Startup Weekend NYC Blockchain Edition

    Friday, October 20 - 22, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend NYC Blockchain Edition

Friday, October 20 - 22, 2017

Friday, October 20 - 22, 2017
Event starts at 6:15 pm

Barclays' Rise New York
43 West 23rd St.
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10010

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Learn how to take blockchain ideas from concept to creation in one weekend!

**UPDATE:  Event SOLD OUT*** 

We are very excited to have a full house next month for this great learning opportunity!

Startup Weekend Blockchain Edition, sponsored by IBM!

All of the awesomeness of Startup Weekend combined with all the mystery and possibility of Blockchain Technology!  Let's do this!

According to Blockchain Revolution author, Don Tapscott, "blockchain technology – a truly open, distributed, global platform – will fundamentally change what we can achieve online, how we do it, and who can participate."

Check out his TED Talk on How the Blockchain is Changing Money and Business.

Harvard Business Review Article: The Blockchain Will Do to the Financial System What the Internet Did to Media

What is
Startup Weekend?

Have you ever seen a new product, app, or business and thought to yourself, "that was my idea a few years ago"? If you have, that means you did not have a process for taking that idea from concept to creation.

Startup Weekend is your chance to learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days! Whether you are looking to...
  • get introduced to the world of startups and entrepreneurship,
  • learn the process for going from concept to creation,
  • meet experienced, talented, and passionate entrepreneurs in NYC,
  • join or build an all-star team,
  • learn and practice new skills to take back to your job, or
  • take your own idea from concept to creation
Check out this short video of last fall's Startup Weekend Music Tech Edition!  Many thanks to Sony Music for producing the video. 

Who is Startup Weekend For?

It doesn't matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including...
  • aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs,
  • developers and other tech-related professionals,
  • designers of all types,
  • non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.),
  • students from universities and even high schools,
  • professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills,
  • passionate visionaries, and
  • many more!

What's the twist?

Blockchain edition means we will be focusing on ideas that utilize the power and potential of blockchain technology and design to solve problems. Blockchain technology gives us an opportunity to re-imagine how we move, transact, share, and track goods and services.  Some argue that blockchain technology is like the next internet.  That is, the internet was the enabler and delivery mechanism for some of the greatest ideas of the last 2 decades.  Blockchain can do the same for the next couple of decades and this is our chance to be the first ones to embrace and build on it.  Don't miss this opportunity to get in on a new pioneering technology, early in the game! 

Whether you are interested in the blockchain or not, the ultimate objective of the event is to empower you with a powerful process for taking any idea, blockchain-related or not, from concept to creation! 

Your full-price ticket includes:

  • Access to the full, weekend-long, event (Friday 6pm-Sunday 10pm)
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea on Friday night @ Pitch Fire
  • Mentoring by all-stars from the blockchain world and the tech startup community
  • 7 meals plus coffee throughout the weekend
  • 2 workshops on understanding blockchain
  • 1 Pitch Design (Story Telling) workshop, presented by The Pitch Doctor
  • 1 awesome Startup Weekend t-shirt
  • Free copy of Darin Eich's, Innovation: Step-by-Step
  • Collaboration with awesome blockchain professionals from throughout NYC
  • All-star judge's panel led by tech, startup, and blockchain leaders
  • Membership in the Startup Weekend Community (>200K alumni)
  • A process for taking any idea from concept to creation in a matter of days
  • Over 100 new awesome Facebook friends!

Do I need to come with an idea?

If you have an idea for a startup, then great!  We hope you pitch for the weekend.  If you don't have an idea, that's quite all right!  Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched, and see if something strikes your interest!  The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and learning from each other.  If you have more questions, check out the Startup Weekend First Timers FAQ!

Join Startup Weekend and IBM for a very special weekend!

Questions? Press inquiries?  Please email us at

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 20th

6:15 pm
Registration, Networking, and Dinner
Doors Open, check-in, mingle, and get some dinner.

7:15 pm
Event Kick-Off!
Introductions, SW overview, pitch fire session, voting, and team formation. Let's do this!

10:30 pm
Friday Night Wrap-up
Exchange contact info with your new team, go home, and get some rest. We kick-off Saturday at 9am!

