Startup Weekend uOttawa

    Friday, February 27 - March 1, 2015

  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 uOttawa

Friday, February 27 - March 1, 2015

Friday, February 27 - March 1, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

University of Ottawa
55 Laurier Avenue East
Room 4101
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5

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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 entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1500 past events in 120 countries and more than 660 cities around the world.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed 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!

We're excited to be bringing a special edition of Startup Weekend to Ottawa for our 7th Event: Startup Weekend uOttawa
This exclusive edition of Startup Weekend is for current uOttawa students, and recent graduates. Our goal is to connect students across all faculties to encourage and promote entrepreneurship regardless of discipline of study. We look forward to seeing the different types of innovative ideas that can come to life when students branch out and connect with those around them with different skill sets and areas of expertise. 

We’re here to answer any questions or concerns you might have – so don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the organizers!

See you in February!


Friday February 27th

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
Kickoff & Welcome
Housekeeping and Opening Thank You's, Introduce speakers, mentors, 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

11:55 pm
Finished for the day. Go home and try to get some sleep!

Saturday February 28th

8:30 am
Doors Open

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
All Teams briefing meeting
Meeting to outline the day!

10:00 am
Mentor Hours Open
Mentors arrive and begin doing their rounds.

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Guest Speaker- Michael Lachapelle
Session description: The business reality of the 21st century requires a shift in the way we think about entrepreneurship, using discovery-driven methods and moving away from plan based entrepreneurship. In this session Michael will look at key elements of discover-driven entrepreneurship and customer focus. He will introduce the business model canvas tool and business model dynamics as a way to design and evolve startups.

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

2:00 pm
Mentor Hours Close
Scheduled mentor hours end - feel free to chat to a mentor that is hanging around!

6:30 pm

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

11:55 pm
Finished for the day. Go home and try to get some sleep!

Sunday March 1st

8:30 am
Doors Open!

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
All Teams briefing meeting
Meeting to outline the day!

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

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. Tidy up your work area. Prep for Judges and Sunday audience to arrive.

4:00 pm

4:30 pm
Sunday Registration
Judges arrive & registration for Sunday-Only audience

5:10 pm
Final Presentations Begin
5 Minutes each + 5 Minutes of questions

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards
The moment you've all been waiting for!

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Michael Lachapelle
Analyst, Advisor, Speaker on business design and business models

Michael Lachapelle works with founders and senior executives of organizations to design, communicate and change the way they do business. Michael is a certified coach and trainer in working with the Business Model Generation (BM canvas) and Value Proposition Design tools and methods.

Event Judges

Susan Richards, FCMA | General Category
CFO, The Casual

Susan Richards is a CPA and Entrepreneur with 20 years of accounting experience in the Ottawa tech sector having served the last 12 years as Chief Financial Officer to a variety of Ottawa companies.  Since 2013, Susan has been providing VirtualCFO services to Ottawa entrepreneurs on a part-time, contract and casual basis. With a passion for business strategy, Susan enjoys helping local entrepreneurs increase sustainable cash flow, streamline operations, and ensure they have the necessary information to make key decisions.  An entrepreneur at heart, Susan co-founded in 2012 and Numbercrunch in 2014 and has an increased appreciation of the variety of challenges faced by local entrepreneurs. Susan serves on the Board of Invest Ottawa and Equal Voice and has taken a recent interest in B Corporations (businesses solving social and/or environmental problems).

Code Cubitt
Code is a Founder and Managing Director - Mistral Venture Partners

Code is a Founder and Managing Director of Mistral Venture Partners - an early stage venture capital firm with offices in Ottawa, Ontario and San Jose, California. Code has more than 25 years of experience as a company founder, operating executive and investor.  As a Venture Capital and private investor, Code has invested in more than 30 technology companies across North America.   

Prior to Mistral, Code was the Chief Operating Officer of Zephyr Technology (acquired by Covidien NYSE: COV), an Investment Director at Motorola Ventures in California and a Principal at Gabriel Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley based Venture Capital Firm.  Code began his career as a design engineer at IBM in Toronto Canada, before moving to the United States in 1997.

Jeff Parks

I am a senior management consultant specializing in service design. I am a trainer, facilitator and speaker, most recently delivering the opening keynotes for UX Poland and’s professional development conference in 2014. I served as a member of the board of directors for the IA Institute from 2010 to 2013, and have guest lectured at universities and colleges across Canada and the US. Through my most recent start-up, Follow The UX Leader, I have had the pleasure of training the Fortune 500’s leaders in design on cutting edge applications in customer experience management.

Tracey Clark | General Category
President & CEO, Bridgehead Coffee

Tracey clark is president and CEO of bridgehead coffee. Bridgehead Links small scale farmers with consumers through fair trade. Bridgehead operates a Roastery, and sixteen (soon to be twenty!) coffeehouses in Ottawa, as well as a scratch Bakery and Kitchen. Tracey holds an MBA and was awarded a Fellowship in International Development Management from the Again Khan Foundation. Her voluntary work in includes serving as the Chair of Hub Ottawa, and as a member of the Impact Investment Committee of the Ottawa Community Foundation. She enjoys cooking, many outdoor pursuits and time with her family.

Coaches and Mentors

Franco Varriano
Ottawa Director, StartupGrind

Franco's been building businesses and startups since the age of 11. He's currently the co-founder of Hack To Start (, a podcast focused on interesting people and the innovative ways they achieve success. Hack To Start is the #1 rated business podcast on iTunes. He's also the chapter director for Startup Grind Ottawa, and involved in many other startup related endeavours.

