Startup Weekend Food Edition New York City

    Friday, October 9 - 11, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Startup Weekend Food Edition New York City

Friday, October 9 - 11, 2015

Friday, October 9 - 11, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

101 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

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Startup Weekend Food Edition is coming back!

For press inquiries, please email

The startup movement has accelerated growth in many New York industries, but events centering around food have been few and far between; those trying to bridge the industry problems and creative people to develop innovative solutions are even less frequent. Our goal for this event is to connect people who are passionate and want to tackle the tough challenges in the food industry, all while learning-by-doing, firsthand, what makes a business successful.

Q. Do I have to be a technical person to participate?
A. It's a common misconception that to participate in a Startup Weekend, you need to be a developer or have a technical background. This is not true at all! Startup Weekend, first and foremost, is about learning what it takes to build a successful business. Sometimes a business will hinge on a particular technology, but as long as you're passionate about solving a problem or helping other people work on innovative solutions, this event is for you!

Q. Does my idea have to be based on some technology?
A. This event is not strictly tech-focused: if you have a compelling idea that involves actual product or space, feel free to work on that! Remember that you'll be judged on the same criteria as other teams in terms of business models and customer validation, though, so make sure your demo ends up being just as compelling!

Q. Does my idea have to involve the food industry?
A. This is a tricky question to answer. This Startup Weekend's focus is on solutions that involve the food space, but sometimes, those solutions can cross into verticals like health and wellness. Off the top of our heads, we're going to say that anything that involves improving supply chain/logistics/production, access, or the restaurant/food industry (e.g. business-oriented) is definitely OK. On the other end of the spectrum, something like purely a dieting app falls more strictly into the health/wellness realm, and would be outside the scope of this event. If you're not sure about whether your idea would fit into the theme, feel free to shoot the organizers an email at for clarification.

Q. This all sounds great, but I really have no experience in being an entrepreneur or the startup space. Is this still right for me?
A. Participating in a Startup Weekend is one of the best ways to get your feet wet in the startup space. We'll give you the tools and provide you an excellent foundation for getting your idea off the ground and on the road to becoming a pitchable business, through a solid structure, great mentors, and industry-leading judges. We're also doing a special panel/workshop intended as a soft introduction to starting a business, geared toward newbies, so stay tuned for more information!


A little bit more about Startup Weekend:

The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Fredericksburg to 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 co-founder, 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!

Related Events

Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday October 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

7:15 pm
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 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.

10:30 pm
Doors Close
Finished for the day

Saturday October 10th

9:00 am
Doors open
Doors open for the day

9:30 am
Light Breakfast
A light breakfast from our sponsors, including Greek yogurt from Chobani and granola from Good Karma Crunch

12:00 pm
Lunch and Learn with Startup Institute

2:00 pm
Mentors arrive
Mentors come and help teams. They are here to provide advice and insight!

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
Saturday Night Check In

10:00 pm
Finished for the day

Sunday October 11th

9:00 am
Doors open
Doors open for the day

9:30 am
Light Breakfast
A light breakfast from our sponsors, including Greek yogurt from Chobani and granola from Good Karma Crunch

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Pitch Practice

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

5:30 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm

8:00 pm
Judging Results

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Nadja Blagojevic
Director of Content and Communications at Reserve

I'm an experienced communicator with strong attention to detail and coaching skills. I excel at crafting stories -- finding, organizing and clearly presenting relevant information and helping others to do so. From startups to major companies (most recently Google), I've helped coach executives and engineers on how to make their messages and presentations persuasive, effective and memorable. 

Tobias Peggs
President at The Kitchen

Tobias is a serial entrepreneur - primarily in venture-backed tech startup environments. Most recently he was CEO of Aviary here in NYC, a photo editing platform acquired by Adobe. He has PhD in AI and is a Techstars Mentor and Startup Advisor. He is now President of The Kitchen - an impact organization with a mission to "build thriving communities through Real Food" across America. 

Shen Tong
Founder at FOOD-X

Shen Tong is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, foodie, social activist, writer/poet, and film buff. One of Newsweek’s People of the Year in 1989, Shen Tong was an organizer of the democracy movement in 1989 that occupied Tiananmen Square while he was at Beijing University. After his exile to the US, he finished his undergraduate degree at Brandeis University, and went on to study in PhD programs at Boston University and Harvard University. Mr. Shen became an entrepreneur in the 1990s, founding or co-founding B&B Media and VFinity among other ventures in the past two decades.

Founded on the belief that the future of food is now — FOOD-X is on a mission to scale change throughout our food system. This first-of-its-kind, food-business accelerator empowers early-stage food companies through funding, opportunity, and a deep mentor network of food and business experts. FOOD-X is the food arm of SOSventures—a global accelerator network that includes eight accelerators and a mentor network 170 people strong—and, unlike other accelerators, it is backed by an Evergreen fund. This allows the mission-driven venture to measure its success using long-term, social-impact benchmarks such as improved access to healthful foods and behavior change, as opposed to more common metrics within the accelerator community: acquisitions, quick exits, and single-bottom lines.