Saturday October 21st

8:30 am
Doors Open & Breakfast
Get some food, settle into auditorium for kick-off at 9am.

9:00 am
Weekend Kick-Off (all-hands)
Review the mission for the weekend, judging criteria, and weekend agenda.

10:00 am
Identify & Define Problem Statement
Your first challenge is to identify, define, and clearly state the problem you will be solving this weekend.

12:30 pm
Grab-n-Go Lunch Served
Refuel and get ready for a wild afternoon!

1:00 pm
Workshops & Mentor Madness
Series of optional workshops on blockchain topics plus mentors on hand to meet with teams by appointment.

6:00 pm
Surprise Dinner Experience
Take a step back, distract yourself with a surprise dining experience, and refuel before the final stretch of the day.

7:00 pm
Deep Work Block
No mentors, no workshops, no distractions. Enjoy a solid block of deep work time before the venue closes up.

9:00 pm
Venue Closes
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Divide, assign, and conquer some homework before leaving.

Sunday October 22nd

8:30 am
Doors Open
Arrive, enjoy some breakfast, and get back to work with your teams.

10:00 am
Pitch Design Workshop
Complimentary pitch workshop presented by The Startup Pitch Doctor, Craig DiFolco

10:30 am
Pitch Coaching Sessions
The Startup Pitch Doctor meets with individual teams by appointment.

12:30 pm
Grab-n-Go Lunch
Lunch is served, pick up, and keep working.

1:00 pm
Pitch Perfect Practice Sessions
Rehearse your draft pitch in front of some mentors for feedback. By appointment.

4:00 pm
Final Presentations Due
Turn in final presentations via Google Slides.

5:00 pm
Demo Night!
We kick off final presentations! All teams to report to the main room for judge introductions. Dinner to follow when pitches are complete.

9:00 pm
Winning Announcements
Winners announced, celebrations ensue, team selfies galore!

10:00 pm
Venue Closes & Happy Hour
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Let's meet half a block down at The Storehouse to mingle and relax.

Event Judges

Jon Zanoff
Managing Director @ Barclays Accelerator

After 15 yrs building the industries leading FinTech solutions at the top banks and asset managers, Jon now focuses purely on accelerating innovation through venture fundraising, mentorship, and connecting bank innovators and SMEs with the most promising FinTechs.

Heather Clifton
CMO Watson Financial Services @ IBM

Experienced Marketing Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Strong marketing professional skilled in Market Research, Advertising, Leadership, Strategy and Marketing.

David Fisher
Founder & CEO @ Integra Legal Ledger

David Fisher is the founder and CEO of Integra Ledger, the permissioned blockchain for the global legal industry. Immediately prior to Integra Ledger, David was the founder of Privātim, a collaboration platform for law firms and their clients. His experience developing Privātim led to the insight that distributed ledger and blockchain technology, combined with modern cryptography, can provide a new opportunity for legal service delivery: authoritative systems of record that are securely shared between firms and clients.

Sophia Lopez
Director, Blockchain Platforms @ IBM

Experienced Product Management Director with demonstrated history of driving product innovation and growth in technology industry. UNC Chapel Hill MBA. Harvard University Undergraduate Engineering Degree (Electrical/Mechanical).

Coaches and Mentors

Craig DiFolco
The Pitch Doctor

Craig, The Pitch Doctor, is a public speaking and media coach dedicated to the art of narrative, film & video, and communication. Since receiving his MFA from Columbia University, he has served as a presentation coach for over ten years, as well as a producer for Sunnyside Films.

Sophia Lopez
Director, Blockchain Platforms @ IBM

Experienced Product Management Director with demonstrated history of driving product innovation and growth in technology industry. UNC Chapel Hill MBA. Harvard University Undergraduate Engineering Degree (Electrical/Mechanical).

Jiro Otsuka
Program Manager @ Urban Future Lab

Jiro Otsuka is the Program Manager for the Urban Future Lab, one of the world’s leading incubator programs for cleantech startups. The Urban Future Lab is part of NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and has advised 38 startups on go-to-market strategy and raising capital.  Jiro is responsible for conducting due diligence on startup applicants, program development, and investor relations for the incubator. Prior to the Urban Future Lab, Jiro worked at Ernst & Young, performing audits for clients such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, IHI, and Sekisui Chemical.

