Techstars Startup Weekend Sacramento State

    Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Coaches and Mentors
  4. Sponsors
  5. Organizing Team
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Techstars Startup Weekend Sacramento State

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Sac State
6000 J St.
Library 1520, MS 6091
Sacramento, CA 95819

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Startup Weekend in a Nutshell

What the heck is it?

Startup Weekend is Sacramento’s premier event for entrepreneurs. It’s not a seminar, and it’s not a conference. It’s an experiential learning environment where you’ll band together with like-minded people and learn what it takes to start a startup - by actually doing it.

Who’s it for?

Startup Weekend is for people just like you.

While we certainly have current and aspiring entrepreneurs in mind, it’s not only for them. It’s also for designers and developers and realtors and stay-at-home dads and just about anyone else looking to learn and grow. Startup Weekend a great way to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself a little bit, and learn something new - not to mention meet great people, enjoy good food, and discover the amazing community of entrepreneurs we’re lucky enough to share this town with.

You do not need an idea to participate.

What will you do?

It’s simple: in 54 hours, you’ll take a brand new idea and turn it into a real business.

More specifically, you’ll look for (or join) a team, create a prototype, validate a business idea, develop a financial model, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Along the way, you’ll chat with coaches and mentors with diverse expertise: technology, fundraising, marketing, finance, law, and more.

Check out the schedule for more detailed information.

What’s included?

  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing local mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea and/or listen to the ideas others, vote on the most interesting ideas, and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get a better experience if you participate in separate teams.

If you want to pitch an idea (and you should!), you’ll want to prepare a 60 seconds “elevator pitch” to tell everyone about it on Friday night. Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on (careful thought and research is ok). The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Or it could just be a game.

What are you waiting for? Let’s do this!

If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us at

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday March 6th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:05 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 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

9:00 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

11:00 pm
Venue Closes
Pack up and head out.

Saturday March 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

11:00 am
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help until 2 pm.

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Post coaching 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

11:00 pm
Venue Closes
Pack up and head out.

Sunday March 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, coffee available

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

10:30 am

11:00 am
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

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Coaches and Mentors

Roger Akers
Managing Partner, Akers Capital, LLC

Roger has over 30 years of experience in technology related environments. As an IT Services executive, Roger managed the development and delivery of large-scale software systems in over 80 client environments. Efforts included technical and management assignments for a national consulting firm, Systems and Computer Technology Corp., as well as the building of a regional IT consulting firm as Managing Partner (PRODATA Inc.). Upon the successful merger of PRODATA with a national IT services firm, Roger developed a consulting practice (Akers-Waterman & Company) that provided management consulting to industry leaders such as Intel and Cisco Systems. In addition, Roger helped develop and invested in a number of technology companies in the US and internationally participating on a number of private-sector Board of Directors.   In 1998, he co-founded Akers Capital LLC. After successfully raising the Pac West Technology Funds, Roger and team continues to invest in, mentor and has matriculated a number of emerging technology companies. Akers has also been engaged in a number of merger & acquisition transactions in recent years serving as an intermediary, due diligence supervisor and buy/sell side consultant. In addition, as an Advisory Principal for international investment bank Gramercy Partners, participates in projects that provide partnerships and exits for companies between Asia and the US.

Tamara Barthel
Entrepreneur, Investor, Coach

Tamara is a business leader with over 35 years of experience in the technology sector with specialties in finance, marketing, and customer service. She has started and run multiple start-up businesses, executed over $3 billion in merger transactions comprised of hundreds of sales and purchases of small, medium and large businesses. Semi-retired, she provides professional coaching and is collaborating with multiple research and health organizations to develop programs benefiting youth and young adults on the autism spectrum.

