Techstars Startup Weekend Spokane

    Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017

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

Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017

Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017
Event starts at 6:30 pm

1411 East Mission Avenue
Spokane, WA 99220

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Start A Business in 54 Hours at Startup Weekend Spokane

Join us for the tenth Startup Weekend Spokane event at Avista's high tech corporate headquarters!  Bring all of your ideas, big or small, because this is your chance to:
  • Create a business plan and see your idea come to life.
  • Network with like-minded creative and passionate people.
  • Learn valuable skills from one on one mentorship with professionals in the region.
  • Have a chance to compete in Global Startup Battle, against startups all over the world.
What is Startup Weekend? 

Startup Weekend is a worldwide movement of ambitious entrepreneurial minds who are looking to practice and learn the basics of founding and launching a startup venture successfully. It is a unique opportunity to get your startup off the ground, risk free. 

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs of various skill sets who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1,800 past events in 120 countries around the world… just in 2014! 

What’s special about this event?

This event coincides with Global Startup Battle, the largest startup battle in the universe (it’s true!). This means that participants at Startup Weekend Spokane will have a chance to present their startup ideas to the whole world

An initiative created by Startup Weekend, Global Startup Battle aims to generate a stronger global community of entrepreneurs through the largest startup competition in the world. During the weekend prior to and following Global Entrepreneurship Week, hundreds of Startup Weekend and other Techstars Community Programs programs are hosted around the world and winning teams from each event move forward to compete with one another via a global video competition. Global Startup Battle enriches the global entrepreneurial community by creating a sense of inclusion between startup teams around the world.

How does it work? 

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: 

  1. Pitch your startup idea and receive feedback from your peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote)
  2. Then, it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.
  3. The last part of the weekend is the most intense, teams present their ideas to a panel of judges and after a palm sweating Q & A, the judges pick the top 3 startups (did we mention, the winners get prizes to help launch their startup?). 
Who should participate?

We welcome anyone and everyone who has a passion for.. well.. anything! This event is open to anyone who wants to hone their skills in business planning, developing, marketing and design.

Why should I participate?

Startup Weekends are the ultimate learning and networking opportunity. Participants not only practice valuable entrepreneurial leadership and teamwork abilities, they get to learn helpful business techniques from qualified coaches and compete for a chance to win prizes that will take their startup beyond the weekend. 

Meet a co-founder, receive invaluable one on one mentorship, or learn a skill outside your usual 9-to-5. This is a once in a lifetime chance to meet and interact with many successful entrepreneurs some of whom may turn out to be your promoters.

Still got questions about the weekend? 

Checkout our amazing video, both of which explain how the weekend works; or, ask us anything at!


How far along should I be on my idea in order to pitch at Startup Weekend Spokane? 
Your idea doesn't need to be any more than that, an idea, to pitch it on Friday night.

What happens if the idea I pitch doesn't win the Friday night vote? 
If your idea isn't one of the 10-12 winners on Friday you may join another team, or if you have significant interest or a pre-formed team, you may continue working on your idea over the weekend and pitch it again on Sunday night. 

Can I attend Startup Weekend Spokane if I don't have an idea or team? 
Yes, you can attend if you don't have an idea or team. On Friday night ideas will be pitched and you will be able to join the team that interests you most. 

Can I attend Startup Weekend Spokane with a team? 
Yes, you can attend as a team. 

What do I need to bring to Startup Weekend Spokane? 
You'll want to bring anything you may need to work on developing a business over the weekend, i.e. your computer, camera and any other tools of your trade. 

Still aren’t sure if Startup Weekend is for you?
Ask us anything at

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 10th

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 November 11th

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 November 12th

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

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Pete Taylor
Founder of Spiceology

Pete Taylor is the CEO & Founder of which he pitched at Spokane's very first Startup Weekend. Spiceology is disrupting the spice industry with its direct-ship foodservice model and is currently the #1 fastest growing spice company in the country

David Condon

Born the same year that Spokane was preparing to shine on the global stage at Expo '74, Mayor David A. Condon grew up in a community that was safe for families, fertile for businesses, and naturally stunning. After David graduated Gonzaga Prep, he went on to earn his bachelor's degree in Finance and Military Science from Boston College. The first re-elected Mayor in Spokane in more than 40 years, Mayor Condon remains focused on many key initiatives which began during his first term – all aimed at making Spokane safer, stronger, and smarter. These include making investments in public safety, growing jobs and our economy, promoting a successful budget, improving Spokane’s infrastructure, and increasing the quality of life. 

