Startup Weekend Bozeman

    Friday, April 17 - 19, 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 Bozeman

Friday, April 17 - 19, 2015

Friday, April 17 - 19, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Montana State University, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepeneurship
794-798 W Cleveland
Bozeman, MT 59715

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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

In a first for the events in Montana, Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015 will include access to Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's for all attendees. These devices can be used to build physical electronic products quickly and cheaply. There will be a multitude of sensors available and experts on hand to help teams that use them. Any team that uses Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's and continues after the weekend is over will get to keep the units at no charge. We will also have access to 3D Printing

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. 

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!


Friday April 17th

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 April 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 April 19th

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:00 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Doug Warner
CEO at DropTrip

Doug Warner is a cloud technology veteran with an extensive background in computer science and psychology. He started as one of the original employees at RightNow Technologies and throughout his 13 year tenure was the driving force behind the RightNow Knowledge Foundation, RightNow's industry leading core technology. Doug left RightNow shortly after Oracle's $1.5b acquisition and has subsequently built multiple businesses including DropTrip, a startup in the crowdsourced shipping industry. In his limited free time, Doug is also an accomplished expedition caver.

Event Judges

Susan Carstensen
Board of Directors at AtTask, Inc., Socrata, Foundant, PfL

Susan Carstensen is an experienced businesswoman who served as COO, CFO and SVP at RightNow Technologies from 1999 to 2012, contributing to its growth in a hands on, leadership capacity from $2M to $200M in revenue, taking it public in 2004 and ultimately being acquired by Oracle for more than $1.5B in late 2011. Susan is an experienced board director and advisor, having served on the BOD of LiveOffice from 2008 to 2012, at which time the company was acquired by Symantec. She currently serves on the board at AtTask, Bridger Ski Foundation and MSU Alumni Foundation. She has also been engaged in advisory services for Blackbaud (BLKB) and several startups.

Richard Harjes
Owner at Willow Spring Ranch

Richard is Venture Partner at Next Frontier Capital, a Bozeman-based venture capital fund. With his wife Katy, he co-founded and runs Willow Spring Ranch Montana, sustainably raising organic lamb for the local and national gourmet market. Richard serves on the board of directors of the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, and is the founder and one of the creative drivers behind the Museum’s STEAMlab – an experiential, tech-based learning center for kids focused on circuits, 3D printing and coding.  Prior to his Bozeman activities, Richard was Managing Director of the Statistical Arbitrage business at Citadel Investment Group in Chicago, founding the group responsible for the quantitative trading of equities at the firm. Prior to this, he was Director of Research at Numeric Investors, a quantitative equity fund in Boston, and one of the founding members of the Alpha Strategies Group at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. Richard has served on the faculties of Duke University and the University of Arizona and published in major academic journals.

Mark Jacobs
CEO at Me!Box Media Inc.

30 years in executive leadership and consulting to manufacturing, distribution and logistics companies. Guided major growth initiatives, turnaround efforts, Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma initiatives, Sales & Operations Planning, re-capitlization and a wide variety of other business initiatives, including my favorite Start-ups and re-starts!. Co-founded MeBox Media, coordinated initial and early stage capital raise, sold initial accounts, actively oversee daily operations and sales.

Liz Marchi
Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund

Liz Marchi is currently the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund, LLC, Montana’s first angel fund In addition, she is working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to build the Montana Angel Network and Innovate Montana. Finally, Liz is a co-founder of Northfork Strategies.

Will Price
Venture Capitalist and Entreprenuer

Will is the Managing Partner of Next Frontier Capital, a Bozeman-based venture capital fund. Prior to Next Frontier, Will served as CEO of Flite, Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and as Senior Vice President with Pequot Capital Management. Will serves on the Board of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Flite, Takari, and is an active advisor and investor in a number of start-ups.

Coaches and Mentors

John Allwine
Owner at Freakin' Sweet Apps

Since childhood, John's been creating visual, interactive programs that simulate reality. He's always been interested in applying math and physics to his programs and focused on learning about graphics programming in college. After college, John became an effects artist at DreamWorks Animation where he learned all about visual effects in animated feature films. He worked on How To Train Your Dragon,
Megamind and Madagascar 3 before leaving DreamWorks to pursue ideas of his own. He started his own company, Freakin' Sweet Apps, whose latest project creates 3D models of knots that can be 3D printed as desk art, jewelry, gear shifts and more. He also teaches Computer Graphics at MSU and oversees the STEAMlab at the Children's Museum of Bozeman.

Gary Bishop
Director of Student Research Services & Adjunct Instructor of Management, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

Gary serves as the Director of Student Research Services & Adjunct Instructor of Management at Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship. He is a seasoned senior-level training professional and brings more than 30 years successful experience in training, management, and executive leadership in both public and private sectors to the classroom and the boardroom. Bishop has extensive hands-on experience as a senior manager and executive in training and operations.

