Techstars Startup Weekend NYC Diversity

    Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. 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.

Techstars Startup Weekend NYC Diversity

Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019

Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019
Event starts at 5:15 pm

Rise NYC
43 w 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010

Buy Tickets

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.

The Power of Diversity

At Startup Weekend NYC Diversity, we believe strongly in two main principles 1) There is power in bringing together people of diverse backgrounds, whether it be ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic upbringing, talents, interests, and/or thought process. 2) Women and Minorities are underrepresented, under-utilized, under-funded, and have less access to resources in the tech and startup world but have an abundance of skills, knowledge, and innovation to offer to the industry and to the world. 

We want to help fix this. By focusing this startup weekend on bringing together women and minorities, as well as people of other diverse backgrounds, we hope to provide a view into the resources and possibilities in the startup world. Once we bring everyone together and they get to work, we have no doubt that the outcome will be a display of capable and qualified entrepreneurs of all types-- with ideas that can shape tomorrow. 

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.

And because we're on the tail end of Halloweekend, feel free to embrace your creative side by coming in costume on Saturday, Nov 2nd!

Successful Startups Born at Startup Weekend Include: Zapier, LootCrate, and LaunchRock

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!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 1st

5:15 pm
Registration & Dinner
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

5:45 pm
Welcome & Kickoff
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders.

6:15 pm
Fireside Chat with Demma Rosa Rodriguez
Our first speaker, Demma Rosa Rodriguez gets us excited for the weekend

6:45 pm
Pitch Prep
Prepare for pitches while getting to know your potential team

7:15 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:20 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas, strengths, weaknesses, and trade information.

9:00 pm
Wrap Up

Saturday November 2nd

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am

10:00 am
Teams get to work

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Coach meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Open Work Time

7:30 pm
Check-In & Wrap Up
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

8:00 pm
Additional Study Hours @ SamsungNEXT
Time to leave RiseNYC, but teams may continue to work at the SamsungNEXT offices with mentors from the SamsungNEXT team! Totally optional.

Sunday November 3rd

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

1:00 pm

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
Final Presentations

6:30 pm
Judging & Awards

7:30 pm

8:00 pm
Dinner & Afterparty @ SamsungNEXT
Celebrate your hard work with the team at SamsungNEXT!


Demma Rosa Rodriguez
Head of Equity Engineering, Google

Demma Rosa Rodriguez heads up Equity Engineering at Google, where she leads an engineering initiative to evaluate how systems can support equitable HR processes and build the best products for a diverse workforce and world. She was recently awarded the first Hank Williams Trailblazer Award from All Star Code, a nonprofit computer science education organization focused on motivated Black and Latino young men.
Demma Rosa envisions creating a more equitable and diverse global workforce. 

Event Judges

Jenny Fielding
Managing Director, Techstars

Jenny Fielding is the Managing Director of Techstars New York where she leads the program. She is also the founder and General Partner at The Fund, a first check fund investing exclusively in New York based companies. Her portfolio includes more than 100+ tech  enabled companies. Previously, Jenny headed up Corporate Venture and Digital Innovation at BBC Worldwide where she made strategic investments and led business development deals. She has also started several tech companies, most notably Switch-Mobile, a mobile VoIP company that was acquired in 2009. Jenny began her career as a lawyer, spent time at JP Morgan and is a graduate of Columbia University where she is an Adjunct Professor.

Alana Hewitt
VP of Commerce, Essence Ventures

Alana Hewitt has built her career at the intersection of her passions- Retail, Technology, and (Intra)Entrepreneurship. An expert in the ecommerce space, Alana specializes in infusing innovation and technology to build, disrupt, and invest in Retail businesses.

Alana is Vice President of Commerce for Essence Ventures, a company focused on investing and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs of color. In this capacity, Alana’s role is multiple fold: 1) identify, evaluate, and guide startups on the path to investment, 2) create commerce opportunities for startups to grow, and 3) launch/grow all ecommerce channels within the Essence Ventures portfolio.  Alana is also a stakeholder for the company’s investment fund, the New Voice Fund, a $100M fund focused on female entrepreneurs of color.

