Startup Weekend Phoenix

    Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016

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

Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016

Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016
Event starts at 6:30 pm

688 W. 1st Street
Suite 2
Tempe, AZ 85281

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What's this about?

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups!

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From 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 cofounder, 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!

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Friday November 18th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and check in

6:45 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:15 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

10:00 pm
Form Teams & 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 November 19th

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

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 November 20th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Jeremy Young
CEO at

Jeremy is a serial entrepreneur who made a promise to himself to never work for anyone else but himself. He's done a fantastic job of keeping that promise. 

He's had major success with startups Tanga, LOLShirts, and BelleChic as well as a few unsuccessful but highly-educational startup ventures. 

Event Judges

Jim Prendergast
CEO & Investor

Jim is the founder and CEO of Healthiest You which is located in Scottsdale. Healthiest You was acquired earlier this year by TeleDoc for $150M. 

Jason Feffer

Jason founded SodaHead in 2006, which operates multiple business lines including its flagship website, SaaS polling solutions for large media companies, and its newest business line: Pollware, an ad-supported polling solution for small and medium-sized publishers.

Jason launched MySpace in 2003 and served as the Vice President of Operations and on the executive committee. Jason oversaw the day-to-day and strategic execution of advertising, revenue reporting, safety, policy enforcement, government relations and managed over 300 FTEs. Jason helped grow the company to 100M users and transitioning it to News Corp after its sale for $580M in 2005.

Jason began his dot-com startup journey in 1999 at Creative Planet, where he developed online portals, news sites and communities for film and television professionals. United Entertainment Media acquired Creative Planet in 2001.

Bob Campbell
Founder & Investor

Bob has been the founder/CEO of 11 companies over his career. He holds degrees in economics, art history and masters in computer science. In March of 2016, his primary operating company which was started with $20,000 out of his garage was incorporated. He currently lends his experience to better fellow bootstrappers and entrepreneurs.

Greg Head

Greg Head has helped three software companies grow from startup to global scale in more than 25 years in the software industry. Most recently, he helped Infusionsoft grow from $15 million to $100 million in revenues in five years as Chief Marketing Officer, leading the company's marketing strategy, demand generation, communications, partner marketing and product marketing functions.

Kathy Sacks

Kathy Sacks is an experienced executive and founder with a proven path of enabling growth and market leadership from startup to scale in software, media and marketing. Today, she helps founders lead movements through my consultancy, COLEAP. I invest in and advise startups. I am an active board member, as well as writer and thinker on leadership, growth and entrepreneurship. She is  deeply interested in stories and how we craft and tell the ones that move people and markets to action.

Adam Toren

Adam along with his brother Matthew founded (acquired by Entrepreneur Media). He is a fantastically genuine individual his passion for Entrepreneurship surrounds him all the time. He has been a mentor for years. Adam's best quality by far is his passion to help out others. He is extremely unselfish and that is a rare quality in todays business world. 

Coaches and Mentors

Christie Kerner

It was over 20 years ago that Christie Kerner first helped launch a company, and that company became a multi-million dollar business within two years.  Since then she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs create more success. In addition to her own entrepreneurial endeavors and her consulting practice, she has worked in Fortune 100 companies where she consistently won awards for identifying, creating and implementing efficient processes that leveraged technology to lower expenses and drive revenue.  Her deep understanding of both human behavior and business make her an uncanny expert at marketing; and her ability to translate strategy into tactics ensures things get done. Christie is also a very active connector in the #yesphx Phoenix business community.  She is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Executive Director of Student Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.  She is also a Regional Director + the Phoenix City Director with Startup Grind (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) as well as the Chair of Entrepreneurial Programs for Invest Southwest's Venture Madness startup competition.

