Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend

    Friday, March 9 - 11, 2018

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

Friday, March 9 - 11, 2018

Friday, March 9 - 11, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub
123 West Mountain Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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Your idea in 54 hours

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 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.

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. 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. 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.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

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

No talk, all action!


Friday March 9th

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

7:10 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Hear from opening speaker Clete Brewer, meet your facilitators and organizers, and review the agenda for the weekend

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 late to work.

Saturday March 10th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

11:00 am
Coaches arrive and are assigned to teams.

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 late to work

Sunday March 11th

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

7:00 pm
Judging & Awards
Hear from Raftup (startup formed out of the 2015 Startup Weekend event) founder Corey Boelkens before prizes are given away!

7:30 pm

8:00 pm
Go Home!


Clete Brewer
Managing Director at NewRoad Ventures

Chad Williamson

Chad Williamson is co-founder of Noble Impact, which is a non-profit organization that engages High School students at the intersection of public service and entrepreneurship. As a certified curriculum in Arkansas, Noble Impact has an introductory course for 10th graders (Noble 101) and an advanced course for 11th & 12th graders (Noble 201). Prior to launching Noble Impact, Chad was Director of Philanthropy for former NFL Player Dhani Jones, and CEO of their joint venture, BowTie Cause. As a platform to promote awareness for multiple causes, the organization raised over $500,000 for non-profits around the nation and is based out of Cincinnati. Chad is also a military veteran and co-founded a physical therapy company before becoming a teacher and coach at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. At Berkeley, he launched a multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on leadership, group dynamics, and the study of poverty in America. He received his Bachelors degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his Masters from the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is married to Heather Williamson and they have two chocolate labs, Moxie and Bristol.

Event Judges

Jeff Amerine
Principal, Startup Junkie Consulting

27 years of deep technology and business leadership and early-stage investment experience that has included P&L responsibility in Fortune 500 firms along with startups. Current activities include leading Startup Junkie Consulting, teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas, and managing the Tonic Regional Fund.

Joe Payne
VP of Design, RevUnit

Joe Payne is VP of Design at RevUnit, a Bentonville-based digital strategy and product studio. A former startup founder himself, he leverages his background in design, entrepreneurship, operations, and research to help people design ways of working better together. Joe is a husband, father of three, and avid creator of things both physical and digital.

Nicholas Dozier
CEO, ATLAS Technology Group and Chairman, Dozier Capital Partners

Nick has been a technology leader and entrepreneur in NW AR for nearly 15 years. Nick began his career as a software developer and owns and operates several businesses including Dozier Technology Inc, the parent company of ATLAS Technology Group.

Coaches and Mentors

Cannon McNair
Co-Founder & Creative, Give a Damn

A self-labeled weirdo, Cannon prides himself on exploring the oddities in life and challenging society's view for how we should live. His guiding principal in life is to enjoy what you do or stop doing it. 

Stephanie Funk

Stephanie Funk is a successful entrepreneur and startup founder. A unique combination of skills including experience in advertising, public relations, large-scale HR, blogging and e-commerce has given her an eclectic scope of knowledge. Her first startup, Acorn: the Influence Company, generated multi-million dollar revenues in just under two years. Stephanie has been recognized nationally by PR News as a “SocialMedia Icon” among other awards, and locally in Arkansas as one of the “Forty Under 40” for both the region and the state. For the past year Stephanie has been building an off-site CMO service called Funk & Co, which has just been acquired by tech dev firm Metova.

David Kersey
Executive Director, New Design School

David Kersey is an Arkansas native and graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is a leader, educator, and artist. For the past 15 years, he has focused on digital art and animation. David worked for The Walt Disney Company and Sony Pictures on films such as The Polar Express, The Chronicles of Narnia, Tangled, Wreck-it Ralph, and the highest grossing animated film of all time – Frozen. In 2016, he was named executive director for New Design School in Fayetteville and is developing a world-class institution to enhance digital art education for students and professionals. 

