Startup Weekend Travel Tech New York

    Friday, April 28 - 30, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
Buy Tickets

Event Alerts and Updates

Get the latest on Techstars Startup Weekend, New York City, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Startup Weekend Travel Tech New York

Friday, April 28 - 30, 2017

Friday, April 28 - 30, 2017
Event starts at 6:15 pm

Voyager HQ
137 West 25th Street
11th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Buy Tickets

Come build startups focused on traveling & tourism!

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, then that means you did not have a process for taking that idea and building it out into a prototype.

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 putting your ideas into action
  • meet experienced, talented, and passionate entrepreneurs in NYC
  • join or build an all-star team
  • make meaningful connections and become part of a global community
  • beef up your resume
Startup Weekend is your destination for the weekend of April 28-30th.  

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,
  • passionate visionaries

What's the twist?
Travel Tech edition means you will be focusing on solving problems and filling gaps in the travel industry. Let your own experiences or desire to travel inspire you! Whether you have ideas to improve NYC subways systems or to make travel around the world easier, the ultimate objective of this event is to empower you to take any idea from concept to creation!

For the $149 ticket you get:
  • Access to the full weekend-long event
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea on Friday night @ Pitch Fire
  • Mentoring by all-stars from the travel industry and the tech startup community
  • Meals inspired by international flavors all weekend
  • Collaboration with awesome professionals from throughout NYC
  • All-star judge's panel lead by Sam S. Jain and Kerri Zeil
  • Membership in the Startup Weekend Community (>200K alumni) #SWMafia
  • A #SWagbag and over 100 new awesome Facebook friends!
Tickets will be more limited than usual for this event so make sure to get yours before they run out!  

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday April 28th

6:15 pm
Registration & Dinner
Arrive at the venue and get checked in, get some food, and mingle with other guests

7:15 pm
Welcome to Startup Weekend!
Kicking off Startup Weekend Travel Tech Edition!

7:30 pm
Pitch Fire Session!
Optionally line up to give your 60-second pitch! Finalists will be determined by audience vote. Finally, recruit teams for finalist ideas.

9:30 pm
Friday Night Wrap-up
Exchange contact info with your new teammates, get a head start on some work, and head home for a good night's sleep.

11:00 pm
Venue Closes
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here :)

Saturday April 29th

8:30 am
Doors Open & Breakfast
Arrive, check-in, and get fueled with some breakfast & coffee.

9:15 am
Weekend Kick-off (all-hands)
Review the mission for the weekend, judging criteria, and best practices for success!

10:00 am
Identify & State the Problem
For the next 2 hours, your team will identify and state the problem your idea solves. Draft a 60-second pitch of the problem.

12:00 pm
Problem Pitches & Feedback
Each team will deliver a 60-second pitch of their problem statement and receive feedback from mentors.

12:30 pm
Lunch Time
Get some lunch, sign up for mentor time slots, and get your questions ready.

1:00 pm
Mentor Madness
Mentors with varying skills available to support your team in taking ideas from concept to creation. Available until 7pm by appt.

3:00 pm
Go Out & Validate!
In-person, human validation is critical; make sure your team makes time to hit the streets.

6:45 pm
Get your dinner and meet us in the main room for MVP pitches.

7:00 pm
60 Second MVP Pitches & Feedback
Each team receives feedback from mentors on your solution (not problem) as it stands at 7pm.

8:30 pm
Business Model
This is a good time to begin drafting your business model. Just a guideline, not mandatory.

11:00 pm
Venue Closes
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here :)

Sunday April 30th

8:30 am
Doors Open & Working Breakfast
Arrive, grab some breakfast & coffee and get back to work with your teams.

10:00 am
Pitch Design Workshop
The Pitch Doctor, Craig DiFolco, will be making a house call and talking pitch design.

10:40 am
Mentoring (by appt.)
Mentors will be around for final touches on your work; The Pitch Doctor will also be available for team pitch design sessions.

12:30 pm
Working Lunch
Grab you lunch & Go back to work ahead of pitch rehearsal sessions.

1:20 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Each team will have a time slot to practice their pitch in front of mentors and receive feedback. Sessions are by appointment.

4:00 pm
Final Pitches Due
Teams will upload their final presentations to Google Drive by 4:00pm at the latest!

5:00 pm
Demo Night!!
We kick off final presentations! All teams to report to the main room for judge introductions.

7:00 pm
Dinner & Mingling
Participants will enjoy dinner and mingling while judges deliberate.

7:30 pm
Winner Announcements & Feedback
First, second, and third place announced plus team feedback.

