StartupWeekend of Central Connecticut

    Friday, October 2 - 4, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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StartupWeekend of Central Connecticut

Friday, October 2 - 4, 2015

Friday, October 2 - 4, 2015
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Wesleyan Univesity
Usdan Center
45 Wyllys Avenue
Middletown, CT 06459

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Call for Innovators, Social Entrepreneurs, Developers, Designers, Engineers, Marketers

Do you have a product or service that could be the next big thing, or business or technical skills to bring game changers into the world?  Join this unique gathering of techies and suits and launch a new venture.
Everyone  is invited to pitch a new product, medical device, software, app, or service. Participants will form into teams around the top ideas. Then it’s a frenzy of business modeling, designing and prototyping; with the support of business, design, production, marketing, IT, and legal coaches. The weekend culminates with demos and pitches to investors, as teams vie for free legal services, office space and other resources to launch their ventures.


  • Free legal advice from Wiggin and Dana LLP
  • "Breakfast with a VC."  One-on-One meeting with Konstantine Drakonakis of LaunchCapital
  • 6 months free co-working space at the reSET incubator in Hartford
  • 3 months free co-working space at incubator in Hamden
  • More to come -- stay tuned!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 2nd

5:30 pm
Check in, Dinner, Networking

6:30 pm
Welcome and Keynote
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce coaches and keynote speaker

7:30 pm
60-Second Pitches Start
Line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:30 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 pm
Teams get orgainzed
Block out game plan for weekend. What needs to be done; who will do the work, deadlines; guidance needed from mentors.

Saturday October 3rd

9:00 am
Today, work on Business Model Canvas (BMC) and Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

9:30 am
WORKSHOP: Business Model Canvas
How to validate assumptions about customers and market demand

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:00 pm

8:00 pm
Progress Reports by Teams
Progress toward goals for weekend; help needed. Preview of Sunday judging criteria.

Sunday October 4th

9:00 am
Today, work on BMC, MVP, PowerPoint presentation

10:00 am
WORKSHOP: "The 3-Minute Pitch"
Tips on content and style

10:30 am
Coaches arrive
Request help in specific areas such as marketing, MVP, legal, budgeting, Business Model Canvas, PowerPoint pitch

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
Final Presentations
3 minute PowerPoint and demo of MVP + 2 minutes Q&A

7:00 pm
Awards Presentation; Dinner


Josh Gebelle

Josh Geballe is the Chief Executive Officer of Core Informatics. Josh joined Core after 11 years at IBM where he held multiple international executive roles spanning general management, finance and strategy.Most recently, Josh served as Vice President of a market leading division of IBM Global Technology Services. As the top executive responsible for a half billion dollar business, he led sales, marketing, business development, strategy, service delivery, and client satisfaction across several business lines providing consulting, cloud and managed services. Under his leadership the division delivered record contract signings and customer satisfaction, and significantly increased revenue growth while taking market share.Previously, Josh served as Chief Financial Officer for two multi-billion dollar IBM business units. He was Vice President and CFO for IBM’s Global Technology Services business in Europe, based in London, where he delivered record profits. Prior to his assignment to Europe, he was Director and CFO of IBM’s Integrated Technology Services business for North America, again driving dramatic improvements in gross margins and record profitability. Josh started his IBM career in strategy consulting, serving clients across multiple industries.Josh has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA from Yale University.

Event Judges

Mark Lassoff
Founder, LearnToProgram

Mark Lassoffs’ parents frequently claim that Mark was born to be a programmer.  Starting, in the mid-eighties at age 11, Mark was hard at work on his Commodore 64 writing games in the BASIC language.  After completing a computer science degree, Mark developed software for several well-known internet startups during the initial internet boom of the mid 1990’s.  Three years ago Mark parlayed a two decades of software development experience in to his latest entrepreneurial venture, LearnToProgram Media.   LearnToProgram Media publishes online courses that teach mobile, web, and game development. Over 200,000 people have learned programming from Mark through online classes he has either authored or published. In addition to publishing popular courses and books LearnToProgram Media operates an internet video network which produces several programs on software development.   Previously Mark founded PowerPlant Marketing, which created marketing automation software for REALTORS™.  After the sale of PowerPlant, Mark went on to found Internet Broadcasting Group which counted among it’s launch clients Nike, Blue Moon Brewing Company and Opubco.   Mark lives in Connecticut and speaks worldwide on software development, entrepreneurship and online learning.  He has spoken at TechWeek NY, TechWeek LA, and SXSW, among other large conferences.  In his spare time he he enjoys aviation, mentoring new business owners and spending time with life-long friends and family. Description httpssslgstaticcomuiv1iconsmailimagescleardotgif

Patty Meagher
SBDC Advisor

In 2009, having helped get her capstone deal funded and positioned for a $100MM+ exit, Patty was noted in Quora as "one of the great women to know in the NYC venture space"​. In 2010 she began 'full immersion' in Connecticut's Innovation Ecosystem (CTnext). As Founder of the Stamford Innovation Center she returned to her entrepreneurial roots, launched the iCenter in early 2012, and was honored with a CT Woman of Innovation nomination. Her career includes 20+ years in Venture Capital, Investment Banking, & Technology, as an Investor, Advisor, Business Development Professional, and passionate supporter of entrepreneurs. 

