Startup Weekend Fort Lauderdale

    Friday, May 4 - 6, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Fort Lauderdale

Friday, May 4 - 6, 2018

Friday, May 4 - 6, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Collective Ventures
100 N Federal Hwy
Unit c4
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

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Launch your startup in 54 hours.

Free admission to the Ultimate Startup Weekend Kickoff Party for ticket holders.
If you already purchased your Startup Weekend Fort Lauderdale tickets, email with your name and receipt number to receive a free Kickoff Party admission discount code. 
If you want to purchase Startup Weekend tickets after the Kickoff Party (not recommended) email with your name and receipt number to receive a $10 off event admission discount code while supplies last. 

Growing Prize Package includes:
Thank you 4GeekAcademy for:
  1. Full Sponsorship of our Full Stack Program taught at Miami Dade College. Value: $3405 + $5000 of software services/coaching from our Dev Team (senior developers);
  2. 30% discount on our Software Program in Downtown Miami: Total tuition fee value: $6000. 30% of discount value: $1800  + $3000 of software services/coaching from our Dev Team (senior developers)
  3. 10% discount on our Software Program in Downtown Miami: Total tuition fee value: $6000. 30%of discount value: $600$ + 1500 of software services/coaching from our Dev Team (senior developers)
  4. Prizes come with a bag of swag. 
Thank you DB Collective:
Top 2 finalists get consulting services:
  • 1st finalist: 10 hours a month of consulting valued at $15k
  • 2nd finalist: 5 hours a month valued at $7.5K 
Thank you Business Sherpas:
Top 2 finalists get Strategy consulting services 
  • 1st finalist: 10 hours valued at $2000
  • 2nd finalist: 5 hours valued at $1000 
Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with?
Techstars Startup Weekend Fort Lauderdale is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

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 is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.
Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!


Still have questions? Want to volunteer? Feel free to reach us at:

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Friday May 4th

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 May 5th

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 May 6th

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!


Jessica Shin
Co-Founder & Chief Strategist | Appolonix

JESSICA SHIN is a Co-Founder at Apollonix, a communication and transactional platform transforming the dental prosthetics industry. 

She leverages over 17 years in technology integration, policy, risk management and marketing to focus on growing the user base, establishing strategic partnerships, and integrating software solutions.

Jessica also mentors emerging entrepreneurs through CareerSource Broward's Startup Now program and worked in Federal nuclear, defense, and emergency management organizations.

Jessica is an MBA graduate of George Washington University and has a BS in Chemical Engineering from University of Maryland.

Jared Husch
Product Manager | Nearpod

Jared Husch- PM at Nearpod. Formerly COO of LiveNinja. Originally from Lawrenceville, NJ. A Richmond Spider '08. A Miami Hurricane '10.

Enjoys reading, eating, data, science, sports, traveling, problem-solving, and his dog Dakota. 

Event Judges

Mike O'Donnell
Advisor and investor |

Michael's career spans 30-years as a venture-backed entrepreneur, author, and advisor. His expertise is starting, funding, buying and selling businesses. He founded Ask-Me Multimedia (acquired by Midisoft), (ongoing), (ongoing), and Leaves, Inc., among other companies. He was on the launch teams of CompuServe Sprynet, one of the first national Internet Service Providers (went public as part of CompuServe in 1996), and Design Intelligence (acquired by Microsoft). 

Michael has raised more than $50M in venture capital and has orchestrated numerous company spin-outs, acquisitions and successful exits. He is an active angel investor and advisor, with investments in numerous early-stage companies. He has run an international high tech accelerator, a federally-funded entrepreneurial training program, and a venture capital fund. As the founder/CEO of, he has assisted more than 25,000 startups with strategy, financing and exits. He is the author of several best-selling books and a popular blogger and speaker on starting, buying and selling a business. Connect with Michael on Linkedin:

Tim Hasse
Co-Founder of General Provision Co-Working

Serial Technologist Timothy Hasse is the Principal of Trim Agency, a South Florida-headquartered tech firm that develops high-concept applications for web, mobile, and social experiences. Timothy has spent his entire career in design and development of interactive digital solutions.

Hasse leads an innovative team of creatives, developers, and strategists that have served brands, agencies, and startups alike to take digital ideas from concept to creation. Trim has developed enterprise solutions for mature companies, and has ideated, built, and launched scalable applications for startups in the partner capacity. As a full service agency, Trim has created digital solutions for some of the country’s most recognizable brands.

Prior to founding Trim Agency, Hasse served as Global Marketing Director for Mile Marker International, a lifestyle brand in the automotive after-market. Hasse created an award-winning, in-house marketing department through a “digital first” strategy that transformed a fledgling family-business into a publicly traded, global brand and market leader.

