Meet Your Startup Weekend Las Vegas Judges

Piotr Tomasik – CTO of Influential

Piotr Tomasik is the CTO of Influential, an Influencer Technology Platform and Social Intelligence firm that has partnerships with IBM Watson, Facebook, Oracle, and WME. Influential is the largest VC-funded startup in Nevada, according to VC platform, Pitchbook. Previously, Piotr was Co-Founder & CTO at ActiveSide, a fitness-centric social network, and a tech leader at Playersync & eCommLink (acquired by Green Dot).    A serial entrepreneur, Piotr is a very proud Las Vegan, who strives to help build a prosperous and diversified economy here in Las Vegas. Piotr was named to VEGASINC’s “40 under 40” list in 2018. Piotr has a BS in Computer Science from UNLV.

Rob Meadows – President & CTO of AI Foundation

Rob Meadows is the President & CTO of AI Foundation which focuses on the advancements and risks around personal AI. Rob is also the founder of Originate, which builds next-generation, AI-enabled software for many of the Fortune 500. Previously, Rob founded Lumitrend, the mobile platform provider acquired by Asurion in 2006 which launched several products like Cellbackup to protect the data on millions of mobile devices. Rob holds a Master’s Degree from Arizona in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Rob believes that an AI-first world will ultimately lead humanity to abundance and bliss, but will require a reinvention of every industry and every job to get there. He is therefore very passionate about responsible AI, advancing AI education, and working alongside some of the top researchers in the world. AI may very well be the last invention of humanity, so we better make it a good one…

Geoff Sanders was the Co-founder and CEO of LaunchKey, a cybersecurity company specializing in next generation mobile authentication. A rare mix of engineering and creative talent, Geoff has more than a decade of professional experience as a full stack developer, designer, and product manager with expertise in creating end-to-end custom interactive applications. 

Geoff and 2 co-founders pitched their concept for LaunchKey at Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2012 in response to the LinkedIn password breach that year. LaunchKey won 1st Place for Design and 1st Place Overall, but one of the biggest victories for his team was securing a $750,000 seed round of investment led by Vegas Tech Fund and nearly $4 million in venture capital over the next 4 years. In 2017, LaunchKey was acquired by Iovation, a global leader in online fraud detection and device-based authentication. Currently, as Product Director of LaunchKey, Geoff leads the overall strategy, vision, and direction of the LaunchKey product at Iovation.

Ciara Byrne – Co-CEO of Green Our Planet

In March, 2013 Ciara co-founded a non-profit organization called Green Our Planet based in Las Vegas. Green Our Planet’s mission is to raise money for green projects and to educate the public about the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet today. The overall goal is to help conserve, protect, and improve the environment through funding green projects and through education, which includes STEAM, nutrition and conservation education in K-12 schools. 

Since March 2013 Green Our Planet has raised over $2m, built 115 school gardens, won the American Honda Foundation grant to pay teachers to adapt PreK-5 STEAM curricula so it can be taught in the gardens.  Green Our Planet won Public Health Hero of the Year 2014 awarded by the Health District of Southern Nevada; Community Organization of the Year 2014 USGBC; Ciara won Las Vegas Tech Woman of the Year 2015 and the Las Vegas City Compassionate Hero of the Year 2017.    

 








Meet your SWLV Judge – Piotr Tomasik

Meet Piotr Tomasik, the Co-Founder and CTO of Influentialan Influencer Technology Platform and Social Intelligence firm that has partnerships with IBM Watson, Facebook, Oracle, and WME. Influential is the largest VC-funded startup in Nevada, according to VC platform, Pitchbook. Previously, Piotr was Co-Founder & CTO at ActiveSide, a fitness-centric social network, and a tech leader at Playersync & eCommLink (acquired by Green Dot). 

A serial entrepreneur, Piotr is a very proud Las Vegan, who strives to help build a prosperous and diversified economy here in Las Vegas. Piotr was named to VEGASINC’s “40 under 40” list in 2018. Piotr has a BS in Computer Science from UNLV.

For more information about Startup Weekend Las Vegas you can visit our event page here!








Hackathon, Startup Weekend – Why is it for me?

