Startup Weekend Pittsburgh

    Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015

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

Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015

Friday, November 20 - 22, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

RE360 Building
829 Industry St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

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Startup Weekend PGH returns on Nov 20-22 for Global Startup Battle!

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? 

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 events in over 100 countries and 580 cities around the world.  

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 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 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!

We have a lot of great prizes for our top 3 winners:

1st Place:
Eyeflow Internet Marketing - consulting and service package
Thrill Mill - 2 hours of consulting, in preparation for incubator program
BlueTree Allied Angels - Pitch at a BlueTree screening meeting
ClearMind Consulting- 4 hours of cloud consulting
CommunityElf - content marketing services and $500 of UpContent credits
Work Hard Pittsburgh - 6 months of coworking space access and resources

2nd Place:
Thrill Mill - 2 hours of consulting, 
in preparation for incubator program
BlueTree Allied Angels - 1 hour of coaching and mentoring from Don Morrison
Work Hard Pittsburgh - 4 months of coworking space access and resources

3rd Place:
Thrill Mill - 2 hours of consulting
, in preparation for incubator program
BlueTree Allied Angels - attend a BlueTree screening meeting as guest observers
Work Hard Pittsburgh - 2 months of coworking space access and resources

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 20th

6:30 pm
Registration, Dinner & Networking
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants.

7:00 pm
Welcome and 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

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 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 November 21st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

12:30 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 November 22nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

12:00 pm

12:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… final opportunities to ask questions

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!


Phil Laboon
Founder & CEO, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

Phil Laboon is a proven thought leader in the world of internet marketing, transforming his basement startup SEO firm into a nationally recognized digital marketing agency. Over its 14 year existence, Eyeflow  Internet Marketing has asserted itself as a leader in the industry for their innovative approach and custom campaigns designed to help businesses of all shapes grow their online footprint and strengthen their brands to be an authority both on and off of the web.   

As founder and CEO of Eyeflow, Phil has made quite the name for himself in the industry. He is commonly featured guest writer with major publications, everything from Forbes to Business Insider, and frequently shares his expertise at speaking events across the country.   

As if Eyeflow wasn’t enough, Phil is actively involved in the ever-evolving Pittsburgh Tech Community. Currently, Phil serves as President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Young Entrepreneur Council putting his knowledge and years of experience in the startup industry to good use to open new doors of opportunity for his peers. Through the YEC, Phil has his hands in several projects at any given time in attempts to grow and nurture Pittsburgh’s startup community.

All business aside, Phil is an avid traveler – jet setting his way around the globe to over 28 countries. Regardless of how busy he may be, Phil always looks for more opportunity to give back to the community he grew up in. Most notably, he made international headlines following his canceled wedding turned fundraiser, LemonAid, made thousands of dollars for a local charity.

Event Judges

Ilana Diamond
Managing Director of AlphaLab Gear

Ilana Diamond is the Managing Director of AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware start-up accelerator which provides physical product startups with investment, mentorship and connections. She helps entrepreneurs make rapid progress through the early stages of product and customer development by leveraging her experience and network, gained from over twenty years of leading and growing companies, from early stage to exit. 

Prior to joining AlphaLab Gear, Ilana was CEO of Sima Products, an international consumer electronics accessory company that develops, manufactures and distributes products under the Sima, First Alert, Cherokee  and MGM Studio brands. Ilana also founded and managed a commercial alerting startup, raised outside capital and spun the company off into a separate entity. Ilana holds a BA in Biological Sciences and Economics from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Emily Keebler
Kiva City Pittsburgh Lead

Emily Keebler seeks to make Pittsburgh a better place for all by connecting our region’s entrepreneurs and creatives with resources.  As the Kiva City Pittsburgh Lead, she informs small businesses in the region about Kiva Zip 0% interest, crowdfunded micro-loans. Kiva, the world’s first microlending website, empowers small businesses in Pittsburgh and around the world by connecting them to lenders who collectively fund loans and provide a network of support for each business. 

