Startup Weekend: A Touch of the Future

    Friday, June 24 - 26, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend: A Touch of the Future

Friday, June 24 - 26, 2016

Friday, June 24 - 26, 2016
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Microsoft Bldg 86
154 154th PI NE
Redmond, Washington 98052

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What future will you create?

The new buzz words these days are Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens etc. etc., these new cool technologies are changing our lives every single day! However, this is just the beginning of the future. We know AI is far more than chatting, and VR is far more than gaming.

Let's get together, and explore how these futuristic technologies can help reinvent traditional business such as Manufacturing, Travel, Dining, Education, Medicine, Construction etc. etc.! We welcome technical people, but you don't have to be technical, we welcome professionals from all industries. We'll also be hosting a series of workshops to prepare you on VR, AR and AI topics so you'll reach maximum efficiency for the weekend.

So come and join us for this business sprint to achieve idea to revenue over the weekend. This event is for you if you'd like to explore a new technology, find a cofounder for your next startup, evaluate a new employee or just to scratch your startup itch!

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Friday June 24th

6:00 pm
Registration / Dinner & Networking
Arrive at the venue and get checked in, eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm
Welcome & Sponsor Highlight
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speaker, coaches, and community leaders

6:40 pm
Sponsor Note
Message from Andrew Lientz senior vice president of Engineering at Smartsheet.

6:50 pm
Keynote Kickoff
Keynote message from James Whittaker, Distinguished Technical Evangelist at Microsoft

7:20 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 and sit down and start working

10:00 pm
Begin Work - After hours
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 you want.

10:30 pm
First Standup
Quick Standup - What did you do? What will you do? What are your barriers.

Saturday June 25th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Coaches Arrive
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

10:30 am
Team Standup
What did you do? What will you do? What are your barriers?

12:00 pm

12:10 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coaches Arrive
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

3:30 pm

5:00 pm

6:30 pm

9:00 pm
Checkin on progress

10:30 pm
Wrap-Up Check-in
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday June 26th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Pitch reviews
Sign up for slot for a pitch review

12:10 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… 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

3:15 pm
VR Demostration at teams tables
Judges engage with each team that has a VR application. Sign up for slots.

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


James Whittaker
Microsoft Distinguished Technical Evangelist

James Whittaker, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and Technical Evangelist, an energetic and passionate software executive with substantial engineering, research, writing and speaking credentials. His background spans government, academia, a successful start-up and leadership roles in top technology corporations. He's shipped major software titles at IBM, Microsoft and Google; he's published dozens of peer-reviewed research papers and authored 5 award-winning and best-selling technical books. He has won "best-of show" awards at conferences across the globe. James is well known for his visionary leadership and his passion for hard core engineering practices.

Andrew Lientz
SVP of Engineering

Andrew Lientz is the senior vice president of engineering at Smartsheet. With over 20 years of experience as a leader in infrastructure, planning, and SaaS, he has been the founder of, or on the leadership team for, three successful start-ups including content delivery network EdgeCast, web analytics SaaS provider Harvest Solutions, and web development agency Zentropy. As a partner at Microsoft, Andrew led infrastructure efforts in both long range planning and internal CDN development.

Andrew graduated with a B.S. from Harvey Mudd and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. He moved to the Pacific Northwest from Los Angeles in 2012 to experience seasons, more time with his family and an opportunity to walk to work. A goal-oriented fitness enthusiast, he has run a marathon, ridden 100 miles on a bike and bench pressed 500 pounds.

Event Judges

Gary Ritner
Co-Founder of Puget Sound Venture Club

Gary Ritner has been involved in the financial services industry for over 40 years. For the last 30 years he has been self-employed in the investment banking field. His three main activities have been raising funds for early stage companies, business brokerage, and consulting. Prior he was a stockbroker. He has helped fund over thirty companies. He has brokered numerous business including a distribution company, a door manufacturer, and construction company. Presently, he is brokering a fintech company. He is the co- founder and Manager of the Puget Sound Venture Club,, a forum to review early-stage venture opportunities. Since the founding in 1985, present and past members, using the Club resources and their own contacts, have invested approximately $140 million in approximately 880 companies. Membership is restricted to accredited investors that have a minimum net worth, not including residence, of $1 million and some history of venture investing. 

