Boulder Food + Tech Startup Weekend!

    Friday, May 17 - 19, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Boulder Food + Tech Startup Weekend!

Friday, May 17 - 19, 2019

Friday, May 17 - 19, 2019
Event starts at 6:00 pm

New Hope Network
5541 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301

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Your Food + Tech idea in 54 hours!

What is Startup Weekend?
A 2.5 -day accelerator-meets-hackathon where participants pitch and validate new ideas, then put together some form of validation/MVP (minimum viable product) over the course of a single weekend. 
Held in the New Hope Network office in Boulder, Colorado, the theme of this Startup Weekend is Food + Technology: innovative solutions that leverage technology to solve issues in our food system. 

Weekend Overview:

Attendees arrive in the evening of Friday, May 17th and pitch their early stage ideas to the room. At the conclusion of pitches, groups are formed around the most well-received ideas. Groups reconvene Saturday morning and begin building their ideas with the help of industry experts serving as mentors. Planning goes through Saturday into Sunday afternoon, when the groups get ready to pitch their final plans to a panel of industry judges for the grand prize.

Prize Package:
  • Two free badges to Expo West 2020
  • One free New Hope Brandcamp Webinar
  • Content coverage on
  • One hour consultation with Propeller Industries
  • One free year-long Naturally Boulder Membership
  • One free ticket to the Naturally Boulder Pitch-Slam and Awards
  • (2) 1-month hotdesk memberships to WeWork    
  • $100 marketing credit and 30-minut video consulting with Jenna Bee from Brandzooka
Check out the full schedule below!

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

  • 7 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.
  • The potential for a new business idea that can change the food system.

What is this Startup Weekend about?

This Food + Tech Startup Weekend will be all about the intersection of Food, Agriculture, Technology, and Sustainability. While consumer brands and packaged goods play a large role in the system, that is certainly NOT our only focus. We need to think more broadly, more holistically and start thinking about throughout the whole system!

If we intend to feed a population of 9 billion people by 2050, then we need to start thinking about how to make our food system more sustainable and more efficient. Technology with play a key role along the entire value chain - agriculture/production, distribution, processing/manufacturing, retail and CPG, and waste. We need entrepreneurs from various backgrounds working together at the intersection of food, agriculture, and technology to help build a better future! 

Boulder has developed two amazing startup communities - a food startup community and a tech startup community. It's time those communities collaborate and started working towards building the future of food! We need all the brain power and talent Boulder has to offer! 

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. Come join us!

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.

What do we mean when we say "Food + Tech"?
Globally, food and agriculture is a >$8 trillion industry. It is also the largest employer of people, responsible for almost 40% of jobs globally. However, there increasingly significant pressures being placed on the global food system.

As the AgFunder post states, FoodTech solutions "can help to mend many of these bridges, make the agrifood industry more sustainable, transparent, agile, and able to respond more quickly to changing consumer demands. Issues such as food waste, which occurs across the food chain, can be better solved with a more holistic view of the industry, for example. Viewing agrifood as a single industry that spans the value chain from farm to fork can also help engage consumers early with technologies that go into food production to avoid backlash, and raise awareness of issues on the farm such as soil health and environmental impact."

These solutions can cover the entire value chain, from the Farm to the Fork. This includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following areas in need of innovation:
  • Agriculture and aquaculture: raising crops, livestock, and seafood
  • Manufacturing agricultural inputs: agrichemicals, farm machinery, seeds, livestock pharmaceuticals, and other supplies
  • Food processing: the preparation of fresh products, manufacture of prepared food products and ingredients
  • Non-food processing: extraction of bioenergy and biomaterials from agricultural crops and products
  • Marketing, wholesale and distribution, logistics, transportation, and warehousing
  • Retail and foodservice: grocery, farmers’ markets, restaurants, and other retailing
  • Consumer cooking and food discovery
  • Regulation: food quality, food security, and food safety
  • Research and development
  • Financial services
Yes, the food system is big, it's kind of scary, and it's definitely complex - but it is in desperate need of change! Together at Startup Weekend, we can start to work as a community to tackle these challenges. Boulder is an incredible place to work towards this change, take a holistic view of the system, and develop creative, brand new ideas to address problems in the food system! 