Karen Ottoni
Blockchain Strategist @ TATA Consultancy Services

Karen works closely with TATA Consultancy Services' (TCS) clients across industries to understand blockchain, its business applications, and ideate use cases for eventual development into POCs. She is part of the Blockchain team at TCS, which works with companies from end to end in their exploration of new and disruptive technologies. Karen earned her MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and holds a degree in International Development, Business and Economics from American University. Prior to Duke, Karen had a career in international development working in public and private sector consulting firms and at USAID in the US, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Karen Co-Organizes the Women in Blockchain meet up in New York and is also mentoring teams for the Blockchain for Social Impact Hackathon currently underway. She's excited about the potential for emerging technologies to change not only the way we do business, but also to improve lives around the world. TCS is a global leader in IT services, consulting, and business solutions company. It is a subsidiary of Tata Group and operates in 46 countries worldwide.

Don Buckley

Don is an innovator who believes design thinking needs to be part of every school's curriculum.

Sydney Lai
Head of Strategy, Token Foundry, Consensys

Sydney is a community leader and strategist with an award-winning background in sales and business development. Sydney has been named an LGBT Technology Leader by The White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy and is a TEDx Speaker on creating innovation within communities. She has worked as the Head of Business at Audacy, a space satellite startup. After founding her own token launch firm, she now leads strategy on tokenized projects for Token Foundry at ConsenSys and a co-founder at Crypto NYC, a blockchain coworking space based in Manhattan.

Jeff Hittner
Founder & CEO @ Your Project X

Jeff leads Your Project X, which helps people (re)discover their passions to build careers they'll love.  Jeff has more than 18 years experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, professor and changemaker.  He is the founder of five social ventures, including IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consulting practice.  In 2011, he developed the curriculum for the first MBA in Sustainability on the East Coast, at Bard College, where he was the Leadership professor.  He was also two-time Chairman of the Carnegie New Leaders at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.  Jeff’s passion has always been at the intersection of education and entrepreneurship.  Prior to your Project X, he ran a career transition program for 64 New Yorkers, built global education programs including a blended learning initiative for high school dropouts in Latin America and career discovery programs for youth in Europe.  Jeff received his Masters in Cultures and Development Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from The College of William and Mary in Virginia where he was an elite gymnast.  As a thought leader, Jeff has been published in a half dozen major publications, including Forbes.  

Aileen Schultz
Director of Network Intelligence @ Integra Legal Ledger

Aileen Schultz is the Director of Network Intelligence for Integra Legal Ledger. She is an MIT certified Social Physicist, with a tailored passion for network science and its applications to everything: business, life goals, and ultimately effecting change in our global systems. She has an extensive background working with startups and SMB’s across several different sectors; including ecommerce, high-tech, digital communities, health and legal.

Earl Valencia
NY Head, Science and Tech Advisory Council

Earl is a start-up advisor focused on the intersection of global impact and technology.  He founded IdeaSpace, an incubator accelerator that currently has 50 portfolio impact-focused companies in both the digital and hardware s paces.  Earl was an aerospace engineering, part of the Young Global  Leaders of the World Economic Forum and a Stanford GSB alum.

Kevin Chen
Evangelist @ IOTA Foundation

Kevin is an Evangelist and Business Development Representative at IOTA. He was previously a Developer at Citigroup and Data Analyst at a credit hedge fund.

Russell Zack
Senior Vice President Products and Solutions @ HelloWorld

Russell Zack has 20+ years’ experience in software product development, management, sales and innovation. He is presently the head of strategy, products and platforms at HelloWorld, a marketing solutions company in the promotions and loyalty industry. Before HelloWorld, he served as General Manager, EMEA for video platform company Kaltura, and oversaw its business within Europe, Middle East, and Africa from Kaltura’s London office. In addition, Russ was previously an EIR with Cisco's business incubation group as well as founder and senior executive with multiple startups in the video software, mobile and interactive marketing arenas.