Jared Stauffer

Jared has 20 years’ experience starting and scaling tech companies. In his last gig, he spent 17 years as the founder and CEO of Brinkster, a Cloud infrastructure-as-a-service company. Brinkster scaled to 50k customers worldwide and was acquired in March 2016. Jared is a startup community champion volunteering many hours mentoring, judging competitions, and as a Founder in Residence for the StartupAZ Foundation. He is now the co-founder and CEO of Digital Panda, a digital marketing platform that powers marketing campaigns for vendor-dealer businesses.

Sonny Patel
Founder & CEO

As an avant-garde, purpose-driven financial leader, Sonny Patel is out to disrupt the last frontier in fin-tech, insurance. He is currently the Founder & CEO at Insurmi, a digital insurance marketplace aiming to simplify the process of buying life insurance coverage for consumers. Sonny is a proud #yesPHX entrepreneur who is also passionate about helping others make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality!

Anthony Sarandrea

Anthony Sarandrea is a graduated from Arizona State University with a business management degree and runs a profitable portfolio of websites ranging from ecommerce to content blogs, without ever raising outside funds. He bootstrapped his way into building a large digital advertising agency. His advertising agency currently managers over 5 million dollars year in ad spend. Anthony was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the "Top References for Marketing Trends in 2016” and is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur magazine for upcoming marketing trends.

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.

Spencer Thomason

Spencer Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of Clean Router.  He has been a software developer for over 16 years working for SRP, JDA Software, and Go Daddy.  He has worked across many technologies and is a full-stack developer.  He brings a wide arrange of development and technical experience and now brings a lot of startup and business experience in getting an idea off the ground.

Ahmad Saleem
Co Founder

A founder by day, dreamer by night. From innovation to coffee, there is a lot that drives me. I embrace change and new challenges, trying to learn from every moment. I'm a founder at Great Pros, a new tech startup disrupting the home services space. As an entrepreneur my genuine passion is to help make the world around me a better place while leaving a positive impact for the generation to come. Raised in Phoenix, I love being part of and seeing the growth of our startup community. Words to live by: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

Daniel Schenck

Daniel specializes in business counseling, tech and corporate transactions. Handles a full array of business matters for clients, including entity formation, corporate governance, policies and procedures, labor and employment, market expansion, contract forms, and trade secrets. Assists clients in core transactions involving debt and equity financing and real estate purchases/leases. Also manages clients’ pre-litigation disputes by conducting claims analysis, and when advisable, settlement negotiations.
Significant transactional experience across multiple jurisdictions, including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), stock transactions, private securities offerings, supply-chain, manufacturing, equipment purchases/leases, distribution, service agreements, and vendor agreements.
Member of the firm’s technology team, assisting in transactions involving software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, product development, procurement, licensing, distribution, outsourcing, supply chain, information technology (IT), vendor agreements, hosting, e-commerce, and confidentiality agreements.

Terry Mullane

Terry has over 28 years of corporate experience in senior roles within Operations, Finance and Systems with Lucent Technologies, Sony Corporation and other firms. He has lead merger integration, divisional and business CFO roles, managed global shared services, corporate consolidation, and deployed multiple ERP systems on a global basis.  This expertise helped him launch his consulting company in 2007 through which he has corrected global operational and financial issues for Bloomberg, migrated Pfizer financial operations from Latin America into US shared service and BPO partners, and developed the strategy for Bank of America’s accounting transformation. Additionally, he has supported early stage companies and technology solutions for manufacturing, internet distribution and banking firms across the US.  He has mentored start-ups at CEI, Venture Ready, ASU Edison and Furnace programs and SeedSpot, where he was named Mentor of the Year twice.  His focus with start-ups has been developing companies' value propositions, driving targeted sales growth and scaling the businesses. His consulting firm has supported clients in tripling their revenue; merger and acquisitions activity, developing PPM and Reg D filings and managed capital funding.   Terry has an Economic degree from Bethany College, MBA from Pace University and holds active licenses as a CPA, CMA, and CFM accounting certifications. He graduated from Babson College Entrepreneurship Executive Management program.

