Techstars Startup Weekend Seattle: Space Edition

    Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Techstars Startup Weekend Seattle: Space Edition

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019
Event starts at 6:00 pm

SURF Incubator
999 3rd Ave
Suite 700
Seattle, Washington 98104

Buy Tickets

Build your space startup 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.
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!

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Friday November 15th

6:00 pm
Registration, Dinner, Networking
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches and Voting
Optionally line up to give your pitch. Vote for the best ideas.

9:00 pm
Form teams
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

10:30 pm
Wrap up for the night
The venue will be closed; no overnight work or sleeping onsite.

Saturday November 16th

8:30 am
Doors and Breakfast
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and running for the weekend

11:00 am
Mentor Meeting blocks begin
Mentors help teams one-on-one in 15-minute blocks

12:00 pm

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

3:00 pm
Mentor Meeting Blocks End
Conclusion of mentor blocks

6:00 pm

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

10:30 pm
Finished for the day. No sleeping or work onsite overnight.

Sunday November 17th

8:30 am
Doors and Breakfast
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Pitch Review and Tech Checks
Check that your presentation works with AV, then give your 3 minute pitch to coaches who can provide feedback.

12:00 pm

3:00 pm
Final Presentations
Final presentations begin to judges.

4:30 pm
Dinner and Deliberations
Judges deliberate awards and dinner is served

5:30 pm
Awards and Closing

6:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Lisa Rich
COO at Xplore, Inc.

Lisa Rich is a lifelong entrepreneur and is a founder and Managing Partner of Hemisphere Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on frontier tech: synthetic biology, robotics, drones and space. Hemisphere has invested in 200+ U.S. companies and 16 in the space sector.
Ms. Rich is co-founder of Xplore, a privately-funded space exploration company focused on missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus and near-Earth asteroids. She serves on the Board of Patrons of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and is a member of the Planetary Society, B612 and The Keck Foundation.

Don Weidner
Principal, Formidable Ventures

Don enjoys a turn-around project. He has turned money-losing properties into cashflow successes. He has renegotiated Fortune 500 supplier contracts saving millions. He has streamlined engineering and manufacturing processes for the elite companies in tech.

In 2005, he began making more money studying the stock market at night than he made working all day for the Fortune 500. So he quit.

He now runs Formidable Ventures, an investment business built upon exponential technologies and aggressive growth.

He has been interviewed by KIRO radio, Evening Magazine, International Business Times, the Seattle Times, and IEEE Spectrum. He has appeared in Luxe magazine and Seattle Metropolitan magazine. He has been asked to speak at the Columbia Tower Club and has been an expert panelist at the University of Washington, the global NewSpace conference, and at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Technical Symposium.

His world-class sci-fi collection also appreciates faster than your stock portfolio.

Russell Hannigan
Senior Director, Space and Advanced Technology Startups at Intellectual Ventures

Russell is Senior Director for Space and Advanced Technology Start-ups within the Invention Science Fund (ISF) of Intellectual Ventures.  Since 2010, he played a central role in the creation, incubation and financing of several metamaterials-based start-ups including Kymeta, Echodyne, Pivotal and Lumotive. He also conceived of, founded and raised the seed funding for EarthNow. Russell was Director of Product Management at Microvision (2001-2009), Director of Business Development at Teledesic (1999-2001), Director of Satellite Communications at KPMG (1997-1999, UK), Principal Consultant at ESYS (1992-1997, UK), an Independent Space Industry Consultant (1990-1992, Paris) and a Systems Engineer at British Aerospace (1985-1990, UK). Russell has a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Physics from the University of Manchester, England (1982-1985) and attended the inaugural session of the International Space University held at MIT (1988).  Russell is a named inventor on 28 issued US patents.

Aaron Bird
Venture Investor. Former SVP of Product @ Marketo, Founder @ Bizible

Aaron is an technology entrepreneur, executive and investor.  He was the founder and CEO of Bizible, which he started in 2011, raised $19M in capital, hired hundreds of people in Seattle, and sold the company in 2018 to Marketo for a great outcome.  As a veteran of enterprise software, Aaron worked at Microsoft early in his career and held executive roles at Marketo and Adobe.  Aaron is currently an active technology investor and has multiple exits as both an entrepreneur and investor.

