Startup Weekend Gainesville: Hardware vs. Software!!!

    Friday, October 23 - 25, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Gainesville: Hardware vs. Software!!!

Friday, October 23 - 25, 2015

Friday, October 23 - 25, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Infinity Hall (UF Campus) & Hough Hall

Gainesville, FL

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- Pitch an idea for a business
- Meet exciting new people
- Build a powerful team
- Work on your favorite project
- Learn from local mentors
- Create a prototype
- Develop a business model
- Do market research
- Win glory and great prizes

For developers, designers, marketers, students, product developers, entrepreneurs and other startup enthusiasts!

This year we are doing hardware vs. software! What does this mean? For all of you hardware enthusiasts, you can prototype to your heart's content using Infinity Fab Lab, conveniently located at Infinity Hall. You'll have access to CNS machines, 3d printers and much more. Let's see who wins this weekend, hardware or software :)


***Students get 50% off using the coupon code STUDENT

  1. Free entry to GAIN Shootout
  2. 5 hours of bookkeeping from OneSource Accounting
  3. $2500 in legal credit from Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.

And don't forget, we are raffling off an Oculus Rift to one lucky participant. Buy your ticket now!


Friday October 23rd

6:30 pm
Registration - Hough Hall
Arrive at Hough Hall for evening pitches 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
Move work over to Infinity Hall. 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 you'd like or bring a blanket and sleep over in the common areas :)

Saturday October 24th

9:00 am
Arrive at Infinity Hall, 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 you'd like or bring a blanket and sleep over in the common areas :)

Sunday October 25th

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm

7:15 pm
Awards & Wrap up

8:30 pm
Go Home!


Aidan Augustin
Co-Founder & President at Feathr

Co-Founder & President at Feathr

Tom Hart
Executive Director at Sequential Artists Workshop

Executive Director at Sequential Artists Workshop. Tom Hart is creator of Hutch Owen graphic novels and comic strips, critically acclaimed by The Comics Journal,, Publishers Weekly and the Library Journal. Tom Hart is the editor of and is a founding memeber of Oubapo-america. Tom teaches cartooning in New York City and Gainesville.

Event Judges

David Whitney
Managing Director, Energent Ventures & Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Florida College of Engineering

David Whitney is an experienced management consultant who helps companies of all sizes improve operating performance and achieve ongoing profitability. As a seasoned consultant, investment banker, private equity investor, and venture capital fund manager, Whitney possesses strong leadership skills, proven operating expertise, demonstrated sales leadership, and business development experience.

Amir Rubin
CEO at Paracosm

Amir graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in computer engineering. He co-founded Prioria Robotics during his senior year, developed a stereo-vision system for weighing cattle based only on imagery, and later joined Shadow Health as employee No. 1 where he helped develop and launch their 3D simulation healthcare product. Amir currently works out of Cambridge, MA, is actively building his collection of proper winter coats, and visits Gainesville as much as possible. We’re proud to have this guy as our captain

Staci Bertrand
Director of Industry Development at Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce

Staci Bertrand is currently the Director of Manufacturing at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Economic Outreach, forging stronger partnerships with local and state resources to build on Gainesville's thriving advanced manufacturing industry. She works to grow, expand, and attract companies to the Greater Gainesville Region and works intimately on economic development projects. She has also been instrumental in the development of the manufacturing council, which will help to develop this leading industry for the region.

Aleksander Levental

Aleks was a newly minted Math/Physics graduate from UF when his quarter-life crisis led him to eschew the academic life in favor of the startup life. When not pulling double duty as the CEO/CTO of Feathr, he can be found baking bread and obsessing over Gator football.

Coaches and Mentors

Chad Paris
CEO at ParisLeaf

Opeola Bukola
Techstars Program Manager

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in Orlando's suburbs, Opeola caught the business bug young. After four years at the University of Florida, she kicked off her career founding a marketing agency in the city of Gainesville. Soon after, she set her mind on serving emerging brands as a consultant. As her network grew, she became a leader in the community, a Startup Weekend organizer, and - eventually - a consultant for the city's "Department of Doing," aimed at making its government more citizen-responsive. Her consulting work has touched on software, hardware, fashion, environmental advocacy, design, entertainment, cuisine, and more. Her background in telecommunications and org development has led her to marketing and operations work in 8 countries internationally, as well as here in the United States. When she's not at work, Opeola claims to make good food, better friends, and excellent puns.

