Techstars Startup Weekend - University of La Verne (Bakersfield Campus)

    Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017

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

Event Alerts and Updates

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

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Techstars Startup Weekend - University of La Verne (Bakersfield Campus)

Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017

Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

University of La Verne
10800 Stockdale Highway
Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93311

Buy Tickets

Join us for Startup Weekend

Bakersfield is hosting its first startup weekend this November 17, 2017, bringing together new, active, and empowering entrepreneurs. This is a great platform for meeting new people, building and launching new products. Come join other great minds and pitch in your ideas. Students, professionals, and technology enthusiasts from all around California are invited to attend.

Startup Weekend Details

Meet your potential co-founders, validate your startup idea and build your prototype.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model:
  • Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers;
  • Teams are formed around the top ideas (determined by popular vote);
  • Then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.
  • The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
There will be 3 key events as part of Startup Weekend:
  • Opening Night: Open mic pitch party where attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Anyone is welcome to pitch an idea that they'd like to work on. Only the top ideas will survive!
  • Working Sessions: these will focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing agile & Lean Startup Methodologies, and building minimum viable products (MVP).
  • Closing Event: teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of judges and investors. Winning teams earn respect and prizes to take their startup to the next level!
Raffle Prizes include...
  • Echo Dot
  • Google Home Mini
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • Gift Cards
  • ..and More

Startup Weekend FAQ's

If you have more questions, check out the Startup Weekend First Timers FAQ or email us at

Take advantage of perks and discounts offered to all Techstars Startup Weekend participants at

Also see partner resources

Attend and Support!

If you would like to attend the opening and closing nights only, please purchase the event night tickets!  Everyone in attendance Friday night will get a vote on the ideas that continue through the weekend! 

Interested in volunteering or sponsoring?

Send us an email at! We'd love to hear from you.

Sponsor tiers:

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 17th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue by 6 p.m 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 November 18th

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 November 19th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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!


Karen Goh

Karen Goh is the Mayor of the city of Bakersfield. A Community leader with broad-based corporate, government, and non-profit executive experience. Growing in disruptive leadership to catalyze sustainable social change and community transformation via collaboration. Unabashedly and contagiously passionate about changing lives from the inside out through hope and relationship. Resolute in purpose.

Richard Pruitt

Richard Pruitt is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Kern Health Systems (KHS).   Working with the Executive team, Richard provides leadership, vision, and experience in technology and operations.  He is responsible for all information systems and security; telecommunications; systems analysis and data interchange; application development; data management and analytics; and project management for the organization.
Richard is a native Bakersfield resident and returned home after an eight year career in the Communications and Electronics field of the United States Army.  He has proudly served in California, Colorado, Korea, Germany, and Bosnia during the Gulf War and Operation Joint Endeavor.  Richard is a graduate from the University of Maryland in Business Administration and Kaplan University in Information Technology.  He began his career with KHS in June 2007 and has over twenty-two years’ experience in technology.

Allan Skov

Allan is an accomplished business leader with more than 20 years of experience as a Chief Information Officer in numerous companies including upstream, midstream and downstream operations in Canada and the US.   Allan began his career at Union Gas Limited in Canada where he held leadership positions in finance, human resources, customer service, business development and ultimately IT.  Allan moved on to CIO positions at Newfoundland Power, Duke Energy/DCP Midstream and Black Stone Minerals before Aera Energy.    Allan has extensive experience leading corporate strategic planning, corporate transformations and large scale business innovation initiatives.  Allan was raised in Canada and had has undergraduate and graduate degrees focusing on finance and business strategy from the University of Windsor in Ontario.  

Event Judges

Ayinde Alakoye

Ayinde is the Co-Founder of his third venture, a consumer-facing business-to-business company called, "nēdl."  nēdl is addressing a $39B global ad market by letting listeners use Speech Recognition to search live broadcast radio in real-time; eliminating the need to go station-to-station to find news, sports, entertainment, and talk content.  nēdl not only lets you search over 100,000 domestic and international stations, but users can also create their own live stations and inject their speech into the real-time search results so others can discover them by words they are saying.  

