Startup Weekend Miami

    Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Startup Weekend Miami

Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015

Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Venture Hive
1010 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33132

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Welcome to Startup Weekend Diversity Miami

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Share ideas, form teams, and launch startups. Startup Weekend Miami 2015 will continue to be the region's largest and most impactful entrepreneurial event.

We are seeking for Miami's most diverse talented crowd of developers, designers, marketers, people with ideas to pitch or that just want to experience and get their feet wet into the tech scene. Everybody has a space and an important role at Startup Weekend (that's why it's called DIVERSITY!). At Startup Weekend Miami you will start a company during a weekend together with a bunch of awesome and like-minded people.

We are a non-profit, community-building event that brings together entrepreneurs of different backgrounds, including software developers, marketers, designers, and startup enthusiasts. They gather to to pitch ideas, form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch, the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.

Still wondering what Startup Weekend is all about? Watch this cool video:

What's included:
  • Catered food - 7 meals total
  • Unlimited coffee
  • Awesome Startup Weekend Diversity Miami T-shirt 
  • Fantastic working space at Venture Hive
  • Discounts for some of the best startup tools - AWS, Sendgrid, Microsoft Azure, etc
  • One-on-one direct access to Miami's best startup mentors
  • Ticket to the awesome Startup Weekend after party!

Friday kick-off: 
Time: 6:30pm
Where: Venture Hive

1010 NE 2nd Ave - Miami, FL
Limited free parking is available around building.

Saturday's hustle:
Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 pm
Where: Venture Hive
1010 NE 2nd Ave - Miami, FL
Limited free parking is available around building.

Sunday's preparation: 
Time: 9:00 am - 5 pm
Where: Venture Hive
1010 NE 2nd Ave - Miami, FL
Limited free parking is available around building.

Closing Night Presentations:

Time: 5pm
Where: Venture Hive
1010 NE 2nd Ave - Miami, FL

Sunday Post-Party Presented By Live Answer

Time: 7pm
Where: Awesome private location with lots of fun surprises!

To register click

For more information, feel free to contact one of the organizers below. See you there! 

For all sponsoring opportunities CLICK HERE and contact Paula Celestino at


Friday May 29th

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 30th

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 31st

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
Private party!

Event Judges

Nicolai Bezsonoff

Nicolai is one of the co-founders of .CO Internet S.A.S and was its COO until its recent sale to Neustar. .CO Internet is the registry operator for the .CO top level domain and Nicolai was with .CO Internet since its beginning, architecting and building .CO from the ground up. Under his tenure, .CO saw an incredible growth and became one of the most successful domain extensions in history, with more than 1.8 million domain names registered by people and companies in 200 countries worldwide.

Brian Brackeen
CEO, Kairos

Brian Brackeen is the founder & CEO of, a facial recognition company, based in Wynwood. Their products not only identify a individual within a million in 800 milliseconds, it also understand someones age, gender, attentiveness, and up to 5 distinct emotions. 

Kairos’s growth was noticed by the Wall Street Journal in 2013, as it was selected as one of the top 25 startups in the country and it participated in the WSJ Startup of the Year. They were also selected as a company in 2014.  Kairos has raised over 5 million dollars in funding from investors in Florida and California. 

Brian cut his technological teeth at leading firms like IBM and Apple. At Apple he managed back office systems for Apple corporate and retail facilities around the world.
Brian has a daughter (who is 13 and going on 23) :) and is a rabid Miami Heat, & Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Johanna Mikkola
Wyncode Academy Co-Founder

Johanna Mikkola is the Co-founder of Wyncode Academy a leading accelerated learning program in Florida and the first coding school to be licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Indepdendent Education. In 9 weeks the program transforms ambitious individuals into computer programmers with business acumen. Recently celebrating its 1yr anniversary, Wyncode has a 92% placement rate with 68 graduates and locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Before launching Wyncode Johanna spent a decade in corporate management with the National Hockey League leading a team of managers and overseeing the business operations of the officiating department. There, she became the highest-ranking female in the department overseeing the largest departmental budget (60M) within the organization. Johanna is passionate about people and places, having considered multiple other cities to launch the code school concept she and co-founder, Juha Mikkola, enthusiastically chose Miami for its people and great opportunities.

