Techstars Startup Weekend University of California Santa Barbara

    Friday, February 23 - 25, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Techstars Startup Weekend University of California Santa Barbara

Friday, February 23 - 25, 2018

Friday, February 23 - 25, 2018
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Loma Pelona Center
ocean road, 93106
Isla Vista, CA 93117

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Your idea in 54 hours

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement where anyone can form a team, find an idea and in 54 hours go through the process of creating a startup business and engineering a demo product. On the third day of the competition teams will pitch their idea to a panel of seasoned investors.
Winners of the competition will receive various prizes, including $2,000 worth of business consulting. 

In addition to the competition, we will have 3D Printers, and talks on Blockchain and Machine Learning. There will be 7 included meals and lots of snacks! 

**Free Yerba Mate and Shirts for all participants!**

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with?

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

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Friday February 23rd

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

6:10 pm
Dinner and Networking
Meet and network with business executives, Investors, Community Activists, Professors, and Recruiters

6:30 pm
Introduction Speeches
What is Startup Weekend?

7:00 pm
Norah Eddy Salty Girl Seafood
Former UCSB Bren student, Norah Eddy created a way to sustainably source and distribute seafood. Learn how you can make money and positive social impact as a social entrepreneur!

7:30 pm
Intro Game
What problems can you solve / businesses can you create with new and emerging technologies?

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 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 12 am

9:00 pm
Salsa Dancing
Head next door to the SRB and enjoy a live performance from the Salsa club! They will also teach us a few steps for social dancing with your new team mates

Saturday February 24th

8:00 am
start arriving, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Intro Speech and Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

10:00 am
Customer Discovery Workshop
How do you know if your idea will be successful? Learn how to build a business by first identifying a problem and finding the target market.

11:00 am
Lunch and Networking
Interview mentors and local community members about their problems and formulate customer profiles and hypothesis

12:00 pm
Real Customer Interviews
Head to Downtown Santa Barbara and ask real people about their problems. From their feedback, adjust your hypothesis and create a business!

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

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

4:00 pm
Rapid Prototyping Workshop
Learn from an expert from LA UX/UI dos and don'ts

5:00 pm
Blockchain Speech
What is it? How will it shape the future of business? How can you utilize this new technology to solve world problems and make money?

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

8:00 pm
Machine Learning Speech
Raul from Data Science is coming to speak about the future of machine learning. How can you use it? In what ways will it affect industry and the future of business?

10:00 pm
Making Music Social
Bring your instruments and your friends let's vibe!

Sunday February 25th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

11:00 am
Customer Traction
So you have an idea, you've done the research, talked to customers. How can you start getting loyal customers before even launching your product?

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

1:00 pm
How to Develop a Pitch Deck
Learn what to include in your pitch to investors. Go over public speaking and presentation skills

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
Arrive/Checkin at Loma Pelona

4:20 pm
Final Presentations

5:30 pm
10 min Presentation Break

6:30 pm
Judging & Awards

6:45 pm

7:00 pm
Go Home!


Norah Eddy
Co-Founder of Salty Girl Seafood Inc.

Norah has worked in and on the water all her life, having spent countless days at sea and working in fisheries all over the world. An avid surfer and all-around water woman, her passion for fisheries stems from an upbringing in a small New England fishing town. After working aboard commercial fishing vessels in Alaska, Norah completed her master’s thesis working to improve the Galapagos lobster fishery at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Upon receiving her master’s degree she managed an international, multi-stakeholder fisheries and marine spatial planning project. In 2014, she co-founded Salty Girl Seafood with the aim of creating positive change in the seafood industry and global oceans and grew it to an internationally recognized seafood brand. At the company, Norah focuses on sales, business and brand development, sourcing, and sustainability. Salty Girl has challenged the seafood industry to be more transparent, improve their sourcing standards, and be more responsive to customer needs. Norah is a frequent speaker on the topic of sustainable seafood, the future of our global oceans, and the role of innovation in marine conservation. 

Laz Alberto
Asset Manager at Science Blockchain

Laz has spent time on both sides of the startup table. On the founder side, he helped build the Rise Awards, a community for tech talent. Then, on the investor side, he serviced a portfolio of over 100 early-stage companies at Lowercase Capital. Now he is an Asset Manager at Science, a startup studio in Santa Monica, where he helps companies with growth, strategy, and fundraising. Science has built successful companies across multiple sectors, including Dollar Shave Club which sold for $1B to Unilever. Most recently, they have expanded their focus to include Blockchain projects, which Laz helps lead the charge on. He also runs The Block Report, a newsletter and media outlet for cryptocurrency news. When he isn't buying Bitcoin, Laz spends his time playing music and competitive video games.

