Startup Weekend: Where it Started – Q+A with Speedwell + Yarrow

Startup Weekend Columbus: Where it Started

Q&A with the Co-Founders of Speedwell & Yarrow

As former management consultants and working moms in dual-career households, Speedwell & Yarrow co-founders Ashley Lambrix and Lindsey Michaelides understand first-hand the challenges that come with managing busy careers and busy households. They brought their idea for Speedwell & Yarrow to Startup Weekend in February 2018 — an idea to help working parents manage life outside of the office.

The Startup Weekend team spoke with Ashley and Lindsey to learn about their experience with the goal of providing insight into what the weekend is like for prospective attendees and how Startup Weekend can lead to something more.

Let’s start from the beginning. Where did this business idea originate?

The idea was an outgrowth of our own personal experiences as two women who have had intense careers in management consulting and continued those careers in-house. Outside of our professional careers, as members of dual-career households and as working moms we had shared experiences that we talked about as friends and colleagues. The two of us eventually came to each other both struggling with day-to-day, asking, “Is anyone else stressed by this?”  So, initially, it really began with the uncovering of a problem that needed to be solved, rather than a specific solution.

You had this idea and you kept talking to people about it, how did you decide to take it to Startup Weekend?

We had gotten to a point through research that we felt confident our problem was relatable and meaningful within our peer group. Lindsey had a connection to Techstars who provided the suggestion that Startup Weekend could be a way for networks outside of ours to give feedback on and validation of our understanding of the problem. We had defined our problem with very little idea of what the solution could be – we wanted to leverage a larger collective brainpower.

You came in with a big goal to Startup Weekend, so can you tell us a bit about your experience with the event and what you experienced over the weekend?

Startup Weekend was the first introduction for both of us to the startup community in Columbus. We had so much fun and were energized by working on the problem, the pace of the weekend and the environment. We didn’t come into the weekend thinking that it’d be a good test case for exploring what entrepreneurship was like. We got it though, which helped us feel more informed when deciding to continue working on the idea after the event. The other unexpected benefit was expanding our thinking outside of our own domain expertise. We didn’t know the role technology could play as a part of a solution, but gained access to the knowledge to figure out where to start in building that out.

For those that might be reading this that have never pitched an idea, can you tell us what it’s like at Startup Weekend?

It was super fun. We put some thought and prep to our pitch in advance – we were probably over prepared. So, we pitched our original idea which went well and then got up and pitched two others because it was so fun. There is such great energy in the room; if you even have an inkling of an idea or a problem that isn’t solved today that could be solved better, you should come and pitch.

Okay, you’ve pitched (More than once!) How was your idea selected? 

The scrum of voting was intense. You each have your idea and have to collect votes from peers to determine the crowd’s favorites. We worked our tails off to beg for those votes.

Tell me about your SWCBUS team! How did you select team members? What was the team bonding process like? How did you work together?

We were fortunate in that we tried to be really welcoming to anyone that wanted to be a part of the team and were really clear from the outset about what specific skills we were looking for. It just kind of came together and we didn’t end up turning anyone away.

Describe the Startup Weekend environment: what was it like to build the idea on Saturday and Sunday? Find help from other participants, mentors, volunteers helpful?

We really went into the weekend trying to ensure that the team stayed as energized about the idea as we were. Part of how you do that is engagement and facilitating a process where people feel good about their involvement. We spent a lot of Saturday morning doing team brainstorming on the concept and then dividing and conquering on different fronts like research, development, framing of the pitch. We had a good balance of group activities and dividing and conquering individual tasks which allowed people to use their unique skills.

Would you recommend others attend? Why or why not?

Absolutely attend. By participating you have nothing to lose and so much to gain, whether you have an idea that you’ve actively been thinking about or you just want an opportunity to challenge yourself in a whole new way with a group of people you don’t interact with on a daily basis.

Thanks so much for talking with us! It’s pretty amazing to see how far Speedwell & Yarrow has developed just one year since your first Startup Weekend. We are very excited about your next step with the Techstars Accelerator!  

This also just goes to show that the people behind the ideas have power. What are your ideas? What will you create? There’s still time to get your Startup Weekend ticket! See you on Friday!

About Speedwell & Yarrow:

Speedwell & Yarrow helps busy professionals manage life outside of the office. Our service offers employers a new way to retain talent by lightening the mental load for busy professionals, giving them back time and mindshare to focus on what matters most.