Roberto Interiano

Roberto Interiano – Executive Director MEDO. Roberto Interiano has over 20 years of experience in corporate development, finance and international operations. He is partner at STS Capital focusing on corporate finance, capital raising and Mergers & Acquisitions of middle stage companies. Roberto has also been Senior Manager at Dell Computers, Regional Partner at Ernst & Young, Advisory Board Member at One Laptop Per Child, Board Member at CTE-Telecom (part of America Movil), and investment officer at the IFC – International Finance Corporation. Roberto has an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill, an Undergraduate in Industrial Management/Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, and Executive Program in Strategy and Organization from Stanford University.

Coaches and Mentors

Nico Berardi
Managing Director | AGP Miami

Nico Berardi is Mthe anaging Director at Accelerated Growth Partners; an angel investor network based out of Miami, FL. He has been commissioned by Knight Foundation to bridge the funding gap that Miami entrepreneurs face. The goal of the Knight Foundation grant is to ensure an efficient angel network to then pursue the structuring of a local Series A venture capital fund. In the first year, AGP has grown to 80+ Members, made 12 investments totaling U$2.2M. Nico is curently completing his Kauffman Fellowship.

Previously, Nico was Chief Executive Officer – U.S. at TECHO until December 2013. Nico’s involvement with TECHO began as a volunteer in 2007 in Buenos Aires when the organization had just begun operations. After four years of consolidating the Argentina team, Nico joined the fundraising team in the US as Director of Development. His focus was to develop continental alliances with companies based out of Miami and New York. He was also in charge of further expanding networking opportunities to high net worth individuals with an interest in Latin America. After one year, he began leading the team as CEO. Under his leadership fundraising doubled and team tripled while assuming new challenges. These challenges were to leverage communicational opportunities, generating strategic partnerships with Universities & other non-profits, and fostering massive and thoughtful volunteer engagement in the U.S.

Adam Boalt
LiveAnswer CEO

Adam Boalt is currently the Founder and CEO of LiveAnswer, Inc. based out of Pipeline Brickell.  Launched in March of 2014, LiveAnswer technology is revolutionizing the call center model and has provided over 3 million minutes of on-demand phone support to over 1000 businesses including: Uber, the Game Show Network, Dome 9 and the Hearst Corporation. 

Prior to LiveAnswer, Adam founded which was voted #1 by the Wall Street Journal and became one of the largest 24 hour passport expeditors in the world.  He successfully exited the business in 2012 to a private equity group.

Over the course of his career, Adam has raised multiple rounds of financing for other startups he co-founded and is a regular speaker in various topics ranging from Government 2.0 to Entrepreneurship.  He was invited to speak at the World Bank with Tim O’Reilly after winning 1st prize in a government innovation contest coordinated by President Obama's former CIO, Vivek Kundra.  He has also been featured in several publications including Entrepreneur, Forbes, INC and ZDNet for his accomplishments.

Jorge Andres Cortes Restrepo
Founder of Momentum International

Jorge is an active entrepreneur with strong experience on international relations in Miami, Florida. Served the community of south Florida from the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce. Observed and studied the implementation of the free trade agreement Colombia-USA.

Jorge is currently building up a platform named Momentum to empower and promote innovation and social entrepreneurship among young generations of south Florida. Jorge believes that Americas sustainable future will serve as example for the world over important global issues and is convinced that the region's leadership on the 21st century will reach the highest standards of sustainability and responsible economic development.

Passionate, peaceful, open to prosper and generate ideas for impactful solutions through the United Nations Association-Miami chapter.

Matteo De Lise
Managing Director at Pininfarina of America Corp

Based in Miami to establish, direct and develop Pininfarina operations in America: managing sales, marketing, administrative, financial and human resources activities. Responsibility to define and execute business development strategy locally and globally. Overview of marketing plan, PR activities and Licensing program to support Pininfarina brand growth and awareness worldwide. Expand design services into new innovative sectors and develop strategic partnerships.

