Startup Weekend Phoenix

    Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018

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

Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018

Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018
Event starts at 5:00 pm

The Department
1 North 1st Street #600
Phoenix, AZ 85004

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Your event 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:
  • Six 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 February 16th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

5:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

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

9:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:30 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 and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday February 17th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

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 and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 18th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

11:30 am

12:15 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

1:00 pm
Final Presentations

2:30 pm
Judging & Awards

3:30 pm
Wrap-Up & Go Home


Joe Griffin
Co-Founder and CEO

Joe Griffin is the CEO of ClearVoice, a content marketing platform and talent network that he co-founded in 2013. He has served in executive roles at and iCrossing, and has founded multiple companies.

Event Judges

Eric Miller

Eric Miller, Co-Owner & Principal, PADT: Eric Miller is co-owner of Tempe based PADT which provides tools and services to companies who design and manufacture physical products. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC, Berkeley. As co-founder of PADT in 1994, Eric was able to pursue his interests in Simulation, 3D printing, operations, and small business management. Eric is often called upon to write and speak on simulation, design, and 3D Printing as well as on startups and the high-tech sector. In addition, he is a member of the Arizona Technology Council Board of Directors, the screening committee of Arizona Technology Investors.

Michelle Tinsley

Michelle Tinsley, CEO/Founder, Tinsley Retail Insights Michelle Tinsley is the founder of Tinsley Retail Insights- a consulting firm helping retailers drive actionable innovation. Formerly, Michelle served in a variety of roles over a 25+ year career at Intel. 18 years in Finance with her last role as the mini “CFO” of what is today’s IOT business. She also served 6 years in General Management/strategy roles and 6 months in sales. Outside of Intel, Michelle is an angel investor in the Arizona Technology Investors group. Michelle serves on the BODs for QuikTrip, Aava Mobile Oy, and Innowi. Tinsley received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Arizona State University.

André F. Wilson Sr.

André F. Wilson, Sr, Managing Partner/Founder, Altima Business Solutions, on-demand executives and on-demand solutions to support entrepreneurs and business owners in all five fundamental of business: capital acquisition, financial management, strategy, operations and sales.

Lawdan Shojaee

Lawdan Shojaee is used to breaking boundaries. As the CEO of Axosoft, she has become one of the few women in the Phoenix Valley to head a tech company. She has a doctorate in Physical Therapy, and over 800 hours logged at the controls of a single-engine plane. She is passionate about producing amazing software like Axosoft and GitKraken and is paving the way for women in the tech, which is why her company created the viral campaign #ItWasNeverADress. Lawdan also believes strongly in equipping the next generation with the skills they need to be successful in life; meaning a curriculum of programming, confidence building, and entrepreneurship!

Harrison Rogers
Founder & CEO

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->I am a business startup enthusiast. I love investing in startup companies and have profitably exited all of the startups I have invested in so far. My venture capital company, HJR Global, was ranked 510 on the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America last year, and I plan to make the list for many more years to come. Whether it’s Angel Investing, Venture Capital, Private Equity, or debt financing, I will always look at any deal that could be built into a win-win for all parties involved.

Coaches and Mentors

Navin Govind

Navin has several years of proven success at Intel Corporation and Tarari, Inc. developing winning global strategies for the adoption of new technology, architecture and products within the applications and content provider industries. As a founding team member at Tarari, Navin managed the industry's first hardware XML Content Processor product developed for enterprises to secure and accelerate XML content processing applications from concept to launch. Tarari was acquired by LSI Corporation for $85M in September 2007. At Intel Corporation, Navin held group and business unit level marketing positions and managed technical teams within Intel Labs responsible for wireless architecture and software development, 3D graphics, embedded products and development tools with a strong focus on mobile platforms. 

Neema Uthappa

My biggest strengths are my agility and speed at which I craft IT management / ERP solutions. Spanning IT governance and compliance, enterprise resource planning, product development, and risk management, I use business intelligence and data analytics to define future objectives – and follow it up with carefully planned technology roadmaps that are not only aggressive in pace, but strategically designed to improve technical efficiency.

Jesse Randall

I am a deviant thinker. Why be satisfied with the way the world is when you can imagine what it can become? Worked with over 150 start-ups---founded six of my own. Want to define the future and be a catalyst to commit people to achieve inspiring work.

