Startup Weekend Missoula

    Friday, March 7 - 9, 2014

  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 Missoula

Friday, March 7 - 9, 2014

Friday, March 7 - 9, 2014
Event starts at 6:30 pm

The Elks Lodge
112 N Pattee St
Missoula, MT 59802

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Share Ideas, Form Teams, Build Products, and Launch Startups in Missoula!

Startup Weekend Missoula is 54­-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Local CEOs, founders, startup veterans, attorneys, publishers, professors, and economic developers with entrepreneurship, investing, marketing, and technology expertise will be on hand to coach teams. 

Photos courtesy of Todd Taylor Photography


Friday March 7th

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 March 8th

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 March 9th

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
Go Home!


Jesse Lakes
CEO & Co-Founder at GeoRiot

An entrepreneur at heart, Jesse Lakes spent his free time in college working on web based “projects” with classmates and roommates. His first success came in 2009 after launching a series of extreme sports soundtrack websites that utilized the iTunes and Amazon affiliate programs. This led to authoring the first book on the iTunes Affiliate Program and then starting GeoRiot (his current focus). The publication caught the eye of the iTunes Marketing team at Apple and shortly thereafter Lakes packed up his gear and spent two years in Silicon Valley as global manager of the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Program. He now leads the GeoRiot team in Seattle.

Ben Sokoloski
Owner & Founder at Market on Front

Ben received a degree in Finance and Real Estate with an emphasis of entrepreneurship from the University of Denver. During college, Ben mentored both “in front of the house and back of the house (kitchen)” at one of Denver’s premier restaurants, Elway’s Steakhouse. During his time at Elway’s, he developed an understanding for restaurant success: consistency, over the top customer service, an excellent/fresh product, and an impeccable checks and balance system. Upon graduation, Ben traveled around the world for one year with the objective to learn cultures and languages. More so, he viewed the societal motives when individuals conduct business transactions predominately in the food market industry. After returning to Denver, Ben became aware of the popular food markets, which offered everything from fresh produce to prepared dinners. These establishments were consistently busy and Ben realized that Missoula and other tertiary markets would be the perfect location for a similar business. Last May, Ben completed an apprenticeship in Denver reviewing a local market deli and assisting in the opening of a new location.

Jesse Spaulding
CEO at Spaulding International Cinema

Creator of The Ghost Camera Stabilizer, received his degree in Digital Filmmaker, but has always had a passion for engineering. Though born and raised in the jungle of Papua New Guinea, he now finds home in the mountains of Missoula, Montana with his wife and business partner, Hannah Weinert.

Event Judges

Elke Govertsen
CEO & Publisher at Mamalode Magazine

Elke Govertsen is the CEO and publisher of Mamalode Magazine (print, online, ipad). Mamalode has been dubbed "America's best parenting magazine" by Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer. Elke started the "Learn as you go lecture series" and the Missoula Business Book Club. She is a passionate champion of mentoring, learning and building a healthy startup ecosystem.

Dawn McGee
CEO at Goodworks Ventures, LLC

Dawn McGee is the CEO of Good Works Ventures, LLC a Montana based company that invests in high social impact companies. She is also President of the High Stakes Foundation, which provides support to visionary people and organizations that are leading and implementing changes that create a sustainable future for Montana. She loves to play outside and play music as often as possible.

Shannon McGuire
Co-Founder at GeoRiot

After earning her BS in Computer Engineering from Lehigh University, Shannon spent the first part of her career as a government contractor. We can't tell you more than that or we'd have to kill you. (Seriously.) Whatever it is that Shannon did worked, because it landed her a spot on the prestigious iTunes engineering squad where she stayed until she parted ways to join GeoRiot. Besides engineering it up, Shannon loves the outdoors. In particular skiing, running and mountain biking. In addition, she is the resident caretaker of GeoRiot's office dogs Jack, Daisy, and Moxy.

Jakki Mohr
Regents Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration at University of Montana

Jakki Mohr, Ph.D. is the Regents Professor of Marketing and the William & Rosemary Gallagher Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Montana-Missoula. She is an international expert on the marketing of technology and innovation, and the co-author of a book on that topic. Motivated by the desire to bring the promise of new technologies to solve social and global problems, she has worked with companies and universities worldwide in strategic market planning to commercialize innovation. Her most recent interest is in the field of biomimicry. Funded by the Marketing Science Institute out of Boston, she is studying how companies can successfully use nature-inspired designs to solve technical and engineering challenges. She has presented this work at two TEDx events in addition to a variety of national and international audiences.