Prior to becoming Mayor of the second largest city in Washington, Mayor Condon’s distinguished professional career included serving in the United States Army, owning and operating small businesses, and serving as the Senior Staff in the US House of Representatives . David and his wife Kristin are thrilled to be raising their three children near many of their family members in Spokane – which was recently named an All-America City for the third time. He is committed to making sure Spokane grows and remains the City of Choice.

Event Judges

Steve Trabun
Regional Business Manager, Avista

Steve Trabun has over 35 years of multi-functional and executive-level experience in large organizations and start-up environments, providing strategic and tactical business planning and leadership across all functional areas of the organization. Steve is a member of the Energy Solutions team at Avista Corporation, where he has led several strategic economic development initiatives including the creation of the Avista Business Entrepreneurship Network and Startup Spokane, a region-wide entrepreneurial support ecosystem for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses.  As part of his work, Trabun has led the creation of Mind to Market, a unique startup accelerator program, which includes a pre-seed investment fund to help launch viable and scalable ideas through intensive coaching and mentorship.  Trabun’s entrepreneurial expertise is leveraged within Avista, where he participates in innovating new product and services ideas for Avista’s customers.

Dan Wadkins
Partner & Chair of corporate and IP Transactions Group – Lee & Hayes, PLLC

Dan advises a wide variety of businesses, from startups to well-established companies, in the areas of corporate, securities and financing, mergers and acquisitions, trademark and brand protection, intellectual property protection and commercialization, wine and alcohol beverage law, and commercial transactions. Dan has a passion for helping startups and emerging companies navigate the complex business and legal landscape and is able to assist clients in every stage of the business lifecycle, from formation and financing to a successful exit. Dan also has considerable experience drafting and negotiating complex commercial transactions in the areas of manufacturing, services and technology development. In addition, Dan regularly counsels and assists clients with the strategic acquisition, protection, registration, commercialization and enforcement of all types of intellectual property assets.

Ben Stuckart
Spokane City Council President

Ben is on his second term as President of the Spokane City Council. He serves on both the Airport and University District Boards and is chair of the city’s Urban Development Committee

Ginger Ewing

Ginger has spent the last decade as an arts advocate and organizer in Spokane. She is the Founder of Window Dressing, a storefront gallery program that fills vacant buildings and disused spaces with short term art exhibits and creative businesses. She is also the Cofounder of Terrain, a nonprofit organization showcasing emerging artists in the Spokane region. Additionally, Ginger is an Ambassador for Artist Trust, a Spokane Arts Commissioner, a Washington State Arts Commissioner, and the former Curator for Cultural Literacy at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. She also loves dogs, especially pugs.

Nadine Burgess
Owner of Spokane Gymnastics

Nadine has lived in Spokane since 2006 and now considers it her forever home. She loves the people, opportunity, outdoors and community of the Intermountain Northwest.   She enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, literature, travel, field trips and “behind the scene” tours, critters large and small, and positively impacting the lives of children.    Nadine started coaching gymnastics at 14 years old, and it remained her passion as a “fun, side gig” prior to becoming a manager, then owner of Spokane Gymnastics in 2010.    Nadine is a proud Rotarian, and currently serves as a board member of Embrace Washington, Children FIRST and Greater Spokane Incorporated.   Nadine is most famous for her “Handstands around the World!”

Ryan Arnold
Director of Regional Entrepreneurial Strategy, North Idaho College

Ryan Arnold is the Director of Regional Entrepreneurial Strategy at North Idaho College where he oversees the direction and development of innovation and entrepreneurship focused initiatives and partnerships for the institution. He was previously the Entrepreneurship Director at Startup Spokane and has held positions and run firms focused on economic development and the built environment over his career.

