Startup Weekend Tampa Bay presented by Grow With Google

    Friday, July 20 - 22, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Tampa Bay presented by Grow With Google

Friday, July 20 - 22, 2018

Friday, July 20 - 22, 2018
Event starts at 5:00 pm

9417 Princess Palm Ave.
Tampa, FL 33619

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Techstars Startup Weekend Tampa Bay and Grow with Google have joined forces to offer this special event FREE of charge to the first people who register.

Hurry to secure your spot; this event will sell out quickly!

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour whirlwind event where you get to be part of building a business in a weekend, Silicon Valley style. It's about pitching, business model creation, prototyping, designing and market validation all in a friendly and supportive team environment.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and teams organically form around the ideas that most resonate with people.

How does it work?

We're mashing together changemakers, techies, entrepreneurs and everyone in between, and locking them in a building together for a weekend, pouring in a heap of caffeine and free food, to see what new ideas come out the other end.

This 54-hour event brings together creatives, technologists, designers and developers to experiment with rapid idea generation, Silicon Valley style.

It is a fast-paced and highly creative event that challenges everyone who attends to make innovative new projects in 54 hours.

Who can attend?

Anyone. Whether you're 18 or 88, a painter, actor, software engineer, writer, graphic designer, geek, entrepreneur, photographer, musician, programmer, museum curator, or startup specialist. Whether you have an idea or have no idea. Everyone is welcome.

What you will get out of it

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered citizens who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures or products. Whether participants found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, find a creative collaborator, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to have a heap of fun and 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!

Learn more and see how the event runs at

This event is fully sponsored by Grow With Google, through a Techstars Startup Weekend Scholarship.

Grow with Google is an initiative that draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through Grow with Google, Google aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday July 20th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch - 60 seconds per person!

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:30 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 July 21st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Coach Meetings - All day!
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

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

10:00 am
Market Validation Workshop
This workshop is specially designed to help entrepreneurs to understand the importance of market validation and the “How-to” aspect of conducting a market validation exercise.

1:00 pm

1:30 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for 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 July 22nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Pitch Workshop

10:00 am
Coaches arrive
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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm
Celebratory After Party


Topher Morrison
Managing Director, Key Person of Influence

Topher Morrison is the founder of a Personal Branding Agency in Tampa, FL. He is the author of three best-selling books and has been a resident of Tampa for 18 years. For the past 25 years, he has traveled the world for business and witnessed the development of the most innovative cities. He has observed what can happen when cities stop playing politics and start playing the game of innovation.  

He volunteers his time to mentor students at the University of Tampa’s entrepreneurship center and is a member of UT’s Board of Fellows. As a founding member of the Center Circle at the Center for Women, Topher has a track record advocating for equal rights of women in the workplace. He was one of the most vocal citizens in the fight against the Public Transportation Commission for allowing ride share services like Uber and Lyft to remain in Tampa. He is a member of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and serves on the development committee for Feeding Tampa Bay.  

His extensive speaking career, spanning over the past 30 years, has earned him a global reputation as an expert in mass-communication and influence. He has spoken for top execs with American Express, Microsoft  and Google, just to name a few. Topher is shockingly honest, sometimes irreverent, and always down-to-earth. His personality and straightforward manner are perfect for the person who is tired of partisan politics and career politicians. He is not afraid to tell it like it is and speaks to the person who couldn’t care less about party affiliation and is more focused on making sure Tampa is the ultimate city to live work and play.

Event Judges

Lakshmi Shenoy
CEO, Tampa Bay Innovation Hub (working name)

Lakshmi Shenoy is a recent transplant to the Tampa Bay region and is the CEO of the Tampa Bay Innovation Hub (working name), which will launch next year. Before moving to Tampa Bay, Lakshmi was in Chicago and served as the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at 1871, the #1 university-affiliated business incubator in the world.  Prior to 1871, Lakshmi focused on growth strategies for a variety of businesses through her work at Prophet Brand Strategy, Time Inc., Procter & Gamble and Leo Burnett.  She has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Lakshmi was recognized as one of 20 Rising Brand Stars by AdAge in 2017.

