Techstars Startup Weekend Schenectady

    Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020

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

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2020
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Urban Co-Works
433 State St 4th Floor
Schenectady, New York 12305

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Your idea in 54 hours

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!

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Friday March 6th

5:00 pm
Event Kick-Off
Organizers will kick-off the event and share what the rest of the weekend will look like.

6:00 pm
Registration, Networking & Dinner
Arrive at the venue and get checked in, network with the community and enjoy some pizza :)

6:30 pm
Pitch Fire
Participants optionally line up to pitch to the audience with the goal of being selected to continue working on that idea for the duration of the weekend.

7:30 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas.

8:30 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. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

Saturday March 7th

8:00 am
Breakfast, Work & Mentors
Enjoy breakfast and continue working with the support of Mentors from the community.

12:00 pm
Lunch & Surprise Giveaway
Enjoy Lunch with a surprise giveaway opportunity.

1:00 pm
Continue working hard :)

5:00 pm

7:00 pm
Continue working hard :)

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

Sunday March 8th

9:00 am
Enjoy breakfast as you get back into the swing of things.

10:00 am
Final Preparations & Mentors
Prepare for your final pitches and continued support from Mentors in the community.

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Final Presentations
Teams will present their final pitches to 3 judges and the audience. 1st, 2nd & 3rd place teams will be awarded.

4:00 pm
Judging & Awards

4:30 pm
Go Home!


Event Judges

David Harris
President of Union College

David R. Harris, Ph.D., a sociologist with a distinguished record as an innovative teacher, scholar and administrator, became the 19th president of Union College on July 1, 2018.Most recently, he was chief academic officer at Tufts University. There, he led the creation of a strategic plan, from which emerged a program to encourage students to do a year of service before college, and Bridge Professorships, which span two or more schools to advance research and teaching on complex issues. He also established the new position of chief diversity officer and launched Bridging Differences, an initiative to encourage informed discussion around challenging topics.

Tom Franceski

Tom has been involved in leading and growing technology businesses for the past 25 years.  Most recently he oversaw the sale of DocStar, an enterprise content management software business, to Epicor, and ERP solution provider.  Tom and two partners acquired DocStar in 2007 along with Computer Professionals.  The team effectively re-positioned DocStar as a SAAS platform, drove aggressive growth and  sold the business in January 2017.  Tom ran the business for Epicor until September 2017, and left to rejoin CPI as Chief Financial Officer.  Tom began his career with KPMG after graduating from LeMoyne College with an accounting degree, and holds a NYS CPA license.  He has a passion for combining strong leadership and execution discipline with solid strategy…..and driving great business results.  

Nicole Snow
Founder and CEO

United States Air Force Veteran, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Mom to a three-year-old, Wife, Founder & CEO, Nicole Snow is the ‘Jane of all trades’. In 2008, out of desire to create a business focused on social consciousness through crafting and design, Nicole founded Darn Good Yarn. Over the past 12 years, Darn Good Yarn has saved over 2,000,000 pounds of manufacturing remnant material from ending up in landfills or rivers, upcycling it into handmade craft supplies and apparel while employing more than 300 global artisans. Darn Good Yarn has appeared for the last 3 years on the Inc 5000 list and was recently named New York’s Capital Region Company to Watch.  

Coaches and Mentors

Gerald Briffa
General Counsel at Tom Patire Group, L.L.C

Jerry Briffa is an experienced and agile thinking entrepreneurial attorney with excellent developmental, fundraising, organizational, managerial, and communication skills. He is an innovator with a proven record of creating, developing, representing and managing new companies. Jerry has founded, built and managed successful businesses in law, sports, public speaking, real estate and merchant services. Jerry’s law firm was one of the largest and most successful solo civil litigation firms in New York prior to its sale in 2002.As General Counsel Jerry has steered two of the nation’s leading companies in their respective industries to increased profitability and unprecedented growth.Jerry has vast experience and expertise managing all facets of business from human resources to marketing, legal, sales and management. He maintains a broad and reliable network within politics, business, sports and the legal community. In addition to his other endeavors Jerry is an Adjunct Professor of Critical Thinking at the Sage Colleges of Albany as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Sports Industry Management Program at Georgetown University. Jerry has also lectured on Sports Law and Sport Management at Midway University and the University of Kentucky College of Law. 

