Central District Startup Weekend

    Friday, September 26 - 28, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Central District Startup Weekend

Friday, September 26 - 28, 2014

Friday, September 26 - 28, 2014
Event starts at 4:00 pm

Garfield High School
400 23rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

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How might we create fertile ground for the African American community in Seattle to grow with the city's current tech boom?

We’re starting with Hack the CD - an entrepreneurial jam session with Central District residents, business owners, community organizers, designers, and developers. We aim to help spur new and unique business creation through entrepreneurial education, community investment through collaboration, and social innovation through tech mentorship. The Central District Startup Weekend event will be held at Garfield High School from Friday, 9/26 - Sunday, 9/28, with 40-50 students and 40-50 designers, developers, and entrepreneurs, and up to 150 total participants in the Sunday night musical celebration of the weekend’s achievements. 

Coding skills not required. All ages. No high school or college degree necessary. Scholarships available upon request. Contact hackthecd [at] gmail.com for more info.

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Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday September 26th

4:00 pm
Ideation Cipher
Get your ideas flowing at the Spiddit Popup Booth inside Garfield Teen Life Center with DJ Surreal hacking the turntables.

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 September 27th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Coach Office Hours
Coaches help teams one-on-one. Ask Question!

12:00 pm

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

4:00 pm
Coaches Office Hours
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 September 28th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

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

8:00 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Semira Lacet-Brown
Co-Founder, Code Monsters

Semira Lacet-Brown is an 11 year old 7th grader at Seabury Middle School in Tacoma, WA. Semira’s favorite activities are coding, robotics, and reading. Semira, along with a friend and a team of adults, won first place at the Start-Up Weekend at University of Washington after pitching an idea for a game that teaches middle school students to write code. She is now the co-founder of a company called Generation Code and she is currently working with the team to develop a game called Code Monsters. She hopes to have a beta version of the game completed by January 2015.

Event Judges

Jasmine Lawrence
Founder, EDEN Bodyworks

Jasmine Lawrence currently serves at Microsoft as a Program Manager on the Xbox One Engineering team. A recent graduate of Georgia Tech, Jasmine earned her bachelors degree in Computer Science and conducted robotics research at the Georgia Tech Healthcare Robotics Lab and the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab. This fall she will begin a Master program in Human Centered Design and Engineering. Jasmine founded EDEN BodyWorks at the age of 13, after attending a NFTE BizCamp in 2004. Devastated by harsh chemical products, 11 year-old Jasmine sought to develop unique products that were all natural and really worked. Her products are now available nationwide at retailers nationwide including CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger, and Sally's Beauty Supply Store.

Yoli Chisholm
Founder, We Learn Live

As a seasoned revenue marketer at Microsoft and start-up mentor, Yoli Chisholm has been at the bleeding edge and active participant in every digital marketing transformation in the last 20 years. The daughter of South African freedom fighters Yoli brings a radical approach & POV to excellence in business and life. “Scrappy discipline” is her mantra where innovation is the backbone of running thriving organizations, fusing a message of proven performance principles and disciplined risk taking. As the Founder and Chief Entrepreneur at WELL | welearnlive.com she will be teaching and helping entrepreneurs bring ideas from concept to customers.

Maurice Woods
Founder, Inneract Project

Maurice Woods graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a BFA and MFA in Visual Communication Design. He played basketball as an undergraduate and professionally worldwide for 7 years. In 2003, Maurice returned to the University of Washington as a graduate student, teaming up with the UW Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GOMAP) and the Visual Communication department to bring his design skills to the community, developing the Inneract Project, a program to teach inner city youth and the community about the power of design. In his professional career, Maurice worked on various retail, exhibit and identity programs for clients such as Nike, Greyhound, Experience Music Project (EMP), Priceline.com, the San Francisco Muni Transportation Association (SFMTA) and Saint Mary's College of California. Maurice has lectured nationally and internationally, served on the Board of the AIGA San Francisco and nationally as a Board of Advisor for the Diversity Archive Exhibition and Design Ignites Change.

Coaches and Mentors

Arif Gursel
Founder, VibeHeavy

Arif is the Senior Product Manager of Revenue Growth at Zillow and is very active in the Seattle Startup community. He specializes in product development, strategic business engagements, partner alliances, business model analysis, and technology strategy equipped to lead initiatives & people toward common goals. As a highly adaptable communicator and motivator, Arif works with diverse management styles and people across all levels of an organization. A blend of curiosity, creativity, persistence, commitment, passion, and optimism are his keys to success.

Leo Osahor
Founder, flightSpeak

Leo is the founder and CEO of flightSpeak, a Seattle startup with ambitions to change the way people travel. His journey started with degrees in engineering, finance, and strategy, which led to a 5-yr stint at Microsoft. Leo is also the founder of the Daniels Consulting and Strategy Group, as well as an alumnus of the University of Denver. When not working on flightSpeak, he enjoys exploring languages, music, and discovering new food spots.

