Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2018

    Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018

  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 Las Vegas 2018

Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018

Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Rob Roy's Innevation Center
6795 S Edmond St
3rd Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89118

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Startup Weekend Las Vegas

With the help of your entrepreneurial peers and an expert panel of mentors, Startup Weekend Las Vegas helps turn bright ideas into marketable business plans. From polishing your pitch to winning over potential investors, you will learn the skills of entrepreneurship hands-on with teams of other innovators like yourself.   

1st Stage
Friday night begins with dinner and networking, then ideas are pitched in an open mic format. You will vote for your favorite pitches, and from there, teams form to begin working on the top ideas. This is where your earlier networking comes in handy; you will want to build a team that has all the necessary skills and resources to help you achieve your team goal for the weekend.

2nd Stage

On Saturday and Sunday, your team dives deeply into building out its idea. Coaches and mentors are available to help, so it’s encouraged that you to take advantage of their expertise!

3rd Stage

Sunday evening is devoted to final presentations, during which time your team will present its developed idea to a panel of judges. Demo prototypes, wow the judges, and win awards!

Startup Weekend is the perfect place to see exactly what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, meet other innovative people who might just become your co-founders or partners and test your ideas with some of the smartest business minds in the community. The full schedule is listed below. Reserve your spot today!


Friday November 16th

5:00 pm
Registration, Dinner & Networking
Get checked in & start networking! Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants.

6:00 pm
Event Kickoff with Betsy Fretwell, SVP Switch CITIES

6:15 pm
Agenda Review
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders.

6:30 pm
Ice Breaker
Let's break the ice!

7:15 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Top Teams are Selected
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 pm
Teams Form / Meet Your Team
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

10:30 pm

Saturday November 17th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Keep Working!
Teams continue to work through their business plan and start to practice their pitch.

11:00 am
SWLV Workshop
Workshop: Building a Strategic Business Plan with Kurtis Wankier. Startup success is dependent on many variables. A strong strategic plan with top notch market research and clear milestones can help a startup avoid many of the common mistakes that cause startup failure. Building a strategic plan upon great research is the key to getting off on the right foot. This session will help you rethink your strategy and add pieces to your analysis that may be the difference in your success of failure.

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Mentor Sessions Begin
Mentors help teams one-on-one. Prepare some questions and take note of their feedback! Mentor Meetings will take place from 1:00pm - 5:00pm.

5:00 pm
Yoga Session Break

5:30 pm

9:00 pm

Sunday November 18th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Keep Working!
Teams continue to work through their business plan and start to practice their pitch.

10:00 am
Pitch Coach Sessions Begin

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Presentation Prep
Final hours of work time should be focused on perfecting your presentation.

2:00 pm
Tech Check
Tech check for final presentations takes place.

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm
Judging & Awards

7:30 pm


Kurtis Wankier

Kurt Wankier is a co-owner of Work in Progress, the CEO of NeONBRAND Digital Marketing, and the brains behind iSee Metryx practice management software. With a business degree in finance, Kurt has a head for numbers.He has worked with the Small Business Administration consulting with small companies, honed his analytical skills with Fitch IBCA, led companies in a variety of industries to success, and founded both the College Entrepreneurial Organization (CEO) and Envision Management & Marketing.Years of experience have made Kurt adept at translating raw data into valuable business insights.

Event Judges

Piotr Tomasik
Co-Founder & CTO, Influential

Piotr Tomasik is the CTO of Influential, an Influencer Technology Platform and Social Intelligence firm that has partnerships with IBM Watson, Facebook, Oracle, and WME. Influential is the largest VC-funded startup in Nevada, according to VC platform, Pitchbook. Previously, Piotr was Co-Founder & CTO at ActiveSide, a fitness-centric social network, and a tech leader at Playersync & eCommLink (acquired by Green Dot).    A serial entrepreneur, Piotr is a very proud Las Vegan, who strives to help build a prosperous and diversified economy here in Las Vegas. Piotr was named to VEGASINC’s “40 under 40” list in 2018. Piotr has a BS in Computer Science from UNLV.

Rob Meadows
President & CTO, AI Foundation

Rob Meadows is the President & CTO of AI Foundation which focuses on the advancements and risks around personal AI. Rob is also the founder of Originate, which builds next-generation, AI-enabled software for many of the Fortune 500. Previously, Rob founded Lumitrend, the mobile platform provider acquired by Asurion in 2006 which launched several products like Cellbackup to protect the data on millions of mobile devices. Rob holds a Master’s Degree from Arizona in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Rob believes that an AI-first world will ultimately lead humanity to abundance and bliss, but will require a reinvention of every industry and every job to get there. He is therefore very passionate about responsible AI, advancing AI education, and working alongside some of the top researchers in the world. AI may very well be the last invention of humanity, so we better make it a good one...

Geoff Sanders
CEO, LaunchKey

Geoff Sanders was the cofounder and CEO of LaunchKey, a cybersecurity company specializing in next generation mobile authentication. A rare mix of engineering and creative talent, Geoff has more than a decade of professional experience as a full stack developer, designer, and product manager with expertise in creating end-to-end custom interactive applications.

Proudly self-taught since age 12, Geoff has a pedigree for technology as the 3rd cyber security CEO in his family and the son of a former lead engineer at Compaq. Prior to his career in technology, Geoff was a decorated cadet in the U.S. Air Force Reserve training to become a pilot and commissioned officer while concurrently on full-scholarship at The University of Texas at Austin studying electrical engineering. He began to turn heads in the technology arena after his stint in the Air Force Reserve when he started his first company wythaGy (as in “Geoff” with a ‘G’), a full-service web and application development firm with more than 60 clients across the U.S. and U.K. that he ran for five years.

