Twin Cities Startup Weekend Youth

    Friday, January 13 - 15, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Twin Cities Startup Weekend Youth

Friday, January 13 - 15, 2017

Friday, January 13 - 15, 2017
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Hanson Hall
1925 4th Street S
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

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Twin Cities Startup Weekend Youth invites budding entrepreneurs in high school and college, to take an idea from nothing to something, pitch to prototype, in just three days. (This event does not require overnight stay)

Startup Weekend will propel students to launch creative business ideas by implementing the “Lean Startup” process. Students will pitch ideas, form teams around the top ideas, research their customers, and work intensely as teams to build a prototype that demonstrates the potential of their business. The event culminates in a “SHARK TANK” style pitch competition where teams present their business and demonstrate their prototype to a panel of local entrepreneurs.

In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.

Any student interested in startups, launching a business, entrepreneurship, or creative problem solving is encouraged to register. Startup Weekend demands teamwork, creativity, and determination! External experts with business and technical experience will help mentor teams, however, students will be forced to push the limits of their comfort zone and learn new skills.

Startup Weekend demands teamwork, creativity, determination, and focus from all participants! While each team will be assigned an adult coach, every team will be expected to manage itself to optimize time. 

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of passionate entrepreneurs with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower communities to launch revolutionary ideas. 

Startup Weekend Youth Twin Cities will be the second youth-version of Startup Weekend in the Midwest. Startup Weekend is a volunteer-driven global grassroots movement of passionate entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower communities to launch world-changing ideas. It is the largest community of entrepreneurs in the world and has hosted 2000+ events in 200+ countries since 2007. Global sponsors of Startup Weekend include Coca-Cola, 3M, Sprint, Intuit, Chase Bank, .CO, and The Case Foundation.

View our sponsorship opportunities here :
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Friday January 13th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food (Noodles and Co.), share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

6:45 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to pitch your ideas!

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams form and start discussing a plan of action.

9:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to finalize teams and take an inventory of the available skill sets. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend and make a plan.

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. Go home and get some rest!

Saturday January 14th

9:30 am
Check-In and Breakfast
Arrive, bagels, fruit & coffee

10:00 am
Morning Check-In
A time to make announcements and an opportunity to share your team's progress and to call for help if you need it! Listen to a presentation about customer development and using the business model canvas.

11:00 am
Work Time
This is a good time to be focusing on customer research and business model development.

1:00 pm
Chipotle Mexican Grill

2:00 pm
Afternoon Check-In
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:10 pm
Mentors Arrive
Mentors help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

2:20 pm
Work Time
This is a good time to be focusing on market research and hitting the streets.

6:30 pm
Papa John's Pizza

7:30 pm
Evening Check-In
After-dinner check-in, status reports and calls for help.

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. Go home and get some rest!

Sunday January 15th

9:30 am
Check In and Breakfast
Arrive, Check-in and eat breakfast (bagels, coffee and fruit) before getting to work.

10:00 am
Morning Group Check-In
Review plan of action for the day and any announcements from the group.

10:30 am
Work Time
Start finalizing your ideas and integrating them into your pitch.

12:00 pm
Jimmy John's

1:00 pm
Work Time
Start finalizing your ideas and integrating them into your pitch.

1:30 pm
Mentors Arrive
Mentors Arrive

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
Pizza Luce

5:00 pm
Final Presentations
Time to Pitch!

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm
Final Thoughts and Networking
Wrapping up the event

9:00 pm
El Fin
End of TC Startup Weekend Youth!


Nick Roseth
Founder of DocuMNtary

Nick is a passionate technology leader that works at the intersection of business, creative, and technology. Over the course of a 20 year career in digital, he has touched design, development, marketing, management, leadership, and more. Driven by lifelong learning, Nick is helping to build the  creative and technology communities in Minnesota. As Chief Operating Officer at SWAT Solutions Nick helps drive the strategy of the organization, develop brand awareness, and is ultimately responsible for delivery of SWAT’s services.

Event Judges

Scott Moore
President at M32 Partners

Scott Moore is the Founder of M32 Partners. With expertise in the mobile, connectivity, ecommerce and marketing industries, M32 is a strategic advisory group designed to catalyze growth. He currently serves an innovator in residence through the Fahrenheit 212 Fellow program. Prior to that, Scott led marketing for Best Buy where, as senior vice president, he was responsible for customer insights, marketing strategy, advertising and promotion, digital marketing, and the investment strategy for paid, owned, and earned media for Best Buy’s U.S. Business. Scott also served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Best Buy Mobile—a joint venture with UK-based CPW—which transformed the experience of buying a mobile phone in the US.

