Community Leader Spotlight – Stephanie Bermudez

Meet Stephanie Bermudez from Nogales:

I’m a bi-national economic developer. I help people develop innovation spaces, create better strategies for their businesses, and I specialize in digital communication. I am from the border of the U.S. and Mexico. I was raised in Nogales, the only city that is divided by two countries. When I was younger it was easier to exist on both sides, both Nogales US and Nogales Mexico. I grew up as a cowgirl on a ranch, with livestock, I was a barrel racer and my dad was a roper. I was everything a Mexican-American living in the south could be.

Why do you do what you do?

I decided to lean into my passions. This is what I love and ultimately this is something I recognize that I’m good at and allows me to live with purpose and make an impact. There’s also a social and spiritual side to helping people, specifically people that are disadvantaged in the light of our culture today. I’m here to amplify our voice and love being around ideas that break down barriers to create change. If I can make an impact on community through systems that change people’s mentality then I am fulfilled. It’s also my passion to inspire others to be their best. It not only makes me feel good but I think it’s the right thing to do.

What’s new for Nogales/Tucson?

Last December through Startup Unidos we did the first bi-national Startup Weekend. We’re continuing to expand these programs and further integrate everything we’re doing to bridge connections across borders. There’s amazing things happening in Hermosillo, Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, and this is changing the narrative around what’s possible.

Final remarks?

We need to continue to do more to empower women, youth, and introduce technology to improve people’s lives. In the space we operate in we recognize problems as opportunities, not the end of the world. This platform is perfect for fostering growth and we’re not stopping here!


Community Leader Highlight: Byeonghun Kim (known as BK)

Meet Byeonghun Kim from Purdue, USA!

I’m a sophomore in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University and also am a co-founder of Wasta, a non-profit organization that connects entrepreneurs in third-world countries to students as consultants in classroom settings. I have a big passion for social innovation, and my interest lies in redefining the energy industry, electrifying and digitalizing automotive and manufacturing systems, and alleviating global poverty. I also work on a research team to advance the smart grid technology, and I hope to start a company soon in such field!

Why do you do what you do?

I’m a first-generation immigrant, and I haven’t seen my parents in South Korea since the junior year of high school. Since they left the U.S., several families from my church, who have never met my family, have taken me in as their own and pointed me in the right direction. I know that I would not be where I am now without their constant love and support, and I’ve learned to have compassion for people without expecting anything in return. My goal is to go to bed every night thinking that I used my gifts and talents to make a positive impact in people’s lives though social innovation and cutting-edge technology.

What’s new for West Lafayette?

Purdue Startups! There’s a lot going on here with endless innovation that happens on campus, and there’s numerous opportunities for students to start something new. Many of them stay nearby and base their companies in the area.

What’s new at Purdue?

Techstars Startup Weekend and Purdue’s Co-Ed Entrepreneurship Fraternity! Our organization just started last year, and we bring many new entrepreneurial events to Purdue (including Startup Weekend) with a mission to foster the innovative spirit on and off campus. There are endless opportunities for student startups, with a huge center for entrepreneurship and other organizations to support student innovators in all sorts of ways!

Final remarks?

I’m a young, student entrepreneur, so I have a lot to learn! If you have specific ways to guide me to become a better startup founder and builder of Purdue’s startup ecosystem, please feel free to reach out to me! I’d love to talk!

Community Leader Highlight: Meet Heather Fisher (West Plains, MO)

Meet Heather Fisher from West Plains, Missouri:

I am the director of OzSBI (Ozarks Small Business Incubator), which is where the event will be held. I mentor our small businesses, run our business development programs, assist with our microloan program, and am on a mission to get new ideas launched in our community. About me–I live on a 200 acre farm, have 2 sons, 1 husband, 3 cats, 1 dog and a pet pig. I love the outdoors, was in the Peace Corp in Thailand, had my own grant writing business for 10 years, and have always worked for nonprofits.

Why do you do what you do?

I live in a rural Ozarks of southern Missouri. Ever since I moved here 20 years ago I’ve been working to help the economy grow. Rural areas need to stay viable and through the small business incubator I help start local businesses and create jobs for the community. My goal is to use economic means to improve the social conditions for individuals, families, and communities.

What’s new for West Plains?