Robert Braathe
Startup Advisor

Robert Braathe of BE Your Start is a speaker, educator and mentor. His years in management with Disney, Gap and Apple as well as his 12 years as a business consultant and startup consultant give him unique perspectives on a wide array of topics. Robert has mentored entrepreneurs through consultations, accelerator programs, college classes and the Clean Tech Early College High School at HVCC. 

Anthony DeBonis
President and a Partner at Troy Web Consulting

Anthony DeBonis is the President of Troy Web Consulting, a software application development firm based in Troy, New York. His goal at Troy Web Consulting is to ensure that the company stays at the leading edge in technology innovation and continues to design and develop great software. 

A recognized leader in the regional developer community, Anthony has over 20 years of experience developing and deploying both mobile and web applications that are required to be both secure and highly available. He is also on the Board of Field Inspections Plus, runs The Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network and presents at MeetUps, User Groups, and National Conferences. 

Outside the workplace, he is President of the Weare C. Little Memorial Environmental Park, member of CEG TechConnex & Tech Awards subcommittees, UNY50, mentor for AlbanyCanCode and Startup Weekends and Startup Tech Valley. Anthony shares his software and business expertise as the President of Troy Web Consulting, one of the best places to work in 2018/2019.

Eli Rabinowitz
Market Leader, Pioneer Bank

With over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, including both retail banking and wealth management, Eli has deep roots in the community and is an avid volunteer and dedicated professional. Currently overseeing 5 retail bank branches in the Capital Region, he devotes significant time to building and delivering training on a number of topics focused on leadership, wealth management and culture. Eli holds his Series 7, 24 and 63 securities registrations, and Life, Accident and Health licenses and was a key leader in the establishment of the Pioneer Wealth Management program, started in 2015. Eli devotes time to the Capital District YMCA as a board member and active committee member, Junior Achievement of Northeastern NY as a board member and volunteer teacher, St. Peter’s Health Partners and the Ronald McDonald House as co-chair and a founding member of the Capital Masquerade. He is a Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute Alumni Class of 2012, former Ambassador to the Chamber, recipient of the Albany Business Review’s Forty Under 40 in 2015 and recipient of the CDYMCA’s Annual President’s Award in 2018.As graduates of Union College, Eli and his wife Kate live in Albany, NY with their son Aidan, three dogs and cat. Eli enjoys running, skiing, cooking, live music, collecting vinyl and traveling with family and friends.

Joe Bonilla
Manager Partner

Joe Bonilla is the managing partner, senior media director, and co-founder of Relentless. Recognized as a leading communications professional in the Northeast, major brands, companies, organizations, and public figures rely on Bonilla’s counsel and insight in moving their message forward with impressive results. From bringing ridesharing to Upstate New York and Long Island, promoting the burgeoning craft beverage industry, working with rising leaders at the local, state, and federal level, and lifting startup thrifts to Fortune 500 companies into the public conversation, Bonilla works tirelessly to enhance and advocate for each Relentless client. Bonilla’s background includes serving as a former communications director for a New York State Assemblywoman and a media outreach manager for a leading technology PR firm. Active within the community, Bonilla also serves as president of the board of directors for Capital CarShare, Inc., managing director of the Knickerbocker Film Festival, board secretary for the University at Albany Alumni Association, and a board member for Troy Preparatory Charter School, Maria College, the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and New York Urban Orchards. Bonilla previously served as chairman of the City of Albany’s Public, Educational, and Government Access Oversight Board. Bonilla is also a regular panelist of WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s nationally-syndicated and award-winning news and discussion program The Roundtable. Bonilla, a graduate of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany (B.A., Public Policy), has recognized by the Hispanic Coalition of New York (40 Under 40 Latino Rising Stars 2012), the Albany Business Review (40 Under Forty 2014), University at Albany (Thirty Under 30 2014), City & State Magazine (Albany Rising Stars 2017), and Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy (Young Alumnus 2017).

Kimberly Fredericks
Dean and Associate Professor, School of Management

Kimberly A. Fredericks, the Dean and Professor in the School of Management at the Sage Colleges. Her work focuses on social network analysis and evaluation within the public, nonprofit and healthcare sectors.  She has been a consultant for many entities including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, Center for Creative Leadership, the American Evaluation Association, and Missouri Institute of Mental Health. Her work has appeared in outlets such as New Directions for Evaluation, the Canadian Journal of Evaluationand the American Journal of Evaluation.