Dr. Ramon Pastrano IV
CEO-President at ImpactLives Inc.

With over 25 years of experience in leadership among many different cultures around the world, Ramon founded ImpactLives in 2003 to create a dual model of transformational leadership and social innovation. His model is designed to teach and optimize service learning experiences, transformational leadership, development and global competencies, which leads to social innovation and produces sustainable humanitarian work. Additionally, promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness reflective experiences to help individuals evolve, critically reflect, and strengthen their self growth, identity, wisdom and maturity.

Amir Berenjian
Director at BMO Capital Markets

Amir Berenjian joined Greene Holcomb Fisher in 2010 (who was then acquired by BMO in 2016) and has more than 12 years of investment banking and corporate finance experience. He has been involved in more than 100 M&A transactions across a broad range of industries, with companies ranging from $10 million to more than $1 billion in size.

Earlier in his career, Amir was an investment banker at Chartwell Capital Solutions, where he spent the majority of his time executing valuation engagements for ESOPs, equity compensation plans, buy- and sell-side fairness opinions, and buy-sell agreements. While at Chartwell, he also worked on a variety of other investment banking activities, including buy- and sell-side M&A and restructuring engagements.

Luca Signorelli
Corporate Strategist at Target

Luca is a corporate strategist for Target, where has had the opportunity to work on a number enterprise-level strategy projects and innovations.  He is also currently completing his MBA at the Carlson School of Management.

Scott Hartlieb
Sr. Magager of Growth, Innovation and Strategy at Best Buy

After 5 years in various merchandising roles at Target, I took advantage of an opportunity to return to school and pursue my MBA full-time. Post graduation, I was able to leverage my past retail experiences in brand management roles at ConAgra Foods that included a shopper marketing stint on their Wal-Mart team, an ABM assignment in private brands, and a brand manager role on dry pasta. After moving back to Minneapolis, I got back into retail leading the partnership and negotiation efforts for Target's center store grocery categories. I am currently at Best Buy working in merchandising strategy.

Coaches and Mentors

Alex French
CEO & Cofounder at Get Bizzy Inc.

Alex is an innovative thought leader, early adopter, and disruptor in all things consumer brands. Where others see challenge and hardships, Alex sees an opportunity to innovate, disrupt, and accelerate new ideas. With passions and expertise in health and wellness, food and beverage, technology, and the millennial consumer, Alex has had the opportunity to consult, lead teams, and launch businesses within the food and beverage industries. 

Alex currently acts as CEO of Get Bizzy Inc., a startup beverage company whose mission is to create the healthiest and most convenient beverages on the market. Get Bizzy Inc. uses a proprietary process to create organic, shelf stable beverages without preservatives or pasteurization. When not working on his business, Alex spends his time mentoring college students and training for ultra-endurance races.

Prior to starting Get Bizzy Inc. Alex worked as an Associate at 301 Inc. General Mills' Venture Capital division, as a Marketing Analyst for Cheerios, an M&A Analyst at Lazard Middle Market, Demand Forecast Analyst at Best Buy, and started Lifty, a consumer brand in the snow sports industry. Alex holds a BA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

Emily Pritchard
Co-Founder & COO at The Social Lights

Emily is co-founder and COO of The Social Lights, an innovator with a passion for building relationships and strategic partnerships. She is an ideas person who can roll up her sleeves and get things done. Emily enjoys developing customized training programs, creating confident and competent teams that integrate social media into their brand’s marketing strategy. Emily holds degrees in Business Communication, Entrepreneurship, and Family Business from the University of St. Thomas.

Mark Young
CEO at myHRcounsel, LLC

Mark H. Young, J.D., MBA: Mr. Young serves as CEO of myHRcounsel, providing on-call and online HR and employment compliance counsel to myHRcounsel's clients. Prior to joining myHRcounsel, Marked served as the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Avionte, LLC (A Serent Company). As Chief Financial Officer and GC, Mark was responsible for the leadership of the financial, legal and human resources functions. Prior to joining Avionte he was the CFO, General Counsel and Chairman of the Board of MentorMate, LLC, a web and mobile application development services company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At MentorMate he led the sale of the Company to Taylor Corp., a privately owned conglomerate based in Mankato, Minnesota (the owner of Taylor Corp. owns the Minnesota Timberwolves and the MN Lynx basketball teams). Prior to MentorMate, Mr. Young was the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Blue Rock Advisors, a $2B Fund of Hedge Funds based in Minnesota.

