Startup Weekend Columbus

    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 Columbus

Friday, November 11 - 13, 2016

Friday, November 11 - 13, 2016
Event starts at 6:00 pm

2 Miranova Place
Columbus, OH 43215

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Startup Weekend Columbus Returns!

Startup Weekend is SOLD OUT! You can still grab a free Demo Day ticket to watch the presentations on Sunday at 5pm! Get excited Columbus!


We are beyond excited to announce the next Startup Weekend Columbus on November 11-13 at CoverMyMeds!

At Startup Weekend: You'll get to work alongside some of the top entrepreneurs, designers, coders, and innovators in Central Ohio. You'll also get to meet and learn from Seth Miller, Cofounder of RapChat & Startup Weekend Alumnus. (Neat fact: Over 4.5 million raps were created and shared on RapChat last year!) As always, you'll get plenty of food and swag throughout the weekend.
We are beyond excited to announce the next Startup Weekend Columbus on November 11-13 at CoverMyMeds!

At Startup Weekend: You'll get to work alongside some of the top entrepreneurs, designers, coders, and innovators in Central Ohio. You'll also get to meet and learn from Seth Miller, Cofounder of RapChat & Startup Weekend Alumnus. (Neat fact: Over 4.5 million raps were created and shared on RapChat last year!) As always, you'll get plenty of food and swag throughout the weekend.

For $99, you'll receive:
  • Space to work for the weekend at the beautiful CoverMyMeds office
  • A chance to meet and learn from Rapchat's Cofounder and CEO, Seth Miller
  • Invaluable access to a community of entrepreneurs and mentors (even more coming soon!)
  • 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 chance to get a taste of the startup world
What are you waiting for? Get your ticket now!

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

(psssst, students! - use promo code STUDENT for $50 tickets. Student Photo ID required)

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 11th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Garage parking becomes available at 6pm.

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:45 pm
Welcome, Speakers & Ice Breaker
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders.

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:45 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 12th

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
Dinner + Speaker
Join us for dinner and a fireside chat

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 13th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

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!


Seth Miller
Founder & CEO of Rapchat

Seth is the founder and CEO of Rapchat. Rapchat is an app that enables anyone to make music from their phone. They've raised ~$2.2M to date and are focused on empowering creators around the world. Seth is an OU alumnus and is passionate about all things startups, Cleveland sports teams, and traveling whenever he can. 

Ryan Frederick
Principal, AWH & Director, Startup Grind Columbus & Director, i.c.Stars | * Columbus

I have had the privilege of helping many companies grow their sales, revenues, market share, and profitability. I have worked with companies across a variety of industries and of all shapes and sizes. I have helped startups grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. I have also helped to establish multi-national companies to improve and grow.

Dan Rockwell
CEO, Big Kitty Labs

Dan is a startup-launching engine that keeps big kitty purring by applying his passion for helping businesses leverage their technology to provide a superior experience for their customers. He is a regular speaker and mentor at Startup Weekend Columbus, hosts and organizes the monthly Wakeup Startup series, and fuels innovation at The Ohio State University.

Event Judges

Alan Gilbert
VP of Engineering, CoverMyMeds

Alan joined CoverMyMeds in 2012 as Vice President of Engineering, responsible for all technical activities, product development and product management. Alan has spent most of his career building and nurturing high-performing engineering teams that allow exceptional people to reach their potential and accomplish great things. Still an engineer at heart, he has been developing and commercializing medical devices and software for more than 25 years, holding positions at IBM, DuPont, Codonics, and CoverMyMeds. He has served on or led teams that brought dozens of medical products to market in more than 100 countries and holds several patents. Alan also volunteers at hack-a-thons, and has served on technology transfer committees at Case Western Reserve University and The Ohio State University.

