Startup Weekend San Diego

    Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

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

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Downtown Works
550 West B Street
4th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

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Your idea in 54 hours

Techstars Startup Weekend and Grow with Google have joined forces to offer this special event FREE of charge to the first people who register.

Hurry to secure your spot; this event will sell out quickly!

Techstars Startup Weekend is the best place to learn how to build a startup in a weekend and connect with your community; a melting pot of the area’s most creative thinkers, builders and implementers.  It’s a 3-day long sprint to launch new products and services that solve real-world problems.

Grow with Google is an initiative that draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through Grow with Google, Google aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Techstars Startup Weekend San Diego and Google have joined forces to bring this special event to life.

See what it's all about

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Friday April 6th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 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

8:00 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

9:30 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.

10:45 pm
Wrap Up
Start wrapping up for the night. The venue closes promptly at 11pm.

Saturday April 7th

9:00 am
Breakfast & Get To Work!
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

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

12:00 pm

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

3:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:30 pm
Finished for the day; start wrapping up. The venue closes promptly at 11.

Sunday April 8th

9:00 am
Breakfast & Get To Work!
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Shriya Raghunathan
Product Manager, NBU + Assistant

Product Manager, NBU + Assistant

Joao Fiadeiro
Product Manager, YouTube Music

I am a Product Manager in YouTube's Music team responsible for initiatives aimed at fostering a productive, creative and rewarding relationship between Google, the music industry and artists by providing reliable, consistent and insightful analytics.

Before joining the music team, I was a data scientist in YouTube's Strategy (BizOps) team responsible for providing business critical insights using analytics, ensuring cross functional alignment of goals and execution, and helping teams drive strategic partnerships and new initiatives forward. Prior to this, I was an Anti-Abuse Analyst (Engineering) at Google responsible for fighting fraud and spam across a wide range of Google products. 

I completed my postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford where I got an MSc in Social Science of the Internet. Awarded by the Oxford Internet Institute, the degree equipped me with an in-depth knowledge of Internet communications policy and regulation; social science methods and digital humanities. I concentrated on the application of quantitative methods such as statistical analysis and network analysis to study emergent social phenomena. 

I graduated from University College London with a 1st class (GPA: 4/4) BSc. in Information Management for Business, equivalent to a management and computer science degree. The programme provided the highest quality management and technology education and a deep insight into the management issues faced by technology-intensive organisations.

Entrepreneurial and motivated, I can bring innovation, motivation and proven leadership. I have an extremely diverse international background I am an ideal cross-cultural leader and communicator - I speak 4 languages and have lived in 11 countries.

Event Judges

Joon S. Han
Generosity Strategist + Co-Founder, AwesomeGuests

Strategist, serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and polymath, Joon S. Han is on a mission to help as many bright entrepreneurs as possible – that’s why he LOVES Startup Weekend! (This is his fourth time and counting...)
He co-founded AwesomeGuests because he believes that you're a big deal and his TEDx talk (and upcoming book) "Get Ahead by Giving Back" shows decent, well-meaning people how to leverage the power of generosity to succeed in the dog-eat-dog, cutthroat world of business.

Andy White
Startup Operations at Keshif Ventures, LLC

Electronics engineer, inventor, background in most aspects of electronics, technology transfer, licensing, high volume manufacture, off shore production and startup mentoring. Strengths include leading and motivating, establishing the teams focus and reaching consensus or making the hard decisions as needed.

Samuel Clarke, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Entrepreneurship

Samuel Clarke is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management in the College of Business Administration. He earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and BA in Finance from the University of Utah. In addition to pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Administration, Sam is involved in the founding and growth of several new ventures in the areas of software, health benefits, and consumer financing. He has also previously served as Chair of the Utah Entrepreneurship Challenge at the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Utah where he oversaw the entrepreneurial programs, business plan competition, training and education, accelerator and over $100,000 in seed financing per year. Professor Clarke's research focuses on novel ways in which entrepreneurs and investors use financial technologies in the resource acquisition process. His research has been presented at the Academy of Management Conference and Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference. He enjoys traveling in the United States and abroad and has lived in Moscow, Russia for several years.

Coaches and Mentors

Felena Hanson
Founder of Hera Hub

Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven.  Her 20 year career has spanned from technology start-ups to digital marketing agencies.  Some of her former clients include DirecTV, Epson, CNN, and Union Bank.  Before becoming an entrepreneur she was Director of Marketing for a venture-backed San Diego internet company that sold to America Online in 2003. As Felena launched her first business, Perspective Marketing, she found her passion for supporting other female entrepreneurs through leadership roles with several professional women’s organizations, including Ladies Who Launch and Women’s Global Network.

Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.  After building three successful locations, she franchised the business and is expanding across the United States.  Her next goal is to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business via 200 Hera Hub locations over the next 5 years.

H. Puentes
Director of Recruitment & Outreach at CONNECT San Diego

Harrison Schaen
CIO @ TITAN / CEO @ Issue Fixers

Harrison Schaen is a Princeton University graduate who has over 20 years of experience in Technology, Marketing, and Sales with the current objective of cultivating the Startup community in San Diego and helping shape the city's tech ecosystem. 

CEO and Founder of Issue Fixers (, Schaen spent a majority of his life either on the basketball court at the highest level or in front of a computer, excelling as a professional in both. Creator of the LADDER development methodology and co-creator of JETFUEL, the rapid prototyping program, Schaen has helped grow hundreds of businesses, including his own, which grew from 2 employees on day 1, to over 60 employees in over 14 countries worldwide. 