His primary responsibilities include the financial and legal management of Blue Rock. In addition, Mr. Young was responsible for the operational due diligence division of Blue Rock providing review and confirmation of the operational effectiveness and internal controls of the hedge funds that were to be added to the Blue Rock fund. Before Blue Rock, Mr. Young was the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Personnel Decisions International (PDI – now Korn Ferry) from 1997 to 2009. Mr. Young managed the global financial, sales, legal, IT and administrative operations of PDI and served the Board of Directors of PDI’s parent company and 16 subsidiaries. PDI is recognized as the innovators of the application of behavioral science in talent management, PDI provides nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 companies with real-world solutions that are critical to delivering their talent strategies. Mr. Young help lead the growth of PDI from $30M to $200M before selling the Company to Korn Ferry at the end of 2012. Mr. Young graduated from St. John’s University in 1988 with a B.A. in Accounting, holds a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, and holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Mr. Young was a member of the Board of Directors and served as Secretary of Korn Ferry (formerly PDI) a global, human resources consulting company from 2003-2012 and is a member of the Board of Directors and serves as the Chairman of Smile Network International, a global, non-profit organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries to impoverished children in developing countries 

Martha Pietruszewski
CEO & Founder at Nesel Packs

I am a graduate from the Carlson School of Management, and I majored in supply chain and operations management and entrepreneurial management. I find supply chain to be a dynamic field with plenty of opportunities to innovate and achieve company goals through strategic sourcing, logistics, and value engineering. Previously, I worked as an operations intern at WoodchuckUSA - a growing startup in Minneapolis. I also founded a company, Nesel Packs, that has created the world's first sensory friendly backpack. 

This summer, I will be beginning my full time career with Boom Lab in Minneapolis, and I am thrilled to be joining a team of dynamic and intelligent young professionals. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, writing, reading, and discovering new restaurants in the Twin Cities. 

Matthew Mueller
Owner and President at Mueller Unity Group

I was educated as an industrial/manufacturing engineer and had the opportunity while in college to start my own e-commerce company. I have since owned a few small business and partnering with multiple organizations to help educate individuals on the values of entrepreneurship and promote some of the many free enterprise opportunities that are available today in the e-commerce space.

John Guenveur
Co-founder at Woodchuck USA

WOODCHUCK USA designs & manufactures sustainable custom wood products in Minneapolis, MN. Woodchuck's "Buy One, Plant One" commitment Woodchuck has already helped plant over 1,000,000 trees on six different continents. Our mission is to Bring Nature Back to People.

John is a one of the original co-Founders of Woodchuck and currently oversees their Sales responsibilities to deliver 2x YoY growth for the 5th consecutive year. Prior to that, he led the company's Finance and Operations functions. John graduated from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business.

Lesley Fahey
Founding Partner, Rain International

I provide purpose driven people with an opportunity to reach their goals and dreams by giving them the avenue to make a good living without judgement.

We are a for profit organization that is committed to building legacy incomes by helping people out of their circumstances they feel trapped in. 

I strive to create an impactful lifestyle that is integrity driven. We provide a supportive, open and empowering culture while solving financial hardship and influencing health related ailments.

Sibi Murugesan
Senior Strategy Analyst at Best Buy

Moved 18 times in 18 years. Graduated from the of U of MN. Working at Best Buy to grow the company in inorganic measures. Worked to build a stronger start-up ecosystem in the Twin Cities. Big takeaway? See the world for what it could be.

Laura Anderson
VP of Strategy at Bluespire Marketing

For profitability and sustainability in private sector, and responsible stewardship in public sector, Service Design is positioned to facilitate innovative solution creation across the spectrum of service delivery. 

I help businesses and organization realize their opportunities by facilitating the inclusion of Service Design principles and practices into their development processes. Encouraging a broad range of stakeholders to creatively consider, prototype, test and reconsider their and others' roles in a service delivery ecosystem results in ideas and solutions that could not be discovered without their participation.