Mackenzie King
Director, User Research and Design

Mackenzie believes in customer led innovation and has worked with clients across industries to help them integrate their customers' voices in their innovation process from the fuzzy front end of a business challenge to co-creating a design strategy or business model, to iteration and implementation.  She has engaged physicians to design smart devices that integrate into complex hospital informatics systems; NYC students to create a hip hop-themed college prep high school, Millennials to design the car of the future and community leaders to envision an innovative live-work development. With over 10 years experience, Mackenzie served as Director of Design Research and Insight Translation at Lextant. Her clients included Best Buy, Nissan, P&G, Pepsico. Mackenzie holds a design degree from Pratt Institute and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Joe Tyson

Michael Kindrat-Pratt
Senior Director, Ohio TechAngel Funds at Rev1Ventures

Michael is a Senior Director at Rev1 Ventures, a Columbus-based venture capital fund that helps entrepreneurs build great companies. Michael leads investments in concept, seed, and early-stage technology companies ($200K - $1mm investments).  Since joining Rev1 in 2014, he has participated in $6.8mm of direct investments across 18 unique companies. Michael works with entrepreneurs through screening, due diligence, and investment closing, with a focus on investment terms, financial projections, capitalization table modeling, capital access planning, closing documentation, and exit strategy.

Michael also co-manages Ohio TechAngel Funds (OTAF). OTAF is a series of six for-profit funds, managed by Rev1 Ventures, which invest in promising Ohio-based corporations. More than 300 high net worth, accredited investors have joined one or more of the funds, making OTAF one of the largest in the United States. Since 2004, Ohio TechAngels’ five funds have invested more than $16 million in 50+ Ohio-based technology startups.

Coaches and Mentors

Pete Scantland
CEO, Orange Barrel Media

Founder of Orange Barrel Media, a boutique outdoor company specializing in premiere properties in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, DC, Denver, Charlotte, Nashville, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio. 

In addition to running OBM, I serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Columbus Museum of Art, and am actively involved in other activities and causes related to the arts and community development.

In collaboration with the Downtown Denver Partnership and other partners, Orange Barrel Media operates the nations' first interactive wayfinding and digital communications system, a key component of Denver’s leadership in Smart City initiatives. 

Heather Whaling
President at Geben Communication

Heather Whaling is founder/president of Geben Communication. In 2016, she was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Ohio Valley Region (OH, KY, IN).

After launching the company from her dining room in 2009, Heather’s fresh, data-driven approach to best practices has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm with 26 employees and offices in Columbus and Chicago.

In addition to delivering exceptional results for client partners, Heather prides herself on using Geben as a platform for doing good. She is a vocal advocate for issues impacting women and girls, especially paid parental leave. After rolling out a 10-week leave policy for new moms and new dads at Geben, her perspective on this issue has been featured in Forbes, and a variety of local and national media outlets. Additionally, her advocacy for paid leave was a key reason she was dubbed a #ChangeMaker by Deeds Not Words, the organization that mobilizes and activates Millennial women, founded by former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.

One of Columbus BusinessFirst's 40 Under 40, Heather serves on the boards of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and The Gladden House. She’s also a trustee for micro-lending platform, Kiva Columbus. She frequently mentors women starting businesses, as well as college students interested in PR. Connect with her on Twitter (@prTini) or Instagram (@heatherwhaling).

Matt Scantland
Co-Founder and CEO at CoverMyMeds

Matt Scantland is CEO and Co-Founder of CoverMyMeds, the nation’s largest electronic prior authorization platform.
As CEO, Matt is responsible for overall company leadership and growth. He brings a product and technology perspective to the management team, and helps drive the company’s innovation strategy. Matt also is a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.

Matt and Co-Founder Sam Rajan started CoverMyMeds to help patients get the medications they need to live healthier lives. Through its innovative products and partnerships with the nation’s largest health plans, pharmacies, providers, and clinical systems, CoverMyMeds helps millions of patients access their needed medications each month.

Prior to co-founding CoverMyMeds, Matt was Co-Founder and President of a software development company in Columbus that served large healthcare companies. Matt is active in Columbus’ business, civic, and technology communities, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Columbus.

Calvin Cooper
Director at NCT Ventures

Calvin is a Director at NCT Ventures and focuses on identifying and evaluating new investment opportunities. He specializes in raising capital, market research and intelligence, due diligence, and portfolio management. Prior to joining the NCT family, Calvin served in an executive role at OMSDC where he conducted the merger due diligence and integration of two regional organizations. He has experience in supplier diversity and business development, connecting diverse owned companies to Fortune 500 corporations. He also founded and launched the MBE Academy in partnership with the City of Columbus. Additionally, he has public relations and marketing experience that includes creating and publishing the Connections Magazine, government affairs, strategic marketing, and branding initiatives. Calvin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University in Financial Economics and has presented economic research at national conferences.