Techstars Startup Weekend! I was tasked by the governor of the state to spur technology businesses in Missouri. How does a rural community compete? If startups can be everywhere, why not here? We work with a lot of service communities that circulate local dollars. We’re hoping that an influx of tech businesses will tip the balance of trade and bring new dollars into our community.  Techstars Startup Weekend seems to be the right program to help us get our start.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Rural communities are great places to live and work.  I’ve traveled all around the world and always come back to rural parts of the country. We may be a flyover state, but there’s bright, creative people here that just need a bit of a confidence boost to move forward with new ideas in order to start new companies.

Techstars and StartOut Host First Ever LGBTQIA Startup Weekend

How does an organization like Techstars make a program like Startup Weekend, that is already hyper-inclusive, a safe place to a marginalized group in tech? One approach is by partnering with another organization who does this even better than us.

That’s why we are excited to team up with StartOut to make history as we put on the first ever LGBTQ Startup Weekend. StartOut, a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to connect LGBTQ entrepreneurs to empower great leaders and businesses, has taken the lead on bringing this event to the Austin, TX community during Pride Month on Friday, June 23 through Sunday, June 25.

The purpose of this event is to inspire entrepreneurs in the LGBTQIA community to learn the ropes of validating an idea for a startup or lifestyle business and turn that idea into a business venture. While the event is open to the community at large, StartOut has been especially deliberate about making it a safe, welcoming environment for their own community. They’ve also received support from the Lesbians Who Tech chapter in Austin.

In just 54 hours, participants will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. They’ll learn tangible skills about how to validate an idea, build a team, conduct empathy interviews with potential customers, explore business models, and hopefully even build a functioning app or service. Along the way, they’ll meet some of the very best mentors, investors, and founders who have been there before and are ready to help steer them in the right direction.

While the format of the weekend will be familiar to those that have attended a Startup Weekend before, the team at StartOut has sprinkled in a number of social events, beginning on Thursday with a social gathering at Capital Factory followed by a night on the town. The effort has drawn global attention, and with their sponsorship program they’ve attracted attendees who will be flying in from Lima, Peru and Berlin to participate. Curious startup folks will also be descending on Austin from Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Oakland.

None of this would be possible without the support of local sponsors, including HomeAway, Chariot, Uber, Atlassian, BigCommerce, Keller Williams, Capital Factory, Erin Rose Creative, and Diversity Fund. As well as national support from Lesbians Who Tech, Techstars, and of course StartOut.

If it wasn’t clear already, this inaugural LGBTQ Startup Weekend is going to set the bar high. Tickets are still available and if you’d like to learn more about the event, you can do so here.

Curious about the weekend but unable to attend? Follow #swhackout as budding entrepreneurs, from the LGBTQ community and beyond, take their ideas to new heights.

Calling All Colorado Entrepreneurs!

Hello Coloradans,

As Regional Manager of Startup Programs for the Central U.S., I have the privilege of working with organizing teams across the state of Colorado. I’m happy to announce that we’ve got a busy fall lineup for Startup Programs right here in our beautiful backyard.

See the lineup below and get them on your calendar while there’s still time!

**Event details not yet published. Will be available on the Startup Weekend site later this month.

I’m particularly excited about the team and theme of the “Think BIG!” event taking place in Boulder during Global Startup Weekend (GSW). In addition to the already awesome 54-hour format, teams will have the opportunity to pursue ideas in futuristic fields such as robotics and space. The keynote speaker on Friday night, Thomas Frey, Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute, and Google’s top rated Futurist Speaker is guaranteed to inspire.

Of course, trekking down to Telluride to attend a Startup Weekend, where you access the venue via gondola, will certainly be a thrilling way to kickoff winter. You might even want to arrive early or stay late to take advantage of the slopes. #becauseColorado

And did you know the Techstars Boulder Accelerator is actively recruiting companies for the Q1 2017 Boulder Program? Connect with staff and alumni at Trident Cafe in Boulder on October 13 to ask your final burning questions before applications are due. RSVP here for this free event. Drinks on us!

Consider this your invitation to attend, volunteer, mentor, or contribute in whatever way makes sense for you. If you feel so inclined to get involved beyond attending, please reach out and I’ll get you plugged in.

Cheers to a colorful fall and our vibrant startup community!


At Techstars, we fully believe in the idea that no one is “too far along” for Techstars. Conversely, nothing is too early. Techstars has a program for every step of the entrepreneurial journey – from startup programs like Startup DigestStartup WeekStartup Weekend and Startup Next to later stage offerings, including the accelerator program and venture capital for add-on funding.