Patty is a member of the Angel Investor Forum, and serves on the Global Advisory Board for Astia (providing funding, growth, & leadership for women entrepreneurs). She was a Principal with Dakota Ventures (leading the AdChina deal for Dakota- which exited to Alibaba in 2015), a mentor for Yale's YEI startups, spearheaded Fairfield County's 1st StartUp Weekend, and was on StartUp CT's BOD. In late 2013 she accepted her final role within the ecosystem, as a full-time Technology Business Advisor with the CT SBDC. She works with high growth startups and her portfolio companies have raised over $15MM to date.

Ben Simmons-Telep
Program Manager

Mike Wisniewski
Investment Associate at Connecticut Innovations

Mike is responsible for evaluating investment opportunities, structuring new investments, and monitoring portfolio companies. Mike is involved in CI's investments in, but not limited to: ActualMeds, Alphachromics, Arcanatura, Axiom Education, CareBooker, Cashpath Financial, Combat2Career, eBrevia, eTouches, Green Buildings Online, Grey Wall Software/Veoci, LiquiFix, Medical Device Logistics, NorthPage, NXT-ID, Orthozon Technologies, ReadyDock, and Umbie Health. 

Prior to joining CI, Mike worked for the University of Connecticut as manager of the Springboard Program. Mike assisted research faculty as they formulated ideas for new technology companies and partnerships and helped to establish startup companies. 

Coaches and Mentors

SB Chatterjee
Healthcare Entrepreneur and IT Consultant

Supriyo "SB" Chatterjee is a Healthcare entrepreneur & IT consultant. He has worked for companies like Aetna Healthcare, US Army Medical Corps, UNICEF, Mass Mutual, Microsoft, IBM & NASA. He has received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award from 2008 to 2013. He has been active with local startups and entrepreneur groups since 1999 and is a coach/mentor at Startup Weekend events and also to several startups in the region. He was one of the judges in the Hartford SC2 Challenge contest. He holds a MBA (Univ of Hartford), MS Comp Sc (Pace Univ) and MA Econ (Trinity College).  He is one of the Acting Directors of CTDOTNET.Org - an organization of Microsoft technologists and is also a Connecticut Health Foundation Healthcare Leadership Fellow. 

Richard Guha
Entrepreneur in Residence

Richard has over 45 years business experience in Finance, Operations, Marketing and General Management within both technology and consumer industries. He has been CEO of a Fortune 100 company (Reliant Energy), several start-ups, consultant to about one third of the Fortune 500, Board Member and active investor in startups. He has been most recently an Entrepreneur in Residence at CTNext.   He has been engaged with startups for 26 years – as founder, board member, CEO, mentor and investor. In addition to the 2,000 with which he has been involved, he has been an investor or founder in over ten which achieved successful exits in the tens of millions of $$ or more, with one currently at a $1 Billion valuation.   He has a Bachelors’ degree in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Fluid Mechanics from the University of Cambridge, and also a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge.   Joined Procter & Gamble, (following a period as a Chemical Engineer at ICI Plc), in Consumer Marketing, before moving to Mars, Inc., in the UK, and several other countries. He worked in multiple countries. He then went into Strategy consulting at Marketing Corporation of America, where he worked largely for F500 companies in CPG, Financial Services, High Tech, and Telecommunications. He re-entered corporate life as CMO of US West and its cable business, where he named and launched the first “Broadband” product offering. He has been the SVP Marketing and Business Development of Remedy/BMC enterprise software, and President of Reliant Energy, a Fortune 100 company. Richard has also been involved in almost 2,000 startups in Fintech, Insurance, Healthcare, Biotech, High-tech and Consumer Products, since 1990. His roles have included founder, CEO, investor, Board member and Mentor. He has lived in ten countries on four continents and worked in many more via global responsibilities on several occasions.

Dale Jasinski

Dale is someone who grew up in a family business, started his professional career as a CPA, and founded and sold a system integration company, Hobbs & Jasinski. 
He is the associate professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy director of the Professional Athlete Transition Institute at Quinnipiac University. His philopsohy on life is the same  philosophy he uses when developing young entrepreneurs and that is to get perspective through experience, academic training and most of all have PASSION with everything you do in life!  
Dale is a mentor, a motivated entrepreneur and someone who has been living the Startup Weekend Philosophy for decades! 

Makaela Kingsley
Director of Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Wesleyan University

The mission of the PCSE is to support students and alumni interested in creating and sustaining programs, businesses, and organizations that advance the public good. We offer workshops and trainings, advising and networking services, and grant funding.
Makaela advises social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and changemakers across generations and in all fields of work. At Wesleyan, she runs grant, training, and mentoring programs for undergrads who want to make the world a better place. She is especially interested in ways that academic rigor and interdisciplinary critical thinking skills can lead to success for innovative and action-oriented people. Her own activism is centered around learning by play, natural parenting, and collaborative consumerism. Makaela graduated from Wesleyan in 1998 and lives in Hamden, CT, with her husband and two children.

