Startup Weekend Gold Coast

    Friday, May 5 - 7, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Gold Coast

Friday, May 5 - 7, 2017

Friday, May 5 - 7, 2017
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Bond University
14 University Drive
Robina, Queensland 4226

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Startup Weekend Gold Coast

What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour whirlwind event where you get to be part of building a business in a weekend, Silicon Valley style.  It's about pitching, business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of a panel of judges and an opportunity to win great prizes. It is open to all people of all ages from all walks of life.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and teams organically form around the top ideas. All ideas, applications and platforms are welcome – remember that the sky is the limit!

How does it work?

We're mashing the geeks with entrepreneurs and everyone in between, and locking them in a building together for a weekend, pouring in a heap of caffeine and free food, to see what new ideas come out the other end. This 54 hour event brings together creatives, technologists, designers and developers to experiment with rapid idea generation, Silicon Valley style. 

It is a fast-paced and highly creative event that challenges everyone who attends to make innovative new projects in 54 hours.

Who can attend?

Anyone. Whether you're 8 or 88, a painter, actor, software engineer, writer, graphic designer, geek, entrepreneur, photographer, musician, programmer, museum curator, or startup specialist. Whether you have an idea, or have no idea. Everyone is welcome. (We even allow bankers and used-car salesmen to come along!) 

What you will get out of it

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend  is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered citizens who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures or products.  Whether participants found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, find a creative collaborator, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to have a heap of fun, and to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

An enormous THANK YOU!!! to our Premier Sponsor STUDY GOLD COAST and Event Host Sponsor BOND UNIVERSITY

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Friday May 5th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

6:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

7:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

7:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

8:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday May 6th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend. Workshop: Lean Startup 101

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday May 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast. Workshop: How to Pitch

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Michelle Douglas
Head of Design Programmes at Griffith University

An experienced multi-disciplined senior design/digital consultant and design thinking academic with proven experience at high-end education institutions and consultancies ranging from Royal College of Art, Brunel University and Ravensbourne in London UK to Griffith University, UTS Sydney (Aus) and San Francisco State Uni. Previous roles have included Director of Digital Design Directorate (Head of Faculty), Head of Product and Interaction Design and External Advisor to multiple UK Universities on emerging design practices.

Danny Maher
CEO Opmantek, Chairman GC Hub

CEO of Opmantek and chairman of the Gold Coast Innovation hub.  Opmantek is the world's leading open source network management software company. Over 120,000 organisations use Opmantek products globally. Every 6 minutes a new organisation implements an Opmantek product.

Danny is also an a
ngel investor, board member of public and private companies, and has 25 years in the IT industry, 2 years government, 2 years enterprise/banking, 9 years IT services companies, and 12 years in software companies.

Scott Bourke
COO Beach City Group

Scott is the COO at Beach City Group. Prior to joining BCG Scott established the innovation function and strategy for a large state public sector agency and co-founded a mobile telematics start-up after a 10 year career in consulting, investment management and investment banking. Scott’s deep expertise in establishing institutional and new venture businesses is underpinned by a doctorate in strategy & innovation from Swinburne’s AGSE.

Mark Sowerby
Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur

Mark Sowerby is the Founder of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited, an ASX listed (ASX: BLA) alternative asset manager investing across private equity, venture capital, private real estate, water, infrastructure, hedge funds and agriculture. Established in 2006 as a Queensland based startup, Blue Sky has invested expansion and venture capital in more than 30 Australian companies, pioneered investment in Australia’s water rights markets, and launched the world’s first listed diversified alternatives fund (ASX: BAF). With more than $2.4 billion in assets under management, Blue Sky has delivered net investment returns to investors of 16.7% per annum compounding since inception. Mark serves on the Board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Racing Queensland, and was recently appointed by the Premier as Queensland’s first Chief Entrepreneur. 

Coaches and Mentors

Jon Sawdon Smith
Founder & Technical Lead

Electronic engineer by training, Jon has worked in the product development industry for 20 years, taking in stints at major design consultancies such as IDEO in San Francisco, through to founding clean tech start-ups in London. He has experience taking products from conception through to market, managing development projects and setting up far eastern manufacturing. 

Jens Raun

Serial Entrepreneur, Startup Mentor, Business Management Consultant, Wordpress Website Developer, Medical Tourism Agent, IT Consultant, Digital Marketing Consultant and IT Program Manager with 25+ years business experience from working for large multinational companies in Europe, US, Asia & Australia.