Prior to Essence Ventures, Alana was an Amazon intrapreneur where she launched various news-worthy business across the Amazon ecosystem:  business strategy and execution for Amazon’s largest acquisition, Whole Foods Market;  growing Amazon Fashion to become the largest apparel retailer in the US,  and business development for Amazon’s Marketplace where she was responsible for investing and developing new brands through Amazon’s venture investing group “Born on Amazon”.

Prior to Amazon, Alana launched new streams of business for various ecommerce companies and was Co-Founder of a NYC based fashion start-up.

 Alana is a founding board member of the Black Venture Capital Consortium, with the mission to create path to Venture Capital for people of color.

Alana is a graduate of Spelman College and received her MBA from The Wharton School of Business with a concentration in Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Antonio Key
Deal Lead, Corporate Development @ Samsung NEXT & Angel Investor

As a Deal Lead on the Corporate Development team, Antonio assists Samsung NEXT in the evaluation and execution of strategic acquisition and investment opportunities of leading next-generation software & services companies (e.g. IoT, AI, Digital Health, AR/VR). Additionally, he co-founded and co-leads the Diverse Founders Initiative, which is focused on identifying, empowering and elevating startups built by diverse founders. Prior to NEXT, Antonio honed his finance and investment acumen on Wall Street, where he worked as a bulge bracket investment banker providing M&A advisory to private equity firms and F500 companies. His additional professional experiences include 1) entrepreneurship: co-founding and operating two profitable small business 2) management consulting. Personally, he is passionate about the professional development and mentorship of historically underrepresented groups and seek to help increase the representation of these groups in Tech and Venture Capital. He is an alum of the INROADS, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and TOIGO programs.

Ben Shephard
VP at Silicon Valley Bank, Angel Investor

Ben is a Senior Vice President at Silicon Valley Bank, working within its Enterprise Technology Banking practice. He specializes in developing and managing relationships with innovative technology companies and founders in the New York community. He’s active in supporting entrepreneurial organizations and events with a focus on building a network of executives, entrepreneurs, and board relationships dedicated to the innovation economy. Led Wharton Angels due diligence for 2nd largest seed round fundraising for an NYC startup (Cherre). Actively connected to the NYC angel investment scene as a member of the NY Angel Alliance.

Harvey Butler
Global Head of Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, Client|Supplier 360 & Supplier Code of Conduct, Barclays

As the Global Head of Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, Client | Supplier 360 and Supplier
Code of Conduct at Barclays, Harvey leads the firm’s strategy to compete diverse suppliers
for Barclays’ business, drives supplier relationships for the bank’s business clients and
directs how suppliers across the supply chain adhere to the Barclays Supplier Code of
Joining Barclays in 2013 to start up its global supplier diversity initiative, Harvey has introduced signature events such as the Supplier Diversity Day, delivering targeted procurement matchmaking sessions and banking master classes and introduced corporate UK’s first-ever supplier diversity Second Tier Conference. These events have yielded new or expanded supplier relationships for incumbent and prospective diverse suppliers.
Harvey is a current board member of National Minority Supplier Development Council
(NMSDC) and a past board member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, NYNJ Minority Supplier Development Council and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Procurement Council.
Harvey’s career spans more than thirty years, having led supplier diversity functions or corporate finance roles at JPMorgan Chase, Nabisco Foods Group and Eastman Kodak. A native of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, he holds an MBA in Finance, Corporate Accounting and Entrepreneurship from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, a BS from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio and is a graduate of Brooklyn Tech.

Coaches and Mentors

Aimara Rodriguez
Ecosystem Partnerships Manager, Adobe

Aimara Rodriguez is a Honduran-American business strategist and content creator currently based in New York City. She has a diverse background working at the intersection of startups, technology, and culture. Her expertise lies in operations management, partnership development, and brand strategy. She has been featured in Forbes and actively mentors for organizations such as Techstars, Built by Girls Ventures, Latinas In Tech, and Digital Undivided. Currently, Aimara builds Platform Partnerships for Adobe, where she focuses on improving customers' collaborative and creative capacities with Creative Cloud-powered experiences by cultivating the world's largest open developer platform for creativity.