Matthew Scarchilli
CEO/Owner Sandler Training

Matt is a proven entrepreneur.  His experiences starting, acquiring and selling companies gives him a broader lens to look through when evaluating situations and working with clients.  Matt’s sales success over the last 20 years has put him in a position to now be able to share those experiences to help other companies grow and flourish.  Matt is a student of human nature and the sales process giving him new ways to connect and communicate with people.  Today Matt is the owner and CEO of Sandler Training Systems of the Greater Capital District which delivers sales, customer service and management training to companies of all sizes across all verticals.

David Blakelock

Dave is a Senior business executive who has combined innovative customer centric thinking and thought leadership with deep technical and operational knowledge to develop new growth and revenue sources. Currently an active investor with Launchpad in Boston, among other partnerships and consulting.  He was a serial entrepreneur with 6 start-ups and experience in  strategy, complex systems selection and implementation, supply chain management, business process re-engineering and organizational alignment.

Laura Mann
Vice President Business Growth at Capital Region Chamber

In her role with the Capital Region Chamber, Laura provides and facilitates business growth assistance to regional companies across all stages of size and development.  Her experience includes strategic and business consulting services for early stage start-ups and manufacturing and technology companies in various public and private sector roles.  In 2012, she founded and served as the Executive Director for FuzeHub, a federally funded non-profit organization providing New York manufacturing companies with direct, one-on-one assistance and connection to a multi-disciplinary network of resources.  Previously, she directed the entrepreneur and venture funding programs for the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), with responsibilities that included business consulting and technology commercialization services, as well as operational support to the Eastern NY Angels investor group.  In January 2007, Laura formed a partnership as one of three Founding Managing Partners of Glenmont Partners LLC and Glenmont Venture Capital Management where she sought limited partner commitments for investment into early-stage technology companies.  The venture was sparked by her experience as a former Investment Principal with New York State’s Small Business Technology Investment Fund where she was responsible for sourcing, researching, structuring and negotiating venture investments in early-stage technology companies throughout the state. Her most recent role prior to joining the Chamber team was with Ceres Technologies as Vice President of Business Development.  Ms. Mann holds a B.A. in English Literature at the University at Albany and a M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management and Technology.  She resides in the Saratoga Springs and enjoys cooking, biking, hiking and creating art and paintings in her home studio.

Julianne Clouthier
Industry Engagement Manager

Julianne is the Industry Engagement Manager for FuzeHub, a non-profit organization that serves as the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NYMEP) center. Julianne oversees the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund which is comprised of manufacturing grants, a commercialization competition and an innovation challenge. The Fund provides $1M annually to not-for profits, manufacturers and early stage technology companies in New York State.Julianne has over ten years of economic development experience and has worked on numerous microenterprise projects and business expansion projects throughout New York State. She is an advocate for the food and beverage industries and has developed programs to assist farm businesses, value-added producers and ag-tech companies.  She is a member of the Tech Valley High School Business Alliance and serves as a mentor, judge and panelist for numerous innovation and entrepreneurial programs.  Julianne Clouthier holds a Master of Business Administration from the University at Albany, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Mercyhurst College and is a recent graduate of AlbanyCanCode -Front End Web Development.

Michael Roach

Michael Roach is an American Marketing Association (AMA) member and Professional Certified Marketer (PCM). His experience with the creative process and visual communications has allowed him to work on numerous creative projects, as well as internationally-awarded film documentaries. Avid, a leading audio/video editing production software company, recognized Michael for his content creation skills and storytelling ability. 

In addition to running his own boutique creative/marketing firm, Michael Roach Creative, he is an immediate past president of the American Marketing Association New York Capital Region chapter. Michael thrives in fast-paced, creative environments and enjoys training and speaking with audiences about marketing, design, business, and technology. One of his goals is to help elevate the marketing profession and grow the business and marketing community.

