Startup Weekend IMMIGRATION

    Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015

  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 IMMIGRATION

Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015

Friday, May 29 - 31, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

44 Tehama St
San Francisco, CA 94105

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The American Dream is fading...

...but it isn't beyond saving.

Official Event Recap:
Don’t make something people want, make something the world needs

This event is for anyone who wants to make something cool and pay it forward to future of generations of immigrants, whether you’re an immigrant yourself or just passionate about this issue.

Need some inspiration? Check out Immigration Startup Ideas

WHAT is "Startup Weekend"?

Startup Weekends are weekend-long (non-profit) events where anyone with an idea can form a team on Friday evening and launch a startup by Sunday evening.

This particular Immigration-themed Startup Weekend is both a hackathon and a community gathering for anyone who's frustrated by how broken our immigration system has become, and wants to team up with other like-minded people to do something about it. We'll also be bringing an amazing group of Speakers, Judges, and Mentors (see further below) who are already doing some really interesting work in this area.


All meals are included with your ticket. Pizza will be served on Friday evening, light breakfast (bagels, fruit, and coffee) will be served on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch & dinner on Saturday and Sunday will be provided by SpoonRocket. We will also have snacks, energy drinks, water, and tea available in between meals.

WHEN and WHERE is this event happening?

The event will begin on Friday May 29 at 6:30pm and end on Sunday May 31 around 9:00pm. The venue will close around 11:00pm on Friday & Saturday evening and open around 7am on Saturday & Sunday morning. If you need help with lodging or late-night working during the weekend, let us know at

It’s taking place at Galvanize, a beautiful and spacious co-working space located in the SoMa district of San Francisco. It’s a 20 min walk from the San Francisco Caltrain station (for those coming from the Peninsula and South Bay), and a 10 min walk from Montgomery St BART station (for those coming from Easy Bay).

WHY immigration?

This country was built on a dream, and a belief that the course of our lives does not have to be determined by the country, culture, and socioeconomic status that we were all randomly born into. Immigration is a proven solution to this “unjust lottery” of life, but somewhere along the way we lost sight of that dream.

Join us on May 29 and let's help bring back the American Dream, together.

What people are saying about Startup Weekend IMMIGRATION:

Hacking immigration (

The Fading American Dream (

SF Chapter Members Host Startup Weekend Immigration (

Startup Weekend Immigration wins 1st Place in UP Global's 2015 Editions Month Story Contest (

The Forgotten Dream (


Friday May 29th

6:00 pm
Networking & Food

7:00 pm
Speaking Panel
"The Past, Present, and Future of Immigration"

8:00 pm
Pitch Ideas

9:00 pm
Vote and Form Teams
Start planning for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

Saturday May 30th

7:00 am
Doors Open

9:00 am
Food provided by The Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco

11:00 am
Immigrant Founder Stories
Successful founders share their personal immigration stories and how it affected them as entrepreneurs.

12:00 pm
Food provided by SpoonRocket

1:00 pm
Mentoring Sessions
From 1pm to 5pm, Mentors will be around to answer your team's questions about development, design, immigration law, customer development, etc.

6:30 pm
Food provided by SpoonRocket

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday May 31st

7:00 am
Doors Open

9:00 am
Food provided by The Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco

11:00 am
Pitch Practice & Feedback

12:00 pm
Food provided by SpoonRocket

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:00 pm
Break for Dinner
Food provided by SpoonRocket

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm
Wrap-Up & Afterparty
Wine provided by Silicon Valley Bank


Laks Srini
Co-founder & CTO at Zenefits

=== Saturday Panelist ===
Workers in Silicon Valley Weigh In on Obama’s Immigration Action (
"Mr. Srini had to get his American co-founder to hire him as Zenefits’ database administrator simply to transfer his visa from his previous employer so they could create the company. But he still has not been able to upgrade his visa to one that reflects his role."

Tri Tran
Co-founder & CEO at Munchery

=== Saturday Panelist ===
Pitch Your Life: The Art of Storytelling When Raising $28M
"I’m one of those escaping boat people from Vietnam you might have heard about. When I was 11 years old, I escaped with my grandma and older brother in a tiny boat with 100 people packed like sardines."

Silver Keskküla
Co-founder at Teleport, ex-Skype

=== Saturday Panelist ===
Good Luck Being Born Tomorrow! (
Silver was born in Soviet-occupied Estonia, lived in Finland, studied in Sweden, wrote his thesis in China, worked in Switzerland, worked in the US and recently spent some time in Colombia and Ecuador. He is currently in the Galapagos islands.

Nikhil Aitharaju
Co-founder at Tint

Nikhil's Immigration Story (
Nikhil was born in India and came to the United States in 2010 to pursue his Masters in Computer Science at the University of Southern California.

Martha Edith Hernandez
CEO at Startup Life Coach LLC

=== Friday Panelist ===
Martha is advisor to, a startup which helps developers and data scientists from Mexico and other countries find startup jobs in Silicon Valley by helping them obtain the TN Visa instead of the traditional H1B Visa, saving companies and employees both time and money.

Todd Schulte
President of

=== Friday Panelist ===
What is Mark Zuckerberg’s (
As President of, Todd steers the organization to focus on what matters most to it’s mission: to make the American Dream more achievable in the 21st century, starting with immigration reform.

