Startup Weekend Missoula

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  1. Overview
  2. Speakers
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Missoula

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lifelong Learning Center
310 S Curtis St
Missoula, MT 59801

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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

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. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. The first Startup Weekend in Montana is happening in Missoula on January 18th, 2013!

At Startup Weekend Missoula, you will experience what it takes to launch a startup. The full process of pitching an idea, recruiting a team, managing a project, building a prototype, receiving market validation and presenting to a panel of judges.  Although the format is best suited for technology ideas, any idea that can be created in 54 hours is welcome.Join us this January for Montana’s very first Startup Weekend.

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Greg Gianforte
Managing Director at Bozeman Technology Incubator

Serial entrepreneur Greg Gianforte founded RightNow Technologies in Bozeman in 1997. The bootstrapped company grew to more than 1,100 employees worldwide and more than $225 million in annual revenue. RightNow was the largest commercial employer in Bozeman and the only publicly traded technology company headquartered in the state. He took RightNow public in 2004. In 2011, he sold RightNow to Oracle for over $1.8 billion.

Event Judges

Greg Gianforte
Managing Director at Bozeman Technology Incubator

Serial entrepreneur Greg Gianforte founded RightNow Technologies in Bozeman in 1997. The bootstrapped company grew to more than 1,100 employees worldwide and more than $225 million in annual revenue. RightNow was the largest commercial employer in Bozeman and the only publicly traded technology company headquartered in the state. He took RightNow public in 2004. In 2011, he sold RightNow to Oracle for over $1.8 billion.

Leon Liebman
VC, Beacon Angels

Successful vc and private equity investor with substantial experience in a range of business areas.

Specialties: Four decade's experience with startups, early stage and growing businesses with an emphasis on content creation and value added software products and services development. Startup and functional management experience led to senior management and board level responsibilities.

Diane Smith
Founder and CEO at

A business and social entrepreneur, Diane was the co-founder and CEO of a high growth, groundbreaking IPTV company in Northwest Montana. After a career spent in Washington DC as a corporate executive in the fast growing tech and wireless industries, Diane moved to Montana and discovered that the most interesting people live and work beyond the Beltway. She authored TheNewRural.Com to explore how technology has changed the opportunity equation in Rural America and co-founded American Rural, an organization dedicated to effective policies regarding entrepreneurship, technology and energy for rural and small town America.

Steven Sundheim
Co-Founder, Modwest, Inc.

Steven Sundheim co-founded Modwest, a web hosting company with thousands of customers across the globe, in 2000. He and his co-founder ran Modwest for 12 years and sold in 2012. Steven also co-founded Grupthink, a web-based community feedback platform. With Grupthink, he worked with research firms and consumer insights professionals for large and small companies, examining the roles of communities and online focus groups in market research. Steven specializes in UX, UI design, and web development, and has developed a broad range of entrepreneurial experience in both companies.

Steven is currently working with a startup and providing user experience design as a freelancer. He earned his B.A. in Geography from the University of Montana in 1999.

Chhe Taing
President, Keiretsu Forum Spokane/Inland Northwest Chapter

Chhe Taing, serves as President of the Keiretsu Forum Spokane/Inland Northwest Chapter and as Managing Director for MindShare Resource Solutions. Prior to MindShare, he held prior positions with US Trust Bank of America Wealth Management Services and Bank of America Investments. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with minors in Finance, and Management Information Systems from Fairfield University in 1998. Mr. Taing is responsible for Strategic Development of MindShare’s Resource Groups: Investment Management, Corporate Finance, Business Development, Branding & Marketing, Business Operations,Information Technology, and Engineering. He leads the Investment Management Group which specializes in preliminary investment due diligence, connecting MindShare’s portfolio companies with funding opportunities and value added services.

Coaches and Mentors

Keith Brown
CEO at National Flood Services, Stoneriver

Accomplished and talented Senior Executive with extensive business and technology experience with background in operations, technology implementation, organizational development, project and financial management. Ability to manage large complex, geographically diverse programs and organizations. Adept at facilitating corporate success through effective alignment of people, functions, technology, and business operations. Excellent problem-solving skills.

Emmy Chuck
Partner, Quinn Capital LLC

Emmy serves as Partner at Quinn Capital LLC, a private investment management firm based in Bozeman, MT. She is responsible for the firm's business development and client relations. 

Prior to Quinn Capital, Emmy developed a successful career in technology sales and sales operations. While living in San Francisco, she spent five years at IBM where she was a top performer in software sales. This was in part due to her consultative and service-oriented approach with customers. During her tenure in Washington, D.C., Emmy was a leading member of international sales operations teams at MicroStrategy and B2eMarkets. In those roles, she was responsible for sales strategy, forecasting, and planning. Emmy began her career as a strategy consultant.

Emmy holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from University of California Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. She received a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Georgetown University. Emmy also studied International Business and Chinese at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Emmy enjoys cooking, eating, and meeting new people. She is a proponent of science and technology in schools, women in leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Michael Fitzgerald
CEO, Submittable

I'm the CEO and founder of, the world's leading cloud-based application and submission management system for the publishing industry. Our software is used by over 6000 publishers, including Harvard, MIT, TechCrunch, NPR, and Playboy. Submittable saves our customers time and money by streamlining both the application and editorial process for writers and editors.

