Techstars Startup Weekend Twin Cities 10, powered by Grow with Google

    Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Techstars Startup Weekend Twin Cities 10, powered by Grow with Google

Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018

Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018
Event starts at 5:30 pm

WeWork Minneapolis
225 South 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Buy Tickets


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 March 23rd

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

6:00 pm
Dinner and Opening Session
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:40 pm
Get ready for a fun and creative activity to get to know your potential teammates!

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:15 pm
Form Teams and Info
Teams start forming and discussing ideas. Online resources like Slack explained.

9:00 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

10:00 pm
End of Day 1

Saturday March 24th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Group 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!

9:45 am
Guest Speaker
Michael Mader

10:15 am
Work Time
Develop your MVP!!! This is a good time to be focusing on customer research and business model development.

1:00 pm

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

2:10 pm
Mentors Arrive
Coaches help teams one-on-one. Don't be afraid to ask questions!

2:20 pm
Work Time

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Hear from industry leaders in various fields.

7:30 pm
Evening Check-In
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 March 25th

9:15 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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.

12:30 pm

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

1:30 pm
Mentors Arrive
Mentors arrive again to help!

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

4:20 pm
Special Guest Speakers

5:15 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm
Final Thoughts and Networking

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Michael Mader
Founder | CEO at Hippy Feet

Hippy Feet is a social enterprise dedicated to serving the homeless community. Hippy Feet will sell comfortable and fashionable socks, constructed of the most durable and eco-friendly fibers, on a buy one, give one business model, where for every pair sold, another will be donated to local homeless shelters. 

Event Judges

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.

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.

Jessica Berg
Director of MN Cup and Co-founder of WomenConnect


Dakota Crow
Entrepreneur in Residence @ Optum

Andy Heddle
Group Channel Director, Ecommerce at VML


Coaches and Mentors

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.

Diane Rucker
Principal Consultant at Silverbow Consulting

Diane Rucker is an expert at making complex things seem simple.  She is an independent consultant in the Twin Cities, working on global entrepreneurship and data-driven strategy.    Diane’s fascination with innovation started when she failed her first interview at MIT Sloan.  She convinced them to admit her the following year, and graduated in 2014 with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  Diane worked with MIT on a program that fosters regional economic growth through Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE).  Her work on ecosystems has taken her to cosmopolitan cities and to a camel souk (market) in Al Ain.    Diane has extensive experience in technology and innovation.  She worked with Carrot Health, a data analytics startup in healthcare, as the Vice President of Client Services.  She has held leadership roles in the data storage industry in design engineering, product management, and technology transfer.   She has degrees in Materials Engineering from the University of Michigan and from MIT, and is an active part of the growing Twin Cities entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

Angie Eilers
Founder & CEO, UR TURN SBC

Dr. Angie Eilers is an idea generator, policy wonk, multi-tasking mother of twins, and a first-generation college goer. Based on 25 years of research at Stanford and in the Big 10 (Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois), she applies well-grounded evidence and in-depth analysis to problems that students face in education. She uses her research insights for good –publishing findings in a wide range of publications including academic journals, legislative policy papers as well as newspaper editorials. Angie launched her current educational software company, UR Turn, in 2016 with an award from the National Science Foundation. She was the founding Vice President at Sophia Learning, and was formerly a professor at the University of Illinois before moving to Minnesota. She received her Ph. D. at UW-Madison, Bachelors at Lawrence University and an Executive Education certificate at JFK School of Government at Harvard University. 

