Startup Weekend Fairbanks

    Friday, September 28 - 30, 2018

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

Friday, September 28 - 30, 2018

Friday, September 28 - 30, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Engineering Facility
Design Theater, Room 401
Fairbanks, AK 99775

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Launch a business in 54 hours

Got a great business idea? Surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs to test and refine it with the full support of mentors and entrepreneurs to guide you along the way. 

Startup Weekend is an event for developers, designers, marketers, product managers, students, and anyone who is a startup enthusiast. 
Tickets include meals (and lots of coffee!) for the entire weekend while you're working with your team. A team of talented mentors provide personal coaching while you develop and test your ideas—a prime environment to get your idea off the ground!

Those who don't have ideas and but are willing to join a team formed on Friday night are also welcome! 

The winning team is guaranteed a spot in the UAF Arctic Innovation Competition finals and gets a chance to win $10,000! 

Alaskans are known for their diverse backgrounds and experiences--come inspire and be inspired!

Student & Military discounts are available. Limited scholarships are available upon request.

Organized by Alaska Center ICE


Friday September 28th

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

7:20 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 29th

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 30th

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!

Event Judges

Kelly Ward

Kelly Ward, 
CPA, CGMA, MBA, EA, is a principal for the CPA firm Robinson & Associates, where she has 
worked for nearly ten years. She has been an adjunct accounting instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College for six years. She received her Masters of Business Administration at UAF and attended several leadership academies.

Mark Herrmann
Dean, UAF School of Management

Mark earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in agricultural economics from the University of California Davis in 1982 and 1985, respectively, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Washington State University in 1990.

Mark is a fisheries economist and has performed extensive research on Alaska's salmon, halibut, crab, and Pollock fisheries. Mark has completed more than 30 externally funded projects for federal and state agencies including the National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, NOAA, and Alaska Sea Grant. He also served on the scientific and statistical committee and the crab plan team of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

Prior to becoming Dean, Dr. Herrmann was the SOM Interim and Associate Dean. He has been with the School of Management for over 20 years.

Paul Layer
UAF VP Academic Affairs

Paul W. Layer was vice president for academics, students & research in May 2018 after serving in an interim role since November 2017. He has had a long affiliation with the University of Alaska Fairbanks since 1989 when he was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics and the Geophysical Institute. He was awarded tenure in 1994 and promoted to professor of geophysics at UAF in 2000.

Dr. Layer has published over 120 papers in his research area of geochronology, mentored graduate and undergraduate students, and built strong national and international collaborations in support of his research. Dr. Layer served as department head/chair for the Department of Geology & Geophysics from 1995 to 2003 and then again in 2007. Most recently, he served as dean of UAF’s College of Natural Science & Mathematics from 2009 to 2017.  

Dr. Layer received his BS in geology from Michigan State University, and his MS and PhD degrees in geophysics from Stanford University. He spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, Department of Physics.

Coaches and Mentors

Eric Swanson
Board Member at Acacia Communications

Eric Swanson serves in a variety technical and managerial roles in academic, entrepreneurial, industrial, and nonprofit organizations. He is a director of Acacia Communications, NinePoint Medical, Curata Inc., and Spectrawave Inc. and research affiliate at MIT.  Mr. Swanson has co-authored 79 journal articles, 183 conference presentations, invited talks, and lectures, 36 issued US patents, and 8 book chapters.  In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the OSA for “Pioneering contributions to the fields of intersatellite laser communication systems, fiber optic communication networks, and biomedical optical imaging.”  In 2017 he was elected Fellow of IEEE for “Contributions to optical coherence tomography and leadership in optical networking.”  He was a co-recipient of the 2002 Rank Prize, the 2012 Champlimaud Vision Award, the 2017 Russ Prize, and the 2017 European Inventor Award.  Mr. Swanson is a co-founder or founding board member of five start-up companies: Advanced Ophthalmic Devices (acquired by Zeiss Meditec), Lightlab Imaging (acquired by Abbot), Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq IPO 1999 at a value of $18B), Acacia Communication (Nasdaq IPO 2016 at a value of $1.1B), and Curata Incorporated (private).

Thibaut Labarre
Software Development Manager, Angel Investor

Engineering Manager with a Darwinian approach to innovation and long time Startup Weekend participant and organizer. Over the past 4 and a half years at Amazon, Thibaut built Heartbeat, a tool that leverages Natural Language Processing to combine millions of data points from disparate sources like product reviews, customer contacts, and social media to provide this information to worldwide product teams. 7k users access the tool every month to meet operational cost reduction goals and drive product improvements. Heartbeat started as his internship project and is now developed by a team of 18 engineers.

Nigel Sharp
Global Entrepreneur in Residence, University of Alaska

As the University of Alaska's first Global Entrepreneur In Residence, Nigel Sharp is a resource for staff, students and faculty as well as the wider Alaska entrepreneurial community. Previously, he worked in the same capacity at the University of Colorado Boulder where he co-founded a university spin-out company that raised venture funding and was accepted into the Techstars business accelerator in 2017. In recent years, Nigel co-founded software companies working on technologies ranging from voice recognition and gesture control to IT network security. He has judged, mentored or organized 18 Hackathons/StartupWeekends, started businesses in six countries, participated in four business acceleration programs and spoken at TEDx.

Rachel Kvapil

Rachael Kvapil is the owner of multimedia and marketing company Pagesculptor Studios.  Rachel doesn't shy away from the title "Spin Doctor." She likes well-designed places, people, and events and if they're aren't... she will find a way to present it as such. As the owner of marketing firm Pagesculptor Studios, she spends most of her time with social media and digital design including web pages, graphics, audio/video, and print layout. Her love for technology grew from her fascination with science fiction and cyberpunk literature. She manages web pages for The Salvation Army Alaska, Goldstream Sports, Fairbanks Wellness Coalition, and the Fairbanks Cycle Club.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Fairbanks 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.


In-Kind Sponsor

Organizing Team

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

  • Mark
  • Nickole
  • Laura
  • Rachel
  • Russ
  • Jeff
  • Alexis
  • Tania


Marion Desmazières
International Expansion Lead, Amazon Alexa

Marion is a tech business developer based in Seattle, WA. She runs developer education partnerships for Alexa, the voice service powering Amazon's popular Echo devices. Before joining Amazon two years ago, Marion coordinated Global Startup Battle in 2012 and managed partner relations for Startup Weekend HQ in Seattle. She holds a Master's in Business Management from EDHEC Business School and an MBA in Technology Commercialization from the University of Alberta. A Startup Weekend veteran, Marion has facilitated 20+ events in France, Canada, the US, Algeria and Morocco. 

Event Blog

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