Courtney Laabs
Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Venture Forward

Courtney was raised in San Diego, California and earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Business and Communications. She was actively involved in the Kellogg School of Business’s entrepreneurial associations and earned Runner-Up to the Annual Kellogg Undergraduate Business Plan competition in 2003. Before earning her International MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Courtney was a management consultant at a top tier consulting firm and conducted business with Fortune 500 companies such as DuPont, MASCO, ING, AXA and Sun Life Financial. Most recently, Courtney was the Chief Financial Officer for a firearms manufacturing company in Whitefish, Montana. She and her family invested in the early stages of the opportunity, quickly accelerated its operational and financial growth, and positioned it for a liquidity event in May of this year.

Coaches and Mentors

JJ Adams
Consultant & former National Economic Director at U.S. Senate

Former Jobs policy advisor to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee & Chairman Baucus. Produced the last two Economic Development Summits in Butte. Before working in the senate, founded 5 businesses in a variety of industries.

Sean Benton
Vice President & Creative Director at PartnersCreative

Sean is one of the agency principals at PartnersCreative. He has won numerous ad awards throughout his career. He is also a speaker at the UM on nonprofit branding, digital marketing, entrepreneurial brand development. Sean has worked with many startups through his agency and through the Missoula Economic Partnership's Innovation Initiative.

Pat Boyle
CPA at Boyle, Deveny, & Meyer PC

Pat Boyle, CPA, received his Masters of Accountancy from the University of Montana in 2005, joined Boyle, Deveny, & Meyer in 2007. At BDM, his practice focuses on business and personal income taxes, financial statement compilation, and assistance with complex accounting transactions.

Molly Bradford
Founder at HB Enteprises

For nearly 15 years Molly Bradford has been involved in sales and marketing in the greater-Missoula area, working with 500+ small business on successful marketing and advertising strategies. Through her roles at many Missoula businesses, she and delicately guided customers, and even her employers, through grand openings, moves, promotional events, sales and closures. Today, Molly is the co-owner of HB Enterprises, Inc with Colin Hickey. In the 4th year of their startup, HBE has just launched GatherBoard, their customizable and monetizable community events calendaring SaaS. Locally you know them as and Missoula Indoor Ads.

Jeremy Brown
Startups, Corporate Finance, and M&A at Dorsey & Whitney

Jeremy Brown is an associate in the Corporate and Public Finance groups. His corporate practice involves a variety of matters, including venture capital financing, mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations, private and public securities offerings, and general corporate advice. He was formerly an associate in the corporate, mergers, acquisitions and securities group of K&L Gates in Seattle, Washington, from 2005-2009

Chris Calder
Associate at EPIC Ventures

Christopher Calder is an analyst at EPIC Ventures, where he focuses on Series A investments in SaaS, cloud-enabled, and internet of things companies. Prior to joining EPIC, Chris was part of the founding team at XYDO, a venture-backed news aggregation company. He holds a degree in finance from Brigham Young University.

Bob Clay
CTO at onXmaps

Bob Clay is a serial entrepreneur with a unique mix of technical and business skills. He worked as a Senior Systems/Network Engineer for Boeing on NASA and DOD contracts for 7 years, then went to the dark side to drive Product Development, Product Marketing and eventually Business Development in Silicon Valley at Cisco Systems. 

He moved to Montana from Silicon Valley and changed his career track from direct Cisco product revenue generation to R&D, and from 2001 to 2008 worked as a Senior Business Development Manager at Cisco analyzing new markets and new technologies and identifying new business opportunities. Bob has driven product teams (marketing and engineering), built business plans and product lines, and started and ran companies. In January of 2014 he joined a young Montana Company, onXmaps, as their Chief Technology Officer.

Dan Cripe
CTO at Bonial International Group

I'm a veteran technologist with deep experience delivering and supporting customer-facing web systems, large-scale communications systems, and enterprise/operations systems using best-of-breed modern technology platforms. 

I've worked with Fortune 500 companies, global and boutique consulting firms and several leading-edge technology startups. 

I'm passionate about technology. I enjoy driving success via innovation, vision, leadership, practical problem solving and employing my hands-on technical skills.

