Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus, powered by Grow with Google

    Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Coaches and Mentors
  4. Sponsors
  5. Organizing Team
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Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus, powered by Grow with Google

Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018

Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Grange Insurance
671 S. High Street
Columbus, OH 43206

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Idea to Prototype in 3 days!

Building on the existing entrepreneurial momentum in Columbus, Startup Weekend has partnered with Grow with Google to bring the Columbus community an event unlike any other.

Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus: is the best place to learn how to build a startup in a weekend and connect with your community. It’s a 3-day long sprint to launch new products and services that solve real-world problems. You'll get to work alongside some of the top entrepreneurs, designers, coders, and innovators in Central Ohio. This is the place for you if you're looking to create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, and find/join a team in building a startup business; all in one weekend.

Grow with Google is an initiative that draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through Grow with Google, Google aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Learn more about this initiative by visiting the Grow with Google website.

Please refer to for the weekend schedule. We'll update this site continuously with more mentors and judges over the next few weeks. 

This September, Columbus Startup Weekend is fully sponsored by Grow With Google, through a Techstars Startup Weekend Scholarship by Grow with Google. One person per ticket. Full participation is required throughout the entire weekend beginning Friday evening through Sunday. You wouldn't want to let your team down!

If you are unable to attend the event for the entire duration of the weekend, please email to let us know so we can relinquish your ticket to someone on the wait-list for the event. If you have any questions about the event, you can message the Startup Weekend Organizing Team at that same email.

Everyone is welcome and no previous entrepreneurial experience is necessary!

Looking to watch and not participate for the whole weekend? Pick up a Demo Day ticket to watch the final pitches on Sunday evening. This applies to Sunday only.

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 Columbus powered by Grow with Google, is a full weekend-long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • A weekend-long event to build and launch a business concept with a collaborative team
  • Space to work for the weekend at the beautiful Grange Insurance office in the heart of Downtown Columbus
  • Invaluable access to a community of entrepreneurs, mentors, and experts (even more coming soon!)
  • Access to Google mentors and experts throughout the weekend
  • 3 dinners, 2 lunches, 2 breakfasts (We feed you good food!)
  • A sweet t-shirt
  • All the coffee, soda, energy drinks, and water you could ever need
  • An amazing experience and an opportunity to immerse yourself in entrepreneurship
Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

We look forward to you joining us for another great event! In the meantime, also check out our blog at

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Join us at the Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus powered by Grow with Google event in September!

No talk, all action!

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Friday September 7th

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

7:15 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 8th

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 September 9th

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!

Coaches and Mentors

Mark Harris
Agile Innovator and team builder at Fuse by Cardinal Health

I am passionate about building high-performing software teams and always eager to connect with similar leaders. While I enjoy many aspects of software development, like many engineers, I enjoy seeing the results of our labor, and I have been lucky to see our work used by millions of people around the world.

I hold an MS in Computer Science from University of Washington, and a BS in Computer Science from The Ohio State University. If you're a former colleague, manager, or just a passionate software engineer, I'm always interested in hearing from you.

Specialties: software program & project management, Agile software development (Scrum), large-scale distributed systems, and iPhone application development. Some of the technologies I have experience with include Azure, AWS, Ruby on Rails, Elixir, iOS development with Swift & Objective-C, C#, C/C++, and JavaScript.

Christopher Slee
Principal @AWHNET

Christopher Slee is a Principal at AWH, which is a digital products firm in central Ohio, and helps run the Dev:Launch apprenticeship program. With close to 40 years of software development he is passing that knowledge down to groups of apprentices that get their careers going at AWH and now at The Ohio State University.

Marty Neider
Strategic Initiatives Manager

Marty is the Strategic Initiatives Manager for State Auto's personal lines technology. He overlooks the system health of their quoting system for their agents and internal associates as well as overlook projects directed towards making State Auto a digital company. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with an MBA from Franklin University. He has an extensive background in Property and Casualty Insurance with a CPCU designation. He has held several roles during his tenure at State Auto that include Business Analyst, Product Specialist, Underwriting Support Supervisor, Underwriter, and Claims Adjuster.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus, powered by Grow with Google 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

Grow with Google is an initiative that draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Grow with Google aims to help everyone across America access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

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Organizing Team

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

  • Matt
  • Yi-Ruei
  • Andrea
  • Eric
  • Vijay
  • Sandhya
  • Trevor
  • Ryan
  • Jeff


Jay Clouse
Founder, Unreal Collective

I am a writer, entrepreneur, and community builder. After discovering the power of small groups of driven individuals who meet regularly to make rapid progress, I founded Unreal Collective. Unreal Collective creates micro-communities to help individuals accomplish more, faster. 

Previously, I spent several years in tech startups as COO of a ticket exchange called Tixers (sold in 2015) and a product manager at CrossChx, a healthcare startup. Now, I serve as a Create Columbus Commissioner and Facilitator of Startup Weekend. The Create Columbus Commission exists to advocate for young professionals to the city officials in Columbus, Ohio. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour community event that teaches individuals how to conceptualize, build, and launch a startup company. 

My mission is to help and empower others to achieve more through community. With a love for music, I am exploring the intersection between entrepreneurship and the arts. I once bought 500 Startups founder Dave McClure a beer and he said that my pitch “didn’t completely suck.”

I write a daily newsletter on life, learning, and personal growth at

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