Startup Weekend Purdue

    Friday, April 21 - 23, 2017

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

Friday, April 21 - 23, 2017

Friday, April 21 - 23, 2017
Event starts at 6:30 pm

The Anvil
320 North St
West Lafayette, IN 47906

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Build skills, meet incredible people, and launch successful startups at Startup Weekend Purdue

Startup Weekend Purdue is the event for turning ideas into startups! Validate the problem, develop a business model, and then craft and deliver a pitch to win prizes to help take your startup to the next level. Along the way, you'll network with other entrepreneurial students as well as experienced entrepreneurs who will be there as mentors. The judges panel will be a group of experts in their respective fields who can provide you the feedback to make your startup successful. Come to SW Purdue for not only a productive weekend, but also a weekend of unforgettable memories.

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Friday April 21st

6:30 pm
Registration + Dinner
Arrive at The Anvil, check in, eat food, and get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Fireside Chat
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce coaches, and community leaders. We will have a fire side chat at 7:30 PM

8:00 pm
Initial Pitches
If you came with a business idea, give a quick pitch to see who wants to join you! Don't worry if you don't already have an idea; you can join someone else or we'll help you come up with something. Attendees will vote after the pitches so we can choose the top ones.

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
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. Start thinking about market validation (you can even start tonight)!

Saturday April 22nd

9:00 am
Breakfast + Mentors!
Bagels and Coffee. Mentor Group 1: Todd Fernandez, Heidi Schmidt, Kurtis + Dylan @Brightlamp, Corben Lee. Focus on fleshing out your idea and market validation.

12:00 pm
Eat and Network!

1:00 pm
Check-In + Mentors!
After-lunch check-in, status reports, next set of mentors. Mentor Group 2: Karen Leeker, Joe Albano, Ali + Joseph @Socio, Patrick Doerflein. Now try to focus on your business model canvas and prototype.

5:00 pm
More work w Mentors!
Continue prototype work as needed and start on financial projections. Mentor Group 3: Ali + Joseph @Socio

6:30 pm
Eat and Network!

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, next set of mentors. Try to focus on prototype and financial projections

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

Sunday April 23rd

9:00 am
Breakfast + Mentors!
Eat, network, and work! Mentor Group 4: Linus Lee, Yarkin + Andrew @Socio, Jon + Kurtis @Brightlamp, Stephanie Corliss

10:00 am
Coaches Meetings
Time with Mentors

12:00 pm
Eat and network!

1:00 pm
The Last Stretch! (+ Mentors)
Focus on finalizing your pitch and meeting with mentors.

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

4:30 pm
Eat and Network!

5:00 pm
Final Presentations
Order will be announced at the event. Good luck to all!

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!
Thank you all for attending Startup Weekend Purdue! We hope you had fun and learned!


Prahasith Veluvolu
CEO and Founder at Mimir

Prahasith Veluvolu is the founder and CEO of Mimir, a educational technology company that focuses on helping schools create more and better tech engineers. Mimir was recently backed by Y Combinator (investors of Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit) and participated in S15 batch over the summer. With the help of YC the company grew 10x over the summer and has its software deployed in over 40 colleges.

Event Judges

Carla Taylor
Founder | Chief Happiness Officer

Carla Taylor is the Founder + Chief Happiness Officer of the Indy-based startup IDEAvize: Your Creative Workspace Connector, as well as author of "Discover U: The Career Happiness Project". With over 25 years of experience helping individuals, teams, and organizations excel and grow, and a Master's Degree in Communications and Training Technology, Carla's experience has spanned continents and a wide variety of industries. She has worked with large corporations, entrepreneurs and startups, non-profit organizations, hospitals, and universities. Carla started her first business, Ignite Consulting, in 2009 during the lowest point of the recession, which was a great training ground with nowhere to go but up - and just celebrated their 8th year in business. Carla has been an employee, hiring manager, recruiter, project manager, HR consultant, employee engagement specialist, business owner, adjunct professor, and outplacement career coach. With this breadth and depth of perspective, she knows from experience that everyone has a unique set of gifts, strengths, and contributions to offer.