Andre Ortega
Chief of Staff, Peerfit

Andre Ortega is Chief of Staff for the Enterprise Health team of Peerfit, the market leader in connecting employers and carriers with personalized fitness experiences. Previously, Andre worked as a Wellness Director in the Tampa Bay area before joining the Peerfit team over three years ago. Andre received a B.S. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida, is a proven bootcamp fitness instructor and can be found paddleboarding, rock climbing and practicing handstands like a true yogi. 

Benjamin J. Patz
Managing Director, The FAN Fund

Mr. Patz is a Founding Partner and Managing Director at the FAN Fund, an early stage investment fund focused on finding and supporting technology startups in the state of Florida.  The FAN Fund has been in operation since October 2015.  Prior to starting the FAN Fund, Mr. Patz was Chief Operating Officer for Presidio Networked Solutions, a multi-billion-dollar Information Technology solutions provider.  He joined Presidio through the acquisition of Coleman Technologies, Inc. in 2009, the firm he co-founded and ran as CEO.  At CTI, he grew sales to $250M while staying active in technical pursuits such as leading the UCF/CTI team to the finals of the DARPA Urban Challenge, an autonomous vehicle competition.  Mr. Patz has also been principal investigator on several SBIR grants relating to the application of Fuzzy Logic and Neural Networks to control systems.  He has a BSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MSEE degree from the University of Central Florida.  He was Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for Florida in 2002 and received UCF’s Professional Achievement Award in 2006 and 2016.

Keara McGraw
Special Projects Manager, Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay & Innovations Capital Group in Tampa Bay

Keara McGraw is the “one who does all the things”  at Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay, an organization dedicated to developing social enterprise in our community, as well as Innovations Capital Group in Tampa Bay.  By day you can find her managing multiple social
 media accounts, producing events for their nonprofit, scheduling all of the important things, or sprucing up some websites while guzzling lots of coffee. In her spare time she is a competitive marathon runner and mom to one crazy little girl. She has spent
 the last 5 years working in marketing and event production and enjoys the controllable chaos that goes with it.

Santo Cannone
Entrepreneur in Residence, Tampa Bay Wave

Santo Cannone’s technology experience includes leadership positions in sales, product management and operations for businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500. Most recently, he served as a Chief Product Officer for Fiserv, leading teams developing product and
market strategies for the financial technology market.

During his time as Chief Operating Officer for ConnectWise, company revenues increased 40%
per year, key acquisitions that rounded out the company’s product portfolio were completed, and the company was recognized for the first time as a Tampa Bay Best Place to Work.

Santo’s previous experience includes Senior Vice President, Real Time Systems for FIS and Managing Director at EDS. Santo holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University and an MBA from Penn State.

Dr. Richard Munassi MD MBA
TechDiversity Cohort Director, Tampa Bay WaVE

Dr. Richard Munassi MD MBA has been a founder, mentor, consultant, and an active board member in startups in multiple verticals for close to a decade in Los Angeles, Houston, and Tampa.

He is both a Director as well as the Health Tech expert for the Tampa Bay WaVE, and sits on a range of committees for both the Operation Startup and the Tampa Bay WaVE Accelerator programs.

Dr. Munassi is also the co-chair of the Healthcare & Wellness Pavilion at the Synapse Innovation Summit and the co-founder of Blackfin Technology Partners. 

Coaches and Mentors

Genna Mckeel
Interim Head of Partnerships, Google for Entrepreneurs (SF)

Genna McKeel is Head of global partnerships for Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE). Before joining the GFE team, she was on Google’s central policy team where she led the team’s economic impact strategy and efforts to tackle forced data localization globally. Before Google, Genna received her MBA from London Business School where she focused on entrepreneurship. While in London, Genna was on the board of the Impact Consulting Club supporting entrepreneurs in emerging markets, the project manager for the "Silicon Valley comes to the UK Hackathon", and worked with Atomico on policy recommendations to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in London. Prior to business school, she spent five years in various positions at the U.S. Department of State, including an advisor on Darfur policy and a member of Secretary Rice’s advance team. Outside of the office, Genna finds every opportunity to feed her passion for the outdoors by whitewater kayaking, hiking, running and swimming.