Eric Diaz

Eric Diaz is a Phoenix area business owner in the Marketing/Technology Industry. Since 2010, Eric has led Nativa Multicultural Communications by focusing on the needs of the client in order to deliver the best long-term solutions. In 2014 he co-founded OYE! Business Intelligence which is a platform that segments and monitors real-time online Hispanic conversations allowing clients to make educated business decisions and develop culturally relevant communications with the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. Eric owns Coworking on 15th Ave in central Phoenix as well.Eric credits his years working across continents for Staples, Inc. as the guiding path to his project management ability. To stay on top of the newest trends in technology and multicultural marketing, Eric participates in online conversations, researches best practices and industry trends, and he discusses the newest wrinkles in marketing, advertising, and digital strategies.

Matt Simpson
Marketing Guy

Matt Simpson (aka Matt Meanders) is a marketing consultant, startup enthusiast, and community organizer. An MBA with Fortune 500 experience, Matt helped lead Bulbstorm to acquisition before launching a consulting practice focused on B2B SaaS companies. He's active in the #yesphx startup community and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation.

Ceria Gaillard

Former investment banker for Prudential, syndicating or making a market in companies to list them on the NASDAQ exchange, André was rapidly promoted to M&A, acquiring companies for their portfolio businesses such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & gamble, Unilever, etc. His trusted network of lenders and investors extend to over 1,500 financial institutions, ranging from banks to venture capital. In their 18 years of business, Altima Business Solutions secured over $400 million dollars for startups and small to mid-sized businesses. André holds a Bachelor’s Degree from New York University in Finance and Marketing.

Kristina Fox

Strategic and Visionary Leader with an education in Business and Nonprofit Management and experience in Marketing, Fundraising and Entrepreneurship. Experience with organizations in the start-up and growth phase with preference towards small business and nonprofits.

Paul Keck

At BOUNDLESS, we build lean apps for winning startups. My co-founder and I have over 35 years of collective experience building software. We’ve helped many startups clarify their ideas, find workable solutions, and build their apps.We also consult for and partner with startup founders to help them grow. Our ventures include the companies SLP Toolkit, Parts Detect, and Setlister. You can read more about them here.

Jennifer Sultzaberger

Jennifer's goal has been to enhance the experience of businesses who market themselves through video platforms and have a a desire to use our patent-pending video marketing platform improves campaign conversions, website search rankings and ROI! Plus we deliver consistent high ranking search results on Google, YouTube, Yahoo & bing. 

Melissa Kovacs

Melissa Kovacs has a Ph.D. in public policy and econometrics and is the founder of FirstEval, LLC, a data analytics and statistical consulting firm. Melissa is fanatical about finding meaning in data and seeing organizations make data-driven decisions that forward their missions. She’s done this in the nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors, and within litigation settings. She spends her pro bono time untangling homelessness data for the central Arizona homelessness provider community and her free time as a triathlon addict and dog mom.

JP Taxman

I aspire to improve the lives of those around me while providing them with unique, memorable experiences that shock them out of the norm.

Other than that, I'm an entrepreneur. I love the startup culture, and can't help but be inspired by others who come up with, and execute, great ideas. I want to do everything in my power to build and grow the entrepreneurial community here in Phoenix Arizona.

My main focuses of study are in business, culture development, design, accelerated learning, and communications.

Joe Mayberry

Joe is currently the AI Video Analytics Business Manager at Intel Corporation, in the Internet of Things (IoT) business group. His prior roles include partnerships & acquisitions, product management, and business development. Before joining Intel, Joe served in the United States Air Force as a counterintelligence Special Agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Joe holds an M.B.A from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a B.S. in Systems Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy.

Becky DeStigter

Becky DeStigter’s mission is to help technology and professional organizations to become more globally competitive. She currently works for Experian to strategically position new fraud and identity technologies to global markets. Becky combines an academic foundation with real-world entrepreneurial experience. She has served twice as Chief Operating Officer of start-up software companies, owned a strategic marketing consulting firm for 6 years and an international expansion consulting firm focused on B2B technology companies in growth stage. Becky earned an MBA and a Masters of Science in International Business from the University of Colorado Denver.

Aaron Pantoja

Innovative Product Leader who is effective in leading and directing technology projects from inception to launch. Possess an extensive background in customer discovery, development, software integration, leadership, and agile methodologies. Experienced in creating custom solutions to resolve business and technology challenges. I truly enjoy helping companies grow and create new technological innovations.