Beth Cochran

Beth Cochran is the co-founder and CEO of Wired PR, a PR and content marketing firm that specializing in working with technology and BtoB brands. She is also the founder of SuccessLab, an online resource and mastermind group for 
entrepreneurs, and serves as a mentor to startups at SeedSpot.

Molly Koernke

Molly leads a team focused on growing the Small and Medium Business (SMB) segment at Insight, a Fortune 500 company based in Tempe, AZ. Insight is on a mission to help businesses of all sizes run smarter with the right technology. People don’t buy things from brands they distrust or dislike. So naturally, she spends a lot of time and energy building trust. Her team’s responsibilities include leading the go-to-market strategy, lead and demand generation, digital marketing, content generation, external communications and all related marketing campaigns. She’s responsible for properly spending a seven-figure budget, and is held accountable for the results. Fueling the growth of Insight’s current and future customer bases is her top priority. Before Insight, she spent many years at other technology companies, including Dell. While at Dell, she turned around two previously struggling verticals and successfully oversaw a multi-million-dollar P&L. When away from the office, Molly is usually tweeting, traveling, walking her dog Belle, or spending excess amounts of time on where to brunch in Scottsdale. She holds a Master’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University.

Rafael Testai

Founder of EventKey, the mobile app used to check-in guests at Coplex Startup Weekend 2016. Voted "The Best Hispanic Entrepreneur of 2016." Rafael was an attendee/volunteer at this same event last year. He has grown a lot particularly because of the guidance that he has received from his mentor, Zach Ferres. Rafael is all about learning and passing along the knowledge for free. Hence, he created a YouTube channel in which you can learn how he and his CoFounder, Perry Waxman, have tackled EventKey's issues. Rafael is an ASU 2014 Barrett alumni and Perry is a current Barrett student majoring in informatics. He's currently looking for event hosts who would be interested in trying EventKey for free!

Evan Fram

Evan Fram is a serial entrepreneur and inventor with a background in software development and medicine.

Kunal Laroia

An entrepreneur, community leader, and startup enthusiast, Kunal, while at ASU, started their first residential community of entrepreneurs, called the Startup Village. As a graduate, he started the Telescope Ventures Fellowship Program where top talent engineers, designers, and business minded students spend the summer working with high-potential startups in the Phoenix Valley. He is also a lead organizer for Phoenix Startup Week, has worked in Venture Capital and currently leads efforts at Galvanize as membership manager.

Anthony Garone

Ron Robertson

As CEO, I am integral in the following:
• Establish company vision and short- and long-term strategies
• Determine annual operating plans and budgets that support strategic direction

Financial Management
• Raise necessary capital to develop, launch and grow an interactive online learning system delivering audio-visual mnemonics to help students study and memorize complex information
• Manage capital and organization’s resources
• Provides prompt, thorough and accurate information to stakeholders

Team Management
• Oversee hiring of senior management team and develop future leadership within the team 
• Develop and promote a culture that reflects Picmonic’s values and encourages excellent performance 
• Regularly evaluate organization and staff performance

Community Relationships
• Serve as a primary spokesperson and representative for the company
• Assure the company mission, image and performance consistently deliver a unified positive message

As a result of a unique nationwide marketing campaign, put Picmonic in the hands of medical students in more than 500 universities across the United States.

Arizona Innovation Challenge 2 Time Semi-Finalist (Fall 2012 & Spring 2013), Finalist (Spring 2014)
Arizona Tech Council Start up Connect Finalist & Winner (2013)

Ken Robertson

Ken was integral to the 2011 founding of Picmonic as a key player in bringing in nearly $1 million in initial funding, from the original business plan to executing the initial development stage on time and under budget.

Currently responsible for keeping Picmonic on track with the long-term vision as well as quarterly missions. Sets and drives the pace of all departments, acting as liaison to coordinate interdepartmental initiatives, but recently focused on building a bad ass in-house technology team. 

David Soto
COO @ One Global Citizen

Sean Coleman

I build products that solve problems.

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. 