David Campos
Founder of Inertia7

David is a startup and technology junkie with a passion for building products that help humans reach their highest potential.

Currently, David is focused on building out Inertia7 (, a social platform for computer & data science enthusiasts to share their open-source projects. Still in early stage, Inertia7 has garnered ~30 contributors, ~100 open-source projects, and ~9000 users.

In 2012, David founded Napses, a EdTech startup, which provided a digital and cheaper alternative to traditional class readers. After placing 3rd in the 2013 New Venture Competition at UCSB and serving ~100 students, Napses failed to scale due a lack of technical and product expertise in the founding team. After this experience, the entire founding team (including David) shifted their focus toward learning code.

Professionally, David has experience in product management, technical support, and enterprise sales. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Spanish, as well as a Technology Management Certificate from UC Santa Barbara. In his free time he loves learning, coding, drumming, painting, hiking, music festivals, and hanging out with friends.

Raul Eulogio
Data Analyst

Raul Eulogio is a data analyst currently working for the Hospice of Santa Barbara. He's the co-founder of, a social platform for sharing open source data science projects, and an active member of the Data Science at University of California, Santa Barbara organization. Raul enjoys staying active and helping foster data science in his community. He studied statistics as an undergraduate at UCSB and uses this as a foundation for his career in data science.

Lisa Steward
Director of Projects and Strategy

Lisa is passionate about all things digital. She has devoted the last 5 years of my life to mastering the art of project management, UX, design, and understanding development. 

Event Judges

Jason Spievak
VC Investor and Chief Commercial Officer Apeel

Jason Spievak serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at Apeel Sciences, where he has been an investor and board member since the company's seed funding following Apeel's victory in the 2012 UCSB New Venture Competition.  Prior to Apeel, Jason was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Invoca, the leading mobile analytics software company, backed by Accel Ventures, Upfront Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners.  Jason is a proven technology industry executive with extensive strategic, financial, transaction, and board experience at public and private companies.  Prior to founding Invoca, Jason was Chief Financial Officer at CallWave, a VoIP software and service provider, where he helped grow the company to more than $50 million in annual revenue and sustaining profitability and led its successful IPO in 2004.  Prior to CallWave, Jason was Vice President of technology M&A in Broadview's Silicon Valley office, where he was the execution lead on more than $1.25 billion in successful technology merger transactions and earned his NASD Series 7 and Series 63 licenses.  Jason has also held product roles with Nextel Communications and with Netopia, where he helped the company complete its successful IPO.  Jason is also a co-founding venture partner with Persistence Partners, an early stage venture fund with investments in some of the leading information technology and life sciences companies on the Central Coast.Jason is an active angel investor and a founding member of the Santa Barbara Angel Alliance, having invested in more than 20 early stage technology companies in Southern California.  He holds several patents in internet advertising, telecommunications, and microscale fluidics.  Jason earned his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and his BA from UCSB.  Jason lives in Santa Barbara with his college sweetheart, three awesome kids, and a puppy.

Dave Spaulding
Executive Recruiter, Investor, Educator

Founder/Principal of Spaulding Science Group, an executive search and consulting organization serving life science and technology companies.  ·      Operational leadership experience includes 15 years at Dako Corp. (now Agilent Technologies) in R&D, business & alliance development, and marketing for over 100 medical diagnostic products; as CTO and CEO of Stellar Biotechnologies, an NIH/NSF SBIR-funded startup that developed a biologic vaccine platform (IPO in 2010); and as interim CEO of the Terosin Group, a UCSB spin-out that developed an anti-inflammatory marine natural product.  UCSB TMP149 Instructor and Venture Competition mentor and judge. He is an active angel investor and member of the Santa Barbara Angel Alliance. Dave holds a Ph.D. in Biology and B.A. in Aquatic Biology from UCSB.

Jill Feldman
President of Strategic Development Associates

Jill Feldman is the President of Strategic Development Associates.  SDA’s clients include start-ups, mid-sized companies, and large national companies with a focus on technology.  SDA partners with senior level executives in strategic planning, qualitative and quantitative market research, and competitive intelligence efforts.  SDA’s areas of specialization include consumer insights, market validation, and industry and competitive analysis.  Jill founded SDA in 1997, following roles as Market Research Director and Marketing Director with AT&T Wireless Services and as Strategic Planning Manager with Verizon Wireless.  Previously, Jill was an Associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Merchant Banking Departments with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and a Business Analyst with McKinsey & Company.

Since 2008, Jill has served on the faculty of University of California, Santa Barbara teaching courses in the College of Engineering’s Technology Management Program.  Jill holds a BSE in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

When she is not working, you can find Jill training for a marathon or practicing the drums.