Ron Faith
President & COO at RBC Signals

Ron Faith is a serial entrepreneur returning to the space industry after stints in cloud computing
and mobile commerce. Most recently Ron was the CEO of Datacastle, a cloud based endpoint data protection company acquired by Carbonite last year. Prior to Datacastle, Ron worked at Apple Computer where he launched Apple's first standalone Internet product in the mid-90's. Ron is a published author and patent owner. Ron graduated from the University of
Washington with a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering where he performed research
for Boeing's Aerospace and Defense group in frequency selective surfaces. Ron attained his Bachelors degree from Dartmouth College where he double-majored in Engineering Sciences and Philosophy.

Coaches and Mentors

Vladimir Baranov
Co-Founder & CTO at AdvisorEngine

Vladimir is CTO and co-founder of AdvisorEngine, enterprise software for managing financial advisors business. He has 15+ years of experience designing and building successful technology solutions. Vladimir was involved with executive roles at other start-ups: CTO of NestEgg Wealth, LendLift (peer-to-peer lending), President of Avtomat Software (fintech apps) and Avtomat Productions (concert planning). This experience has helped to amass knowledge building working MVP processes and designing balanced business models. Vladimir holds degrees in computer engineering and computer science from Stony Brook University, as well as MBA degrees from both Columbia University and the London Business School.

Adam Schilffarth
Chief Strategist at Xplore, Inc

Adam is technology commercialization veteran with experience leading engineering and business organizations in both the biotech and aerospace industries. Adam previously was the Business Development Director for Planetary Resources and is currently the Chief Strategist for Xplore, Inc. He holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Tristan Helms
Space Business Development Manager, First Mode

Tristan leads the space business development efforts at First Mode, supporting projects and clients across the industry – from Flagship NASA missions to Aerospace Primes to startups. Prior to First Mode he designed and executed the go-to-market strategy at Analytical Space, a startup developing data-relay smallsats using hybrid RF-optical architectures. He cut his teeth in the semiconductor industry, coordinating technology development partnerships with companies across the US, China and Japan. Tristan holds a BS in Engineering Science from Penn State, an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Mike Vinje
Small Business Technology Manager, NASA KSC

Mike is the Small Business Technology Manager at Kennedy Space Center where he leads KSC SBIR/STTR activities and assists with technology development.  Recently, Mike served as one of KSC’s Commercial Partnership Development Managers, where he led the development of agreements for the Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser and Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch system.
Mike received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Washington State University after serving in the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division.  He began his KSC engineering career in 1999 on the Space Shuttle as a contractor working the Orbiter Main Propulsion Systems, where he developed repairs and manned the firing room console during test and launch operations.  In 2005 he joined the Constellation Program where he served as the KSC lead for the Orion Service Module until accepting a position with the KSC Center Planning and Development Directorate in 2010.  Throughout his career Mike has witnessed firsthand the massive changes enabled by new technology, and he looks forward to helping industry drive more change in the future.

Stan Shull
Principle Consultant, Alliance Velocity

Stan Shull is Principal Consultant at Alliance Velocity, where he advises space and software companies on growth and exit strategies.  Stan has more than 25 years of experience in the aerospace and software industries.  He worked on civil satellite programs, classified military space initiatives, and NASA’s Space Station program.  At The Boeing Company, he directed R&D and corporate strategic planning processes and led an initiative to develop an aerospace data analytics business.  Stan also ran partnerships and alliances for 4 enterprise software and data analytics startups.  He developed, negotiated and managed dozens of strategic partnerships, and drove three successful exits by acquisition or IPO.  Stan holds a BS in aerospace engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Karli Barokas
CEO, Barokas Communications

As CEO of Barokas Communications, Karli is passionate about helping clients tell their stories and grow their brands via a holistic approach to communications. With more than 20 years of experience working with enterprise tech, B2B and consumer technology companies, Karli has shaped Barokas Communications into a growing, trusted mid-size PR and communications agency known for its fearless, results-driven approach. Karli specializes in working with high-growth companies in enterprise and cloud technology. She has been directly involved in leading PR strategy and execution for a number of notable startups from launch through exit. Some of her former clients include Opsware (acquired by HP for $1.65B), Redback Networks (acquired by Ericsson for $1.9B), Apptio (IPO, acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.94B) and Skytap (growing, with more than $109M in funding). She is an active speaker in the Seattle technology community, participating in women’s leadership and technology marketing and communications events. Karli’s firm represents several companies in the aerospace community including ICEYE, Ursa Space Systems, York Space Systems, City of Kent and more.

