Startup Weekend Austin, TX

    Friday, February 6 - 8, 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 Austin, TX

Friday, February 6 - 8, 2015

Friday, February 6 - 8, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Capital Factory
701 Brazos St
Austin, Texas 78701

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Everything's bigger in Texas, including startups!

Join us in Austin to take your idea and put it into action in just 54 hours. You'll join a community of entrepreneurs, developers, designers and innovators who want to change the world, one startup at a time. 


Friday February 6th

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
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, 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

Saturday February 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

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!

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 February 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


JD Weinstein
Venture Associate at Capital Factory

JD Weinstein joined Capital Factory in 2014 as a Venture Associate. Prior to Capital Factory, JD worked with the UT Horizon Fund, the strategic market-driven venture fund for the University of Texas System. He focused on early stage investments in technology, software, communications, digital media, and health care. JD served as University-Wide Representative at the University of Texas at Austin and sponsored the legislation to create the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Today, he serves as an advisor to LEA and the Freshman Founders’ Program at UT. JD received his BS in Political Communication from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘Em!

Chris Gillan
Entrepreneur & Regional Director at SoftServe

Chris Gillan has studied the advancement of human potential and entrepreneurship for over 25 years. His expertise lies in the earliest stages of the start-up process: taking a company from the idea stage, confirming a market, building the early team which successfully creates and takes the product to market, and navigating the different possibilities for funding the project. 

He co-founded Gazzang, a security software company focused on securing cloud and big data computing infrastructures. As the Founding CEO, Chris led early product formulation, built development teams, secured early angel funding and took the company to a successful Series-A investment round led by Austin Ventures. He then recruited a team of veteran start-up executives that continued to grow the company, even in today’s challenging economy. Gazzang was recently acquired by Cloudera and is becoming their Cloudera Center for Security Excellence.  n not engaged in business, Chris is an avid hiker, sailor and scout leader.

Event Judges

Sandeep Kumar
Business Development Partner at TechRanch

Sandeep Kumar is a Tech Ranch partner. He is also a managing partner at IBTP, an international consulting firm. He has over 30 years of experience in building technology businesses, M&A, entering new markets, sales channel creation, business development, and new product development. He has extensive operational experience in establishing businesses in US, Israel, Japan, China, Taiwan, and India. He currently advises emerging technology companies in US, China, and Japan in MEM’s, robotics, wireless, energy, industrial, and content creation and distribution sectors. He was founder/CEO at multiple technology startups. Prior to starting his first business he was a VC and before that he was GM at Texas Instruments where he built and ran global businesses and R&D teams in Broadband Communications, DSP and MCU.

Natalie Madeira Cofield
CEO of the Austin Black Chamber

A millennial that found inspiration at the nexus of business, community and politics, Cofield has carved a niche for herself as an entrepreneur, advocate, and speaker on all things business and diversity. Her work has spanned continents, communities and corporations and can currently be found impacting lives and bottom-lines at organizations in cities including Austin, New York, DC, LA, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and beyond. 

Cofield is currently the President & CEO for the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce in Austin, Texas, the founding President of the Austin Black Technology Council and founder of Walker's Legacy, a national women in business collective established in 2009.

Johan Borge
Founder - CEO at PitchDeals / TheTechmap

Mr. Borge is a serial entrepreneur as he has successfully launched several businesses in different sectors. Just to name a few: 
Johan is the CEO of Texas Capital Real Estate, LLC., a real estate investing firm ( He works with local investors to find deals or joins partnerships to achieve lucrative ROIs on invested money.

Prior to his current roles Mr. Borge served as an Enterprise Consultant at the Executive Marketing level at Dell Americas and Product Group organizations where he was responsible for major accounts in Latin America and Brazil.

He worked in a BPI project that helped Dell save $500,000 in a single group project and later became a mentor to help others successfully do BPI projects. He was recognized for saving Dell, Inc $53 Million in 1 quarter alone. 

Johan loves to travel and has been in many countries for his ventures from U.S to South America and majority of Europe.