(1) AgFunder Blog on "What is Agrifood Tech?" (Agrifood Tech = FoodTech for our purposes)
(2) Techstars Farm-to-Fork blog post on areas of interest related to the "digital side of the food industry" 
(3) Techstars Farm-to-Fork blog post on results from last year's program and additional areas of interest for 2019

Doesn't matter who are you - you have something to contribute! So come out and help us change the food system for the better!

What are you waiting for?

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 “”.

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Friday May 17th

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

6:15 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:10 pm
The State of our Food System
A ten minute presentation providing context for the weekend - where do we need innovation in the food system?

7:20 pm
Keynote Speaker
Jane Miller, CEO of Lily's Sweets will provide some inspirational, entrepreneurial advice to the attendees waiting to pitch their fresh ideas.

8:00 pm
Pitches Begin!
Optionally line up to give your pitch.

8:40 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches.

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 pm
Get Ready for Tomorrow!
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

10:00 pm
Wrap Up
Head home for the night and get ready to dive into brainstorming tomorrow morning!

Saturday May 18th

8:30 am
Arrive for a simple breakfast & coffee. Coffee courtesy of Alpine Modern!

9:00 am
Begin Work
Teams are formed and begin to set up work space for the weekend. Brainstorming fully commences!

10:00 am
General Mentor Meetings
Food + Tech industry experts guide the teams on honing their idea, identifying opportunities and threats in their product concept. This morning is the first chance for each team to get together and hash out their thoughts following the pitches from the night prior.

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Recap of team progress

2:00 pm
Mentor Office Hours
This mentor session is open to the teams, but not required. Mentors will be present and readily available to offer more feedback, but it is up to the team if they want to seek out wisdom and advice.

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finish things up for the day - tomorrow teams begin developing their pitches for the judges.

Sunday May 19th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee. Coffee courtesy of Alpine Modern.

10:00 am
Mentor Pitch Coaching
Mentors meet with the teams and help them finalize their concept and streamline it so that it’s ready to pitch. Mentors will help teams understand the best way to communicate their idea to the panel of judges and prepare for potential questions.

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations
All groups will begin presenting their final pitch to the judges!

7:00 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards
The judging panel will announce the winners of the grand prize!

8:00 pm
Celebration and Connection
Celebrate all your hard-work throughout the weekend by connecting with mentors, judges and the other groups.

8:30 pm
Leave your community with parting thoughts - make sure to gather contact information to keep the community moving forward.


Jane Miller
CEO @ Lily’s Sweets

Jane Miller is a 30-year food industry executive with experience working with start-
ups and Fortune 500 companies. She is also the founder of, a career
advice website geared towards young leaders starting their careers.
Jane is currently the CEO of Lily’s Sweets and has held several other CEO roles in the
natural and organic industry, including Rudi’s Bakery, ProYo High Protein Ice Cream
and HannahMax Cookie Chips. Over the course of her career, Jane was part of an
executive team that brought Hostess out of bankruptcy, worked for HJHeinz as the
Chief Growth Officer and then the President of the UK & Ireland Division, and she
ran the Western division of Bestfoods Baking. The first fourteen years of her career
were at PepsiCo, where she rose to be the President of the Central division of Frito-
Jane currently serves as a board member at the University of Colorado Leeds
Business School and Eldorado Springs Artesian Water along with advisory roles
with Alpine Start Foods and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Jane has a Russian Studies degree from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, where she
received a 2017 Alumni Achievement Award, and an MBA from Southern Methodist
University in Dallas, TX.

Event Judges

Carlotta Mast
SVP of Content & Insights @ New Hope Network, Informa Global Health & Nutrition Network

Carlotta leads the New Hope Network Content Team, producing all content and conference programming for Natural Products Expos, NBJ Summit, Esca Bona, Natural Foods Merchandiser,, Nutrition Business Journal, the NEXT portfolio and Delicious Living. In addition she is the chief author of the NEXT Natural Products Industry Forecast. With 20 years of experience, Carlotta has her finger on the pulse of new health, wellness and natural product trends and the forces shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors. Carlotta is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and has been interviewed about the natural products industry, regulatory issues and market performance by media outlets including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, NPR, ABC News, BusinessWeek and many others. In 2013, Carlotta co-founded a paleo snack company called Wholly Bites, which hit the market well before Whole Foods Market and other retailers began adding paleo sections to their stores. A Colorado native, Carlotta is the president elect of Naturally Boulder, as well as a Board member, and communications co-chair. Naturally Boulder is a trade group with the mission of nurturing community, leadership and innovation in the Colorado natural products industry. Carlotta graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Journalism.