Tim Freeman
U.S. Vice President of Business Development, Anuva Resource Solutions

Tim Freeman is the U.S. Vice President of Business Development at Anuva Resource Solutions, a Raleigh-Durham, NC based IT staffing and consulting firm.  He has co-founded multiple companies in a broad range of industries including technology (, brand development (Parable), design (Polis Design), media (HARK) and recruiting (KNS, Rebel Code). Tim is an Arkansas native who makes Little Rock home with his wife Martha and two children, while traveling nation-wide consulting with businesses on talent acquisition, retention and culture in the tech space.

Helen Maringer
CEO, Shire Post Mint

Helen has a background in Fine Art Photography and officially joined her family's business, Shire Post Mint, in 2015. The company creates officially licensed collectible coins from A Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings among other properties. Helen has developed new marketing strategies and standard practices that have doubled the company's revenue since her arrival. She has created 3 successful Kickstarter campaigns for product launches, the most recent of which reached $120k, more than 1000% of its goal. Helen was named CEO at the beginning of 2018. 

Chris Ladd
Principal, New Road Capital Partners

Chris Ladd is a Principal at NewRoad Capital Partners where he is responsible for all aspects of the investment process and post-investment operations of portfolio companies for the firm’s venture capital fund (New Road Ventures) and its growth equity fund in partnership with Los-Angeles-based Kayne Anderson (Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II). Prior to joining NewRoad Capital Partners, he was part of Walmart’s Corporate Development and Strategy teams, focusing on e-commerce acquisitions and strategic initiatives and the CFO/CIO of a Walmart-led investment fund. Before Walmart, he was an Associate at TPG Capital focusing on post-acquisition operations of its portfolio companies and an Associate at KSL Capital on the buyside. 

Devin Howland
Director of Economic Vitality at City of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Devin is the Director of Economic Vitality for the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas. As the City’s primary economic development arm, the Department of Economic Vitality serves as a liaison from the City to the contracted entities providing economic development services, as well as the business community. Devin is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and serves on the Education and Certification Committee for the International Economic Development Council.

Spencer Jones
CEO, Lineus Medical

Spencer Jones worked for 3 years in direct patient care as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, and as a Registered Nurse. He is the CEO of Lineus Medical, a startup medical device company in Fayetteville creating devices for the infusion therapy space. Spencer graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor in the Science of Nursing. Spencer is on the Fayetteville Innovation Counsel, Accelerate Arkansas Executive Board, and was the Entrepreneur in Residence for the Hub X Life Sciences Accelerator for 2016.

Sonia Gutiérrez
Founder & COO, New Design School

Sonia practices and teaches graphic design, web design, and design business in her role as CEO of Atelier NDS, NDS Press and founder and chief of operations of New Design School.

Kanat Bekt
Software Infrastructure, SupplyPike

Kanat has worn every hat possible in his career in tech, and enjoys shipping software. He does anything and everything technology-related at SupplyPike, a rapidly growing software company in Fayetteville. Before that he, spent some time building a startup and working for companies like Google and AWS in the Bay Area. Reach out about building software and shipping MVPs.

Blake Puryear
Co-Founder & Product Lead, Engine

Blake is a technical marketer and product strategist. He has worked for and with some of the largest eCommerce companies in Arkansas. He was a core part of the team at Country Outfitter that created a $100m online boot company on the backbone of Facebook. There, he sat between 20+ devs and designers and translated the needs of the C-Suite into actionable projects. After leaving Country Outfitter with CEO John James, the two then founded Hayseed Ventures. At Hayseed Ventures, Blake mentored and served as CTO for 13+ startups and met with over 200 entrepreneurs. Hayseed created over 160 jobs and has seen follow-on raises and exits of its portfolio companies. Now, Blake directs product and strategy at Engine, an eCommerce platform built for growing brands.

John Max Bolling
Marketing Manager, Engine

John Max Bolling is the Marketing Manager for Engine: a cloud based eCommerce platform focused on creating the best experience for both merchants and consumers. 
A growth marketer by nature, John’s skill set lies in the cross section of understanding human behavior and making data driven decisions to optimize for the best consumer experience online. This has lead to opportunities including managing an 7 figure ad budget across Cobbler Media’s clients, co-authoring a best seller with Kevin Harrington, and being part of a team that raised a combined $900,000 across two Kickstarter campaigns.