Stephan Harman
Co-Founder of FUSIAN, Inc.

Stephan Harman is the co-founder of FUSIAN, Inc., a fresh-casual sushi concept based in Ohio. He began in business at the University of Dayton by designing, manufacturing, and distributing custom cornhole lawn games in 2006. In 2008, he moved to Aspen, Colorado with his childhood friend (and future business partner) where he lived for two years before writing the business plan for Soho Sushi, a customer-centric sushi experience & the genesis of FUSIAN. In 2010 he moved to Cincinnati, partnered with his two childhood friends, brothers Josh & Zach Weprin, and together they opened the nation’s first custom-casual sushi restaurant. Today, FUSIAN operates 10 stores throughout Ohio, employs 260 team members, with plans to add 6 stores in the next 18 months.

Gina Winkler
Senior Vice President of Product at PriorAuthNow

Gina is a long time digital product leader, having delivered several large scale web products for leading internet companies.  She is currently Senior Vice President of Product at PriorAuthNow, a startup in Columbus that provides software to submit, monitor, and complete health procedure prior authorizations. 

Entering the industry at its roots with CompuServe, Gina learned the value of user research, data analytics and engineering on the edge. This path led to heading up product teams at America Online and later Netscape. Prior to taking time off for family, Gina served as VP of Product in starting up ShareThis (formerly Nextumi), one of the top share icons on the web today.  Her experience defining products to both meet a market need and fulfill the business goal led her to enter the consulting world with Mutually Human Software. As Director of Product Strategy, she taught companies how to execute in a way that delivers products people want to use. 
Gina is a proud mother of three, and a Michigan Wolverine living in Buckeye Country.

Kevin Mack
Chief Experience Officer for BYBE

Kevin is the Chief Experience Officer for BYBE where he focuses on strategy, branding, and creative solutions for their customers. His background includes creating user experiences around web interfaces and the crafting of large-scaling websites and applications. Kevin is the co-founder and organizer of The Columbus Web Group where he actively participates in growing and educating the community around design, development, best practices and standards for the web. You can find him on Twitter (@nicetransition), YouTube (, CodePen (, or GitHub (

Lacey Picazo
Founder + Principal at ZoCo Design

An award-winning creative, Lacey is the founder of ZoCo Design, a leading brand strategy and user experience design agency. She has built a reputation in preparing brands for what’s next—identifying opportunities that incite transformation and growth for nonprofits and startups to Fortune top 50 clients. Lacey is an avid supporter of the creative and startup communities.

Jay Bobo
Developer & Serial Entrepreneur

Jay Bobo is a dad, software developer and serial entrepreneur. He is the creator of Cards For All People, a cultural casual gaming company and founding mentor of Pair

He has spoken at SXSW Interactive and worked with a host of companies including SapientNitro, Microsoft (MSN), Nike, State Farm and Scion/Toyota among others.

His work has been featured on CBS News, The Huffington Post, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Essence Magazine, ESPN and similar media outlets.

He also likes cookies, kittens & long walks on the beach.

Edward Liu
UX Designer at Fuse by Cardinal Health

After receiving a magical fortune cookie (true story) that read, “You will step on the soil of many countries”, Edward’s life was never quite the same. He graduated from OSU and through work and study spent three years abroad – living in Italy, Switzerland, China, England, and Chile.  He now has over thirty countries’ stamps on his passport. These experiences have helped him to think from a multitude of perspectives, including (but not limited to) which international food he’d like to order each week. Edward currently works as a User Experience Designer at Fuse, Cardinal Health’s innovation space. And he has been known to still hop on a plane once in a while.

Ben Blanquera
VP Delivery and Experience for the Columbus Collaboratory

Ben Blanquera is husband, dad, thought leader, entrepreneur, geek,  and unabashed advocate for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

Ben is VP Delivery and Experience for the Columbus Collaboratory. Columbus Collaboratory is a cutting edge startup  focused on rapid innovation that delivers business impact in the areas of advanced analytics and cyber security.

