Startup Weekend FIN TECH Chicago

    Friday, February 20 - 22, 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 FIN TECH Chicago

Friday, February 20 - 22, 2015

Friday, February 20 - 22, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

SPACE by Doejo
444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago , IL 60611

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No Talk...All Action..Finance Style!

The SW Chicago team is excited announce the first Startup Weekend event for 2015 is a collaboration with FinTEx, Chicago’s FinTech Cluster.  This event will be geared towards companies and products in the Financial Tech industry. You don’t need to be a FinTech guru to participate; a diverse group with backgrounds in business, marketing, tech development, design make it all the more interesting. We will have coaches and judges with deep expertise in FinTech to help you accelerate your ideas. We’re also working with some leading infrastructure players to get access to the their tools for the weekend.


Friday February 20th

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 February 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

7:30 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 February 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

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Suk Shah
CFO at Avant Credit

Suk Shah is the Chief Financial Officer of AvantCredit, the fastest growing national online provider of consumer loans.  He also serves as the company’s head of talent, managing talent acquisition and retention, focusing also on building a program to provide mentorship and leadership development to all Avant Credit employees.  Previous roles Suk has served in include Chief Financial Officer of Commercial Banking North America at HSBC and Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis for GE Capital's Commercial Distribution Finance and Healthcare Financial Services practices. A Skokie and Lincolnshire native, Shah received his Bachelors of Finance and Management Information Systems from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business in 2002 and received an Executive MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in 2012. 

Event Judges

Jeffery Carter
Manager at West Loop Ventures

Timing is everything, and no one knows this better than a trader. Jeff traded his own money at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, specializing in agricultural markets and interest rate markets. In the mid-nineties, he was part of a group of equity owners that saw a huge opportunity and remade the entire exchange. They unlocked trapped value, modernized technology, and exponentially grew the business. CME was the first exchange to demutualize, and the first to go public in November of 2002. It is the largest financial exchange in the world based on notional trading volume and market capitalization. In April of 2007, he used his market intuition and network to help found Hyde Park Angels. Jeff actively recruited like minded investors dedicated to fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the Midwest. Prior to HPA’s founding, it was very difficult and expensive to get a seed round done in the Midwest. HPA is now the most respected and largest angel group in the Midwest.

Jason Henrichs
Maker of Things at The Kinetic Group

Jason Henrichs is the Managing Partner of the Kinetic Group, Director of the Startup Institute and part of the startup ecosystem as a founder, board member, advisor, mentor and investor. Jason is active as a mentor across the TechStars network. He’s previously helped found PerkStreet Financial, Britemoon and US Genomics. He is an investor in  Blacksmith Applications, Blueleaf, Fundly, Helpscout, Seahorse Biosciences and Zagster.  He is also the past President of the Massachusetts’s Service Alliance and advisor to City Year. Jason began his education in leadership and engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point and completed studies in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences at Harvard University.Before joining the world of early stage ventures, Jason was a strategy consultant at Monitor Company, where he specialized in strategy design and industry restructuring, and project engineer for Deluxe Corporation where he participated in the redesign of the company’s core manufacturing process and the development of systems to exploit new business opportunities.

Peter Johnson
Senior Associate at Jump Capital

Peter is a former management consultant and investment banker with extensive experience leading strategy, operations, and corporate finance initiatives for organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.
Prior to joining Jump Capital, Peter evaluated, structured and managed M&A and corporate finance transactions as a member of the Financial Institutions Group within Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division.Proceeding Morgan Stanley, Peter developed new products and commercialization strategies, led pricing and service strategy assessments, and built models to monitor and improve operational performance as a consultant with Deloitte Consulting.Peter graduated from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a MBA in Analytic Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Accounting. He has a BS in Finance and Marketing from The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, and is a CFA Level 3 candidate.

Josh Heyse
Software Engineer at Chopper Trading

Pouya Ahmadi
Senior Visual Designer at Morningstar

Pouya Ahmadi is a principal and co-founder of Chicago-based design studio Programme, and is a senior visual designer at Morningstar Inc. since 2011. He is an editorial board member and contributing writer at Neshan magazine focusing on contemporary graphic design and visual arts. His work has been shown by AIGA, The Type Directors Club, Communication Arts, The Society of Typographic Arts, Moscow International Design Biennial, and Etapes. Pouya holds an MA/MAS degree in Visual Communication from the Basel School of Design in Switzerland and an MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Coaches and Mentors

Marc Goodman
Strategic Marketer and Innovator

I have always had a passion for keeping up with the latest in technology and innovation: social networking, augmented reality, virtual worlds, big data, the Internet of Things, the Sharing Economy…I just love it.
As a strategic marketing professional, I have worked with high-tech companies and mid-size product companies, developed strategic partnerships, led skunkworks, launched new products, managed cross-functional teams, and drove innovation. 
My greatest pleasure is to work with innovators, universities, and entrepreneurs. I am the interface across these groups who identifies and nurtures promising emerging technologies and beneficial partnerships.

