Startup Weekend Santa Cruz

    Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Santa Cruz

Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016

Friday, November 18 - 20, 2016
Event starts at 6:30 pm

101 Cooper St.
Sunday night @ The MAH (across the street)!
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Sustainable Solutions & Social Impact Edition

What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend Santa Cruz is a grassroots event, organized by volunteers who currently live and/or work in Santa Cruz. This is a unique opportunity for developers, designers, social justice advocates, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, students, engaged citizens, marketers, product managers, changemakers, nonprofit leaders, startup enthusiasts and many others come together to team up and build several new social enterprise startups in just 54 hours! Startup Weekend is part of the largest entrepreneurial community with 80,000 past attendees of 905 weekend events in 501 cities within 135 countries, as of 2014. This is big, and we are excited to see which companies sprout during our weekend!

This three-day event encourages a fun and engaging environment for changemakers of all backgrounds. A Changemaker is one who uses their unique perspective, passion knowledge, and abilities to bring about change in their local and/or global community. Anyone can be a changemaker. Startup Weekend creates a forum for creators and idealists to gain insight and relevant, real-time experience for growing a social enterprise while expanding their networks, portfolios, and resumes. Weekend activities include rapid-fire startup pitches, team formation, customer development, 
prototype building, UI/UX design, business model generation, mentor feedback from experts, and conclude with a Shark Tank-style judging session. Prizes awarded will be designed to add value to the winning social enterprise startup teams, and of course come with bragging rights!

Current prizes:
  • 1st Place - An opportunity to present your startup at the upcoming Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp on December 7th. A Founder Institute Fellowship, to be awarded to a founding member of the winning team for free, a $2,300 USD value. 1 year premium subscription for Blinkist.
  • 2nd Place - An opportunity to present your startup at the upcoming Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp on December 7th. 6 month premium subscription for Blinkist
  • 3rd Place - An opportunity to present your startup at the upcoming Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp on December 7th. 3 month premium subscription for Blinkist
  • All participants - A complimentary Day Pass for NextSpace. A free application to the Founder Institute Fellowship. A 30-day free premium subscription for Blinkist.

What’s a Social Enterprise? Straight from Wikipedia:

“A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.”

Participants arrive the evening of Friday, Nov. 18th. Those with a social enterprise startup in mind get 60 seconds to pitch their idea (pitching is not required), attendees then vote for their favorites, and then teams naturally form around the top ideas! Days two and three involve collaboration as teams take their ideas from paper to working prototype including interaction with potential customers.

We're focusing on Sustainable Solutions and Social Impact to encourage cross-pollination of communities within Santa Cruz County who might not often get together for a shared cause. We hope to bring folks together who have different interests, areas of expertise, and passions to share, create, and get feedback on ideas that can change the world for the better.

For this event, sustainable solutions and social impact as related concepts refer to the conservation and equitable distribution of environmental resources that focuses on the needs of current and future people, ecological systems, and economic vitality. This can include topics like food, water, health, energy, transportation, housing, waste, and more. However, given that sustainable solutions and social impact can mean many different things, we invite participants to bring their own interpretations of these concepts to the event and let their unique perspective inform the challenges and solutions they present.

This event is also part of the Global Startup Weekend, a worldwide event for the best startup ideas created in a weekend. More details to be posted soon.

You’re busy, we get it! An entire weekend is quite the commitment, but we encourage you to shake up your routine and come to Startup Weekend on November 18 - 20! You’ve surely experienced nothing like it before. We promise to feed you lots of  good food, introduce you to talented locals (potentially your future co-founder(s)), connect you to business leaders, and provide you with a challenging, engaging, and risk-free space to test out that idea you’ve been hanging on to for the last year (or help someone build theirs). Seriously though, if you think you have an idea that can help make the world a better place, it’s time to act on it and try it out! We welcome anyone passionate about social enterprise, business, development, design, marketing, etc.

