Startup Weekend Tuscaloosa

    Friday, March 1 - 3, 2019

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

Friday, March 1 - 3, 2019

Friday, March 1 - 3, 2019
Event starts at 5:30 pm

The EDGE Incubator and Accelerator
2625 10th Ave.
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

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Startup Weekend Tuscaloosa Returns!

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? 

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 Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday March 1st

5:30 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

7:00 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 March 2nd

8:30 am
Arrive, Chick-Fil-A breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Kickoff Session
Teams run through the process and start problem validation.

11:00 am
Problem Statements
Teams present their problem statements to the rest of the participants and provide feedback for each other.

12:00 pm
Grab food and signup for coaching blocks.

1:00 pm
Mentoring Sessions
Coaches and experts help teams one-on-one with solution validation, business model, technical specifications, etc.

6:30 pm
Jim 'N Nicks BBQ

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday March 3rd

9:00 am
Arrive, Panera bagel breakfast & coffee.

9:30 am
Pitch Workshop
Tips on how to perfect your pitch!

11:00 am
Mentoring Sessions
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions.

12:00 pm
Grab a slice of Domino's pizza

2:00 pm
Pitch Practice & Tech Check
Practice your pitch and presentation in front of coaches and mentors.

4:00 pm
Submit Presentations
These can be submitted to the facilitator via Google Drive or email

5:00 pm
Final Presentations
This is the moment you've been waiting for!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
And the winners are...

8:00 pm
Final chance to network and take photos

8:30 pm
Go Home!
All great things must come to an end!

Event Judges

Katherine Zobre

Katherine Zobre currently works as a Business Advisor for the Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, proudly serving the business community through coaching and mentoring of small businesses in Alabama.  She has traveled and lived in 11 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America including work in financial services, healthcare, education, agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and consulting.  She served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa where she focused on empowerment through financial literacy and technical assistance to women’s business groups.  She worked in consulting in Buenos Aires, Argentina before moving back to the U.S. where she started her own consulting firm in Dallas, Texas.   Her focus is on science/engineering R&D startups and creative arts businesses.

Katherine obtained a BA in political science and economics from the University of Maryland and MS in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.  She serves as the Kentuck for Kids coordinator for the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Tuscaloosa.

Tim Lewis

A great connector of potential, resources and technology, Tim Lewis' storied entrepreneurial career began in 1987.

Originally the only employee of the appropriately named T.A. Lewis and Associates, today "the really good engineer who can talk" is now President and CEO of TALA Professional Services, an international technology and innovation firm with a global clientele. TALA's notable client roster includes Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), Honda, Mercedes-Benz USA International, City of Chattanooga, IBM Global Services, City of Tuscaloosa, Rosser International (USA Army base — Italy), The University of Alabama, and among many others.

An outspoken proponent of technomics (the power of technology to drive economic prosperity), Tim conceived and leads the Connected Community Program, currently improving cities across the United States. Connected Communities have potential to positively and profoundly impact entire communities. Most recently Tim has worked with museums on innovative ways to share their stories and helped communities to highlight their rich history and amazing cultures.

Tim's combination of capitalistic and altruistic values has made him a much sought after speaker, trainer and advisor in a variety of sectors. Distinguished honors he has received include the Blue-Chip Enterprise Initiative Award, Small Business Person of the Year, Minority Business Leadership Award and serving as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business. Additionally, Tim serves on the boards of Junior Achievement, Salvation Army, UAB Health System, UA Health Services Foundation, Birmingham Business Alliance, Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Task Force, and Lawson State Community College Foundation.

