Stamford 2014

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Speakers
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Stamford 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stamford Innovation Center
175 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT 06901

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Ever wonder what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies. 

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life! 


Kate Berg

With more than two decades of strategic communications and executive management experience in technology, publishing and media, Kate was most recently President of Collective Bias, a social media start-up in the shopper marketing space recently named one of Forbes 100 Most Promising Companies. As president, Kate directed the early development of the company and laid the foundation for rapid growth, achieving 100/130% revenue growth in 2011-2012. She also led the company’s fund raising efforts which concluded in a $$11MM Series A round in March 2013.

Kate has also held leadership positions at Gartner, KPMG, Jupiter (now part of Forrester) HFMUS (now part of Hearst) and Mojiva Mobile. Her early career accomplishments include building the global PR division for Gartner, Inc. and creating the analyst relations function for KPMG Consulting to market the firm’s expertise to the technology analyst community.

Event Judges

J. Skyler Fernandes
Startup Judge

J. Skyler Fernandes, Co-Founder & General Partner, Venture University. 

J. Skyler (Sky) Fernandes is ranked as a Powerlist 100 VC and is the Co-Founder & General Partner of Venture University, a multi-stage investment fund and trade school for venture capital, private equity, and angel investing.  

Venture University is redefining the value of an investment fund by creating an investment team that is capable of covering markets broader, deeper, faster, and smarter than a typical fund, providing a significantly more powerful network that can better support portfolio companies, and offering greater value to LPs.  

Previously, Sky was the Managing Director of Investments at Cleveland Avenue, a fund focused on food and beverage brands, food related technology, and new restaurant concepts, co-founded by the former President and CEO of McDonald's.

Sky was the Founder, Head, and Managing Director of Simon Venture Group (SVG), the venture capital arm of Simon Property Group, an S&P 100 company, and the largest retail real estate company in the world. CB Insights ranked SVG as a top 5 investor within retail alongside GV(Google Ventures), Intel Capital, and Comcast Ventures and focused on investing in retail technology, rising new brands, and internet of things for smart cities and buildings. 

Sky has developed key resources, such as "The Best Startup Pitch Deck" (viewed and downloaded 500,000+ times and used by leading accelerators and business schools).  Sky also co-founded with his wife the #1 startup and VC board game, "The Next Big Thing: The Game of Entrepreneurship",

Sky graduated early from New York University (NYU), summa cum laude, due to his studies at Harvard University in Physics and Foreign Policy. 

John Lim
Founder, Chief Executive Officer

John Lim assumes many roles: ambitious entrepreneur, impassioned educator, and visionary innovator in mobile, technology, and consumer engagement. He has successfully launched three companies, including his flagship brand, Life in Mobile, that revolve around one pursuit: finding new ways to empower others. The holder of multiple patents, patents pending, and trademarks, John never ceases to innovate ahead of the curve. His forthcoming linknexus™ solution will shatter the status quo of post-click experiences, giving companies the ability to create one-on-one experiences on a truly massive scale. All of John’s endeavors were built upon his Human2 Theory of building for the human behind the device, not the device itself. His knowledge and accomplishments have been featured in Mobile Marketing for Dummies, Leveraging Your Links, as well as various industry publications. He has traveled on tour with Google, and continues to speak at events both domestically and internationally, further solidifying his position as a true visionary in mobile consumer engagement.

Janis Collins

Janis is Entrepreneur in Residence at the Stamford Innovation Centerwhere she mentors entrepreneurs and connects them to needed resources. She started and leads a women’s entrepreneur forum, Founder’s Connect, to help provide women entrepreneurs of Fairfield County more access to capital, networks and knowledge. A committed and passionate advisor to startups, she recently created Juice, an event to connect food innovators, mentors and investors. Janis coaches dozens of regional startups, using her proven methodology to help them develop their pitch, refine their business models, and create their go-forward plans.
She has been helping companies innovate, create and quickly launch new businesses for more than 25 years. First, through her own company, which focused on helping high tech startups and then later advising and funding new financial service companies. Janis has helped found and launch several companies including two non-profit organizations.
Dedicated to community service and always an innovator, Janis is a member of Westport’s Board of Finance, where she developed a new budget reporting format to create more transparency. Previously, as Chairman of Westport’s Parks and Rec, she created an innovative public/private solution to continue the investment in the Town’s parks and recreation facilities.

Mark Wachen

Mark Wachen is the Founder and Managing Director of Upstage Ventures. Additionally, Wachen is a Managing Director of Dreamit Ventures, one of the world's leading startup accelerator programs. 
Mark is the founder of Optimost, the company that pioneered multivariate testing and optimization on the Internet, and he served as CEO for the company up until its acquisition by Interwoven in November 2007 for $52 million.
Before his entrepreneurial successes, Mark worked for seven years at Sony overseeing a variety of Internet initiatives. He was the CEO of Indimi, a company majority-owned by Sony. While there, he spearheaded the acquisitions of InfoBeat, AdTools, and DailyRating. He was Vice President of Online Ventures for Sony Music, where he directed online initiatives, including Sony Music’s investments in Spinner (acquired by AOL for $300 million), and the launch of the Sony Music Online Website in 1994. 
Mark has an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.

