Techstars Startup Weekend Washington D.C. Social Impact | April 2018

    Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Techstars Startup Weekend Washington D.C. Social Impact | April 2018

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Alley powered by Verizon
2055 L Street Northwest
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

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Taking ideas from concept to creation in a matter of days!

Have you ever seen a new product, app, or business and thought to yourself, "that was my idea a few years ago!"?  If you have, then that means you did not have a process for taking that idea and building it out into a prototype.

Startup Weekend is your chance to learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days!  Whether you are looking to...

  • get introduced to the world of startups and entrepreneurship,
  • learn the process of going from concept to creation,
  • meet experienced, talented, and passionate entrepreneurs in DC,
  • join or build an all-star team,
  • or take your own idea from concept to creation
Startup Weekend is your destination for the weekend of April 6th-8th!  

Who is Startup Weekend For?

It doesn't matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including...

  • aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs,
  • developers and other tech-related professionals,
  • designers of all types,
  • non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.)
  • students from universities and even high schools,
  • professionals looking to switch careers,
  • passionate visionaries
What's the twist?  

The next Startup Weekend has the theme of social enterprise. That means you’ll be joining like-minded designers, techies and business people in creating an organization aimed at making a difference. It might be targeting a social impact, environmental impact, or something else entirely. The purpose is up to you. What we provide is a fun, high-energy environment where you can learn through doing, with all the support you’ll need to launch a brand new social enterprise.

Your ticket includes:
  • Access to the full weekend-long event
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea on Friday night @ Pitch Fire
  • Mentoring by all-stars from the tech startup community
  • Tasty meals all weekend
  • Collaboration with awesome professionals from throughout DC-Maryland-Virginia
  • All-star judge's panel lead by startup and entrepreneurial leaders
  • Membership in the Startup Weekend Community (>200K alumni)
  • A process for taking any idea from concept to creation in a matter of days
  • And over 100 new awesome Facebook friends!
Do I need to come with an idea?

If you have an idea for a startup, then great!  We hope you pitch for the weekend.  If you don't have an idea, that's quite alright!  Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched, and see if something piques your interest!  The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and learning from each other.  If you have more questions, check out the Startup Weekend First Timers FAQ!

Join us for a very special weekend! 

Questions? Press inquiries?  Please email us at


Friday April 6th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 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 April 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

1:55 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to 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 April 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Sonal Shah
Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University

Sonal is an economist and entrepreneur and has spent her career focused on economic policy and actionable innovation in the public and private sectors.  She is a global leader on social innovation policy including impact investing, data and technology for social good, and civic engagement through government, business, philanthropy and civil society.   She has led policy innovations at the White House for President Obama and the Treasury Department for President Clinton.   She brings a unique and diverse background.  An international economist she set up the central bank in Bosnia, worked post conflict reconstruction in Kosovo, and implemented poverty reduction strategies in Africa and financial crises in Asia and Latin America. In the private sector, she led technology for civic engagement and impact investing initiatives at Google, as the head of Global Development Initiatives and set up and ran the environmental strategy, including investing clean technologies at Goldman Sachs.  

She served as Deputy Assistant to the President for President Obama and founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.  She served on President Obama’s transition board leading the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group.  In the Administration, Sonal led the efforts to set up innovative finance mechanisms for service delivery, leveraging technology to better engage citizens in government, creating new public private partnerships and supported and trained  leadership throughout government (political and civic service) to institutionalize innovative practices.

Sonal started her career at the U.S. Department of Treasury where she was an international economist working on timely development issues, including post-conflict development in Bosnia, Asian financial crisis, and poverty reduction in Africa.  

One of Sonal’s most proud accomplishments is working with her siblings to create a non-profit, Indicorps, to build a new generation of socially conscious global leaders.  They worked with some of the leading non-profit and social organizations throughout India working on issues of healthcare, education, farming, women’s development, etc.  Indicorps created the service movement in India inspiring and incubating new social enterprises like Teach for India and Sarvajal.

She serves on the board of the Case Foundation, Oxfam America, Non Profit Finance Fund, the Urban Alliance. She serves as an adviser to the Democracy Fund and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Aaron Saunders
Founder & CEO of Clearly Innovative Inc./Luma Lab/In3

With more than 25 years of software development and tech education experience, Aaron Saunders is an award-winning tech entrepreneur and author, who has founded and successfully built multiple startups. His companies include Clearly Innovative (a mobile app agency), Luma Lab (a tech and entrepreneurship education program), In3 (the nation’s first “Inclusive Innovation Incubator”), KissIntel (a dating relationship management and romance enhancement mobile app).