In his professional career, Schaen has been a designer, product manager, sales rep, marketing manager, web developer, Sr. developer, technical director, founder and CEO. He has been a resident of San Diego since 2011, is Communications Co-Lead for Startup San Diego, and Executive Director of San Diego Startup Week 2017.

Trevor Gile
Engineer | Entrepreneur | Educator

I love working on exceptionally hard problems with crazy-smart, creative people. I focus intentlyon trying to ask the right questions.

Robert Swisher

Robert Swisher is a seasoned technology executive with 15+ years experience leading development of applications and systems running some of the most high traffic sites on the web. As a startup veteran, Robert has unique experience in taking a company from early stages into rapid growth.

Robert is the Founder and CEO of Frendli, a startup making the process of meeting new friends easy. Previously Robert served as CTO & Co-Founder at FestPop, a music festival and travel startup and CTO at Robert was instrumental in both the capital raise and acquisition of from Dex One Inc. as well as the sale to strategic buyer, Purch, and the only member of the executive team to do both.

Diego Alarcon
Director of Innovation

Diego Alarcon, a two-time founder, earned his B.S. in Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation from Virginia Commonwealth University. After college, he transitioned into a management consultant role at Deloitte. More recently, he returned to his alma mater as a venture program manager to launch an ecosystem for entrepreneurship. At the ZIP Launchpad, he runs a 10-week pre-accelerator program that launches student startups and entrepreneurs each year. Diego, a user experience designer by trade, uses his skills to turn ideas into reality through business model innovation, experimentation and rapid prototyping.

Natalie Susi
Consultant & Coach

Natalie Susi is a teacher by heart, a writer by trade, and an entrepreneur by choice.

A former English and writing teacher, Natalie Susi founded Bare Organic Mixers after she was laid off in the CA budget cuts from her dream job at SDSU.

In 2009, Natalie decided to explore the world of entrepreneurialism when she recognized a large gap in the marketplace for low-calorie, all-natural cocktails. Natalie navigated the sourcing, bottling, manufacturing, and distribution process and created Bare Organic Mixers. In 2014, she sold the company to a leading natural foods company. Natalie and Bare were featured in some notable press outlets that include: (Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in SD), Pacific Magazine (Top 30 Under 30) The LA Times, E! Online, People Magazine, and Bravo's, The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Jessica Sweeney
Product Management & Marketing Executive

Founder of ProductCamp San Diego, and looking for volunteers for the organizing committee.

• Product Exec with 20 years’ experience delivering new products and rejuvenating mature ones.
• Deep experience in IoT, SaaS, and B2B software in public and private sector.
• International work experience in the US, Europe, Middle East, India, and SE Asia. 
• Expertise in product strategy, with an emphasis on Pragmatic Marketing principles, Lean Startup, and Chasm market development. Sales engineering background.

Kurling Robinson
CEO, Fokcus

Kurling Robinson, co-founder, musician, and start-up visionary with over 25 years of expertise in software development and entrepreneurship space. Helping and advising hundreds of companies, as well as establishing Technology Thursday, Mr. Robinson was selected as one of the top mentors for SCORE nationally. With the incubator through USC Viterbi, he acted as an advisor and served on the board for several companies that were funded. He is a Venture Consultant at the USC Blackstone Launchpad. 

Johanna Robinson
COO, Fokcus

Innovative leader in both technology development/services and creative product development/services. 

Andrea Viser
Chief Scientific Officer

Chief Scientific Officer

Neal Bloom
Ecosystem and Company Builder

Ecosystem and Company Builder

Emily Rotolo
Founder & CEO SimpleForms

Founder & CEO SimpleForms

Matt Hayes
Pastor of Innovation and Technology

Matt is the CIO at the Rock Church, one of America’s largest churches. Prior to that, Matt was Co-Founder & COO of Mogiv, a mobile and cloud-based giving technology for organizations engaged in ministry. Mogiv was acquired by Ministry Brands in October 2016.  Prior to that Matt served as President of Ecolite USA, a clean technology company that developed pre-engineered building solutions to the US Dept. of Defense and commercial building industry.  Matt also served as CEO of, a publicly-traded software development company in the domain registration space (symbol KWEB). Matt has been issued 3 US Patents and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Half Marathon, a 501(c)3. He lives in Valley Center, CA with his wife and 4 children.

Joe Moreno
Former CTO of It’s Borrowed

Experienced leader with a proven track record of managing organizations with dozens of people reporting up to me over the course of years.

Formerly: CTO at The It's Borrowed mobile app lets consumers earn money lending out the items they own while allowing them to rent items they need from people nearby. It's like Airbnb for your stuff.

Former Apple Software Engineer

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend San Diego 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.

Signature Sponsors

Grow with Google offers free training and tools to help you grow your skills, career, or business.

Visit Website

Organizing Team

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

  • Marcus
  • Jen
  • Alex
  • Amin
  • Julian
  • Michael
  • Shawn
  • Kevin


Julian Bryant
iOS Developer

For the past six years Julian has been an organizer in San Diego's startup community. He is a passionate community builder leading the first Startup Weekend event in the city and has helped lead a team of volunteers to create 15 other events over the past few years as well as organize for Startup Week and Geek Girl Tech Con. 

Julian Bryant received is law degree from Georgetown and a BA in Japanese, Computer Applications, and Government from the University of Notre Dame. He is currently the senior mobile developer at FreshForm Interactive and advises several startups on mobile development.

Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

Mia Mian

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