Startup Weekend Melbourne

    Friday, March 2 - 4, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Melbourne

Friday, March 2 - 4, 2018

Friday, March 2 - 4, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

YBF Ventures
520 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Get inspired!

The most challenging part of taking an idea from concept to creation is actually starting out. Startup Weekend overcomes this by immersing participants in an encouraging and inspiring environment so the startup magic can happen! Our goal is to connect you with entrepreneurial-minded, enthusiastic people for an exciting weekend of big ideas! 

With a vast number of resources and our superstar mentors to guide you, by the end of the weekend you'll have a whole new wealth of knowledge to continue on with your creation or to apply to your everyday life!

Startup Weekend is your destination for the weekend of March 2nd-4th!

Who is Startup Weekend For?
It doesn't matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an event that brings all sorts of people together, including:
- aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs,
- developers and other tech-related professionals,
- designers of all types,
- anyone with talents/skills in business, sales, finance, legal, health, wellness, mindfulness ... anything really
- students from universities and even high schools,
- professionals looking to switch careers,
- passionate visionaries,
- all-time learners.

Your ticket includes:
- Access to the full weekend-long event
- Mentoring by all-stars from the entrepreneurship community
- Tasty meals 
- Collaboration with awesome people from across the industry
- All-star judge's panel lead by startup and entrepreneurial leaders
- Cool goodie bags, from us and our partners
- Membership in the Startup Weekend Community (>200K alumni)
- A process for taking any idea from concept to creation in a matter of days
- And over 60 new awesome Facebook friends!

Do I need to come up with an idea?
If you have an idea for a startup, then great! We hope you pitch for the weekend. If you don't have an idea, that's alright! Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched, and see if something piques your interest! The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and learning from each other. If you have more questions, check out the Startup Weekend First Timers FAQ: !

Join us for a super exciting weekend!

Questions? Press inquiries? Please email us at

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday March 2nd

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 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 March 3rd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

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

2:00 pm
Mentor Meetings
Mentors 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 March 4th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Mentor Meetings
Mentors 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

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Rhys Evans
General Manager at Versent

Rhys delivers business outcomes using technology.

He does this by assessing where a product/project is at, where it needs to be and implementing a crawl/walk/run strategy that covers people, process and technology improvement by building solid teams and using the "always be shipping" methodology with a strong focus on end customer outcomes.

Marina Paronetto
Founder of Powerhousehq / Innovation Manager at PwC Australia

Marina is the Founder of PowerhouseHQ an organisation designed to enable entrepreneurship and youth empowerment. Marina's mandate is to create conditions that enable learn by doing and build positive change. 

As part of Powerhousehq Marina has developed , a social program to enable girls to learn business skills and actively supports the Melbourne startup scene by hosting hackathons, conferences, workshops, and as a founding member of Startup Victoria Female founders committee.

As part of PwC Experience Center team, Marina has been working with large public and private organisations, helping to identify what challenges and opportunities to focus, re-image their value proposition, leveraging assets and market analysis to build human centred design solutions, which deliver value and positive impact.

Michelle Mannering
Founder of Variant X

Michelle is an entrepreneurial type that enjoys driving Victoria's startup community. She's co-founded a couple of companies alongside running hackathons to MCing, speaking, and facilitating a range of events. With a background in both the Science and Arts, she's got a unique insight into the collaborative culture that is at the forefront of our future work.

Lama Tayeh
Founder & Head Honcho ‎of LULUMPR®

Lama Tayeh is the Founder & CEO of LULUMPR® a digital PR & agile marketing company that partners with high-growth startups, technology companies and entrepreneurs to help fast track their brands’ visibility, tell their story, connect with their audiences, and drive engagement.Lama is an accomplished and highly regarded tech marketing thought leader. Her area of expertise lay in the space where business, technology, and design intersect with digital PR and the marketing narrative. Throughout her career Lama has helped build & grow many of some of today’s most renowned brands in: technology, media, aviation and professional services industry.  As well as enabling brands to expand & thrive globally across: Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Middle East, India and South Africa.Lama is recognised as a dynamic & conscious leader with passion for paying it forward. She is currently a Member of CMO Global Council, and an active advocate for tech diversity and inclusion.