Chip Overstreet
Head of Business Development, Affirm, Inc.

Chip is a serial entrepreneur with 25+ years experience in the software business. He has been CEO of 3 startups, raised over $40 million in venture capital, and sold his first company to Sony back in 2000 -- enabling the PlayStation 2 with multi-player gaming support. Chip currently is the head of business development for Affirm Inc in SF, but he lives in Spokane and is deeply involved in the startup community.

Elliot Stoll

Elliot’s diverse background working with international companies to design and build new products has made him a passionate advocate for purposeful, user centric products. Elliot has experience with the product development, user experience, and quality management aspects of bringing a successful commodity to market.

In 2014, Elliot co-founded Uxiliary, a Spokane based digital studio. Here, he wears the many hats of a business owner, acting CFO, COO, project manager, and more.

Elliot also co-founded the Inland Northwest Technologists group In 2015. He currently sits on the board of directors, and serves as executive director for INT. Elliot was instrumental in merging INT with local non-profit, Technet, who has been focused on technology growth in Spokane for the past 20+ years. INT is currently focused on connecting technology based professionals, enthusiasts, and employers to build a vibrant community in the Pacific Northwest.

Coaches and Mentors

Megan Hulsey

Hi, my name is Megan Hulsey. I am the program manager for startup Spokane! I am passionate about helping businesses get started on the path to success. In my job, I have access to all of the resources and know all of the people who can help you drive your business towards success. I also have experience as a small business owner myself. I'm really excited to see what we can put together this weekend.

Rhonda DeVito

Rhonda L. DeVito is a Sr. Business Development Consultant for Business Impact NW, a non-profit ‘alternative’ lender and business coaching organization in Seattle. Her passion is helping emerging companies to grow strategically by providing sound direction and connecting them with the right resources. Many of her clients are women, minority and veteran-owned enterprises.
She began her own self-employment career in cross-country trucking at the age of nineteen, then later expanded her fleet and added transportation brokerage and refrigerated public warehousing services.  After selling her award-winning enterprises, Rhonda created Ideas International, LLC in 1997, a consulting firm that assists entrepreneurs with business acquisitions, formal business and market plan development and sourcing capital. Her specialty is finding money for startups! 
Rhonda has consulted to firms in a diverse array of industries, and a favorite interest has always been improving the environment.  She is a career-long volunteer and board member to non-profits, and currently mentors startups for the CleanTech Alliance of WA to launch ‘green’ technology firms.
After moving from Seattle to Moses Lake in 2016, Rhonda now concentrates on serving firms (and people with good business ideas) in Eastern Washington and Oregon.  In her rare/spare time, Rhonda enjoys tending her gardens to help them grow, too!

Rebecca Writz
Designer at Hagadone Digital

I am Rebecca Writz, or That Red Head. While my titles have included graphic designer, web designer, and front-end developer, my true title is problem solver.
My skills experience ranges from branding to packaging, app design concept to digital illustration, even a little movie makeup. User interface, experience, and design psychology, round out some of the "soft" sides of my interests, while typography and responsive design are two of my hard skills that I am particularly passionate about.
I’ve been involved in Startup Weekend here in Spokane since almost the beginning. Along the way I’ve created branding and packaging for winning and runner up teams. I’ll help you see the whole of your idea, poke holes where holes are needed, prompt you to ask the hard questions, and do some quick branding while I’m at it. 