As former management consultants and working moms in dual-career households, Speedwell & Yarrow co-founders Ashley Lambrix and Lindsey Michaelides understand first-hand the challenges that come with managing busy careers and busy households. They created Speedwell & Yarrow to support professionals and help them live fuller, more engaged lives – at work and at home.

About the Co-Founders:

Prior to founding Speedwell & Yarrow, Lindsey was a business strategist and management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Lindsey has more than 10 years of experience in business strategy with experience across the healthcare, retail, and media industries. Both as a consultant and corporate strategy leader, Lindsey focused largely on business model transformation and large scale M&A and joint venture creation.

Lindsey has a personal passion for supporting women and helping to create more female leaders. She has an MBA from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from DePauw University. Lindsey is married with two young boys and a crazy dog named Gary.

Ashley is a former management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and Senior Strategy Advisor for OhioHealth. She has over 10 years of strategy experience and content expertise in growth and partnership opportunities in B2B and B2C spaces. She has experience in recruitment and retention innovation through program and brand development.

Ashley received an MBA from Chicago Booth, an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago, and a BBA from the Ross School at the University of Michigan. She lives with her husband and their two children.

A Candid Conversation with a Startup Weekend Veteran


The Startup Weekend team spoke with Rosemary Garry, a three time Startup Weekend participant, to learn about her experiences with the goal of providing insight into what the weekend is like for perspective attendees. 

So if you were looking for a sign if you should get your ticket to Startup Weekend, this is it!

This is your sign to get your ticket to Startup Weekend Columbus – if you’re a newbie or a returning participant.

But really, check out our conversation with Rosemary to see all the benefits you get when participating at Startup Weekend.

Let’s start from the top: Describe the weekend…

Startup Weekends are crazy, really fun events for developing solutions to problems you see in the world. You have something at the end of the weekend that may not be perfect, but it works, and you’re proud of that.

Give me a run-down of your Startup Weekend experiences…

I first participated as a student at Ohio State in 2013. At the time, it was mostly college students and there was this feeling in the air—the energy was really high. We worked on developing an app that pooled together shared expenses and tasks for households in a college environment. We called it Chore Tab.

That first Startup Weekend sticks out because it was just a hilarious, fun collection of memories of my teammates becoming really close friends, one of which ended up becoming a business partner of mine.

So it’s safe to say that you had a remarkable first event. What were your other two Startup Weekend teams?

The second Startup Weekend idea I worked on was an idea called Boozy: an alcoholic milkshake. We actually ended up being able to talk to the one person in the U.S. that has the patent for a bottle design that could freeze without the alcohol and milk separating inside the bottle. We had a licensing proposal for our product when it was all said and done and were even able to make an—albeit small— profit during Weekend 1 from selling samples.

The last idea was a product called Fender-Defender. It was a front and rear camera sensor that could tell you when you were in close proximity to other cars. To test out the idea, we made a sensor using a raspberry pie and asked people to parallel-park.

You worked on three different teams each time, what is it like participating as a member of a team?

It’s legitimately fun to build things with people you’ve joined up with. Part of the team building process is to ensure that you’re on a team that you vibe with, which is critical for having fun and building a MVP (Minimal Viable Product) by the end of a weekend.

Something that you mentioned to us is that not only did you participate with three different ideas, you also won or placed with these teams! Tell us, what’s the secret sauce to winning?

Follow the instructions! It’s surprising how many people don’t read the instructions for presenting to the judges. I’ve seen amazing concepts that would have won if they just included more details around their business plan and put financials in their presentation.

Also, actually make something. The point of Startup Weekend is to make something out of the weekend, to show that you tried. Part of the fun— a lot of teams forget— is creating a product that functions, even if just barely. It is probably going to be terrible and that’s okay!, The point is that you tried something and got your hands dirty.

What kept you coming back to Startup Weekend?

The thing that kept me coming back… it’s so rare to find a room where you have a really, really high chance of working with a team that you’ll get along with and that you can build something with over a weekend. You’ll be having fun and laughing, doing yoga, hanging out, eating chipotle… it’s that environment that kept me coming back.

Would you say that you grew as a participant?

Definitely. You can’t negate that it’s a skill building tool; public speaking and teamwork are the greatest drivers of success in an office setting and Startup Weekend is a training ground for learning how to succeed in that environment.

What are some of your best memories?