Ayinde is a start-up mentor, TechCrunch Contributor, Executive Committee Board Member of the Developers' Alliance, and was the CEO of Hitch Radio, a 5-year old multi-million dollar start-up with users in over 100 countries.  Ayinde has also been a speech contributor, campaign advisor, and volunteer field organizer before accepting a staff position in Ohio for Former President Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential run.  In 2007, Ayinde partnered his first venture (Thumb Radio) with Clear Channel (now iheartMedia) to become the first company to stream their stations on a mobile phone and create the original version of the iheartradio app.  

Denise Winston

Denise Winston is a Guinness World Record® Financial Literacy Program creator and presenter, an author, 25- year former banker and frequent media guest.  She is also the CEO of Money Starts Here, a financial education company that delivers life-impacting financial education programs across the nation for organizations large and small.

Matt Dubois

Matt found his interest for technology & entrepreneurship while in college where he wrote his first lines of code. The software he wrote ultimately sold to a publicly traded company and at the age of 22, Matt dropped out of school to pursue his passion of building a business. He has been featured in over a dozen publications, including: Inc., Forbes,,, Entrepreneur, Processor Magazine and the Orange County Business Journal. Matt is invested in several startups in the payment processing and entertainment industries while following his passion of helping entrepreneurs build their businesses as Chief Hosting Officer at Cloud 9 Hosting.

Coaches and Mentors

Matt Dubois

Matt found his interest for technology & entrepreneurship while in college where he wrote his first lines of code. The software he wrote ultimately sold to a publicly traded company and at the age of 22, Matt dropped out of school to pursue his passion of building a business. He has been featured in over a dozen publications, including: Inc., Forbes,,, Entrepreneur, Processor Magazine and the Orange County Business Journal. Matt is invested in several startups in the payment processing and entertainment industries while following his passion of helping entrepreneurs build their businesses as Chief Hosting Officer at Cloud 9 Hosting.

Noah Mapstead

Noah Mapstead, co-founder and CTO of Peacekeeper Enterprises, a software development house in Bakersfield, has over 25 years experience in the technology field.  By partnering with Flowfinity Wireless, Embarcadero Technologies and Microsoft, his company is able to rapidly produce customized business process management solutions for local oil & gas, agriculture and construction businesses.  Noah is an Eagle Scout, currently serving as the Troop 47 Committee Chairperson and has twelve years experience with the National Office of Boy Scouts of America where he continues to serve on the National Meeting Management team as a Show Director. Through this experience, Noah has had the opportunity to work with CEO's of Multi-National Corporations, Celebrities, Athletes, Comedians and Corporate Entertainers.  Noah believes strongly that it is important to mentor today's youth to become tomorrow's servant leaders.

Walter Suazo

Walter Suazo is the founder of The W Creative, a design company that specializes in branding and creative consulting with major clients like Dignity Health Memorial & Mercy Hospitals and Bakersfield College. He has over 10 years of design and business experience, is a recipient of an Emmy award for his graphic design contribution, and is also the creative director of The U.S. Army All-Star Bowl. In addition to running his company, he currently teaches Mobile App Development at the Regional Occupational Center for the Kern High School District where the focus in the classroom is developing and coding for the iOS platform using Xcode & Swift, along with fundamental UI/UX design process and social media management.

Rebecca Morfin-Manibo

Rebeca is the founder and CEO of Empower With Code, Inc. Her vision is for EWC to help bridge the gap of gender inequality in the software technology industry launching the movement in Bakersfield. Working closely with industry professionals and CSUB faculty, she aims to inspire the next generation of software professionals starting at home with her own daughters. "With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, which I like to call the code revolution, I want parents everywhere to give their daughters the pride and the opportunity to check the box for Computer Science when they apply for college," she says. "It's not simply about women's empowerment; it's about giving girls an equal foothold in the technology space. We're stepping up and stepping forward with algorithms and high heels"

Kevin Mershon

Kevin Mershon is a 32-year-old software developer, tech enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He currently owns a software consultancy and a venture capital company. He identifies primarily as a back-end developer, and is currently a self-proclaimed fan of Clojure (a LISP dialect for the JVM). Kevin was instrumental in helping to found Mesh Cowork, Bakersfield's first collaborative shared working space and KIT: Kern Innovation & Technology community in assistance to KIT Director Alyssa Haas, and is personally driven to see Bakersfield grow into a hub of technology innovation. Most recently, Kevin's attention has been directed to launching and managing the "Start with Bakersfield" brand of the venture capital company, aiming to bridge the gap between local technical experts and investors seeking to be stimulate the Bakersfield economy.

