Startup Weekend DC Media Edition

    Friday, July 31 - August 2, 2015

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

Friday, July 31 - August 2, 2015

Friday, July 31 - August 2, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

The Washington Post
1150 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20071

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Will you build the next great media company?

Do you have an idea that will change the way media and content is created, delivered, distributed, consumed, measured or monetized?

Do you want to work together with other entrepreneurs to get your concept off the ground?

Then Startup Weekend DC Media Edition is the place to be!

Advancements in technology, such as streaming audio and video, social networks, and mobile apps, have forced media companies of all types to create and deliver content in new, engaging ways and adapt to changing business models. Now you have the chance to make your mark on the industry.

Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or new to the startup world, Startup Weekend DC Media Edition is where you can pitch your idea, form a team, validate your concept, build your product, get valuable insight from mentors, and present your work to a panel of esteemed judges all in just 54 hours.

Important media and content companies such as The Washington Post, National Geographic, Discovery Communications, Gannett, NPR and many more have made the Washington, D.C. region an influential media hub. Will you build DC's next great media company?

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday July 31st

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 August 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm

1:00 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 August 2nd

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

Adam Zuckerman
Director of Ventures and Innovation, Discovery Communications; Founder, Fosterly

An entrepreneur, attorney, and MBA, Adam is the founder of Fosterly, an organization which connects innovators and entrepreneurs as they start and scale their endeavors.

 In January 2015, Fosterly held the Collaborate Conference, the region's largest innovation and entrepreneurship event of the year.  More than the 1,000 attendees included leading innovators from both the private and public sectors including Google X, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, NASA, the White House, the GSA, and more.
 In addition to being an active member of the region's community (e.g, being a member on Mayor Bowser's transition committee) he serves on the advisory boards of other organizations, mentors entrepreneurs and startups, is a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, and has a full time position leading innovation initiatives at the world's #1 pay-TV provider, Discovery Communications.

Just a few of the brands he's collaborated with include Anheuser-Busch,, Discovery Communications, DocuSign, Facebook, Microsoft, NASA, Twitter, and Verizon.”

Heather Dahl
CEO, CynjaTech & Chairman of the Board, The National Press Foundation

Heather writes about the magic in technology for kids of all ages in her original comic series The Cynja. She’s the co-founder and CEO of CynjaTech, a multi-platform media company focused on introducing children to the world of technology.

Heather has experience as a journalist for Fox News Channel, Public Radio International, KUOW Seattle, PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, C-SPAN and Reuters TV. 

She also serves as Board Chairman and writes about cybersecurity issues for the National Press Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated increasing journalists' knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public understanding. 

Jan Schaffer
Executive Director, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism

Jan Schaffer is executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, a top incubator for U.S. news entrepreneurs and innovators. She is also Entrepreneur in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C., where she teaches in its media entrepreneurship graduate program.

A Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, she left daily journalism to lead pioneering initiatives in civic, interactive and participatory journalism, and citizen media ventures.

She currently helps media outlets, universities and nonprofits with custom projects that build on her 20 years of experience in the rapidly changing media landscape.

Greg Franczyk
Chief Architect, The Washington Post

As Chief Architect of The Washington Post's Engineering group, Greg leads several teams building the future of, the platforms it runs on, and the tools The Post uses to create content. He's also behind The Post's efforts to offer its platform and technology, called Arc, to other publishers and organizations.

Prior to joining The Post in 2011, Greg worked in the retail industry and served in a variety of roles contributing to the multi-channel and eCommerce platforms of Sears Holdings Corp.

Coaches and Mentors

James Li
Co-Founder, Encore Alert

James Li is the co-founder and CEO of Encore Alert -- a machine intelligence marketing insights platform that surfaces just the right opportunities at just the right time for marketers at companies like National Geographic, WeddingWire, and IDEO. Encore Alert is backed by the DC-based enterprise technology accelerator, Acceleprise, and DC's NextGen Angels. James was named 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year at Georgetown University, and his work has been featured in the Washington Post, NPR, and Bloomberg. 

Scott Brodbeck
Owner, Local News Now

Scott Brodbeck is the owner of Local News Now LLC, which operates four hyperlocal online news publications in the D.C. area: ARLnow, Borderstan, Hill Now and Reston Now. Founded in 2010, LNN is nationally recognized as a leading independent online-only local news publisher. Brodbeck attended George Washington University as an undergrad and received an MBA from Georgetown University in 2013. He is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Jason Nellis
Founder at Overachiever Media

Jason Nellis is founder and CEO of Overachiever Media, a DC-based content marketing firm with clients that include Monumental Sports, Marriott, DC United, Vimeo, and others. Jason was also an early employee at Hulu, where he helped manage more than 70 content partners for the company (including NBCUniversal, Scripps Network, The Onion, and The White House). In his spare time, you can find him running the DC Lean Startup Circle. (So yeah. He’s got LOTS of free time.)

Deshuna Spencer
Founder and CEO, kweliTV

DeShuna Spencer is the Founder/CEO of kweliTV, an internet video streaming network for the black consumer.

For more than six years, Spencer has been the founding publisher of Spencer is also the producer/radio host of emPower Hour on DC’s 89.3 FM WPFW.

A Memphis native, Spencer graduated from Jackson State University where she studied communications and journalism. She has written for The Clarion-Ledger, The Oakland Tribune, the Crisis Magazine, AOL and the Washington Examiner. A former AmeriCorps*VISTA, in 2012, she was named 40under40 by The Envest Foundation. Recently, Spencer received the "Who's Got Next" award by the National Action Network. Spencer recently completed her first documentary, Mom Interrupted.

Sam Han
Director, Big Data and Personalization, Washington Post

Eui-Hong (Sam) Han is the Director, Big Data & Personalization at Washington Post.

At the Washington Post, he is leading a team to build an integrated Big Data platform to store all aspects of customer profiles and activities from both digital and print circulation, metadata of content, and business data to provide personalized content and experience for users, provide complete and linked data for business analytics and reporting, increase profit for Digital Ad Ops, and help newsrooms and other business units to make data-driven decisions. 

Prior to joining Washington Post, he led the Big Data practice at Persistent Systems, started the Machine Learning Group at Sears Holdings Online Business Unit, and worked as a Senior Research Scientist for a data mining startup company delivering customized analytics solutions to companies and government agencies. 

Sam holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend DC Media Edition 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.



Meal Sponsor

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Washington, D.C. is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Barbara
  • Mike
  • Sam
  • Denis
  • Lili
  • John
  • Micah
  • Claritza
  • Tiffany


Mike Chan

Mike is the co-founder of ribl, a real-time, location-based message board mobile app where you can share and discover the most relevant content about your current vicinity so you’ll never miss out on what’s happening around you. 

He is also the Founder and Principal of MWC Consulting, a marketing and strategy consulting firm that helps startups and small businesses get off the ground and grow. He loves tech startups and is heavily involved as a founder, advisor, and Facilitator and Organizer of Startup Weekend DC. He's also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and was formerly the Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for the Washington Capitals / Monumental Sports and Entertainment. 

His specialties and interests include entrepreneurship, customer relationship management, online marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, branding and advertising, research and analytics, product management, user experience, business development, and more. 

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