Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend

    Friday, April 5 - 7, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend

Friday, April 5 - 7, 2019

Friday, April 5 - 7, 2019
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub
123 W Mountain St.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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Your idea in 54 hours

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? 

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:

  • 6 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!


Friday April 5th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

6:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 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 April 6th

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 April 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Quick status updates and then back to work

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

4:30 pm
Final Presentations

5:30 pm
Judging & Awards

5:40 pm

6:00 pm
After Party!

Event Judges

Dylan Enright
The XX Fund

Founding Partner at Wefunder leading $65M+ investment in 200+ companies. Founder of education startup Rightside, Fulbright finalist, BC alum 

Rebecca Black
Brand Strategist, RevUnit

A strategic brand designer who takes a top-down approach to building a brand. I can help identity customer touch points and execute a brand across platforms to create an entire experience. I've worked most closely with medium-sized & startup businesses and have had a hand in everything from photography to packaging to UI/UX design. 

Meagan Bowman
CIO & Co-Founder of OneStone

Meagan joined Bill Waitsman (Chairman and Founder of Harvest Group) in September of 2016 in order to construct a multi-platform eCommerce service/technology model.  Meagan had been consulting large CPG companies (Clorox and General Mills) on their Amazon strategy while serving as Group Director (Digital Strategy) at The MARS Agency for clients including Campbell Soup, Colgate-Palmolive, and Sun Products. In 2013, Meagan led product development, digital integration, and eCommerce retail strategy for Hallmark including Crayola.  Meagan built and sold 2 startup concepts focused at the intersection of consumer behavior and digital technology in 2006 and 2012 respectively.

Coaches and Mentors

Jeff Amerine
Principal, Startup Junkie Consulting

30 years of deep technology and business leadership and early-stage investment experience that has included P&L responsibility in Fortune 500 firms along with startups. Current activities include leading Startup Junkie Consulting, teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas, and managing the Tonic Regional Fund.

Chuong Nguyen
Technologist, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder - Datarank

Chuong is a proud Northwest Arkansas native, Hogs fan, and tech entrepreneur. Following a stint in the corporate world, and then experiencing his fair share of startup failures, in 2012, Chuong's luck presented him with new, life-long friends and co-founders of social intelligence company, DataRank. In addition to being backed by local and regional investors, DataRank was a part of Silicon Valley startup incubators, Y-Combinator and 500Startups. After the company acquisition in 2015, Chuong's opportunistic appetite kicked back into overdrive. These days he is making software infrastructure sexy at big data and business intellience leader, AtScale, while weekend-hacking on the next big win. His spaces of interest include humanitarian tech in developing economies (particularly in Southeast Asia), blockchain, fintech, information security, automation, maker culture, political, education, and lifestyle tech, and other unexplored opportunities for secure, decentralized solutions to promote liberty and happiness.

Colin Shaw
Director of Machine Learning, RevUnit

Colin Shaw is the Director of Machine Learning at RevUnit.  He enjoys teaching computers how to interpret patterns and building things that add value, both professionally and personally.

Jeannette Balleza Collins
Consultant, Scribe Marketing & Terrapin Consulting | Cofounder, GRIT Studios

Jeannette Balleza Collins has supported entrepreneurs and non-profits for years through such organizations as Winrock International, Startup Junkie and Northwest Arkansas Council. Her company Scribe Marketing offers business and fundraising consulting, and she spends her time helping founders through her work at Grit Studios and growing philanthropy with the team at Terrapin Consulting.

Blake Puryear
Co-Founder & Product Lead, Engine

Blake is a technical marketer and product strategist. He has worked for and with some of the largest eCommerce companies in Arkansas. He was a core part of the team at Country Outfitter that created a $100m online boot company on the backbone of Facebook. There, he sat between 20+ devs and designers and translated the needs of the C-Suite into actionable projects. After leaving Country Outfitter with CEO John James, the two then founded Hayseed Ventures. At Hayseed Ventures, Blake mentored and served as CTO for 13+ startups and met with over 200 entrepreneurs. Hayseed created over 160 jobs and has seen follow-on raises and exits of its portfolio companies. Now, Blake directs product and strategy at Engine, an eCommerce platform built for growing brands.

Kenny Cason
Senior Staff Engineer at Sprout Social; CTO & Co-Founder at DataRank

Kenny is a mostly Arkansas-raised software engineer and entrepreneur. He helped build DataRank before undergoing two subsequent acquisitions. Now seven years later, he is working on a new project. His hobbies Involve constantly learning and building things. 

Kanat Bekt
Software Infrastructure, SupplyPike

Kanat has worn every hat possible in his career in tech, and enjoys shipping software. He does anything and everything technology-related at SupplyPike, a rapidly growing software company in Fayetteville. 

Ryan Frazier
Past GM at Sprout Social; CEO & Co-Founder at DataRank

Ryan is an Arkansas-raised entrepreneur that has experience across several stages of startup life - through various stages of growth, fundraising, acquisitions, and all of the ups and downs in between. He's currently working on a new project and as a novice baker and barbecue-er on the side.  

Kent Watson
Vice President of Technology at Metova, Inc.

