Startup Weekend GIRLS Seattle

    Friday, January 22 - 24, 2016

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

Friday, January 22 - 24, 2016

Friday, January 22 - 24, 2016
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Lake Washington Girls Middle School
810 18th Ave
Seattle, Washington 98122

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StartUp Weekend Girls, Seattle, WA, (5th-9th grade girls)

Join us for the second annual StartUp Weekend GIRLS!

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the highs and lows, the failures and the successes?

Startup Weekend Girls Edition is specially designed for the next generation’s entrepreneurs-in-the-making, 
fifth through ninth grade GIRLS. Our team of highly innovative and connected mentors and judges will create an atmosphere of exercises and experiences that will teach girls how to come up with business ideas, conduct market research, prototype, work in teams, and “pitch” their ideas to a room full of people. Our goal is to give girls the confidence to innovate and create they will need to succeed in all aspects of life.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model – which we will massage to fit the needs of our aspiring entrepreneurs: participants pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form organically around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Ready to be part of something big? Join us: we’re assembling 50 of the most motivated and excited entrepreneurial-minded girls for a very special edition of Startup Weekend on January 22., 23, and 24, 2016. We provide the working space, brain fuel, food, mentors, new friends, and inspiring speakers and judges. You supply the energy and innovation to build something big over the weekend. 

Ready to join us? Tickets will go on sale in early November! The weekend will be hosted by Lake Washington Girls Middle School in their historic school building in the Central District of Seattle. 

Why a girl-focused Startup Weekend?
The entrepreneurial talent we see from girls in Seattle is inspiring, and we are excited about creating an event that will inspire them to dream big and work hard. We hope to provide the opportunity for the aspiring girl entrepreneurs in our community to innovate and create; to get inspired by an idea/product/team; to become more connected with other brilliant entrepreneurially-minded individuals in Seattle (so when they’re ready for the “real world,” they already have a support system!); and to show the girls that not only are their dreams and goals a real possibility, but that their gender does not impact the difference they can make in the world.

Why is it important to teach girls entrepreneurial skills?
  1. Entrepreneurship teaches life skills. Not everyone will grow up wanting to own a business, and there is nothing wrong with that. Still it is important for girls to learn the basics of running a business because they will pick up life skills that can be useful in a variety of situations. Risk taking is a big one. To be an entrepreneur, you must be comfortable with taking action, even without having a clear idea of the outcome.
  2. It is not an either/or situation. We all might be tired of talking about this, but the problem still exists: Starting from a young age, girls feel like they have to decide between a career or personal life. We can’t sit around waiting for society to change. Instead, we have to teach girls that it can be normal to have both a career and a rich personal life, if that's something that they want.  
  3. Women kick butt in business! This is not an us-vs.-them debate, but statistics show that women are good at business. So why not try to encourage more of this? Recent research by Vivek Wadhwa and Lesa Mitchell found that women-led private tech companies achieve a 35 percent higher return on investment. Think about how much better off we would all be if we taught women about business at a younger age.
  4. When women are encouraged to start businesses, the world can become a better place. A 2012 study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that many women use their success for social good, donating more money to worthy causes than their male counterparts. This can’t be a bad thing for any of us!

Will the participants be required to pitch or work on “girl-focused” startup ideas?
No, there is no GIRL focus, but there is a Social Justice focus – we would like participants to take the 
opportunity to create products and services to help people in a positive way. This is called Social Entrepreneurship!

What will the girls be learning?
When running a business, it's important to make sure you have the basics down pat. 

Over the weekend girls will be exploring...

1. Business Model Validation
Who are the key partners? Is there a customer acquisition/rollout strategy? Are they able to identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did they get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

2. Product Execution
Can they establish a "Minimal Viable Product" (MVP) for the weekend (software, hardware, tangible product, service etc)? Are they able to demo something functional?

3. User Experience Design
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go into this creative direction?

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday January 22nd

5:30 pm
Welcome Event for All/Rego
This opening event is for both students and their parents/guardians. Check in review the weekend's agenda, introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders, and set group norms and expectations.

6:00 pm

6:15 pm
Jody Hall of Cupcake Royale/Jennifer Muhn of buddingSTEM

7:00 pm
Half Baked
Pitch practice game.

8:00 pm
Go home
Time to get some sleep before the excitement begins at 9a tomorrow morning!

