Startup Weekend Chicago Latinx Tech Edition

    Friday, September 29 - October 1, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Chicago Latinx Tech Edition

Friday, September 29 - October 1, 2017

Friday, September 29 - October 1, 2017
Event starts at 6:30 pm

1871 (for Registration on Friday) mHUB for Saturday and Sunday
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago , IL 60654

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Join the national movement for Latinx in Tech

As Chicago's largest minority group the Latinx community is a vibrant community of innovative and aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists with business ideas aimed to solve problems disproportionately facing the U.S. Latinx community. 

Are you one of them? Join 100 entrepreneurially-minded Latinxs and allies over 54 hours to develop your business idea with mentorship by some of the most talented technologists, business innovators, and prominent investors in Chicago. 

The vision for this event is to inspire potential entrepreneurs in the Latinx community to breathe life into their ideas and learn how to bridge the gap from ideation to business plan. Our main focus is on tech solutions, but we welcome all ideas that will help to create a future fueled by Latinx leadership and experiences. The SW Chicago Latinx event is part of a nationwide initiative with events in Los Angels, Miami, NYC and Miami, all the in the same weekend!

USE SWCHI for a 50% discounted ticket for all 3 days! We are subsidizing the cost for a limited time -    Questions - email us at

FRIDAY at 1871 (12th Floor of Merchandise Mart)
SATURDAY at MHUB (965 W Chicago Ave)
SUNDAY at MHUB (965 W Chicago Ave)

What is Startup Weekend?
In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening. Startup Weekend has grown into an organization with a global presence. As of December 2016, Startup Weekend has reached 135 countries, involving over 210,000 entrepreneurs.

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday September 29th

6:30 pm
ATTENTION DIFFERENT LOCATION: Arrive at 1871 on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
AT 1871: 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 September 30th

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 October 1st

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

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Samara Hernandez
Investor at MATH Ventures

Samara is an early stage investor at MATH Venture Partners with a specialty in financial technology. Prior to joining MATH, Samara spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, where she was continually ranked top 5 in selling financial products, providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. She started her career in the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity (FICC) group where she lead multiple technology enhancing projects across global exchanges. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital and entrepreneurship. She is on the leadership council for Women Tech Founders and an active mentor at 1871 and with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Samara earned an Industrial and Operations Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University.

Cate Costa
Founder Venture Catalyst Consulting

Cate is Founder of Venture Catalyst Consulting where she helps  business owners build successful, sustainable companies and help organizations that support those business owners to build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems and effective entrepreneurship support programs.

Nick Delgado

Nicholas Delgado is the founder and principal of Dignitas, an investment banking platform for growth oriented founder and family run enterprises. From capital raises to selling companies to helping operators think like private equity pros, Nick has become a thought leader and go-to advisor for high growth companies and their founders.

Prior to founding Dignitas, Nick counseled high net worth families as a Wealth Management Advisor at the private banks of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. While at Merrill Lynch, Nick achieved top decile investment performance amongst his peers during the 2008-09 financial crisis. 

Eric Vazquez
Chicago City Technology Officer

Eric Vazquez is a native Chicagoan and previous Startup Weekend Winner. Grateful for an opportunity to serve the people of Chicago, Eric is responsible for bringing together technology across departments, identifying and exploiting new technologies and driving overall Office technology strategy.

Coaches and Mentors

Marco Lopez
Founder Touristeen

Inherently curious, transformational leader, facilitator of collaboration and integration. Creative global marketer with an entrepreneurial agility to execute. Over 20 years of building robust experience in Strategy, Brand, Digital, Content, Sports Marketing, Experiential and Media. Contributor to developing and strengthening teams with diversity, discipline, and growth. Track record in driving profitability growth, earning trust and value (brand & agency) to top brands. A power connector and change agent.

Manny Ozaeta

Manny Ozaeta is the Director of the Hispanic Technology Incubator, a new program established at 1871 in partnership with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In this role he serves as facilitator and mentor to Latinx entrepreneurs by curating tailored content that includes educational programming, access to funding, and technological support. Prior to leading the incubator, Ozaeta was the Director of Membership at 1871, where he supported the needs of active members.

Raul Rosas
Founder Fluxee

Raul is a business professional and nonprofit leader who specializes in accounting and finance.

He is CEO for Fluxee, a tech startup specializing in bringing real estate into the virtual reality space. 

Alongside Fluxee, he also also sits on the board of Sprouting Leaders (, a nonprofit organization that provides college-aged mentors to Chicago youth. 

Juanita Garcia
Founder and CEO of BIM for Better

BIM for Better was founded to further the adoption of BIM (Building Information Modeling) and other technology in the collaboration of building design and construction while also developing new leaders in building technology. Juanita began her career in the industry designing mechanical systems for mechanical contractors. Her USGBC volunteer work has focused on Emerging Professionals regionally and nationally. In her work with Project Exploration, she has been developing and teaching STEM curriculum to students in the context of sustainable building and urban planning. Juanita, along with her co-host Bryant Williams, share the stories of environmentalists of color on the podcast

Omar Duque
President and CEO IHCC

Omar is passionate about entrepreneurship and the role entrepreneurship plays in building community and in helping create a better world.  He helped found the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship and ENTERpreneur – a summer youth entrepreneurship program for Chicago-area high-school students. Under his leadership IHCC is leading an initiative to connect more Hispanics to the innovation economy and is launching a first-of-it’s kind incubator for Hispanic tech and tech-enabled startups in partnership with 1871. Omar is a Chicago native whose parents immigrated to the United States from Guatemala. He received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He worked as a reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune, one of the last afternoon daily newspapers in the country. Omar is an avid runner, he loves to cook, enjoys live music – especially jazz and highly improvisational music. He is married to a super-star woman, Clarisol, and has two young children. 

Kristen Sonday

As co-founder and COO of Paladin, Kristen is responsible for operations management and business development in helping mobilize the United States’s 1.3 million attorneys to increase access to justice through the power of pro bono. As a first-gen college Latina passionate about social justice, Kristen worked on international criminal matters with the U.S. Department of Justice straight out of Princeton before joining the founding team of Grouper (YC W‘12). 
Kristen was recently selected as a Fellow for Stanford’s Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program, as well as Google for Entrepreneur’s Code2040 Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Kristen is also a 2017 ABA Woman in Tech to Watch as a result of her access to justice contributions through Paladin.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Chicago Latinx Tech Edition 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

Code2040 creates access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latinx engineering talent to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy.



Organizing Team

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

  • Kristen
  • Juan
  • Bria
  • Juliana
  • Cynthia


Chris Groh

Chris is a Startup Weekend veteran organizing and facilitating Startup Weekend New Orleans for the past few years. He’s also an aviation geek and cofounder of a non-profit organization which helps connect aviation startups to industry influencers. Growing up in New Orleans, he’s never met a shell fish he wouldn’t eat and he always knows “where you got dem shoes.”

Event Staff

Bria Smith

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