Darcy Naunton
Partner at Adventure Capital Venture Management

Darcy is a Partner at Adventure Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on funding and guiding Australian seed to Series A tech startups. Adventure Capital is intently focused on advancing the local startup ecosystem, seizing the opportunity in Australia’s undercapitalised private markets and supporting innovative and driven entrepreneurs to make a global impact. 

Coaches and Mentors

Vanessa Doake
Co-founder & COO of Code Like a Girl

Vanessa is the co-founder of Code Like a Girl, a highly successful and award-winning initiative that provides girls with the support, tools and knowledge to enter and flourish in the world of coding.

She has developed an HR skill set working in senior and leadership positions in the not-for-profit, health and government sectors. 

Gender equality and social justice are concurrent themes in my career, and she currently leads HR and Operations at Women's Legal Service Victoria and serve as a committee member for the Australian Human Resource Institute Diversity Network.

Alexander Jannink
R&D Leader & Innovator

Alexander specializes in building high-performance R&D teams to identify and capitalize on opportunities for revenue growth.

Through outcome-driven expertise in product development and cross-functional team leadership, Alexander has a track record of delivering strong gains from new and existing products. He identifies and implements strategies to increase revenues, strengthen customer relationships, improve business practices and drive profitable growth by directing concurrent projects using broad-based management skills, with strong planning, communication and decision-making ability.

With a comprehensive understanding of engineering, technology, business and management concepts, Alexander bridges the divide between internally-focused innovation teams and the need to provide customer benefit in externally focused sales and management teams. Through staff mentoring and nurturing the right environment, Alexander encourages a team environment for a high level of employee innovation, confidence and satisfaction in order to rapidly deliver products with wide-ranging societal benefit.

Anton Stout
Innovation Lead, Business Design, Founder

Anton's been an innovation lead, writer/author, co-founder and MBA lecturer, International Marketing, Strategic Management, International Corporate Strategy and New Venture Creation (Entrepreneurship)

He continues to invest time and energy in his passions - startups, design thinking, innovation, business models, clean tech, social enterprise, digital health, training and education.

Specialities: startup methodology, UX design, agile scrum, product innovation, marketing support, advisor, entrepreneurship, service design, training, coaching, marketing, translation, localisation, strategic management, international business integration.

Steven Cooper
API and Platform Evangelist at Telstra

An established international speaker and respected technologist Steven has covered some half million kilometers as a speaker and mentor at over 100 tech and developer events. Among his activities in the international community Steven has helped run the acclaimed BattleHack series for PayPal/Braintree all over the world.Representing global technology companies such as PayPal, Braintree and Xero Steven has worked closely with developer communities as a Tech Evangelist and industry thought leader to develop and nurture the healthy start-up and developer culture that continues to flourish.Over the last 20 years, Steven has worked as a senior developer/tech lead for a host of start-ups and as a developer analyst for more than 10 years with Sensis. He has configured and spec’d technology for the likes of Samsung, Virgin, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Visa, St. George and Westpac.

Hayden Peters
Consulting UX design professional

Hayden has over 20 years of experience in digital leadership, management and experience design. He has built and grown end-to-end production teams in Australia and overseas, specialising in user experience, development and delivery.

Marek Herreros
Engineer & Management Consultant

I'm thrilled by blending art and science, that's why innovation is the perfect space for me. 

I quench my thirst to learn in that space from my work experience in innovation & strategy execution, books, online trainings, etc. 

Sean Burns
Ideas & innovation management, strategy, creative lead

Sean is a creative leader with extensive industry, multinational and multicultural experience. I have held senior roles spanning research, strategy, design, delivery and operational management across a range of industries in APAC, Europe and MENA. Specialist in leading human centred design projects, prototyping, lean validation, corporate innovation, omni-channel experience & product design, business partnering and people development with a portfolio of successful business transformations. I build and lead creative teams and effectively manage creative talent to research, ideate, prototype, test and deliver premium products and experiences which drive engagement, grow audiences and deliver ROI. 