Most Recently, Hasse founded Fort Lauderdale’s first co-working and Tech-Incubation space, General Provision, with the goal of accelerating the creative and tech communities of South Florida. Aside from providing a collaborative space for entrepreneurs, creatives, and technologists, the space is also the home to Broward County’s first independent programming academy, aiming to feed the South Florida tech ecosystem with new developer talent.

Timothy is an emphatic supporter of agile project management and open-source technology.

Brian Jacob
Founder/Managing Partner

An Entrepreneur, and Product Manager with over a decade of experience in Information Technology and Software Development. Brian has managed revenue generating client-oriented software development projects and products in the Healthcare Information Technology industry, and for Client based projects

Wit successful exits in the healthcare technology space, he turned his sights to replicating that success for others through his creative agency and software development house DB Collective, and Collective Ventures, a startup incubator and coworking space in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale

Rhys Williams
Managing Director, FAU Tech Runway

Rhys L. Williams is Chairman, Co-founder and Immediate Past President of New World Angels, Inc., a member-managed, structured angel investor group with chapters in Southeast Florida and Tampa Bay, now in its thirtheenth year. He is also the Managing Director of FAU Tech Runway (Florida Atlantic University’s incubator/accelerator/innovation hub).

kathy Chiu
Managing Partner

Venture Capital. Board Member/ Director. Stanford MBA. MIT Electrical Engineering BS and MS.

Alejandro Sanchez
CEO | 4Geeks Academy

Computer Science Engineer with 20 years of experience coding apps and architectures for Seed and Series A startup's.
CEO of 4Geeks (software accelerator) and Managing Director at 4Geeks Academy: Coding School with hundreds of graduates around the world. Javascript & Python expert and advocate.

Coaches and Mentors

Mark Tietbohl
Strategic Project Manager | Management

Currently serve as a part time Instructor in the Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s
program at West Virginia University (Mobile Marketing and Web Analytics/SEO), an Adjunct
Professor (part time) at Lynn University and a self-employed consultant and project manager.
Projects include market diligence and discovery and development of go-to- market strategies.
- Acted as an “intrapreneur” at Lowe’s Companies Inc. for 9+ years designing and launching new
programs, including establishing communications and support infrastructure, go-to- market
strategies, ongoing marketing efforts and obtaining financing.
o Acted as the project manager for the Installed Services group on the launch of Lowe’s
and the program into Canada.
o Also served as one of the key business leads on the omni-channel integration initiative
for the last 3 years
o Worked on the In-Home Selling Program, Centralized Project Management and other

- Have worked extensively with start-ups and early stage companies in technology, services and
manufacturing in cooperation with state and university funded agencies, as well as venture
capital, private equity and angel groups.
o Focus of work was aimed at uncovering growth, partnership and go-to- market strategies
with the end goal of building actionable growth plans and value propositions.
o This period included a one-year stint as interim CMO of a fledgling CPG company.
- Formerly an innovative entrepreneur in the direct mail industry (12+ years). Build a company
focused on fulfilling A/B/n tests for major marketing firms using direct mail.
Areas of Expertise:
- Strategy Development and Implementation
- New product and service development, rollout and commercialization
- Direct Sales and relationship development
- Ability to work successfully with start-up and early stage firms, as well as mature organizations.

Joel Gandara
Entrepreneur | Entrepreneurship

Joel Gandara is a bootstrapping entrepreneur who owns Morro Capital, LLC. Today his company owns 18 men's apparel brands and many different e-commerce sites. Over the last five years the company has acquired 8 competitors in the apparel industry.

Joel was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. on an overcrowded boat at the age of 4.  He grew up in the San Francisco area where he began his business by selling clothing at the flea market shortly after high school.

Joel grew the brands and businesses within Morro Capital's portfolio to make for a very comfortable living while at the same time building a team to run operations.  Joel then slipped into retirement while still in his 30s.

Now, Joel's latest venture is called Freedom Experts, this company was formed to help business owners succeed and grow their businesses while providing them freedom from the many day-to-day stresses that running a business can give owners.

Angel Silvestrini
Business Attorney | Business Law

A.J. is an entrepreneur, business attorney and mentor. He runs Genesis Green Light, a consulting firm focused on innovative tech startups with vertical integration in the healthcare, medical cannabis, and legal field. He has advised multiple tech companies in Florida, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico, in the areas of operations, IP and marketplace entry strategies.  He has also worked with companies to identify customer acquisition, marketing, and go-to market strategies in order to scale their businesses.

Additionally, A.J. is licensed to practice law in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and is a principal and a shareholder of a virtual law practice with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Weston, Florida and Puerto Rico. The firm was an early player in the virtual field, disrupting traditional law firm business models by leveraging technology to maximize communication, personnel output, and productivity, as well as fostering a holistic approach to building a new corporate legal culture.