Geoff Harris
Angel Investor, Advisor, Struggling Musician

Geoff Harris spent 15 years in executive leadership and engineering management positions at Microsoft Corporation. He developed new businesses and led teams in areas such as digital media, mobile and speech and natural language processing. Since retiring from Microsoft in late 2013, Geoff has turned his attention to developing a deeper angel investment community in Seattle through his involvement with the Alliance of Angels and the Seattle Angel Conference as well as advisory positions with several local start-ups. Geoff holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. He will be the fund manager for SAC VII. 

Prakash Sundaresan
Technology industry leader, entrepreneur, advisor and investor

Until 2014, Mr. Sundaresan served as CTO for Microsoft’s China R&D Group where he helped set the technical strategy for Microsoft’s largest R&D base outside the US. He was also instrumental in founding and building up the Microsoft Startup Accelerator in Beijing, now ranked in the top 3 accelerators in China. Over his 16-year term at Microsoft, he served in various leadership roles relating to Cloud, Big Data and Internet of Things. Currently, Mr. Sundaresan is active in the startup ecosystem in the US and Asia as an advisor and investor in several early-stage startups, while planning his next adventure.

Jen Sward
Associate Dean of Instruction and Assessment at DigiPen

Jen worked in the video game industry as a manager, project leader, producer, and designer at companies such as LucasArts Entertainment, Westwood Studios, Philips New Media and RealTime Associates. Jen worked on the first “talky” game (Loom), setting the bar for the quality level for games today. She has also worked on real-time strategy games, adventure games, puzzle games, and console games, focusing on user-centric design in the user experience. She also combined her game design and electrical engineering skills while working at LeapFrog Toys, designing and developing new technologies for electronic educational toys.  

She is currently an Associate Dean of Instruction and Assessment at DigiPen, where she teaches in the Game Design and Software Production Department. She is a game designer/producer, with experience on many platforms.  Direct experience with large teams of programmers and artists, knowledgable of common tools used in PC game development.  Currently working as Principle Lecturer of game design and production, training design and programming students for jobs in the Game Industry. 

Todd Hooper
CEO and Founder at VREAL

Todd is an experienced entrepreneur, having founded and operated multiple companies in the enterprise and entertainment markets. He started developing video games in assembly code as a teenager, and went on to a career in enterprise networking, serving on the management team of WatchGuard Technologies and founding Napera Networks. Todd returned to games in 2010, joining Zipline Games as CEO and subsequently serving as VP of Online Services at Unity Technologies. He recently founded VREAL to bring new VR technologies to the gaming market.

Tyler Carper
Engineering Leader, Investor, Advisor

Tyler has spent the last 16 years contributing to seattle based companies through engineering leadership, mentoring and angel investment.  A builder at heart, Tyler’s primary focus has been on the ideation and creation of complete hardware, software, and services ecosystems. Tyler has grown engineering teams for Microsoft Xbox, Xbox Live, and Xbox 360. He has run organizations at HTC, shipping the some of the first Android smartphones, as well as managed global engineering for the largest community based Android project, CyanogenMod.  Currently, Tyler is actively advising and investing in multiple early stage startups while he planning his next engineering challenge.

Coaches and Mentors

Gillian Muessig
Cofounder of Moz, Outlines Venture Group & brettapproved

As CEO of Outlines Venture Group, Gillian has advised more than 200 companies, helping them to launch, grow, pivot and thrive; some hold multi-year listings on the Inc. 500 fastest growing lists. She’s served as founding president of Moz, the world’s most popular search and inbound marketing software, advised at the Gates Foundation, and is now COO at brettapproved, the world’s first standardized rating, review, and booking site for travelers with disabilities and mobility challenges. 

Gillian has keynoted and lectured at events and mentored at incubators worldwide and consults privately with investors and founders and speaks worldwide on current and future opportunities in startup investments.