Laxmi Pun
Startups l Innovation l Entrepreneurship l Impact Investing l

Strongly believe that "entrepreneurship drives economies". Helping startups and businesses see endless possibilities. Co create solutions that are sustainable and human centric.

Daniel Paronetto
Entrepreneur, Corporate Innovation Specialist, Innovation Hacker @TelstraLabs

Originally from São Paulo Brazil, Dan came to Melbourne in 2008. 

He has over 5 years experience in creating global brands such as: 7-Eleven, Cricket Australia, International Cricket Council, Metro, ONE HD, Mitre10, Crown Casino, AMP, Mark Webber's personal brand, RMIT, Melbourne Festival, PTV, Shanghai Towers, Santos, Visy, Pause Fest, Singapore Police Force, Fiji Airways and Tahiti Tourism.

He's the founder& CEO at FanFuel, helping brands connect with influential athletes to create social media endorsement deals.

Founder of, the car wash that comes to you wherever you are parked in Melbourne.

He's currently working as Innovation Hacker @TelstraLabs with a focus on Horizon 2 & 3 opportunities.

Bea Stathy
Special Counsel at Law Squared

Bea is a Special Counsel at Law Squared in Melbourne.  She is a specialist technology adviser with experience in commercial, intellectual property, privacy and technology-related matters.  Her work areas cover a variety of sectors, including fintech and biotech, but a large part of her practice relates to software and IT-related issues.  She also has a particular interest in cloud services and data security technologies, and she keenly observes issues at the intersection of privacy and “big data”.   Law Squared is an innovative law firm with deep roots in helping entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses, and Bea is always happy to leverage her knowledge to assist the tech community.

Zuong Dang
IP Lawyer

Zuong specialises as an intellectual property and commercial lawyer based in Melbourne. As an IP lawyer with a passion for technology, innovation and collaboration, she has been an active participant in the Australian start-up community, striving to work with entrepreneurs across Australia and internationally to develop their brand identities and maximise their goodwill through intellectual property protection. Her practice covers both contentious and non-contentious intellectual property law matters, with a focus on the commercialisation of intellectual property rights. She has represented startups across various industries including fashion, media, technology (drone, blockchain, cloud computing, cryptocurrency, AR, VR and AI), e-commerce and the arts.

John Webster
Startup Founder and CEO at Shiftiez - Predictive Scheduling and Roster Automation

Shiftiez is the roster automation solution for companies that love their staff. Businesses often struggle to build and communicate schedules. Shiftiez helps by building schedules around fatigue and shift rules as well as co-planning shifts with staff through their phones. Giving time back to the business to work on other things and building a more involved and happier workforce.

John has broad software release, operations, governance and audit experience in the fin-tech space. He enjoys working on complex integration programmes that have elements across people, process and technology to create successful outcomes. 

Seeking a better fit for people to achieve a work-life balance, he founded Shiftiez to create people-oriented solutions that improve businesses bottom line.

He's an active member of the Melbourne Startup community through Melbourne Silicon Beach and welcome contacts from people looking to be more involved in the startup space.

Sahil Kaura
Co-Founder & Head of Investments at

Sahil is a financial services specialist with over 10 years of experience across portfolio management, investment consulting and asset liability management. 

At, he is helping to create a highly advanced and automated personal advice and investment solution accessible to all Australians. 

In his previous roles, he consulted to superannuation funds and endowments on investment strategy, managed active fixed income portfolio strategies and advised superannuation funds on asset liability management.

Michael Qiu
Tech Founder | Adviser | Product Manager

GradReady is a technology company that makes learning more engaging and efficient through Adaptive Learning Technologies. Established in 2010 by doctors at the University of Melbourne, we have grown to be the largest postgraduate medical school entrance exam preparation provider in Australia - with nationwide operations.