Andy Ng
Senior Program Manager, SYPartners

Originally from Sarasota, Florida, Andy is the son of modest Chinese immigrants and knows firsthand how educational opportunity can change the arc of a young person's life. After working a full-time job while in high school, Andy earned the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, which allowed him to attend New York University at no cost of his own. While there, he co-founded a successful startup, studied in London, Rome, and Abu Dhabi, and earned professional opportunities in finance, education, and e-commerce. Andy eventually found himself at Google where his work focused on recruiting, operations, and diversity, before pursuing graduate school. He is now a Senior Program Manager at SYPartners, working with clients such as the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, American Express, JuicePress, and more to achieve their greatest potential. Andy holds an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation & Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in English with honors from NYU. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar, Dalai Lama Fellow, and Startingbloc Fellow.

Alex Brockelman
Startup Coach, iFundWomen

Alex is a former founder with experience in both for-profits and non-profits. His entrepreneurial focus has been creating organizations that partner sound business models with compelling social impact - particularly with regard to food justice and access. As a Startup Coach at iFundWomen, he spends his days working with entrepreneurs to meet their long-term goals through business planning, marketing, and crowdfunding strategy. It's time to close the funding gap for women entrepreneurs!

Brittany Bankston
Sr Product Manager, BCG Digital Ventures

Brittany is a Senior Product Manager BCG Digital Ventures. She has experience building ventures from scratch in Pharma, Beauty, and Senior-Living with corporate clients and leading teams of up to 50 people. Prior to DV she was a Product Manager at Intuit in their selective Rotational Development Program. In her free time she created the NY chapter of Black Product Managers, focused on increasing Black Product representation in the world’s most influential companies, growing it to 100 members in two years. She also loves singing karaoke and finding treasures at thrift stores.

Chase Ross Emanuel
Principal Advisor, Empire Global Ventures LLC

Chase is a former founder turned evangelist for the early stage startup and venture ecosystem in NYC. He’s also the 2017 winner of Startup Weekend Travel Tech and a behind-the-scenes-organizer of several SW events. As the former NYC Evangelist for Galvanize Inc, he led partnerships and event marketing for a 60,000 sqft technology hub housing over 50 venture-backed startups, three Fortune 500 innovation labs, four VC firms, and two accelerator programs. He hosted three VC breakfasts per month and dozens of pitch competitions, office hours, fundraising trainings and customer acquisition workshops per year. Currently he is a Principal at Empire Global Ventures, where his responsibilities are three-fold: Support Founders - working hand-in-glove with founders through MVP development, customer acquisition, go-to-market strategy, and fundraising. Build Community Among Investors - hosting monthly, quarterly, and annual events for investors to grow networks and facilitate deal flow. Diligence Early Stage Deals - vetting early stage deals regularly for VCs and emerging managers and making founder introductions to investors from pre-seed to Series B.

Cheryl Campos
Principal, Republic

Cheryl is passionate about the intersection of finance, technology, and social impact. She is a principal at Republic, a one-stop-shop for founders to raise capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors. She is focused on introducing underrepresented founders to these alternative funding sources in order to help their startups thrive. Previously Cheryl worked as an analyst in private debt/equity in Connecticut with an emphasis on minority and women entrepreneurs. She started her career in finance at Barclays in the investment banking division. She graduated from Harvard College with a major in economics.

Derrick Reyes
Founder & CEO, Queerly Health

Derrick Reyes (they/them) is the CEO and Co-Founder of Queerly Health, a NYC based startup leveraging digital health to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and safe, comprehensive, and culturally competent health and wellness providers. Derrick holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development & Social Intervention from NYU with an Advanced Certification in LGBTQ Health, Education, and Social Services. Derrick is Afro-Latinx, queer, gender non-binary, a child of immigrants, and a native New Yorker. Derrick started working on Queerly Health after winning Latinx in Tech: Startup Weekend in NYC in 2018. They, and their team, continue to build out Queerly Health’s platform while making space for other founders of underrepresented identities and supporting NYC’s tech ecosystem.