Senior leadership roles previously held by Ben include VP of Growth Hacking for Pillar Technology, VP of IS for Progressive Medical, Director of the Columbus Technology Council, and Director at Owens Corning.  His first successful exit was in 1996.

Ben is a frequent conference speaker on a wide range of topics including project management, enterprise agile, entrepreneurship and lean startup. Teams that Ben has lead have won numerous industry recognitions such as: Computerworld 100 Best Places To Work, InformationWeek 500, TechColumbus Innovation Awards. Additionally Ben has been named by Computer World to its Premiere100 list of top IT leaders nationwide.

As a community leader Ben founded TechLife Columbus, and is the curator of the Columbus Startup Digest. Ben resides in Dublin with his wife Sandy and his 4 daughters.

Gary Ross
Founder and CEO at Med-Compliance IQ

Business and Leadership Coach.

Gary Ross is a CEO experienced in leading the growth of software and technology-intensive service businesses from $1M to $150M in revenues. Under his company formed in 2014, Ross

Innovations LLC, Gary now coaches small business owners and executives, and works alongside them, to help them reach their growth goals. Gary is excited about the release of his first book, The Growth Cube, which outlines his formula for business success: ‘a 6-dimensional strategy and action plan that will unlock the growth potential of your business, and you as a leader’!

Gary is also very involved in the Ohio startup community, and has founded and launched a new healthcare software startup called Med-Compliance IQ. Partnering with The Ohio State University Medical Center and Rev1 Ventures, Gary and his team have successfully completed a $365K concept round investment and look to release their first product in early 2017!

Gary graduated with honors from Kent State University with a degree in Mathematics, and achieved his MBA from The Ohio State University with a focus on International Business. In addition to completing a 2-year relocation assignment in Europe, Gary has successfully planned and implemented at least 14 acquisitions and integrations in the U.S. and abroad, and has received international business alumni recognition from OSU.

Gary has started 3 new companies in the past 4 years and has ran 9 marathons in the past 7 years. He is a transformational leader who analyzes employee skills, builds on their strengths and inspires improved individual and team performance. He utilizes multi-cultural experiences to create an open environment that unlocks creativity, and he believes his function is to be the organization spark plug. Gary is actively involved on boards and in leadership roles within the industry and the community, and serves as mentor and coach to executives, students, and friends. He believes that if you have passion, faith, and a drive to service others, anything is possible!

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.

Alex Brown
Partner at Dickinson Wright

Alex is legal counsel to privately held companies, focusing on tech and software startups. He helps clients with capital raising, commercializing and protecting intellectual property, e-commerce, and mergers & acquisitions. He is also a member of Ohio TechAngel Funds IV and V. Alex’s law firm, Dickinson Wright, has 17 offices in the United States and Canada.

Megan Harvell
Designer @ Bonfire Red

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Matthew
  • Jay
  • Suzy
  • Clayton
  • Louisa
  • Molli
  • Lauren
  • Brian
  • Lucas
    La Tour
  • Yi-Ruei
  • Matt
  • Tom
  • Sandhya
  • Andrea


Suzy Bureau

The ebullient Suzy Bureau (as she was referred to in TechCrunch) hails from Columbus, Ohio USA and is dedicated to building communities – locally & globally: from facilitating Startup Weekends in Mexico, Ireland and across the US, representing the US alongside delegates from 100+ other countries at Global Startup Youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to facilitating the invite-only Startup Extreme conference in Norway. 

She honed her technology & startup chops as the first product employee at CoverMyMeds, an HIT startup that grew to be Ohio’s first unicorn acquisition. 

Now, Suzy is focused full-time on bridging the gap between technology, social impact and sustainable entrepreneurship through the organization she founded, GiveBackHack. GiveBackHack starts with a weekend event pulling top hackathon participants together and continues throughout the year in communities to create lasting social enterprise.

Recently, Suzy was named the first “Create Columbus Visionary” by Columbus City Council and the Create Columbus Commission.

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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