Startup Weekend Melbourne 2019: Sustainability

    Friday, May 10 - 12, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Melbourne 2019: Sustainability

Friday, May 10 - 12, 2019

Friday, May 10 - 12, 2019
Event starts at 5:45 pm

RMIT Activator
Building 98, 102 Victoria St
Carlton, Victoria 3053

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A weekend for change agents and people of action!

Startup Weekend Melbourne is back!

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers and business development folks come together to pitch an idea, validate it, and launch a business, all in one weekend. 

It's a great opportunity to test startup ideas, meet potential co-founders, build your community in Melbourne and launch your next startup!

Innovation is change that creates value

Our theme this year is Sustainability.

We believe entrepreneurship is the single greatest force in making the world a better place. We are encouraging entrepreneurs from all corners of Melbourne (and the world!) to come out, participate, and create ideas and opportunities that drive real-world social change.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy!

You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues, with a focus on sustainability.

Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely!
Important: You cannot have previously 
worked on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.
Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired make sure you follow our Facebook page to receive notifications about ticket sales. 

Still have questions? Reach out to us at

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday May 10th

5:45 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

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:15 pm
Pitches Start
Line up to give your 60 second pitch

8:20 pm
Everyone votes for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 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.

10:00 pm
Finished for the day, venue closes. Go home and get ready for tomorrow.

Saturday May 11th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Check-in & Begin Work
Review the day's schedule and deadlines. Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend.

10:00 am
Business Model Canvas workshop
Find out how to use the Canvas to your advantage this weekend with Sam Haouchar. Sam will be available after workshop to mentor. (45 mins)

12:00 pm

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

2:00 pm
Mentor Sessions
Mentors help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:00 pm

7:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day, venue closes. Go home and get ready for tomorrow.

Sunday May 12th

9:00 am
Breakfast & Check-in
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee. Review the day's schedule and deadlines. Final opportunity to ask for help about business, marketing, sales etc!

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Pitch Coaching
Pitch coaches are here to help you one-on-one. Get your 5 minute pitches ready and ask for feedback!

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Time to submit and test your final presentation.

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Hugh Williams
Founder, Advisor, Professor, Former Tech Exec

Hugh Williams has had a career in three parts as an entrepreneur, professor, and technical executive. He recently co-founded a not-for-profit venture that helps high school teachers confidently teach coding.
He's also an Adjunct Professor and Distinguished Fellow at the Melbourne Business School, a non-executive director of Redbubble, an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, and an advisor at various startups. 
He was previously the Vice President of Google Maps and has also held executive roles at eBay, Microsoft, Tinder, and Pivotal. Prior to that, he spent over 10 years researching and developing search technologies, and 5 years running his own startup and consultancy.
In what remains of his time, Hugh likes running, cycling, and swimming.

Event Judges

Pawan Lalwani
CEO at Language Your Way

Pawan Lalwani is the Founder and CEO of an Education Technology startup “Language Your Way”, a platform that makes English language learning fun & immersive via game-based learning. He’s also the founding member of Global Esports, a player first eSports organisation. Pawan is a mentor at Deakin University’s SPARK program for entrepreneurs and assists startups with bootstrapping, marketing, strategic thinking, capital raising, China market entry and gamification. Pawan has invested in 5 startups till date and intends to setup a venture fund by 2022.

Dina Goebel
Director of Commercial Innovation Programs, Swinburne University

Dina Goebel is currently Director of Commercial Innovation Programs at Swinburne Innovation Precinct (SIP). With more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience and a Masters degree in Enterprise from Melbourne University, Dina builds and grows new and emerging business models for organisations. Her current role at SIP involves leading the development of Swinburne’s innovation ecosystem, including business accelerator and incubator programs.

George Hedon
Founder and CEO

George Hedon is the Founder and CEO of World's leading creativity-infused business festival, called Pause Fest.
His expertise in design, advertising, media, music, curation and events lead him to create award-winning campaigns, experiences and the festival.

Under his creative leadership, Pause Fest has attracted major brands, startups, agencies, corporates, government and hosted over 600 international and local speakers supporting the growth of Australian born businesses and enterprises. George's interests are in unfolding the future with meaningful experiences.

George is also a regular speaker at meetups and global industry events such as SXSW, Sector 3.0, Pause Fest, General Assembly, Melbourne International Film Festival, Billy Blue College, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology.

Saba Karim
Pipeline Manager @ Techstars

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, at which Saba Karim is the Pipeline Manager, helping source 450 companies per year for their 45 accelerators. Prior to Techstars, Saba helped launch and scale a number of startups over the past 11 years, including Evolve (Acquired by Hubspot), Orai App (Backed by Comcast), and Wattle Cafe (Artisan Australian Cafe in the heart of New York). Saba has also worked with world-renowned organizations such as Harvard University, Apple, Nokia, Universal and Telstra Corporation – and has his work published on CNN, VentureBeat and GQ.
Saba is passionate about startups and disruption. Seeing motivated founders challenging the status quo and making meaningful innovations is why he mentors all sorts of companies in his spare time, from challengers banks, to non-profits, and organic matcha companies.

