Startup Weekend Athens

    Friday, October 13 - 15, 2017

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

Friday, October 13 - 15, 2017

Friday, October 13 - 15, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Innovation Center
340 West State Street
Athens, Ohio 45701

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Startup Weekend Athens is back!

What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend Athens teaches you how to take any idea from concept to creation over one weekend!
  • Get introduced to the world of startups and entrepreneurship
  • Learn the process for turning an idea into a venture
  • Meet other talented and passionate people from Ohio University and the region
  • Join or lead an all-star team
  • Learn new skills   
Who is Startup Weekend For?

It doesn't matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is an inclusive event that brings all sorts of people together.
  • Aspiring entrepreneurs and those with experience
  • Developers and tech-savvy people
  • Designers of all types
  • Non-technical talent like those in business, sales, marketing, and finance 
  • Students from universities and high schools
  • Professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills
  • Passionate visionaries, and
  • People like you
Do I need to come with an idea?

If you have an idea for a startup, then we'll look forward to hearing your 60 second pitch Friday night. If you don't have an idea, that's fine, too. Pitching an idea is not required although you might find yourself so inspired that you end up sharing an idea you've been thinking about for years, or something last minute you think of during the event (pitching is a great experience and invaluable practice for public speaking). Either way, you'll become part of a team and spend the weekend learning about the startup ideation process.  If you have more questions, check out the Startup Weekend First Timers FAQ!

Join us for a weekend you'll never regret!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 13th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, get to know fellow participants

7:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers

7:45 pm
Pitches Start
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 in the building until midnight

Saturday October 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Workshop & Check-in
Morning workshop and team check-in

10:00 am
Begin Work
Teams are hard at work!

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Coaches Arrive
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

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

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work until midnight

Sunday October 15th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Check-in, status reports, call for help

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Coaches arrive
Get help and feedback on your final presentation

3:00 pm
Presentation Tech Check
Mandatory technical run-through of final presentation in room 103

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:00 pm
Dinner and judging

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Wrap-Up and Go Home!


Dan Rockwell
CEO, Big Kitty Labs

Dan is a startup-launching engine that keeps big kitty purring by applying his passion for helping businesses leverage their technology to provide a superior experience for their customers. He is a regular speaker and mentor at Startup Weekend Columbus, hosts and organizes the monthly Wakeup Startup series, and fuels innovation at The Ohio State University.

Event Judges

Jane New
Manager, Investments & New Venture Development, TechGROWTH Ohio

Jane serves as a business advisor to various entrepreneurial endeavors and brings experience in both incubation and fund management in the area of technology-based economic development. Employed for 10 years at The Ohio State University, Jane is an expert in technology commercialization and intellectual property protection and management, particularly in the specialty fields of life sciences. She has a B.S. degree in Business Administration and earned her MBA and master's degree in Accounting and Information Systems from the University of Kansas.

Art Oestrike
Founder and Owner, Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Art Oestrike is the owner of Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery and Bagel Street Deli in Athens, Ohio. Originally from Cleveland, Art earned a B.S. in Education, B.A. in Russian, and his M.A. in Linguistics from Ohio University.  Voted best local entrepreneur and best local business owner in Athens multiple times, he is also a lecturer in the English Language Improvement Program at Ohio University. Art actively pursues his passion for teaching, entrepreneurship, and his love of the Appalachian region by engaging students, leading employees and creating a culture of forward thinking for the future leaders of our community, region and global network.

Vic Matta
Associate Professor, Management Information Systems, College of Business, Ohio University

Vic Matta is an associate professor in the department of management information systems in the College of Business (COB). He was a finalist for the 2012-13 Presidential Teachers Award, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award from the COB in 2009 and the Senior Class Recognition Award from the COB in 2010.

Matta is recognized for his use of student engagement techniques that are flexible and dynamic and has genuine concern for his students in management information systems. Though teaching complex subjects, Matta has developed teaching methods that inspire learning.

Dr. Vic Matta doesn’t hide his excitement when he says something he knows has blown your mind. He feeds off of it, encourages it, peppers you with questions to make you think about your own choices. Your answers, after all, fuel one of his greatest passions — data collection. Matta can’t help himself. He loves analysis, loves human reasoning, and loves teaching most of all.  He loves watching people grasp a new concept with his help, whether it is something tangible like technology or intangible like personal motivation.

Leslie Schaller
Director of Programs, ACEnet

As Director of Programs, Ms. Leslie Schaller has directed multiple training and technical assistance programs which assist micro-entrepreneurs through small business curriculum development, contract services and the formation of support networks of resource providers. Ms. Schaller secures public and private funding through grants and fees for services to support regional brand initiatives, targeted sector training, financial management support and capital access. Ms. Schaller is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, start-up and expansion stages.