Anuraag Khandelwal
Product Marketing Manager, Retail Marketing (BOS), Google

Anuraag is a Product Marketing Manager on Google's Hardware Marketing team. He has worked in the online marketing space for 5 years working with healthcare systems, small & medium businesses, startups and nonprofits. He's worked part-time on the Google for Nonprofits team for over 3 years helping non-profits accelerate their organizational productivity, marketing strategies and operations. He is also a volunteer on the recently formed Grow with Google team that helps local SMBs, non profits and individuals grow their businesses, skills and careers.

Deepika Phakke
Global Operations Manager, Google

Based out of New York City, Deepika is a Global Operations Lead on the Doubleclick team in Google Ads. From working in legal, sales and sales support to leading Strategy and Ops teams, she has been with Google for over 7 years and has worked in 2 countries, 4 offices & 6 different teams. She has also volunteered & led community driven projects nationally and internationally helping local communities thrive and grow sustainably. She is an experienced coach and consultant to many Silicon Valley startups, entrepreneurs and nonprofits  

Jesse Curry
Director of Development, Haneke Design

Jesse Curry, Development Director at Haneke Design, entered the world of software development through the games industry, working on several Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii games, eventually leading his own teams. The experience of developing for the games consoles allowed Jesse to make an easy transition to the mobile space. At Haneke Design, Jesse works with a team of talented developers to provide first class native solutions for the iOS and Android platforms while leveraging the latest backend technology to provide robust web services. When not creating next-level mobile applications for his clients Jesse enjoys bicycling, brewing beer, and spending time with his family.

Michael Sunderland
Managing Director, Full Stack Talent

Michael Sunderland is a successful entrepreneur and startup enthusiast that was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. He is the founder of Full Stack Talent, a completely bootstrapped recruiting company that was profitable within its first few months and hired over 10 W2 employees in its first year of operation. Mike has a passion for all things B2B, marketing, operations, and talent acquisition. If your Startup Weekend project is B2B, or in the recruiting world, he’d love to chat.

Ricardo Daza, PhD
IT Risk Consultant + Information Assurance Researcher

Leveraging 27 years of solving information technology problems, Ric Daza applies his security and risk management expertise for organizations across the world. Ric has consulted to foreign and domestic government agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies in the financial, technology, defense, healthcare, national sports franchises, and manufacturing sectors. 
Ric believes that people and processes often trump reliance on technology alone. He helps companies look beyond vendor-driven, fear mongering by advocating an evidence-based approach in both decision-making and the measurement of results. Ric has designed security operations for varied organizations and served as an interim CISO. He has produced tangible results that meet or exceed organizations’ expectations in various technical areas, including networking, risk management, security analysis, incident response, risk communication, vulnerability management, metrics and maturity programs, data science, programming, and more.
Ric is well-educated in his profession. He has several certifications and degrees. He holds a double CCIE (R&S, Security), CISSP, CRISC, CISA, ISO 27001 Lead Auditor, PMP, and RHCE. He also has a Doctorate (PhD) in Information Assurance. 
Fluent in English and Spanish, Ric has taught in and consulted to organizations across the Americas. He enjoys teaching and mentoring the next generation of security professionals, and is currently the Cybersecurity Mentor with the Tampa Bay Wave Accelerator, a Committee Member with West Florida ISACA, the Cybersecurity Track Leader for Techstars Startup Week, and a recipient of two NSA Fellowships.

