Startup Weekend Chicago

    Friday, April 20 - 22, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Sponsors
  5. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Chicago

Friday, April 20 - 22, 2018

Friday, April 20 - 22, 2018
Event starts at 6:00 pm

4245 North Knox Avenue
Chicago , Illinois 60641

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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:
  • 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.
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!

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Friday April 20th

6:00 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 21st

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

7:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

8:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday April 22nd

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

7:00 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Amor Montes De Oca
2112, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Amor Montes de Oca is Director of Strategic Initiatives at 2112, Chicago’s first business incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative industry technology. Through community, educational opportunities and access to capital, 2112 creates a truly fertile ground for the professional development and acceleration of its members. Responsible for developing member engagement programs and partnerships, including spearheading and developing initiatives as part of 2112's strategic direction and core principles. A passionate leader, combining business acumen, personable demeanor, cultivation and stewardship. Amor is a mother, travel enthusiast, flamenco aficionado, knitting novice and aspiring paintball ninja.

Miachel Donnelly
Founder CEO Investor

Michael has been the force behind some of the country's most popular large-scale tech and business events, including Techweek, Fear Paradox Summit, and FUND Conference. After helping to put together a number of events for clients, she decided to follow her passion of encouraging professional inclusion at all opportunities and founded FWD (For Women & Diversity) Collective, formerly known as VentureFWD. 

Formerly the CEO of Techweek, the nation's largest traveling technology festival. Prior to Techweek, I was the President and Founder of SocialKaty, Inc, Chicago's largest social media marketing agency. Founded in 2010, SocialKaty exploded, offering a rich set of services to a diverse portfolio of over 60 full-time clients, including AAA, Spartan Race, Beanie Babies, ServiceMaster, and Firestone Tires. In July of 2014, I announced the merge between SocialKaty, Inc and Manifest Digital, a Chicago-based experience design agency. This combination created one of the largest social and content marketing teams in the U.S.

► Named 'Top 50 Tech Influencer' by Crain's Chicago
► Placed on Thrillist’s 'Top 50 Twitter Feeds To Follow'
► Listed on Chicago Tribune's '10 Chicago Entrepreneurs to Follow on Snapchat'
► Featured on BuiltInChicago's '50 Chicago Tech CEOs, Founders, Designers & Hackers to follow' 
► Creator of popular hashtag #TravelTuesday
► Actively involved in Mark Zuckerberg's immigration reform organization, FWD.US
► Model and Brand Ambassador for The Limited's 'Leading Looks Like' National Campaign:

Akshat Thirani

Akshat is CEO and co-founder of Amper, an industrial IoT startup that's digitizing manufacturing and bringing transparency in the supply chain. Amper has raised capital from top investors like Slow Ventures, SOSV, 1517 Fund and several prominent angel investors. Akshat and his co-founders were part of Alchemist Accelerator, a venture-backed business incubator focused on accelerating startups whose revenue comes from enterprises. Amper has also been part of HAX, the top hardware accelerator where startups live in Shenzhen and go from prototypes to production in a 4-month program. Akshat is passionate about building a zero-waste supply chain and working on bio-inspired and sustainability-focused product design. Akshat graduated from Northwestern University, and apart from growing Amper, spends his time rock climbing and bouldering. 

Paul Gustafson

Prior to INOA, Paul was the CEO and founder of Proximus IQ, Clearcount Health and BCKSTGR Media. Paul began his career working in consumer advertising and marketing on some of the world’s largest brands within the portfolios of Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and General Mills.  He was quick to embrace and utilize digital technology in the marketing industry that eventually led him to co-found and become President of the digital services agency, Senti.   ​As a Senior Partner at Grey, part of WPP Communications Group, Paul focused on building new business verticals and restructuring operational practices on a global basis.  His success in Latin, Central, and North American resulted in significant year over year growth and increase of topline revenue for the network.  This included major client acquisition and organic expansion with existing relationships.  Paul’s efforts have been recognized through his clients with awards from Procter & Gamble’s Board of Directors, and Kraft’s innovation team.       He is a passionate entrepreneur who has founded and partnered in various companies throughout his career including a joint venture with United Airlines  He currently is a mentor/advisor to technology startups at 1871, and teaches marketing and business development for the Startup Institute.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Chicago 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

Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Organizing Team

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

  • Maneet
  • John


Armin Eichhorn
Entrepreneur & Coach

Armin loves turning ideas into reality. His passion is for startups in the early stage when everything is to be gained, or lost. He is a founding partner in the ethical design label KANCHA, a coach to the founder of, and more. Before choosing to focus solely on being an entrepreneur, Armin worked as project manager in logistics for The LEGO Group.

Armin can add most value to a passionate team that is looking for the fastest and best-executable way to get from idea to first paying customers within 24 hours. He would love to help you turn your idea into an actual business.

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