Saturday January 23rd

9:00 am
Arrive, sign in, get settled. Simple breakfast of bagels, yogurt, fruit, and juices served.

9:15 am
Pitches start
Line up to give your pitch!

10:15 am
Attendees vote for top pitches.

10:30 am
Announce teams
We will announce the top ideas pitched and the teams that will be working on them. Meet your Team Leaders and get to work!

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Work time!
Teams start discussing ideas. Prototyping, web design, brainstorming, etc. Coaches will rotate among teams.

5:30 pm
Check-in, status reports, call for help for Sunday...

6:00 pm
Finished for the day. Rest up for tomorrow!

Sunday January 24th

9:00 am
Breakfast/Check in
Arrive, sign in, get settled. Simple breakfast of bagels, yogurt, fruit, and juices served.

9:15 am
Work time!
Coaches will rotate among teams.

12:00 pm

2:30 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
Final Presentations
Present your business plan to the judges and the audience.

5:00 pm
Judging & Awards
A celebration of hard work!

5:30 pm
Go Home!
Thank you for innovating and taking risks with us!


Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole
Co-Founders at buddingSTEM

Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole are two Seattle moms who decided to take action when they could not find the things their girls love on clothing marketed to girls. They ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to build the initial capital for buddingSTEM, blowing past their initial $45,000 goal to raise more than $70,000. In May 2015, Jennifer and Malorie received GeekWire's Geek of the Year award for their work on buddingSTEM.When not sketching out a new pattern for buddingSTEM or hanging out with her husband and awesome daughter, Jennifer works in public affairs.  She graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and holds a master's degree from Seattle University.During the day, Malorie is a regulatory compliance attorney, but adores spending time with her husband, two wonderful children, and a menagerie of animals that live in her house.  Malorie is also a graduate of George Washington University and Seattle University School of Law.

Jody Hall
Owner, Cupcake Royale

From a single shop in the Madrona neighborhood, Cupcake Royale has grown to seven locations and 110 employees. Owner and EO members Jody Hall expects sales to reach $6 million this year, about double what they were in 2008. Her various locations sell at least one million cupcakes a year, along with their own brand of ice cream.

Event Judges

Rebecca Lovell
Director, Create33

With more than 20 years of management and operating experience, and over a decade running and supporting startups, Rebecca currently serves as Director at Create33, a founder center conceived by Madrona Venture Group. She was previously Director of the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development, having progressed through leadership roles in the office, including serving as the City's first Startup Advocate. Prior to joining the City, she was GeekWire's first Chief Business Officer, Executive Director of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, and Program Director of the Alliance of Angels.  Having received her MBA from the UW Foster school of business in 2006, she has served on their Employer Advisory Board since 2008, and is currently an instructor in entrepreneurship for their Technology Management MBA Program.  She has been a committed Techstars mentor since their Seattle launch in 2010, is the Board Chair for the national Center of American Entrepreneurship, and was recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the top 100 women in tech and as "Do Gooder of the Year." 

Zach Smith
Technology & Innovation Leader

Zachary Smith is a technology, design thinking, and innovation leader with more than 19 years of product development and client services experience, serving a wide range of industries and organizations including startups, Wall Street banks, automotive manufacturers, enterprise software platform providers, creative studios, and consulting agencies.

As a Partner with Social Venture Partners, a Seattle-based philanthropic organization, Zachary serves on the Portfolio Grant Committee and is dedicated to helping to strengthen non-profit organizations committed to the mission of improving K-12 education and making the Puget Sound region a place where sustainable communities thrive.

Zachary speaks at conferences, teaches, and facilitates workshops on topics including Lean and Agile software development, leadership, design thinking, and innovation. Zachary is co-founder of the Seattle Design Thinking & Innovation Collective, a monthly Meetup with over 1200 active members focused on creating a network of innovators in the Seattle area and teaching design thinking through immersive and experiential activities.