Saba Karim
Pipeline Manager @ Techstars

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, at which Saba Karim is the Pipeline Manager, helping source 450 companies per year for their 45 accelerators. Prior to Techstars, Saba helped launch and scale a number of startups over the past 11 years, including Evolve (Acquired by Hubspot), Orai App (Backed by Comcast), and Wattle Cafe (Artisan Australian Cafe in the heart of New York). Saba has also worked with world-renowned organizations such as Harvard University, Apple, Nokia, Universal and Telstra Corporation – and has his work published on CNN, VentureBeat and GQ.
Saba is passionate about startups and disruption. Seeing motivated founders challenging the status quo and making meaningful innovations is why he mentors all sorts of companies in his spare time, from challengers banks, to non-profits, and organic matcha companies.

Jeff Donaldson
Head of North American Marketing for Bos Brands

Experience building brands through ecommerce (Amazon & Shopify) and connecting with consumers via packaging, digital media and experiential marketing. Background includes food, beverage, technology, and apparel categories.

Passionate for brands that try innovative ways of connecting with consumers. Deep experience in strategy, integrated brand planning, three-tier distribution systems and retailer marketing.

Brand Experience: Coors Light, Blue Moon Brewing, Skratch Labs, WhiteWave Foods, Crocs, Newton Running, Toys R Us, Gaiam Yoga.

Josh Couper
Campus Director at Flatiron School

 Josh Couper is the Campus Director for WeWork’s Flatiron School in Denver. Flatiron School is a global school that specializes in teaching students tech skills such as Software Engineering, Data Science and UX/UI Design. Flatiron School’s mission is to empower people to change things—their careers, lives, and the world.

With vast experience working in the technology industry, developing partnerships, and building teams, Josh led the launch of Flatiron School in Denver and now oversees campus operations, brand marketing, and the overall campus success.

Josh is passionate about the power technology has to impact how humans experience the world. He believes regardless of industry, every company is a technology company. This provides today’s leaders with the responsibility and opportunity to decide how we leverage technology to affect ourselves, our products, and the world.

Marcus McCauley
Farm Manager at McCauley Family Farms; Founder and CEO at Foremother Foods, LLC

 Marcus McCauley is a farmer and founder of Picaflor Live-Culture, a fermented condiment brand based in Boulder, Colorado. He runs McCauley Family Farm, a 40-acre holistic and regenerative whole-farm system that produces unique peppers, pasture-raised chicken and lamb, and other seasonal produce. He is a leader in the regenerative farm movement and an advocate for sustainable agriculture practices and collaborative bioregional food production.

Coaches and Mentors

Alicia Potter
Founder & Creative director of Faven Creative

Alicia is the founder and creative director of Boulder-based, Faven Creative specializing in branding and packaging design for natural CPG brands.  Alicia has nearly 2 decades of branding experience working at large firms like JWT and SRG before founding Faven in 2013. She approaches design through a strategic lens giving every element of a brand objective meaning and purpose. She strolls through grocery stores as if they are the latest art galleries and constantly strives to find inspiration in unlikely places.   When she’s not in the office, you’ll find her at home trying new dishes her kids may or may not eat, or scratching her traveling itch on her next family adventure.

Annie Brown
Director of Development @ Rodale Institute

Annie has been with Rodale Institute since 2012, acting first as a West Coast Representative and then Development Director beginning in January 2016. She is responsible for raising resources from foundations, corporations. Rodale Institute has been leading game-changing research, expertly training farmers, and educating the community to help heal broken agricultural systems via regenerative organic agricultural methods for over 70 years.