You can catchup with Franco on Twitter @FrancoVarriano or at

Martin Kratky-Katz
CEO, MicroMetrics

Martin is Co-CEO & co-founder at MicroMetrics, a startup recently awarded the “Next Big Thing in Ottawa” award at the Best Ottawa Business Awards. He is also a co-founder of ConnectOTT, an annual networking event that connects young professionals with established executives within their industry. Prior to MicroMetrics, Martin was an early employee at Fluidware (recently acquired by SurveyMonkey). In addition to his passion for technology & the startup world, Martin is a history & geography buff, and speaks 6 languages fluently.

Brennan Loh
Head of Business Development, Shopify

In his role, Brennan manages Shopify’s strategic channel partners as well as the company’s network of global resellers. While studying at the University of Ottawa, Brennan co-founded Avitu, an online advertising platform with two software engineering classmates. In late 2010, Brennan and his co-founders left Avitu and joined Shopify full time.Brennan has a Bachelor’s of Commerce from the University of Ottawa and has remained active in the local entrepreneurial community, speaking to and mentoring student entrepreneurs across Canada.

Erin Blaskie
CEO, Entrepreneur

Erin Blaskie first got into computers when her dad handed her a Commodore 64. She was six years old. When the Internet became widely available, Erin started an online journal on the platform Open Diary and began sharing her thoughts with the world. She hasn’t stopped over-sharing since.

In the ten years since starting her first online business, Erin has helped numerous businesses come online, establish their web presence and create community. Erin’s primary expertise is in creating solid systems and processes for businesses but she also leads clients to leverage the power of the Internet to nurture community, create culture and inspire change.

Erin has worked with companies such as Disney, Post, Kraft, Travelocity, Microsoft Canada, Ford Canada, PepsiCo., 3M, Maple Leaf Canada, Canadian Tire, Alliance Films, Feld Entertainment, The Body Shop, TD Bank and more.

Aydin Mirzaee
Director of Product, Survey Monkey

Aydin Mirzaee co-founded Fluidware in 2008 which was responsible for running two very successful SaaS businesses: & The company was bootstrapped and grew to a $12M run-rate and over 90 people in staff. After 6.5 years, Fluidware was acquired by SurveyMonkey (the world's leading online survey company). Aydin currently serves as General Manager of FluidReview within SurveyMonkey.
Aydin is also the co-founder of, a non-profit organization with the vision to create a community of young entrepreneurs in every city around the world. 

Manu Sharma
Founder, Managing Partner - OAK Computing

Manu is an Engineer by background, Technology Entrepreneur by choice, and Community Activist at heart. He has spent the last 15 years of his life building unique technology solutions, encouraging young entrepreneurs, supporting community betterment initiatives, facilitating innovation relationships and developing niche talent advancement programs. Manu has a strong strategic interest in creating opportunities to empower individuals, organizations and communities to connect, communicate, collaborate and co-create.

Manu is currently engaged as a Managing Partner with OAK Computing, an Ottawa based full service software development firm that he co-founded. Manu manages the commercial and business interests at OAK, making sure that the creative success of the team is continually translated into viable and sustainable business opportunities. Recently Manu accepted the position of Entrepreneur-in-Residence at 1125@Carleton, an experimental, collaborative space at Carleton University dedicated to problem solving, whether focused on new products and services, or addressing irritants or complex “wicked” problems. Manu is a Trustee with Kiva Zip and he sits on the board of HUB Ottawa. Previously, Manu worked with Ottawa Centre for Reseach and Innovation (OCRI) as the Manager of Entrepreneurship Development & Innovation Support, a role in which he developed, managed, facilitated and supported youth leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation support programs in Ottawa. 

Luc Lalande | Hardware / Maker Mentor
Executive Director, Entrepreneurship Hub, University of Ottawa

Luc Lalande is the Executive Director of the University of Ottawa Entrepreneurship Hub.  As an Ottawa-based innovation practioner with extensive experience in academic-industry-government sectors, Luc specializes in the design and execution of custom programs that build innovation capacity for communities. These grassroots innovation programs are crafted to work with local partners (corporate and institutional) and volunteers in both the private and public sectors, foundations and venture philanthropists.  Current focus areas include the establishment of makerspaces in schools, libraries and community centres that deliver youth programs.  He has recently raised funds to acquire 3D printers as a means of engaging youth in disadvantaged communities.

Nish Patel | General Category
CEO, ConceptShare

Who am I? That's an easy question. I am an entrepreneur who knows how to take an idea and turn it into a successful business. I don’t really care where the idea came from. It could be yours. It could be mine. Ideas are plentiful. I am passionate about the art and science of turning an idea into tangible results. I believe that the science part is about validating the idea by finding paying customers, letting those lead customers define our target markets and then using data to build a repeatable, scalable and sustainable sales & marketing machine to dominate those markets. I believe that the art part is all about balancing what the data is telling me with my gut instinct, building a team where I hire for attitude first (after all “how to” gaps are a Google search away) and building a high degree of resiliency into our culture. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend uOttawa 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.

Signature Sponsors




Contributing Sponsor

Organizing Team

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

  • Krissie
  • Renee
  • Stephen
  • Paul


Myles Foster
Organizer, Mentor & Judges

Myles founded a startup at Startup Weekend. Over 3 years he raised a $100k seed round, built a mobile app, and secured a Fortune 500 company as a customer. Myles now works at Payment Rails, a local Startup that makes payouts painless.

Event Blog

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