Meridith Fishkin
Asst Finance Manager Futurist

Meridith is a social trend prediction expert with her finger on the pulse of social and mobile commerce, gaming, and consumer products and services. Through Outlines Venture Group, Meridith provides consulting services to early stage startups, including insight into current and future trends and competitive landscapes to support optimal productization and marketing. 
Meridith's work experience includes Seaport Environmental Finance Management at the Port of Seattle, gaming convention and theater management, costuming and staging, She is a professional author, painter and sculptor. Her work is sold under the name, Killiandrake.

Kevin Yu
Co-founder & CTO of Socedo

Co-founder & CTO of social leadgen startup Socedo Inc, TechStars alumni, Kevin Yu is on a mission to bring social leads to every business in the world by democratizing the power of BigData & Cloud Computing. 

Kevin is one of the Founder Institute mentors and advisor to UW Chinese Entrepreneur Network.

Nima Zeighami
Technology Consultant & Owner of Electric Systems Consulting

Nima Zeighami is an independent Technology Consultant and the owner of Electric Systems Consulting.  He works with Epson on their Moverio Smartglasses, an Android-based AR platform, as the Developer Evangelist for the State of Washington.  He’s also the Creative Director for the indie game studio, VR Sports, releasing a SteamVR title for the HTC Vive, Smackitball. 

Jen Huang
Senior Corporate Counsel at T-Mobile US, Inc

Jen Huang is a Senior Corporate Counsel at T-Mobile US, Inc. Prior to that, she was a corporate attorney at Fenwick & West LLP and DLA Piper (US) LLP. Jen has represented clients in a broad range of financings and mergers and acquisitions matters. Jen was honored in Lawyers of Color’s 2014 Second Annual Hot List, recognizing early- to mid-career attorneys “excelling in the legal profession.” In addition, Jen was named as a "Rising Star" by Washington Law & Politics in 2013 through 2016 and “Top Female Attorney in Washington” by Seattle Met in 2014 and 2016.

Chun Lu
CEO at 8th Shore, Inc.

Chun Lu is CEO of 8th Shore, Inc., a Seattle based game company. She is also a principle lecturer of the Digital Art Department at the Digipen Institute of Technology. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a master’s degree in Environmental Design with an emphasis in Computer-Aided Design and Animation. While she was in her graduate study in 1996, she earned a research assistant scholarship and worked on a series of Virtual Realty projects such as Virtual Harlem in 1930s and 1904 World's Fair St. Louise at Advanced Technology Group at MU. Upon her graduation, Lu took her first job with Alias as an application engineer in its China office, where she received advanced Maya training. In 1999, Lu transitioned to Atari’s Baltimore studio as a cinematic artist and animator.

Lu has helped ship six titles for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. From 2004 to 2007, she worked for Microsoft Game Technology Group on next-generation game art technology research and development. In her spare time, Lu enjoys sculpture both digital and traditional.

Paul Cutsinger
Alexa and Echo at Amazon

Paul Cutsinger, with Amazon Alexa, works with developers to design and develop the next generation of customer experience - a voice based user experience. Previously he was Chief Evangelist of the Amazon Appstore and VP of Technology at Disney Interactive. Paul regularly speaks to developers at conferences like Game Developers Conference (GDC), Casual Connect, Application Developers Alliance, MoDev, LA Games Conference, Mobile World Congress (MWC), Berlin Games Week, WipJam, AWS ReInvent, AWS Summits, the Tokyo Game Show, and hack-a-thons.

Jalen He
Cloud Architect of Alibaba

Jalen is a Sr. Cloud Architect from Alibaba Cloud Computing based in San Mateo office. Prior to Alibaba, Jalen worked for Microsoft, Expedia, Myspace and Redfin to lead both development and testing team. He is a veteran with years of experience on R&D, infrastructure, team management, across various industries such as ads, social networks and travel.

Meng Wang
Lead Scientist at Amazon

Meng co-founded Orbeus with the vision to use face and image recognition technology to quickly find photos and key sections of videos. Meng has 10+ years of experience in computer vision and image processing, including roles at Google Research, Google Search and YouTube. At Orbeus, Meng developed a high-speed, large-scale Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) training process by building a multi-GPU system. He also developed the a high-throughput online face and concept recognition parallel computing framework that is at the core of Orbeus’ products and services. Meng studied in Boston University and conducted research at MIT and MERL, and is credited with more than 20 patents in this area.

