Startup Weekend Ecommerce Edition

    Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015

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

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Madrona Venture Group
999 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

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First-Ever Startup Weekend Ecommerce Edition Hits Seattle

If you've ever felt the urge to explore a startup idea in the retail or ecommerce world, this event is for you. eBay is pulling together experts from Nordstrom,, and Farecast to host the first-ever Startup Weekend focused exclusively on exploring and building ecommerce businesses.

What can you expect at Startup Weekend Ecommerce Edition? This is the best place to c
ome pitch, iron out your business model, and build an idea related to buying/selling a product or service online (the next Zulily maybe)... or an idea that supports these companies (like Salesforce or PayPal). Don’t have a team or idea, but want to participate? That’s ok too. There will be plenty of teams looking for help.

This event is made possible and supported by the expertise and financial backing from our main sponsor eBay and our venue sponsor Madrona Venture Group. Experts will be on hand from the venture capital world and leading ecommerce companies throughout the weekend to serve as mentors as you work on your ideas. 

Startup Weekend , a non-profit based in Seattle, WA, is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Come share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

 Registration is live!

See what it's all about

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Friday March 6th

6:00 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

7:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, Mike Fridgen from eBay, Greg Gottesman from Madrona Venture Group and Oren Etzioni, CEO of Allen AI.

8:15 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 March 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

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 March 8th

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

8:00 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Greg Gottesman
Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group

Greg joined Madrona in 1997 and currently serves on the boards of Bocada, BuddyTV, Cheezburger, Intrepid Learning Solutions, Jobaline,, ThinkFire, and WildTangent. He is the founder and former CEO of Greg was on the board of Decide (prior to its acquisition by eBay) and ThisLife (prior to its acquisition by Shutterfly) and worked closely with Venture Partner Oren Etzioni on Wavii (prior to its acquisition by Google). He also managed the firm's investments in Dantz Development Corporation (prior to its acquisition by EMC), Rendition Networks (prior to its acquisition by Opsware), (prior to its acquisition by Thomson Consumer Electronics), (prior to its acquisition by, and AdRelevance (prior to its acquisition by Media Metrix). Before joining Madrona, he worked as an Associate of the Boston Consulting Group. Greg serves on the board of UP Global (Startup Weekend) and as the President of the Evergreen Venture Capital Association. He is on the investment committee of the W Fund, a University of Washington-based venture fund focused on early-stage technologies. Greg is the author of three books. He is also an adjunct faculty member of the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department where he teaches a class on entrepreneurship. Greg graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from Stanford University, with honors and distinction from the Harvard Business School, and with honors from Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Oren Etzioni

Dr. Oren Etzioni is Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He has been a Professor at the University of Washington’s Computer Science department starting in 1991. The goal of Oren’s research is to solve fundamental problems in AI, particularly the automatic learning of knowledge from text. “I’m most interested in data mining and associated AI methods for their potential to revolutionize how we use computers.” He was also the founder or co-founder of several companies including Farecast (sold to Microsoft in 2008) and Decide (sold to eBay in 2013), and the author of over 100 technical papers that have garnered roughly 20,000 citations. AWARDS AND RECOGNITION Dr. Etzioni has received several awards including GeekWire’s Hire of the Year (2014), Seattle’s Geek of the Year (2013), the Robert Engelmore Memorial Award (2007), the IJCAI Distinguished Paper Award (2005), AAAI Fellow (2003), and a National Young Investigator Award (1993). EDUCATION Oren received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1991, and his B.A. from Harvard in 1986.

Mike Fridgen
General Manager

Mike is an entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of experience building consumer Internet companies and products. Mike is currently General Manager of Seller Insights at eBay. eBay acquired in 2013, where Mike was President and CEO. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Marketing & Product Development at, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2008. At Microsoft, Mike led product management for Bing Travel and Bing Shopping. In the late 90s, Mike was co-founder and CEO of a venture backed online travel start-up. Mike has a MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from University of Washington.

Event Judges

Jason Stoffer
General Partner, Maveron

Once upon a time—circa kindergarten—Jason aspired to be the world’s greatest veterinarian. Alas, that didn’t work out, fortunately for us, he found another line of work. Today, he’s a partner in our Seattle office, concentrating on investments in education, e-commerce, and Web-enabled consumer businesses.
Jason joined Maveron in 2007 after a pioneering role in online education. At Career Education Corp., he co-founded and led admissions and marketing for IADT Online, a for-profit design school and wholly owned Career Ed subsidiary. Earlier, he was an associate at Spinnaker Ventures, an expansion-stage venture capital fund.
With both operational proficiency and a keen eye for talent, Jason has sourced and been actively involved in a range of Maveron investments. He currently serves on the boards of General Assembly, Dolls Kill, Lively and Julep, and previously was on the board of zulily (Nasdaq: ZU). Jason's other investments include Everlane, Course Hero and PeerTransfer. 

