Startup Weekend Athens, OH

    Friday, March 18 - 20, 2016

  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 Athens, OH

Friday, March 18 - 20, 2016

Friday, March 18 - 20, 2016
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Ohio University Innovation Center
340 W. State St.
Athens, OH 45701

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Southeast Ohio's Best Way to Learn How to Start a Business

Have the next great idea? Want to collaborate with artists, engineers, or entrepreneurs?  Come to Startup Weekend Athens!  The event is open to all who have an entrepreneurial passion.  All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers.  Don't have an idea but just want to learn how to start a business?  No problem!  Your skills will benefit another's idea. Have an idea but not sure what to do with it?  No problem!  Your idea will spark thought and perhaps generate action. Following the opening pitches, teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 49 hour frenzy of business creation.  The weekend culminates with presentations in front of a judging panel of thought leaders with an opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs launch companies, find a co-founder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their realm, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to fervently act on their ideas.


Friday March 18th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the Ohio University Innovation Center; 340 W. State St.; Athens, OH 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

7:30 pm
Pitches Begin
Should you choose to pitch - now's the time!

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
Take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work until 11:55pm!

Saturday March 19th

8:00 am
Arrive at the OUIC for simple breakfast & coffee

11:00 am
Mandatory Check-In & Coaching
Report to Room 103 of the OUIC. Following this check-in, coaches will drop-in to your work spaces.

12:00 pm
Have you pivoted? What do you need help with? Network, ask questions, seek help from coaches.

2:00 pm
Coaches Depart - Offsite Work Hours
Stay or go - your call! This is a good time for customer validation outside the building. Or, utilize the optional work hours at Create_space or Athensworks.

6:30 pm

Sunday March 20th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions.

12:00 pm
Grab and Go Lunch
Keep working!

2:00 pm
Coaches Depart
Thank them and get their contact info!

3:00 pm
Mandatory Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of work time should be focused on perfecting your presentation. At least one member of your team must be present for tech-check in Room 103.

4:00 pm
Final Presentations and Judging

5:00 pm

6:30 pm
Awards Announcement

6:30 pm
Wrap-Up and Go Home!


Ryan Frederick
Principal, AWH & Director, Startup Grind Columbus & Director, i.c.Stars | * Columbus

I have had the privilege of helping many companies grow their sales, revenues, market share, and profitability. I have worked with companies across a variety of industries and of all shapes and sizes. I have helped startups grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. I have also helped to establish multi-national companies to improve and grow.

Event Judges

Faith Knutsen
Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Faith Knutsen is the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs, where she is employed since 2008.  She directs the Social Enterprise Ecosystem program, bringing venture development services to social enterprises in rural SE Ohio and contiguous states.  Previously, she held an executive administrative role at Sunpower, Inc., her family’s engineering R&D firm.  Faith began her professional career in international work. She has a BA from Oberlin and an MA from Ohio University. Faith is an active executive member of three non-profit social enterprise Boards.  Although not an entrepreneur herself, she has deep appreciation for their challenges, is dedicated to organizing entrepreneurial support, and looks forward to another stint at Startup Weekend!

Jennifer L'Heureux
Owner, Nelsonville Emporium

Local artist and entrepreneur Jennifer L’Heureux realized her dream of becoming a working potter in 2002 when she opened her studio in Nelsonville’s Historic Square Arts District. Spending its first 10 years of operation as Nelsonville Pottery & Gifts, the business features the work of dozens of artists and locally-made gifts. Now with a new name and a larger location, the Nelsonville Emporium has its eyes on the future.

Jennifer recalls that the move to a larger space within the Square was prompted “mostly because Nelsonville Pottery & Gifts seemed to be exploding with wonderful local goods and I really wanted to be able to focus more on how the shop was displayed.” She adds that the name switch has also helped increase business, as visitors to the Square often pegged the store as pottery only. “We changed the name to Nelsonville Emporium to be a collective selling place of goods.”

The back of the store features five working ceramic pottery wheels where Jennifer and five other artists work onsite in addition to locals who receive lessons. The store still offers handmade goods like jewelry, crochet, stained glass works, soap, clothing, beautiful ceramic dishes and more from over 85 local artists. She says part of her success is because, “people tend to value the artwork of their area.” Nowhere is this truer than in Athens County.

Larry Triplett
Triad Labs, Co-founder and President

Larry Triplett co-founded Resource Systems while in college and built it into a nationwide enterprise that was acquired by Cerner Corporation in 2011.  In 2004 he was instrumental in forming MCBI, a non-profit business incubator serving 10 counties in Southeast Ohio.  MCBI has helped hundreds of businesses expand while increasing employment  in the region.  In 2011, he co-founded the East Central Ohio Tech Angel Fund, a private/public collaborative that helps Southeastern Ohio’s entrepreneurs find private equity investors.  The fund has been recognized as one of the best performing angel investment funds in the nation.  

