Startup Weekend East Lansing 11/4-11/6

    Friday, November 4 - 6, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend East Lansing 11/4-11/6

Friday, November 4 - 6, 2016

Friday, November 4 - 6, 2016
Event starts at 6:30 pm

MSU Innovation Center
325 E. Grand River Ave. Suite 300
East Lansing, MI 48823

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Start It Up in 54 Hours!

Calling all innovators, entrepreneurs, designers, programmers and business gurus - Startup Weekend East Lansing is back & ready to rock!  Have a great new business idea?  Have a great skill or talent to share?  Want to engage in the Greater Lansing awesome startup community?  Then this event is for you!

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. 

Hope you can join us! 

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Friday November 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

7:30 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

9:30 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 November 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
Continue to work, get help from coaches

6:30 pm
During dinner, stay for a guest speaker

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 November 6th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Final Presentations

3:00 pm
Judging & Awards

3:30 pm

4:00 pm
Go Home!


Brian Town

My name is Brian Town and I am the CEO of Michigan Creative. We are here to help you with all of your creative needs. We are passionate about Michigan and our local economy. We are located in Lansing, Michigan. We provide, marketing, creative planning, business rebranding, video production, web design, logo and graphic design, apple and Final Cut Pro Training, PR, political video and social media, social media training and management, and SEO. 

Event Judges

Chris Sell
Director of Alumni & Entrepreneur Engagement

At my core, I'm passionate about creating synergy and connecting people to opportunity. I place tremendous focus on collaboration, strategic planning, creativity, and teamwork in any professional environment. As an alumnus of Western Michigan University (WMU) and Michigan State University (MSU), I'm equally committed to leveraging relationships with industry and students/graduates to retain and attract talent in the state of Michigan and contribute to the economic revitalization my hometown state that I love dearly. 

In my current role at MSU, I serve as the Internship Coordinator for the College of Natural Science. In this position, I strive to oversee our college's vision for creating a culture of internships and experiential learning for our undergraduate students. In the past I've also served as a leadership instructor, classroom facilitator, and program manager. I apply my passion for workforce development and Michigan's economic renaissance in several professional organizations, including Michigan's Employer Educator Partnership (MEEP), the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the Michigan Career Educator & Employer Alliance (MCEEA), for which I currently serve as President. My interest in helping Michigan's recovery has led me to partner with initiatives like MichAGAIN, LiveWorkDetroit! and local workforce development for young professionals. 

I am the founder of The Wednesday Wake Up blog, a site for which I write on topics such as leadership, career development, and self-improvement. When I’m not penning my musings on leadership and life, you can find me writing about my stellar wife, amazing daughter, and our mischievous Black Labrador as a regular contributor to Daddy Daughter Time ( For more information on my professional endeavors, visit for a comprehensive look at how I get to live the dream every day, doing what I love, in a state that I love.

Alexa Jones
CEO at TheraB Medical

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University in May 2014. Throughout my time at MSU, I developed a passion for entrepreneurship and women in leadership, stemming from my involvement within the Society of Women Engineers for over 5 years. 

My interest in biotechnology led me to become one of 3 co-founders of TheraB Medical (, an early-stage medical device start-up. Our first product is SnugLit, a wearable treatment for infant jaundice that promotes maternal-infant bonding, breastfeeding, and improved patient experience. We are currently seeking early stage funding as we continue development and initial production. 

From college graduation until late 2015, I worked in Foreign Exchange Operations at Goldman Sachs & Co., focusing on process optimization and risk management of the global FX trading/sales business. 

Interests: Entrepreneurship; Start-ups; Biotechnology; Women in STEM; Emerging technology in bioengineering; Financial Economics; International Relations

Amber Shinn

A graduate of Michigan State University, Shinn manages public relations and marketing strategy and execution for MSU's Innovation Center (MSU Technologies, Business Connect and Spartan Innovations.) 
Before joining the MSU Innovation Center, Shinn was CEO and creative director of Shinn Marketing, LLC, and deputy campaign director of Cure Michigan.   Shinn serves on the board of Impression 5 Science Center, the Capital City Film Festival, the Michigan Technology Network, and was named one of the Lansing Chamber of Commerce “10 Over the Next Ten” young professionals in 2012.