Etienne Gillard
Co-Founder at Waleteros & Go For Languages

Etienne Gillard is co-Founder of Waleteros, the disruptive Mobile Wallet Solution adapted to the needs of the 25 million unbanked or underbanked US Hispanics. With a natural talent for business development, team building and sales, Etienne is a veteran multicultural serial entrepreneur with 25 years experience.

Michael Hall
CEO/Founder - Digital Grass Innovation & Technology

As Founder of Digital Grass, a social impact group and diversity accelerator. Michael's focus is to ensure that diversity is included in the technology and innovation landscape of South Florida. Digital Grass' accelerator co­creates with companies led by minorities, women and/or LGBT. Michael is also Senior Managing Partner of MediumFour, Michael oversees the development of technology and marketing solutions to build and brand companies from inception to execution.

Distinguished by its Marketing Energy + Design™ mantra, MediumFour delivers the vision and innovation needed to drive momentum for a formidable client roster. Michael’s insatiable curiosity and unmatched drive propel Digital Grass results.

Clients draw on his expertise in strategic business blueprinting, mind mapping and brand psychology to meet specialized market needs through customized technology platforms. After his initial business venture at age nine, Michael later launched his first official company at 19. Today, he continues his success as an innovator and proponent of social entrepreneurship through Pretty Fresh, My Drink Ticket, Gateway Software Development, LLC and Aeolus Motors, LLC (Electronic Motorcycles) Committed to transforming the professional landscape in South Florida, Michael has devoted himself to bridging the diversity gap in technology. From seeking to support Digital Grassroots, #W3RTech a social awareness effort for Diversity Inclusion in Technology, Miami Dade College and others as a conduits for diversity professional development, to volunteering as a youth mentor with #YesWeCode & Code Fever, his vision for progress is unwavering.

Michael also founded Justice TM, the first organization created to shed light on “Stand Your Ground” legislation through awareness of the Trayvon Martin case. Michael’s priority is to continue to pave the way for innovation in his community and well beyond.

Felecia Hatcher
Author & Chief Popsicle of Feverish Miami | Co-Founder of Code Fever Miami & Black Tech Week

Felecia is an author, social entrepreneur and the Chief Popsicle of Feverish Ice Cream & Gourmet Pops. For the past decade Felecia has dedicated her life to inspiring a new generation of leaders through her conversational talks on Entrepreneurship, Tech Innovation, College Funding and Personal Branding.

A globally sought after speaker, Hatcher has been honored at the White House as one of the Empact Top 100 Entrepreneurs under 30 in 2011, and in honored as a  2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Featured on the NBC Today Show-Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History, a TEDxMiami and TedxJamaica Presenter and featured on the Cooking Channel, Inc Magazine, Wall Street Journal Japan, Forbes Travel, Entrepreneur, Essence Magazine and Black Enterprise.

Linda Koritkoski
Director of Marketing for .CO, and

Linda is focused on challenging the status quo and bringing new life to industries that have long been fraught with frustration and friction. Most recently, she was the Director of Marketing for .CO – working with the team from the very beginning to build a brand synonymous with opportunity and innovation, and growing the business from startup to sale (.CO was acquired by Neustar for $109 million in April 2014). Prior to .CO, she worked with brands such as Harvard Business Review, MIT, FedEx, and Clarks of England to develop marketing programs that both delight customers and generate results.

Michael McCord
Founder and CEO of LearnerNation

Michael founded LearnerNation after attending graduate school at Vanderbilt. Under Mr. McCord’s leadership, the team at LearnerNation has grown to acquire Fortune 100 & 500 clients, New York Times Best Selling Authors, contracts with local and state governments, international agreements, and become the 2012 recipient of the Dr. Jay C. Buckey Jr. Award for Innovation.

As of July 2014, Michael is a contributing author to Forbes Magazine in Learning and Development.