Submittable has gotten the attention of and been written about in TechCrunch, the New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Venture Beat. Submittable is backed by Y Combinator and the Knight Foundation and other leading investors. Since its inception in 2009, has grown by about 400% a year. We believe that Submittable is the solution that the publishing industry has been searching for. So do our customers.

I am also the author of Radiant Days, a novel published in 2007 by Counterpoint. My shorter works can be found in some of the country's fancier literary journals. My fiction has won awards, most recently The Idaho Commission on the Arts Fiction Fellowship.

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.

Wes Hunt
Senior Developer at Pulsara & Founder at Armigent

After 12 years of developing web applications and sites, Wes is passionate about all things web and improving user experiences. Wes cut his teeth for start-ups in the boom and has since worked with the largest players in the tech industry designing and building UIs for the web. At Armigent Wes is working to bring better experiences to real estate sellers and listing agents and help them be more productive. As a founder he recognizes the importance the user interface, experience, and interaction plays in product adoption and the success of new companies.

Jason Lengstorf
Senior Developer at Copter Labs

Jason Lengstorf is a speaker, author, and digital nomad. He makes his living building web apps for clients including PlayStation, Intel, and Precision Nutrition. In 2014, he sold everything he owned and started traveling the world. He’s been on the road ever since.

Clyde W. Neu
Venture Partner at Flywheel Ventures

Clyde Neu has over 34 years of venture investing experience as the founder of four start-up companies and a director of two others. He has successfully raised venture capital financing in the U.S. and in Europe. He currently serves as board Chairman of three existing Montana companies including New West, Inc. Clyde is also the President of Epic Management Group, a consulting firm on technology and business strategy. He was a professor of management at The University of Montana for nineteen years where he taught business and technology strategy, financial management, and entrepreneurship. He is a co-author of a college textbook on Small Business Management and holds a BS and MS from Montana State University, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota.

Doug Odegaard
Consultant & Software Engineer, intraLogix

Doug is a native Montanan who has been involved in software engineering and business consulting for over 30 years. He operates a consulting company called intraLogix based in Missoula which serves clients in a variety of vertical markets including healthcare IT, utilities, insurance and workers compensation and many more. In the last five years he has had the extreme pleasure of working with fellow developers and startups including navigating the wild waters of raising tent poles on an idea and taking flight.

Paul Quinn
Founder & Investment Manager at Quinn Capital LLC

Paul manages client accounts through his proprietary portfolios – the Focus 20 and the Fixed Income. He seeks to compound funds at a better-than-average rate than the market. He aims to minimize the risk of loss through diversification and holding cash when appropriate. His approach is disciplined and consistent and developed over 25+ years of investing experience and study.

Harold Shinsato
Senior Software Dev Engineer, SAP

Harold Shinsato is an agile coach and software developer. He started his work life with the Xerox PARC technology that inspired the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows, has a patent in the Hyperbolic Tree visualization that was invented there, has developed several user interfaces, and also assisted in bringing Agile Software development techniques at the startup, Inxight, that spun out of Xerox and which now is a part of SAP. He's passionate about the power of community for learning such as the Montana Programmers and actively attends and presents at conferences especially around agile and lean software. He founded the annual technology, arts, and change conference, Missoula BarCamp. He is is a pilot, a performer (both improvisation and scripted), a trained Open Space facilitator, and a Co-Active(tm) coach. He currently serves on the boards of the Open Space Institute U.S. and the Stevensville Playhouse.

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.

Jason Thane
General Manager at General UI

As General Manager of General UI, Jason Thane works to shape organizational development and strategy, along with the philosophies that form the foundation for our processes of execution and growth. Jason brings a 14-year track record of success in entrepreneurial leadership and software development to bear in his mission to build value in the firm by driving operational performance, talent acquisition, and the forging of relationships with new partners and clients, established and entrepreneurial alike.

Doug Warner
CEO at DropTrip

Doug Warner is a cloud technology veteran with an extensive background in computer science and psychology. He started as one of the original employees at RightNow Technologies and throughout his 13 year tenure was the driving force behind the RightNow Knowledge Foundation, RightNow's industry leading core technology. Doug left RightNow shortly after Oracle's $1.5b acquisition and has subsequently built multiple businesses including DropTrip, a startup in the crowdsourced shipping industry. In his limited free time, Doug is also an accomplished expedition caver.

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

  • Mike
  • Bob
  • Rob
  • Dawn
  • Nathan


Sheikh Shuvo

Originally born in Bangladesh, Sheikh was raised in New York City. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Government, with a focus on political philosophy. He has worked in a wide range of industries ranging from real estate marketing, municipal government, outdoor education, and, most recently, in healthcare software.
He currently lives in Seattle, WA, and is an avid outdoorsman, cook, and travel enthusiast.

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