Coaches and Mentors

Neil Kane

"I've never been qualified for any job that I've had, but I always achieved success."​

Dynamic entrepreneur/executive/innovator with 25 years of general management, sales, marketing and investment experience in environments ranging from nanotechnology to advanced materials to consumer products. An acknowledged leader in technology commercialization with extensive start-up as well as big company experience. 10 year track record of raising venture capital, angel financing, strategic investments and government grants. Very experienced public speaker, writer and dealmaker.

Recognized for excellence in entrepreneurship by the National Science Foundation. Named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Contributor to on topics related to entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership. 

Specialties: Innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, early-stage company formation, tech transfer, technology transfer, government grants, SBIR, technology incubation, barbecue sauce, diamonds, Rubik's Cubes.

Paul Jaques
Director of Student and Community Engagement

As the Director of Student and Community Engagement for Spartan Innovations, Paul Jaques works with the MSU undergraduate students on their business ideas and inventions to potentially get them to market. Paul is a founding partner of Pure Venture Partners and has also co-founded his own startups that include Career Search Consultants, a nationwide recruiting firm and Bio-Green Environmental, a biosolids management company. 

Ken Szymusiak
Entrepreneurship Professional

 Managing Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (IEI) at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.  The IEI is charged with developing and supporting entrepreneurship within the student body of Michigan State University through the development of curriculum, events, business plan competitions and support structures. Additionally, Ken serves as adjunct faculty teaching introductory courses in entrepreneurship and business model creation. Prior to joining MSU, Ken served as Co-Director of the New Economy Division at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) where he co-managed a technology focused business incubator and worked to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the greater Lansing region. Ken has been instrumental the development of Lansing Startup Weekends, The Hatching - Business Pitch Competition, and Spartan Innovations’ Startup Boot Camp. Ken received his MBA from Northwood University and his Bachelors in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University.  Ken and his wife, Kristin, just recently sold his wife’s retail business after eight successful years. 

Tony Willis
Director, New Economy Division

As Director of the New Economy Division for LEAP, Tony establishes and extends programming for entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the Lansing region. With the goal of creating a culture of entrepreneurship, Tony works with local, regional, and state resources assist individuals and startups to launch products and companies.

Kareem Janoudi
Software Consultant

Kareem Janoudi is a software consultant specializing in Javascript frameworks, Ruby on Rails, and small business web presence. He is a partner in Voya Design, LLC, which takes a small business from any stage of their web presence and ensures they are on the forefront of local marketing online. Kareem has consulted several firms in the planning and development of their web architecture and software tools. His passion is software, and his motivation is helping local businesses.

Tom Stewart

Tom is a professional manager and business coach, with primary expertise in organizational design and operational strategy. Over the last decade, Tom has provided consultation to 44 organizations in a wide range of industries – the majority of which were new or small companies. Tom has also worked on transition teams for larger organizations such as Neogen Corporation, Demmer Corporation, the State of Michigan, and Michigan State University. In the last three years alone, my efforts have resulted in nearly $7M in new client revenues and 60 new jobs in the Capitol Region.

Tom is currently managing Quantum Medical Concepts, a pre-seed fund for medical startups. He also operates The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity (NEO Center), a small business incubator in Lansing. He was the winner of the Lansing Regional Chamber’s 10 Over the Next Ten award in 2010 and was named MLive Lansing’s “Ones to Watch in 2013.”

He previously served Downtown Lansing, Inc., the REO Town Commercial Association, and the Capitol Area United Way's Young Leader's Society. He currently serves on the board for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Jeff Smith
Director, University Corporate Research Park at MSU Foundation


David Silva-Smith
Serial Entrepreneur


Shay Manawar
Co-Director at Startup Grind Lansing

Shay is a graduate of Michigan State University in public policy, with a focus on urban redevelopment. Upon graduation, Shay had the opportunity to work at the Spartan Innovations for three years. The experience led him to work on several exciting “lean startup” projects. Shay’s core passion remains in law and public policy. Shay strongly believes that technology startups are soon going to disrupt several traditional public-interest industries, including K-12 education. His first half of the day is spent at Michigan Virtual, an Educational Technology organization. Whereas, the evenings are dedicated to community engagement through Startup Grind Lansing. Outside of work, Shay enjoys playing squash at the Michigan Athletic Club. 