As the volunteer Dean of Awesome for the local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, Emily works with the Awesome Pittsburgh trustees to forward the pursuit of awesome-ness in the universe via monthly $1,000 grants.  Emily believes that awesome-ness can be found throughout Pittsburgh, but is sometimes overlooked.  To help bring it to light, she volunteers with Urban Hike, which gets people out on foot to discover the nooks and crannies of Pittsburgh’s diverse communities. 

Phil Laboon
Founder & CEO, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

As the owner and founder of Eyeflow Internet Marketing, serial entrepreneur Phil Laboon managed to transform the company that started from his basement into a nationally recognized digital marketing agency. Over its 14 years of existence, Eyeflow Internet Marketing continues to assert itself as a leader in the industry for their innovative approach to helping businesses of all shapes grow their online footprint and strengthen their digital brands – creating more effective strategies and software to help clients build their brand into an authority both on and off the web.

Despite continually being named one of the fastest growing companies in Pittsburgh, Laboon continually seeks out ways to expand business and offer his clients a more well-rounded services to keep them ahead of the competition.

With 14 years of entrepreneurial experience behind him, Laboon plays an active role as both a leader and mentor in the bustling tech startup community. Currently, Laboon serves as President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Young Entrepreneur Council putting his knowledge and years of experience in the startup industry to good use to open new doors of opportunity for his peers.

Don Morrison
Chairman of Deal Flow, Blue Tree Allied Angel Group

As the Chairman of Deal Flow for BlueTree, Don collaborates with BlueTree’s committees to identify quality deal flow, invite new investors and partners to the group, manage our meetings and help our portfolio companies to grow and reach their full potential.  Outside of his work with BlueTree, Don is actively involved in mentoring and coaching numerous start-up and early-stage companies in the region through Alpha Lab, Alpha Lab Gear, The Thrill Mill and the eCenter at Linden Pointe.

Don is a serial entrepreneur and visionary leader who has consistently leveraged technology to improve the customer experience and top and bottom-line results, in multi-channel consumer product companies. He has been involved in the growth and development of several businesses, including American Eagle Outfitters, from 1 to 165 stores (as President/CEO), Sundance Catalog Company (as Executive Director), and Bear Creek Corporation (as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing). His business experience includes Retail, Restaurant, Franchising, Manufacturing, Catalog and E-commerce.  Don has been involved in numerous business turnarounds, divestitures and acquisitions and presently serves on the Board of Directors for Waffy’s, The eCenter at Linden Pointe and the Green Building Alliance and Women-Drivers.Com.

Courtney Williamson
Founder & CEO, Abililife

Courtney has a personal passion for improving quality of life for neurodegenerative patients. She received her Ph.D in Organizational Behavior from the Tepper School of Business.

Coaches and Mentors

Cynthia Closkey
Digital Strategist at Shift Collaborative

Cynthia Closkey is a partner and digital strategist at Shift Collaborative. She began her career working at high-tech companies, and has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Sloan School of Management at MIT. In her work she brings together skills in website development, communication, marketing strategy, and user experience design. She’s a partner and board member of Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh, and she has been honored as an influential Woman in Media by the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania.

Alec Davis
UX/UI designer, Entrepreneur

locally sourced, hand-crafted pixels @joinatomic

Zaven Gabriel
Inclusive Innovation Strategy Manager

As Inclusive Innovation Strategy Manager for Urban Innovation21, Zaven works to build direct and deliberate bridges between the growing innovation economy in Pittsburgh and its historically underserved communities. He also represents Urban Innovation21 on the organizing committee of Maker Faire Pittsburgh, the region’s largest showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. A Pittsburgh native, Zaven is an alumnus of two Pittsburgh startups focused on semiconductor-hardware and microelectromechanical systems, one of which is a CMU spinoff, and both of which had successful exits. He holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Kyle Grady
UI/UX Designer at CommunityElf

Passionate Web Designer with a love for big type faces, simplistic design, and wonderful web experiences.