Extensive experience in software development and architecture, IT leadership, strategy, and building development and infrastructure teams. Over a decade of experience architecting web and mobile API software and infrastructure (cloud and hybrid) for companies ranging from mid-size to Fortune 100 with a focus on improving the end user experience and streamlining workflows. 

Amy Pedid
Art Director and Founder of Trove: Board Game Storage

Amy has a background in shopper marketing and art direction. Last year she became an accidental entrepreneur at Startup Weekend’s Maker Edition event when her team won first place with a modular board game storage box solution. Now she’s on the path to build Trove as a business and to help others become entrepreneurs.

Bjorn Simmons
Cofounder, Chief Strategy Officer

Cofounded and led as Chief Strategy Officer of startup company, Wyzerr, an artificial intelligence software making surveys fun, fast and easy to analyze in real time. Led marketing, sales, partnerships, and public relations. Currently serve as a founder focused on strategic sales and partnerships. Created the world’s first smartform, game-like questionnaires that can answer up to 25 questions in under 60 seconds. Responsible for strategizing and executing a B2B software as a solution market penetration and growth strategy along with branding, marketing activations, digital content creation, CRM management, and PR. Effectively managed enterprise-level relationships and raised $2M Dollars in venture capital. The company graduated from The Brandery Venture Accelerator in 2015 and launched out ofStartFast New York in 2014.

Will Brown
Staff Software Engineer & Lead Architect OneStone

Will Brown is a Staff Software Engineer at OneStone’s Lab specializing in full stack web development and architecture. Will’s post-college career began at the NWA Startup Weekend in 2013, where he first met with the company he’d go to work for one month later, and a partner he would later go on to found Lawnly, a small NWA startup, with as CTO. Ever since, in various roles, Will has been building enterprise-scale systems for some of the biggest companies in the world, and learning best the best practices and tools available for fast, scalable web development critical in early-stage software projects.

Mallory Gibbs
UX Designer

One of UX Designer, Mallory Taylor's, favorite things about being a UX designer is that it allows her to channel her creativity into problem solving, and result in delightful experiences for everyone. She was born in Georgia and raised here in NWA, and she has a vested interest in this growing community. She currently serves as a committee chair on the AIGA board of directors and is leading the committee for professional development and community outreach for the Bentonville design team at Walmart Labs. 

Lauren Randall
CEO and Founder of

Lauren began her career running production for her favorite designer at the time, the infamous fashion icon, Betsey Johnson. The experience included her first New York Fashion Week, and was the beginning of her career in fashion.

Lauren began her journey with Zappos in 2012 and reached a zenith when she spearheaded Zappos’ first pop-up shop. Working with VPs and external technology partners, she designed the layout, flow, and merchandised the sections of the shop. She went on to become the Interim Director of Private Label Clothing at Zappos. In that capacity she redesigned and relaunched seven private label brands, and innovated with social media and customer loyalty programs to increase private label sales.

With this experience, she launched her own brand, Melonhopper, in 2015. Achieving profitability in its first year, Melonhopper quickly built a large and loyal social media following, earning six-figure revenue on one product alone. She moved to China to oversee factory production for Melonhopper, working directly with the factories and overseeing quality control. She designed every detail, from the concept, to the garments, down to the bags, hang tags, instagram posts, PR communication and customer service emails. Taking it to another level, Lauren also launched wholesale partnerships with retailers Dolls Kill and Zappos. Lauren also recently launched a second e-commerce brand, Black 24 Seven, which features a carefully curated selection of all black items.

She is known around the world as a fiery and charismatic entrepreneur with boundless energy and an unlimited supply of imaginative new ideas.

Lauren is a graduate of University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, B.A. in Political Science.

Aditi Chalisgaonkar
UX/UI Designer at Walmart

Aditi is a UX Designer working on digital products at Walmart. She combines her knowledge of innovation with a background in engineering to come up with ideas for products and services that fulfill customer needs and provide business value. Her experience in innovation comes from a rigorous Masters degree in Integrated Innovation from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as her work as an Innovation Consultant. Aditi has worked on innovation projects ranging from providing sleep to PTSD survivors, to building kitchen products for millennials. She has also worked closely with start-ups such as Spark Career Mentors (an Indian career mentorship company for school and college students) where she played a key role in the product development of a successful service/module (Spark Admit) and successfully mentored two students applying to design programs. She has developed diverse skill sets, ranging across the fields of UI/UX design, user research, business model development, applying DFM/A principles, electrical and electronics engineering, and painting, and enjoys listening, learning, and experimenting. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend 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.

Signature Sponsors




Organizing Team

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

  • Michael
  • Haley
  • Dennis
  • Edwin


Jordan Carlisle
Co-Founder / CEO

Jordan Carlisle is on a mission to create value for others by helping them perform at their optimal levels of health, productivity, and creativity. In 2015, he scrapped together enough funding from Bitcoin investing and AirBnBing his house in order to bootstrap Strengthen Labs, which is a software company that builds behavioral change tech for health coaches to run wellness programs for small business. While building Strengthen Labs, he became a partner at Arkansas Fitness & Athletics which has been voted #1 Gym in Arkansas three years in a row. 

He is also an active EOS blockchain community member through his advising founder role at, a content subscription platform that decentralizes the way people support independent content creators. He is also an investor in 

Event Staff

Chandler Abbott
Intern, Startup Junkie


Event Blog

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