Coaches and Mentors

Dave Tomczyk
Professor Entrepreneurship

Dave is an assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Quinnipiac University. His research includes the impact of video games on entrepreneurial skills and abilities, intellectual property issues facing students in the classroom, and entrepreneurs as social deviants, among other topics. 
He worked at NASA in a variety of capacities including doing audits the size of the astronaut corps, assessing NASA's IT security state, and building a system to disposition the Space Shuttles and Space Shuttle components upon their retirement. He was also the U.S. Representative of Science and Technology to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperate (APEC) at the U.S. State Department.

Scott Lichtman

Scott Lichtman is a marketing and operations executive who has led numerous products and companies at the intersection of software, collaboration and analysis. He has been at the forefront of trends including online communities, crowdfunding/crowdsourcing, expert research networks, offshoring, early secure IM platforms, and artificial intelligence in business. Scott's career includes experience at Deloitte in management consulting, Oracle in corporate strategy, project oversight for banks, and a number of startups. Scott holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a B.Sc. from MIT in Computer Science.

Bill Kenney
CEO at Test My Pitch

Bill Kenney has founded 6 companies and currently leads two growing ventures. One is a business promotion company and the other is a self-promotion company. MEET ( specializes in helping growth healthcare, energy, and technology companies exhibit at trade shows. MEET develops and implements client event participation strategy. His second company, Test My Pitch ( is an online platform helps students, entrepreneurs, and professionals develop their communication skills in a safe and collegial environment. Think of Test My Pitch like a batting cage for communication skill development. Test My Pitch is currently embedded in the curriculum of universities, accelerators, incubators and corporations from Saudi Arabia to San Francisco.

Bill also leads four community building efforts in Connecticut. The first has developed a statewide entrepreneurial event calendar where more than 30 organizations events are now aggregating and the second is a statewide entrepreneurial mentor cooperative where more than 20 organizations are sharing mentorship best practices and resources. The third is a statewide entrepreneur awards event. And the fourth is a statewide entrepreneur summit.

Bill is also part of the leadership team at Startup Champions Network (formerly Startup America) and he emcees and speaks frequently on a variety of networking, business, mentorship, entrepreneurship and community building topics.

Jonathan Yarmis
Founder/Management Consultant

Jonathan Yarmis (aka Doctor Disruptive) has been a leading voice in the technology industry for over 30 years, with a variety of experience in industry analysis, end-user computing, and public and analyst relations. His research focus has always been on “disruptive technologies,” which these days focuses on “social business,” which is a combination of social media, mobility, cloud computing and big data, with a dose of augmented reality and Internet of Things (IoT) for good measure.
Jonathan has worked at leading analyst firms including AMR, Ovum, HfS Research and a 10 year stint at Gartner. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Stamford Innovation Center and Cava Capital,and is a member of the Internet Oldtimers Foundation.

Patty Meagher

Patty's career includes 20+ years as a Business Development Professional, Investor and Executive Coach in the Venture Capital, Investment Banking, and Technology industries. For the past several years she has immersed herself in Connecticut's Innovation Ecosystem(CTNEXT), and has added 'Entrepreneur' to that list... 
Patty is a Founder of the Stamford Innovation Center and on the NY Advisory Board for Astia. In October 2013 she joined the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, and is finally able to devote herself full-time to advising entrepreneurs, helping them improve their Access to Capital and connect with the many resources they need to grow their businesses and create jobs. She is based at UConn/ Stamford.

Clint Warren

Clint Warren left a job in finance 4 years ago to pursue a career in personal training, getting sidetracked by web development while studying for his certification. As his WordPress freelance business grew, he became actively involved in local Meetup groups, began to write online, and speak whenever possible, sharing everything he's learned in order to help others. He is the founder of IIlluminate WP, co-founder ofStacked Agency, and organizes 4 local Meetup groups. His biggest passions are teaching, helping others, and adding value wherever possible

Matt Terenzio

Matt Terenzio is a web developer with Digital First Media. He has launched Localeaks, a service for citizens to provide anonymous news tips to local and state news organizations. He also launched Knight-Mozilla FollowThis project and was a finalist in the news category at the 2012 SXSW Startup Accelerator .
He has built news sites and services for companies like New York Newsday and was a member of the Tribune Company Interactive Product Development Committee. 
Matt holds a Master of Science degree in Internet Engineering and has done some data modeling and J2EE application development for The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School pertaining to the Public Radio Exchange. His work on Instant Messaging and RSS was featured in the popular O'Reilly Media book PHP Hacks.