Toyia Taylor
Founder, we.app

Toyia T. Taylor is the founder and CEO of the premier company for public speaking, we.app (act. present. perform.). we.app teaches professionals and youth how to discover their natural speaking style so that their professional and personal conversations aren’t contrived. The objective of each we.app course is to teach transparency and the ability to speak and engage with power so that regardless if individual's are speaking to one person or a standing room only, each word is sincere and impactful! Toyia earned her Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. She is also the first woman of color to compete in the Miss America Pageant as an orator.

Pradnya Desh
Managing Partner, Desh International Law

Pradnya Desh is the managing partner of Desh International Law, a Bellevue-based law firm that focuses on business, technology, and international law. Her firm represents companies on angel financing, mergers & acquisitions, international investment and sales, and as outside general counsel. She is a former US diplomat who represented the United States at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Trish Millines Dziko
Co-Founder, TAF

Trish Millines Dziko founded TAF in 1996 after spending 15 years as a developer, designer and manager in the high tech industry. A native of New Jersey who attended Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) on a basketball scholarship, she graduated with a B.S. in computer science in 1979, a time when few people of color and few women were entering the field. Her successful career brought her to Microsoft in the mid-1980s, just as the pioneering software company was set to become a worldwide brand. Over the next decade of tremendous growth, she saw very little change in the high tech industry: women and people of color remained grossly underrepresented. After looking closely at the problem as Microsoft’s first Sr. Diversity Administrator, she determined the only solution was to increase the number of qualified people graduating from college. She traced the root of the problem to the lack of access to rigorous, relevant technology training in our public schools, particularly those in traditionally underserved communities of color. Trish left Microsoft in 1996, the same year she founded TAF. In addition to her work at TAF, Trish remains a committed, proactive leader and serves on the boards of several organizations that focus on children and education. Trish has received dozens of local and national awards for her work improving the educational opportunities for children of color. Trish and her partner live on Vashon Island and are the proud parents of 4 children.

Jonathan Copley
Founder, CFOCare Inc.

For 35+ years Jonathan Copley has been helping entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.

He is the CEO and Founder of CFOCare Inc., which specializes in Business Consulting and Education for entrepreneurs. He is also Founder of Grow50, a consortium of leading professional firms supporting early-stage businesses.

Jonathan’s expertise includes CEO Coaching, fundraising, strategy, and valuation for early-stage businesses. He is the Chief Energy Officer at the Center of Energizing Leadership where he oversees CFOCare’s Energy Cabinet Incubator program for pre-revenue and early stage entrepreneurs.

In the early nineties Jonathan worked with World Cup 94 Chairman, Alan Rothenberg, to develop the business and marketing plan for Major League Soccer, which now includes the Seattle Sounders.

Jonathan is the former Managing Consulting Partner of both Andersen Business Consulting and Deloitte, having spent 22 years with those Big 4 consulting firms.http://cfocare.com/

Julaine Smith
Founder, ARISE Business Solutions, LLC

Julaine Smith, CPA is Founder and Managing Member of ARISE Business Solutions, LLC and co-Founder and Managing Member of Accountant Smart, LLC. She has more than 25 years' experience working in the areas of business development, accounting and finance, and business coaching. As the Eternal Wealth Coach® at ARISE, she empowers women business owners to transform their fledgling companies into profitable G (“Generous”) Corporation® businesses, and build organizations that use wealth to uplift the communities they serve. Her accounting services firm, Accountant Smart, provides outsourced, cloud-based accounting services to small- to medium-sized businesses. Julaine is the host of a weekly radio show, “Loving God and Making Money,” which airs on KKOL 1300 AM. She serves on the Advisory Board for Northwest University’s School of Business and Management, and is a former board member and chairperson of the coaching committee for the angel investment group, Seraph Capital Forum. During her corporate finance career, Julaine served as VP Finance for AT&T Broadband and completed her public accounting experience with Price Waterhouse in San Francisco.

Hakon Verespej
Growth Hacker at Madrona

Hakon is part of the team at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital firm, where he works with portfolio companies to accelerate their growth. He’s participated in and organized dozens of hackathons. Prior to Madrona, Hakon was a software engineer at Microsoft and at a software startup.

Scott Thielman

Scott is the co-founder and Vice President of Product Creation Studio, a Seattle-based design and engineering firm focused on building client value through the development of great products. Scott has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and participates in a variety of trade, development and investment groups.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Central District Startup Weekend 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





Private Donor

Organizing Team

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

  • Wyking
  • David
  • Rebecca
  • Zithri
  • Al


Joey Aquino
Business Development Manager at Amazon.com

Joey Aquino is currently a Business Development Manager at Amazon.com working specifically on the Amazon Appstore. His main role is working with app developers and startups all around the world to help them get integrated into their platform and scale their business through the Amazon ecosystem. Prior to Amazon he has been involved in the startup space for a few years where he founded 2 non-profits (an incubator for student entrepreneurs and micro-financing program that funded student startups), Business Development Manger @ TeachStreet.com (acquired by Amazon.com) and then was a PM at UP Global running their innovation program. His current SW count is over 60 events in 10 countries and has hung out with one cheetah.

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