Startup Weekend Charlotte

    Friday, April 28 - 30, 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, Charlotte, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Startup Weekend Charlotte

Friday, April 28 - 30, 2017

Friday, April 28 - 30, 2017
Event starts at 5:00 pm

STEM Hall, Johnson C Smith University
100 Beatties Ford Rd
Charlotte, NC 28216

Buy Tickets

Learn, Network... Start!

The hardest part of starting up is starting out. At Startup Weekend, you'll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen.
Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward creating a business, becoming a founder, and connecting with the right people and resources. 

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday April 28th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

5:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:30 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

11:00 pm
Go Home and Sleep
What a great night. You're starting off the weekend right, Now let's continue that with some sleep and be ready to go by 9am tomorrow morning!

Saturday April 29th

9:00 am
Breakfast & Learn
Arrive, continental breakfast, coffee and learn about Business Model Canvas and how it can help focus your business.

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

10:00 am
Mentors Arrive
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help! Mentors will be available 10am-3pm.

10:00 am
Customer Discovery Workshop
The Ventureprise Launch teaching team will cover the required planning, skills and best practices for productive customer interviewing.

1:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

3:00 pm
Elevator Pitch Workshop
If you haven't met Juan Garzon yet, you should. He's a great mentor in the Charlotte Startup Community. He'll be give you best practices and tips for creating your elevator pitch.

6:30 pm

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

11:00 pm
Go home and get some sleep
It's been a long productive day. Go enjoy some sleep and see you in the morning.

Sunday April 30th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

12:30 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
Pencils Down & Dinner
It's time to put pencils down and get some food and network.

5:45 pm
Final Presentations

7:45 pm
Judging & Awards

8:15 pm

8:30 pm
Go Home!
You've done some amazing work, creating new friendship and learned so much. Congratulations on getting to the finish line!


Demetria Gallagher

Demetria is an innovator, architect and connector. She has more than seven years of building innovation ecosystems in the Department of Commerce through public private partnerships. During the Obama Administration Demetria served as the Senior Advisor and Architect for the Inclusive Innovation Initiative in the Department of Commerce. As Senior Advisor for Policy and Inclusive Innovation, she coordinated and connected minority entrepreneurs and students of color to more than $140 billion in R&D. In 2016, she was the Keynote Speaker for Black Enterprise's Tech Summit in San Francisco. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, George Washington University and the University of Oxford. She resides in Washington D.C.

Devin Collins
Assistant Director of Business and Entrepreneurial

Juan Garzon

Juan is one of our organizers, as well as our MC for the weekend! He will also be presenting a workshop on Pitching Your Idea at 4pm on Saturday!

Jill Bjers

Organizer and Cat-herder extraordinaire, a skill that comes in handy with her family, tech community and cats of all kinds.  Being a founder, community advocate and travel junkie has helped her fill a passport or two, as well as, shape a unique experience.
She has worked to organize countless events of all sizes from Olympics to DNC to monthly meetups. Currently honored serve as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Code for Charlotte and working to bring civic technology industry to Charlotte.  Jill is a leader and spokeswoman for technology, community organizing, entrepreneurism and civic engagement around the world and loves sharing her message.

Event Judges

Walt Frye

Walt Frye is a career financial services and technology executive with a passion for driving sustainable growth and operational improvements in financial institutions, technology companies, and non-profit oranizations.

With over 15 years of executive experience in large financial services and technology companies, Walt currently serves as an advisor, mentor, board member, volunteer and angel investor in organizations and companies within Charlotte’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem. He serves as an advisor to QC FinTech, where he’s provided
mentorship to multiple companies in the areas of payments, marketing and product development. He was recently appointed to the board of QC Forward and continues to advise one of its companies INTech, which focuses on inspiring young women to pursue technology careers. As a mentor and advisor to City Start Up Labs, Walt continues to support his passion for inclusion in entrepreneurship. Walt also serves as a strategic advisor to Aspire Community Capital, which seeks to strengthen entrepreneurship in under-represented communities.

Sherrell Dorsey

Sherrell Dorsey is a noted technology writer and social entrepreneur. She is founder of daily tech newsletter, ThePLUG, where she leads content strategy, business partnerships, and growth of the only newsletter dedicated to highlighting the significant voices of black founders and business leaders in the news.

Her experience in tech includes internships at Microsoft, serving as a marketing manager at Uber, and working on contract in a sales and strategy role with Google Fiber. 