Laura Egocheaga
Founder & CEO

Laura Egocheaga is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder & CEO of Divbe Tech, a Growth Hacking digital agency servicing eCommerce & Brick and Mortar clients across the United States. Laura started learning her craft while still in high school and running her first business which was a branch of affiliate marketing as a side hustle. After making her first $20k in 6 months she knew there was something bigger to this thing called "The Internet"... Now she is the owner & operator of a digital marketing agency that provides their clients with "customers on demand" system & consulting with Brands on how to acquire the Generation Z consumer. Laura is also one of the most sought after Facebook Ads Expert alive today. She is a crypto/blockchain enthusiast, author, and an early investor in crypto such as BTC, ETH, XRP and XLM.

Dennis C Hansen
Co-founder & Chief Product Officer

Hi, I’m Dennis Hansen, a co-founder of Knack. Knack is company that seeks to close the skills gap through peer education. I graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Industrial and Systems engineering, but since developed a wide variety of skills including design and front end development, which is primarily what I do for Knack. When I’m not working on Knack, my interests include playing music and delving deeper into various science and technology related topics including creative coding, machine learning, mathematics, and philosophy.

Sarrah Vesselov
UX Manager @gitlab Designer & Developer

Sarrah Vesselov is a UX Designer & Developer based in Tanpa, FL. As the UX Manager for GitLab, Sarrah and her team set the overall direction of UX at GitLab from both a design and application experience perspective. Sarrah has over 10 years of web design and development experience and is the Director for Women Who Code Tampa, an organization dedicated to advancing women in technology. She holds a B.F.A in Computer Animation and an M.B.A in Marketing.

Kiki Roeder
Founder of Redeor Media

Kiki Roeder has exited two companies and served as a growth and communications strategist to organizations across four continents. She is the founder of Redeor Media, an educational media company that transforms industry expertise and thought leadership into compelling content, courses, and digital communities. This includes and Startup Sisters, an organization that connects female founders with resources to build relationships and achieve business success.

Samyr Qureshi
Co-Founder & CEO at Knack

Co-Founder & CEO at Knack.  Market segmentation, business model viability, sales model, partnership strategy.  

JR Griggs
President, Red Wall Marketing

JR is the founder and president of Red Wall Marketing, lead organizer of Tampa Bay Startup Week, mentor for Tampa Bay Wave, and serves on the marketing committee at Tampa Bay Wave.

He has a passion for business and marketing which is what led him to start Red Wall Marketing. He firmly believes marketing should be everything in and to your business, and has worked with businesses in a variety of industries, implementing proven marketing strategies that help their business grow.

Maria Juan
Director of Marketing, Peerfit

Maria Juan is Vice President of Marketing for Peerfit, the market leader in connecting employers and carriers with personalized fitness experiences. Maria, along with the Peerfit marketing team, develops strategies and campaigns to reach incoming and current users through a variety of initiatives including digital marketing, social media, public relations, and community events, all while continuing to build the Peerfit brand on a national scale. With a background in arts administration focused in the dance arts, she uses this unique perspective and creative skillset to help develop brands and marketing personalities for emerging companies and startups. Maria holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida and when not encouraging people to redefine their wellness journeys, can be found burning calories at a nearby Peerfit studio or chasing around her baby boy.

Barry Klipp
Content Creator | Creative Strategist | Visual Designer, Hype Group


Andrew Adams
General Counsel and Consultant

Internet regulations, Turn-Around, SaaS, Privacy Laws, Corporate Structure, “Ramp Up” Management, Human Resources, Venture Capital, Commercial Real Estate, Federal State and International Government Entities and Environmental Regulations.
Seasoned senior executive delivering high-quality, strategic legal and business advice. General Counsel and CFO for high-tech companies, from start-ups to the Fortune 500. Substantive experience managing legal and financial departments. 15+ years reporting to and working with C-level executives.

Top advisor to technology companies regarding Global Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR), HIPAA, product development, enterprise software, SaaS, mobile devices, connected devices and analytics.

Strong financial leadership experience improving operational efficiency while bringing clarity to financial reporting. Expertise in ERISA, SOX, taxes, investor relations, investment analytics, auditing, M&A and fundraising. 

