Startup Weekend Hamilton Maker Edition GSB

    Friday, November 21 - 23, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Hamilton Maker Edition GSB

Friday, November 21 - 23, 2014

Friday, November 21 - 23, 2014
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Mohawk College
135 Fennell Ave W
Hamilton, ON L9C 1E9

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Start a business in 54 hours! Build a working prototype! Meet entrepreneurs and mentors! Gain valuable experience!

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations. A Maker Edition event celebrates the maker movement. It will combine the typical Startup Weekend web-based format with the rapid prototyping possibilities that have been made possible in recent years by technologies such as desktop 3D printing, laser-cutting, and microcontrollers. Designers, developers, business people and makers will collaborate to create a working prototype and a business plan over an intense, 54 hour period. The final prototypes will be judged on business model and customer validation as well as their technical execution and design.
Global Startup Battle is a virtual battle that winners of every Startup Weekend worldwide held on the two weeks surrounding Global Entrepreneurship Week become eligible to compete in.  Placing teams will have the opportunity to compete for up to $500,000 in prizes, gain international exposure, and showcase the best of the Hamilton startup scene.


Friday November 21st

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

6:45 pm
Refreshments & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:45 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams form, discuss ideas, and move to work area

9:20 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 November 22nd

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Mentors Arrive
They are here to help!

1:30 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

3:00 pm
3D Printing Support Arrives
Have your models ready to print

6:15 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 November 23rd

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Continue Working

9:00 am
3D Printing Support Arrives
Have your models ready to print

10:00 am
Mentors Arrive
They are hear to help!

12:00 pm

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
Stop Working
prepare to present

4:30 pm
Final Presentations

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
After Party Event
Awards and Winners Announced

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!
Continue your business dreams!


Colin Gagich and Dominik Kaukinen
HitchBOT Developers

Colin and Dominik were introduced to the concept of hitchBOT in February 2014. At that point, it was no more than an idea and scribbles on paper. Over the next 6 months, hitchBOT was constructed in Colin's basement workshop. At the end of July, the little robot was placed on the side of the road in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After three weeks, and 10,000 km later, hitchBOT had successfully hitchhiked across Canada finding itself in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.   

Matt Gardner
Co-founder at Videostream

Matt Gardner is the co-founder of Videostream, whose team formed at a Startup Weekend two years ago. The team went on to win Global Startup Battle 2012 and entered into the HYPERDRIVE accelerator in Waterloo, Ontario where they continue to live and work today. The company has grown to 5 full-time employees and has been expanding its user-base rapidly. Videostream has passed 550,000 installs in just 7 months, entertaining people worldwide with wireless video on their TVs. Matt is also a McMaster graduate, serving as the Engineering Valedictorian in 2014.

Download Videostream at

Event Judges

Karen Grant
Executive Director of Angel One Investor Network

Karen is the executive director of Angel One Investor Network.  Angel One is one of the leading angel groups in Canada according to a National Angel Capital Association 2012 and 2013 report and has invested over $15 million in 50 investments over the past 3 years.  Karen Grant is an entrepreneur, board director, consultant, and mentor.  She has founded companies, raised capital, launched investment funds and has worked in the commercialization field with FedNor, FedDev, Ontario Centres of Excellence, University of Toronto, McMaster University and Growthworks Capital.  Earlier in her career she led and grew the Toronto Venture Group, working with hundreds of companies that were seeking capital.  Karen’s corporate experience includes 12 years with IBM Canada where she had roles in sales, marketing and communications

Dr. Navneet Kaur
Business Development Manager at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Dr. Nav Kaur is a Business Development Manager at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). To help drive Ontario’s innovation agenda, Nav’s mandate is to build strategic partnerships with industry and academia to commercialize innovative technologies, support academic and youth-led start-ups, talented innovators and entrepreneurs.   Nav has over 10 years of private sector experience, primarily in the areas of analytical chemistry and clinical diagnostics. She has held positions in technical sales, business development, project management and R&D. In addition to advanced health technologies, Nav currently works on projects across all sectors including advanced manufacturing; energy and the environment and information, communications technologies & digital media (with emphasis in financial services technologies).  Nav holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Montreal and a BSc from Concordia University.

Tony Thoma
Dean, Faculty of Engineering Technology at Mohawk College

Tony Thoma, Dean, Faculty of Engineering Technology at Mohawk College. His experience includes senior-level positions in industry including: VP, Operations at Matalco, Inc., and Global Technical Director at Wescast Industries. Tony has coordinated industrial association research with postsecondary education and government, including the development of the Yves Landry Award winning Mohawk Foundry and the College’s Metal Casting Technician program. Tony is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEO), a member of the Quality and Mission Committee of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s Hospital, and has served as a board member on the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario. Tony has an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Brock University, and a B.Sc. in Metallurgy and Materials Science from McMaster University.