T.A. McCann
Founder, Rival IQ

TA is the founder of RivalIQ, – the best way to analyze and monitor your competitive landscape. Focused on marketers who want to get ahead, RivalIQ saves you time and delivers key insights where you stand and what is working to reach your customers.

He was previously VP of Product Strategy at Blackberry (formally Research in Motion), focused on BBM (Blackberry Messenger), Blackberry social applications (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter…) as well as the native Contacts apps. He was the founder of (sold to RIM in February 2011) as well as Jump2Go and 3 other web based companies.

He is an active advisor to startup companies in Seattle including Creative Live, Venpop (sold to Lockerz), Zooppa, Thinkfuse (sold to Salesforce, Aug 2012), and EveryMove. He is an active angel investor via Founders Co-op and SKV.

He likes sharing his experience and ideas, so he spend lots of time at Founders Institute, Startup Weekend (on the board) and Techstars (active mentor) as well as Lake Washington Girls Middle School (on the board).

Yongbai Choi
Venture Capital, Vulcan Capital

Yongbai Choi focuses on venture capital investments for Vulcan Capital. Prior to joining Vulcan, Mr. Choi was a manager in the IP Acquisitions and Investments group at Microsoft Corporation. Before joining Microsoft, he was a member of the mergers and acquisitions group at CIBC World Markets and, earlier, worked in the health care investment banking group at Cowen & Co.

David Rosenthal
Principal at Madrona Venture Group

David is a Principal at Madrona Venture Group in Seattle, where he leads new investments and works closely with existing portfolio companies. David joined Madrona in 2010 as an Associate before taking time off to earn his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. During his time as an Associate, he helped found with Madrona managing director Greg Gottesman. While at Stanford, David worked at Meritech Capital Partners, a leading late-stage venture capital firm in Palo Alto, and was a member of the team at StartX, a non-profit accelerator for startups founded by Stanford students, faculty and recent alumni. Prior to Madrona, David worked as an investment banker in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications group at UBS and in the Strategy, Corporate Development and Ventures group at The Wall Street Journal. David earned a bachelor of arts from Princeton University, and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Dawn Lepore

Dawn Lepore is the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of, inc., a leading online retailer of health, beauty, and wellness products, which she led from 2004 until the successful sale to Walgreens in 2011. During her tenure, Dawn repositioned the company to focus on the over-the-counter, beauty, and vision businesses and led the company to record revenues, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. operated a wide variety of sites, including,,,,, and In addition, drugstore operated private label sites for Luxottica Retail North America Inc. and Medco CHP, LLC.
Prior to joining, Dawn held leadership positions at The Charles Schwab Company where she played a key role launching, and then building Schwab's highly successful e-commerce business. In her 21 years with Schwab, she held a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. She served as vice chairman of technology, operations, administration, strategy and active trader, was chief information officer, a member of Schwab's Executive Committee and a trustee of SchwabFunds. Currently Dawn serves on the boards of AOL, Real Networks and She previously served on the boards of TJX, eBay, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and The New York Times Company. Dawn has been honored by Fortune Magazine four times as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business, by the National Organization for Women at their Aiming High Conference, was named one of InformationWeek's Chiefs of the Year, and was listed as one of the Ten Hottest CIOs by Future Banker Magazine. Dawn graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Coaches and Mentors

Jay Bartot

Jay's passion for startups, Internet technologies and data mining goes back 15+ years. Focused on audio and imaging technologies in the early '90s, Jay began his career in innovative multimedia/game companies. In the mid-90s he joined Netbot, a startup out of the UW computer science department that built the Internet's first consumer comparison shopping tool, eventually acquired by Excite. Jay left to co-found AdRelevance, the first technology-driven online advertising measurement service now owned by Nielsen/NetRatings. 
Jay's focus on data mining technologies was in full swing when he joined Sightward to develop enterprise data mining applications. Intrigued by the vertical application of machine-learning technology in the travel space, he joined UW Computer Science Professor Oren Etzioni at the inception of Farecast in late 2003. It was there he co-developed an early prototype of the predictive technology, and later built the engineering team and led development of the full suite of technologies. Farecast was acquired by Microsoft and became the travel channel for
Jay left Microsoft to co-found Medify, a consumer facing medical information portal powered by text mining and machine-learning technology, acquired by Alliance Health Networks. Here Jay served as the SVP of Technology for the combined companies. In 2013, he met Noah Heller through Hugh Crean, the former CEO of Farecast and the three of them co-founded Vhoto, a next-generation mobile consumer video app that uses computer vision and machine learning technology to extract salient moments from video streams. 
Jay studied computer science and music at the University of Iowa.