David Odigie
CEO and Co-Founder, Polygate Capital

David Odigie is a Nigerian-American entrepreneur, investor, and cryptocurrency enthusiast. Mr. Odigie previously ran a multi million dollar e-commerce business until he transitioned fully into trading and investing. David is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Polygate Capital, an algorithmic trading firm focusing primarily on cryptocurrency markets by a developing novel quantitative models and applying state of the art machine learning algorithms.

Coaches and Mentors

Kyle Ashby
Founder :: The Sandbox Santa Barbara | Founder, StartupSB || Startup Advisor

Kyle is the founder of THE SANDBOX Santa Barbara, a creative coworking, collaboration and event space and StartupSB, Santa Barbara's largest entrepreneurial network.

Ashby is also the founder of Kaldera an advisory firms that focuses on strategy, marketing and community building for startups, technology companies and organizations and Travel in Company a boutique tour and travel experience company.

Ashby was on the founding team of BrandLive and has worked in executive, marketing and project management roles with a number of multinational companies including Yardi Systems, Citrix Online and Forms+Surfaces. 

Kyle is an active advisor to startup companies and has taught classes in marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Antioch University Santa Barbara.  

Kyle organized the first four Startup Weekends in Santa Barbara and has facilitated Startup Weekends globally as part of TechStars. Kyle was a Startup America Champion and is a founding member of a national Startup Community Building Organization called the Startup Champions Network.   

MBA from Babson College. Undergraduate degrees in Film Studies and Geography from UC Santa Barbara, and is a Certified Project Manager and Certified Scrum Master. 

In his free time he is continues to learn, tinker, travel, surf, paddle, explore the outdoors, play the drums and bass, and spend time with his wife and daughter.

Nick Winters
SB Hackerspace

Formerly specializing in web, desktop, and mobile business development, Nick now spends most of his free time building 3d printers; he also modifies 3d printers to do things other than 3d printing (such as the ZAR plotter drawing machine).  Beyond working on 3d printing hardware, Nick also has experience creating and modifying 3d models to better suit them for printing, so feel free to run any final tweaks and design changes through Nick before printing your product!

M-J Hey
International Oil & Gas Professional

M-J has 20+yrs of international experience solving BP’s most complex petroleum & reservoir engineering challenges, he was a successful fast-track candidate that rose to VP Level by age 40 and has held positions in the UK, TX, AK, Angola & Egypt. During his career M-J was responsible for an R&D division that developed and trialed revolutionary technologies. This, combined with his extensive leadership training and practical experience gives him a unique perspective into the O&G industry and ability to communicate and guide others as they formulate their start-up ideas and navigate their way through College and into their future careers. 

Jonathan Pearce
Intellectual Property Attorney at SoCal IP Law Group

Mr. Pearce counsels clients on intellectual property matters related to interactive entertainment, virtual reality, mobile gaming, social networking, digital video systems, satellite systems, multi-function printing devices and consumer products ranging from hand-held spray bottles to mobile phone cases. Mr. Pearce has counseled industry-leading interactive entertainment and virtual reality companies in addition to industry-disrupting startups in fields as diverse as Internet marketing and cosmetics. His experience includes litigation, patent prosecution, trademark prosecution, licensing, technology transactions and adversarial proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

Eric Zackrison
President and CEO of IDI.US Inc.

Eric is the President and CEO of IDI.US Inc. which controls the rights to the Interpersonal Dynamics Inventory, a powerful multi-rater personality/behavioral styles measurement tool. After 25 years as a manager and entrepreneur and completing his MA, MBA, and PhD, Eric has taken up the mantle of his father both in furthering the awareness and use of IDI through training and licensing others, as well as adopting the name of his father’s consulting firm, Effectiveness Consultants. He focuses heavily on relationships as key to success and integrates this into his consulting and into his role in the community. Eric received his PhD from the Department of Communication at UCSB and works as an adjunct professor in the MTM program at UCSB, and for SBCC in both their professional development and communication programs. 

Ilan Ben Yaacov
Capstone, ECE and CCS lecturer

r. Ben-Yaacov received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from U.C. Santa Barbara in 2004.  Since 2004, he has served as a lecturer at UCSB in the ECE Department, the College of Creative Studies Physics program, and the Technology Management Program, teaching semiconductor processing, circuits, general physics, EE project design, and IP/patent courses.  Since 2007, he has been operating an independent IP consulting business, primarily focusing on patents, trade secrets, and trademarks.  He also manages the IP portfolio of Transphorm, Inc., a local mid-stage semiconductor start-up.  His IP areas of expertise include general IP strategy, patent drafting and prosecution, IP portfolio advising and management, domestic and foreign filing strategies, establishment of trade secrets, infringement analysis, IP due diligence for investors, licensing agreements, and trademark/branding strategies

Luan Vieira
Manager of Technical Success at Invoca

Masters of Technology Management graduate from UCSB currently managing the Technical Success team at Invoca. Luan provides technical support and services for all of the hundreds of Invoca’s enterprise and corporate customers. 
He is particularly passionate about applying technology to education. 