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about hackathons and startup weekends, but a lot of people look at us like deer in headlights. Hack-a-what? Do what in a weekend? So, I thought it would be useful to provide some insight into what it is and why you might want to attend one. After all, even deer need direction.

First, let me say that instead of reinventing the wheel, we’ve decided to partner with Techstars to use their startup weekend model, but essentially, a hackathon and startup weekend are the same thing – cool events that challenge you to learn new things in an entrepreneurial fashion while making deep connections with new people as well as people you may know already.

Techstars Startup Weekends, like hackathons, are…

… 54-­hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non­technical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centered on action, innovation, and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs. Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-­minded individuals outside of their daily networks.

Who you’ll meet at Techstars Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekends attendees’ backgrounds are roughly

  • 50% technical (developers, coders, designers)
  • 50% business (marketing, finance, law).
Why do people come to Startup Weekend?
  • 29% of Startup Weekend participants attend an event to network, which can lead to a job
  • 20% attend to develop/build a product
  • 13% attend to learn how to create a new venture.

After the event is over, roughly 80% of attendees plan on continuing to work on their startup after the weekend.

What you’ll get out of the event:
  1. Education: Startup Weekends are all about learning by doing, whether you’re learning anew skill or a new way of thinking. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
  2. Co­Founder Dating: The people who come to Startup Weekend are serious about learning how to build and launch startups. Create relationships that last long past the weekend.
  3. Have fun: During the weekend working alongside awesome people who share your ideas. Techstars Startup Weekend is meant to be fun and entertaining so enjoy it.
  4. Solve local problems with your ideas. Do you think that one of your idea can change your town or have a positive impact in your group of people? Bring your idea notebook with you and start making a positive change in your local community.
  5. Build Your Network: Techstars Startup Weekend works hard to recruit high quality,driven entrepreneurs­ like you!
  6. Learn New Skills: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow,Techstars Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or give marketing a try. With nothing to lose there’s no reason not to step outside your comfort zone.
  7. Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): Techstars Startup Weekend is the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology.
  8. Mentorship: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Techstars Startup Weekends and give feedback to participants. Interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
  9. Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources: By participating in Techstars Startup Weekend you are given instant access to great products and tools. No one leaves Techstars Startup Weekend empty handed! Click here to learn more about some of the offers our Global Sponsors provide during the event.
  10. Free Food! Techstars Startup Weekends are affordable (typically $75-$99, only $25­-$50 for students). Your ticket includes seven meals (count ’em, 7!), snacks, and all the coffee you can drink.

As you can see, there are a lot of great reasons for attending Startup Weekend – South Shore. We partnered with Techstars Startup Weekend because they’ve hosted events in countries all over the world, they are a great organization to work with and they bring connections to Google, investors and other partnership opportunities.

Entrepreneurs are not lazy. They are the ones who get things done and go the extra mile (uphill both ways) to seek out cool opportunities. Are you an entrepreneur? Have you wanted to be one? This is your chance to see if you’ve got what it takes or to prove that you’ve got the right stuff.

Join us on November 9-11, 2018 to participate in an amazing journey of experiential learning, superconnecting and all-around fun. You will discover something magical about yourself, the world and the others you work with. It’s better than Disney!

Register here:

https://SouthShoreSW.eventbrite.com

More Info:

http://communities.techstars.com/usa/bridgewater-ma-usa/startup-weekend/13667








Meet Your SWLV Judge – Rob Meadows

Meet Rob Meadows, the President & CTO of AI Foundation which focuses on the advancements and risks around personal AI. Rob is also the founder of Originate, which builds next-generation, AI-enabled software for many of the Fortune 500. Previously, Rob founded Lumitrend, the mobile platform provider acquired by Asurion in 2006 which launched several products like Cellbackup to protect the data on millions of mobile devices. Rob holds a Master’s Degree from Arizona in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Rob believes that an AI-first world will ultimately lead humanity to abundance and bliss, but will require a reinvention of every industry and every job to get there. He is therefore very passionate about responsible AI, advancing AI education, and working alongside some of the top researchers in the world. AI may very well be the last invention of humanity, so we better make it a good one…

For more information on Startup Weekend Las Vegas or to purchase your ticket today, please visit startupweekend.vegas








Startup Weekend Seattle 2018: Our Winners Are…

Startup Weekend Education Seattle wrapped up with a bang in 54 hours with 42 pitches, 13 teams, 5 winners, & 1 awesome weekend! Check out our winning teams and their impactful ideas that will change the landscape of learning.