During my second weekend when I worked on Boozy, we had a really, really late night trying to make the boozy ice cream/milkshake. We ended up finding a soft serve machine that we were able to borrow and started making ice cream. Making ice cream is really technical and frustrating, but because you’re working with friends it was fun. We had a very, very, very big fail where all of the alcohol and ice cream just exploded from the machine and went all over one of our teammates. In the middle of the event space, she’s just standing there covered in milk and bourbon and it was hilarious.

All of my best memories though are ones that traditionally might have been fails, but because the weekend is all about learning, having fun, and doing something with fellow entrepreneurs, I don’t remember them that way.

If you were talking to someone who was on the fence about attending, what would you say?

There really isn’t an environment that is as forgiving as Startup Weekend. There aren’t expectations, there isn’t a bar you have to hit, or an idea that you have to create something that’s perfect.

There are no limitations, no expectations, and you have the ability to grow in whatever you’re working on. For me, I attended Startup Weekends and really wanted to work on public speaking. There is no other (traditional office) environment where you can be the youngest member of a team and pitch an idea to a board of directors. You just usually don’t get to practice like that unless you’re doing it for real.

Amazing. Thanks for sitting down and talking with us Rosemary! You summed up some of the best takeaways from the weekend: you get to meet incredibly smart people, be in an incredible environment, and challenge yourself to create something you didn’t even think possible.

It’s time. Get your Startup Weekend ticket now.

A little bit about Rosemary Garry – Three time Startup Weekend participant and winner!

As a startup enthusiast, Rosemary served as President of Ohio State University’s student entrepreneurship organization. Founding several of her own concepts throughout college (often through events like Startup Weekend), she discovered her biggest passion in her business consulting startup, specializing in new growth opportunities, consumer insights, and marketing strategies. In addition to her side hustle as a small-scale landlord, she now works as a Strategist an marketing agency specializing in data science optimization.

Impact Startup Revolution is Here! 8 World’s Startups Who Are Making the World A Better Place

Impact Startup Revolution advances the pursuit of financial goals alongside social Impact. Here are some of the world leaders in the Impact Startup Revolution.


1. Trine (Scandinavia)

Trine is a startup company which connects potential investors (loaners) with Solar Partners. These Solar Partners provide people of their target market with solar products. As the Partner grows, they repay the loan provided by the investor along with interest. In this way, Solar Partners will get the required capital to start their enterprise and investors can safely invest in companies which will give them a return on their investment. This is the underlying reason for the financial success of Trine. However, the bigger impact that we can see is the spread accessibility for solar energy. This accessibility makes solar energy more widely available, and hence easier to implement. Therefore, Trine is helping people take another step forward in the journey to universal usage of clean energy.

2. Handiscover

Handiscover is a booking website which specifically assists people with special needs and disabilities. The website allows users to find accommodations (at their preferred destination) which support their specific needs. Everyone needs a vacation and Handiscover helps everyone get a comfortable and vacation. This focus on providing accessibility allows Handiscover to target a niche market. This is the root of their financial success. However, we must look at the bigger success and see the positive impact that this website is making for those who have special needs.

3. Kiron (Berlin, Germany)

Kiron is a startup which provides education that is specifically targeted towards refugees. This education is provided through digital methods. Kiron puts its focus on the students because of their diversity and varying needs. There is a high demand, in terms of education, from refugees who are new to a country and need to develop skills to become competitive candidates for career opportunities and for driving change themselves in their new homes. This need for education among the refugee population is being met by Kiron. The access that refugees now have to education empower them and the societies in which they now call their home.

4. ArtLifting (Boston)

ArtLifting connects artists facing homelessness and disabilities with clients or individuals who are in need of art. Clients can range from individuals to companies, such as Staples and Google. The company thrives financially because of their ability to connect artists with incredible talent but minimal opportunity with entities which need art. The services provided by ArtLifting allow them to remain successful as a startup, but, the true success of the company is the opportunities that they provide to individuals who may not have been able to become artists for a living. This empowerment is the truly inspiring quality of ArtLifting.

5. Countable (San Francisco)

Countable provides people with the opportunity to understand incredibly complicated pieces of legislation. Often times, the laws proposed by lawmakers contain unnecessary jargon that is difficult to understand. This difficulty leads to misunderstanding and it becomes harder for the voter to make decisions. Countable bridges the gap of understanding for individuals and empowers them to make fully-informed decisions about laws. This startup drives change in society by simply making information easier to understand. Simplicity is quite difficult to achieve in the world of legislation, yet Countable makes simplicity possible.