Aaron launched Clearly Innovative in 2009; Clearly Innovative’s work includes building mobile apps for the National Museum of African American History and Culture  and the National Military Family Association and the launch of an innovative Google tablets program for the Queens Library System that won a “Broadband Champion Award.” As the founder of Luma Lab, Aaron has won several prominent grants, including the Mission Main Street Grant from Chase Bank and TDF Foundation grants, to continue his work of training and supporting hundreds of youth and entrepreneurs in their endeavors. As author of “Building Cross-Platform Apps using Titanium, Alloy,  and Appcelerator Cloud Services,” Aaron provides readers a detailed guide to quickly developing the skills to build real, native apps and get them to market faster. He most recently opened the doors of In3 in partnership
with DC Government and Howard University.

Aaron serves as an adjunct professor at Howard University, and organizer for DC Tech Meetup. He has received numerous awards acknowledging his community work and commitment to inclusive innovation, including but not limited to, being named a “2017 Tech Titan” by Washingtonian Magazine, Black Data Processing Associates’ “2016 Entrepreneur of the Year,” “2016 Champion of Digital Equality Award” by the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, and Washington Business Journal’s “Power 100 of 2016.”

Kristina Francis
President, EsteemLogic

Kristina is the President of EsteemLogic, an advisory firm that implements sustainable strategic solutions to ensure organizations optimize engagement with its people and the communities they serve. Kristina earned her BA in Psychology from Georgetown University and an MSc in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University. She is a member of Women in Technology (WIT) and United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Kristina serves on the Advisory Board for a community development financial institution, serves as an assistant basketball coach for 4th grade girls, attends and volunteers as a judge for VirginiaFIRST robotics events, and previously served on the Board of the Women’s Ministry at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. Kristina lives in Chantilly, VA with her husband (Elliott), daughter (Nyla), son (Evan), and Newfoundland (Onyx).

Brian Lieberman
Community Manager

Brian Lieberman is Founder of Twice as Warm, and Community Manager at Alley powered by Verizon.

Coaches and Mentors

Deloris Wilson
Fellow, BEACON- The DC Women Founder's Initiative

Deloris is an innovator, strategist, and social entrepreneur committed to promoting equity and inclusion worldwide. She is currently a fellow at BEACON: the DC Women's Founder Initiative and works to support the development of an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in DC. 

She has performed strategic policy, government and economic development work across six countries and on a range of social issues. As a strategist, she has created and implemented programs to train civil servants in Sint Maarten (Dutch West Indies), empower rural citizens with knowledge of their legal rights in Ghana, harness opportunities for economic development through the creative and cultural industries in Barbados, and build minority-owned businesses in underserved areas of the United States. She has consulted for a variety of startup ventures that fuse tech and social impact, and her work has been published in the Huffington Post, Politico, the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, the Harvard Kennedy School Review, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and is forthcoming in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. 

Grant Schroll
Co-Founder, Mission Collaborative

Grant is a co-founder of Mission Collaborative, a DC-based organization that helps professionals design careers they love.  Redesigning higher education for the 21st century has been Grant's obsession and career path for 5 years. Grant is a higher education expert, experience designer, and entrepreneur. 

Juliana Cardona Mejia
CEO & Founder, Street Entrepreneurs

Juliana Cardona Mejia, is an inquisitive, passionate, and creative thinker. In 2015 she founded Street Entrepreneurs (SE), an inclusive community-driven accelerator. SE connects entrepreneurs to human, social and economic capital via workshops, a talent exchange, and a showcase. Juliana is a Diana Davis Global Good Fellow and is committed to localized and actionable social impact. Prior to establishing SE, she had over 10 years of experience volunteering with disadvantaged, low-income and marginalized populations in over five countries and with over 20 grassroots organizations.

