Triangle Startup Weekend

    Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015

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

Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015

Friday, November 13 - 15, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

HQ Raleigh (
310 S. Harrington Street
Raleigh, NC 27603

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Triangle Startup Weekend General

Do you have an idea for a product or service? Or just want to participate in a great entrepreneurial experience? Triangle Startup Weekend is an opportunity to turn ideas into action in 54 hours with talented collaborators like you.

Triangle Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event that supports early stage entrepreneurship. Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers, or just listen in. Teams (with diverse backgrounds) form around the top ideas and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, market validation and creation of a prototype. Local entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and business and community leaders serve as coaches and judges, guiding participants with the development of their ideas, providing technical guidance and real world experience.

At TSW you will
  • learn the basics of founding & launching a successful startup
  • network with other entrepreneurs, experienced and up & coming 
  • find the right people with complimentary skills, passion and dedication to build a startup quick & smart. 
  • test your idea (or work on someone else's) with potential customers
  • receive coaching from experienced education entrepreneurs & industry professionals, and 
  • win prizes that will help you take your startup idea to the next level of execution!
We're looking for passionate people of all ages, backgrounds and skillsets; entrepreneurs, developers, and designers who would like to participate in a great event have some fun!!!

See what it's all about

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Friday November 13th

6:00 pm
Registration, Dinner & Networking
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:10 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 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Coaching Begin
Entrepreneurs and subject matter experts help teams one-on-one.

12:00 pm

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

1:00 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 November 15th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

11:00 am
Pitch Practice Begins
Teams practice their pitch in front of coaches and obtain feedback!!

12:00 pm

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

3:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:30 pm
Judging & Awards

6:00 pm
Wrap-Up & After Party

Event Judges

Lewis Broadnax
Executive Director, Web Sales & Marketing at Lenovo

As a 20 year tech-industry veteran, Lewis Broadnax is currently responsible for driving the strategy and execution of Lenovo's eCommerce mission in North America. In addition to having P&L responsibility for US and Canada eCommerce, he was instrumental in launching Lenovo's online expansion into Latin America, including Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. Prior to his 15 year tenure with Lenovo and IBM, Lewis held positions in Marketing, Web Strategy, and Product Management for Research Triangle Park startup companies. Lewis was educated at Duke University and calls Durham, NC home. His passions are consumer electronics, photography and Duke Basketball.

Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy

Dr. Tashni Dubroy is the 17th President of Shaw University. Before her election, she served as special assistant to the president for process optimization, department chair and associate professor of Chemistry in Shaw’s Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department.  

As an entrepreneur, Dr. Dubroy is co-founder of Tea and Honey Blends hair care company and Element Beauty Bar, a hair salon. Money magazine and Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek recognized her entrepreneurial upstarts.  

She mentors women in science via her non-profit organization, The Brilliant & Beautiful Foundation and was recognized by Cosmopolitan magazine, as a "Fun, Fearless Female", who is making waves in the science community. At the national level, she encourages young girls to pursue their dreams and approach the sciences fearlessly. BBF sponsors the SMART Scholars workshop at the Friday Institute on NC State University’s campus, where she teaches hands-on science to young girls both locally and nationally.  

Dr. Dubroy is a proud alumnus of Shaw University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.S in Chemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from NC State University in 2007 and graduated with an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers University in 2010.

Ken Romley
CEO at Zift Solutions

As CEO of Zift Solutions, Ken is the driving force behind the company’s strategic vision and mission to offer complete, prescriptive, multi-channel marketing support for channel organizations. Since founding Zift in 2006, Ken has worked with thousands of channel partners and industry-leading suppliers from around the globe to help them reduce the costs and complexities of channel marketing and move the sales needle up at the same time.  
Ken is a frequent presenter at industry events where he not only talks about increasing channel sales, but also discusses his experiences in founding 3 previous venture backed companies, and unlocking investor value through acquisitions by DoubleClick, Merant, and MicroFocus.  He has a BS in Operations Research and an MS in Computer Science from Cornell University.

