Startup Weekend Chicago GSB

    Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Startup Weekend Chicago GSB

Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015

Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

20 N Upper Wacker Dr #1200
Chicago, IL 60606

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Global Startup Battle 2015


Friday November 13th

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 November 14th

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 November 15th

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!


Anthony Zeoli
Attorney, Crowdfunding Expert

Anthony Zeoli is a Partner with the law firm of Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago and is an experienced transactional and securities attorney as well as an industry-recognized crowdfunding and JOBS Act expert. Specializing in the areas of securities, commercial finance, real estate and general corporate law, his clients range from entrepreneurs and small, privately held, businesses to multi-million dollar entities.

Mr. Zeoli is also an industry-recognized crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and JOBS Act expert and is currently an active board member and Secretary of the CfPA (Crowdfunding Professional Association) and an active member of CFIRA (Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates). Most recently he drafted Illinois House Bill 3420, a bill which provides for an intrastate crowdfunding exemption in Illinois and which was unanimously approved by the Illinois’ house and Senate.

Anthony holds a masters degree in accounting from the State University of New York at Albany, a law degree with a concentration in corporate law from Northwestern University School of Law, and an MBA degree with a double major in finance and entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received high honors and scholarships in all programs and is also an active member of MENSA. Anthony is also currently actively involved with the entrepreneurship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as both a mentor and a student advisor and is an active advisory board member of the New York Distance Learning Association (NYDLA).

Event Judges

Brian Luerssen
Managing Director at Techstars Chicago

Before joining Techstars, Brian was co-founder and GM of OkCupid Labs based in San Francisco, the R&D arm of and IAC (NASDAQ: IACI). In 2010, he helped Sam Yagan and Troy Henikoff to start Excelerate Labs, the organization that became Techstars Chicago in 2013. Additionally, Brian is a co-founder and on the board of Quantitative Insights, a healthcare startup focused on cancer diagnostics and a Kauffman Fellow (18). Brian holds a B.S. from Indiana University and an MBA from The University of Chicago.

Melissa Paulsen
Assistant Director at the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame

Melissa is the Assistant Director at the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame.  She serves as director for the Center’s social entrepreneurship program and is a concurrent instructor in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Paulsen was instrumental in design and implementation of the Gigot Center’s unique undergraduate offering, the Microventuring Certificate Program. The program incorporates microenterprise development and microfinance theory along with practical skills and tools in a domestic and developing country technical assistance setting.  Her white paper detailing the program’s learning objectives, methodology and stakeholder impact has been presented at several conferences and was published in The Journal of College and Character in November 2012.

Recent courses taught by Paulsen include Social Entrepreneurship, Microventure Consulting, and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries; she also leads numerous workshops involving social and traditional entrepreneurship. Paulsen manages experiential and service-learning programs in South Africa, Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and Guatemala, among others. She has experience in business model development, nonprofit strategy, operations and consulting. She holds a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, and a BA in English and philosophy from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Adam Hughes
Chief Operating Officer at Avant

Adam Hughes has served as the COO of Avant from December 2013 and previously as the VP of Marketing & Operations since the company was founded in December 2012.  He is responsible for overseeing Avant's global business operations and marketing efforts.

After attending Northwestern University in Chicago, he became a strategic consultant with Accenture.  From 2006 to 2012, he worked at Enova as a senior member of the Strategy & Operations team and later as the Head of Marketing for the United Kingdom business unit. He enjoys traveling, reading, poker and rooting for the lowly Buffalo Bills football team .

Coaches and Mentors

Bill Fienup
President of Catalyze Chicago

Bill Fienup is the president of Catalyze Chicago, a co-working space and manufacturing network built to accelerate the growth of hardware startups.  He earned his Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. After seven years of product design consulting for IDEO and Insight Product Development, he is now a full time entrepreneur working on three start-up companies.

Nancy Schuetz
Data Driven Strategist

Nancy Schuetz is the managing director and founder of Mettacite. She has developed consultative sales relationships with clients that include small private companies and Fortune 500 corporations in various industries, such as hospitality, manufacturing, and retail. Some of her former and current clients include State Farm Insurance, BMO/Harris, AIG, Rock Resorts, Corinthia Hotels, AMR Resorts, John Deere, Sears Holdings, Ceiba del Mar Resort and Spa, and Clairvoyix.

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.

Claire Cotter
Search Engine Marketing Manager

Claire Cotter is a Media Manager at Leapfrog Online, focusing on all things Search. She started out at a traditional advertising agency after graduating from Notre Dame University and then quickly found that her heart lies in digital. Her specialty is Search Engine Marketing working in the Google / Bing / Yahoo platforms across all devices.

Claire has managed campaigns across multiple verticals such as B2B, Consumer Goods, Telecommunications & Retail. She has recently expanded beyond Search to a breadth of integrated digital strategies such as Programmatic, YouTube, Gmail Sponsored Promotions and Paid Social.

Clifford Nelson
Strategy & Operations

Cliff Nelson is a Strategy & Operations Associate at Avant, a rapidly expanding consumer loan company that has raised over $1 billion in funding. He also conducts venture capital deal screening and due diligence for Cornerstone Angels, a private investment group of high net worth individuals focused on early-stage investments. Cliff earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Chemistry from Tulane University, and he is currently pursuing his M.B.A. at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Scott Kane
Attorney at Law

Mr. Kane is a long time resident and community activist of Logan Square. After a career in anti-poverty non-profit work, Mr. Kane founded Kane Community Law in 2014 to address his community’s need for affordable legal services. Since its founding, Kane Community Law has been dedicated to providing cost-effective representation to the small businesses, individuals, and community groups of Logan Square and the city of Chicago. Because the needs of small businesses are always unique, Kane Community Law is a generalist firm – able to adapt to and handle almost any legal controversy. However, through experience, Mr. Kane’s practice has developed an expertise in corporate, commercial, intellectual property, employment, and real estate law.

Ellie Day
Freelance Developer, Developer at Fresh U, Advisor for mRelief

Ellie Day is a freelance software developer and advocate for diversity in tech. Currently, she works with Fresh U, an online publication for freshmen in college, as their lead developer, and is the technical advisor for mRelief, a web and SMS-based platform enabling individuals to check their eligibility for public benefit programs such as food stamps. In addition, she tutors multiple students a week, helping them work through tough coding problems.
She’s dedicated to making tech inclusive and accessible to LGBTQ women. By collaborating with women in tech and participating in initiatives such as LGBTQ Tech & Innovation Summit held annually at The White House, she helps improve the current state of diversity in tech.
Always furthering her education, she often builds useful applications and participates in hackathons, placing in multiple events, such as 1st place in Startup Weekend Chicago in February 2015.

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.

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.

Organizing Team

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

  • Maggie
  • Ryan
  • Roy
  • Carlos


Maggie Norris

Tech, Improv, and Innovation Enthusiast with a passion for improving the lives of our most vulnerable populations. Founder and CEO of [ after . ] the world's first virtual end-of-life counselor. [ after . ] is changing the way healthcare practitioners provide End-of-Life counseling. Maggie holds a BS in Psychology and currently a graduate student in Information Design Technology, both at Northwestern University.

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 Blog

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