9:00 pm
Closing Time!
Team and group selfies, hugs, and good-byes!

Event Judges

Kerri Zeil
Head of Amadeus for Startups

Kerri brings to Amadeus years of executive-level experience in ecommerce, travel distribution, strategic planning and global operations. Prior to joining Amadeus North America as Head of Amadeus for Startups, Kerri held roles at Orbitz Worldwide, and eBookers, where she was responsible for the execution of several global business and technology initiatives. With years of expertise in the industry and managing cross-cultural and cross-functional teams, her experience with both traditional and startup organizations gives her unique insight into how to best deliver technology solutions and services targeted to established online travel brands and industry startups.

Tracy Quitasol
Director, The Ignition Factory, OMD

Tracy Quitasol is the Director of the Ignition Factory at OMD, which is part of Omnicom Media Group. The Ignition Factory is the innovations group within OMD Media. It provides intelligence to OMD clients on emerging trends, and technology and it generates novel media programs that capitalize on those trends. Tracy previously worked as head of business development for a start-up that uses video for personalized marketing and communications. She spent nine years at The New York Times where she built the company’s Idea Lab and led the product marketing and pre-sales teams. She has also held positions in marketing at Meredith Corporation, The Hearst Corporation and Time Inc.

Robert Heppenstall
Head of Data Commercialization @ American Airlines

Robert leads Data Commercialization at AA.  He and his team build ground-breaking, nontraditional distribution relationships w/ third parties to unlock value for AA’s customers, partners, and the airline.  His team is pioneering the new “Official Source of American Data” initiative.  Regularly representing AA’s strategic interests with external partners of many sizes, Robert offers a unique perspective for travel start-ups.  He brings deep experience in corporate and channel strategy, alliance and equity partnerships, and B2B marketing.

Andrea Bonaiuto
Lead of Marketing and Online Sales, North America at Brussels Airlines

Andrea Bonaiuto is the Marketing and Online Sales Manager for North America at Brussels Airlines.  Brussels Airlines, part of the Lufthansa Group, flies to over 70 destinations in Europe, 18 in Africa, as well as Tel Aviv and Mumbai.  Prior to Brussels Airlines, Andrea lived in South America for years working in business development at an international fashion distribution company and later as the Director of Sales and Awesomeness at a natural products start up in Brooklyn.  Andrea received her MBA from Babson College in 2016 and is thrilled to support Startup Weekend Travel Tech NY!

Coaches and Mentors

Tristan Mace
Former CEO of Skylark

Tristan Mace is an entrepreneur in New York City. Tristan created Want Me Get Me, a hotel booking startup acquired by Surface, and then founded a luxury travel startup called Skylark with a $1 billion travel corporation as his co-founder. He is a judge for the National Geographic World Legacy Awards and has been called a “disruptor shaping the next generation” by Travel+Leisure.

Kathi Moore
VP of Branding at Fareportal, Inc.

Kathi Moore is the Vice President of Branding at Fareportal, Inc., parent company of CheapOair. She has extensive experience in consumer product development and marketing, working with CPG and Ecomm clients in the US and abroad. Kathi has also lead strategy development, pitch creation and presentation as part of her new business development roles for leading US Advertising Agencies.

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.

John Lynn
Co-Founder of The Studio Project

John is a connector, innovator, and leader in the NYC tech scene. Prior to co-founding the Studio Project, which builds accelerators inside the world’s largest public and private institutions, John co-founded the NYC Innovation Collective, a network of 70+ accelerators and incubators that work to advance the industry by sharing knowledge, resources, and relationships. His time leading accelerators at Startup Institute and Techstars inspired him to found the collective. He listens almost exclusively to M83 and Arcade Fire, and was once pushed off a cliff by his mother. She laughed and, years later, so does he.

Susan Sigda
Associate Director; Head of Partnerships @ Startup Institute

Susan is Associate Director of Startup Institute, where she focuses on strategic partnerships and business development. Prior to joining Startup Institute, Susan served as a business development and financial advisor for a number of early-stage startups. In her current work in the innovation economy, she draws on her extensive Wall Street experience, where she held senior roles in credit sales and corporate advisory for a number of bulge-bracket firms. Susan holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a BA from Amherst College.

Startup Institute
Twitter>> @StartupInst

Haithem Elembaby
Program Director at NUMA NY

Haithem is a serial entrepreneur and community organizer. He exited one company and went on to start a few more. His most recent role is as Program Director of NUMA NY, which is providing resources to high growth startups to help them scale. Haithem is also involved in various corporate innovation programs and is an advisor for several entrepreneurs.