The engagement and enthusiasm that results from these approaches helps to ensure that the progress made will not disappear once the consultant leaves. It's not about providing an answer or solution. It's about helping organization discover new ways of thinking about their capacity for creative and innovative problem-solving and arming them with the tools to act.

Andy Manthei
User Experience Designer at GoKart Labs

I've spent most of my career working with small companies, or large companies that want to innovate like small companies can. I've learned that the best results come from clearly defining the problem at hand, exploring lots of different options, and reaching alignment with my team on where to begin. My strongest skills are listening to and empathizing with user needs, seeing across disciplines, and creating designs that work well for everyone involved. I believe every project should be treated like a living product, with regular attention, feedback, and feature evolution leading to a meaningful experience for the people who use it and meaningful results for the business.

Sarah Van Slyke
Director of Strategic Development at Thrivent Financial

Sarah Van Slyke is Director of Strategic Development at Thrivent Financial. In her role she looks at emerging trends and their potential impact on Thrivent, including demographic and technology changes. She is excited about the many changes in several industries and connecting their relevance and opportunities to Thrivent’s mission. She joined Thrivent in 2010 to help launch the Thrivent Choice generosity program. Prior to Thrivent, Sarah held marketing and development roles at UnitedHealth Group and Cargill, where she launched an agriculture brand and managed national marketing & PR communications.

She has consistently been a change maker at several large, highly regulated organizations, using the opportunity to learn and implement multiple innovation disciplines. Sarah is an MBA graduate of University of St Thomas and attained an undergraduate degree at University of Northwestern St Paul, where she is now an adjunct faculty member. She lives in Minnesota and takes every opportunity to explore the world through travel.

Ben Dlugiewicz
Technical Support Team Lead at Leadpages

I have been involved with some sort of entrepreneurship my entire life. I was running my own newspaper delivery business at the age of 11, helped my father grow his computer repair business at 14 and now I run a web development company. I also work for a SaaS company called Leadpages where we help thousands of entrepreneurs every day get more leads and grow revenue. I love solving problems and coming up with new ideas.

Allison Miettunen
Cofounder at MNstarter

Ally has been working with Twin Cities mobile and software startups since 2012. She returned to her MN roots after six years of building hospitality brands in South Florida to co-found mobile startup and ultimately, create a startup consultancy. Her specialty is creating partner relationships and spaces for communities to interact and grow. Ally’s dedication to supporting the Twin Cities small business community can be seen by her passion for connecting at events and making introductions to help entrepreneurs realize their goals.

Doug Storbeck
Director of Operations at LeadPages

An experienced consultant, facilitator and trainer at all organizational levels. Specializing in the implementation of change management, process management and continuous improvement systems. Proven ability in coaching leaders, internal consultants, and teams on the use of Six Sigma, team methodology, and data analysis skills to improve business performance. To name a few, I have designed and deployed a Six Sigma implementation for a casual dining restaurant chain resulting in over $65 million dollars in cost savings; designed, coordinated and delivered several leadership workshops focusing on leading business performance. As a VP & General Manager I have experience in managing sales, service and operations processes and as a small business owner I have experience in starting up and running a successful business.

Specialties: Small Business Owner,
Vice President & General Manager - (Fortune 500 Company),
Quality Leader/Coach & Consultant - (One of the largest Privately Held Companies in the World),
Six Sigma Trainer,
Graduate of the Stevie Ray Stand Up/Improv Comedy School...really!

Anthony Pukal
Technical Support Specialist at LeadPages

Working for online businesses in the fields of marketing automation, visual and audio media production, content management, on-boarding solutions, reducing churn, increasing MRR, and support tactics.

Jason Martin
Growth Marketing at LeadPages

Growth driven marketer with an expertise and background in SaaS based products. Love testing new ideas, running experiments and helping scale marketing programs. 

Passionate about early-stage startups, growth marketing and emerging tech. 

Specialties: customer acquisition, a/b testing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), marketing automation, sales funnels, email marketing, and web analytics.

Tyler Ebert
CEO at AdrenaCard

Life saving medicine should not keep us from living.

Healthcare consumers deserve peace of mind. At AdrenaCard I work to make that a reality for the millions of severe allergy sufferers. I lead the commercialization of a new class of auto-injector that integrates into the lives of users.