JV Anderton

An attorney focusing on estate planning, business formation, shareholder/ownership disputes and tax law, J.V. Anderton advises clients in a variety of tax-related fields. He also has extensive experience representing entrepreneurs and business start-ups in all phases of the growth cycle, including finding additional financing and capital. J.V. was the lead author for an article related to the special allocation of gains between partners in 1031 transactions published by the Journal of Real Estate Taxation in 2010. He won the 2007 Tax Writing Competition at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School for his article on non-spousal rollovers under the Pension Protection Act of 2006. In March 2012, Mr. Anderton was named one of the “Top 5 Under 35″ by the Ingham County Bar Association. Also in 2012, J.V. was honored with the distinction of being named as one of the “10 Over the Next 10″, an award given to the next generation of business leaders as selected by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Grand River Connection. He became licensed to practice in Florida in 2013.

Andrew McColm
Managing Director of Venture Creation at Spartan Innovations

Andrew McColm is responsible for new venture creation at Spartan Innovations, the entrepreneurship hub of the Michigan State University Innovation Center. Previously he managed an early stage commercialization fund focused on moving Ag/Bio technologies developed at MSU to the market. 
Andrew came to MSU from the venture capital industry where he was Managing Director of a $100M Midwest focused venture capital fund. Prior to his work in venture capital, he was Associate Director at the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer where he oversaw the Business Formation unit responsible for the creation of startup companies based on University technology. During his tenure at UM the group produced over three dozen startups and developed a robust pipeline of pending projects.
Before turning to university technology commercialization, Andrew had a 20 year international career in telecommunications with multiple startup companies across three continents. He has held positions from founder to C-level at both private and publicly traded companies and has grown businesses to over 600 employees and $75M in revenue. Fundraising activities total over $120M from private, public market, debt and government grant sources. Andrew has served as a board member on numerous public, private and non-profit companies.
He received an MBA, with High Distinction, from the University of Michigan, a B. Electrical Engineering and Management from McMaster University, is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario and has one issued patent.

His lifelong passion has been in transforming cutting edge technologies to commercial realities.

Gabbi Allum
New Venture Associate

Gabbi currently works for Spartan Innovations as the New Venture Associate, and also is the manager of the Technology Innovation Center located in East Lansing. Her experience also branches to Lansing 5:01, as well as LEAP. 

Jerry Norris
CEO, The Fledge


Aubrey Wigner
Assistant Professor, Michigan State University


Organizing Team

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

  • Lori
  • Jeff
  • Neil
  • Paul
  • Danielle
  • Tony
  • Tyler
  • Patrick

Event Staff

Danielle Campbell
Intern Manager

I am currently a junior at Michigan State University pursuing a Bachelor of the Arts in Advertising. Creativity is incorporated into a great portion of my life, and I implement creative processes whenever applicable. I am passionate about advertising, marketing, entrepreneurship, and startups. I currently serve as the Intern Manager for Spartan Innovations, which is an affiliate office of Michigan State University, which aims to promote entrepreneurship at MSU. 

Tyler Mehigh
MSU Entrepreneurship Association President

Tyler Mehigh is a current junior at Michigan State majoring in Business Management. He interned at Yanfeng Automotive last summer, and is a current intern at Spartan Innovations. In his free time he enjoys working on his own company, Northern Etiquette. Tyler hopes to one day own a Private Equity Firm.

Patrick Sedlmayr

Patrick, for as long as he can remember, has wanted to make an impact in the world. His mother and father, being immigrants from Brazil and Germany, have granted him the opportunity to grow up in a diverse household and travel extensively, inadvertently leaving him with a global perspective. Currently a student at Michigan State University, where he takes his academics very seriously, Patrick is pursuing a degree in General Management while also being heavily involved in the entrepreneurship scene. His interest in helping to spur creativity, and his drive to be at the forefront of innovation, have led him to begin the creation of his own company. In the future, he strives to achieve his lifetime goal of global impact.

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