Kathryn Murdock
President & Chief Executive Officer

Kathryn M. Murdock, MSN, RN, NE-BC, CMPE, is the cofounder, CEO and President of Progressive Primary Care Solutions, Arrowhead Vacation Rentals, Otsego Bounty Outfitting and Charters, and Sweet Release Boat Rentals. Raised by executive leaders and lifelong entrepreneurs, Kathryn brings with her over 30 years of exposure to business operations, over 20 years of experience in healthcare and nursing, and over 4 years as an entrepreneur.Kathryn is an alumni of Norwich University where she obtained her Masters of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Administration, and an alumni of Hartwick College School of Nursing where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Kathryn is board certified as a Nurse Executive, through ANCC, and a Certified Medical Practice Expert through MGMA. She is a member of the Phi Alpha Alpha honor society, American Colleges of Health Care Executives, and volunteers her time with The Family Services Association of Oneonta, Hartwick Hamlet Revitalization Committee. She also currently mentors students form Hartwick College, State University College of Oneonta, Delhi School of Nursing, and Empire State College.

Mary Snell
Payroll & Benefits Specialist - Employee Data Management

Mary is responsible for managing and maintaining all the personal and job-related data that is housed in numerous databases and General Electric’s system of record. She works to resolve any discrepancies in data and troubleshoot errors in the interface. Mary has a strong role in supporting all General Electric’s mergers, acquisitions and dispositions from an employee data perspective ensuring the transitions run smoothly and compliantly. Just this year alone, she has supported over 25 reorganizations, 3 acquisitions and 14 dispositions impacting over ~39,000 employees for US and CAN. Her responsibilities also include supporting the testing and go-live production flows for all major system releases and updates. She is well-versed with tax compliance as her previous role was the Payroll & Benefits Tax Specialist supporting employment tax compliance for all GE employees in the U.S, Puerto Rico and Canada. She has worked alongside the IRS, state and local agencies and many GE vendors. Mary is experienced with and promotes lean management principles to identify and root cause trending issues. Mary has taken on the leadership role for General Electric’s Schenectady HealthAhead global program. She creates and maintains a healthy work environment and encourages employees (and their families) to advance their personal wellbeing. This includes managing the finance account, budget, communications, vendor relations, planning and hosting events for over 3,000 employees consistently throughout the year.Mary obtained her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Sage College of Albany and is currently attending Utica College to graduate in Summer of 2020 with her Master of Business Administration with a concentration of business analytics. Mary returns to Startup Weekend for the fourth year helping teams design and carryout business plans as well as mentoring teams to construct an informative and creative presentation for competition day with the judges.

Warren Zeiser

Warren Zeiser is an entrepreneur who has led several companies since the age of 22. He was the youngest ever partner at Horizon Gourmet Foods and helped grow the company to $70mm in annual revenue during his 20 years.  After a successful exit, Warren was then recruited to become the CEO of Mastroianni Bakery and helped save the struggling company and keep the jobs in Upstate NY. After a 5 year stint in the corporate world, Warren then started, and is the CEO of, WeRise Consulting, where he provides executive coaching and growth strategy guidance to emerging companies. Current and former clients include high-profile brands such as Death Wish Coffee, Beekman 1802, Brooks Bar-B-Q, Darn Good Yarn, Mastroianni Bakery and Schenectady Community College.

Arnoldas Kurbanovas
CTO of CampusPro

Mr. Kurbanovas graduated with a Masters in Computer Science from the University at Albany and performed his masters work in machine learning and data analyst. Mr. Kurbanovas is also a mentor to 4 undergraduate students teaching them machine learning algorithms, data management techniques and data analytic tools while working in an agile programming environment. Mr. Kurbanovas is also the chief technology officer (CTO) of a startup company, CampusPro.

Firmin Alexander
Marketing Specialist

Firmin Alexander is the Marketing Manager of Troy Web Consulting, a custom software development company, and an active entrepreneur with aspirations of building a successful marketing agency.  Firmin has a degree in Computer Science from Siena College which he uses to drive data-driven marketing efforts, build websites and build an online presence for numerous clients. Firmin is a member of the American Marketing Association, has written a book on Instagram marketing, and has been featured on multiple podcasts and presentations where he speaks on topics like entrepreneurship and marketing. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend Schenectady 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

Media Sponsor

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Organizing Team

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

  • Samuel
  • Robert
  • Kristen
  • Jeff


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