← Techstars Blog

Did you know that Startup Weekend New Brunswick is put together by volunteers? That’s right, the event is fully planned, organized and executed by volunteers! Would you like to find out more about the organizing team? Then read further and meet the people who make this event possible for you!

Startup Weekend New Brunswick is 100% led by volunteers with different backgrounds and experiences. Some of us are students, while others are moving through our careers. Why do we spend our time organizing Startup Weekend? To make Startup Weekend New Brunswick event the best ever, and to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in New Brunswick, which we truly believe will serve to make our province competitive in the global economy. We also do this because it is a hella fun to work with each other, the enthusiastic participants and the awesome mentors.

Now let’s get a closer look to each of us:


Joel Richard: Joel is a passionate practicing electrical engineer with a diverse range of experiences – from military research to power projects, and currently works for Smart Skin Technologies, a product development firm here in New Brunswick. Contributing to the high-tech community as a mentor and volunteer, Joel is excited to be on the Startup Weekend NB team to help foster innovation at home.

Mahsa Kiani: Mahsa is a software developer and researcher with over a decade of experience in product development and research in various domains including
mahsanetworking, search engines, databases, web technology solutions, and decision support systems. She has also collaborated with UNESCO on ICT projects, and published several scientific papers, and received the Award of Young Researchers Club.  Mahsa has a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering – software, and a M.Sc. degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at UNB. Mahsa is excited to be the co-lead of Startup Weekend NB.

Joy Cummings Photo UNBRobert Ogilvie: Bobby is a Project Manager and Professional Coach.  His background is in sales, organizational psychology, and technology management, and he’s researching emergent leadership and team innovation performance for his MBA thesis.  Aside from Startup Weekend, he’s also the Mentorship Director of Startup Fredericton, Secretary of the Union of Graduate Student Workers, and has lead many teams in Hackathons and Pitching competitions.

danDan Liu: Dan, as the Program Market Analyst for the TME program UNB Fredericton, helps students conduct market research related tasks as well as connecting them with the right resources. Graduated with B.ASc in Mechatronic Engineering from University of Waterloo, he has worked in automotive and consumer product industry. He has also worked as an entrepreneur, with numerous start-ups on projects ranging from software application to hardware development in wearable technology.

ProfilePhotoSaquib Kothawala (me): I am a freelancer in the emerging big data field with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. My expertise lies in Machine Learning and data engineering. As an independent consultant to a number of startups around the globe, I understand the challenges faced by startups not only in New Brunswick, but all over the world. I also see the wealth of untapped human potential in New Brunswick, the caliber of which, isn’t common elsewhere; and its for this reason that I feel it is very important to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship in this province.

So come join us, meet awesome people, work on fun projects and perhaps even start a business! Oh, and we will feed you all weekend and give you a whole bunch of goodies.

Saquib Kothawala