Startup Weekend Santa Monica

    Friday, October 26 - 28, 2018

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

Friday, October 26 - 28, 2018

Friday, October 26 - 28, 2018
Event starts at 5:30 pm

1450 2nd St
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Your idea in 54 hours - interact w/ leaders at BAM Ventures, LUMA Launch, Expert Dojo, TechStars, Lightspeed Innovation, and Amazon Studios

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 Santa Monica 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.

Big shoutout to Los Angeles Tech.

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 local to the LA area and from around the country. 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. Hopefully solving a problem that affects Santa Monica or all of LA. 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.
With your ticket you will interact with mentors and investors from BAM Ventures, LUMA Launch, Expert Dojo, TechStars, Lightspeed Innovations, TALA, the Founder's Attorney, Amazon Studios, and Many more . . .

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”. We are all local volunteers.

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

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 26th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm
Elvina Beck
Your Entrepreneurial Journey!

7:15 pm
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 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 October 27th

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 October 28th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Shamin Rostami Walsh
What do VC's look for when investing and how to pitch your company!

1:00 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

5:30 pm
Judging & Awards

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Go Home!


Elivina Beck
Founder, CEO

Elvina was born in the former Soviet Union to conservative parents who did not allow sleepovers until she turned 18. After graduating from Pepperdine University, she worked in front of and behind the camera for brands like Sketchers, Apple and for clients like Randi Zuckerberg and Avril Lavigne. The economic downtown hurt jobs and housing, so Elvina had an idea for a shared housing model.Sharing beds across expensive neighborhoods makes them more affordable. She called it PodShare. Her MVP hosted 10 people in these custom “pods” that she hand-built with her dad. She crowdfunded her second location in DTLA. For the 3rd location, she worked with the city to convert a marijuana dispensary into housing. Then came PodShare Venice and Westwood for a total of 200 pods across 5 locations . And if you’re staying at one, you gain full access to all the others. Podshare has gotten press from NPR, Buzzfeed, Vice, TechCrunch, Business Insider etc. as the first co-living community of its kind.  Live across PodShares for $50/night,$280/week or $1,000/month. No security deposit, utility or maintenance fees. Elvina hopes that one day people will pay one price to live all across the world as global citizens.

Event Judges

Danielle Dolinsky
Platform Lead

Danielle Dolinsky Gorman is an investor and platform leader at Luma Launch, based in Santa Monica. Prior to Luma,she worked in marketing at Hyperloop, Mattel, and American Express.

Ash Kumra

Ash Kumra

Youngry CEO | Syndicated Radio Host

Ash Kumra is CEO of entrepreneur movement YOUNGRY™, author and host of the top Southern California entrepreneurship radio show. He has been awarded both by Linkedin and White House for making an impact. Ash has spoken to over 10,000 people on peak performance, entrepreneurship and mindfulness. TV and media credits include Sony”s “Meet The Drapers” starring venture capitalist Tim Draper, Forbes, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur. 

Ash also serves on UC Irvine’s Beall Center for Entrepreneurship, Startup Grind OC and Newport Beach Foundation. Previously Ash worked with the White House, Case Foundation and other business leaders to help launch “Startup America” a public/private partnership that in total helped inform, educate and provide resources for thousands of businesses across America.

Coaches and Mentors

Margeaux Sullivan
Venture Partner

Results Driven Business Advisor. 

Alexander Cuffe
Business Affairs Executive

Alex has always been passionate about entertainment, and works at Amazon Studios where he assists in negotiating deals on all scripted TV content. 

Ralf-Rainer von Albedyhll
Serial Entrepreneur of 12 companies

here is nothing quite like the thrill of creating something out of nothing. The challenge of turninga vision into reality. That is why I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 12 startups under mybelt. An overview of some of my companies and projects can be seen at

Morvareed Salehpour

Morvareed Z. Salehpour specializes in handling a diverse range of complex legal matters both in and outside the courtroom. She is experienced in negotiating a variety of contracts and legal agreements and litigating cases from inception to trial and appeal. She has represented companies and individuals in a variety of industries, including blockchain, technology, entertainment, media, banking, manufacturing, real estate, fashion, retail, food and beverage, and healthcare, among others. She has represented clients across the nation ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Santa Monica 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


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Organizing Team

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

  • Curtis
  • Deepak
  • Brennon
  • Sophia
  • Jerry
  • Jaron Ray


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.

Mia Mian

Event Staff

Anna Drescher
US Community Manager @ Finimize

Anna is responsible for managing communications in both directions. She handles US communications, PR, social media, events, and content creation, among other things at Finimize.

Sean Turtle
Project Manager at LA nonprofit BeWorthy

As a third generation California native, my passions encompass a diverse mix of outdoor activities, allthings food, and serving my community.

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