Startup Weekend Athens, OH

    Friday, October 21 - 23, 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, October 21 - 23, 2016

Friday, October 21 - 23, 2016
Event starts at 6:00 pm

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

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Coupon Codes Available!

Students, faculty and staff in the Russ College of Engineering can get 50% off by using the code "RUSS".
Students, faculty and staff in the College of Business can get 50% off by using code "COB".
Students, faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences can get 50% off by using the code "CAS".
Students, faculty and staff in the Scripps College of Communication can get 50% off by using the code "SCRIPPS".

Startup Weekend Athens is hosted by the Ohio University Innovation Center. The event helps individuals with interests in industries such as information technology, design, engineering, business and manufacturing develop a startup company. 

Participants can pitch ideas and vote for their favorites Friday night. Teams form around the top concepts and spend Saturday and Sunday developing a business plan with the help of professional coaches. On Sunday evening, teams present their startup ideas to a panel of judges, who award prizes to the top three. 

Startup Weekend events are held globally to foster entrepreneurship. Ohio University’s Innovation Center has hosted six events—which have attracted participants from around the state and region— since 2012. 


Friday October 21st

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

6:30 pm
Dinner & 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

7:45 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

Saturday October 22nd

8:45 am
Breakfast and Customer Discovery
The building opens at 8:00 a.m.. Arrive, enjoy a simple breakfast & coffee and learn from Daniel tools and tips on how to discover customers!

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and strategize for the weekend. Get out of the building to perform customer surveys or attend optional hours at Create_space.

12:00 pm

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

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help until 5:00pm!

6:30 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 October 23rd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions until 1:00pm!

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
Final Presentations

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Judging & Awards

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
Clean Up and Go Home!


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.

Event Judges

Rob Painter
Managing Director and Technologist, Razor's Edge Ventures

Rob actively advises and invests in early-stage, venture-backed companies in Silicon Valley, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Mid-Atlantic. 

Prior, Rob was a Business Product Manager for Google focused on supporting and providing technologies (geospatial, collaboration, etc.) for global Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response activities. 

Rob was also Chief Technologist and Senior Manager for Google Federal focused on evangelizing and implementing Google Enterprise solutions for a host of users across the Intelligence and Defense Communities, Homeland Security, and many others. 

Rob's work history includes several senior advisory roles supporting strategic, tactical, and operational objectives within numerous federal government, defense, and law enforcement organizations. He has held leadership roles at Raytheon-Blackbird Technologies, Northrop-Grumman/TASC, Lockheed-Martin, Harris Corporation, and Ohio University

Prior to joining Google, Rob was the Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, the strategic private equity firm of the US Intelligence Community. Rob was lead on several successful venture investments to include Keyhole (Google Earth) and @Last Software (Google SketchUp), both that were later acquired by Google. In addition, Rob's entrepreneurial experience includes launching Encompass Technologies, Inc., a K through 12 desktop mapping company created to infuse geography into the classroom.

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.

Bob Silva
Director, Tech Transfer Office, Ohio University

Robert (Bob) Silva has over 25 years of experience in senior level positions in areas such as technology development, technology commercialization and general company management. At Ohio University, Bob is responsible for the administration, coordination, protection and disposition of all intellectual property (IP) and technology commercialization matters. Bob also provides support to the university’s small business incubator and university personnel to assist in the growth of research partnerships, as well as to the offices of Research and Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance.

Carol Clark
Business Consultant

Carol is a business professional with more than thirty years experience in online education, software development and professional services. She is strategically focused with demonstrated leadership abilities. Her acquired skills include: financial analysis, capital procurement, investor relations, corporate governance, profit improvement, technology management, acquisition selection-negotiation-integration, operations management and business development.

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.

Shmuel Roth
Operational Assistance Signature Consultant

Shmuel works with startup businesses to identify needs, craft goals, and gain access to the resources that will help them succeed. From strategic development and business planning to implementation and negotiation, he endeavors to meet entrepreneurs where they need help and support their venture development efforts. Shmuel owned and operated a custom woodworking business for seven years, earned a B.S.S. in Policy and Program Analysis from Ohio University and an M.P.A. from The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Coaches and Mentors

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).   

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.

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. 

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.

Lee Groeschl
Executive in Residence, TechGROWTH Ohio

Lee is a Venture Executive in Residence with Ohio University and TechGROWTH Ohio. TechGROWTH Ohio is part of the Ohio Third Frontier Program and is classified as part of the Entrepreneurial Signature Program.

As a Venture Executive, he works with both University and private technology inventors to commercialize their technologies through new venture formation and execution. He helps entrepreneurial teams navigate intellectual property protection, appropriate legal work, regulatory affairs, business planning, capital acquisition, technology licensing, execution, and exit strategy planning.

He was certified by NCIIA in 2014 as a Lean Launchpad Certified Venture Instructor and has led multiple teams on proper instruction for the lean innovation/venture process.

Ikenna Uzuegbunam
Assistant Professor, College of Business, Ohio University

Dr. Ikenna Uzuegbunam is an assistant professor of strategy, entrepreneurship and international business at Ohio University. He was previously an assistant professor of management at the University of Kentucky. Ikenna earned his PhD in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also received a bachelor’s of electronic engineering degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and master’s degree in technology and innovation management from the Science and Technology Policy Research Center (SPRU), University of Sussex, United Kingdom. 

His research interests include social entrepreneurship, technology strategy, innovation management, and strategic alliances. He frequently presents his research at premier management conferences across the world. He is a winner of the best paper award in the innovation track at the Southern Management Association conference. He has also received teaching honors from the University of Kentucky MBA program, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the 3E Innovative Entrepreneurship Education Competition by George Washington University. 

His prior industry and consulting experience spans a number of industries including medical devices, oil & gas, electronics, software, and the social sector. He is the founder and chief strategy officer of Luno Ventures, LLC; a strategy and innovation consulting firm.

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!

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
  • Erin
  • Tanya
  • Shelly
  • Susan
  • Alexis
  • michelle
  • Terry
  • Ohio


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

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