What’s in it for me!? There’s a lot of crossover, but here’s exactly what you stand to gain:

Changemakers & Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to:
  • pitch and validate an idea, and potentially launch a successful startup
  • attempt to affect positive change on the world, or at the very least, in Santa Cruz
  • tackle relevant and local sustainability and social issues
  • connect with talented developers, designers, and like-minded entrepreneurs (you might even find your future co-founder)
  • experience the fast-paced startup environment
  • build on leadership skills by directing, collaborating and coordinating with a team to achieve a common goal
  • receive direct feedback from experts in the field, and more importantly, potential customers!
  • learn new skills and gain a ton of experience in an intense, but fun setting
Designers will be able to:
  • expand their portfolios
  • show off their design skills
  • get feedback on their ideas within a startup and feasible business context
  • see how they can perform under pressure
  • network with other creatives and business leaders
  • land potential job leads
Developers will get the chance to:
  • build something people want and might actually use
  • test out the fast-paced startup environment and challenge themselves
  • meet potential co-founders
  • develop their portfolios
  • build the core features of a product under an extreme time constraint
  • gain a fantastic experience to share in future interviews
Tickets to Startup Weekend are capped at 100. Grab yours now before it sells out! This is a lean and volunteer organized event, meaning the cost of your ticket directly covers the actual cost of you attending (mostly the food you’ll eat).

Most of the weekend will be at NextSpace.

Sunday night at 5pm we will be at The Museum of Art and History.

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for email announcements!

Questions about the event? Email us at .



Lastly, sponsorship opportunities and scholarship tickets are available. Please contact us via email for more information!

Melissa, Kevin, Jax, 
Katie, Jeffrey, Hasti & Tom
Your Startup Weekend Santa Cruz 2016 Organizers

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Friday November 18th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 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

Saturday November 19th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:30 am
Coach meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

12:00 pm

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!

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

Sunday November 20th

9:00 am
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

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Lloyd Tabb
Founder & CTO @ Looker

Bobbi Burns
Technology Marketing and Start-up Consultant, & Angel Investor

Subhas Desa
Teaching Professor & Undergraduate Director, Technology Management, Jack Baskin School Of Engineering (UCSC)

Doug Erickson
Founder and Host, Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp & VP Growth, Nanigans

Chris Benner
Professor, Chair, and Director of the Everett Program at UCSC

Coaches and Mentors

Keith Holtaway
Strategic Business Design

Liz MacKellar
Product Strategy Consultant, Entrepreneurship Educator

Colin Kinner
Startup Ecosystem Builder, Entrepreneur Trainer

Colin is one of Brisbane's startup experts, having worked with several hundred startup teams over two decades. He is founder of Startup Onramp, a training and mentoring program for first-time startup founders. He has previously run a startup accelerator, an incubator and an early stage VC fund.

Julie Francis
UX Research & Strategy - Founder, BellaVia Research

Peter Laurie
Startup Mentor

Peter is a software engineering professional who focuses on delivery of projects to a high level of quality in an effective, efficient and elegant manner. He has been in the software industry for 17 years.

Peter is an electrical engineer by training, a software engineer by choice, a business analyst by necessity, and a consultant when required. He has a Bachelor Electrical Engineering, a Graduate Diploma of Computer Engineering, and an MBA that focused on Strategy and Entrepreneurship.

Peter runs a small software engineering firm called Junta. Junta focuses most of its energy on developing prototypes and proofs of concepts for people with great ideas or interesting problems.

Ben Hencke

Amelia Conlen
Transportation Coordinator for the City of Santa Cruz

Alex Gershenson
Professor of Environmental Studies at SJSU, Co-founder of EcoShift Consulting, Co-Founder & CEO of SupplyShift

Pontus Malmberg
Founder / CEO of Blix

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Santa Cruz 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.




Bronze Sponsorship

Organizing Team

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

  • Melissa
  • Kevin
  • Jax
  • Katie
  • Jeffrey
  • Hasti
  • Tom


Mitchell Cuevas
Product @ Techstars

I've spent the last 5 years working for Startup Weekend, then UP Global, and now Techstars, helping in one way or another to build and support the world's largest starting place for entrepreneurs. Programs like Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, the Techstars Accelerator, and others, provide entrepreneurs programs at every step of their journey and reach over 150 countries. Before joining Startup Weekend, I helped start a social media focused Marketing agency and studied Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington, among other side projects. Check out my list covering #MarTech or say hey on whichever network suits you best!

Chris Montes
Software Engineer at UP Global

Chris is a Seattle-based software developer, currently working as a Frontend Engineer at Peach. He has also previously worked at UP Global, Urban Influence, the Teacher Resource Network, and more. 

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