Jay Bendis

Jay's experience for the past 30 years has been in the areas of marketing, sales and operations from Fortune 500 to start-up companies in both domestic and international markets. His expertise has been supporting emerging life-science companies get their innovations to market.

Coaches and Mentors

Luke Segars

Luke is currently a frontend engineering instructor at the Iron Yard in Charlotte. Originally from South Carolina, he recently moved back to the southeast from San Francisco after working at Google for three years as a product manager. He has a masters in computer science and loves making (and helping others make) great things.

Justin Agans

Justin is a startup lawyer at Spengler & Agans. He works with startups and small to medium sized businesses throughout the Charlotte area on everything from formation to contracts to early stage funding. In addition to his background in the law, Justin has an M.B.A. with a focus on entrepreneurship and marketing strategy, which he uses to bring additional value to clients. In the community, Justin works on the leadership team of PitchBreakfast and has worked with Queen City Forward as an advisory board member and Think Tank participant.

Brandon Andrews

Brandon Andrews is a senior consultant at Values Partnerships. He leads the company's work on technology and entrepreneurship, including leading a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, and advising/supporting businesses. He is also a consulting producer on Steve Harvey's Funderdome; a new seed-capital show on ABC.  Previously, Brandon worked as a consultant assisting disruptive and social impact organizations with digital strategy, online advocacy, and navigating the federal system. He spent 5 years in the U.S. Senate where he handled technology, small business, and defense policy.

Shanté Williams
Managing Partner

Shanté Williams is Managing Director of RogersWilliams Capital. She has more than 10 years of combined experiences in commercialization, financial modeling, and business development in the life sciences/BioTech. Prior to RogersWilliams she was Intellectual Property Manager at Celgard, Business Development Manager at Medicomp Inc. and VP of Tech Sourcing at Edison National Medical. In 2017, she was recognized by Charlotte Business Journal as Charlotte’s 40 under 40 leaders. She has her Ph.D from Ohio State University and her MBA from Queens University. She is also a board member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina.

Jonathan Pevarnek
Software Engineer

Jonathan is a software engineer at Jigsaw, a group within Google that focuses upon applying technology to geopolitical issues. He works on Project Shield, which offers free defense against DDoS attacks to journalists, human rights activists, and election information websites. Previously, he has worked on uProxy (a censorship circumvention app), Trello, and a distributed storage system at Barracuda Networks.

Lindsay Deneault
Director of Commericalization

Lindsay Deneault is the Director of Commercialization for Carolinas HealthCare System, where she collaborates with teammate inventors to turn innovative ideas into scalable businesses and partners with early-stage companies to leverage technology-enabled products and services that solve CHS needs.  Prior to joining Carolinas, Lindsay was a business strategist at the Texas Medical Center in Houston where she launched the TMC Innovation Institute and managed the TMCx accelerator program to help TMC’s 21 member hospitals spin out and incubate early-stage healthIT and medtech companies.  She has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MBA from Rice University’s School of Business.  She currently serves as an advisor and pitch coach for SXSW Impact Pediatric Health, Louisville Innovation Summit, and AARP Innovation@50+.

Amy Chiou
Executive Director

amy chiou is the executive director of queen city forward, a nonprofit for social entrepreneurs and civic innovators. by incorporating design thinking and lean startup principles into experiential programming, queen city forward aims to inspire people and organizations to be creative, innovative, and ambitious for the betterment of the community. in her free time, she advises political candidates on campaign strategy, messaging, and fundraising. amy was born and raised in Texas and can probably eat more tacos than you can but only on #tacotuesdays. 

Sherese Duncan

Duncan is President and CEO of Effició, Incorporated, an entrepreneurship education company, and is a distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Central Piedmont Community College and Johnson C. Smith University. Duncan has served as a SCORE counselor in Charlotte NC since 2006, and has developed and taught entrepreneurial courses to Entrepreneurs, Professionals, and Business Owners around the world through Effició’s Entrepreneurship Education. Duncan’s expertise extends to seven additional viable businesses including d’image, an image and style directory, Effició Radio Network, a small business talk Internet Radio Station, and Effició’s Business Institute, an online school for entrepreneurial credentials.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Charlotte 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.

Venue Sponsorship

Demo Day Sponsorship

Scholarship Sponsorship


Supporter Sponsorship

Media Partner

Beverage Partner

Organizing Team

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

  • Jill
  • Zack
  • Terik
  • Juan


Jason Parker

Event Blog

See Full Blog

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