Kenneth Ng
COO @ eduDAO

Kenneth Ng is Co-Founder and COO of eduDAO. He leads the charge for partnerships and community engagement for both the digital and physical communities within the NYC social impact space. On the other side, Ken helps with front end development of the blockchain platform. Coming from an extensive background in clinical research and grassroots activism, Ken continues to be an active voice in the attainment of equitable education for underserved populations. Outside of eduDAO, Ken is a Client Service Manager, heading blockchain strategy and FinTech enablement for RGP. He is also part of the core operations team for the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) as well as the lead and host for the upcoming Generation Blockchain video/podcast series.

Benjamin Siegel
Impact Policy Manager @ ConsenSys

Ben Siegel is the Impact Policy Manager at ConsenSys. He is working on bringing blockchain technology into humanitarian work. After spending time working in the political sphere, Ben became extremely interested in experimental technologies and the potential they had for the impact sector, leading him to ConsenSys.

Carlos Hoyos
Senior Technology Staff Member, IBM Corporate Strategy

Carlos Hoyos is a Venture Capital Investor in technical corporate strategy at IBM, bringing the best new technology to our most important clients to help them succeed. Carlos is also a mathematician, musician, and inventor with multiple patents under his belt. He is a co-founder of Encantos Media, where he combines his tech and music background to create immersive and whimsical digital experiences for kids.

Sergio Marrero
Co-Founder @ Caila

Sergio Marrero is Co-Founder & CEO of Caila, a platform for the future of augmented intelligence. He graduated from Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Previously he worked in Deloitte Consulting, Teach For America, Doblin, Gotham Ventures, and founded two startups in the education technology space. He is passionate and committed to creating systems that enable access to learning for people to keep pace with the evolving economy.

David Berger
CTO @ Integra Legal Ledger

David Berger is a computer technologist with extensive experience focusing on Mobile/Social content delivery. He has worked with numerous large and small clients including Sun, Oracle, IDG books, Pogo and NBC. David previously founded Scientia, acquired by the Princeton Review, and then co-created He followed that with work in Pharma marketing/education and then co-founded SciMediMedia servicing Merk, BMS, and Aventis. Currently, he is CTO of Integra, where he is the principle architect of the Global Legal Block Chain.

Chad Arroyo
Executive Director @ Bunker Labs New York

Senior technologist with a passion for building next generation businesses and financial systems through blockchain and cryptocurrency-related platforms. Nonprofit leader furthering military veterans in their entrepreneurial ventures. Core experience includes technology leadership roles across small to large scale organizations in the public, private, and defense sectors. Proud Navy veteran with a BS in Information Technology from the US Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Michael Lapin
Founder & CEO @ Beginex

Michael Lapin is the founder of Beginex, a UX training program based on real projects with real social impact clients. In addition to running the program, Michael is a product and UX consultant, who also organizes user experience events, workshops and hackathons. He spent eight years in technology consulting, primarily in product, business analysis and design roles and started his career in management consulting after graduating from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Chris Lema
Chief Community Officer @ eduDAO

As the Chief Community Officer at eduDAO, Chris is responsible in expanding its presence in New York City and establishing a community of organizations around the intersection of blockchain, non-profits, and education.

Jamar Smith
Data Scientist & Machine Learning Specialist @ IBM

Jamar Smith is a Client Technical Specialist and zAnaltics Data Scientist on the North America zAnalytics team. He specializes in machine learning and analytics on the IBM Z platform. Jamar is a machine learning and IBM Z evangelist with more than 5 years of experience as a statistician and data scientists working in variety of industries. At IBM, Jamar works closely with customers to address business needs around analytics and demonstrate the value of machine learning on IBM Z.

Richard Irving
Cloud & DevOps Specialist @ IBM

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend NYC Blockchain Edition 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

Community Partners


Organizing Team

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

  • Corey
  • Roger
  • Arjun
  • Ross
  • Andrew
  • Sibi
  • Natalia
    Gonzalez Chavez
  • Julia
  • Chantal


Roger Osorio
Entrepreneurship Program Leader @ IBM

Entrepreneurship program leader at IBM by day, math coach by night, and Startup Weekend global facilitator by weekend.  I deliver a powerful cocktail made up of education, psychology, neuroscience, leadership, and entrepreneurship.  I facilitate events to maximize the experience and learning for all participants.

Corey Stary
Enterprise Partnership Manager @ DailyPay

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