Matt Ekstrom

Matt wants to live in a world filled with innovative businesses, books that come bundled with extra hours to read them, and a lifetime supply of winning fantasy football tips. When he’s not testing new tools and hacks, Matt loves to spend time with his wife and daughter, watch sports, read, and make snarky comments on social media.

Vincent Serpico

Vincent Serpico has worked in software development for over 15 years. After graduating Cum Laude with honors from Florida International University with a degree in Computer Science, he began his career as a software engineer and progressed to VP of Product development at Flypaper Inc and then Trivantis Corporation. Entrepreneurship is near and dear to Serpico’s heart. As such, after leaving Trivantis, Serpico started a near-shore software development company that specializes in early stage projects where he can help entrepreneurs realize their vision.

Jay Gladney
Score Chapter President

Over four decades of service in the U.S. Intelligence Community—23 as an Air Force officer and non-commissioned officer focused on intelligence collection and analysis—and 24 years with defense contractors supporting the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) mission area (including 18 years with Oracle Consulting, up to the position of Regional Vice President).   Jay is a senior-level information systems engineering professional services technical services manager; project and program manager.  He managed software development teams for commercial software and had P&L responsibility for Network Solutions and Oracle Corporation technical services organizations supporting the US military and National Intelligence Community.  He developed and taught project management courses for Network Solutions and Oracle Corporation, and co-founded and served as CEO for a telecommunications consulting partnership.  He was an Associate Professor at the US Air Force Academy, where he taught international relations and defense policy.    Jay joined Greater Phoenix SCORE in April 2013, serving as the Vice President for Operations for one year prior to being elected President of the chapter in May 2016. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Rebecca
  • Kyle
  • Kay
  • Carine
  • Darryl
  • Kay
  • Mary
  • Zachary


Kay Transtrum
Director of Initiatives

Event Staff

Jesse Forte


Anisha Gupta


Bethany Piaza


Zachary Schuessler

I'm an ENFJ personality with deep interest in software, personal development, and cat videos on the Internet.

Joacim Mattison


Megan Porth


Melissa Kovacs

Melissa Kovacs has a Ph.D. in public policy and econometrics and is the founder of FirstEval, LLC, a data analytics and statistical consulting firm. Melissa is fanatical about finding meaning in data and seeing organizations make data-driven decisions that forward their missions. She’s done this in the nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors, and within litigation settings. She spends her pro bono time untangling homelessness data for the central Arizona homelessness provider community and her free time as a triathlon addict and dog mom.

Carine Dieude

Passionate. Idealist. Vegan. Challenges Enthusiast. I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. I studied Biology Research. That’s how strong an impression Africa made on me as a 15-year-old exchange student. I wanted to save the world! And still do!

Early on, I flew straight to the Caribbean, where I successfully exercised my entrepreneurial mindset to create and exit four ventures. Eventually joining the ranks of the corporate world, my job was to go, wherever in the world where HQ was acquiring companies, and grow them to where they would be sold or a permanent team would take over.

Happy Corporate Dropout, I am a Partner and Director of Strategy at Altima Business Solutions, a 17-year-old business accelerator, who cultivate, mentor and “rise” entrepreneurs who create today’s jobs given access to capital, expertise, skill and talent. I focus on critical path, commercialization of technologies and growth. I contribute to startups, small and medium-sized businesses by poking and probing your business model to uncover and resolve the gaps that affect your company’s powers. 

I worked in five different countries, visited countless others and crossed a shark in my first dive. I speak fluently three languages and knit for charity. 

Peer Collaborator for the Nelson Mandela Fellowship Program, Venture Devils Mentor at Arizona State University, Entrepreneurship Expert Mentor at WP Carey School of Business, SBIR/STTR Commercial Reviewer at the National Science Foundation, I serve as Director of the Board at Girls In Tech Phoenix, a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology, and chair the Mentorship Committee to create a culture of diversity in the Phoenix tech scene.

Kyle Frazey

Rebecca Clyde

Rebecca Clyde is the co-founder of, a conversational marketing startup that enables businesses to engage customers with AI-enabled chatbots. With more than 20 years in digital marketing in the technology industry, she is passionate about advancing women in tech and currently serves as the co-managing director for Girls in Tech Phoenix. Prior to, Rebecca founded a digital marketing agency, Ideas Collide, now in its 13th year serving global enterprise clients. She was previously a digital strategist at Intel and holds an MBA from Arizona State University.

Darryl Keeton
Executive Leader

Kay Transtrum

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