Chris Butler
Chief Product Architect, IPSoft

Chris Butler is IPSoft's Chief Product Architect. Chris has over 19 years of product and business development experience at companies like Microsoft, KAYAK, and Waze. He first got introduced to AI through graph theory and genetic algorithms during his Computer Systems Engineering degree at Boston University. Before IPsoft he was Philosophie's director of AI where he created techniques like Empathy Mapping for the Machine and Confusion Mapping to create cross-team alignment while building AI products. He presents regularly at conferences on the topics of product management, AI/ML, conversational agents, and adversarial mindsets.

Ivan Alo
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of New Age Capital

Ivan is the co-founder and Managing Partner of New Age Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in tech and tech-enabled startups founded and led by Black and Latino entrepreneurs solving real world problems. A strong advocate for the democratization of entrepreneurship and innovation, he is passionate about the use of technology to make the world more accessible and beneficial for all.

Alongside New Age Capital, Ivan is the co-founder of real estate technology company CNERGY which is a fully collaborative, end-to-end transaction management platform for commercial real estate investment and finance professionals.

Kavya Krishna
CoFounder, Society of Women Coders

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->Born and brought up in a small town of Western India, Kavya is all about experiments. She came to the US few years ago and started her career in Data after graduating from UMass Amherst in Computer Science. An advocate of Women education, she co-founded SOWCoders (Society of Women Coders), a 501 c3 non profit that conducts free coding and Enterpreneurship camps for young girls in developing countries. In an year the organization has grown to have a presence in 4 countries- Haiti, Belize, Kenya and Afghanistan serving 200 girls so far! She's been invited to speak and share her experience teaching Tech to girls in developing countries at events by, NYU, Grantthornton and Chainhaus.
She works with SiriusXM+Pandora as a Senior Analyst with Finance- Subscribers Management and Analysis on crossroads of Finance and Data Science to help them with their technology needs. 

Kyla Brown
Project Manager, Codecademy

Kyla is currently a Project Manager at Codecademy. As a tech girl for the culture, Kyla is passionate about helping underrepresented founders. She specializes in bringing agile projects from ideation to completion.

Lourica Halteh
VP of Brand Development & Design, Waffle Labs

Lourica has been in advertising for 8 years and worked at multinational agencies such as, Leo Burnett, Publicis and Mccann. Having worked on creative development and direction for her most of her career she decided it was time to strengthen her capabilities on the strategic side and so enrolled in a graduate program at Parsons in Strategic Design and Management. During the program she quit her job and fully committed to the career pivot. Shortly after graduating she came across the Barclays Fintech Accelerator powered by Techstars and joined the program as a Design Associate in 2018 which is where she met the founders of Waffle and had the great opportunity to join their team as VP of Brand Development and Design.

Simeon Iheagwam
Founder @ NOEMIS Ventures

Simeon Iheagwam is the Founder and Managing Partner of NOEMIS Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund that invests in Pre-Seed to Seed stage tech companies.

Prior to NOEMIS Ventures, Simeon has 10 years of professional experience in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking. Most recently, he served as a Senior Associate in the Leveraged Finance group at Wells Fargo.

Simeon received his B.S. in Business Management & Finance from Brooklyn College and his MBA from Cornell University as a Roy H. Park Leadership Fellow.

Isaiah Greene
Founder, FytBae

After graduating with his computer science degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Isaiah spent the first five years of his career at Google — first as a software engineer, later as a visiting CS instructor at Morehouse College, and lastly as a Product Manager. Switching to product management allowed him to combine multiple loves: building technology that improve people’s lives, problem solving, vision setting, exploration, communication, and ideation. He was most recently a Senior Product Manager at Slack before becoming a founder of his own venture.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Ashley
  • Erinique
  • Juanita
  • Maya


Ashley Shillingford

At the cross section of tech startup, banking, and regtech. Ashley is currently Head of Compliance for a new digital trade bank in the UAE. She is part of building a new and better way to manage regulatory and financial crime risks in a more efficient way. Using new technologies and approaches, working closely across functions to help build a better client experience.

Erinique Owens
Event Producer

Visionary leader, analytical thinker and event marketing enthusiast.