Doug Reid
Founder & CEO

Douglas Reid is the President of Douglas Reid & Associates, an organizational development group that specializes in creativity and innovation and change leadership.   As a consultant, facilitator, trainer and leadership and team coach, Doug applies his talents and experience to individual, group, and organizational development and transformation.  Doug is a seasoned specialist in the field of organizational creativity, innovation, strategic thinking and leadership and has worked throughout North America, Europe, and Asia in many different industries.
Prior to starting his own business, 23 years ago, Doug enjoyed a career in Human Resources and Organizational Development for a large multi-national information systems company. This experience has contributed greatly to Doug’s success, as he was able to experience the challenges of a complex organization first-hand. This followed his first career as an educator.
Doug earned a B.A in Interpersonal Communications from Ohio University and a M.S. in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from Buffalo State College where he is also an adjunct faculty member.  He received his certification as an executive coach from the College of Executive Coaching in Ventura, CA., where he has also served on the faculty.
Doug has been a member of the Creative Education Foundation since 1979 and they honored him with a Distinguished Leader Award in 1997.  He has served as a volunteer leader at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, Buffalo, NY since 1983.  He is recognized as an expert in the field of organizational creativity and innovation. 

Brian Yelm

Brian Yelm is the President and CEO of Technologyville, Inc. founded in 2005.  He has successful grown his company without seed money to a 1.6MM company with 10 employees and 80 clients in Chicago.  He has recently relocated to Arizona to start a second office and grow the business in the valley.  Brian is responsible for managing the business financials, client billing and new business development. He has a very extensive network in Chicago with many referral partners and mentors which are pivotal to the company’s success.

Mariessa Mahfouz
Co Owner

Mariessa Mahfouz founded Toro Management, LLC in 2012. As the Founder and Managing Member, Mariessa created, designed, and formed a company specializing in Social Media Consulting for small and mid-size businesses.  Toro obtained prominent business clients within the first two months of operations and maintained these clients’ (among others) social media presence and marketing message to the public.  Mariessa also created and conducted various social media classes in which Real Estate agents learned how to use social media platforms to expand and market their business.

The entrepreneurial venture and spirit of Toro Management, LLC fueled Mariessa’s spark to be able to take the marketing prowess and experience from Toro to her own products. In November 2014, Toro Management, LLC acquired the exclusive distribution rights to SYLK products in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and China (including Taiwan). Mariessa could not be more thrilled to bring a product with life-changing value to the mass market here in the United States and the additional select Territories. Her marketing skills, entrepreneurial vigor, and passion for the SYLK mission of sexual wellness and education all prove to be invaluable assets to accelerate SYLK’s market share here in the United States and other Territories.

Anjali Nennelli
Founder and CEO

Anjali Nennelli is entrepreneurial by choice and a mobile technologist. She is a problem solver, tech futurist, serial entrepreneur, community builder, women in tech advocate, life long learner and a thought leader.

She has hands on experience and expertise with mobile devices and their ecosystems since the early days of its platform emergence. With over 15 years in tech industry, she has worked in software solutions from start-up to large-scale enterprise architecture in coding to management positions.  Now she is on a mission to improve team productivity and disrupt the business card industry with technology using Trill.

Currently in its fifth year, The Phoenix Mobile Festival is Nennelli’s passion project; she’s thrilled to use her thought leadership to bring people together to witness the cutting edge of technology, and along with her apps, hopes to make a great difference in this world.

Tobias Deardorff

I am a software engineer at New Relic, Inc. on the Synthetics product ( Synthetics is a monitor service that allows you to monitor your applications and APIs from locations positioned around the globe. Before New Relic, Inc. I worked at Coplex as a web developer specializing in Drupal.

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

  • Zach
  • Michael
  • Darryl
  • Elizabeth
  • Brittany


Kay Transtrum
Director of Initiatives

Event Staff

Katherine Sorensen

Katherine is an Intern for Coplex, and aids in content and event support.

Event Blog

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