Brian Casserly
Attorney at Gutwein Law

Brian is a local business attorney whose practice focuses on startup and growth stage companies, their formation, financings, and inner-workings, as well as mergers and acquisitions of companies. He has represented many companies through the fundraising process  from seed funding to growth funding, and counseled clients through the selling and purchasing of existing businesses. Brian has represented over 75 new companies in the last 2 years, working closely with local incubators and coworking spaces such as the Foundry and the Anvil at Purdue, as well as MatchBOX.

Neil Mylet

Neil Mylet is a farmer from Indiana who works with his family to produce corn and soybeans. He has a passion for inventing new technology that positively impacts the way people work, learn, and live. Neil also enjoys contributing towards helping young people dream big as it relates to entrepreneurship and international relations.

Riley Gibb
Director of Collaborations

Riley Gibb is the Director of Collaborations at the Purdue Foundry where he works to cultivate and effectively manage meaningful connections. Previously, Riley directed the marketing department at Transitions Dental Company (now North American Dental Group), a dental service organization focused on business service and development within the dental and healthcare industry. 
His other experiences include founding a marketing and small business consulting firm and leadership roles in marketing departments at Cengage Learning, TSJ network in the publishing industry, and ORS Nasco in the manufacturing industry.
He also teaches business and leadership classes as an Adjunct Instructor in the business department at Ivy Tech. 

John McDonald

John McDonald is the CEO of ClearObject, Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing IT company in Indiana for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and winner of the 2016 Entrepreneur Magazine 360, the 2016 Deloitte Fast 500 in Technology, the 2016 CRN Next-Gen 250 and 2015 and 2016 IBM Beacon Awards, the highest honor given to a business partner. Formerly a technical sales executive at IBM for over 20 years, he is one of the founding members and on the steering committee of the 450+ member Cloud Customer Standards Council, a board member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, co-chair of the Indiana Chamber's Technology and Innovation Council, a board member of the Venture Club of Indiana, a board member of TechPoint, a member of the IBM PartnerWorld Global Business Partner Advisory Council, and a member of the Dean's Council for the Purdue Polytechnic of Purdue University. Outside of work, John is a lay minister and author of a book about the Internet of Things and two local history books about Indiana.  He lives in Fishers, Indiana his wife and family.

Coaches and Mentors

Karen Leeker
Innovation Expert

Karen Leeker is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and New Product Development at Purdue University. She is an innovation and product development expert and inventor with 4 patents.  Karen has developed new businesses in excess of $1 billion global sales throughout her career.  Karen has her own consulting company since 2008 and is currently working as VP of Operations for a Health Care start-up in West Lafayette.​

Heidi Schmidt

Dr. Heidi Schmidt is the founder of, and currently serves as Director Emeritus for the national mentoring organization, College Mentors for Kids! Inc. (CMK). Her current entrepreneurial venture, Hire4Good (H4G), is an online jobsite platform that employs college students in fee-based tutoring and other servicerelated jobs, to raise money for charities. In a collaborative partnership with Timmy Global Health, Hire4Good will launch in the Fall of 2017, on college campuses nationally. She is also a founding Director of the Indianapolis-based consulting firm, The Executive Consortium, with whom she regularly consults for a variety of businesses and nonprofits throughout Central Indiana. Heidi has been an adjunct faculty member of the Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music, Martin University and the Opera Festival di Roma in Italy. 

She is currently on the faculty of Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate entrepreneurship courses for The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and serves as the faculty advisor for Purdue’s Epsilon Nu Tau Co-Ed Entrepreneurship Fraternity.

Todd Fernandez

Todd is an Instructor for Purdue Entrepreneurship Certificate Program and a Phd. Candidate in the School of Engineering Education. His research focuses on how research on expert entrepreneurs is translated into entrepreneurship education. Prior to joining Purdue he worked as the first Director of Engineering for reNature, a sustainable agriculture startup, and as an makerspace educational developer and instructor for TechShop. He also worked as a consultant for multiple early stage technology companies with a focus on design for manufacture, outsourcing manufacturing, and government contracting and sales. Todd is also an avid rock climber.

Linus Lee

Linus is a software developer and designer building products and brands for TEDxPurdueU, The Anvil, Trubadour, and Spensa Technologies. He writes and produces content to help brands reach the audience where they are, with a visual identity that makes an impression.