Christopher Uhlig
CEO @ Ceres

Growing up in Germany and coaching the German National Youth Team in American Football, Chris won the European Championship twice with that team. His coaching experience spilled over into the job world, where he spent nearly 20 years in the software industry in different sales, pre-sales and consulting roles. There, Chris created presentations, spoke at public events, and distilled technical details down to simple messages for potential customers while coaching people and leading teams. He gathered his experience on three different continents, growing up in Europe, spending 3 years in HongKong and arriving in the US in 2006.
Chris joined Ceres in an advisory role in 2016 and full time in 2018. During this time Ceres has grown at a pace of over 200% per year. He found his passion in the sustainability aspect and the growth potential in disrupting a stagnant greenhouse market. A big part of Ceres' success is the team culture, innovate approach and focus on customer success.

Eboni Freeman
Co-Founder, CEO at Ability Enabled

Eboni J.D. Freeman is a triple threat in tech with Lupus and Raynaud's. She is the CEO of Ability Enabled and a technical specialist at Google. Eboni is excited about universally accessibility, enjoys reading about systems engineering, and practices radical self-ownership. If you want to read more about her adventures as an enabled WOC in tech, please read:

Eric Pierce
Vice President of Business Insights @ New Hope Network

Eric J. Pierce is a strategic marketing and market research professional who brings business management experience and consumer behavior perspectives to his work. Specializing in helping businesses develop strategy and identify and prioritize opportunities; Eric is sought after as a speaker at industry events and for corporate training.
Eric's passions lie in the intersection of consumer behavior and business strategy within the Natural Products industry. These passions are focused on helping companies navigate the dynamic and changing food system, helping to re-imagine brands, inspire product innovation, and focus business investments with an eye towards meeting the needs of the food-forward consumer.
At The New Hope Network Eric and his colleagues and sit at the forefront of the Natural Products industry, well positioned to identify the cultural forces and trends creating opportunity in this exciting and evolving marketplace. Together we help companies large and small identify, prioritize and take advantage of opportunities in the evolving food economy.

Francine Schoenwetter
Director Content Marketing, Supply Chain Solutions, New Hope Network & Informa Global Health and Nutrition Network

Devoted to the Natural Products Industry since before it was called the NPI. With deep roots in the mission based natural consumer products world, Fran's experience encompasses retail leadership, wholesale brand management and work directly with product development supply chains. Today Fran focuses on putting all of this industry muscle to work, connecting ingredient suppliers and product innovators via unique and engaging content, providing strategic business intelligence and tactical know-how for manufacturers focused on doing well while doing good.

Jeff Schmidgall
Co-Founder & CEO at Bubba's Fine Foods

Jeff is the co-founder and CEO of Bubba’s Fine Foods, creators of Grain-Free snacking alternatives to Chex Mix, Doritos and granola... using savory kettled-cooked banana chips and real-food spices.  Located in Loveland, CO, Bubba’s was started in 2014 and is sold nationwide in 1,800 retailers and on various e-commerce outlets. Coming from an industrial machinery background, Jeff has been on a steep and exhilarating learning curve of the CPG food industry. He loves to help fellow food revolutionists with all the lessons learned along the way.

Jenna Blumenfeld
Senior Food Editor @ New Hope Network

Jenna Blumenfeld is the Senior Food Editor for New Hope Network, where she reports prolifically on burgeoning natural food and beverage trends, ethical ingredient sourcing, regenerative agriculture and global supply chains for Natural Foods and Nutrition Business Journal. On her weekly online gallery series “Unboxed," Blumenfeld reviews the newest natural products before they hit store shelves—and identifies which foods and beverages will resonate with consumers. Jenna’s greatest wish is to participate in cultivating a food system where everyone has access to healthy, sustainable food—and to one day develop an app that feeds you fresh-from-France croissants, instantly.

Jodi Feinhor-Dennis
CEO @ Missy J’s Snacks + Treats

Jodi spent decades saying “I can’t eat that” because of her own dietary sensitivities to chocolate, dairy and sugar. In a personal quest for a “better for you” option, she launched Missy J’s, a vegan carob candy company in 2011. Her dedication and innovation in the kitchen, pushed her to create the best “chocolate like” candy on the market without all the refined sugar, dairy and caffeine found in most candy.  Sweetened only with coconut sugar and free from caffeine, dairy, gluten and GMOs, Missy J’s is the leader in carob based treats, and can be found in natural products grocery stores nationwide.