Matthew Pollard
Consultant, trainer, speaker and Managing Director at MFBT Pty Ltd

Matthew Pollard is the Rapid Growth Guy!
With five multi-million-dollar business success stories to his name, and a prestigious Young Achiever Award, Matthew has been characterized as a true differentiation, niche marketing, and sales systemization powerhouse.
His rapid growth ideology has led to rapid market penetration in industries as vastly different as telecommunications, construction, and nationally accredited education. It has also been successful in acquiring high profile customers, such as multinational award-winning franchises, luxury automotive brands, leading medical institutions, law associations, and National Premiership Football teams.
Matthew is a regular guest on Fox7’s Good Day Austin, as well as a featured contributor toCEO, Entrepreneur, and Top Sales World Magazine. Matthew now brings about rapid growth and business transformation all over the world, through his many speaking and coaching activities as well as his top-rated iTunes podcast Better Business Coach.

Jan Ryan
Entrepreneur, Software Executive, Start-up Advisor

Jan is an entrepreneur, start-up advisor, and recognized leader in social technologies, having helped to pioneer customer service in social channels. Her latest company Social Dynamx attracted $3m in seed funding and early wins with several named-brand customers, and was acquired by industry leader Lithium Technologies in the Fall of 2012. The joint solution with Lithium has become the first end-to-end platform for managing the social customer experience, with recent market wins such as Time Warner Cable, HP, AT&T, Best Buy, Royal Bank of Scotland, Comcast, and Sephora.

Jan has been focused on building early stage and expansion stage companies for over 25 years, resulting in four successful acquisitions and one IPO, primarily in web-based and emerging technologies. 

Peter Vancorenland
Vice President of Engineering at Silicon Laboratories

Manage design teams working on Broad-Based Poducts
Driving chip architectures.
Project scheduling and forecasting.
Defining and driving design methodology. 
Interface with multiple disciplines to drive product definitions.
Foundry and technology evaluations
Hiring of top talent to grow design teams.

Specialties:Very high performance Analog/RF circuit and system-on chip design.

Coaches and Mentors

Ryan Joy
Startup Evangelist @ Microsoft

Ryan Joy has been developing for web and desktop user experiences using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript frontend technologies for more than 14 years. These days he’s a Startup Evangelist @ Microsoft promoting those same technologies to other developers and startups. Ryan has worked with more than a few backend technologies and frameworks. In addition he is active in the local Austin web tech communities both as organizer (Refresh Austin and the Austin Web Design Meetup) and as frequent attendee. He's an avid photographer and a decent cook. You can usually find him in Austin, TX. You can always find him online at

Shaun Dubuque
Senior Software Engineer at RetailMeNot

Shaun is a Senior Software Engineer in RetailMeNot's Innovation group but his responsibilities extend beyond just development. He is part product designer, rapid prototyper, data visualizer (d3), and app developer (iOS & Android). 

He is passionate about pitching, building, and testing new products in the contextual computing & mobile space. 

When he is not thinking about products or building mobile apps, he is competing in hackathons and mentoring new developers.

Douglas Ferguson
CTO at Famigo

Douglas is an entrepreneurial technologist with extensive experience delivering enterprise-scale products. Douglas is the CTO of Famigo, mentors students at Maker Square Austin and is on the board of two Austin nonprofits (Fusebox Arts Festival and Cyberways and Waterways). Prior to Famigo, he held leadership positions at BuzzStream, Escalation Point, Story Stores and IBM. When not engaging with new software technology, mentoring young technologists or guiding nonprofits, Douglas is usually patching up his modular synthesizer, playing guitar, taking photographs, or watching a film. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Chelsea McCullough
Executive Director of Texans for Economic Progress

Chelsea supports initiatives that make a positive social and civic impact. In her role as Executive Director of Texans for Economic Progress, she facilitates dialog between the statewide technology community and elected officials, advocating for greater access to tech education, entrepreneurship and infrastructure. She is also a Founding Partner of Impact Hub Austin, a local effort within a global network to provide co-working and incubation for social ventures. She is active in several organizations that encourage economic solutions to global challenges including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, UnltdUSA (social entrepreneur accelerator), LeadershipAustin, BiGAustin (SMB fund), ImpactTexas (conference on impact investing) and serves on the City of Austin Tech & Telecomm Commission. She was founding Director for RISE (an annual entrepreneurs conference), Marketing Director at MPOWER Labs (financial services for the underserved) and served in the Governor’s Office in Economic Development. She is a Leadership Austin graduate (2010), BPE Ascendant Award recipient (2013), ABJ Profiles in Power Finalist (2013) and has been named a finalist for AU40 in 2013 and 2014. Her “side project” involves launching a modular furniture start-up, Mable, which will provide affordable, beautiful furniture made for moving that is produced from sustainable materials and manufactured in the USA. Chelsea has masters and bachelor degrees in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

Gen Li
Associate General Counsel / Business Analyst at Famigo

Gen is the Associate General Counsel/Business Analyst of Famigo. Gen always has several different hats on his head, and he is actively involved in areas such as contract negotiation, patent application and amendments, policy analysis, human resource, and data analysis. Gen is also a licensed lawyer in Texas. When he has some free time, he likes to play guitar, practice Taekwondo, or catch up with the video games he has missed. Gen graduated from University of Texas law school.