A.J. has worked closely with founders in building their businesses and teams as well as helping them select the best situs for their startup operations and locations for their IP assets. He has advised cryptocurrency clients, tech companies, startup accelerators and e-commerce companies as to expatriation of business assets to foreign jurisdictions in order to maximize operational and revenue growth. In addition, A.J. has advised clients as to business immigration issues, such as acquisition of international talent through immigration channels.
He volunteers with the University of Miami's The Launch Pad as a mentor/coach helping founders mature their ideas into viable operations. Before embarking on his business and legal career, A.J. worked for several years for a design firm in the educational field.

Paulo Manzato
Vice-President Oracle | Cloud Computing

Recognized by HITEC in 2017 as one of the top 50 most influential and notable professionals in the IT industry in Latin America/Ibero-America; Paulo Manzato is regional vice president of Oracle’s
Communications Global Unit for Latin America, responsible for managing sales, Go-to- Market and strategy of Oracle’s Communications into the enterprise markets.

Formerly the Director of sales for Oracle Managed Cloud Services in Latin America, Mr. Manzato led the sales efforts for Oracle’s Private cloud offering.

Mr. Manzato has held various management and sales positions in the communications industry for the past 20 years, as Managing Director at Avaya; he was the President of Avaya Puerto Rico and Avaya Panama. He began his career with EDS supporting customers in the manufacture and financial sectors.

Mr. Manzato holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos and a MBA in Management from Fundacao Getulio Vargas.

Paula Celestino
Client Development

Paula is the co-founder of, an award-winning multicultural digital branding agency specializing in bridging technology, brand experience and best practices to help clients achieve measurable results.  
She also founded, a 'A Conversation with Innovative Women Series" and is a community leader for Startup Weekend and Techstars in Miami. 

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. 

Sally Outlaw
Co-Founder & CEO |

As an innovator in venture finance, Sally connects ideas to capital. She is author of “Cash from the Crowd” and is a writer and speaker for Entrepreneur Magazine. She is addicted to helping business owners navigate the new capital opportunities provided by the updated securities regulations in the Jobs Act.

Dhiraj Taneja
Chief Technology Strategist

Dhiraj Thareja is the co-founder & co-CEO at DB Collective, Inc and is also one of the founding partners of Collective Ventures. He is a successful entrepreneur, engineer, and an investor who has elevated the start-up platform in the Tech industry. Born and raised in New Jersey, during the booming era of computer science, Thareja taught himself computer programming at the age of 12. He went onto attend Rutgers University & NJIT to master his skills in Computer Science and Economics. In order to diversify his knowledge in the marketplace, he held multiple posts in the technology sector at companies such as Forbes, Mercedes Benz, Jobson Publishing, & National Hockey League. He leveraged these opportunities to turn himself into a subject matter expert in all aspects of a full product life cycle leading up to the marketing & scaling phases.  In 2008, Thareja moved to South Florida to collaborate with his close friend, Brian Jacob, to setup and operate a few healthcare based software & service companies.  After exiting the healthcare space, he explored different parts of world while working on consulting projects. In January 2015, Thareja co-founded DB Collective Inc, a creative advertising and technology services company, of which he is co-CEO and lead product manager/architect. Through Thareja's leadership and vision, DB Collective Inc. now operates from 3 different locations globally (New York City, Ft Lauderdale FL, & India) and has 72 consultants. DB Collective's client roster consists of large enterprises and government clients such the United Nations, Memorial Health Care System, AT&T, Trimble Inc, Scholastic Publishing, Choice Airways, Bira91 Beverages, and many more. He most recently co-founded Collective Ventures, an innovation center along with an open to public premium locally sourced coffee house. Collective Ventures is a platform built to bridge the gap in the current business landscape; offering a startup incubator and co-working space located in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Matt Sampson
Cloud Development Manager | Citrix

After studying for my Masters in CompSci at University of MN, Twin Cities Graduate School, I started a long career at Microsoft. While there I was lucky enough to be a Software Engineer on some exciting projects in both Visual Studio and Azure.  

In my spare time, I co-founded my own startup (SquareSharp) with some other Microsofties that focus on custom mobile applications. 
I've also been active for a number of years as a volunteer Computer Science teacher in local area high schools through the TEALS program.

More recently, I made the switch to come work at Citrix, where I've been managing a group of engineers focused on a great Device and Application Management Software that is cloud ready.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Fort Lauderdale 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

Collective Ventures is an incubator, coworking space, business center, specialty cafe, coworking space, and angel fund rolled into one. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for all things business.

Visit Website





Organizing Team

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

  • Marc
  • Carlos
  • Joe
  • Alex
  • Melissa


Alejandra Jimenez
Program Manager

Global Facilitator @startupweekend | Interpreter, translator and editor | Program Manager @StartupBoost NY | Latinx

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