In 2013, he helped create, “GROW”, a collaboration between Zane State College and MCBI designed to help businesses identify and expand upon growth opportunities.  His efforts helped Zane State College’s Center for Workforce Solutions and Entrepreneurship expand its impact on the local economy and workforce.  

He serves on several company boards and is currently on the United Way Board of Directors, the Bethesda Hospital Board, the Voinovich Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, TechGrowth Ohio’s Investment Board, and is past President of the Zanesville-Muskingum Chamber of Commerce.  He has volunteered his time as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, a church elder, a board member of the Southeast Ohio Symphony Orchestra, a board member of the Information Technology Association of Appalachian Ohio and many other organizations.  

He is a private pilot and enjoys running, biking, golfing, sailing, and building things in his workshop.  He and his wife, Debbie, reside in Zanesville, Ohio. 

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.

Christopher Crawford
Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, College of Business, Ohio University

Christopher is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He was voted “Best OU Professor” in Athens News’ Best of Athens survey, 2014 (1st Place), 2015 (2nd Place). He received his Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville in 2013. His research interests include: new venture creation and growth; behavioral and corporate strategy; complexity science and agent-based simulation modeling applications to entrepreneurship; and understanding the mechanisms that generate power law distributions and outliers in social systems. His work has been published in Journal of Business Venturing, Small Business Economics, Journal of Management Inquiry, Journal of Organization Design, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management, and Journal of Business Venturing Insights.

In a past life, he founded The Red Apple Consulting Company, served as Director of Marketing for Rexarc International, and was a clinical assistant professor of marketing and management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for eight years.

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.

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.

Michele Migliuolo
Venture Executive in Residence, TechGROWTH Ohio

Michele Migliuolo, a multi-decade advisor and coach to technology startups, is an entrepreneur who has co-founded five high technology companies in the semiconductor, medical device, and energy sectors. Michele received a Doctorate in Physics from the University of Rome (Italy), and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Rochester.

Michele is an Executive in Residence at TechGROWTH Ohio, a Venture Development Organization funded in part by the State of Ohio’s Third Frontier Fund. Michele is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio University where he teaches the Entrepreneurship Business Consulting course.   Recently Michele was Commercialization Alliance Manager at Innovation Works, the seventh most active seed stage investor in the United States, where he managed the relationships between member organizations to provide world-class commercialization expertise and take the lead on accelerating technology transfer of federal research performed at the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).   

Nathaniel Berger
Engineering and Design Expert, LIGHTS, Ohio University

Nathaniel is currently the Engineering and Design Expert for the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) program.

Previously, Nathaniel directed the CREATE_space, an Ohio University resource focusing on Creative Research Exploring Arts, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. His experience in fine arts and information technology has been ongoing for over a decade, working in the digital arena since 1997, producing both interactive and static media, and digital systems, specializing in interactive digital technologies research. Nathaniel works extensively with businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, students and educators developing objective specific solutions that both demonstrate the IT-centric and humanistic qualitative aspects of society. 

Ryan Frederick
Principal, AWH & Director, Startup Grind Columbus & Director, i.c.Stars | * Columbus

I have had the privilege of helping many companies grow their sales, revenues, market share, and profitability. I have worked with companies across a variety of industries and of all shapes and sizes. I have helped startups grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. I have also helped to establish multi-national companies to improve and grow.

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.

Joseph Flynn
Senior Vice President for Community Development, WesBanco

Joseph P. Flynn Jr. is Senior Vice President Community Development at WesBanco Bank.  He is responsible for the bank's community development and community investment activities, its Community Development Corporation (WBCDC) and its Community Reinvestment Act compliance in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Under his leadership, WesBanco has received four consecutive Outstanding CRA ratings from its federal banking regulators and two Pillars of the Community Awards from the FHLBank Pittsburgh.  He has received the 2015 Council’s Award from FHLBank Pittsburgh for excellence in community investment.

Earlier in his career, Joe was part of the leadership team that created the USDOE and held senior positions within the Department in Defense Programs and Energy Conservation.  

Joe chairs the boards of the iBelieve Foundation, the WesBanco Community Development Corporation, the United Way of Washington County (PA) and the investment committee of TechGROWTH Enterprises, LLC. He is also a member of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center Advisory Board and NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Jen
  • Stacy
  • Susan
  • Tanya
  • Mollie
  • Alexis
  • Barbara
  • Ohio
  • Daniel


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

Event Staff

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Event Blog

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