Greg Howes
Builder, Maker, Fabricator, Innovator, Gamer and Entrepreneur. Hacking the Building Industry and Built Environment

Greg Howes is a Geek Builder with 20 years of experience as the owner of an innovative residential construction company.  He also has 10 years of experience as a technology entrepreneur and has founded multiple startups.  He is currently building the most technically-advanced wood fabrication network in North America to enable the production of complex and high-performance wood-framed buildings. His goal is to help make the Pacific Northwest the global leader in technology-driven, green building with wood and to accelerate the digitization of the $8.5 trillion global construction industry.  His team is also creating immersive design software for customized homes linked to on-demand robotic fabrication.  

He is a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Digital Fabrication Network. He is also a co-founder and Board member of the AEC Hackathon (architecture, engineering and construction) non-profit, which has organized 14 AEC Hackathons around the world and has 15 more scheduled in the next year.  He is also a co-organizer of many Virtual Reality events including 3 VR Hackathons in Seattle, the Seattle VR Expo and the upcoming Immerse Conference in Bellevue on October 11, 2016

Leo Novsky
Coach, Lecturer, Business Catalyst

Leo Novsky is a professional speaker, executive presentation coach at SPEAK with Power Consulting and an Adjunct Lecturer at University of Washington Bothell School of Business.

Leo has over 17 years of experience in communication, training, marketing and business development. His educational background includes a BA in English Literature from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the University of Dallas. He is a published author, inventor and founder of several start-ups. He is fluent in English, Russian, and conversant in Japanese.

Nick Abel
VR Developer at Tomorrow Today Labs

Nick is a Unity3D and C# developer at Tomorrow Today Labs who spends most of his time solving the toughest challenges that virtual reality can throw at you. He was only introduced to VR at Tomorrow Today Labs a year ago, but in that time has worked on several titles for the HTC Vive, as well as co-developed and released NewtonVR, a physics-based interaction framework for the SteamVR on Unity. Nick has been active in the Seattle VR community, regularly demoing NewtonVR and other Vive titles, as well as occasionally giving presentations on virtual reality and the state of VR gaming.
In his spare time he rock climbs, drinks craft beer, and tries to put a Vive on everybody’s head, though not at the same time.

Teresa Escrig
CEO and cofounder of Qualitative Artificial Intelligence (QAI)

CEO and cofounder of Qualitative Artificial Intelligence (QAI). QAI provides solutions based on the formalization of common sense reasoning, transforming data with uncertainty into knowledge and wisdom, by extracting the most relevant information in real time. Key technology areas include qualitative modeling (representation, reasoning and learning), Ontologies, and 3D Graph Web Visualization. Applications include DNA base calling, Cyber Security, IoT, Decision Support, Recommendation Systems, robust Autonomous Systems, and Artificial Vision.

Delong Fu
Software Engineer at Microsoft Cognitive Services

Delong is a software engineer at Microsoft on the Cognitive Services team. He mainly works on projects that showcase the capabilities of the service as well as engage with the developer community by building samples, tutorials and SDKs.

Delong comes with lots of experience using the Cognitive APIs, especially the Vision-related ones.

Tony Chambers
Game design / Programmer

Expert in Unity

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend: A Touch of the Future 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.

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Organizing Team

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

  • Wei
  • John
  • Ling
  • Niya
  • Yike
  • Jinling
  • Wei


John Sechrest
Founder, Seattle Angel Conference, Global Facilitator Startup Weekends

John Sechrest is Founder of the Seattle Angel Conference, Co-Organizer of the Lean Startup Seattle & Global Facilitator for Startup Weekend.

As an entrepreneurial collaborator, he focuses on entrepreneurial and innovation efforts as a way to develop new projects and companies. His efforts are focused building the tools , skills and processes that enable people to make a positive impact on the world.

All of the changes we are seeing in the world will find lasting and sustainable solutions by entrepreneurs and innovators creating new pathways to solving complex issues. By connecting resources, people and projects together and building feedback mechanisms into the conversation, he makes significant impacts on the groups that he works with.

He is currently working on the Seattle Angel Conference - and the Lean Startup Seattle - and of course regularly volunteers to facilitate Startup weekends such as Kirkland Maker's Edition 2014.

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