Surprise Startup Weekend

    Friday, August 24 - 26, 2018

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

Friday, August 24 - 26, 2018

Friday, August 24 - 26, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

AZ TechCelerator
12425 W. Bell Rd.
Surprise, AZ 85378

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Your 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.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and 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!

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Friday August 24th

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

8:00 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 August 25th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Define problem, make roadmap

11:00 am
Get out and talk to customers

12:00 pm
Lunch & Check-In
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

11:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday August 26th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Last Pivots
Settle on the MVP

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

2:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm
Dinner & Presentations

7:00 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Vicki Mayo
CEO & Founder of The Touchpoint Solution

Entrepreneur, public servant, child advocate, wife, mother… Suffice it to say that Vicki Mayo has been on a mission of making a difference in the lives of a broad spectrum of people. That mission has led her to a cofound The Touchpoint Solution™, a cutting edge tech company that brings TouchPoints™ to the masses. Prior to starting TouchPoint™, Mayo served in variety of roles for Arizona State Government as Chief Transformation Officer and Deputy Assistant Director for the Department of Economic Security. She had previously been appointed Deputy Director of the AZ Department of Child Safety by Governor Doug Ducey.Mayo has enjoyed a successful entrepreneurial business career. Prior to her appointment by the Governor, she assisted in growing Valor Global into an international company with approx 1,000 employees in three continents. Valor Global is a leading Managed IT Services, Call Center and Service Desk Provider for SMBs and Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Valor Global, Mayo started and owned a national hotel management company, Mayo Hotel Management, LLC.Mayo has over 15 years of experience in various roles in child welfare, such as supporting the efforts of the Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) as well as creating a camp for foster siblings and Co-founding the Keys to Success Program which focuses on foster youth aging out of the system. Previous to that, Mayo was a foster parent of two boys who had been abandoned by their parents.

Event Judges

Molly Iarocci
VP, Investment Analytics

Molly Iarocci is Vice President - Investment Analytics at DCA Asset Management, Inc. where she oversees deal sourcing, due diligence, advisory services, and strategic partnerships.  Additionally, Ms. Iarocci aids with portfolio management and fundraising.  Her company is currently vetting, advising, and investing in University tech transfers, early/seed stage companies, and later stage publicly traded securities.  Ms. Iarocci spent five years with Stifel Nicolaus as an equity research associate analyst. She holds her series 7, 86, and 87 licenses with FINRA. She earned a BBA in Management, Entrepreneurship from the University of Notre Dame, a MBA from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in Investments/Corporate Finance, and a MS in Business Analytics from Arizona State University.

Stephanie Sims
Founder, Finance-Ability

Stephanie Sims is a 2nd generation entrepreneur, speaker and author. After a decade in investment banking, she successfully rode the high tech start-up roller coaster for another 10 years in Europe, complete with angels, venture capitalists, household-name clients and an exit to a publicly traded company. These days, as the founder of Finance-Ability, she's committed to providing entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools and self-awareness they need to find the right funding for them. When she's not working with her clients, she educates and mentors local entrepreneurs at various programs in the Valley, including ASU Venture Devils, Arizona Commerce Authority's Venture Ready program and Seed Spot.

Steve Maun

Mr. Steven M. Maun serves as an Executive Officer at Kozee Labs, Inc. Mr. Maun also served as the Managing Partner and President of RED Development, LLC. An accomplished leader with extensive and diverse experience growing businesses while managing the process and procedural changes necessary for increased personnel and infrastructure growth. 

Coaches and Mentors

Bob Laudner
Design Guru

• Accomplished Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Animator, and Multimedia Specialist with 15+ years of experience that includes creative design and front end development.

• Demonstrated success in the areas of brand identity development, website design, UI/UX design, WordPress development and video content creation (development and production).

• Proven capacity to interpret brand/project requirements, evaluate current trends/market conditions, and apply technical knowledge to design and deliver solutions that drive revenue

• Highly effective leader and communicator known for consistently exceeding client expectations, and for the on time, within budget execution of concurrent complex projects.

Nick Suwyn


Kelsey Lamphier
Marketing Coordinator

Kelsey Lamphier is the Economic Development Marketing Coordinator for the City of Surprise. Her key responsibilities include market data analytics, graphic design and marketing, and research for business attraction and retention efforts. The data and materials produced assist the team in creating compelling and engaging stories for clients and residents. Prior to becoming the Economic Development Marketing Coordinator, Kelsey began her Economic Development career in Surprise as an intern. During this internship, she also worked in restaurant management where she was able to experience first-hand business operations from budgeting and inventory to personnel management. Kelsey graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from Ball State University and her Masters of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Government and Policy from Grand Canyon University. She is an Arizona Economic Development Professional (AZED Pro) and actively working towards her CEcD certification.

Mitchell Bolnick

Mitch’s passion is to help other businesses excel. Mitch has found many rabbit holes to fall into during his diverse career and has learned many lessons the hard way as a result. Mitch’s goal is to help other entrepreneurs and leaders avoid mistakes. True strength and leadership does not come from making mistakes and dealing with them in an effective manner. Instead it comes from building leadership and structure to avoid making mistakes and succeeding for the long therm. In 2004 Mitch parted ways with Lucent Technologies after a 20 year career in financial and operational management.  At that time he embarked on an analysis of business opportunities, developing several business plans in the process. The effort eventually led to the purchase of BCD Low Voltage Systems. Along with his partner, Mitch ran BCD until 2013 when it was decided to sell the business. After several months of transition Mitch parted the combined company on August 1, 2013. The business unit still is in operation today. After leaving, Mitch started The Excel Consulting Group to help other entrepreneurs succeed for the long term. From 2012-2017 Mitch helped several businesses in the development of their business planning, process and in obtaining funding. Starting in 2018 Mitch joined Greener Pacific, an Oregon LLC, as CEO/member, FocalPoint Security, an Arizona LLC, as an advisor/member, and Opulent Business, LLC, as an advisor/member. Mitch also spends about 1/3 of his time volunteering in mentor/advisory positions for several organizations, including Arizona State University's Entrepreneurial & Innovation program and the State of Arizona's Venture Ready (Arizona Innovative Challenge) program.  Mitch is a board member of the City of Peoria Economic Development Advisory Board and in 2017 Mitch joined the board of directors for Wild At Heart, an Arizona non-profit protecting and rehabilitating birds of prey.   