Richard Denenny
Attorney at Lee & Hayes, PLLC

Richard has been counseling entrepreneurs and companies throughout his career, in both internal and external roles.  Throughout his career, Richard has helped companies in a wide array of transactions, from formation through to exit.  Richard’s practice focuses on general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, financings, and commercial transactions. Richard’s experience includes practicing at a large international law firm, working as CFO/COO and General Counsel at a market-leading software company, and leading all customer-facing aspects of an established, larger network solutions provider.  As both a business executive and outside counsel, Richard has successfully identified, negotiated, and structured various strategic partnerships and financings.  His unique combination of legal expertise and extensive operational experience provides a unique perspective and the ability to apply practical business judgment in counseling businesses.

Marc Dousset
VP Operations at AXIOM IT Solutions

Marc, an equal Partner of AXIOM and Vice President of Operations, leverages over eighteen years experience in analysis, design, architecture, development, implementation and project management of custom technology solutions. He has a degree from IUT Annecy, France, a Computer Science degree from the University of Montana and certifications from Sun and IBM. Marc has served on the State of Montana Project Management Office Advisory Group and as a board member for the Missoula Winery.

Ken Fitchler

Ken Fichtler is the Chief Business Development Officer at the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Prior to joining state government in January of this year, he spent his career in private industry, most recently leading the marketing at Lattice Materials, a manufacturer of infrared optical components in Bozeman. Ken is also the co-founder of TEDxBozeman, a multi-time entrepreneur and investor in the Frontier Angel Fund II. He is a graduate of the MSU College of Business.

Dori Gilels
COO & Publisher at Mamalode

Most of Dori's career is grounded in grassroots environmental and social justice advocacy, politics and teaching. She founded and directed numerous projects and organizations over the years including the role of executive director for a local women's health organization. In less than 3 years, she took this organization to the national level, increasing the annual budget ten-fold.

Rob Irizarry
Founder at Code Montana

I've spent three decades working with hardware and software technology in the finance, garment and automotive industries, with twelve of those years engaged in pioneering multi-tenant Software as a Service for the Customer Experience market. I've been involved in multiple startups in a variety of roles and spent time investing in and coaching startups and working to improve education at all levels to help prepare America's youth for the technology that will shape their (and our country's) future.  

I've worked in and with public and private sector organizations from 10 people to the Fortune 10 building systems, processes and teams in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South Africa and spent a decade living in Asia.

Jen Knoetgen
Enrolled Agent at Boyle, Deveny & Meyer

Jennifer Knoetgen joined BDM in 1998. She is a graduate of Binghamton University in New York and is a QuickBooks Pro Advisor. Her practice includes a unique perspective on small business needs including accounting systems and software, human resources, technology, compliance and taxation. Jen manages the service department at BDM which provides payroll and bookkeeping services and she is an Enrolled Agent eligible to practice before the IRS. She currently serves on the board of Montana Community Development Corporation. Jen spends as much time outside as possible with her horses and managing her small farm.

Michael Manhardt
Founder & COO at Acuity Design / Helix3D

Having founded 2 companies in as many years, Michael is quickly becoming an expert in founding start-ups! With a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UW Madison, and an MBA from UM, he has applied both in forming a company that invented an enterprise 3D printer called Helix. He has an uncanny knack for creating something from nothing, including prototypes of products and high powered teams!

Nora McDougall-Collins
Web Developer at Montana Webmaster Team

Nora McDougall-Collins took an alternative route to becoming a programming. First, she learned management skills by being a stay-at-home Mom of 5 for 15 years. Then she learned about small business through working as the Office Manager for a small community newspaper. That job lead to a job working as the Customer Service Coordinator for a company that created websites for community newspapers. This, in turn, lead to Business Administration and Computer Science degrees. Rolling that all up into one, the thing Nora enjoys the most is helping small businesses plan and implement their websites to fit their long term business goals.

Brian Morgan
Founder & CEO at Adventure Life

Brian Morgan is Founder and CEO of Adventure Life, an adventure travel company with trips worldwide. He founded the company in 1999 with little more than a cell phone and a laptop, and the company has grown to serve 3500 travelers each year with 18 full-time staff in Missoula. The company has been nationally recognized for its outstanding itineraries in such places as The New York Times, USA Today, National Geographic Traveler and more. Outside Magazine has repeatedly listed Adventure Life as one of the Best Places to Work in the US. Brian has also built several apartment buildings in Missoula and is an investor in a local bank.