Brandon Lytle
Partnerships Director at Leadpages

I'm currently the Partnerships Director for Leadpages and Drip where I work with and establish industry partnerships that are focused on API's, integrations, co-marketing and developing new channels for customer acquisition.

Don Raleigh
Business Developer at Evolve Systems

Don Raleigh III is the Director of Marketing for the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation - Minnesota, committee member for the Minnesota Restaurant Association, Founder of Project Purple; End Dating Violence, and Account Executive of Evolve Systems; a local family owned website development and merchant card processing company. Don III dedicates his time to his community and focuses on building the next generation of innovators, students, and leaders.

Josh King
Partner at Twelve Consulting Group

Josh was one of the first 10 employees at Anaplan, a pre-IPO enterprise software startup in San Francisco. In his role as VP of Presales, he built the Solution Consulting team from 1 to 30 before he left to work with his wife and co-founder at Twelve Consulting group which is headquartered in Minneapolis. At Twelve he is focused on scaling the organization with a focus on culture, enablement, and people development.

Jim Cuene
President at GoKart Labs

A deeply digital, broadly experienced modern marketer who knows how to build and market great brands in today's highly complex marketing landscape. I love the web and the opportunities it is creating for people and businesses to actually make the world better. I've got an entrepreneurial mindset, the ability to see how the dots will connect in the future, but the knowledge and experience to put plans and teams in place to get results now.

Gretchen Agee
Director of Strategic Development (Investments Division) at Thrivent Financial

Nels Pederson
Managing Director at Beta.MN

Paul Merkling
Business Consultant at MEDA

Varun Murugesan
Clinical Programs Consultant at Prime Therapeutics

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Twin Cities Startup Weekend Youth 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.

Corporate Partners

Premier Sponsor




Event Partners

Global Sponsors

Organizing Team

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

  • Bharat
  • Josh
  • Robert
  • Jack
  • Ben
  • Sibi


Roger Osorio
Entrepreneurship Program Leader @ IBM

Entrepreneurship program leader at IBM by day, math coach by night, and Startup Weekend global facilitator by weekend.  I deliver a powerful cocktail made up of education, psychology, neuroscience, leadership, and entrepreneurship.  I facilitate events to maximize the experience and learning for all participants.

Event Staff

Nick Riley
CEO at Collegiate Leader's Network

CEO and Founder at Collegiate Leader's Network, LLC - Named 35 under 35 Young Entrepreneurs in Minnesota Business Magazine - Interim Head of Operations at Sand Pine Pheasants - Saint John's University Alumni Association Board of Directors - Consulted five startups to help get them off the ground through CLN

Blake Ekbald
Vice President of Member Relations at Collegiate Leader's Network

Meghan Sharkus
CEO @ ExpressionMed


Sukhwinder Kaur
Marketing Officer at mXers Audio

Oswin Nathaniel
Mechanical Engineer at 3M

I have a passion for engineering and technology which reflects in my choice of pursuing an Undergrad degree in Mechanical Engineering, and strive to use my knowledge in these fields to solve communal needs through product innovation and development. My other areas of interest include Business analytics & development, Operations Management and Social Media Marketing.

Jill McGraw
Business Instructor at Northern Wyoming Community College

JILL MCGRAW has four years of experience in education and is currently an Adjunct Instructor for the Business Department at Sheridan College.  She spent 21 years in the United States Air Force: eight years enlisted, four years as a Logistics Officer and the other eight as a Communications officer.   Throughout her military career she deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and in support of the Global War on Terror.  Overall she was in charge of hundreds of personnel and millions of dollars worth of equipment and infrastructure.  Because of her extensive leadership and management skills she was selected to be an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Instructor which was, professionally, the highlight of her military career, and what inspired her to consider a post-retirement career in education. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from California State University Northridge, and a Master’s Degree in Business from Trident University International.

Scott Hartman
Analyst at 75F

Tom James
Professor of Entrepreneurship at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

At Rose-Hulman I teach courses on entrepreneurship, accounting, and finance and I am director of a living-learning community (ESCALATE) that consists of 50 freshman each year that have self identified as being interested in entrepreneurship. My current research is at the intersection of biology and mechanical engineering.

Sam Lerdahl

I am a hard working innovative thinker. I attend Mounds View High School. Balancing my time between school work, start-ups, and learning, I am a well rounded individual that is always seeking something new and interesting. In my free time I enjoy playing piano, skiing, and computer programming.

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