Rodo J. Novarini
Active Angel, Entrepreneur and Business Consultant to the Wireless Telecommunications Industry

Successful senior executive with 15 years of experience leading service delivery and sales team in growing businesses; from startups to new divisions in $30 billion companies, in such diverse environments such as US, Latin America and Australia.  Currently: entrepreneur, wireless telecommunication consultant and angel investor.With significant experience managing 9 digits business and service contracts, in several industries such as telecommunications, IT and automotive, I am currently working as a consultant for young companies looking to accelerate growth including a developer of CRM software specially focused on telecommunications companies.Previously, I was involved in creating the service business for Brightstar Corp, which took me 5 years to Australia, after which I brought that learning and applied it as VP of Services for Latin America.  Most recently, sold Brightstar services to Sprint from a global role.  From these different roles I have negotiated and managed large service contracts with multinational corporations, such as IBM, Sprint, Telefonica and Telstra (50% telco business in Australia).Before my Kellogg MBA, I created a car maintenance business for the largest Oil Company in Argentina; which later on I launched as a franchising model. In that company I've also launched and manage complete product lines such as motorcycle and motor boats lubricants. And before that I created a startup around an original design for car sun-shields as promotional products, which I successfully sold within 1 year.

Peter Stephenson
SVP of Business Development

Peter is the Senior Vice President for Business Development at Sensentia ( and is responsible for developing and driving the company’s business strategy and partnerships.  

Peter was formerly the Head of the Emerging Technology Group in Humana’s Innovation Center.  He was responsible for the development of technology products through academic, early venture, industrial, and rapid prototyping programs.  Prior to moving into industry, Peter worked as a Scientist for Fraunhofer, researching Computer Graphics and Visualization.  His career began as an Academic for James Cook University and subsequently the University of Rhode Island.  He has also consulted for a range of research organizations, companies and start-ups.

Peter sits on the Advisory Board for the GVU Center and MS-HCI Program at GeorgiaTech, and two start-ups, Podimetrics and CountIT.

Peter completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science, and his B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computer Science with Honors in Computer Science at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.  He also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Science Communication at the Australian National University.

Harsh Thakar
Active Angel

Harsh believes in the duality of being a Problem Maker and a Solutionist. Having started as a Technology Consultant, Harsh soon realized that technology was only as effective as the business solution and the solution’s efficacy depended greatly on how clearly the business problem was defined in the first place. With this mantra of Business Design, Harsh has helped numerous companies reinvent their business models, processes and/or relationships and saved them millions of dollars by reducing redundant and repetitive investments which is quite common with technology. He continued his consulting career while enjoying the entrepreneurial culture at Synechron, beginning with growing its business in Chicago during the great recession, and then moving to South Florida to start its onshore operations, created a new person-to-person sales process, enhanced the design & user experience offerings and established a repeatable process to convert computer science undergrads into productive consultants. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Miami 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.




Contributing Sponsor

Media Partners

Organizing Team

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

  • Paula
  • Pia
  • Ryan
  • Anas


Lee Ngo
Educational Technology Community Architect

Lee Ngo is an educational technology community architect and founded his startup Scholar Hero through Startup Weekend. Previously, he served as Regional Manager for UP Global (acquired by Techstars) and has worked for educational organizations such as Strayer University, Galvanize, and Metis. Lee is currently the Chief Operating Officer with the Greater Foundation (

Event Staff

Romina Kohei
Co-founder of GliderPath

Romina is a Project Management Consultant. She helps small business owners and entrepreneurs streamline their businesses for growth by applying project management strategies. She is also the co-founder of GliderPath Limited, a startup company currently offering 3 different products: - GliderPath Translation Management System, our flagship product, is a SaaS solution that helps translation companies owners run and grow their business,  - GliderPath Consultancy,  a tailored service aiming at finding and addressing business and process breakdowns, assisting with optimization and providing done-for-you solutions,  - and  GliderPath Academy, an online learning platform for project managers, small business owners, freelancers and solopreneurs.  She also created Cool Project Management, a blog focused on tips and advice to help people get started in project management, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Darryl Doonie

Christine Celise

Event Blog

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