My niche is being the market-driven leader and out-of-the-box thinker who can effectively communicate technical information to a non-technical audience and develop go-to-market strategies with compelling value propositions and innovative use-cases. 

Monica Sharma
User Experience Designer at Enova International

My name is Monica Sharma and I'm a User Experience Engineer, Information Architect, Developer, Project Manager, and Yogini. I love people, and using data to transform behavior into aesthetically pleasing user-centered design.

Siôn Owen
Ringmaster, Pitch Circus

Siôn Owen is the Founder and Ringmaster of Pitch Circus, Chicago's freshest presentation training outfit. Siôn’s mission in life is to kill boring presentations before they kill us first. He fine-tuned his pitching skills while launching new products and training sales teams at tech companies Nokia and ShopperTrak. Now continuing his mission at Pitch Circus, Siôn specializes in teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to get more creative and persuasive with their presentations to help their big ideas stick.

Shariq Ahmad
Senior Manager, Technology at Morningstar

Doug Bobenhouse
President at Synchology: The Branded Payments Company

I thrive on the early discovery of emerging patterns and the quick assembly of talented teams to make the most of the opportunities these patterns present.

Specialties: Designing, building, launching and managing payment products based on prepaid debit and goal oriented savings account platforms. We enable consumers consumers bank with their favorite brands and earn relevant loyalty rewards when they do.

Randal Cox
Chief Scientist at Rippleshot

I'm an informatics scientist first and foremost, whether that is in genetic sequencing of financial models predicting fraud. Nothing is more fun than a really large data set just waiting to be plundered for hidden gems.

I have a decade of experience in the credit card industry, modeling credit card and ATM fraud, ultimately culminating in me co-founding Rippleshot, a company that produces a very early warning system for credit card data breaches like the ones recently at Sony, Schnuck's, Heartland, and Target. Before that, I published papers in cutting edge bioinformatics studies, including theoretical genome assembly, phylogenetic analysis used to determine protein functions, and studies of unusual DNA structures.

Marc Grens
Founder & Chief Innovation Officer at OuterEdge Ventures

John Sun
Co-founder, Chief Credit Officer at AvantCredit

Seasoned entrepreneur revolutionizing personal finance through software and data. Previously founder, CEO of SpringCoin, a Y-Combinator backed fintech startup.

Jeanine Swatton
Technology Evangelist at Yodlee

Ashley Groves
Director of Growth at Whittl

Ashley is the Director of Growth at Whittl where she spends her time building creative and sustainable marketing strategies. She specializes in SEO tactics, creating vial funnels, content marketing, and A/B testing. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Technical Marketing track at StartUp Institute and a Guest Lecturer at Kellogg School of Management.  She previously worked as a consultant at IBM, where she specialized in technology solutions for government agencies including HUD and the FDIC.

Kyle Henry
CMO at Tide Spin

Kyle has worked with startups as an operator, investor and adviser over the past 5 years.  His passion for growing early stage companies has allowed him roles in brand strategy, strategic partnerships, business development, financial modeling and fundraising.  His teams have raised over $10M in funding across several verticals, including ag/food, tech and social impact.   Last August, he was sponsored by Up Global to travel and attend Startup Weekend Sertao in Brazil.
Kyle is currently leading marketing and strategy at Tide Spin, a delivery service launching out of 1871 in Chicago powered by P&G/Tide. 

Michael Woyan
Social entrepreneur, collaborator, brand curator and strategic enterprise architect

Michael Woyan has over twenty-five years of entrepreneurial and strategic experience with concentrations in social enterprise, finance, banking, hospitality, real estate, technology, marketing, branding, project management, business plan and presentation development.  A creative problem solver, he especially enjoys collaborating with entrepreneurs helping them translate their vision to execution and facilitating successful outcomes.

Karen Goldner
Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at WBDC

Karen has spent over twenty years working with, in and for small businesses. She has worked in for-profit and non-profit early stage investment organizations, including creating and managing the first for-profit technology-focused angel fund in Northeast Indiana. Karen served as Interim President of a $6 million defense manufacturer that was owned by her investors. Prior to that, she managed a community development loan program for the City of Fort Wayne, and served as Fort Wayne’s Director of Economic Development. Karen earned her Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Nebraska.

Patrick Farrar
Software Engineer

Patrick is currently working as a software engineer with Pinpoint Health and is the lead member of Livenine LLC, a web development consultancy based in Chicago. He has a background and degree in Marketing and specializes in product-focused software development, ui/ux, application design, and front-end development. Patrick's background includes working for startups in various different technical and non-technical roles from product development, market analysis, application design, application development, automated testing.  

Patrick is a two-time Startup Weekend Alum and now also a member of the core Startup Weekend Chicago Organizing team. 

Craig McCaw
Assistant Vice President at MB Real Estate

Craig joined MB Real Estate in 2005 to focus on tenant representation, new business development and project management. He specializes in structuring complex real estate transactions for insurance companies and other financial services firms, as well as various public and private corporations and creative clients. He has helped to strengthen cash flows and utilize GAAP schedules to maximize gains for clients such as Bacardi USA, CSX Transportation, Fortegra Financial and The Warranty Group. 