Kevin Goodwin
Director, Global Customer Success, Malwarebytes

Kevin leads the Global Customer Success teams at Malwarebytes a Silicon Valley tech firm. Joining in 2016, he ensures that all technology support decisions meet with company strategy and vision. Kevin successfully led his own tech start-up to a successful exit in 2014. He also has played a key role within organizations in both start-up, high-growth enterprises, and traditional corporate environments. Whether as a senior leadership role creating best-in-class service cultures or an operations expert building the most efficient customer service organization in an industry, Kevin has extensive experience in the technology and financial industries.


Nico Guidicessi
Art Director, Designer at Hype Group


Scott Winston
CEO, Winston Consulting Group Co-founder and COO, Business Impact Networks (BIN) | Creator of Built To Scale

Scott has a passion for entrepreneurism, scaling business, bringing innovation to growing business ecosystems, coaching, and developing leaders of leaders. A Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Scott leads organizations through large-scale transformation efforts. Scott has a proven track record of collaboration and partnering with senior leaders to design, develop and deploy transformation change programs in large global organizations and small to midsize firms looking to scale and grow. Scott is a client focused leader with over 25 years’ experience leading project, program, and product teams. Scott helps leaders thrive in dynamic complex high-pressure environments. Scott has worked with organizations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Motorola, Accenture, McDonald's, Microsoft, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Alcoa, Reynolds Metal Company, and numerous other global firms. Scott serves on the Advisory Board of Educational Business Strategies an educational 501c3 that provide practical business teaching to entrepreneurs, business owners and students in 15 countries in developing nations. Scott is a Mentor and sits on the Accelerator Committee for the Tampa Bay Wave; the Tampa Bay Wave’s nationally recognized accelerator program is renowned for helping entrepreneurs transform their ventures into sustainable businesses that have a strong advantage in the tech industry.

Angel Anderson, MBA
Direct Response Marketing Planner, Smarketing Results

Based out of Brooksville, Florida, Angel Anderson is lead marketing planner for Smarketing Results, LLC. Before Smarketing Results and while active duty Air Force he was the marketing advisor for companies in Las Vegas, North Carolina, Florida and in England. He received his Bachelor in Public Relations and Marketing from Ashford University and his MBA from the University of Maryland, MD. Prior to business school, he spent four years in various positions at Toastmasters District 71 Area 25 the United Kingdom and Ireland including VP of Marketing and Area Director. Outside of the office, Angel finds every opportunity to travel the world with his family.

Josh Murdock
Instructional Designer, Professor, Blogger, Co-Founder

Josh Murdock, known as Professor Josh, is an IT manager, instructional designer, professor, community organizer, blogger, and all around geek. He has been in higher education for over 20 years, including teaching educational technology and social networking currently at Valencia College for the last 14 years. He blogs about apps, gadgets, gizmos, startups, conferences, and tech tips at and works with his wife on a food blog that will make you hungry. You might have seen his food photography (@eatmoreofit) or his love for LEGO and geekiness (@professorjosh) on both Twitter or Instagram. He continues to build a community around education, technology, blogging, and entrepreneurship as EdTech Orlando organizer, Startup Weekend Orlando organizer, and founding planning team member of FLBlogCon. His motto: Engage, Excite, Educate!

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Tampa Bay presented by Grow With Google 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 Tampa Bay is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Allison
  • Kiki
  • Juhi
  • JR
  • Gracie
  • Ryan


Dee Hamill
TOW DATTs (The One Who Does ALLL The Things)

Dee is a momma bear to the tech/startup community in Charleston, SC. She runs a co-working space, handles operations/logistics for an accelerator in CHS, and organizes Startup Weekends, Startup Grind, 1 Million Cups, and Startup Digest for Charleston.

Jesus. Startups. Wine. Community. Inclusiveness. Techstars. Huge advocate of chasing those incredibly big dreams. Adrenaline Chaser. Lover of Life.


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