Joe Albano

Dr. Joe Albano is from Logika International and The Indy Startup Challenge. Joe spent the first several decades of his career traveling the world working with multinational executives dealing with the increasing rate of changes to the business environment. His background in engineering, management, and psychology make him uniquely qualified to address ongoing shifts in both the business landscape and the workforce.After a long career working with global business leaders, Dr. Joe realized that we have reached the end of an era: climbing the traditional corporate ladder to a secure career is no longer a viable option for many people. Now he works with professionals at all levels to define the future of work - moving beyond the “employee mindset” to find meaningful and productive work in the post-job economy.

Patrick Doerflein

Patrick is currently the president of Sports Fanatics Inc. He is also the designer of the Burn & Bet sports app where he partnered with Scott Jones (founder of Voicemail and cha-cha web program). Patrick is a disabled veteran and received his B.S. from IUPUI in liberal arts. He is also the founder of Fog-Ads and is passionate about environmental issues. He believes that we should leave the world better than what it was when we came into it. 

Kurtis Sluss

Kurtis Sluss is an American engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur. His focus is redefining medicine and disrupting current diagnostic technologies. He leads Brightlamp as Cofounder and CEO with experience in innovative detection and diagnostic methods and an intuition for startup success. 

Dylan Sinks

Dylan focuses on quality and regulatory affairs. As the Chief Compliance Officer of Brightlamp, he ensures brightlamp complies with internal policies, is on track with a successful regulatory pathway, and puts forth a quality product.

Jonathan Holt

Jonathan is dedicated to intellectual property acquisition and focuses on advancing our product protection. He leads the team in patent law while being Co founder and Chief Legal Officer at Brightlamp.

Yarkin Sakucoglu

Yarkin has co-founded Socio Labs along with Alihan Ozbayrak and Joseph Watkins. Socio is a venture backed startup headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana. With the focus of taking event experiences to the next level, Socio has been used in over 300 events globally and facilitated millions of interactions. Yarkin is a full-stack CEO, having a good understanding of business, sales and marketing along with expertise in product development and design.

Alihan Ozbayrak

After completing his studies as a Computer Science major at Purdue University, Alihan has co-founded Socio Labs. Alihan is the analytical brain of the company, overseeing product development while maintaining close relationships with the customer success and sales departments, making sure product meets customer needs.

Joseph Watkins

After completing his studies as a Computer Engineering major at Purdue University, Joseph has co-founded Socio Labs. Combining his wide ranging knowledge and expertise in both business and technology, Joseph works closely with customers during their on-boarding process. He ensures that they are satisfied with the product as well as discovers their needs and goals to include further in the product roadmap.

Andrew Price

After completing his studies as a Marketing & Business major at the Krannert School of Purdue University, Andrew joined Socio Team as the Director of Sales. His major responsibilities include executing sales strategies to meet the company’s overall goals for sales and revenue. He works closely with the executive team to ensure the company grows on a month to month basis while effectively implementing cutting edge sales strategies.

Corben Lee

Corben is an attorney with Gutwein Law. His practice focuses on tax law, succession planning and various general business matters. He has past experience at the Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Clinic and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
Corben graduated with a BS in Management and a concentration in Corporate Finance from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management before moving on to earn his J.D. from the University of Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame, he served as a public defender at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center. 

Stephanie Corliss

Stephanie, a native of Silicon Valley, is the SnapShyft™ Team's luminous task master in Accounting, Finance and HR. Stephanie has nearly 20 years in Finance, Accounting and HR working in food & beverage, semi-conductor/ manufacturing, and publishing & distribution from non-profits to Fortune 500 companies including Novellus (LAM Research) and Source Interlink Companies.
In particular she gained valuable experience while in a leadership capacity at Source Interlink Companies  as the Director of Finance for Source Interlink Distribution, overseeing $1.2Billion in annual billing, $500Million in Annual RDA, and the responsibility of handling the relationships with the top National Distributing Publications Companies: CMG/Comag Marketing Group/Conde Naste, Time Warner Retail Services and Publishing Group, Kable Distribution and Curtis Marketing.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Michael
  • Akash
  • Nicole
  • Nivedita
  • Oean
  • Vishal


Trent Nettleton
International Scholar, Indiana Wesleyan University

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