Ms. Schaller is currently a partner of the Aspen Institute’s Scale Academy, the Central Appalachian Network, the Ohio Food Policy Network, the Ohio Food Hub Network and the OSU 40% Local and Sustainable Food Panel.

Christopher Keesey
Director, Design and Technology at Lexis Nexis

Christopher Keesey is the Director of Sales Training and Development for LexisNexis. He leads a global team that is responsible for improving business results through training and development. He also recently took over responsibility for customer training across core legal product offerings.  Christopher has spent over 16 years working to help organizations increase the knowledge and performance of their employees. He has led innovative project initiatives in training and learning for the US State Department, USAID, Chemonics International, Arthur D. Little, Academy of Educational Development, The Doctor's Company and many more. Christopher has also consulted organizations such as IBM, Microsoft, Maricopa College and Kelly School of Business on improving learning transfer via innovative delivery platforms.

Coaches and Mentors

Paul Benedict
Associate Director, Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University

Paul Benedict is a seed-stage investor, executive and entrepreneur bringing 14 years of industry experience to the classroom.  Paul is the Associate Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, teaches entrepreneurship in the Professional MBA program and management in the Integrated Business Cluster. Paul earned his BA in Political Science from the Honors Tutorial College here at Ohio University. He earned his MBA from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University.

John Bowditch
Director, The Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab at Ohio University

John Bowditch is the Director and co-founder of the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. The GRID Lab was founded in 2004 with a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. John completed his undergraduate and graduate work in film, video, and multimedia at Ohio University’s School of Media Arts and Studies (School of Telecommunications at the time). He has produced several award winning films, animations, games, and simulations over the last decade.   Professional research highlights include funded projects from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Labor, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Ohio Board of Regents, and other private entities. In 2008, John was the lead designer and inventor of the Immersive Video Intel Network (IVIN), a multi-tiered imaging technology that has patents pending. In 2011, IVIN received money from TechGROWTH Ohio spinout of the university. While not integral to the day to day operations of IVIN3D, John has a super- shareholder stake in the company.

Sonita Uijt de Haag
Head of HR, i2x GmbH

Sonita Uijt de Haag is Head of HR at i2x GmbH, a rapidly expanding Berlin-based start-up in the AI market.  Her HR background includes serving as HR Business Partner at Ohio University and Director of HR at Operations for Ecolibrium Solar.  During her tenure on Ecolibrium's leadership team, the company racked up a three-year growth rate of 988.7 percent. She assisted Ecolibrium from its inception through her work with TechGROWTH Ohio where she was a business advisor for early-stage cleantech startups. She holds a B.A. in German with a certificate in Global Leadership; an M.B.A. with a Cross-cultural Management focus; and an M.A. in International Affairs from Ohio University. To complete her graduate capstone project, she received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to study the management of multi-cultural workforces in Malaysia. Sonita currently lives in Athens, OH with her husband and two children.

John Glazer
Technical Director

At Ohio University since 2008, John collaborates with program leaders, research faculty, and external partners supporting programs in economic development, social enterprise, impact investment, and a variety of community engagements.  He is the Technical Director of the Social Enterprise Ecosystem program assisting social entrepreneurs and impact investors.  From 2008 to 2019, he oversaw a State-funded technology commercialization program.  After a career as a university instructor, John was the owner and CEO of the largest organization of independent bookstores in the U.S. He also founded four other startup companies. John has organized technology-based economic development projects in the U.S. and internationally.  

Megan Weber
Social Enterprise Ecosystem Entrepreneur in Residence

Megan Weber joined The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in 2017 as Social Enterprise Entrepreneur in Residence.  She assists startup and existing social enterprises with business modeling and strategic planning, and also manages student efforts in early-stage entrepreneurial support research. Megan founded and owns Sycamore Run Early Childhood Center, a social enterprise in Athens County. Previously, she taught at Hocking College as well as two local private schools, and also worked as a professional development instructor with the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD). Megan holds a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and an MPA from Ohio University.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Athens 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.


College Sponsorship

Prize Pack Sponsors

Organizing Team

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

  • Erin
  • Tanya
  • Stacy
  • Susan
  • Geza
  • Ohio


Geza Molnar
CEO @ SimpLight

Running SimpLight.CO / Facilitating @ Startup Weekend / Community building #CPHSW and #CPHFTW

Event Staff

Geza Molnar
CEO @ SimpLight

Running SimpLight.CO / Facilitating @ Startup Weekend / Community building #CPHSW and #CPHFTW

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