Scott Fuller

Scott Fuller is a senior marketing executive with a track record of building global brands in start-up, expansion, late stage and Fortune 100 companies. He has held senior positions with The Walt Disney Company, Cablevision, Scholastic Media and General Mills. Currently, he serves as an advisor to emerging digital, mobile and social media companies, with a focus on business planning and development and marketing strategy. Scott holds a business degree from the University of Minnesota.

Sharland Blanchard
Founder/Principal Launch Unlimited LLC

Sharland Blanchard founded Launch Unlimited LLC, a Marketing Agency that helps businesses Start Soaring. They’ve consistently helped luxury brands and financial service businesses achieve 30% growth. From finance to fashion, they’ve created media campaigns and online tools that help multi-billion dollar hedge funds strengthen client relations and international beauty brands build US presence. They use brand positioning and omni-channel marketing strategies to help businesses reach, retain and grow customer relationships.
While her business primarily serves mid to large size companies, Sharland is personally passionate about helping entrepreneurs and coaches them on brand definition and early marketing strategies to engage customers quickly so they can Start Soaring. 
Prior to launching her own business, she has over 15 years experience in roles from marketing and branding to creative design and copy, from PR to HR for corporate finance companies (GE Capital/VISA), ad agencies and consumer brands (Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Ponds). A few of her own clients have included Beiersdorf consumer brands NIVEA, Eucerin, Aquaphor, as well as premium brands Decléor and CARITA among many others.

Jeff Hanson

Jeff founded AppThisLife in 2012 with the goal to make mobile solutions easy to grasp for small businesses. As a former professional baseball player, Jeff found himself playing around on his computer for the duration of his ten hour bus rides. After his playing career ended he took his computer skill to the sports industry, did some consulting, then founded his own company to utilize this talent. Jeff is a graduate of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT with an MBA from SHU's Jack F. Welch school of business.

Brett Bradinini

Brett is a former athlete who found his passion in finance and marketing. He has designed and developed multiple websites but would much rather spend his time talking and reaching out to customers. As a recent graduate of Quinnipiac University's MBA program, Brett has worked as a consultant to multiple businesses before working full time withAppThisLife.

Bob Kahn

Bob Kahn is a well known leader in branding, marketing and advertising, in a career that spans over 25 years.
For the past eight years he has been President of Khan Consulting, Stamford, and has also served as Chief Marketing Officer for NetJets, Managing Director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising 
and was a founding partner at FutureBrand, one of the leading brand consultancies. No stranger to start ups, Bob is currently on the advisory board of three early stage companies in nano-technology, digital music and aerospace

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Stamford 2014 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 Connecticut is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Peter
  • Will
  • Sarah
  • Sharland
  • Alan


Brien Buckman

Brien works at Magic Leap where he is excited to help redefine the human experience and the definition of "real." Previously, he worked within MasterCard's Digital Labs group, for Apple's education group, founded an HR SaaS company that was acquired, and consulted for a university technology incubator working on nano-particle production. Outside of work, Brien enjoys traveling to new places, eating good food and supporting entrepreneurs. 

Event Staff

May La

May La is the Director of Development for RevUp Outreach Ambassadors for The TAN2000 International Holdings Corporation, where she specializes in School and Student Programming Initiatives and also responsible for the education and training of Outreach Ambassadors in the Holdings Company’s RevUp Program. A current student in the University of Connecticut’s School of Business, she is majoring in Management Information Systems. La is very involved in the University’s co-curriculars, having become active members in UConn’s Chapters of China Care, Chinese Undergraduate Student Association and Vietnamese Student Association, amongst a few others. Through her commitment to the University’s programs and with her experience as a peer leader, La shares the Corporation’s spirit of helping others

Alexa Santos

This person works at... has done... is greAlexa Santos is the Associate Director of Development for RevUp Outreach Ambassadors for The TAN2000 International Holdings Corp., where she works with other members in developing initiatives that bridge together students and schools in order to provide resources for entrepreneurs. She is currently a student at The University of Connecticut’s School of Business, declared as a marketing major, and is apart of several organizations on campus including UConn Empower, a student run group that works to empower and better the lives of those in developing countries, Marketing Society, and a performing dance crew. Santos enjoys working in teams as well as providing assistance to others, two aspects that are certainly seen within the because...

Emily feldman

Currently a sophomore at Binghamton University's School of Management studying Business Administration with Concentrations in Marketing and Management Information Systems. Recently, I was in charge of launching the app Zula on campus, which is perfect for team communication. I love technology, and going on new adventures!

Richard La

Graduating from the University of Hartford in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Finance Richard now works with the TAN2000 International Holdings Corporation as the V.P. of Business Establishment and Validation. This allows him to work with like-minded individuals who are interested in personal growth and development. When not working he enjoys the outdoors and engaging in a number of different activities such as hiking, biking, and swimming.

Event Blog

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