Coaches and Mentors

Jabber Al-Bihani
Co-Founder @ Komeeda

Jabber Al-Bihani Jr., engineer turned culinary catalyst is a community builder who develops meaningful relationships and experiences through food. Born & raised the diverse neighborhood of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, flavorful dishes made by his friends’ immigrant mothers and the stories shared at those feasts inspired his euphoric appreciation of food at a very young age.
Founder and CEO of Komeeda, a social-good enterprise empowering people and communities through the culinary arts. Creating awareness and opportunities for local chefs, restaurants, and other culinary ambassadors through consumer foodie events, corporate catering, and events partnerships. Komeeda’s focus is to share the richness of local and global culture through the culinary arts, with over 250 events across NYC, D.C., Austin TX, and Istanbul, Turkey. In the short time since its inception, the company has been featured by the New York Times, AJ+ and Vogue and led talks at SxSW and the Bitten Conference.

Don Buckley

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

Amanda Gobaud

Amanda has always been working on things to improve people's lives - from volunteering with Key Club in high school to working on improving financial software interfaces today, she has always liked helping people and being involved. While at Carnegie Mellon University, she learned how to use her love of computers and technology to make people's lives easier through user experience design. Between her involvement in campus activities and studying Human-Computer Interaction, Amanda has found her passion in creating experiences for people, be it through planning vacations for her friends, planning Startup Weekend events, or improving the user experience of financial software.

Zach Hamilton
Associate at Venture51

Meng He
Chief Product Officer,

Meng is Chief Product Officer at, a platform that bridges the gap between your online experience and real world visit. She has led product strategy and design at early and mid-stage startups in e-commerce, social media, travel, security, mobile payments, and dating—one of which appeared on Shark Tank. Recently, Meng was part of a 5-person UX special ops team during the 2014 TED Conference. She graduated as valedictorian from Parsons The New School for Design and hopes to one day have a corgi.

Simran Jaising
Food Tech Platforms Expert, Startup Community-Building, Founder Cluster.Community

Simran has been building communities around food for 10+ years. She led outreach and chef on-boarding at private-chef startup Kitchensurfing. Most recently she ran a monthly shark tank for food entrepreneurs at The Foodstand

She is also the founder of Cluster, a collaborative community for professionals in evolving industries including the food world. On weekends, she runs culinary events and collaborative ventures at Exhibit C, a modern clubhouse for chefs and food-lovers. 

Callie Leone
Associate Global Strategist at gyro

Callie currently leads strategic partnerships and global innovation for gyro, the 2015 and 2014 Global B2B Agency of the Year. Callie is responsible for creating gyro’s innovation lab which now offers a startup incubator, hackathon experience and an accelerator program, and is in the process of launching her first batch of startups. She specializes in leveraging emerging technologies, like augmented and virtual reality and gamification techniques, to realize business objectives. Additionally, she is a core member of gyro:human, gyro's healthcare practice which addresses pharmaceutical, insurance and healthcare provider clients. Callie, along with her co-founders, is currently launching her startup founded during the Pakathon hackathon, Maa Ka Darja (“mother’s place”) to reduce the infant mortality rate in Pakistan by empowering mothers to get their children vaccinated. 

Krystle Mobayeni
Founder and CEO at BentoBox

Elyes Ben M'rad
CEO of Crema

Elyes Ben M’rad is a passionate entrepreneur. After two startups projects where he learned a lot about the retail and loyalty industries, he decided to create a payment solution and loyalty program focused on Third Wave Coffee Shops. Elyes is a Founder Institute graduate in Montreal, the company he launched in Montreal Fika won the Best Food Startup from 33 Entrepreneurs for Montreal Edition. Elyes pitched in Bonappetech Food Conference in San Francisco in October. His startup also integrated FoodX 2015 new cohort in New York. Elyes is launching the US version of Fika: CREMA ( shortly. Crema's mission is to create the biggest network of Indie Coffee Shops in the world with a simple transactional App and loyalty program. Elyes is also a UX/UI Designer and Startup Strategist. 

Kees van Nunen

Passionate about: Innovation ~ Product Development ~ Web & Mobile ~ lean startup

Michael Robinov

Michael Robinov is a co-founder at Farm To People as well as the managing director at Quinciple. While attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Michael decided to take time off to pursue his own passion for good food and highlighting the stories behind every product. From working at the Union Square farmers market to cooking for his friends, Michael has always been inspired by great meals and the power of food to bring people together. However, with big corporations taking control of the industry, Michael believes that it is more important than ever for people to know their food and who’s making it. He passionately hopes that Farm To People and Quinciple can be platforms and services that energize the conversation. He wants to create a transparent business for conscious eaters who want to support sustainable, small-batch farmers and producers!

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Food Edition New York City 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

Simple Cloud Hosting, Built for Developers.

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Organizing Team

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

  • Kenny
  • Alex
  • Chantal
  • Simran
  • Robert
  • James
  • Jennifer
    Pei Lin
  • Katie
  • Jasmine


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.

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