Lewis Sheats
Entrepreneur & Director of the NCSU Entrepreneurship Clinic

Lewis Sheats has extensive background in new venture planning, concept consulting, logistics, opportunity identification and analysis, marketing and strategic planning. Lewis is an entrepreneur focused on Opportunity Identification, Execution and Education.  
Sheats’s leadership has expertly guided the opportunity creation and development of several unique new ventures from launch to profitability.  He has raised venture funding ($6M+) and bootstrapped several ventures from concept to exit. Interstate Logistics, A Sweet Reminder, Securus & Malartu are the most recent success stories where Lewis was a founder and on the management team through opportunity creation, concept development and execution.  
Sheats has leveraged his experience to develop and lead an undergraduate entrepreneurship curriculum based on experiential learning and individual student development. Sheats is devoted to preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs as a Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship for the NC State Poole College of Management.   
As an educator and consultant, Sheats has been involved in the launch of many other ventures that range from non-tech to high technology based, venture backed to bootstrapped, and high growth to lifestyle start-ups.  
As director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, Sheats launched an initiative where students are exposed to experiential learning, are embedded in the entrepreneurship community & are provided the space and tools needed to execute their own ideas.  
Sheats has a BS in Finance from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and an MBA from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business at Campbell University. Sheats is an award-winning educator who was recently inducted into the international honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma & named an alumni distinguished undergraduate professor by the NC State Alumni Association.  

Liz Tracy
Community Director at HQ Raleigh

Liz brings international experience in community development and public outreach to her role as Community Manager. She ran a nationally-recognized jewelry business and arts-based learning camps for kids. Liz manages HQ Raleigh membership services, programming, and anything else that gets thrown her way!

Coaches and Mentors

John Austin
Director @ Groundwork Labs

John is the Director of Groundwork Labs, an NC IDEA supported program to help selected entrepreneurs test their idea and get expert guidance to reach their next goal.  Prior to Groundwork, John headed up Joystick Labs, an accelerator for video game studios, was CEO of Numerical Design Ltd., a software company acquired by Emergent Game Technologies, and COO of Division, Inc., a virtual reality startup that was acquired by HP.

David Baxter
Chief Pixel

David Baxter is the founder and Chief Pixel of Big Pixel, a Raleigh based design and development firm that focuses on building startups. His specialty is using a unique mix of UX, front and backend design, and coding skills to communicate with clients and show them the power of technology (without being scary) as well as designing beautiful and functional applications. David strives to be around startups as much as possible because their passion and dedication to their ideas are contagious. He has been a coach at 3 different Startup Weekends and is honored to be a judge for the Social Impact weekend.

Pamela S.Chestek
Principal, Chestek Legal

Pam is an intellectual property attorney experienced in trademark and copyright law, as well as in advertising, marketing, licensing and commercial contracting. With many years of both law firm and in-house experience, Pam takes a pragmatic approach to business. She understands that a successful enterprise is constantly challenged with managing time constraints, budget, and legal risk while nurturing and growing business opportunity.

Ms. Chestek’s work in the open source community has taught her the value of openness, participation, and collaboration.  She brings this practice to her work with her clients, whether they are in technology, design, communication, branding, the arts, or other creative businesses.

Jon Colgan
Founder and CEO @ CellBreaker

 Jon Colgan is founder of, an NC IDEA grant recipient (2013) and 500 Startups alum (2015). Fun fact: To talk about CellBreaker, Jon was the last scheduled interviewee with Diane Sawyer before she retired as ABC World News nightly anchor in 2014. Funner fact: Jon hasn't brushed his hair since the 7th grade. As a lifelong entrepreneur and former UNC ethics debate captain, Jon's mission is simple: give consumers confidence to veto bills they don't owe.

Suzanne Gordon

Suzanne Gordon retired in 2012 after ten years as CIO at SAS Institute (in Cary) , where she worked for 32 years. She graduated from North Carolina State University with Bachelor degrees in math and computer science and a Master's degree in statistics. Suzanne has always maintained close ties to the university, previously serving on the Board of Trustees from 2000-2009, and currently as a member of the Engineering Foundation Board. She has also served on the Board of the Institute for Advance Analytics since its inception, and is currently an Executive in Residence.
Suzanne is also very active in the community, serving on the Board of Communities in Schools – Wake County, for the past 10 years, and two years as Board Chair, in addition to volunteering as a tutor/mentor and founding Gordon Services (, a nonprofit which assist youth in obtaining jobs and related experience.

Greg Hopper

Greg Hopper runs Strategic Edge Executive Resources, LLC, a strategic planning, consulting, and executive education firm specializing in small to midsize businesses.  He is also Strategist-in-Residence at HQ Raleigh, where he assists member companies resolve strategic issues and contributes to growth, and an adjunct professor at Duke University, where he teaches a graduate strategy class. 