Michael Serotte
Founding Partner of Serotte Law Firm, LLC

=== Friday Panelist ===
Michael also serves as Immigration Attorney at Stanford StartX, Immigration Legal Partner at Unshackled, and Lead Immigration Attorney at Bridge US

Sameer Khedekar
Partner at Pearl Law Group

=== Friday Panelist ===
Sameer's mother left the U.S. and went back to India to give birth to him. As a result, he lived much of his life as a permanent resident in the US. When he became an immigration attorney, he applied for his own U.S. citizenship.

Sten Tamkivi
Co-founder & CEO at Teleport, ex-Skype

Julissa Arce
Director of Development at Define American, ex-Goldman Sachs

=== Special Friday Guest Speaker ===
How an Undocumented Immigrant From Mexico Became a Star at Goldman Sachs
Julissa is a former undocumented American from Mexico. She became a US citizen on August 8, 2014. Formerly an investment banker, she now advocates for immigrant rights.

Event Judges

Dan Raile
Staff Reporter at PandoDaily

Immigration reform: It’s time for the lucky few to stand with the millions still living in fear (
"Those of us lucky enough to have (relatively speaking) waltzed right through the US immigration system have an absolute moral obligation to speak out in favor of those who are being brutalized by that same system."

Nitin Pachisia
Founding Partner at Unshackled

Unshackled, a New Angel Fund, Forms to Back Immigrant Entrepreneurs (
Nitin was born in India and came to the US in 2005. Unshackled is an innovate angel fund supported by over 70 influential investors, with a unique hiring-based funding model which allows it to also support immigrant entrepreneurs on work visas.

James Richards
Co-founder & CEO of Teleborder (YC S13)

Got visa problems? Teleborder raises a Khosla Ventures-led seed round to solve employee immigration issues (
James was born in Adelaide, Australia and grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has been a global traveler living on one form of a visa or another for 22 of his 27 years.

Romish Badani
Co-founder & CEO of Bridge US

500 Startups-backed Bridge US launches a tool for helping businesses submit visa applications (
Romish's large, extended family immigrated to the US from India over a lengthy period. One of his cousins had to leave days before he was set to graduate from UC Irvine because of a dispute over a schooling credential from the old country.

Edith Yeung
Partner at 500 Startups Mobile Collective Fund

500 Startups launches a new mobile-focused $10M micro-fund, led by Edith Yeung (
"There are still over 4 billion people on earth with no Internet access but with a desire to be connected and be informed. It is our belief that mobile technology will make that possible."

Coaches and Mentors

Casey Berman
Chief Communications Officer at FileRight

Will FileRight Be The TurboTax Of Immigration For DACA? (
Engaging with the immigrant community is Casey's passion and a core family value. While Casey works with FileRight crusading a simple solution to complete immigration forms, his wife advocates for the undocumented youth of San Francisco.

Mitch Grimes
Chief Product Officer at Clearpath

Clearpath Aims to Simplify Immigration Applications (
Mitch got his start working with immigrant communities during his time serving as a volunteer missionary in Los Angeles. As Clearpath's head of product, Mitch is helping democratize the immigration process by making it easier, more affordable, and secure.

Amy LaThanh
Product Manager at, ex-Kabam

Sylvain Kalache
Co-founder at TechMeAbroad, ex-LinkedIn

Davy Day
Supervising Attorney at Pearl Law Group

Davy is from Vancouver, Canada and came to the Bay Area as an F-1 student to pursue a career in Law. He obtained his TN visa after becoming a California licensed attorney and later became a lawful permanent resident.

Lorianne Elizalde
Attorney at Pearl Law Group

Lorianne is the daughter and granddaughter of Filipino immigrants. Her grandfather was an engineer, her father served in the US Air Force for 20 years, and her mother earned two degrees to become a Nurse Practitioner while raising 3 kids.

Ann Cun
Senior Attorney at Meyer Law Group

Ann proudly considers herself part of the 1.5 generation of Americans who were born elsewhere but raised in the U.S. Don't forget to ask about her funny naturalization story.

Rasheida Knight
Case Manager at Meyer Law Group

Rasheida has 9+ years experience with employment & family immigration. She also supports immigration nonprofits addressing social needs.

Sam McAfee
Product & Engineering Consultant

Nari Shin
Lead Android Developer at Munchery

Nari is from South Korea and immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013.

Marco Negrete
Consul for Community Affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico in SF

Mónika Szablics
Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Monika is from Hungary and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000s.

Mohan Kanungo
Director of Engagement at Mission Asset Fund

Jay Zalowitz
ex-Technical Co-founder at Generator Lab

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend IMMIGRATION 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.



Workshops By

Food & Drink Provided By

Advocacy & Media Partners

Organizing Team

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

  • Peter
  • Armando
  • Pulkit
  • Jessica
  • david
  • Ria
  • Kate
  • Kripa


Frank Denbow
Startup Advocate at Microsoft, Founder of INFLECTION

Frank Denbow is a computer scientist and entrepreneur from New Jersey. He is currently a Startup Advocate at Microsoft, helping support the startup community in NYC. He is the founder of INK’A (, a platform for producing top quality custom apparel for companies and influencers. Frank has bootstrapped INK’A into millions in revenue and enjoys supporting other entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem. Frank has held leadership positions in community organizations such as Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, & Coalition for Queens, helping connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need. Out of this desire, he created INFLECTION, a community for profitable companies.

Event Staff

Maïté Grisard
Super marketer

Maïté graduated from HEC-Ecole de gestion de l’université de Liège. She is a field marketing expert specialised in the North American markets. Maïté is a fervent Startup Weekender: she attended, organised or coached several Startup Weekends in Belgium, Canada and the US.

Tina Amper

Event Blog

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