Coaches and Mentors

Paul Drnevich

Paul L. Drnevich (Ph. D., Purdue University) is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy (with tenure) at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and a Visiting Research Scholar at with the Strategic Management Group at Purdue University. Previously, he held appointments as visiting Associate Professor at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) while on sabbatical for 2013-2014, and as Assistant professor of Strategic Management at the University of Alabama (2006-2012). His research interests include: 1) examining how organizational capabilities contribute to value creation and appropriation, the effects of environmental uncertainty on their contribution, and the role of information technology in enhancing these contributions, particularly to innovation and performance in entrepreneurial new ventures, small businesses, and mergers and acquisitions contexts; and 2) The application of this research to solve problems in management education, business practice, and public policy. He has authored research for Financial Times Top 50 Research Journals Strategic Management Journal, MIS Quarterly, and Journal of Management Studies as well as Academy of Management Learning & Education, Decision Sciences, and Journal of Small Business Management, and has presented over 60 papers at international conferences including the Academy of Management, Babson Conference on Entrepreneurship Research, and Strategic Management Society. He is a member of the Academy of Management and Strategic Management Society, serves on the Strategic Management (former BPS) division’s executive committee, and the editorial boards of SMJ, JSBM, and AMLE.

Theresa Welbourne

Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne is the Executive Director, Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute and the Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Culverhouse College of Commerce. She also is the founder, president, and CEO of eePulse, Inc., a human capital technology and consulting firm. Dr. Welbourne’s expertise is in the areas of strategic leadership and human capital optimization in high-growth, entrepreneurial and high-change organizations. She has a large body of work on initial public offerings. Dr. Welbourne’s research and work have been featured in popular publications such as Inc. Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Business Week, New York Times, and Entrepreneur Magazine. She also publishes in academic outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Strategic Management Journal. Theresa is a prolific writer, well-known speaker and consults with numerous organizations in multiple industries.

Tommie Syx

Tommie Syx is recently retired from The University of Alabama. Over the course of her UA career, she worked as the Coordinator for the AlabamaREAL entrepreneurship education program guiding the startup of community-based small businesses and school-based enterprises. She was involved in multiple entrepreneurship initiatives across campus, including coaching with the Crimson Startup Canvas. Her last three years were spent with the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute and the Edge Incubator and Accelerator assisting higher education students and Tuscaloosa community members through various phases of business development. In addition to her University work, Syx has been involved in several family business ventures and currently enjoys part-time consulting work.

Syx received her B.S. and M.S. from The University of Alabama and holds several certifications related to entrepreneurship education, personal finance, and conflict management, mediation and negotiation. She has served on Advisory Boards for the Alabama State Department of Education Commerce and Information Technology, Alabama Communities of Excellence, and Jump$tart.

Ryan Marks

Ryan Marks is Director of Operations and Infrastructure, Digital Services for Randall-Reilly in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is responsible for server and database administration across 25 servers in addition to project management and development. While attending The University of Alabama, he took courses in Computer Engineering and Computer Science before deciding Management Information Systems (MIS) would be right for him. Ryan learned PHP in 2001 while working on an MIS sponsored Computing Science Olympiad registration system for high school students in the state. In 2004, he created the data model and system basics for a job lead distribution system for a niche market in the employment space.

Wes Eldridge

Wesley Eldridge is a full-stack engineer, entrepreneur, and researcher. He holds a BSBA from The University of Alabama, with a concentration in Applied Economics. Currently, he helps run Rebellious Lab's, a product and engineering focused company. Wes also works with Randall-Reilly as a web application developer within their product development group where he delivers high-value applications that reach more than 100,000 users a month. Outside of his professional career, Wes also contributes to open sources software. He currently is a lead organizer and researcher for Pommerman, a multiagent reinforcement learning platform. This has given him and his team the opportunity to present at conferences like NeurIPS, AIIDE, and AAAI. Within the Pommerman community, Wes helps support more than 1,000 community members, develops and maintains the platform, and works with collaborators to produce research and presentations. His entrepreneurial work has allowed him to be a guest lecturer, coach/mentor to startup founders, and a judge at startup focused events. Throughout his startup career, he has won 4 startup competitions helping him fund his companies. In his free time, he enjoys hacking on robots and hardware, traveling, hiking, and cooking.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Josh
  • April
  • Ryan
  • Michael
  • Pam
  • Theresa
  • Paul
  • Arjun


Arjun Grama
Early Stage Technology Analyst

Arjun is an experienced marketer, mentor and manager currently working as an Offering Manager at IBM. 

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