Bjorn Billhardt
Founder and Chairman at Enspire

Bjorn Billhardt is the founder of Enspire Learning, a company he started in 2001 with the belief that online training can be inspiring and fun. Bjorn is a recognized authority in the field of e-learning and simulation design and has been a speaker at conferences such as Training, ASTD, and ISPI.

Since Enspire’s inception, Bjorn grew the company as CEO to over 50 professionals in the US and Europe, working to create exceptional leadership development experiences for global Fortune 500 clients. Bjorn has been a lead facilitator for Enspire’s leadership and business acumen programs at dozens of global companies including Bank of America, Applied Materials, Qualcomm, Kraft Foods, MIT Sloan School of Management, ConAgra Foods, Eli Lilly, USAA, Harvard Business School, The University of Texas at Austin and many other world-class institutions.

Bjorn previously worked as a consultant and corporate trainer for BAAN, a Dutch software company, and conducted training classes in Europe and the US. Bjorn also worked for McKinsey & Company, a strategic management consulting firm. He is a native of Hamburg, Germany and came to the US as an exchange student in high-school.

Adam Schwem
CTO of The Magazine Channel

Adam Schwem has been developing mobile software since the time phones were just for talking. Best known for creating the worlds first video streaming app store with nVidia and Verizon, he has developed a variety of engineering projects for clients such as AT&T, Sony, Shazam, and Fox. He has built physics engines for mobile games, verbally responsive digital assistants, and pranked Foursquare. He is the founder of Learnovate Labs, an educational technology startup focused on combining research in the learning sciences with mobile software.

John Ruff
VP Sales and School Coordinator at ScribeSense

               John is the School Coordinator and head of Business development for ScribeSense.  He the ScribeSense team after two years of teaching in Houston ISD as well as being a member of the prestigious Teach For America program.  In his first year teaching John was recognized as a top 5 finalist for First Year Teacher of the Year in the state of Texas.  Additionally, John served a multitude of administrative roles on his campus including IT specialist.  Since joining the ScribeSense team, John has created and developed leads with School Principals and District Administration. John was also personally responsible for sales and procurement of over $100,000 to date. Additionally, he has also trained school staff and over 1,000 teachers on how to use ScribeSense and implement it in schools and classrooms.  

John enjoys working with other entrepreneurs, especially in the EdTech Space to help them find their footing, identify their market, and develop their value prop when approaching that market.  John also serves on a number of Non-Profit boards in the Houston and likes to volunteer in classrooms across the city.

Jeff Neria
Product Manager/UX Designer at Famigo, Inc.

The common thread among all of my work from chemistry research, visual design to UX design has been a penchant creative problem solving and a desire to understand the human condition. I love learning and interacting with people and want to create-develop-enhance experiences that make our lives more fulfilling.

JD Weinstein
Venture Associate at Capital Factory

JD Weinstein joined Capital Factory in 2014 as a Venture Associate. Prior to Capital Factory, JD worked with the UT Horizon Fund, the strategic market-driven venture fund for the University of Texas System. He focused on early stage investments in technology, software, communications, digital media, and health care. JD served as University-Wide Representative at the University of Texas at Austin and sponsored the legislation to create the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Today, he serves as an advisor to LEA and the Freshman Founders’ Program at UT. JD received his BS in Political Communication from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘Em!

Jason Harmon
Head of API Design at PayPal

Jason Harmon is passionate about educating developers and business folks about building and consuming APIs. He evangelizes API's at, API Workshop on Youtube, and co-organizes the Meetup.As Head of API Design for Paypal, he collaborates with architects across engineering to design REST APIs for all internal and external capabilities within Paypal.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Austin, TX 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.


Media Sponsors

Food Sponsors

Organizing Team

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

  • Sean
  • Sebastien
  • Nicholas
  • Danyelle
  • Tyler
  • Frances
  • Daniel


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