6. One Degree (San Francisco)

One Degree is an organization which helps low-income families find the resources and support to which they are entitled. These families are usually oblivious to the support available to them because of their lack of resources. However, One Degree bridges the gap between support and families which need support. When people are given the opportunity to rise out of their poverty, they are given a chance to make the world a better place for everyone.

7. Spoiler Alert (Boston)

Spoiler Alert is a startup which helps sellers maintain and manage unsold inventory. This startup arose from Techstars and MassChallenge. Companies often have difficulty in getting rid of food inventory that is nearing or past the period of time in which they can be sold. Spoiler Alert provides these companies with the chance to donate, sell with discounts, or redistribute their goods. Management of inventory is crucial in companies to bring new goods into the store. This is where Spoiler Alert provides companies with the exact service that they need, and hence, succeeds financially. The services provided by Spoiler Alert allow the companies reduce the amount of food that is wasted. As such, the food is maximized in terms of its usefulness and the company is able to mange (get rid of) this food in a positive manner.

8. Digital Green (India)

Digital Green empowers farmers in rural communities around the world maximize their productivity by using technology and partnerships. Digital Green, through its services, helps farmers to rise out of poverty and reach financial stability. The services provided by Digital Green allow farmers to improve their techniques and this brings revenue for the company. However, the significance of the services provided by Digital Green cannot be fully seen through merely the revenue. The true impact is the empowerment of farmers who, through collective strength, are able to improve their condition of life. This empowerment is priceless and adds all the more value to the work that Digital Green is doing to bring positive change to communities around the world.

Startup Weekend Silicon Valley Social Impact Edition Judging Criteria

At Techstars Startup Weekend Silicon Valley 2019 Social Impact Edition, we’re exploring what it mean to be building a startup in Silicon Valley with the pursuit of social impact alongside its financial goals. Our goal is to create an environment where passionate people can come together to get things done; to learn, network, bridge the gap between trades, expose potential, and create ideas and opportunities that drive real-world social change.

Judge Criteria Info:

The Startup Weekend Silicon Valley Social Impact judging criteria is broken up into 4 sections. Teams are judged according to the following 4 criteria (weighted equally):

  • Impact Strategy (is it meaningful?)
    • In what way does it promote sustainability, equity, and/or social justice?
    • How do you measure the short term outcome and long term impact?
    • How do you balance social impact and financial goals?
    • Does it honor the integrity and ethical responsibilities of its stakeholders?
    • Does it challenge the current state of affairs in our society?
  • Customer Validation (does the business have a good understanding of customers and their needs)
    • Who will be your users, who will be your customers (are they different)?
    • Did your team get out and talk to users and customers?
    • How many users have you interviewed?
    • Did you target the correct people to interview?
    • What did you learn from your customer interviews (revenue)?
    • What are the core needs of your users?
  • Execution & Design
    • What feedback have you gotten to inspire your Minimum Viable Product?
    • Did you build a prototype (paper or powerpoint is ok)?
    • How effective is your “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (be it software, hardware, etc.)?
    • How functional is your technical demo?
    • How easy is it for the user to navigate and use your product?
    • Were you able to incorporate customer feedback into the solution?
  • Business Model (is this business feasible)
    • Is it a big/unique idea?
    • What is your key value proposition?
    • How do you plan on making this a successful business?
    • Have you thought about competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, revenue model etc.?
    • Have you identified a specific target market?
    • How will you acquire your first 100 customers?



A New Network Overnight with Dennis Wemyss

In 2013, Dennis attended the first Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend on a whim. Thinking it was a networking event (it’s so much more), he went in Friday evening with the intent to hand out business cards and leave, but his friend Josh encouraged him to stay and pitch an idea. Not only did the idea end up winning the weekend, but it launched him in into the Northwest Arkansas startup community. Dennis recalls, “it’s where I got my jumpstart into everything entrepreneurship. It segued into an internship, a job, and now working at Supply Pike.”

Dennis’s pitch for Startup Weekend 2013 was called Getsposure. The idea was a platform that connects agencies with professional photographers around the world. For example, instead of traveling to San Francisco for a photo shoot, the platform would connect to a local photographer that was in San Francisco. During the weekend, Dennis credits mentors like Kenny and Chuong of Datarank that helped him refine the idea and prepare for a winning presentation on Sunday.