Join Us Next Week for Boulder Startup Week 2016

Greetings! Here is what you need to know about Boulder Startup Week 2016…

What: Boulder Startup Week is heading into its 6th year! As the original Startup Weekit sets the tone for how startup communities come together to build the next wave of great companies. There will be over 200 free events across 26 tracks open to the entire community to celebrate entrepreneurship!

When: May 16 – 20, 2016

Where: All over Boulder, CO (mostly downtown)

Who: Anyone interested in the startup ecosystem. From first-time entrepreneurs to startup veterans, there’s something for everyone.

Why: Because Boulder is consistently recognized as one of the top destinations to build and grow a startup. The density of well-educated, driven, adventurous people is a recipe for success. The view isn’t bad either…

How: A team of amazing volunteers. Startup Week is possible thanks to a large group of devoted volunteers that pour their heart and soul into making this week exciting, powerful and fun. Financial support from local sponsors helps a whole lot, too!

Here are a few of the events from each day that we are especially excited about:


Future of Entrepreneurship in Boulder

By 2020, 1 in 6 people will be entrepreneurs. This dramatic change is being influenced by paradigm shifts not only in the way that we work, but also in the way we live. But are we ready for that shift? We will discuss what this could mean for the Boulder startup ecosystem and/or the Global startup community.

The Creative Entrepreneur – Stories & Insights from Startup Front-lines

Come ready to dig into the ideas and techniques that foster constructive creativity and an interactive and collaborative experience. SheSays leadership and facilitators will guide the room in a participatory workshop. The goal is to provide tools and structure to unlock your own creativity and bring insight to your next innovation challenge. 


Accelerate Over Coffee

Head to the backporch of Trident to learn from some of the best accelerators about how their companies are so successful because of strong mentorship. You’ll come away with an understanding of how do I find mentors, what’s that relationship like, what do I do when I have a mentor, and how can I accelerate my startup before getting into an accelerator and keep the momentum going after an accelerator.

It Takes Two to Tango – The Working Relationship Between Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors

Angel investors and VCs often work together on deals, either co-investing or on different rounds in a startup’s journey. Join our panelists to discuss the ins and outs of working together to get these deals done.

Hiring Hacks and Best Practices from Twitter and Techstars

Leaders from Techstars and Twitter explore the realities of hiring and retaining the best talent. Do you hire for attitude or aptitude? Is it easier to retain an A-Player than attract one? Come find out!

Why and How We Invest In Women

Find out why three of Boulder’s most active investors are proactively investing in more women. We’ll discuss their motivation and investment criteria, the advantages and challenges of investing in women, and lessons learned. Anyone interested in investing in women or startups in general, increasing workplace gender diversity, or seeking funding from startup investors should attend.  


The Startup Showcase

Meet and connect with founders and their teams and be inspired by what’s being built in our community. Startup Showcase features companies from the current Techstars class, Techstars alumni, teams from Startup Weekend, and other community-driven companies. 

Techstars Boulder Demo Night!

In the heart of Boulder Startup Week, join the larger community in attending Techstars Demo Night on May 18th. This evening is the culmination of the Techstars Boulder 2016 program and opportunity for the 11 companies to pitch to investors and showcase their business to friends, family and the community. 


Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Startup Realm

Three of the most respected names in startups and investing discuss their personal experience with mental health and wellbeing (or lack thereof) and best practices to live a healthier, happier, more productive startup life. Q&A to follow moderated discussion!

Seth Levine: Let’s Get Real About Angel Investing in Colorado

Seth Levine of Foundry Group will give a presentation about the state of angel investing in Colorado and what we can do together to make the industry great going forward.

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap Documentary

Through compelling interviews, artistic animation and clever flashpoints in popular culture, CODE documentary examines the reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in this national crisis.


Make a Lasting Impact: Volunteer Project

Help finish the beautification project on Boulder’s Historic Bandstand! Work alongside Bridge House’s Ready To Work employees to touch up the bench painting project and clear out the painting materials from the bandstand. 

So You Want To Do A Startup Week In Your City

Startup Week is a movement that started right here in Boulder! Join founder Andrew Hyde and some special guests on how you can take this model to your great city. 

FounderFights – The Struggle Is Real, You Might As Well Hit Something!

Join us for an evening event to watch dedicated startup Founders from Boulder and around the US reach within the depths of themselves to apply the skill and determination it takes to step in the boxing ring to fight each other all for the sake of raising money for a charity close to their hearts. 

Events are filling up fast, so create your schedule today. If an event you really want to attend is full you can still show up, help usher people in, and there just might be room for you after all. And be sure to read up on the Code of Conduct before you roll up your sleeves and dive in!