Paige Sundstrom
Economics & Business Librarian

Paige Sundstrom is UCSB’s Economics & Business Librarian. She supports student and faculty research through providing digital and physical materials, teaching subject-specific research classes, and staying up to date on business and economic trends. 

Taylor Brooks
Software Developer at HG Data

Taylor Brooks is a Data Engineer and Software Developer at HG Data, a local Santa Barbara company. For over 3 years now, he has done everything from developing APIs and UIs, to managing the infrastructure and databases that power them.

Chris Herbert
CEO and Co-founder Trakr

Chris Herbert runs product strategy and marketing at TrackR.  Under Mr. Herbert’s leadership, TrackR has grow from 0 to a rapidly expanding business that has sold over 400,000 TrackR devices all over the world and is credited as one of the leaders of the Internet of Things revolution.  Mr. Herbert’s recent accomplishments include managing engineering, manufacturing, and product design teams to complete the design of TrackR bravo, a device that defies physics using it’s anodized aluminum casing design. Mr. Herbert has successfully raised over a million dollars in capital from leading investors such as IncWell capital, Wasabi Ventures, and Tech Coast Angels.  Prior to raising capital, Mr. Herbert led the TrackR team through a bootstrapped period and successfully managed limited resources to enable the company to effectively scale and become a market leader.  Mr. Herbert led TrackR in their well known crowd funding campaigns and is has been featured in many business blogs and Indiegogo’s blog, one of the largest Crowdfunding platforms in the world, as one of the leaders in the Crowdfunding space.

Prior to cofounding TrackR in 2009, Mr. Herbert studied Electrical Engineering at UCSB and Tohoku University and worked at ViaSat and Danaher motion as an engineer. In his spare time, he can be found at Rincon getting “tubed”.

Daniel Colantonio
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Daniel Colantonio is a social entrepreneur and community organizer in Santa Barbara, CA. Born and raised outside Boston, MA, he graduated from Boston University before moving to Los Angeles. 

In 2014, Colantonio and his twin brother launched a service organization called Hustlers for Humanity in Santa Barbara. Applying their 10+ years experience in team building and coaching, Hustlers has become a growing team of hundreds, that has supported 50+ non-profits and volunteered thousands of hours in town. Last fall Hustlers launched its first college chapter at UCSB.
In 2017, Colantonio and two partners co-founded Serve Community, a Santa Barbara based startup, dedicated to uniting humanity in service.
Serve Community is currently teaming with global visionaries, respected academics, and entrepreneurial students to design a global network and game out of service, that will help humanity solve our greatest challenges together. The company will beta test its platform this spring on UCSB campus.

Mark Goldstein
Partner, SoCal IP Law Group

Mark A. Goldstein is a partner of SoCal IP Law Group LLP. He has specialized in intellectual property law since 1999 after working as a civil litigation attorney. In addition to a practice that includes patent preparation, trademark acquisition, intellectual property licensing and related counseling, Mark renders patent and trademark infringement opinions, prepares intellectual property agreements, implements corporate patent programs, and develops trademark portfolios. He gained experience in the computer software business at Codex Corporation/Motorola Information Systems Group and Xerox Corporation.

While obtaining his law degree, Mark earned an Exceptional Achievement Award for his performance in an Intellectual Property Protection of Computer Software seminar. His technical experience includes applications software, networking software and devices, digital multimedia creation and broadcasting, and electronic commerce. Mark is a member of the International Trademark Association and the International Technology Law Association. Mark has presented talks on intellectual property at UCSB, Cal. Poly San Luis Obispo, California State Univ. Channel Islands, and Startup Weekend Santa Barbara.

Mark is a member of the California bar and is registered to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend University of California Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Isabelle
  • Sereena
  • Lorenzo
    Dela Rama


Navjot Brar
Product Manager | Startup Community Leader | Innovation Catalyst

Navjot is a technical product manager who leads all international product work at Carpe Data related to bringing our products to the international market. This includes localization management, translation management, product management, data analysis, R&D, sales support, and project management.

He has previously worked in insurance services, AI-powered marketing SAAS, speakers, and MEMS industries fulfilling a wide variety of roles such as product, sales, hardware quality, and software engineering. He graduated from UCSB with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

He supports the local startup community of Santa Barbara by organizing the Lean Startup Circle Meetup and the global startup community through organizing/facilitating Startup Weekends.

Globally he works with organizations like Techstars, Lean Startup Co, TechCrunch, SXSW, and more.

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