Troy Hartzell
Managing Partner

Troy Hartzell is Managing Partner and co-founder of Evolution Capital Advisors, a boutique investment bank providing capital formation and strategic advisory services to entrepreneurial stage emerging growth technology firms. Prior to Evolution Capital, Troy was the Head of the Wireless and Communications practice at Cascadia Capital, a national middle market investment bank. At Cascadia, Troy was responsible for managing key strategic relationships with venture and private equity funds and corporate leaders in the IT and communications market. Troy executed, structured, and negotiated corporate finance and M&A transactions. Troy joined Cascadia Capital in 2001, bringing experience as a venture capitalist as well as an entrepreneur. Prior to joining Cascadia Capital, he served with Watershed Capital, a $200 million venture capital fund, where he focused on principal investments in wireless, broadband, and Internet-related companies and led the development of the firm's wireless investment strategy. Previously, Troy was co-founder and CEO of, a venture-backed technology company providing content and services to universities across the country. Troy holds a B.A. in Business Administration with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University of Washington. 

Andy Farsje
Founder / Managing Director, Real Assets LLC

Andy is a seasoned finance and operations executive with over 15 years experience. He has launched and operated five successful start-ups and has lead over 10 financing's, sales and/or acquisitions. Most recently Andy served as VP of Finance & Administration at (acquired by eBay in Sept '14) and as VP of Finance & Administration at (acquired by Microsoft in 2008). Andy currently manages two real estate funds which he founded in 2011 and is constantly looking for the next entrepreneurial challenge.

Srini Uppugunduri

Srini Uppugunduri, Sr. Director, eBay has been at eBay for over 12 years, and has worked on key eBay technologies during this time. Srini started his career at DEC, and early in his career was on the start-up team at the Clarify Inc., a pioneer in the CRM space. Prior to eBay, Srini was the General Manager for Internet Marketplaces at Nortel Networks (Clarify acquisition), Chief Architect at Amdocs, and cofounded RedStorm Inc. 

Diego Oppenheimer
Co-Founder and CEO, Algorithmia

Diego is a data geek and has worked in different capacities around business intelligence and advanced data analysis. He is the founder of Algorithmia, an Open Marketplace for Algorithms and currently serving as its CEO. Prior to founding Algorithmia he spent over five years at Microsoft where he had the chance to deliver some of the most widely used data analysis software in the world including Excel, SQL Server and Power Pivot. He holds a BSc in Information Systems and a Masters in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Liz Pearce
CEO at LiquidPlanner

Liz is an entrepreneurial leader who got ground-level experience at tech giants (Amazon, Google, Sony) before making her way into the startup world. After rising from Director of Marketing to COO at LiquidPlanner, a Seattle-based maker of innovative online project management software, and helping the company bootstrap its way to profitability, she took over as CEO in August of 2012. Liz is an active member of the startup and technology community and is always looking for opportunities to learn, participate, and give back.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Ecommerce 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.

Signature Sponsors


Organizing Team

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

  • Cole
  • Lawrence
  • Shauna
  • James


Shauna Causey
Tech Startup Advisor / Mentor / Investor

Shauna has managed innovation, communications, research, community relations and social/digital media strategies for companies, non-profits and elected officials. She has 15 years of experience, starting her career with the Seattle Mariners Baseball Team when she was in high school. She's had leadership roles at Fox Sports Net, Warner Brothers, Comcast, Nordstrom, Google (via PwC) and After working on the sale of to eBay in late 2013, Shauna joined UP Global (Startup Weekend, Startup America), a company she’d been volunteering with for four years, as VP of Marketing. Shauna has appeared on ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Bloomberg West and Marie Claire Magazine as an ecommerce and startup analyst. Shauna serves on several nonprofit boards: Seattle’s NPR (KUOW), Leadership Tomorrow, and Social Media Club Seattle. She’s a competitive cyclist and beach volleyball player.

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