 

Grand PrizeCome UnityMatching students to high quality and personalized volunteer opportunities w/ non-profits. Our Grand Prize Team won $3,000 in google cloud credit, 1:1 mentoring with Google, 1:1 mentoring with a school leader, 1:1 meeting with a brand consultant, Android developers device, & 1-year license to Mason America.

 

Education Impact – Pacifier in a Backpack: A platform to help teen moms get postpartum, education, and professional support.

 

Business Model – Find Opportunities: Connecting non-profits to students for volunteering opportunities.

 


Excellence in Design & Audience’s Choice – Don’t Be Broke: Helping college students learn financial literacy…and don’t go broke!

 


Excellence in Execution – Owl: Master learning using questions, answers, and annotations through a real-time browser extension.

 

 

Thank you to our 70 participants, volunteers, Ambassadors, food vendors, organizing team, Grow with Google, and the Seattle Public Library for making this year’s event a huge success! See you next year!

 

Questions? Contact seattleedu@startupweekend.org.








Expect the Unexpected

When you say “yes” to a 54-hour event called “Startup Weekend,” I don’t think anyone really realizes what they are getting into unless they’ve done this before. But, let me give you a glimpse of my own experience with my first Startup Weekend in Muncie, Indiana.

I was fortunate to have a role on the organizing team. We started rounding up the team and began planning in the Spring, even though our event was not until October. As the weeks went by, we started reaching out to sponsors, local restaurants for catering, and darn-near any business within an two-hour radius that would help promote our event. We faced some hurdles along the way, but, as a team, we made a point to adapt and overcome anything that stood in our way of success. With this being our first event, we also reached out to Startup Weekend veterans for advice and encouragement. It was a great community and support system from day one.

As the weeks grew shorter and the event quickly approached, we blasted out information anywhere and everywhere. We hung flyers, spoke to various groups around the area, and even had placement on the radio station, news stations, and newspapers. By the time the event rolled around, we had secured twelve mentors, three judges, five sponsors, and 35 participants. It was here whether we were ready or not.

The first day of Startup Weekend Muncie was a very-detailed blur. It went by so fast, but each moment stood out for different reasons. The introduction and welcome was a success, with our huge thanks to our facilitator who drove three hours to work with us. Then, we led into ice-breakers that immediately got people out of their shell and developing new relationships. All the fear and nerves that everyone walked in with slowly started to fade away, leaving a group of brilliantly brave individuals, all with ideas for something to help solve a problem. Finally it was time to pitch. Our participants pitched a total of 28 ideas. After a few rounds to narrow them down, we were left with seven solid ideas. The idea creators behind each quickly formed teams and started working.

From an organizer’s point of few, there were times when I felt like nothing was happening, but when I walked around to sit with teams and hear about their progress, I knew things were moving full speed ahead. In less than 24-hours, teams had solidified company names, developed websites and social media platforms, started to gain traction with customer validation by talking to their target markets, and some even had prototypes in the works. One thing that really stood out to me was the drive these people had. They had gone from being a bit nervous or confused to sitting in a new team with all the drive in the world. There was nothing stopping these teams. When we brought in mentors, their progress increased even more. Our goal with the mentors was to bring in diverse knowledge to help each team in many ways. I would humbly say our team did a great job bringing in exactly that. These mentors had backgrounds in law, product development, marketing, computer design and software, as well as years of business development and experience. They brought so much to help each team, so when it was time for final pitches on Sunday, each of our seven teams really had a well thought out business plan, customer validation, and plans to solve problems in their everyday life.