Akshay Patel
VP of Corporate Development at OneWeb

Akshay Patel has over 10 years of experience in the aerospace and satellite industry across finance, business development and engineering. Prior to Oneweb, he was the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Planetary Resources where he led the company's strategic planning, sales and partnerships activities. Previously, he also worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley advising companies across the satellite industry value chain including the sale of Skybox Imaging to Google, the merger of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, and the IPO of Intelsat. In addition, he published one of the first small satellite market studies in the industry and serves on the advisory board of Accion Systems. He also designed and built telecommunications satellites at Lockheed Martin as a mechanical engineer. Akshay has a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.

André Terron
Software Engineer at Microsoft

André is a software engineer passionate about productivity, organization and startups. He is currently working with iOS and macOS for Microsoft on OneNote, and previously developed apps for web and native Android, mainly for startups. André has been present in the Startup Weekend community for over 6 years, both from the organization and participation side.

James Burk
IT Director at The Mars Society

James Burk is the Director of Information Technology for the Mars Society and the Senior Manager of the Business Management Services practice at Artic Consulting.  

James is an experienced technology & engineering manager with over 20 years of experience delivering custom software solutions to organizations of all sizes. His skills include technical project management, polylingual software development and at Artic Consulting he supports clients large and small (including startups!) with creation and review of business and financial models. 

James is a former Microsoft Senior Program Manager, and worked in the Office, SharePoint, MSN, Retail Stores and Visual Studio product groups. He's a 20+ year volunteer for The Mars Society which is pioneering the human exploration and settlement of Mars.  As IT Director, he is responsible for all public outreach websites including the online encyclopedia and the MarsVR Virtual Reality project, supporting the Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.  

James organizes the Seattle Scrum Meetup which meets monthly to discuss project management topics using Agile philosophies and the Scrum methodology for project teams.  James also organizes the local chapter of the Mars Society in Seattle.  Both of these groups can be found on

Yashar Fakhari

Yashar Fakhari is a serial founder with a focus on lean startups.  He left the large corporate environments five years ago and has been a founder of 15 early-stage startups during this time.  His prior and current startups span across various industries, including real-estate, cloud services, media production, senior care, farm-tech, brick and mortar retail tech, and more.  Yashar’s business experience spans finance, marketing, product, program, as well as operation and organizational management.  His technical expertise includes software development (web, application, OS & firmware), electronics design and manufacturing (high-performance digital, RF, analog, mixed, FPGAs, space flight), and signal processing.

Sean McClinton
Lead Organizer

Lead Organizer

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend Seattle: Space Edition 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.



In-kind Sponsors

Organizing Team

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

  • Michael
  • Sean
  • Simon
  • Yashar
  • Priscilla


John Sechrest
Founder, Seattle Angel Conference, Global Facilitator Startup Weekends

John Sechrest is Founder of the Seattle Angel Conference, Co-Organizer of the Lean Startup Seattle & Global Facilitator for Startup Weekend.

As an entrepreneurial collaborator, he focuses on entrepreneurial and innovation efforts as a way to develop new projects and companies. His efforts are focused building the tools , skills and processes that enable people to make a positive impact on the world.

All of the changes we are seeing in the world will find lasting and sustainable solutions by entrepreneurs and innovators creating new pathways to solving complex issues. By connecting resources, people and projects together and building feedback mechanisms into the conversation, he makes significant impacts on the groups that he works with.

He is currently working on the Seattle Angel Conference - and the Lean Startup Seattle - and of course regularly volunteers to facilitate Startup weekends such as Kirkland Maker's Edition 2014.

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Software Engineering Technical Project Manager

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