Grace Lee
Founder of WishPoints

Grace Lee is a serial entrepreneur, startup founder of WishPoints, Angel Investor of Tastemaker Africa, business design strategy advisor, former corporate executive in healthcare for 20 years, predictive analytics/big data technology designer, and Contributing Columnist for Entrepreneur magazine. She has traveled to over 80 countries across 6 continents, mostly for free. As a life, health & wealth coach, she enjoys mentoring startups founders, women entrepreneurs, and innovative executives on to live life by design.

Julia Macalaster
Co-Founder & COO at PreeLine

Julia Macalaster is the co-founder and COO of PreeLine. She is a fashion and technology professional who has worked in strategy consulting, e-commerce and mobile solutions. Driven by a passion for new and entrepreneurial opportunities, Julia first entered the e-commerce industry as the founder of her company, Winship LLC (a men’s underwear brand) in 2012, and later with Mack Weldon (, an e-commerce men's basics company based out of New York. Julia's experience in mobile solutions began during her time as a management consultant with Booz Digital. There she worked with one of the largest public companies in the US developing and implementing their mobile payment and loyalty solutions strategy. From there Julia further developed her experience with mobile technologies at MicroStrategy, where she worked with top retail brands to find mobile solutions and strategies. Julia is passionate about always driving to find the solution to every problem. She attended Princeton University and rowed on the varsity crew team. She currently resides in New York.

William Beckler
Founder at

Former Director of Innovation at Travelocity and now co-founder of successful accommodations metasearch site

Shalonda L. Hunter
Founder and Chief Strategist at Fastlane Interactive

Shalonda is Founder and Chief Strategist of Fast Lane Interactive where she helps startups focus on how to properly identify target audiences and execute the proper techniques to get desired results.

Natasha Fong
Brand Marketing Specialist at Airbnb

Nat lives and breathes travel and magical experiences with Airbnb as a Brand Marketing Specialist. A former lawyer, foreign trade and investment officer, management consultant, startup founder - she is passionate about curating and creating consciousness-upgrading experiences and connecting mindful entrepreneurs.

Chris Bigelow
Front End Engineer at Intent Media Inc.

Chris has years of experience as a problem solver and product architect. He leads a team of engineers at IntentMedia, a data science company that predicts user actions on travel websites and delivers custom experiences based on where a user is in their travel shopping process.

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.  

Latarria Coy
Account Manager at The New York Times

Latarria Coy is a strategic account manager with over 14 years of expertise in consultative advertising sales, client relationship management, and business development within the marketing and media space. She has held sales, marketing and product roles at The New York Times for 10 years and excels at translating client objectives into integrated programs combining digital, print, mobile, social, branded content and experiential media. Latarria is an impactful leader who strives to inspire and motivate creative thinking and decision-making.

Madelena Mak
Founder of MiniMap

Madelena is the founder and designer of MiniMap, and also the award-winning mentor-in-residence at Startup Institute. She had previously worked on Trillian and ZocDoc, and her work has been featured in Wired Magazine, and Brooklyn Paper.

Chris Lopinto
Travel Expert, Founder, Advisor, Investor

Chris Lopinto is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Since founding ExpertFlyer in 2004, Chris Lopinto has been a pioneer in providing airline data transparency to consumers.  Prior to ExpertFlyer, Chris founded, built, and then sold an IT consulting company in Long Island New York. Prior, he served as the Director of IT at ProductivityNet, a network management software startup. Chris is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Austin Samsel
Web Developer

I'm a full stack developer and I specialize in UI Development, working with React, Javascript, and CSS. I care a lot about the visual details that make technology experiences great. I've worked with with Creative Agencies and early stage start ups. Currently working on MiniMap. Previously I co-founded Body Actualized Center which was featured by the NY Times and Vice.

Jean-Philippe Aubry
Head of Search Shopping and Pricing, R&D Americas at Amadeus North America Inc.

Jean-Philippe offers travel search and a payment expertise, and strategic support to major American travel agents and airlines.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Travel Tech New York 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

Voyager connects startup founders, investors, and corporations in the travel industry.

Visit Website


Contributing Sponsor

Community Partners

Organizing Team

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

  • Chantal
  • Cedar Rose
  • John
  • Andrew
  • Ross
  • Arjun
  • Natalia
    Gonzalez Chavez
  • Xian
  • Margot
    Putnam Delaney
  • Roger


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.

Event Blog

See Full Blog

We haven't written any posts yet. Stay tuned!