Kevin O'Reilly
Founder & President at Orbital Shift

Kevin is President and Founder of Orbital Shift, a software company headquartered in Missoula, Montana. He has more than a decade of experience developing and working within the computer and software industry. Kevin holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas, and an MS in Computer Science and MBA from The University of Montana. After graduating from UM in 2009, Kevin started Orbital Shift, developing and marketing web-based workforce management applications to various industries nationwide. Living in Montana and developing quality software products that benefit local community businesses and beyond is a pursuit Kevin continues to enjoy today.

Mario Schulzke
Assistant Vice President of Marketing at University of Montana & Founder at IdeaMensch

Mario Schulzke is the founder of IdeaMensch, a community he started to help people bring their ideas to life. He is the AVP of Marketing at his alma mater the University of Montana where he also teaches in the business school. Before, Mario spent 10 years managing digital strategy teams at ad agencies up and down the West Coast.

Jill Seigmund
Entrepreneurship Coordinator at Flathead Valley Community College

Jill Seigmund is the Entrepreneurship Coordinator at FVCC, where she links small businesses and entrepreneurs to the resources they need to succeed. She also owns Word by Word, offering writing and editing services to a variety of businesses and organizations.

Mike Sparr
CEO & Founder at Goomzee

Mike Sparr, a fifth-generation Montana native, founded Goomzee in 2007 to provide mobile software and productivity tools to real estate agents nationwide. Mike bootstrapped Goomzee, and its products for the first two years after which he raised over $1.6 million in angel and venture capital. Goomzee has experienced rapid growth and amassed nearly 20% US market reach as a nationally-recognized brand amongst key channels and vendors in just over two years.

Mike gained management experience early in his career by working his way up within his family's automotive service business but left to pursue his passion for software technology.

After growing the software division of a Montana Internet company which subsequently sold to a national conglomerate, Mike lead software architecture and project management teams for global consulting firm Accenture working with clients such as Nokia, British Telecom, Oracle/BEA and Sun Microsystems. This work took him from the San Francisco Bay Area around the US and abroad.
In 2003, Mike started his own company providing e-commerce solutions to small businesses, evolving into consulting and crisis management for large enterprises. The company reorganized into Goomzee in 2007.

An alumnus of the University of Montana (UM) School of Business Administration (SOBA), he co-founded and served on the UM SOBA Information Systems Advisory Board for several years.

Colin Stoner
Technical Founder at Gift Gather

Seasoned IT and startup veteran. IT Director for Novo Construction in San Francisco, and Technical Founder for Gift Gather in Menlo Park.

Matt Sullivan
Principle Product Manager @ Carbon Five

I’m a product manager and strategist at Carbon Five, a collaborative software development and design firm.  I like helping others succeed and enjoy deconstructing complex problems to map out next steps.  Over 8 years I’ve helped teams optimize processes and ship products for startups, growth and enterprise companies in a wide variety of industries.  Prior to product management, I earned my PhD while studying the cellular and molecular systems underlying reward-related learning.

Bruce Tribbensee
Co-Founder at Submittable

18 years with startups in San Francisco, Boston, and now co-founder of Submittable in Missoula.

Deep experience with software development (desktop, mobile, web). Familiar with software patent issues, robotics, film/video production.

Chris Yates
Managing Member at Vision Group Management, LLC

Chris Yates is an internet entrepreneur who actively acquires and manages established websites and online businesses. He has the ability to spot undervalued assets in websites and make improvements to transform them into top performers.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Marcy
  • Mike
  • Paul
  • Dawn
  • Geoff
  • Nathan


Travis Cannon

Technology Consultant & Advisor | Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google+ Travis Cannon is an engineer with an MBA and a passion for startups. With over eight years experience in software development, he has a unique blend of business and technical savvy. He is currently a Technology Consultant and Developer for various startups and small companies, Facilitator and Organizer for Startup Weekend, and Curator of Portland Startup Digest.

Event Staff

Eric Fulton

Matt Gorecki

Komodo Jones

Thomas "Tommy" Kurdy

Samuel Samson

Joshua Soares

Jennifer Stephens
Manager, Blackstone LaunchPad University of Montana

Event Blog

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