Looking back on a jam-packed weekend, I personally learned and grew so much, but above that, I saw an incredible amount of teamwork and development in our participants and our organizing crew. I can almost guarantee everyone was on an emotional roller coaster that ended on a high point. We experienced excitement, chaos, stress, reassurance, growth, completeness, and more. Sure, our teams had times of panic, pivots, and pressure, but to see them power through and come out on top was indescribable. It’s not everyday, or even in normal business, that you get to experience and learn as quickly as you can in Startup Weekend. When there’s one near you, or even if there’s not, GO! It is an opportunity you can’t get anywhere else. Why not spend your weekend building a company?








Techstars Startup Weekend Louisville to Focus on Health and Healthcare for 13th Event

3 Day Entrepreneur Experience Returns November 9th through 11th

LOUISVILLE, KY, October 11, 2018: Organizer’s of Techstars Startup Weekend Louisville are mixing it up for their thirteenth event with a health and healthcare focus. The 54-hour event that turns ideas to business will kickoff Friday, November 9th at 6PM and wrap-up Sunday evening at the Thrive Center, a healthcare innovation hub in Louisville. Tickets are $45 per person for the weekend and go on sale today.

The three day event starts on Friday evening with dinner and 1 minute pitches. Every participant is allowed to pitch a “back-of-the-napkin” business idea. Then the ideas are voted on and attendees spend the rest of the weekend learning how to validate their idea and build a viable business model. Throughout the event, coaches from Louisville’s business community and universities challenge and mentor the teams to develop profitable businesses that meet market needs. The weekend concludes on Sunday night with a Shark Tank-like pitch competition judged by a panel of local entrepreneurs. Winners receive prize packages such as legal help, coworking space, software development, and more to help their business continue after the weekend is over.

However, for the first time in 13 events, this weekend will have a industry focus of health and healthcare. Lead organizer Austin Lopesilvero spoke of the decision as “an opportunity to bring something new to the event and highlight the innovation that is happening in our city.” Lopesilvero continued, “This is the first time Louisville is hosting a vertical-centered [Startup Weekend] event and we wanted to choose something that everyone could still contribute towards. Health and healthcare is a no-brainer because it affects us all. At some point, most of us have come up with an idea of how to make it better.” Whether you have a business idea that enables healthy lifestyles, helps solve the opioid crisis, creates an app for aiding mental health,  or you just want to make a difference in the field of healthcare, Startup Weekend is the perfect starting place to inspire action and bring ideas to life.

Louisville has had several businesses come out of Startup Weekend that are still pursuing their idea today and doing well. Agent Ally, winner of the last event, is a solution that helps insurance agents easily sign-up clients for medicare. They’ve continued to work on their idea and have recently won $25,000 from the Vogt Awards along with Fall 2017 winner Pascal Tags. Critterfacts, from Startup Weekend Louisville Fall 2016, has a native iOS app, is now at 30,000 users, and is about to launch their next product, Critterbox.

Often described as an MBA experience in one weekend, this is a can’t miss event for any aspiring entrepreneurs, creatives, developers, students, or beyond that wants to challenge themselves and help start a business and be a part of Louisville’s healthcare boom. Tickets include food, drinks, snacks, t-shirts, swag, and more. Information and tickets can be purchased at StartupWeekendLouisville.com.

Like most startups, Startup Weekend Louisville runs on a shoestring budget – all of the organizers, mentors and judges are volunteers. Organizers are asking local businesses to contribute financially or in goods or services to make this event possible. Contact louisville@startupweekend.org with any inquiries.

About Techstars Startup Weekend Louisville

Techstars Startup Weekend Louisville has the world record for most consecutive Startup Weekend events by the same organizing team. Brought to Louisville in September 2012, this event has engaged with over 800 budding entrepreneurs. In the Spring of 2017, Mayor Greg Fischer recognized the event as one of the many events driving entrepreneurship and innovation in our city. The organizing team would like to thank the business community of Louisville for their continuous support through donations, coaches, judges, speakers, and prize packages. To learn more, visit https://startupweekendlouisville.com

About Techstars Startup Weekend

Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where attendees learn how to build a company in a weekend. Since 2007, Techstars Startup Weekend has taken place in over 150 countries with more than 200,000 alumni. Participants take their product or business idea to the next level and join in a huge worldwide network of entrepreneurs.  To learn more visit http://www.techstars.com/startup-weekend/








Meet Your SWLV Judge – Geoff Sanders

Meet Geoff Sanders, Co-Founder and CEO of LaunchKey, a cybersecurity company specializing in next generation mobile authentication. A rare mix of engineering and creative talent, Geoff has more than a decade of professional experience as a full stack developer, designer, and product manager with expertise in creating end-to-end custom interactive applications.