David Carter
Executive Director at Innovation Factory

David is the former CTO and co-founder of Awareness Inc. He is enthusiastic about the technologies, processes, and team building and their measurable impact on a company. David will tell you his sweet spot is where technology, sales, and marketing intersect, and also warn you that new technology does not always solve the problem. Before founding Awareness inc., Dave worked as an Internet Strategy Manager at Microsoft.

Anthony Fung
Deputy Secretary of Technology

Mr. Fung is currently serving as Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this capacity, Mr. Fung serves as a senior advisor to the commonwealth on technology matters including, big data/analytics, innovation and entrepreneurship, and technology operations. Mr. Fung is proven executive with over 17 years of experience in information technology management, strategic planning, and operations management. Prior to joining the commonwealth, Mr. Fung was the CEO of a professional consulting firm, which serviced Federal focused clients such as DoD, HHS, DHS, and GSA. Mr. Fung also served as a SCORE counselor, providing advice to small business on start-up best practices, business operations, and strategy. Mr. Fung has been recognized as one of Washington’s top business leaders, recipient of Washington Business Journal’s Award, SmartCEO Top 100 CEOs, and named Top 40 Under 40 Business Leader.

Coaches and Mentors

Robert Gerritsen
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mohawk College

Robert J Gerritsen is a Certified Engineering Technologist with a diploma from Mohawk College in Mechanical Engineering Design and an MBA from California Coast University. Currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mohawk College, Robert has spent 26 years working in industry primarily in the areas of machine design, automation and product design & development.  Robert is an expert in the tools and techniques required to create and deliver innovative designs, products and solutions quickly and cost effectively using CAD / CAM / CAE, mechanical design, engineering, automation, industrial design, product development, virtual & rapid prototyping. Robert has held senior engineering management position with some of Canada’s leading manufacturers including Apotex (pharmaceuticals) ADM (food & confectionery) and Quebecor (commercial printing), among others.  

Alex Ross
Partner in Intellectual Property at Gowlings

Alex Ross is a partner (lawyer and registered patent agent) in the Intellectual Property Group of the Hamilton office of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.  His practice includes all areas of intellectual property law, in particular patent drafting and prosecution, preparation of patent infringement and validity opinions and advising on patent strategy, with a focus on mechanical devices and computer and information technology.

Melanie Sodtka
Professor and Program Coordinator for Mohawk College’s McKeil School of Business, Owner of Livewire Coaching and Consulting

Melanie offers expertise in multiple disciplines including, International Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Networking, Customer Relationship Management and Organizational Behavior to name a few. Prior to these endeavors, she held Management positions in both Marketing and Human Resources for General Mills Canada for over 10 years. During her time working for the tier-one Canadian Package Goods Company, she successfully led and implemented multiple projects ranging in International Training and Development, Leadership Development Programs as well as North American Recruiting efforts.  She brings strengths in the areas of instructional design, development and program delivery in both technical and soft skills arenas to her consulting and leadership solutions. She is certified in Professional Coaching from CTI as well as a certified practitioner in Myers Briggs and is classically trained in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Program and also holds a MBA from Niagara University.

John Fink
Digital Scholarship Librarian at McMaster University

John has worked in academia for most of his working life with a slight digression into startups in San Francisco in the early 2000s. His background is in Linux/Unix systems administration and infrastructure development.  At the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship at Mac he builds disk arrays, Ruby programming, and some systems-y administrator type stuff. He is considered a research librarian and describes what he does as "Research IT".  The Sherman Centre includes a makerspace where he and his colleagues have taught classes to undergrads revolving around building stuff with Arduino.  Next year they will be teaching intermediate-level courses which will involve both Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Chris Farias
VP of Creative at KITESTRING

Chris is VP of Creative at KITESTRING, a columnist, and award-winning entrepreneur. He loves #HamOnt and is proud to support his community.

Simon Woodside
Founder of Monolith Interactive

Simon Woodside has been creating mobile apps for more than a decade. An entrepreneur, an alumnus of Apple in Cupertino, and with a degree in computer science from the University of Waterloo, Simon is now the founder of Monolith, a mobile product development company in Waterloo and Toronto. He’s created an in-car virtual dashboard and replay app for GM, a chat app for kik, and worked with companies from seed through Series A&B, up to the Fortune 50. His passion is to combine user experience with deep technical excellence. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Hamilton Maker Edition GSB 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 Hamilton is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

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Event Blog

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