Chuong Nguyen
Technologist, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder - Datarank

Chuong is a proud Northwest Arkansas native, Hogs fan, and tech entrepreneur. Following a stint in the corporate world, and then experiencing his fair share of startup failures, in 2012, Chuong's luck presented him with new, life-long friends and co-founders of social intelligence company, DataRank. In addition to being backed by local and regional investors, DataRank was a part of Silicon Valley startup incubators, Y-Combinator and 500Startups. After the company acquisition in 2015, Chuong's opportunistic appetite kicked back into overdrive. These days he is making software infrastructure sexy at big data and business intellience leader, AtScale, while weekend-hacking on the next big win. His spaces of interest include humanitarian tech in developing economies (particularly in Southeast Asia), blockchain, fintech, information security, automation, maker culture, political, education, and lifestyle tech, and other unexplored opportunities for secure, decentralized solutions to promote liberty and happiness.

Jarrod Ramsey
Lead Digital Designer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Jarrod Ramsey is a UI/UX designer and developer.  He is currently the lead digital designer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Jarrod earned his Graphic Design degree from The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. When he is not glued to his computer screen, he spends his time thinking up ideas.

Jessica Johnston-Myers
Chief Operating Officer

A lover of entrepreneurship, snark & hard cider, Jessica was a growth hacker before that was officially a thing. She knows how to make sales folks more productive, can throw down on a lean canvas, and is never afraid to ask the tough questions. Her stage presence is better than yours, cookies are her spirit animal, and she has an artificial aortic valve that clicks with every heartbeat. If you are nice, she might even let you listen. Especially if you come bearing cookies.

Corey Boelkens
Founder & CEO, RaftUp Technologies Inc.

A startup weekend alum and lover of the outdoors. Corey and his wife Erin Boelkens founded a young and prospering startup called RaftUp Technologies just months after their 2nd place finish at StartUp weekend. A dynamic accomplished professional highly regarded for strategically guiding product vision for industry leaders like Acxiom and Merkle Inc. A disciple of lean product development and customer centric design. He’s an out-of-the-box, analytic thinker who assesses trends to develop repeatable marketing strategies, robust methodologies, and flawless operational execution plans.

Kerri Elder

Kerri Elder, a native of Arkansas, with over 30 years of experience in real estate development, finance and investment advising. Kerri expanded into the film industry through a partnership with her son Blake, a film maker, by profession. They created Rockhill Studios and Rockhill Media for the purpose of developing and producing high quality, diverse, and significant content for the entertainment and corporate industries. The Rockhill group has grown significantly through the construction of a state-of-the-art production facility that opened in Fayetteville in 2017. The full service facility is unique to the region and is providing new job opportunities as well as a place for creative expression. Kerri Elder has Executive Produced a number of feature films, including narratives, shorts and documentaries.

Jeremy Teff
Executive Creative Director at BLKBOX

As Executive Creative Director for the Fayetteville based BLKBOX, Jeremy heads up all of the studio activities and sets the standard for thoughtful, high quality work and design. While at BLKBOX he has led design and creative direction on a highly eclectic range of clients including a major healthcare provider, several boutique start-ups, a couple of bands and even an indie movie.

Elizabeth Strandberg
Events Coordinator at Few

Elizabeth Strandberg has a background in photography, audio and video production, marketing and branding and special events.  She's had the unique opportunity to work on various projects including 2 award winning feature length films, a film festival, an international early childhood elementary, multiple new businesses and now at Few as their Events Coordinator.  Systems building is her passion and she loves participating with others who are excited about serving their communities. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend 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

A creative studio building an army of freelancers. As part of the local Fayetteville community, we are dedicated to supporting our local non-profits, small businesses, and culture.

Visit Website




Organizing Team

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

  • Michael
  • Haley
  • Dennis
  • Joel
  • Ben
  • Sarah

Event Staff

Brett Amerine
Chief Operating Officer


Megan Frohardt
Executive Consultant


Ellen Brune
Sr. Entrepreneur in Residence


Event Blog

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