Hannah Grubow
Content Marketing Account Manager at Community Elf

Tad Hale

Currently Tad is President of Reuse Retail LLC, a Pittsburgh based technology startup serving the reuse and surplus recovery sectors.  Tad is active in the local startup community.  In addition to mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs, he is helping several nonprofit organizations develop earned income streams.  Prior to moving to Pittsburgh Tad founded, led and successfully exited several technology companies including Hydrus Software and Active Technologies Group.  Tad serves on the advisory boards of several startups in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio. 

Jon Halpern
Founder & CEO

Jon Halpern is co-founder and CEO of AthleteTrax, leading a team of six focusing on strategy, business development and customer engagement for the athletic league and team management platform for the recreational sports industry. Jon has marketing and operations experience at ModCloth, an online vintage apparel manufacturer, and as Campus Manager at The George Washington University (GWU) for SafePlace USA. He also spent two summers at Innovation Works, a Pittsburgh-based seed-stage investment firm, where he received extensive exposure to venture finance and due diligence and met CEO’s from many early stage companies.

Jeff Honnold
Founder & Principal

Jeff Honnold is founder of ClearMind Consulting, LLC, a specialist in cloud-oriented business solutions, particularly for the non-profit market.   Jeff has more than 15 years of experience in the internet and data integrations space, and has worked with new companies and fledgling non-profits consistently through that time.   That experience now allows Jeff to bring together considerations of business strategy, operations, scalability, and security to technology choices.  After attending University of Chicago for undergrad, Jeff traveled to Pittsburgh to study philosophy of cognitive psychology at University of Pittsburgh, and never left town.

Patrick Perini
Founder, Engineer

venture communist. Labs founder,@JoinAtomic

Stephan Mueller
Chief Operating Officer

Alan Martello

Alan Martello is a life long Pittsburgh native with an Engineering PhD and MBA. He started and ran a software and hardware company for over 20 years before a successful exit to a public company. Today he keeps busy coaching entrepreneurs, mentoring businesses and helping non-profits achieve sustainability. He evaluates companies and pitches for investors and gives feedback to startups seeking funding or just trying to stay afloat. Monday mornings at 8AM you’ll find him starting off his week at two local meetups: Unstuck Pittsburgh followed by his own Entrepreneur’s Roundtable.

Josh Sager
Web development

Josh Sager is a Software Developer in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and is currently a Partner at Viable Industries, where he helps to design systems and write applications to support environmental foundations in the pursuit of data transparency. In his spare time he loves to tinker with electronics, play music, and screen print posters. His passion for learning has fueled a career in technology where his experiments have helped to define a diverse career path. A path in which Josh has been a designer, a developer, a teacher, a manager, a director, a founder, and a now partner - but nothing has been as rewarding as his role as a father.  

Always game to talk shop, Josh has lead workshops, presentations, and lectures on programming and design for teens as well as working professionals.

Victoria Summerfield
Associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP

Matt Zieger
Vice President, Forbes Funds

Matt Zieger moved to Pittsburgh to join The Forbes Funds in August of 2014 as our Executive-in-Residence for Social Innovation. As a former foundation CEO, small business owner, and long-time economic policy leader Matt has fifteen years of experience bringing together Governors, CEOs, civic leaders, philanthropies, and global innovators to build and advance transformative investments in public education, international business development, government innovation, and knowledge-driven economic development. 

In this role, Matt leads the Forbes Funds efforts to accelerate regional understanding and adoption of emerging tools to affect positive societal outcomes at substantial scale. Our current focus areas include the development of new platforms to increase access to capital and advanced technologies for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs such as impact investing funds, social impact bonds, and prototyping technology solutions that positively impact the communities and organizations we serve.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Kenny
  • Anastasia
  • Josh
  • Cat


Kacey Wherley
Marketing Production Lead, Techstars


Event Staff

Colleen Hannagan
Assistant Principal at North Allegheny School District

Jackie Vesci

Co-founder of Tagalong Tour.

Richard Behana
Executive Director at Space Challenges, Inc

Jason Philips

Siena Kane
Allentown Business District Manager

Courtney Francis
Outreach Manager

Working Examples

Jillian Andrews

Event Blog

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