Coaches and Mentors

Steven Cooper
Developer Advocate at IBM

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, Xero and Telstra 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.

Aiman Hamdouna
Co-founder and CEO

Aiman is the founder and director of Hatch Quarter and an innovation consultant at Mo Works, he’s an entrepreneur at heart with an eye for big ideas and a deep understanding of business strategy and growth hacking.

A Driven leader with a knack for problem-solving, productive ideation, and forward-thinking strategies Aiman has founded and invested in multiple businesses and startups and delivered a range of successful private and government projects.

Aiman understands first-hand the positive impact of diversity and inclusion on innovation, making him passionate about ensuring there are networks and communities available to bridge the gap between local and international entrepreneurs.

Emilia Rossi
Co-Founder Capriess | Digital Strategist

Emilia Rossi inspires young people to think big and be strategic. She started her first retail business in 2008, which triggered her dream of pursuing other business ventures. Emilia then co-founded with her husband Socrates in 2014. Capriess is an award-winning online wedding marketplace enabling more couples to buy and sell preloved (and new) wedding items.

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. 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. 

Dan O'Grady
Cofounder, Simpateco

A lifetime fascination with language and ideas combined with a career in sales and marketing lead me to co-found Simpateco with the mission of helping founders to communicate their purpose clearly and powerfully.
I collaborate with founders to make their big ideas simple and relatable, equipping them with soft skills to deliver their message and make an impact.

Jayant Varma
Founder, Consultant and Developer

Jayant Varma is a technophile and was introduced to computing from the days of 8-bit computers and Z80 chips. He authored the book “Learn Lua for iOS Game Development” and is currently working on swift and other iOS related titles.

As a Founder, Consultant and Developer at OZApps (, he helps organisations and individuals integrate technology into their business and strategies. He also conducts trainings, workshops and writes blogs to share his knowledge with community.

Sam Howell
Startup Growth Consultant

Sam is an experienced project manager and senior R&D consultant, that is purpose-driven. He holds a B.Eng (Hons) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Hani El-Rafei
CPA | Founder

Hani is the founder of Crunchlab, a tech-savvy accounting and advisory firm that helps innovative founders achieve focused and sustainable growth. Hani focuses on helping business owners cut the busywork from their business, through process improvement, and to make smart financial decisions that are informed by real numbers (and not vanity metrics).

Robert Lee
Experience Design Manager

Rob is a design mentor who leads a team of Experience Designers working on projects to improve the experience of Small Business customers of NAB. Previously, he was the Principal Designer for Innovation at NAB Labs for a number of years.

Denis Ruderman

Denis is part of the Growth team at Stripe where he focuses on helping Stripe users monetise the value they deliver and navigate the challenges of international growth. Prior to Stripe he worked in strategy consulting with experience in defining the addressable market, customer segmentation and business cases. Chat with Denis about how to use Stripe to get paid for your MVP and how to present your idea's economic potential in the pitch.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Melbourne 2019: Sustainability 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.

Venue Sponsorship




Global Partner

Organizing Team

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

  • Aainaa
  • Robbie
  • Marek
  • Gemma
  • Anton
  • Myles
  • Nadine
  • Kate
  • Michelle


Daniel Johnsen
Founder, The Recovery Station

Founder, The Recovery Station (winner of Startup Weekend Lexington, Kentucky 2013)
From:KY (we love bourbon), live in Louisville, Kentucky, United States; currently residing in Longreach, Queensland, Australia.
Background: Founded a few companies, currently making a vending kiosk that dispenses pre/post workout drinks like protein shakes that are customizable and blended on-demand for everyday athletes in gyms (idea was the #1 placing idea at a Startup Weekend during a global startup battle).  I'm heavily active in Louisville & KY's startup scene where I help from basic mentoring with early stage ideas, organize Startup Weekends, throw happy hours for the startup & tech scene, the go-to person for pitch feedback before our area accelerator demo days, and random other items that I often forget and just do as they show up on my calendar.  I have a passion for asking some pretty forceful questions to get early stage entrepreneurs to evaluate their market, problem and solution and arrive at some decision point sooner rather than waiting 18+ months to launch MVPs, scale or bury the idea.
SW/UP: Been part of 30+ (?) Startup Weekends as: Sunday night observer x4; team lead x2; organizer x4; facilitator x1; judge x1; only KY rep for 2014 Vegas Summit; Startup Next participant x3 (I think I hold some type of non-verifiable record for as many ideas as I've taken through); Startup Next mentor x1

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