Greg has extensive industry experience in companies large and small, in industries from high tech to healthcare, in product development/management, executive management, marketing, and strategy positions, and cofounded a venture-backed startup.   He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Engineering Management Society, a member of the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), and a member of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). Greg received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, and a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University.  He is a frequent judge at business plan competitions and hackathons, including MetLife TechJam, Triangle Startup Weekends, and case study competitions at Duke and North Carolina State Universities.

Rebecca Horton
CoFounder and CEO of Trestles

Rebecca Horton is the CEO of Trestles, a design management firm with a focus on innovation in non-digital environments. At Trestles she has created a unique model for delivering design thinking work that incorporates change management and innovation capacity building to turn great ideas into profitable outcomes. In the past year, Rebecca has led a year-long experience design program with ThinkHouse (a Raleigh-based business incubator), design thinking workshops on topics such as "the future workplace" with clients like Red Hat, and customer journey mapping initiatives at organizations like MIT Sloan School of Management.

Kya Johnson
Founder & CEO at RainbowMe Inc.

Kya has practiced as an attorney with her family’s legal practice in North Carolina for 10 years. But that’s not all. After hours, Kya branches out as an entrepreneur. From Pink Shoe Builders (a real estate investment firm) to Wagging Tongue Tees (an expressive tee shirt for dogs that was featured in MTV Movie Awards, Teen Choice Awards, & Daytime Emmy Awards gifting suites). Now she is able to pursue her passion with RainbowMe Kids. RainbowMe is her brain child.  Making sure there are enough positive and relatable influences for kids has been a cause close to Kya for the majority of her life, and she is excited to see the impact RainbowMe will have on its audience. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s in Economics and North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Braden Rawls

Braden is the CEO and co-founder of Vital Plan, a rapidly-growing health & wellness company based at HQ-Raleigh. Braden and Vital Plan are on a mission to help individuals restore their health through herbal therapies and guided programs online. Braden received her Bachelor of Arts from UNC- Chapel Hill with a focus on public relations and entrepreneurship.

Andy Roth
Head of Customer Success @ RocketBolt

Andy Roth has two degrees from Duke Law School, including one specializing in entrepreneurship. Prior to law school he spent several years in New York City pursuing professional acting. He is currently in charge of Customer Success for RocketBolt, a Durham startup which took part in The Startup Factory's Fall 2013 program. This is his seventh Triangle Startup Weekend.

Sepideh Saidi
President / CEO at SEPI Engineering Group

SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc. (SEPI) is a Woman-Owned Business founded in 2001 by Sepi Saidi, PE, President/CEO. Ms. Saidi attended NC State University and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and Biological/Agricultural Engineering. She spent 16 years in the field of transportation engineering design and management including 12 years with the North Carolina Department of Transportation in Highway Design and Traffic Engineering. She began the company with two employees, two contracts, and 1,800-SF of office space. Today, SEPI employs a staff of more than 200 professionals in five office locations including their headquarters in Raleigh, NC and branch offices in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC, Richmond, VA, and Loveland, CO. Ms. Saidi was recognized in 2015 by the Triangle Business Journal as one of the Top 20 recipients of their inaugural “CEO of the Year” Awards.

Skip Williams

With over 30 years of experience in sales and international business expansion, Skip has accumulated a thorough knowledge of how to effectively segment markets and design application solution scenarios that uniquely deliver value and fit customer needs.  He currently teaches marketing principles and marketing strategy at the business school of Meredith College as an adjunct professor.  And, since 2012, Skip has been serving as a consultant to CED within their venture mentoring program to help innovative start-up firms translate ideas into successful businesses by helping them build strategic plans and formulate market execution models.  In working with a number of start-ups, Skip joined CloudFuze in 2014 and is the Head of Global Sales and Marketing.   
Prior to his current endeavors, Skip was the General Manager for Professional Services and Support at NCR, GM of Nexus Software, Inc., and spent 24+ years at IBM where he held various sales, sales training, sales management, and executive roles.

Aaron Knight

Aaron Knight is a full-stack web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of, a freemium service that teaches English to hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world.  He also organizes the Triangle Hacker Hours meetup. He has participated in 8 or more Startup Weekend events since 2009.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Triangle 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 Triangle is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Nate
  • Jason
  • Ray
  • Greg
  • Corey
  • Heidi
    Hess von Ludewig
  • Kendra


Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

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