Geoff and 2 co-founders pitched their concept for LaunchKey at Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2012 in response to the LinkedIn password breach that year. LaunchKey won 1st Place for Design and 1st Place Overall, but one of the biggest victories for his team was securing a $750,000 seed round of investment led by Vegas Tech Fund and nearly $4 million in venture capital over the next 4 years. In 2017, LaunchKey was acquired by Iovation, a global leader in online fraud detection and device-based authentication.

Currently, as Product Director of LaunchKey, Geoff leads the overall strategy, vision, and direction of the LaunchKey product at iovation. 








Meet Your SWLV Judge – Ciara Byrne

Meet Ciara Byrne, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Green Our Planet. Back for the second year in a row as a Startup Weekend Las Vegas judge, Ciara Byrne brings a wealth of operations and funding knowledge to this years’ panel.

In 2013 Ciara co-founded their non-profit organization, Green Our Planet, based in Las Vegas. Green Our Planet’s mission is to raise money for green projects and to educate the public about the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet today. The overall goal is to help conserve, protect, and improve the environment through funding green projects and through education, which includes STEAM, nutrition, and conservation education in k-12 schools.

Green Our Planet has raised more than $2 million to build 115 school gardens, and won the American Honda Foundation grant to pay teachers to adapt PreK-5 STEAM curricula, so it can be taught in their school gardens. Green Our Planet was also awarded the Public Health Hero of the Year by the Health District of Southern Nevada and Community Organization of the Year awarded by USGBC in 2014.

Ciara is also a Startup Weekend Success story! She attributes part of her organizations success to Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2012, where she originally pitched her idea for Green Our Planet.








Startup Weekend Education: Why Participate?

Startup Weekend Education is an fun innovative, community-building event that brings together innovators & doers of all backgrounds including educators, parents, students, designers, software developers, marketers, and other enthusiasts to start companies (or launch ideas)  that solve real problems in education in just 54 hours. The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.


Here are the top eleven, starting with EDUCATION specifically:

Education in the U.S. (and many places in the world) may be one of the human rights issues of our time. Kids deserve access to an excellent education. Education as an entrepreneurial space has recently gained much traction and interest, including interest and backing from the venture and incubator community, but there’s still much work to be done with not enough bright spots of success. We believe that if we bring you — our educators, students, designers, developers, business people – together and help facilitate your collaboration in new and innovative ways, we can help contribute to the growing movement to close the achievement gap.

Education/professional development:
Startup Weekend Educations are all about learning through the act of creating. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.

Build your network:
This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend Education attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working to build scalable products that solve real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a job or a even an investor.

Co-founder dating:
We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend Education is hands down the best way to to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.

Learn a new skill:
Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are prefect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.

Actually launch a business:
Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. There are so many companies that have come out of Startup Weekend Education and are still thriving today.

Get face time with thought leaders:
Local education, tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekend Educations as mentors and judges. Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in your community.

We cover what you need for the weekend (and it can pay off for long after):
Your ticket covers seven meals, snacks, access to exclusive resources, possible swag, all the coffee you can drink, and more.

Join a global community:
Join over 193,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.

Who you’ll meet at Startup Weekend EDU
Startup Weekend EDU’s mix is roughly 25% educator/education space, 25% developers and coders, 25% designers, and 25% business/marketing. Everyone wants to make a difference in the lives of learners. Some participants attend an event to network, more to learn a new skill, others attend to develop/build a product, and some attend to learn how to create a new venture. Many attendees plan on continuing to work on their product after the weekend.

 


If you’re ready to take your next step…
It’s time to register now for our latest Techstars Startup Weekend Education San Francisco event on October 19-21.

 

This article was revised from a previous article published in 2011 on the SF SWEDU blog.