Jake Cook
Director of Digital Strategy at Tadpull

Forever curious entrepreneur with a background in digital marketing. Experience in applying web technology and analytics to solve branding challenges for clients across life sciences, luxury, enterprise, consumer web, and the outdoor industry.

Guest writer for Behance's 99u and Smashing Magazine. Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Les Craig
Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University

Les Craig has spent the past 13 years as an entrepreneur and innovator. Most recently, Les co-founded The Twenty, a company offering data science as a service to solve the data problems of small and medium sized businesses. Prior to The Twenty, Les co-founded RedOwl Analytics, a software product company which built a platform for identifying trends and anomalies in the digital trail of corporations in order to combat insider threat and mitigate risk. Previously, Les served as a Technical Operations Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to his time at the CIA, Les was a member of the professional staff of the National Security Technology Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. He began solving problems of national significance in 2002, when he interned at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working on a special project with the Counter-proliferation, Analysis, and Planning System. Later that year, he contributed to a study with the Army Research Labs where he developed a unique methods to analyze the performance of a diagnostic device used to detect Malaria.

Paul Gladen
Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana

Paul Gladen is the Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana, a program that helps students, alumni, faculty and staff start their own business. He is co-founder of Muzeview, a research business based in Missoula and also co-founder of the Hellgate Venture Network, a networking group for Montana entrepreneurs.

Paul has an MA in Mathematics from Oxford University and an MBA from Manchester Business School. He spent the first 14 years of his career working for Arthur Andersen. He has lived and worked in London, New York, Rome, Dublin & Chicago, moving to Missoula in 2008.

Danny Choriki
Strategic and Product Consultant

Born in Bozeman and raised around the agriculture industry of Montana, Danny Choriki decided in his 20's to see if there was life without dirt under his finger nails. With a degree in the social sciences, Danny went to New York City to study environmental psychology with an eye towards understanding how people cope with and adapt to rapid social and technical change. He assisted the director of The City University of New York Graduate School's computer center to move from card punch machines, Wilbur and VAX terminals (9600 baud) to PC's on a LAN, structured databases, and eventually the internet. From there, Danny looked at the impact of information technology on New York Public Schools for a policy research center. A series of consulting and strategic planning positions at Fortune 50 corporations in legal, finance and telecommunications industries followed until the internet bubble burst. Danny returned to his startup roots in the online advertising technology ecosystem and built a vertical ad network and an AOL-owned US branch of an European ad serving company followed by digital privacy and online game startups. Danny returned home to Montana in 2012 to refresh his father’s 40-year-old startup business including innovation with drones and the company’s 18 years of experience with GPS farm consulting. Additionally, Danny advises startups on early stage strategic business planning. Danny was the lead organizer for the inaugural Startup Weekend Billings, is writing a book on integrating strategy into daily life, and a game idea (ask him about it!). Interests include digital privacy, rapid change adaptation, STEM, economic development, and low earth orbit.

Dan Simser
President / Co-Founder at TechMeridian, JobsiteMobile & Bozeman Makerspace

With 15+ years of application development experience, Daniel has developed intranet applications for Cisco, & HP; applications & websites for brands national & local; Roadracing World Magazine, Off the Beaten Path, MontanPBS, Andescotia Software, and more. When Daniel is not working he spends his time with his family, developing various board games, & enjoying the the great outdoors in the beautiful state of Montana.

Ryan Stout
Co-Founder & Developer at Agile Productions

Ryan Stout has been doing web development for over fifteen years and has been working with Rails for the last six. He runs a small web-consulting agency and has been involved in startups ranging from social gaming to online dating and domain search. He spent the last year developing a stealth startup that uses both natural language processing systems and modern machine learning techniques.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Bozeman 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

Bozeman possesses a rich natural heritage, educational opportunities, and an entrepreneurial spirit. As a community, Bozeman endeavors to provide a solid framework within which hard work and personal accountability is rewarded, a high quality community is maintained, and a sustainable economy can thrive.

Visit Website





Organizing Team

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

  • Kris
  • Ken
  • Rick
  • Cody
  • Nathan


Buzz Bruggeman
Co-Founder of ActiveWords

Buzz Bruggeman is one of the co-founders of ActiveWords. He graduated with honors from Coe College and from Duke University Law School. Prior to ActiveWords he spent 30 years as real estate lawyer/litigator. He runs all of the outward facing aspects of ActiveWords, including marketing and partnering, and as such is responsible for evangelizing ActiveWords to everyone he meets. Buzz has spoken at many tech industry events, has been on the advisory board of the Demo Conference, won a Demo god award, and has been featured in books by Dan Gillmor and Robert Scoble. Buzz has been a long time participant in the startup and blogging community, and routinely speaks and consults on using new media tools to market and evangelize software.

Event Blog

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