15s)

– Who are you looking for? (5-10s)


Remember to smile and be enthusiastic. Keep cool and don’t forget your in a friendly and open forum. You are not the only one a little nervous. Standing out will help people remember you.

At the end of all the pitches you should be given an opportunity to summarize the pitch on a piece of paper. Make sure it stands out and simply explains the main elements of your idea. Finally the audience will vote.

You may need to hustle people to get their votes or combine with others to gain enough votes.

Don’t get upset if you don’t get enough votes. Join a team where you can show off your skills and learn new things. After all, the weekend is all about learning and networking. The idea is not as important as the process.


If you are feeling like you aren’t sure about what you could be doing all weekend … that’s pretty normal. For all of you non-techies out there (and techies too of course), here are some tools that you can get familiar with before the weekend to add some more value to your team.


Business Tools:


Business Canvases are great tools for feeling out all of the different aspects of your business.


Market Research:

  • Create Surveys/Polling:
    • www.AYTM.com (Ask Your Target Market) is a tool that you can create surveys on. You can either pay them for their people to take surveys or use your own lists for free.
    • www.doodle.com is a great resource for creating polls.
    • www.surveymonkey.com is a free (to a certain point) survey and online questionnaire tool.
    • www.Wufoo.com Create forms, reports and surveys. The first few are free and then there are other plans available.
    • EMAIL:


Non-technical tools that can help non-developers:

  • Wireframing: Sometimes you might not have a completely up and running website – but you want to be able to walk through what it might look like. Wireframing is a great way to help people see your vision.



Also Check Out  www.thetoolbox.cc  for a collection of apps, tools and widgets that may help.


Maybe you are interested in learning to code a little bit.  Here are a few places to start:


Some tips for your final presentation:

Check out some of these great tips on how to nail your 5 minute pitch to the judges.



If you are looking for some Presentation tools try these!


Still on the fence? Just jump right in. You’ll be happy you did.

Good Luck!

3 Lessons for Startup Weekenders

Valentina Ferrari

“This past weekend I participated in my fourth Startup Weekend. For those who don’t know, Startup Weekends are 54-hour events that bring together business people, engineers, and designers who have never met each other before to create a startup with a minimum viable product. My team and I designed a platform that provides personalized makeup advice and products. Here are a few of the lessons I learned.”

Read Valentina Ferrari’s 3 takeaways and a cool hack on how to peel Post-it notes properly on the Blink UX blog.

Could Seattle’s 'Africatown' be the next Motown?

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

As a millennial that grew up in Detroit, its hard for me to imagine a time before Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, or Michael Jackson.

Berry Gordy’s frustration with pop culture pushed him to create one of the most successful African­-American owned and operated businesses in the U.S. He envisioned a world where the music he wrote didn’t just live on the local radio stations but would ride to the top of the pop charts. With an $800 loan from his family, Gordy founded Motown Records.

Photo: Domonique Meeks

As I look at the recent tech diversity workforce reports, I see data that reflects the current dominant tech culture. To be Black and be a part of the tech ecosystem means that you might have gone to a college or university where you were amongst the 3% who were Computer Science majors according to the Computer Research Association. Recent research also shows that weak ties in your social network might be more diverse than that of your White counterparts, and pattern matching by VC’s could prohibit you from getting funding for your new startup company.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

On January 12, 1959 in Detroit, after writing songs for other record labels, Berry Gordy must have at some point asked himself, “How might we create a place where African Americans can create pop hits and own their publishing?” Today, I ask the question, “How might we create fertile ground for the African American community in Seattle to grow with the city’s current tech boom?”

Motown was a place-based solution that provided training for songwriters, focus group events for performers to hone their sound, and physical space in the form of Hitsville, USA on West Grand Boulevard. Thanks to support from community leaders, engaged citizens, Startup Seattle, Crosscut.com, and companies like Google, the Central District, an historically African American neighborhood, has “Hack the CD”. It is a collective of self determined social innovators reliant on the community for sustainable and equitable growth in the Central Area of Seattle, also known as Africatown.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

On August 25th – 29th, Hack the CD partnered with Coding Dojo to put on a Youth Coding Bootcamp at the C.A.Y.A (Central Area Youth Association). Over 30 African American students (10 – 15 years old) learned how to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while making their own games like Pacman and Streetfighter.

Photo: David Harris

The students also had a pitch workshop from public speaking professional, Toyia Taylor of we.app. Ten of the students received a Coding Dojo Junior Green Belt which shows their exceptional level of mastery.

Games are usually a big hit with kids. In May, two Middle Schoolers took first place at the University of Washington Startup Weekend with their game that teaches kids to code. It is important that this generation learn to be creators and not just consumers of technology. Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Insights show that 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics believe Blacks influence mainstream culture.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

As the Central District community of thinkers, hackers, and makers grows, they’ll need events to apply their knowledge and skills. Hack the CD is organizing the Central District Startup Weekend hackathon event on September 26 – 28. During this weekend, Garfield High School will open its doors to a 54 hour entrepreneurial jam session with software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and creatives young and old. No high school or college degree will be necessary to pitch an idea, form a team, and build a venture. There will be coaches covering a wide range of fields from community organizing to growth hacking. They’ll have an after party following the demo of the new products, in honor of the local pioneers that came before, like Manuel Lopes, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix.

“Imagine a place where people of one community share resources. Imagine life without competition and instead replaced with collaboration. Imagine a collective society. Imagine our very own Central District possessing these qualities; building each other up instead of dragging one another down. Wouldn’t that be some place? Who wouldn’t yearn to live in that world?”
– Addisalem Gebremedhin and Solomon Welderfael via Central District News

Photo: Zithri Saleem

What if there are more coding bootcamps and hackathons in our neighborhood? What if the young coders built apps for local businesses? It gives me goosebumps when I close my eyes and imagine what an “Africatown Innovation District” could look like in just the next five years if the teams that start businesses at the Central District Startup Weekend continue to collaborate.

An Innovation District is what the Brookings Institute defines as a synergistic relationship between people of a community, anchor businesses and the built environment that facilitates idea generation, but also spurs productive, inclusive and sustainable economic development.

Publicity photo of Motown records founder Berry Gordy posing outside "Hitsville USA" in Detroit
Motown records founder Berry Gordy poses outside “Hitsville USA” circa 1960 (Reuters)

Just like Motown had Hitsville, Africatown will need physical space that not only incubates social innovation but communicates collaboration. In her book, “Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance,” Sharon Sutton, the first African American woman in the United States to be promoted to full professor of architecture, says that the physical environment can be understood as a system of three-dimensional, hieroglyphic symbols – a text that conveys information about the social, political, economic, and cultural relations of a society. What will our environment read?


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