Mark Beckford
VP Business Development at Nichols Farms

A passionate purveyor of game-changing innovations and growing the Sacramento startup ecosystem, Mark has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the information technology sector as both an entrepreneur AND intrapreneur at startups and large companies. He has been an active member of the greater Sacramento area innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem for 15 years, including serving as facilitator for the Sacramento iHub and mentoring/coaching for UC Davis and Sacramento State University. Mark received his MBA from the Haas School of Business, Berkeley, California, and his B.A. in economics from Pomona College, Claremont, California.

Kim Box
President and CEO, GateKeeper Innovation

Kim Box is the President and CEO at Gatekeeper Innovation, Inc., a medical device company that provides innovative solutions for securing prescription medications.  Ms. Box is an Independent Director on the Board of McGrath Rentcorp (NASDAQ:MGRC), a diversified business-to-business rental company where she is a member of the Nomination/Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee and on the Board of Directors of American River Bank (NASDAQ:AMRB), a community business bank, she is the Chair of the Finance & Capital Committee and also on the Audit Committee, she is the former Chair of the Directors Loan Committee. She is on the Board of the NorCal chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. Box is a former Vice President at HP where she led a $1B global IT Services organization. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Sacramento.  She is an international speaker and author of Woven Leadership – The Power of Diversity to Transform your Organization to Success.

Dan Casas-Murray
Founder, The Lean Innovator

Dan is the founder at The Lean Innovator, an organization that helps entrepreneurs locate and engage with their target markets, enabling them to build a customer base before launching a startup. He is also an advisor for the Capital Region Small Business Development Center, and helps clients to employ lean innovation methodologies while getting their businesses started. Dan has experience launching businesses including a $3M wireless Internet Service Provider overseas, that provided internet connections to around 400 people on a military base and three frozen yogurt and cupcake shops in the Roseville / Rocklin areas.

Jubal DeLong
Principal Industrial Designer, JDID

With 25 years professional product design and development experience DeLong has served clients, from regional startups to global brands. The resulting portfolio spans a wide variety of demanding consumer and commercial product development projects, from disruptive enterprise solutions to award winning high volume consumer electronics. DeLong’s comprehensive experiences in product development include collaboration and management of multi-faceted projects, carrying hundreds of concepts from whiteboard to mass-production while securing IP and strategic development of global design languages. JDID's work has been recognized for both design and engineering excellence.

Barbara DeHart
Investor and Entrepreneur

Barbara DeHart fell in love with technology early in her life and has spent her career leading technology organizations to bring breakthrough ideas to market.  Creating empowered teams to move products from the idea stage, through development and out to the market is one of her greatest aspirations.  She is most proud of her work mentoring early stage startups and executives. Barbara recently cofounded Sama Learning where they are developing a marketplace for virtual reality courses. Sama is an early-stage company creating game changing, immersive learning solutions.

Raul Flamenco
Founder and CEO, Acopola Networks

Raul is a fourth-time entrepreneur working on a marketplace platform for networking services. In addition to entrepreneurial experience, Raul has done business development and sales for two Fortune 50 telecom-companies. As an electrical engineer with an MBA, Raul is passionate about networks and global businesses.

Rich Foreman
CTO at Cordico

Rich Foreman is the Chief Technology Officer of Cordico. He led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. He leads Cordico's technical operations with over 25 years of experience in leadership, engineering, mobile application development and sales. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and Rich also co-founded Apptology which was acquired in 2019.   

Kevin Kane
CEO, Linkd

Kevin Kane is the CEO of Linkd, Inc. a project management cloud application utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, serving the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry. Linkd’s partners include Google, IBM and Oracle. Kevin’s technology background includes five liquidity events with three Fortune 500 companies (IBM, HP and Trimble) and two Private Equity firms. Kevin’s experience includes transitioning an OTC software company to Nasdaq and has served on non-profit and for-profit advisory boards contributing to two (for profit) liquidity events by CA Technologies and Dominion Enterprises.

