Startup Weekend Queenstown 2019

    Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
Buy Tickets

Event Alerts and Updates

Get the latest on Techstars Startup Weekend, Queenstown, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Startup Weekend Queenstown 2019

Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019

Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Queenstown Memorial Centre
1 Memorial Street
Queenstown, New Zealand 9300

Buy Tickets

Learn the skills necessary to launch a new business idea faster and smarter

Where do you learn to turn an idea into a business? Startup Weekend is the place!

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend. We're hosting 66 passionate people in Queenstown, New Zealand and want to see you!

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.

Not everyone comes with an idea or problem to solve. That's OK - there are plenty of ideas to work on. The ideas you pitch and the problems you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. 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 worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend-long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our local and global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at


Need Accommodation?

Jucy Snooze is sponsoring Startup Weekend Queenstown 2019 by offering discounted rates for participants. 
  • $40 per night for Jucy Snooze Pod
  • $125 per night for Jucy Snooze Private Room w/Double Bed 
To secure your spot, head along to the JUCY Website and enter the promo code 999901 to receive the above rates.

miPad Queenstown (New Zealand's first Smart Hotel) is also supporting with discounted rates for participants:
$195 per night for a Standard Double Room ( “everything you need, and nothing you don’t”)

Contact miPad directly to secure your room quoting "Startup Weekend" to receive this special rate.

If you have any questions, please email us.


Why Attend?

Many people want to try entrepreneurship, but can't find time around their study/work/family commitments. Startup Weekends are a high-impact/low-commitment vehicle for you to test your ideas and see if entrepreneurship is for you. Even if you aren't looking to start something new, this experience will equip you with entrepreneurial thinking, that you can bring into your existing work. Not everyone can spare 3 months, but everyone can spare a weekend.
  • You will get a taste of the startup world, and gain first-hand experience about every step of building a startup (at the very least, it'll be a memorable weekend away from your usual daily routine).
  • You might find your perfect co-founder soulmate with whom you'll go on to launch a multi-million dollar startup, be it on this weekend or down the road.
  • You will get a chance to network and mingle with some of the top brass in the New Zealand entrepreneurship/investing communities - individuals that would otherwise be very hard to reach - and ask them questions to your heart's content.
  • You will greatly expand your network and build lasting relationships with the most innovative, creative and motivated people in the Queenstown Lakes District. This could mean a new client, employer, business partner, new employee, investor or even a friend!
  • Plus, if your team wins, you will get heaps of additional resources and mentorship to help you get your startup off the ground. There are also plenty of investors in the crowd, so if your pitches were something special, you might even get funding (it happens!).
We begin on Friday night with open-mic "elevator pitches", where participants get 60 seconds to pitch their ideas to the crowd and try to recruit the best talent in the room! Teams then form around the most exciting ideas, and spend the rest of the night planning for the battle ahead.

The whole of Saturday and much of Sunday is a mad dash to build, validate, pivot, polish and test your Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The weekend culminates with a pitch-night where teams present their MVP to a panel of judges, guests and fellow participants. 

In the end, a winner is crowned and everyone celebrates over a few casual drinks - a chance to network before saying goodbye! 
The price of your ticket almost covers the cost of your food and drinks; if you work out how much six meals + unlimited coffee will cost, you could more than break even just by showing up and eating!

On top of all the grub, all participants get heaps of exclusive goodies including free domain names, web services and more. Not to mention free coaching and guidance from some of the best mentors around. All in all, it's probably the best $99 you'll ever spend. 
You don't have to be! 

At every Startup Weekend, participants come from all walks of life, ranging from students to educators, bankers to doctors, even retirees! Worried you don't have the skills? That is why we have experienced mentors here to guide you (and Startup Weekends are about learning anyway). Too young/old? We have had participants as young as 12 and as old as 70, so if you fall within 0-100 years old, you're sweet! 
Get off that fence, join us, and get ready for the ride of your life. 

We still have sponsorship packages available for Startup Weekend. 
Please contact for full details on how your company can get involved to support this incredible initiative.

Techstars terms
Refund Policy: No refunds will be granted within 7 days of the event. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Terms of Participation Agreement: It is our job to provide you with an incredible networking and learning opportunity. Our intention is that you meet some amazing people that you might actually start a company with, build relationships with coaches, and learn from your peers. The event is intended to be a collaborative forum for sharing, learning, building, and having fun. As such, by registering as a participant, you acknowledge that any ideas shared by you or anyone else over the course of the event are contributions to the overall experience and community. If you as a participant are worried about someone stealing your ideas, please reconsider your participation in the event itself or simply refrain from sharing specifics about your idea. As a member of your startup community, you agree to be inclusive of any and all people and their ideas. You agree to act professionally, treat everyone with respect, and treat the event facilities with proper care. You agree that you are responsible for any accidents or damages that you cause. You also agree to not hold Techstars Startup Weekend, your local volunteer team, or any of the event supporters liable for any loss, damage, injury, or any other unforeseeable incident. By Participating at the event, you grant Techstars Startup Weekend and its organisers permission to capture photo/video of the event. You can find the exact legal terms on our FAQ Page but to summarize, we want to share your success with the world. By submitting your information above you agree to the Techstars website's Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive email communication from Techstars and its programs about events and updates that may interest you.

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 18th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in.

5:15 pm
Dinner & Networking
Light meal, share ideas, get to know fellow participants

5:45 pm
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders. Learn the rules. Get pumped!