Alex Theodore
Co-Founder at Fracture

Abhi Lokesh
CEO at Fracture

John Montague
Associate at Lowndes Law

John Montague focuses his legal practice on advising startups and mid-size firms on corporate, commercial and securities issues, including entity formation, sales and marketing disclosures, private placements and disclosure requirements. John also negotiates and drafts various contracts and agreements, including end user license agreements (EULAs), joint ventures, licensing agreements and employee agreements. The majority of his work has involved working with businesses that have resulted from both private and public university-generated researchWhen he is not practicing law, John serves as a mentor for the University of Florida Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability and is also involved with the Hacker House, an organization that welcomes young entrepreneurs to eat, sleep and breath innovation.John splits his time between the firm's Orlando office and a Gainesville office working in the technology sector.

Quang Tran
Co-Founder at LaunchPad

Quang Tran is a serial entrepreneur and a Founding Partner at Starter Space and LaunchPad. Quang works with first time founders to improve their overall product development strategies, marketing and communications, and has a hand in all of the little details that keep Starter Space running.Quang received his B.S. in Computer Engineering, and M.S. in Management from the University of Florida.

Rhonda Black
Creator and facilitator of A.B.L.E. Mastermind Group (Association of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs)

Rhonda Black, P.M.S.E. (Professional Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship) Creator and facilitator of A.B.L.E. Mastermind Group (Association of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs) Success Networking Facilitator (Every odd month meet with local businesses and entrepreneurs to help each other succeed in individual endeavors) Business Consultant and Personal Effectiveness Coach

Phil Pallen
Brand Strategist

Phil makes a living by ensuring the best of beautiful branding and effective digital strategy for clients. 
He build brands for TV personalities, experts and businesses, with a roster that includes Sharks and entrepreneurs on ABC’s , as well as personalities on ,, , , , and many others. Phil splits his time between LA and Gainesville, and speaks at conferences around the world. Shark TankDancing with The Stars American IdolMasterChef JuniorProject RunwayThe Doctors
Phil often weighs in as a celebrity brand expert on  and launched his book  at the 2014 California Women’s Conference. With game-changing strategies that will turn anyone into a Twitter rockstar, it wound up being the event’s #2 best-selling book after Arianna Huffington’s autobiography. Access HollywoodShut Up and Tweet
Whether it's in entertainment, lifestyle or the world of startups, Phil helps clients enhance their competitive advantage through a strategic online presence.

Nick Antonelli
Cloud Systems Engineer at Shadow Health and former Systems Engineer at Grooveshark, Mentor at Gainesville Dev Academy

Nick is currently Cloud Systems Engineer at Shadow Health and former Systems Engineer at Grooveshark, and Mentor at Gainesville Dev Academy.

Vinnie Fiorello
CEO, Marketing Guru, Design Artist, Entrepreneur, and Industry Mogul.

Vinnie Fiorello - Idea Man, Marketing Guru, Design Artist, Entrepreneur, and Music Industry Mogul.  
Started his career as the drummer, lyricist, and founding member of the world-renowned band Less Than Jake.  He expanded to own 2 successful record companies (Fueled By Ramen, Paper+Plastick), a merchandising & toy company (Wunderland), and more.  
He has extensive business experience in multiple industries, and a strong skill set for design, marketing, and strategy. 

Dennis Hansen
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Knack

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Knack.  Specialties include user experience design, product development, technology startups - especially consumer facing.  

Samyr Qureshi
Co-Founder & CEO at Knack

Co-Founder & CEO at Knack.  Market segmentation, business model viability, sales model, partnership strategy.  

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Gainesville: Hardware vs. Software!!! 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




Organizing Team

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

  • Rob
  • Bill
  • Grasshopper
  • Jennifer
  • GainesvilleScene


Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

Event Staff

Claudia Bell
Marketing Coordinator

From the TEDxUF stage to the streets of Gainesville, Claudia knows how to get people excited. She uses her unique perspective to bring dynamic marketing to life.

Iva Domljan

Martin Smith

Chelsea Thomas

Greg Stull

Talia Qiao

Event Blog

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