Eric Knight
Inventor, Entrepreneur, Futurist, Veteran Business Owner

Eric Knight is a veteran business owner, business pioneer, entrepreneur, and inventor. He is the President of Remarkable Technologies, Inc. Over the last 21 years, Eric's company has focused on providing innovative products and services that enhance business and empower people.  In the 1980s, Eric created one of the world's first global "e-commerce" systems, providing online software sales -- worldwide -- via credit cards. Eric also had a wide-ranging 13-year career as a Vice President at Connecticut's largest ad agency, Mintz & Hoke.
After Mintz, Eric helped transform a five-person Web-development company into an international powerhouse with over 250 employees, spanning 18 offices in 13 countries. Eric has a wide range of patents and products in the marketplace. Eric Knight's full bio can be seen here:

Specialties: Inventing, business consulting, business development, business planning, patents, intellectual property, social media strategies for business, and online & offline marketing / advertising.

Tim Laubacker
President at Sound Web Solutions, LLC

An innovative software engineer and entrepreneur that thrives as a leader in high energy teams with ambitious goals.

Henry Liss
President, HJL Custom Software LLC

Henry starting programming computers when he was twelve years old.  During his professional career he has programmed for large corporations including Aetna, Bayer, and ESPN; worked as the CIO for a small  10 person company which was sold in 2014; and started his own software company called HJL Custom Software where he has helps companies including Yale New Haven Hospital and the Connecticut Science Center.
Currently HJL Custom Software is working on automating computer programming with the specific purpose of helping startups create their minimum viable products faster.

Christopher Mazziotto
Program Manager at reSET (Social Enterprise Trust)

Art Mollengarden
Director of Marketing at Post University

As Academic Program Manager for the Marketing department @ the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University, Art is at the convergence of academia and the application of practical business experience. It's a unique position allowing him to apply real-world experience to the development of new courses and programs, all designed to provide a meaningful educational experience for our students. 

Specialties: Bridge the gap between business and technology, entrepreneurial mindset, institutional branding, personal branding, business system architecture.

Adam Silverman
Attorney at Wiggin and Dana

Adam Silverman is an associate in the firm's Corporate Department, where he advises mature and emerging growth companies on venture capital and debt financing, mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions, and general corporate matters. Adam works with a range of clients across several industries, including media and entertainment, technology, food and beverage, and biotechnology, with a focus on advising early-stage companies. 

Before joining Wiggin and Dana, Adam was an Associate at Greenberg Traurig, where he advised emerging technology and startup companies on financing and corporate governance. Prior to law school, Adam worked in the music industry as a manager and record label executive.

Lafir Thassim
Executive Director at UBS Investment Bank

Lafir Thassim is currently Executive Director and Head of Balance Sheet & Revenue Control at UBS Investment Bank in the Americas. He has over 15 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, covering Cash & Liquidity management, Foreign Exchange and OTC Derivatives. Prior to joining UBS in June 2000, Lafir held roles at KPMG within their audit and consulting divisions. 

Lafir is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Lafir also holds a Double Major in Finance and Accounting from the University of Bridgeport and is an associate member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

Fred Wergeles
Principal, Fred Wergeles & Associates LLC

Fred has over 25 years experience in strategic planning and managing intelligence collection and analysis in support of strategic decision making in both the federal government and a Fortune 100 corporation. He has advised large and small companies in a diverse array of industries, including utilities, construction, oil and gas exploration, insurance and financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, consumer products, and high tech start-ups. 

Dorian Yanez
Principal at Yanez & Associates

Dorian Yanez has been working in the internet and marketing industry for over 10 years in multiple facets. From Email marketing to Search Engine Optimization and Social Media, she is no stranger to the dot com marketplace.

Passionate and open to the fact that online media is an ever changing and growing space full of opportunities.

Specialties: Search Engine Marketing (domestic & international), Search Engine Optimization, SLPR, Lead Generation, Email Marketing & Development, Media Buying & Media Placement, ECommerce Strategy & Development, Social Media, Strategic Partnership & Alliances, Analytics, Online Project Management, Affiliate Marketing, Communications Strategy & Development, Spanish Search Engine Optimization, ECommerce & Digital Marketing Strategist

Ira Yellen
President, First Experience Communications

Ira Yellen, president of First Experience Communications, provides marketing, public relations and strategic business counsel for clients who are in the health care, education and technology fields. He recently created in response to the need for consumers to have a transparent referral website which matches their home care needs to agencies that provide professional caregiver service. He has mentored dozens of start ups, and is currently mentoring emerging companies at MassChallenge 2012.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The StartupWeekend of Central Connecticut 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

  • Mike
  • John
  • Makaela
  • Derek
  • Bill
  • Katya
  • Alex


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.

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