Jon Baker
Managing Director at Alpine Modern

Jon is the Managing Director of Alpine Modern, a specialty coffee shop and cafe with two locations in Boulder, Colorado. Jon has spent the last eight years leading and growing multi-unit bakeries and cafes. As Managing Director of Alpine Modern, Jon is responsible for overseeing every aspect of the business with a focus on driving future growth in Boulder, Denver and beyond. 

Lindsey Cunningham
Co-Founder & CEO @ RollinGreens

Lindsey and her husband founded RollinGreens a Boulder-Based food truck in 2011. They took one of their top selling appetizers Millet Tots to the freezer isle in 2015. Millet Tots are currently in 1,000 retailers and various food service accounts. 

Liz Myslik
Chief Marketing Officer @ Fresca Foods

Liz Myslik is Chief Marketing Officer of Fresca Foods and CEO of Fresca Brands.  Fresca partners with innovative companies that inspire conscious consumers and transform traditional food categories.   Liz first learned about mindful eating, yoga and meditation from her father, who courageously raised her as a single parent.  She has made it her life’s work to help make these practices more available and accessible to everyone, and has been doing so for nearly 20 years as an entrepreneur and investor. Liz has been named by Forbes Magazine as a Kingmaker in Consumer and Retail industries, by Fortune Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Food and Drink, and by New Hope Natural Media as one of 9 Wonder Women In the Natural Food Industry.  She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.  Liz lives with her husband and son in Denver, CO.

Mark McDermott
Founder & CEO @ Greatful Foods

Mark is founder of Greatful Foods LLC, a management consulting firm serving the consumer products industry. Throughout his 30 years of international marketing and general management at multinational companies (Coca-Cola, Sara Lee Coffee & Tea, Gerber, Nestlé Nutrition, Novartis) and entrepreneurial start- ups in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical and advertising industries, Mark has transformed numerable nascent opportunities into sustainable, multimillion-dollar businesses. Mark has created new brands, products and services in markets across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa; from start-up to $30 million, to $50-$100M high growth, and to $1B global businesses. Mark has a BA in Economics from Denison University and an MBA from The Darden School of Business at University of Virginia. He and his wife, Susan, recently moved to Boulder from Switzerland and have hopped right into the community; Mark is on the Advisory Board of Boulder Sun LLC, member of Naturally Boulder and a mentor at CU Boulder. Fun fact : Mark was previously King of the Circus for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Michael Memsic
Co-Founder, CEO @ Sanitas Brewing Company

Michael didn’t always want to be a brewer. In fact, when he was a kid, Michael was dead-set on playing baseball for the Oakland A’s. But after a string of injuries and a strong dose of reality, our boy Memsic came to terms with the fact that he may not be destined to go pro. It was in college that Michael began experimenting with what would soon become his lifelong passion: brewing. And as the story goes, what started as a hobby soon evolved into an obsession. ​ During his time at the University of Colorado in beer-loving Boulder, Michael carved out time between classes and powder days to work at the town staple Oskar Blues Grill & Brew. Following graduation, he took over as a brewer at Boulder Beer where he would spend several years developing creative beers and chasing his dream of opening a production brewery of his own.

Pat Hughes
VP Commercial Operations at Sunrise Strategic Partners

Pat Hughes is Vice President Commercial Operations at Sunrise Strategic Partners, which provides growth capital and expertise to emerging brands in the healthy, active and sustainable living space.  Pat works with Sunrise’s portfolio companies in functional areas such as marketing, sales, and operations.  He also is responsible for originating and performing due diligence on Sunrise’s investments. Prior to Sunrise, Pat held brand management and marketing positions at Boulder Brands, working across a portfolio of brands that included EVOL, Udi’s Gluten Free, Glutino, Earth Balance, and Smart Balance.  Before Boulder Brands, Pat served with distinction in combat in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine Corps officer with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.  Pat received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business.

Randy Jensen
Technical Account Manager, Google

Front end developer turned serial entrepreneur, Randy founded VerifyMyBnb, DwellWell, and Pop Box. He's led front-end development for a $1B startup and took over Product at an enterprise SasS startup. Currently at Google helping support large-scale publishers like New York Times and Reddit.