Kyle Kaneshiro
Strategic Marketing Manager at Micron Technology

Kyle Kaneshiro is an experienced leader in high tech with expertise in strategic planning, product development, user experiences, new business development, and marketing.  He has over 25 years of industry experience, including Director of Strategic Planning and Client Computing Group Manager at Intel Corporation. Kyle has driven strategies and provided leadership for imaging, 3D video, security, audio, voice recognition, and silicon component/platform planning.  Kyle’s recent activities focused on cutting-edge technology usage efforts, including “No Password” security initiatives and 3D video experiences, which incorporated the use of LEAN methodologies and user experience (UX) testing.

Dan Koellen
Angel Investor

Dan Koellen is a veteran of the semiconductor industry and a leading mentor and investor in the Sacramento area. Dan was part of the leadership team that took Level One Communications, one of Sacramento’s most successful startups, from pre-revenue, through IPO and eventual acquisition by Intel. Since then he has been an active mentor for entrepreneurs through the Sacramento Angels, UC Davis GSM, Hacker Lab, Startup Weekends and individual one on one interactions. As an angel investor Dan has been an early investor in local successes such as Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII), Digital Music Group (DMGI) and Visicon (now part of ESIO).

Graham McBain
Technical Marketing Manager at Status

Graham McBain is the co-founder of LayerOne, a Sacramento startup that has developed geospatial technology, which delivers location data in the blockchain. LayerOne was recently acquired by San Diego-based XYO Network. Graham is passionate about making technology accessible to everyone. His non-traditional background has shown him that people of all walks of life can find success if they can recognize opportunity and seize it. Blockchain technology is the largest shift in financial tools in generations. This change in how money is managed has the opportunity to move people out of poverty but will require the active involvement of passionate people. Graham believes that the work XYO is doing will help to create a fairer decentralized future.

Boniface Michael
Associate Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Sacramento State

Professor Boniface Michael's research and teaching focuses on organizational culture and values, human resource management, conflict management and international management. Prior to receiving his PhD, Boniface worked as an entrepreneur and human resources professional in high tech, consumer durables, and the services industry in India. He received his PhD in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, his MBA from the FORE School of Management, and his undergraduate degree in Economics from Delhi University in India.

Evelyn Milani
Founder & CEO, Avanti Recruitment Solutions

Evelyn Milani is a business leader, coach and recruiter for high impact technology talent in Sacramento.  As CEO of Avanti, founded in 1998, Evelyn and her team align growing, Sacramento companies to high impact I.T. and marketing talent. Avanti is differentiated by a focus on "fit" between the employer and the candidate based on success factors such as pace of work, level of structure and support and environmental culture. The result is higher work out-put, greater client and employee satisfaction and maximum organizational efficiencies and success.
Always the "builder" and entrepreneur, Evelyn participates in promoting a healthy business ecosystem in Sacramento.  Her interests lie in innovations and technology for improved health and well-being especially for the underserved.   Evelyn is Program Manager for NorCal HIMSS (Health Information Management Society) MeetUp groups and collaborates with Health2.0 initiatives promoting start up growth for healthcare innovation in Sacramento.

John Nogrady
CTO, Fantag

John Nogrady has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and operating executive in the technology sector. John is an active advisor to early stage companies with expertise in technology/architecture, go-to-markets and partnerships.  John is currently working as the CTO for Sacramento startup Fantag.

Carolyn Peer
Founder and CEO, Humaxa

Carolyn has 17+ years of experience working in the Human Capital Management industry and 14 years leading and managing in a Fortune 250 company. She has an academic background in Cognitive Neuroscience and Instructional technology, which she uses to guide Humaxa’s product vision.

Ken Tallo
Entrepreneur and Investor

Ken is an entrepreneur, investor, adviser, and active board member for startup companies focused on Internet Security, Advanced Manufacturing, Analytics, Services, Entertainment, and Advertising. Ken is also a Board Member of the Sacramento Angels investment group.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Cameron
  • Josh David
  • Kevin
  • Laura


Josh David Miller

I work with startups and large organizations in transition to help figure out the process of innovation - and establish a culture that captures it. I also spend my free time connecting founders and funders, so ask me about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sacramento! 

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