Bryan Lhuillier
Founder/CPO of Shiftboard

Bryan Lhuillier is the founder, former CEO, and now CPO of Shiftboard, Inc, a leading provider of online workforce management and mobile scheduling applications. Prior to founding Shiftboard in 2002, Bryan held an assortment of technical product development and business management positions within leading organizations such as Applied Commerce, Microsoft, Xypoint, and the Cleveland Clinic. With over 15 years of experience in technical product management, design, and development, Bryan has successfully evolved Shiftboard to support the flexible workforce management needs of nearly 2000 organizations of various size and industry. For more information, visit

Coaches and Mentors

Alexis Mohr
Director of Demand Generation at Azuqua

As a female working in a large capacity role within a startup I'm acutely aware of where my education has and has not prepared to me both lead and succeed. I'm very interested in seeing females leading more startups of their own and trusting their ideas enough to build a company behind those ideas.

Alex Vollmer

I've been writing software for over fifteen years. I've done a lot of heavy server-side work with both Java and Ruby. For the last five years I've been focused almost exclusively on iOS. I've delivered applications for large e-commerce companies, applications that won awards and, mostly importantly, applications that delight users.

I also have extensive web, database and networking experience. I get things done, express thoughts clearly and treat people with respect.

Diane Najm
Founder at PhotoPad/ The Founder Institute/Olive Crest

A Serial Entrepreneur CEO & Founder Of PhotoPad for Business. A leader and passionate about the start-up community, Serves as Former  Director, Seattle Founder Institute, Mentor, Coach and organizer to Start up Weekend, Expert Panelist and speaker on Entrepreneurship,Invited to the White House Digital Tech summit and served on Delegation for Vancouver First Startup Week and panelist for Bridging the Gap between Seattle and Vancouver , as well as, seeks ways to help entrepreneurs  connect with one another and provides resources to assure success.   Thought leader and advocate for Women Entrepreneurs and empower them to pursue their startups serving as advisers to start-ups ,Board of Directors  to  Women In Wireless and Women in Tech.Passionate to give back to the community in the philanthropy sector, serving on the Board of Trustee for a non-profit  Olive Crest

Robert Sim
Applied Research Lead at Microsoft Corporation

Lauren Curtis
User Experience Designer at Glympse

Spencer Dillard
Software Development Manager at Amazon Web Services

Jeffrey Gerard
Machine Learning & Geospatial Researcher at The Climate Corporation

Buzz Bruggeman
Co-Founder of ActiveWords

Buzz Bruggeman is one of the co-founders of ActiveWords. He graduated with honors from Coe College and from Duke University Law School. Prior to ActiveWords he spent 30 years as real estate lawyer/litigator. He runs all of the outward facing aspects of ActiveWords, including marketing and partnering, and as such is responsible for evangelizing ActiveWords to everyone he meets. Buzz has spoken at many tech industry events, has been on the advisory board of the Demo Conference, won a Demo god award, and has been featured in books by Dan Gillmor and Robert Scoble. Buzz has been a long time participant in the startup and blogging community, and routinely speaks and consults on using new media tools to market and evangelize software.

Laura Savino
Mobile Software Engineer

Ashleigh Baumgardner
Senior Software Engineer

Anthony Tsim
Co-Owner, Vice President at Exsilio Solutions

Linden Wright
Software Engineer at Glowforge

Catherine Carr
Chief Inspiration Officer at Haiku Deck/Vitamin C Creative

Bailey Nelson
Marketing & Community Manager at Glowforge

Shawna Proske
Project Manager | Marketing Consultant at Exsilio Solutions

Calsee Hendrickson
Regional Director of Strategy & Business Development at Boeing

Cassie Koomjian
Developer at Substantial

Emery Desper
Creative Writer | Consumer Care Advocate

Nishant Dani

Nishant Dani is the founder of Yeti Live. Its mission simply is to provide classrooms everywhere the opportunity to access and engage with the greatest minds of our time. He is also the founder of Loudscoop building out a new digital channel for crowd accelerated marketing. Prior to this Nishant worked many years as an architect in Microsoft on Bing, Ads and Messenger.

Andrea Chicas
Transformational Leadership Strategist

Catherine Kamerling
Principal Market Intelligence Researcher at Microsoft

Rebecca Samuelson
Technical Marketing Manager at Galvanize

Taylor Kieburtz
Strategy Director, Co-Founder of WINTR

Heather Griswold
Sr Engagement Manager/Product Owner/Project Manager at Substantial

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend GIRLS Seattle 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.



Organizing Team

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

  • Shannon
  • Cristina
  • Christine


Kacey Wherley
Marketing Production Lead, Techstars


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