Robbie Vitrano
CEO @ Good Spread

Robbie is a designer who works as a ceo, investor, and mentor.  His focus is on high impact, profitable, social innovation—working through the food system, e-commerce, and media.  He manages his holdings through portfolio company Innisfree.
He is ceo/co-founder of Good Spread, an organic food brand that activates solutions to the global malnutrition crisis (1 billion starved, 2 billion obese) through the $10 billion nut butter market, transparency and integrity in the supply chain, advocacy and adventure.  Good Spread was launched from a non-profit that makes a nutrition-fortified peanut butter-based treatment that has a 96% cure rate for the chronic disease of severe acute malnutrition (SAM, the leading cause of death among children globally).  Good Spread engages the market — as part of a global ecosystem of organizations working to eliminate severe malnutrition — to fund millions of lifesaving treatments for children around the world.
Robbie is a serial entrepreneur, co-founding international healthy fast casual franchise Naked Pizza, social entrepreneurship accelerator The Idea Village, brand studioTrumpet, and natural food+e-commerce media company Natchcom.  Naked Pizza was sold to Mark Cuban in 2012.  Both Trumpet and Naked Pizza were named Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies in the World.”  He is on the board of Tulane’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute.  Innisfree holdings include Natchcom, Trumpet, Porchjam Spirits, Uncanny full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD, and better-for-you fast casual concept Freedom Pizza.
Robbie splits his time between the food epicenters of his hometown New Orleans and Boulder with his wife of 31 years, artist Patricia Duffy Vitrano.

Sam Kressler
Principal @ Stir Consulting

Sam runs Stir Consulting, an innovation strategy and product development firm serving the natural foods, culinary, and food service industries. Prior to Stir, Sam spent several years at Boulder Brands where he oversaw commercialization for all Evol, Glutino, and Udi’s innovation and renovation projects. Before joining Boulder Brands, Sam worked as a chef in San Francisco and Manhattan. Additionally, Sam attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and holds a Masters in Food Systems from NYU.

Tara O'Brien
Education Director at Boomtown Accelerators

Management & leadership coach. Pitch & storytelling whisperer. Entrepreneur. Master's in Organization Development. Background in venture capital, small business consulting. Air Force Veteran. International television journalist.  
Today, Tara runs the education and curriculum program for companies attending Boomtown Accelerator. How she can help you during BSW? By building out your Problem/Solution, and helping you create and hone your pitch so you can win customers, attention, & investment.
Half the challenge of building a successful startup is being able to communicate it properly - which is not easy. If you build it they will not come. If you build it properly and can then excite them through clear and passionate messaging...they will.  
Another key to success - is in building investor relationships...I can help you there too!

Wendy Lu McGill
Founder/CEO @ Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch

Wendy Lu McGill has a background in sociological research in international development and intercultural communication, bringing a global perspective and deep understanding of the why and how of farming insects for food. Working for nearly a dozen years with UN agencies helping them communicate to internal and external stakeholders about complex topics such as human trafficking, water and sanitation and rural infrastructure development, she has transitioned to create a holistic approach to business development and sales, fostering partnerships and deep relationships.

Zach Duckworth
Co-Founder, CEO @ DigiZen Marketing Group

 Zach Duckworth is CEO and Partner at DigiZen Marketing Group, a Digital Growth Agency based in Boulder Colorado. DigiZen's focus is to cultivate a caring and creative group that fosters superior growth problem solving, so the solutions we produce together continue to help our partners stand out from the crowd and achieve their goals. 

Zach is experienced advising startups as well as multi-million dollar corporations on how to grow more effectively. He has quickly fallen in love with the CPG space and is stoked to be apart of Startup Weekend this year. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Boulder Food + Tech 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

New Hope Network is at the forefront of the healthy lifestyle products industry. With solutions for the complete supply chain from manufacturers, retailers/distributors, service providers and ingredient suppliers, the network offers a robust portfolio of content, events, data, research and consultative services.

Visit Website



Product Sponsor

Swag Sponsor

Organizing Team

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

  • Joseph
  • Chris
  • Dan
  • Jordan


Aiko Cheslin

CEO and Founder of MentorMatter, proud winner of GoCode Colorado and Co-Organizer of Denver New Tech, Meteor Boulder and Pitch Camp  

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