6:15 pm
Brain Game - Snake Oil
A fun brain activation activity that gets participants minds going around the possibilities for creating a product for a target market.

6:30 pm
Pitches Start
Anyone who wants to pitch a problem or an idea for a solution can do so. You'll have 1 minute!

7:30 pm
Form Teams
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

7:50 pm
InstaLecture - Business Model Canvas
Mentors will provide a quick overview of the business model canvas - an important tool to doing your work.

8:00 pm
InstaLecture - Kan Ban
Learn the simple techniques of Kan Ban task boards, and managing your teams time and priorities.

8:10 pm
Insta-Lecture: Decision Making
Learn the best way to resolve disagreements quickly and understand the team dynamic.

11:00 pm
Venue Closes
Go get a good nights sleep. Tomorrow is a big day to understand the problem better and begin to validate a solution.

Saturday October 19th

8:00 am
Venue Doors Open
Welcome back. Time to get after it!

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Begin Work
Know your problem. Validate like crazy and begin to think about solution/market fit.

8:45 am
Morning Standup - All Participants
1 member of each team will share a quick update on status.

9:00 am
InstaLecture - Validation & Surveys
Get a handle on what's important to ask during market validation, asking good questions, and the general principles of design thinking.

12:00 pm
Lunch Standup - All Participants
1 member of each team will share a quick update on status.

12:10 pm

5:30 pm
Evening Standup - All Participants
1 member of each team will share a quick update on status.

5:45 pm

6:00 pm
Practice Pitches
A rough outline of your pitch and where you're at to a group of practice judges.

11:00 pm
Venue Closed
Finished for the day. Get a good nights sleep.

Sunday October 20th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:00 am
Venue Doors Open

8:30 am
Begin Work
Hone your solution. Begin work on your pitch. Continue validating. Find early users.

8:50 am
Morning Standup - All Participants
1 member of each team will share a quick update on status.

9:00 am
InstaLecture - Deliver A Killer Pitch
Learn what makes a great pitch, see a sample pitch, and understand the score card.

9:15 am
Practice Pitch
Work out the flow of your pitch and identify gaping holes and missing info.

12:00 pm
Lunch Standup - All Participants
1 member of each team will share a quick update on status.

12:10 pm

2:00 pm
Final Pitch Practice
Your hones pitch is presented to judges for final feedback.

4:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:30 pm
Final Presentation Materials Complete
Turn in your digital pitch deck to the tech desk. No more changes to the presentations. You still have time to practice your 5-minute pitch.

4:45 pm
Work Hall Cleanup
Help clean up the workspace for the end-of-night pitch event.

4:50 pm
InstaLecture - Who own the idea?
A quick overview about what do after Startup Weekend if you want to pursue the business further.

5:00 pm
Pitch Event - Doors open
Guests, family, friends and VIP will be welcome to arrive.

5:30 pm
Pitch Event - Welcome and Intros
Meet the judges, review the format of the evening.

5:45 pm
Pitch Event - Final Presentations
The times are strictly enforced as each team will have 5 minutes to present and be followed up by 4 minute Q&A from the judges.

6:45 pm
Drinks and Canapes Served
Let the fun and celebration begin!

8:00 pm
Judging & Awards
Awards will be given by the judges as well as a people's choice.

8:30 pm

Event Judges

Jim Boult
Mayor, Queenstown and Chairman, Wayfare Group

Mayor of Queenstown and chairman to many companies, including tourism leader Wayfare Group (Real Journeys, GoOrange, Cardrona, et al), Jim Boult is a recognized local business leader, entrepreneur, and today, leader of the District council.

Coaches and Mentors

Kieran Gardiner
Business Development Manager, Feast Creative

Entrepreneurial business development professional, with a passion for innovation, growth hacking, and social enterprise. Strategy and ROI focussed with experience in luxury travel, software, brand identities, creative design, and international development. 

Katherine James Schuitemaker
Executive Consultant

Katherine James Schuitemaker is passionate about ensuring that world-changing ideas and
people achieve and sustain success.

She brings experience in board roles, a a corporate executive, and hands-on as a strategist & implementation leader in organisations that range from scrappy, fast-growth entrepreneurial start-up ventures ranging to building global business franchises for Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, HP, Adobe, TOMS Shoes, LexisNexis, Getty Images, Theo Chocolate, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, More recently, she was a key part of the team that in New Zealand to launch the innovative triple-bottom-line Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat and Mrs Woolly’s General Store.

In the technology sector, Katherine has been founding CMO for a range of successful start-up ventures and spent 14 years as a board member and two as the chair of the Washington Technology Industry Association. She also served two Governor-appointed terms on the board of Washington Technology Center, helping to fuel the successful commercialization of
innovative ideas born at Washington State's research universities.

Taz Hussein
Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services

Taz Hussein is a Solution Architects with Amazon Web Services, based in Auckland.

He is a massive technology geek with a passion for Artificial Intelligence, Bots, IT Architecture, Software development, Systems Integration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing and most things IT.

When he's not helping startup teams design and leverage the AWS platform, he spends most of his days playing Airsoft, Fly Fishing and off-roading in Woodhill Forrest. 

Organizing Team

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

  • Josie
  • James
  • Peter
  • Ryan


Ryan Walker
Design Strategist

Design Strategist at Obvious Creative Solutions

Event Blog

See Full Blog

We haven't written any posts yet. Stay tuned!