Event Staff

Hope Carmichael
UX Designer, Paid Exposure

I’m a UX Designer with a passion for connecting people: with each other, with powerful stories, and with delightful experiences. My background in communications helped me hone my skills in connecting with audiences digitally, and taught me branding, content strategy and copywriting. I worked for seven years in the film and television industry, and I believe in the power of stories to create meaning in design, making experiences accessible.I’m a storyteller at heart, and in my free time, you can find me writing short stories or producing sketch comedy. I’m a collector of books and movies, and would love to make a recommendation.

Tara Robinson
Founder & CEO of TracksRacks Tech

Tara Robinson was born and raised in Freeport, Bahamas. She received her B.A in International Business at Rollins College. During her time at Rollins she became interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry. She received her first exposure to the industry interning at a model agency in Orlando, FL. In 2013, Tara completed her MBA with a concentration in Fashion Management and Entrepreneurship at LIM College in NYC.
After gaining a few years of retail experience in NYC, Tara accepted the role as Marketing Manager for a retail footwear consulting firm. In this role she planned the marketing and branding objectives for an international shoe retailer with more than 120 retail stores in the USA and Canada and their ecommerce platform. She managed all of the retailer's marketing strategies, photoshoots, budget and manage the creation of all marketing materials. 
In March 2018 she launched TracksRacks, the idea she came up with during her MBA program. TracksRacks is an all in one web based management service for fashion companies. TracksRacks will revolutionize sample trafficking by using product recognition, QR codes and your client database to simplify the process and decrease sample loss; from check-ins to returns. Our service provides proven and reliable messengers to return samples. Through our system you can view profiles with ratings on each messenger, eliminating the fear of thieves picking up your samples. Our service is made for the fashion company on the go and is fully mobile accessible.

Jasmin Plouffe
Visual Designer

With a design career spanning over a decade, Jasmin Plouffe is a freelance graphic designer in New York City. Prior to freelancing, she worked her way up from art department intern to assistant art director to creative content and marketing manager at Capelli New York. She has art directed and designed everything from books and printed collateral to merchandise and packaging. Her work can be seen at, Walmart, Target, small businesses and non profit organizations.

Lily Bothwell

Lily Bothwell is a nursing student in New York City. 

Nicholas DeNuzzo
Growth Manager, Waffle Labs

Nick is the Growth Manager of Waffle Labs, Inc., a Barclays’ Techstars & MIT Delta V technology company dedicated to reinventing insurance and improving value for consumers. Backed by venture capital and renown investors, Waffle is the first company that insures the consumer and everything that s/he loves through one fully customizable policy.

Ariel Rivera Vera
HR Tech

I've worked for a decade for arts nonprofits with Human Resources technology. I've been most inspired by innovations in health and transportation tech to study programming and am excited to support the diverse team at Startup Weekend in practically making a deeper social impact!

Victoria Mei
Full Stack Software Engineer

Vicky is a  Full Stack Software Developer specializing in Front-End Development(FED), some other relevant Skills I have include Ruby on Rails, SQL and SEO.

Tony Chang
Full Stack Software Engineer

Full stack web developer with a passion to help others succeed. As natural team-player, my ability to work collaboratively with others allows me to grow through interaction. While an intern, I found value in automating labor intensive processes to ease the daily workload. Having learned to nurture relationships, I’ve developed strong, empathetic communication skills to both hear others & relate my thoughts clearly. With an eye to the future, I write code that is efficient & readable so that others can build upon it.

Sara Liu
Student & CoFounder, Miranda

Sara is a student at NYU and the Founder of Miranda. Miranda provides automation services, coupled with data mining technology for independent insurance agents/brokers and MGAs.

Melissa Lockhart
Director of People, Payfone

Melissa Lockhart is the Director of People at Payfone, a digital identity authentication startup. She started her HR career at a non-profit before moving on to financial services and then finding her niche in the startup space, helping growing businesses with policy implementation, benefits administration, compliance, and ensuring an awesome employee experience. Melissa also runs Founding Sistas, a community of black women entrepreneurs. 

Melissa is a Brooklyn native and a graduate of Boston University. In another life, she was a fashion and beauty blogger and had the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for a few major brands. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, searching for flight deals, reading, and attempting to do yoga.

Event Blog

See Full Blog

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