Year after year, our students have improved their scores by at least 24 percentile points on average and have achieved a medical school admissions rate of at least 90% on average.

Leon Gouletsas
Bluemix Sales Specialist at IBM Cloud

Educator. Evangelist. Entrepreneur.

Practice leader for the IBM Bluemix Garage in Melbourne, Australia: a consultancy with a startup DNA.

Facilitator of educational programs, community events for developers and entrepreneurs such as Startup Weekend and NEXT. 

Evangelising technology startups and entrepreneurs through their journey to validate their business model, gain traction and influence, ultimately disrupting entire industries. 

Crafting strategy and improving processes for entrepreneurial organisations with a strong focus on learning, best practice and community.

He's driven to understand difficult problems then provide leadership and a strategy to get them solved. 

Kyran Mcdonnell
CEO of reVolt Energy

CEO of reVolt Energy  

Adam Weiss
Founder and CEO of

Adam Weiss is the founder and CEO of

Akshay Sachdeva
Account Manager at Growth Wizards

Akshay is your startup friend, who's previously participated in a number of a startup weekends and incubator programs. He loves to guide startup teams by helping them get along and get focused on creating an awesome product their customers love and changing the world meaningfully. 
He is account manager at 
Growth Wizards, a company helping tech companies create amazing content & Freelance Innovation Consultant helping companies re-invent their product/service experience with design thinking. 

Athena Thompson
Tech Leaver

A commercialisation and technology transfer specialist, Athena is passionate about commercialising Australian technology, growing Australian talent, and creating new opportunities for women in the international technology sector. She is highly regarded for her ability to create and implement successful strategic development initiatives in start-ups, SMEs and research organisations. She uses her networks and her commercialisation expertise to identify markets, prospective partners and funding opportunities to support new Australian products and services to enter the global market.

Frank Guzman
General Manager - Academy Xi

With a Masters degree in Design and Innovation Management and a background in architecture, I’m passionate about collaboration, new models of education that help shaping a pathway for growth and success.

For the past year my focus has been on creating a community of interest around emerging fields of design and technology and developing programs, partnerships and events that elevate the conversation in our community.

Kai Lin Teng
Green Koncepts Pte Ltd - Intelligent Cloud Energy Management

Kai Lin Teng is a user experience designer with 4+ years of experience with digital interfaces - concentrating on information design, usability and content strategy, for websites and mobile applications. She practices user-centered design principles, basing design decisions on user needs and business goals.

Rohan Soans
Co-Founder at Balancing Act3

Rahul is an Engineer with a Masters in International Business. In another life, he was a project manager in the telecommunications industry, and after coming to his senses, he fell into the social enterprise and startup world in Melbourne. He has cut his teeth working for startups, founded a consulting company and now runs The Disruptive Business Network - an event series and consulting service that looks at how new ideas and technology are changing business. He is also the co-founder of Balancingact3, a consultancy that equips purpose-driven businesses and organizations from the human rights and human services sectors with the tools and knowledge to transform, innovate and create services that advance human rights. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Melbourne team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Melbourne - Retail Tech is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Marek
  • Emily
  • Daniel
  • Andrew
  • Kate
  • Ben
  • Jessica
  • Nadine
  • Aainaa


Nadine Saadi
Product Manager

Nadine Saadi is an ambitious and well-rounded technology development and delivery professional with 5 years of progressive experience in a highly competitive, entrepreneurial and innovation-driven environment. Nadine started as a software developer at the commercialization arm at Flinders University in South Australia. She later spun out the company, leading the product development and taking it from a minimum viable status to a scalable award-winning enterprise SaaS platform through strategic planning, working with stakeholders at every level, proactively engaging and servicing users, and representing the company in boardrooms and international conferences in Australia, Canada and Malaysia. Nadine brings a natural ability for process and product optimization, achieving organizational targets, and effective communication. 

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