In 2015, Dennis returned to Startup Weekend as a coach. “It was cool getting to facilitate, not only did I get to help Corey with RaftUp, but I got connected with Stone Ward, which led to an internship.” As Dennis embarks on helping with his third Startup Weekend, he excited to keep using his experience to help others. When Amy Pedid reached out to Dennis, he encouraged her to do a Startup Weekend, and she ended up winning the Maker Edition last fall. Dennis doesn’t just see his role in the community as being a UX designer, but also to be a facilitator: “to help the Amys and the Coreys of this world, that’s where I get the most fulfillment.”  

Dennis encourages the teams this year to go out and talk to people after coming up with an idea. “The teams that have gone out and asked people and gotten user data… user valuation, rather than self-validation, those teams always end up doing the best.” Teams should be willing to reconsider if people say no, but if a bunch of people say yes, then they’re on the right track. “If you could get people to pre order, the judges would eat that up! The goal is to win, but your network explodes either way. It’s a perfect networking opportunity.”

7 Reasons to Go to Startup Weekend Sacramento: Folsom Edition

Startup Weekend Sacramento: Folsom Edition has so much to offer to the local community. Even if you don’t have an idea of your own that you want to develop, there are still a lot of great reasons to come to Granite City Coworking on April 12 – 14, 2019 to participate.

1) You’ve Got an Idea

The most obvious reason to come to Startup Weekend is that you’ve got an idea that you want to develop and you need some help creating a business plan, validating your market, or creating a mockup of an app. At Startup Weekend you’ll find others with the skills to help you take your idea to the next level and beyond.

2) You’ve Got Skills You Want to Share

Ok, maybe you don’t have an idea for a new startup, but chances are good that you’ve got skills and knowledge that will be incredibly valuable to others participating in the event. Whether you’re a programmer, developer, designer, marketer, or business person, your skills and experience are needed. Team up with an entrepreneur whose idea resonates with you and you could play a key role in helping to launch an idea.

3) Get Noticed through Networking

Even if you don’t win the competition, the whole weekend is a great opportunity to meet others, share your skills and knowledge, and get noticed.

4) Access to Experienced Coaches and Mentors

We’ve got a very strong line-up of experienced mentors and coaches participating, with years of knowledge and experience that you will be able to tap into. Where else are you going to have access to such great advice in one place over a 3 day period?

5) Great Learning Opportunities

You’ll learn more in one weekend about startups, entrepreneurship, and business than you could ever imagine. You’ll be able to apply what you learn at Startup Weekend to developing your own products or business.

6) Get Involved in the Sacramento Startup Community

The global startup movement is growing and Sacramento has a great, vibrant startup community. Startup Weekend is a great opportunity to meet others in the Sacramento startup community and get involved with the revitalization of our region.

7) A Chance to Compete on the Global Stage

This event coincides with Global Startup Battle, the largest startup battle in the universe. This means that participants at Startup Weekend Sacramento: Elk Grove Edition will have a chance to present their startup ideas to the whole world.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now for your chance to tap into all the great opportunities that await you at Startup Weekend Sacramento: Folsom Edition.

Startup Weekend: The Corporate Bridge

As a veteran of corporate America, I considered myself well versed in stressful situations, tight deadlines, and ambitious milestones, that is, until I experienced Startup Weekend. I had the opportunity to participate in this amazing event 10 months ago and served as the bridge to go from a corporate employee to being a full-time entrepreneur. Here is how it works.

The 54-hour, bootcamp-like event is an exhilarating experience where developers, creatives, and business people meet with the common goal of building a business over the weekend. It all starts with the pitch where you get a minute to share your idea and get other people attracted to it. The most popular ideas get selected, and people are free to join any of the prospective startups. 

While the stakes are seemingly low, the drive to solve problems impregnates the air and keeps people going, although there are plenty of caffeinated drinks readily available for those needing the extra boost. The hours fly by as teams strive to come up with a Lean Canvas based plan, meet with experienced entrepreneurs, and most importantly, test and iterate based on their customers’ feedback.

The last day of the event, the sleep-deprived teams make their way to the stage to pitch their newly built company. While the teams that place get some great prizes, you can tell by the smiles in everyone’s faces that they have all won. They have conquered the biggest fear of every aspiring entrepreneur; the fear to start.

That dream of creating something bigger than ourselves seems to be universal. If you agree with that statement and are thinking about starting a business or solving a big problem, Startup Weekend by Techstars is one of the best ways to get started.