Lauren Jacobson
DC Program Manager, Thinkful

Lauren is a community organizer and activist in the Women in Tech community. Currently, she works as the DC Program Manager for Thinkful which provides 1-on-1 mentorship to individuals learning how to code. Lauren is the Network Director of Women Who Code DC, the largest women in tech organization in DC. She also leads coding workshops + panels across the DC area and works as a freelance front-end web developer. In her free time, you’ll find her listening to hip-hop or reading a good book.

Mike Lovell
Vice President of Demand Generation, EVERFI

Mike Lovell is the Vice President of Demand Generation at EVERFI. In his role, Mike leads sales and marketing teams responsible for lead generation - digital, field, outbound and inbound marketing - sales development, and full cycle inside sales.

Prior to EVERFI, Mike held marketing and product roles at Blackboard, and Interfolio. Mike is also a mentor at 1776, a global business incubator based in Washington, DC, where he advises organizations on their marketing, sales and digital strategies.

Kaveri Marathe

Kaveri Marathe is Founder and CEO of Texiles, a DC-based social enterprise dedicated to eliminating clothing waste from the landfill.  They offer a door-to-door used clothing pickup service to customers that encourages them to include clothing in any condition.  Kaveri is also a Sustainability Consultant for the World Bank and a Freelance Writer, Editor, and Designer.  Previously she served as Deputy Director for the Global Innovation Forum where she engaged startup, business, education and nonprofit leaders in exploring the opportunities and challenges of participating in global markets and the public policy foundations that underpin success through reporting.  She also has served as a communication and engagement consultant at Norway-based company, Xynteo, and as a fellow at the US Department of Commerce and UNESCO. 

Neil Shah
Head of Growth and Innovation at UrbanStems

Neil Shah is a serial entrepreneur focused on launching ventures for over 15 years. He is passionate about leveraging the Lean Startup methodology to create new ventures from scratch or help larger organizations think differently to find new sources of revenue or competitive advantages.

He is currently the Head of Growth and Innovation at UrbanStems, an on-demand gifting platform headquartered in DC where he leads the expansion, sales, and innovation teams.  Previously, Neil was a founder and CEO at CookNook, and Sansara Wines (both acquired). He has also and developed and led strategy and innovation teams at the World Bank Group, PwC, the Corporate Executive Board, and Deloitte Consulting.

Amanda Gant
Microfinance Loan Officer at Latino Economic Development Center

Amanda currently serves as Microfinance Loan Officer at the Latino Economic Development Center where she helps connect entrepreneurs in the DMV-area with microloans to grow their business. She also serves as Program Lead for the Startup Leadership Program, a world-class training program for outstanding founders who want to become top startup CEOs.  Previously she organized startup tech programs such as venture pitch competitions, virtual mentorship hackathons and training boot camps for entrepreneurs from emerging companies around the globe. 

Chida Sadayappan
Managing Partner, blitzar Accelerator

Technical Entrepreneur. Successfully built and exited Machine Learning, Big Data and Cloud Solution Startups.

Kate Myers
Co-Founder, Small Talk, Co-Founder, Original Trivia

Kate Myers is currently a Co-Founder at Small Talk and Original Trivia.  Small Talk helps businesses sell more products to consumers through texting and Original Trivia is an addicting daily trivia game via Facebook messenger that offers legendary prizes to winners.   Previously, Kate founded Shop or Not, a text-based shopping service.  She also served as a Creative Consultant at Omaze and Head of Product at College Humor. 

Thomas Callahan
Platform Director, Cybrary

Thomas currently serves as Platform Director at Cybrary, a free and crowd-sourced Cyber Security and IT learning platform. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Techstars Startup Weekend Washington D.C. Social Impact | April 2018 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 Washington, D.C. is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • John
  • Steven
  • Erica
  • Kushaan
  • Jimmy
  • Joey


Jessica Falkenthal
Education Community & Growth Marketing Strategist

Jessica Falkenthal leads growth marketing, community building and experience design for education startups, schools and nonprofits. She serves on the SXSW EDU Launch Advisory Board and CUE SF Board.
Jessica loves creating engaging education experiences and  previously managed a dozen online learning communities, coached early-stage education entrepreneurs, grew the Startup Weekend Education program worldwide, founded her own education startup, led professional development workshops for hundreds of educators, and designed and taught technology classes for the Boys and Girls Club and 4-H Youth Development programs. She is also a community organizer for the SF Edtech Happy Hour, 4-H, Startup Weekend Education, and Education Startup Digest.

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