Chris Murphy

Chris has 20 years as a Healthcare and Business Executive with domestic and international expertise in analyzing and executing business models of existing and conceptualized healthcare services and healthcare technology consisting of new procedures, medical devices, and software applications for his own companies, startups, healthcare organizations, and with a Fortune 15 company. Chris’ experience and expertise as an Entrepreneur and Healthcare Business Operations, Finance, and Technology Commercialization Executive consists of: - Application of sophisticated business     practices for clinical practices and     Healthcare Technology startups    - Demonstrated, measured increases in     practice volume and market share     through custom designed, multilevel      marketing strategies; to include, SEO,     TV commercials, economic and     clinical study creation and publication,    and conference presentations. 

- Forensic accounting audits and    financial engineering 

- Healthcare Technology     commercialization     consultation, from an initial idea all     the way through to product marketing     and sales. Experience in      business valuations, mergers and     acquisitions in the healthcare     technology sector. 

   Education:    State University of New York     BS Business Administration and        Finance        Arizona State University MBA

Julie Arrington

Julie has over 20 years of accounting experience, obtaining her BA in Accounting from Upsala College in New Jersey.    Her experiences are in distribution, manufacturing, technology and service companies.  Prior to starting her own business, she has held positions as Director of Finance, Comptroller, and Chief Financial Officer.   Her main objective is to guide small businesses to grow and learn how to manage the finance side, also with short-term and long-term goals.  Hands-on experience from accounts receivables/payables, inventory, COGS, payroll, HR, financial statements to tax returns. 

Rick Stoddard

Effective and accountable Senior Sales/Management Executive with over 30 years’ experience as entrepreneur, business leader, and trusted adviser. A history of successfully working with technology & software companies, from Enterprise customers to start ups. Expert abilities in solution selling, building business networks & ecosystems, deep client relationships, and leading high performing teams to accelerate new revenue generation.

Aymeric Dormeau
Expert-Comptable @NewtonExpertise


Eric Diaz

Eric Diaz is Co-founder for OYE! Business Intelligence which is a platform that segments and monitors real-time online multicultural conversations allowing clients to make educated business decisions and develop culturally relevant communications with the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S. OYE!’s work includes ongoing analysis for Fortune 100 brand MassMutual as well as for the largest public higher education provider in the nation, Arizona State University. Other well-known clients include Big Lots, Got2b, Kroger, Schwarzkopf and White Castle. Eric has worn many hats throughout his professional career. He spent parts of 2007 and 2008 in Shanghai, China’s economic capital, serving an important supply chain development role to support exponential company growth in the region for Staples, Inc., a Fortune 500 retailer. Eric completed his Masters Degree in Finance at Northeastern University in Boston, obtained a Marketing degree from The Ohio State University and has a passion for helping people.

Satish Kholay

Satish Kholay is a serial entrepreneur, currently he is the CEO and founder of idLink Systems a multi modal biometric identity management company, and a wearable body sensory Biometric (ECG/EKG and Pulse) development stage company. Satish had started multiple technology companies; where he assembled highly successful management teams. He had successes and had failures at early stages, learned lessons in life from the failures and went out to create successful companies. In between starting companies he worked at global 100 semiconductor companies as well. There he led global engineering and marketing teams, where he was responsible for building global product roadmap and marketing strategies including launch strategy.   Satish is a successful angle investor, adviser and mentor for several technology start up’s in the valley and overseas in India, he has played advisory role to several successful CEO’s.   He holds multiple patents in meter reading and energy management technology. He is an innovator, motivator and team builder.   Satish has been actively involved as an angel investor and mentor and is currently co-chair of Thunderbird Angle Network (TAN) and has been an active participant as angel investor for several years and participates in other AZ based Angel Network’s as well, he was instrumental in organizing and successfully launching the Arizona Chapter of TiE, a international organization which fosters entrepreneurship and provides mentoring to young and upcoming entrepreneurs.   He is also an active member of WHEF(a Global Economic Forum), serves as a adviser and mentor at AzTechClerator (a City of Surprise incubator). He is an Advisor to the Economic Development Department for City of Surprise AZ. Member Task Force for City of Surprise cross border Medical Tourism for Canada and Mexico.    He is a close advisor to Dignity Healthcare/CHI global initiatives.   He serves his community as advisor and mentor to Paradise Valley Community College entrepreneur dept, and serves as Vice President and President (elect) for Basis Schools Phoenix Schools Boosters.     

Ryan Sanford

Ryan is the co-founder of Kozee, Customer centric automated home services platform.

Kozee is finally bringing transparency into home services. A platform built for the homeowner, gone are the days of being unsure what is really wrong with your home.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Surprise 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.



Organizing Team

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

  • Mahesh
  • Julie
  • Rachael
  • Jeff
  • Kendra
  • Raquel


Jen Newell
Marketing and Communications Professional

I am part of the original organizing team of Startup Weekend San Diego and saw SW grow from toddler-hood to adulthood as early as 2007 in Boulder when it began.

I have recently worked at two Techstars companies, Carbon Robotics and CleverPet. I recently changed gears to do social media marketing at a large scientific instrument company.

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