Prior to joining MB Real Estate, Craig was a Project Coordinator for Armstrong Construction in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and Eco-Turf Incorporated in Raleigh, North Carolina. For both companies, he helped develop and coordinate construction projects that focused on time and cost efficiency. At both firms he implemented stringent inspections and audits to ensure all projects adhered to quality standards.

In his spare time, Craig is on boards at the Goodman Theatre and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Ashish Patel
Director, Cloud Services at Terago Networks

Ashish is the Director of Cloud Services at Terago Networks. He is a high-performing leader and entrepreneur with the strategic business, engineering, and team leadership skills that consistently generate revenue from technology innovation. He has an impressive 14-year track record for identifying new opportunities, applying business acumen, and engineering products from concept to commercialization; while building customer relationships with a passionate entrepreneurial spirit. He has founded and led multiple products, services, and start-up projects including IBM Cloud OpenStack Services (, IBM Security AppScan Source, IBM Rational Application Performance Analyzer, Eclipse Build to Manage Toolkit, MarketPush,, Signia Analytics Inc., and BlueShift Innovations Inc.

Umang Desai
Partner at Desai & Patel, LLP

As an attorney and Certified Public Accountant, Umang works with start ups and small to midsize businesses to help them address the legal and tax issues arising out of their business activities. Umang has worked with businesses and non-profit organizations based in the US and India and enjoys learning from and working with entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. Umang is a runner, drummer, and Chicago sports fan.

Jack Zwick

In addition to pursuing a degree from the University of Chicago, Jack is a startup co-founder and serves as Head of Mining & Special Projects at Crypto Currency Fund (CCF), the first actively traded cryptographic currency hedge fund and the all time best performing fund of funds for a single year (2013) under its prior name, Tera Capital Fund, which specialized in Russian markets.
Prior to CCF, Jack worked as one of the first employees at the first VC backed Bitcoin company and attended the formative meetings of the Bitcoin Foundation of which he is a lifetime member. Jack was a selected speaker at the first global Bitcoin conference Bitcoin 2013: The Future of Payments. Jack graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2010.

Jason Rowley

Jason D. Rowley is a lifelong Chicagoan, entrepreneur and writer. He is the founder of Mergenote, which in 2012 was named one of the 50 most innovative student-run companies in the world, and was a finalist for Inc Magazine's list of Coolest College Startups. He is an occasional designer of icons and one font, and consults on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as technology and social media for small businesses. Jason is currently working to build a communal live-work space for entrepreneurial software designers and developers. He has a deep and abiding love of weekends, startup-oriented or otherwise.

Asad Ramzanali
Manager, Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI

Asad is a Community Manager with CFSI's Innovation Labs team. He manages entrepreneur outreach and support for the Financial Solutions Lab. Asad is passionate about how technology and innovative business models can transform peoples' financial lives like never before.
Prior to joining CFSI, Asad was at Intuit where he worked in Product Management and Marketing, as part of the Intuit's Rotational Development Program. Most recently, he spent a couple of years as part of the Corporate Strategy & Development group.

When not working, Asad enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring San Francisco. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied economics and global studies.    

Maria Lajewski
Program Manager, Innovation Labs at Center for Financial Services Innovation

Fama Longjohn
Consultant at CFSI

Fama is a Consultant for CFSI's Advisory Services team. She advises organizations on product innovation, consumer segmentation and enterprise strategy definition to ensure their products and services fully meet consumers' needs. With a background in management consulting for the financial services, Fama is passionate about solving complex problems to improve consumer financial health.
Prior to working for CFSI, Fama spent several years as a strategy consultant with Capgemini, where she addressed complex business challenges for executives of Fortune 500 companies in the financial services industry . Many of her engagements included interviews with subject matter experts and stakeholders, market assessments, identification of growth opportunities for clients, and defining metrics to track project progress.
When not at CFSI, Fama spends her time globetrotting to learn about new cultures and researching IKEA hacks. She earned her B.A. from New York University.

Matthew Crandall
Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications at CFSI

Hussain Bhanpuri

Hussain brings more than 5 years experience in small business development and community lending to Accion Chicago's lending team. Most recently, he was Loan Analyst for Chicago Community Ventures where he assisted clients in gaining access to capital for their small businesses. Hussain graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Economics and holds a Master's in Public Service Management from DePaul University. He assists his father in operating a small business in the near west suburbs and he also plays a major role in the annual Asian American Business Expo here in Chicago

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend FIN TECH 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.




Organizing Team

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

  • Nirav
  • Ryan
  • Theresa
  • Jason
  • Holly
  • Carlos
  • Jeffrey
  • Lisa


Keith Armstrong

Microfinance + Startups. Co-founder of Lendr. Currently designing products to help people manage their cash flow.

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