Scott Burton

Scott has been working with Ruby and Ruby on Rails since 2006. He has worked with some great companies and on some great projects managing cloud services to ecommerce sites. He is currently co-founder of Mesh Cowork. 

Jay Thompson

Jay Thompson is the lead business consultant at the CSU Bakersfield Small Business Development Center. Over the past 6 years, Thompson’s SBDC clients have created over 400 jobs and reported over $35 million in capital infusion. Thompson has over 30 years of experience in business management and specializes in business creation, partnership building, product management, legal structure and maximizing profitability.

Mike Russo

Michael Russo has co-owned Russo's Books in Bakersfield since 1989. A two-time graduate of CSUB's School of Business, he has taught business for Bakersfield College, Bakersfield Adult School, and, in addition to his bookstore duties, currently teaches Small Business Entrepreneurship for Kern High School District's ROC.

Jay Manibo

Jay has worked in the software industry for almost twenty years in various industries predominantly in the California Judicial system, Oil & Gas, Labor Unions and more recently in Health Care. In addition to writing software, he enjoys the business aspect of software dealing with its design, marketing and distribution, as well as its societal impacts. As a Computer Science lecturer at CSUB, he is actively trying to inspire his students to help fuel the proliferation of a tech hub in the Kern County area where he has lived for almost 3 decades. "Software can be built everywhere and anywhere. It can be written by anyone, anywhere in the world, and instantly shared with the rest of the world. Why not start here, why not Bakersfield?"

Harrison Schaen
CIO @ TITAN / CEO @ Issue Fixers

Harrison Schaen is a Princeton University graduate who has over 20 years of experience in Technology, Marketing, and Sales with the current objective of cultivating the Startup community in San Diego and helping shape the city's tech ecosystem. 

CEO and Founder of Issue Fixers (, Schaen spent a majority of his life either on the basketball court at the highest level or in front of a computer, excelling as a professional in both. Creator of the LADDER development methodology and co-creator of JETFUEL, the rapid prototyping program, Schaen has helped grow hundreds of businesses, including his own, which grew from 2 employees on day 1, to over 60 employees in over 14 countries worldwide. 

In his professional career, Schaen has been a designer, product manager, sales rep, marketing manager, web developer, Sr. developer, technical director, founder and CEO. He has been a resident of San Diego since 2011, is Communications Co-Lead for Startup San Diego, and Executive Director of San Diego Startup Week 2017.

Dave Lofy

David is the CEO and co-founder of TeQube. He has over 25 years of business experience as an entrepreneur, Inventor, developer. He has founded and managed over 15 businesses in his career in a variety of technological fields. He is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in the software industry.

Eddie Rangel

Professor in the Computer Science Department at Bakersfield College. He is a veteran who served in the United States Navy and a first generation college graduate. He is an experienced technology leader and has led teams in both the public and private sectors. Eddie is passionate about leveraging technology and building solutions that help to bring health and social changes to our local community. Eddie received his Masters of Science in Software Engineering from Cal State University, Fullerton. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Cal State University, Bakersfield and his Associates of Science in Computer Information Systems from Bakersfield College.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend - University of La Verne (Bakersfield Campus) 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 Bakersfield is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Kevin
  • Ivan
  • Sreenath
  • Dinah


Dani Arnaout
CTO @ Abstract Layer

Back in 2011, Dani participated in his very first Startup Weekend. Ever since, he got addicted to it, so he started coaching, judging, organizing, and now facilitating Startup Weekends all around the world! After winning three prizes at local & regional entrepreneurship competitions, he finally co-founded 2 startups in San Francisco. Dani is a software engineer, specifically in the mobile apps development field. He will offer valuable advice & technical help throughout the event by sharing his Silicon-Valley experience with the attendees.

Event Blog

See Full Blog

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