Startup Weekend Orlando 2018 Recap

70 Attendees – 42 Ideas Pitched – 9 Teams – 3 Judges – 15 Mentors – 20 Pizzas – 60 liters of Soda – 300 Pieces of Sushi

From November 16-18 Techstars Startup Weekend returned to Orlando. The event brought together people with ideas they wanted to pursue and the problems they wanted to solve, but who didn’t necessarily know where to start or who to start with. Techstars Startup Weekend Orlando is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Startup Weekend Orlando Pitch

The event kicked off on Friday, with dinner and networking, an inspiring speech by Phil Dumas of Unikey, pitching ideas, voting, and forming teams. The ideas pitched and the problem that attendees set out to solve spanned social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. To give you an idea, of the 70 attendees, 42 pitched ideas, but only 9 teams made it through to the end with fully formed teams and presentations.

On Saturday, mentors met with teams to work on their ideas. They refined business models, got them closer to their MVPs, and nudged them to validate their ideas or pivot where necessary. Teams worked out of the Catalyst Spaces venue from 9am to 10pm, with some heading to other locations to continue working through the night.

On the final day, Sunday, teams were back at 9 am to validate their ideas, build their presentations and rehearse their pitches – again with the help of our expert mentors. Teams jumped on these final opportunities to ask their mentors questions and to become as strong as possible for their presentation to the judged.

Startup Weekend Orlando Working

At 6 pm, we kicked off the final presentations and judging! Pitches were 5 minutes each, with a 3-minute Q&A from the judges. The Startup Weekend judging criteria are broken up into three sections. Teams were judged according to the following 3 criteria, each weighted equally:

Business Model

How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?

Customer Validation

Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?

Execution & Design

Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

Startup Weekend Orlando Mentor

The ideas pitched were:

Overall Winner: Gamer Meetups – an all-encompassing platform for gamer communities by curating gaming events, providing forums for gaming communities, and selling merchandise.

1st Runner Up: Voice Adventures – voice-controlled adventure skills for Amazon Alexa

2nd Runner Up: Sensae – A synesthesia training app to improve your IQ

Crowd Favorite: Street to Feet – Mobile app for shoe identification and purchasing

Brite – Blockchain real estate investments for everyone

Solar Central – Personalized solar shopping and educational experience to provide qualified leads to installers

University Project – an online accelerator for academic projects

Hidden Gems – App that helps recommend restaurants and events to locals by locals

Safe Way – IoT safety monitoring system for your car’s interior

Everyone from the Startup Weekend Orlando team would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated, coached, sponsored, volunteered, or supported this annual event. Specifically, we’d like to give a final thanks to our:

Platinum sponsors: Informulate, Catalyst, Talent 4 Startups

Community Partners: Orlando Tech and Beer, Starter Studio, Orlando Economic Partnership, ProfessrJosh, UCF, and Full Sail

Grant supporter: City of Orlando

In-kind sponsors: Doorbell Ninja, MakerFX Makerspace,

Speakers: Phil Dumas – Unikey, Matt Broffman – City of Orlando

Judges: Julianna Ormond – Forensic Strategist, Jason Eichenholz – Luminar Technologies, and Richard Fox – Richard Fox

Facilitator: Josh David Miller (JDM)

Mentors: RC Williams, Udit Mehta, Cameron Ford, Danna Olivo, Vanessa Zabala, Adam Scheinberg, David Brim, Rachel Stern, Chris Giarratana, Jason Wade, Gene McCulley, Beth Kennedy, Angela Kendall, Diane Court, and Marco Santana

Volunteer Leads: Katerina Vazquez, Keyla Reyes, and Lorianne Melendez

From Friday to Sunday evening it was extremely exciting to see how much the participants had transformed, and we received so much positive feedback from people who didn’t know what to expect but walked out of the weekend having learned a lot and having made new connections.

We hope to announce new events throughout the year. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in any way, as we are always open to fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. Contact our organizing team at with any comments, questions or feedback!

Thanks again and see you next time!

– The Startup Weekend Orlando Organizing team
Rajiv Menon, Dennis Pape, Josh Murdock, and Jessica Korthuis

Judging Criteria – Techstars Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend Maui starts Friday and ends on Sunday with the final 5-minute presentations of the startup ideas created and worked upon during the 54 hours of the weekend.

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following 3 criteria (weighted equally):

  • Business Model
    • How does the team plan on making this a successful business? Have they thought about (either solved or identified problems) competition, how to scale, acquiring customers, their revenue model etc?
  • Customer Validation
    • Are teams building something that people actually want? How well does the team understand their customer and their customer’s needs. Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers?
  • Execution & Design
    • Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Were they able to demo something functional?

We can’t wait to see what the Maui entrepreneurs will come up with by Sunday.  Aloha.

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.