Startup Weekend Columbia

    Friday, November 11 - 13, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Columbia

Friday, November 11 - 13, 2016

Friday, November 11 - 13, 2016
Event starts at 5:30 pm

1301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201

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Startup Weekend Returns to the Soda City!

The third installment of Startup Weekend Columbia returns November 11-13, 2016. Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event, where attendees pitch ideas, form teams and start companies. We're community focused and provide a place for budding entrepreneurs to find co-founders, mentors and momentum for their ideas.
What happens at Startup Weekend? The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.
Who you’ll meet at Startup Weekend: Startup Weekends attendees’ backgrounds are roughly
  • 50% technical (developers, coders, designers)
  • 50% business (marketing, finance, law).  
Why people come to Startup Weekend: 29% of Startup Weekend participants attend an event to network, 20% attend to develop/build a product 13% attend to learn how to create a new venture.  

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 11th

5:30 pm
1st Floor - Registration / Networking
Register, eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants.

7:00 pm
Get motivated, meet the organizers, the facilitator, and learn the rules of Startup Weekend.

7:30 pm
Opening Pitches
Have an idea? Now's your chance to put it out there in 1 minute or less.

8:30 pm
Attendees vote to select ideas for the weekend.

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Explore the chosen ideas and choose a team that you'll work with for the weekend.

9:30 pm
Get to work!
Formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest and direct. Start working on your business model canvas.

11:55 pm
Everybody out by Midnight

Saturday November 12th

8:30 am
Arrive and get to work!
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee, get to work.

9:30 am
Get out of the building
Talk to potential customers/do surveys/test your ideas.

12:00 pm
Lunch / Check In
Come back for lunch, and check in with the organizers and facilitator. What have you learned so far? Where do you need help?

12:00 pm
Coaches arrive
Coaches are available from 12PM - 6PM.

6:30 pm
Dinner / Check In
Grab some dinner, and check in with the organizers and facilitator. What have you learned so far? Where do you need help?

7:30 pm
Get back to work!

10:00 pm
Evaluate your team's progress. Are you using everyone's skills to their full potential? Divide and conquer! Take a break if you need one!

11:55 pm
Everybody out by Midnight

Sunday November 13th

8:30 am
Breakfast / Check In
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee. Check in with the organizers and facilitator. What have you learned so far? Where do you need help?

10:00 am
Get back to work!

11:30 am

12:00 pm
Coaches arrive
Coaches will be available from 12PM - 3PM to help you with your pitch.

4:00 pm
Presentation Tech Check

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging, Awards, and Closing Thoughts

8:00 pm
Clean up and go home
Clean up your team's work space, exchange business cards, network, and go home!


Trey Gordner
CEO, Koios Library Software

I believe that the mission of libraries--free and unconditional access to knowledge--is the greatest possible public service. My goal is to help libraries fulfill their mission in the digital age, now that all the rules of content distribution have changed.

At Koios, we've created a digital marketing platform for libraries, helping them connect with new users in their service area through Google search results. We've also made it easy for bloggers to link to an item in every public library across the country, to help their readers borrow instead of buy. 

Koios shows relevant results from the library, in a visually appealing interface, right where users are looking. If you'd like to learn more about our SEO and digital marketing products for libraries, email us at

Event Judges

Julie Iarossi
Professor/Angel Investor/Strategic Advisor and Mentor

Beginning in engineering consulting and with an early stage technology company, my career includes more than 25 years in commercial banking and wealth management driving capital to businesses, building investment portfolios and turning around troubled businesses. The insight gained from these experiences has allowed me to advise early stage organizations and those in transition as they adapt to a rapidly changing business and economic environment. Research in the areas of emerging technology ventures, corporate sustainability as a strategy for innovation in established organizations, and leadership in uncertain environments has enhanced my understanding of the emergence of ventures and new ideas. As a scholar-practitioner, angel investor, board member, lecturer and public speaker my goal is to use my experience, networks and knowledge to further entrepreneurship research, to develop and support aspiring managers, leaders and entrepreneurs as they pursue "new things" and "new ways" and to strengthen the bond between the business and academic community.

Sam McGuckin
President and CEO, T Cube Solutions

Sam is President and CEO of TCube Solutions, Inc., a global information technology services firm with offices in Columbia S.C. (USA), Chesham (UK) and Bhubaneswar (India). 

TCube leverages its deep insurance domain skills and a global delivery capability to bring highly specialized solutions to P&C companies across the globe.

TCube's large complement of certified Duck Creek Technologies professionals and history of partnership with Duck Creek/Accenture Software make TCube uniquely qualified to assist P&C companies get the most value out of their Duck Creek platform. 

Prior to joining TCube, Sam was Senior Vice President of Client Operations for Duck Creek Technologies with responsibility for Professional Services Delivery, Client Sales, Customer Support and Billing System Development. During his 6 years at Duck Creek, he established the Professional Services organization and grew it to more than 200 professionals in 4 offices in the US and UK and set up an offshore operation through a partnership in India. In addition, Sam recruited many of the professional sales team members at Duck Creek and worked closely with them to identify, qualify and close new sales opportunities. Sam joined Duck Creek in 2006 after 23 years at Policy Management System Corp / CSC in various roles ranging from Applications Development Manager, Professional Services Manager, Director of PMO and finally more than 10 years in large account sales. Sam lives in Columbia, S.C.

Chris Thibault
Co-Founder, 52inc

52inc is a close-knit team of designers, engineers, and nerds brought together by a love of building good software. They believe in working hard and partnering with innovative companies to build meaningful products.

Coaches and Mentors

Drew Varner

Earl Gregorich

Hadia Ghandour

Jeannie Sullivan

Jim Doucette

Pete Oliver

Phil Bartlett

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Caroline
  • USC/Columbia
    Technology Incubator


Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

Event Blog

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