In 2013, Inc. Magazine included Geoff in their prestigious “30 Under 30” entrepreneurs list, and his military-related decorations include the Superior Performer Award (USAF) and Commander’s Commendation (CAP). Ever the Renaissance man, Geoff has also been recognized for his success as a professional photographer and accredited drummer. 

LaunchKey was acquired by iovation in September 2016.

As Product Director of LaunchKey, Geoff leads the overall strategy, vision, and direction of the LaunchKey product at iovation. 

Ciara Byrne
Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Green our Planet

Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Green Our Planet 
In March, 2013 Ciara with Kim MacQuarrie co-founded a non-profit organization called Green Our Planet based in Las Vegas.  Green Our Planet's mission is to raise money for green projects and to educate the public about the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet today. The overall goal is to help conserve, protect, and improve the environment through funding green projects and through education, which includes STEAM, nutrition and conservation education in K-12 schools.  Since March 2013 Green Our Planet has raised over $2m, built 115 school gardens, won the American Honda Foundation grant to pay teachers to adapt PreK-5 STEAM curricula so it can be taught in the gardens.  Green Our Planet won Public Health Hero of the Year 2014 awarded by the Health District of Southern Nevada; Community Organization of the Year 2014 USGBC; Ciara won Las Vegas Tech Woman of the Year 2015 and the Las Vegas City Compassionate Hero of the Year 2017.    

Filmmaker & Executive Director, Lion Television
In 2001, Ciara moved from London to New York where she set up Lion Television’s first US office.  Ciara hired the staff, oversaw the development team and created and was the executive producer for hundreds of hours of programming for television networks including PBS, The Discovery Channel, TLC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and E!. Ciara then expanded Lion Television to the west coast.  Ciara lived between New York and LA during which time she oversaw the US development team, executive produced several series and managed a team of over 60 employees.    Ciara has produced & directed a number of diverse film projects including a 10-hour series for The Discovery Channel shot in remote locations all over the world.  Together with partner Kim MacQuarrie she developed a feature documentary with Dr. Richard Leakey on biodiversity collapse, and wrote a script for IMAX for a 3D film on the extinction of giant predators around the world.

Coaches and Mentors

Heather Wilde
CTO, ROCeteer

Heather Wilde was the eighth employee of Evernote, where she oversaw the company’s growth from thousands to 100 million customers. She's published popular games, trained Fortune 500 brands, advised hundreds of startups, and managed some major nonprofit programs. Now, as a fractional CTO through her own company ROCeteer, her award-winning work keeps the "Unicorn Whisperer" constantly traveling across the globe to find the next unicorn.

Mike Downing
Co-Founder & CEO, Cerebro Marketing

Mike is the cofounder and CEO of Cerebro Marketing, an online marketing agency headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is an experienced Digital Marketing Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. He is skilled in Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Sales, Management, Direct Marketing, and Marketing Strategy. Mike attended the University of Las Vegas where he graduated with a  Bachelor's Degree focused in Business Administration - Marketing.

Thasin Jaigirdar
Co-Founder, Apparent Financing

Thasin Jaigirdar works at SAP.iO, a seed stage venture fund & start-up incubator within SAP, where he has focused on market development, product launches, and diligence on new start-up investments for SAP.

Erin Ann
Co-Founder, Tangerine

Erin Ann is an established designer, mentor and business owner. Erin is an expert in UI/UX design, graphic design, and branding but she can also code some of her work. She currently owns a small agency called Tangerine Creative Agency here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her team designs, builds, and markets digital products for local and national clients. Erin's business partner calls her a unicorn because her imagination, leadership and skill set is truly one of a kind.

Rob Mallery
VP of People & AI Culture, AI Foundation

Rob has been building elite software teams for nearly 20 years and is AI Foundation's VP of People and AI Culture. He is excited to build a team of the most talented engineers, researchers, product experts and artificially intelligent agents while developing and promoting AI Foundation's unique "AI-First" culture. Rob sits on multiple volunteer boards for workforce innovation, future of work and education initiatives. He graduated with a BS in Biology from UNLV and a proud Bonanza Bengal! Mallery is convinced that the team at AI Foundation will be the last he will build and is looking forward to becoming a high-profile water-color artist as soon as the robots take over!

Michael Cremean
Founder & CEO, Quadshot Software

Michael Cremean has over 25 years of Technology Leadership, Architecture, Security and Scalability expertise, having led many successful high tech products from conception to launch. An advocate of using open-source technologies, he has led teams to deliver products in diverse industries, including Web, Robotics, Gaming, Mobile, Social Networks and Education. Michael is the founder of Quadshot Digital, a consulting company that specializes in development, security and scalability of websites, focusing on the WordPress and WooCommerce platforms. As the founder and host of the Las Vegas WooCommerce Meetup, he helps people plan their eCommerce strategies and gives back to the community.

Kenny Eliason
CTO & Founder, NeONBRAND

You might recognize Kenny Eliason as one of the co-owners of Work in Progress. What you might not know is that he’s also the founder of NeONBRAND Digital Marketing, the Big Cheese at #VegasTech, a mentor for the UNLV School of Entrepreneurship, and a leader in the local startup community. Kenny offers free training each month at his SEO and Social Media Meetups, and he’s been closely involved in a wide variety of events like Startup Weekend, WordCamp WordPress conferences, and TEDx Las Vegas events.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Las Vegas 2018 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 Las Vegas is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Nicole
  • Thomas
  • Kenny
  • Vincent


Kacey Wherley
Marketing Production Lead, Techstars


Event Blog

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