Mark Gustafson

As a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.Sc. in Mathematics, Mark Gustafson has 30+ years of experience in the software industry, in verticals including healthcare, personalized photo manufacturing and most recently the energy and utility industry. 
In 1999 Mark co-founded Reischling Press Inc.’s current business model and led their technology revolution in the personalized photo merchandise industry for over 11 years as their CTO and executive director. Today RPI has offices in Seattle, Atlanta and the Netherlands.
From 2010-2012 Mark was the CEO of August Systems, a home health software company where he led them to a cloud / SaaS based delivery model.
Mark’s experience in Agile software delivery and Dev Ops landed him at Avista Corp. where he helped bring modern software delivery and operations techniques to the Utility. 
Mark now works as a Senior Manager in business development and strategy at Avista Corp., where he helps lead innovation and commercialization actives as well as outside strategic investments and economic development. 
Mark is currently working on his Master of Science in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University.  He has a Utility Management Certificate from Willamette University and a Certificate of Finance and Accounting for Executives from the University of Washington Foster School of Business.  Mark holds numerous patents and currently sits on three boards in the energy startup space.
When he’s not in the office, Mark enjoys golf, snow skiing and ice hockey. His wife Suzanne is a kindergarten teacher in Spokane and their two children attend the University of Washington.

Christopher Wood

Christopher Wood is a futurist, engineer, startup mentor, angel investor, and is the founder of, an Ag industry startup.  He is also the managing director of Ten X Strategies, L.L.C., a Spokane, WA based consulting & private equity firm that has played a lead role in 5 buyouts over a 10-year period.  Mr. Wood also serves on several boards of directors, was a 2017 TEDx Talk speaker, and teaches in Gonzaga University’s Engineering School as an adjunct professor.  He devotes much of his time to the Spokane startup community where he teaches pitching and business canvas model classes, judges business plan competitions and often lectures at local universities, such as WSU and the University of Idaho, on startup principles and new product development topics.  
Christopher’s hands-on approach translates into tangible, bottom-line benefits for both established businesses and startups he is assisting.  He specializes in demonstrating how lean techniques can be more adaptable. Mr. Wood has provided engineering, quality, manufacturing, marketing, sales and executive leadership in over 34 different industries.

Michael Ebinger
Director, WSU University Center for Innovation

Michael Ebinger is currently the Director of the WSU University Center for Innovation, which is funded by a 5-year grant from the US Economic Development Administration.  His efforts and interests include commercializing technical research and evaluating the economic feasibility of new ideas and products through marketing research, business strategies, and operations.  In addition, Ebinger currently teaches courses in the WSU Online MBA program.
Ebinger graduated from the University of Arizona in 1980 (BA with Honors, Anthropology) and 1984 (MS, Soils, Water, and Engineering); from Purdue University in 1988 (Ph. D. in Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy); and from Washington State University in 2010 (MBA).  He joined the research staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1988 and served as staff scientist until 2003.  He became Ecosystems Team Lead in 2003 then interim Group Leader and Deputy Division Leader at different times for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division through 2005.  In 2005 he was named Group Leader of the Atmosphere, Climate, and Ecosystems Dynamics Group, a position he held until 2008 when he moved into program development efforts.  He left the Laboratory officially in 2013.  
As an R&D scientist at Los Alamos National Lab, Ebinger helped to develop a novel spectroscopic analysis of soil elements (carbon, metals, and radionuclides) that employed laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and assisted in climate change measurements. The soil methodology was granted a US patent in 2010 (US 7,692,789); a derivative of this technology is at work on Mars aboard NASA’s Curiosity Rover.  He leveraged his climate change research into pivotal policy development that was part of the foundation for greenhouse gas verification efforts during the Bush and Obama administrations.  This information also formed the initial stages of key national security interests in climate change verification in denied-access territories.  
Ebinger remains an active classical musician as a student of viola and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.  As an academic, he is developing course material for Professional Science Masters programs on the Spokane and Pullman campuses. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Zach
  • April
  • Brent
  • Elliot


Thibaut Labarre
Software Development Manager, Angel Investor

Engineering Manager with a Darwinian approach to innovation and long time Startup Weekend participant and organizer. Over the past 4 and a half years at Amazon, Thibaut built Heartbeat, a tool that leverages Natural Language Processing to combine millions of data points from disparate sources like product reviews, customer contacts, and social media to provide this information to worldwide product teams. 7k users access the tool every month to meet operational cost reduction goals and drive product improvements. Heartbeat started as his internship project and is now developed by a team of 18 engineers.

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