Mike Nolan
Innovation Lead, Optum

As an Innovation Lead at Optum - United Health Group, Michael is currently working on emerging IOT technologies and their use in population health management, medication adherence and remote patient monitoring. He continues to teach for the MBA program at Minnesota State University, where he served as the Director of the Small Business Development Center from 2010 through 2016. At the age of 28 he purchased KEEZ-FM in Mankato, and operations of KAUS AM/FM in Austin Minnesota. Nolan served as President & CEO of the Nolan Broadcast Group before selling the stations in the fall of 2000. It was during his broadcast career that Nolan founded AutoConX Software, one of the pioneering companies of its kind. In 2006 Car Truck Trader acquired the company. Mr. Nolan earned an MBA from the Melbourne Business School in Australia in 2007. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Minnesota State University, the Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU) near Koblenz Germany, and Rasmussen Business College. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Prague in the Czech Republic, Eden Campus in South Africa, the University of Minnesota and St. Catherine’s. In 2008 Nolan helped form an e-commerce company for 20th Century Fox’s movie Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. In addition, Nolan is an investor in cheese companies, restaurants, music industry start-ups, and his helping his wife of 30 years purchase a psychology practice serving 31 private schools. Nolan has served numerous community boards and local charities, including the Salvation Army, The United Way, the YMCA, Educare Foundation and Rotary. In 1999-2000 he served as campaign chair for the Mankato United Way, successfully coordinating the efforts of 500+ volunteers and raising over $1.6 million in donations. He is currently on the Board of Directors for Legal Corps, a statewide pro-bono legal services organization serving small business and entrepreneurs. 

Darrin Edelman
CEO, Token of Trust

Darrin is one of the Founders of Token of Trust which has given him the opportunity to engage MSPs rich entreprenurial seen. He's participated in MinneDemo, Beta.MN, BetaBridge, MinneBar and of course Token of Trust was a finalist in the high tech division of the 2016 MN Cup.
In 2017 he launched "Founder's Brown Bag" - an organization created for and led by Twin Cities founders to meet, share and help others in their founder's journey. If you've made the leap and you're a founder looking to find like minded individuals - please send an email to to join in.

Joan Dao
CEO & Founder, Colette Technologies

Joan is an experienced neurobiologist with an extensive background in research. She has held several positions at the University of Minnesota researching various topics including microbiology, biochemistry, and specifically Parkinson's disease. She is also the founder and CEO of Colette Technologies, LLC. This company produces an anti-theft Biometric Smart Purse. With Colette, keeping your belongings safe has never looked so good. Finally, Joan is an impressive community leader with involvement in the NAACP and other human rights organizations. 

Sean Higgins
Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars

Sean is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars, working in partnership with Target to find and grow the next wave of retail tech. 

Sean founded ilos, a video platform that lets you record videos and instantly share them on the cloud, where he raised $3Million in venture capital and led the team from 0 to over $1 Million in annual recurring subscription revenue.

He is a regular content contributor over at HubSpot:

He has his MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Entrepreneurship and Finance. Where he is currently an Adjunct Faculty member.

He currently works at Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. For more information check out

Kai Johnson
Design Engineer, Colette Technologies

Kai is currently a student at the University of Minnesota studying Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and Apparel Design.  Her work revolves around connecting engineering and design through concepts of sustainability and process optimization.  She currently works as CTO/Design Engineer for Colette Technologies, conducts research at UMN laboratories, and is a Project Lead for Engineers Without Borders at UMN.

Adam Choe
Program Director, Gener8tor Minnesota


Kevin Ritchey
CEO at


Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend Twin Cities 10, powered 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.

Signature Sponsors

Grow with Google offers free training and tools to help you grow your skills, career, or business.

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Organizing Team

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

  • Sam
  • Josh
  • Bharat
  • Sibi


Myles Foster
Organizer, Mentor & Judges

Myles founded a startup at Startup Weekend. Over 3 years he raised a $100k seed round, built a mobile app, and secured a Fortune 500 company as a customer. Myles now works at Payment Rails, a local Startup that makes payouts painless.

Event Staff

Niel Patel
Operations @ Runerra


Gabby Fortman
Community Curator @ Runerra


Meghan Sharkus
CEO @ ExpressionMed


Jack Finley
Content Curation @ Gen.MN


Ashmita Sarma
Ops @ Generation.MN


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