Ali Al-anbuky
Patent and Trademarks Attorney

Ali is a Patent and Trade Marks attorney registered in Australia and NZ with almost a decade of experience. He started his own intellectual business in July 2016, Discover IP Intellectual Property, and has been growing his client base ever since. His business specialises in obtaining IP protection, and developing and implementing IP strategies for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small or medium enterprises (SMEs).

Rishka Booran-Johnson
Business Intelligence Analyst/Mentor

Rishka is a Business Intelligence Analyst and Developer at Gold Coast University Hospital, with over 14 years work experience as an analyst programmer, in various sectors, such as finance, education and now health, with a specific interest in databases. Rishka can guide with how to extract and analyse data and how to use this information to make decisions.
On the side, she has been a serial entrepreneur since 15 years old - she started with making jewellery, ran a local tourism tours, started a web hosting company, developed a guest house sold with a profit, learnt SEO and part-time runs a few websites that assist niche communities in having their businesses be found for them to makes sales. 

Hayley Tarr
Senior Associate, Minter Ellison - Gold Coast

Hayley has been working in the legal field since 2001, specialising in intellectual property since 2006.  Hayley is currently admitted as a Solicitor in Queensland, an Attorney in the State of New York (USA), and a Registered Patent and Trade Marks Attorney.  Hayley holds qualifications in laws and science, including Industrial Property Law, a Bachelor of Science (majoring in genetics), Naturopathy, Yoga Teaching, and Permaculture Design.

Hayley is a regular presenter, giving guest lectures at Bond University, mentoring at the River City Labs, presenting CLE’s for Minter Ellison, running training seminars for the Logan City Council and speaking at The Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase and The Craft Parlour.

Nathan Challen
Founder - Envisage Apps

Passion for innovation has led Nathan to found a range of award winning startups and help others to do the same.  Nathan established local software company Envisage Software in 1999, founded and launched products in the areas of travel, fitness, productivity, consumer ratings over his startup career.  Nathan has commercially developed solutions for customers in diverse sectors as: manufacturing, transportation, construction, robotics and childcare.  Currently developing AI Chatbot technology with a fintech startup - crossing seamlessly between business and technology to see business opportunities is Nathan's superhuman skill.  At EnvisageApps his last 3 most successful projects helped founders secure a combined 10.7 million dollar valuation and raise 2.3 million dollars in capital.

Dave Garnier
Director - New Wave Capital

David has more than twenty years of experience in funding,  corporate advisory and innovation. He has successfully launched and transacted funding requirements for IT & Communications, Digital Media and Transport companies throughout the Asia Pacific region. In addition David has secured capital funding for expansion whilst previously serving in executive and non-executive roles with leading private and public companies in Asia Pacific. David is the founder and Chairman of New Wave Capital, a Hong Kong based Investment Bank and Corporate Advisory firm. David has Bachelor of Commerce from Canberra University and is a qualified CPA. He is a board member of a number of private and public companies. David recently took up residence at the Gold Coast after 9 years in Beijing, China.

Michael Metcalfe
Founder and Director Hoteliyo

Starting from Australia, Michael has worked on 4 continents, visited 40 countries and actively specialise in hotels and venture expansions. He is currently the Founder & Director of Hoteliyo, based on the Gold Coast. 

Hoteliyo is an international, hotel advisory team working with Owners, Developers and Investors. We advise and support execution. Key services include strategic planning, market feasibility, turnaround projects, owner advisory, contract reviews, brand and operator search and hotel concept expansion.

Michael is a Board Advisor for hotels and startup ventures, and mentor with the Branson Entrepreneurship Centre. He has an MBA (Hotel Mngt), B.Bus (Mngt) and Certificate in Hotel Investment (Cornell Uni). 

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Gold Coast is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Sharon
  • Baden


Baden Uren
Head of Entrepreneurship

Innovation, entrepreneurship, education, community. i love the creative side of business and bringing the potential out in others

Event Staff

Tiah Goldstein
Entrepreneurship and Innovation trainer/ Business Navigator, Start up Consultant

Tiah Goldstein, has over 25 years of international experience in the design, delivery, coordination, and evaluation of programs and processes, in the fields of leadership, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, organizational change, professional development, and personal development. 
In the past 7 years, she has created an facilitated action based entrepreneurial educational programs for the nonprofit sector and private sector. She also has facilitated many of the Startup Apprentice programs and has acted as a mentor to the Gold Coast Mayor technology awards, startup weekend and ilab. 
Her expertise in mentoring at startup weekends is the big picture strategy areas and customer discovery/ validation process. Her favorite fruit is Mangos and she is allergic to incense.

Navdeep Pasricha

Youth Leadership Seminar Director.  Navdeep is passionate about facilitation and presenting. He takes it upon himself to step up and make an impact in the wider community, be it on a local or international level . 

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