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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Startup Weekend is an intense 54-hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together people with different skillsets – primarily software developers, graphics designers and business people – to build applications and develop a commercial case around them.

Be sure to register for our pre-event on Thursday, 2/16 @ 6pm – TechPrep:

  • What?  New to collaborating with a dev team? We’ll help you with Git and GitHub. Need some help getting set up for a technology you want to explore? We’ll have mentors from Microsoft and the community to get you set up on everything from Windows8 to iOS, Heroku to AppEngine.
  • Where?  ThinkSpace coworking space
  • Register here:



Charlie Kindel

Founder and CTO of a stealth startup in the Seattle area   |  

Charlie Kindel is active in the Seattle startup community as an advisor, mentor, and angel investor. Previously Mr. Kindel served as the GM for the WP7 developer platform at Microsoft where he drove the creation of the application and game ecosystem for Windows Phone 7.

During his 21 year tenure at Microsoft, Charlie repeatedly drove innovative Microsoft technologies and products including Internet Explorer, Windows NT, home networking, Windows Media Center, Windows Home Server, and Windows Phone 7.

He'll be talking at StartupWeekend about things that both Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs need to know.


Buster Benson

Co-Founder/CTO, Habit Labs   |  

Buster Benson is on an 11-year path of building technology to improve peoples' lives. He started at's Personalization and Recommendations team, building one of the first truly personalized experiences on the web.

Buster co-founded The Robot Co-op (most famous for, sold to Amazon), a site that helps you publicly share your life list and find people trying to accomplish similar things.

In 2006 he detoured from web technology and co-founded a members-only technology-inspired art gallery, bar, and event space in Seattle called McLeod Residence.

Other projects include building Locavore, an iPhone app that helped users find fruits and vegetables in season (sold to Hevva Corp), and, a private journaling tool based on the idea of writing 3 pages a day.

Hillel Cooperman

Co-Founder, Jackson Fish Market   |  

Hillel Cooperman is co-founder of Jackson Fish Market, a Seattle software startup and user experience consultancy. Before JFM, Hillel was at Microsoft for almost 10 years where he ran the Windows User Experience team.

Rahul Sood

GM, Interactive Entertainment Business, Product Planning, Microsoft   |  

Rahul Sood is a GM in the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.

A serial entrepreneur Sood spent 16 years in two small startups, both of which were acquired by larger companies. Prior to joining Microsoft, Sood was the founder of luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in September of 2006. Voodoo created many advanced technologies for HP, such as commercial liquid cooling. They also brought design focus to the company portfolio. The Voodoo Team created the ENVY product line for Hewlett-Packard, which ultimately became known as HP ENVY.

Sood joined Microsoft in January of 2011, he works on highly sensitive projects specific to the entertainment business.

Sood’s personal passions include using technology to improve healthcare, and to help and mentor startups grow from junior to giant. He would like to assist in the development of technology-based toys that help children with autism discover new ways to communicate.

In his spare time Sood enjoy’s wake surfing & wake boarding, cycling, driving, and spending time with his family. He moved from his hometown Calgary, Alberta to Seattle with his family December 2010.


Scott Berkun

Writer, Speaker, Program Manager for Automattic   |  

Scott is a writer and speaker. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian, Wired magazine, National Public Radio, The Huffington Post and other media. He has taught at the University of Washington, blogs for Harvard Business and BusinessWeek, and has appeared frequently as an innovation expert on CNBC and MSNBC.

He is the author of three bestselling books: Making things happen, The Myths of Innovation, and Confessions of a Public Speaker.

He lives off book royalties and fees from speaking for hire. You can see him in action here.

Since Aug 2010, Scott also works for Automattic on He worked at Microsoft from 1994 to 2003, mostly on Internet Explorer 1.0 to 5.0 (not 6).

Donald DeSantis

Developer and UX Designer, Giant Thinkwell   |  

Donald DeSantis is a developer and UX designer at TechStars company, Giant Thinkwell. In his free time, he travels to faraway cities and helps make Startup Weekend events successful. You can find him on Twitter at @donalddesantis.

Steve Seow

Architect Evangelist, Microsoft   |  

Steve is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft. He holds a Ph.D. Psychology from Brown University and is the author of Designing and Engineering Time: The Psychology of Time Perception in Software. Prior to becoming an evangelist, he spent time with the product development teams at Visual Studio, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phones, and Xbox.

Rebecca Lovell

Chief Business Officer, Geekwire   |  

Rebecca is a silver voice in the Seattle tech scene from behind the pages of Geekwire as Chief Business Officer. Her knowledge of the past current and future trends of the Seattle startup scene make any comment she has for your budding company a true gem to be deciphered and not taken lightly.

Adam Loving

Developer, BigDoor   |  

Adam is a software developer and entrepreneur with 16+ years professional expertise and a keen interest in social media. He has been a computer hacker since the 1980s, cited in Lotus Magazine in his early teens. Adam’s passion for viral user experience design led him to create Twibes (currently ranked first in Google for “Twitter groups”) which launched to 40,000 DAUs in a weekend.

Tolis Dimopoulos

Attorney and Founder, Sophos Law   |  

Tolis founded Sophos Law in 2007 to change the way that clients work with attorneys and to create a law firm that truly puts the client experience first. Tolis provides strategic legal and business counseling and advice to technology and cleantech entrepreneurs, startups and emerging growth companies. Tolis believes in making legal services accessible and conducts free office hours twice a month. Check them out at

Justin Woo

Program Manager, Microsoft   |  

Startup weekend Junkie, pitch addict, web developer.

Justin loves 3 things, working with passionate people, creating cool stuff and helping people be successful in whatever they do
all while having as much fun as possible.

His Startup wekeend experiences include building a Kinect game based on tapeworms and building a robot that talks to grandmas.

Definitely send him a shout out on twitter or justinzw[at]

Chris Fryer

Co-Founder/Biz Dev, OnMobile Media   |  

Currently Co-Founder of a Madrona backed company, Christopher Fryer is a Seattle start-up junky. After living in Costa Rica with his wife and two sons he decided that reality is negotiable. He since dropped out of college to drop in on entrepreneurship and venture capital.

John Sechrest

Advisor - StartupWeekend   |  

An entrepreneurial collaborator looking for ways to help innovative startups go better. Spreading the Lean Startup methodology. Startup Weekend Facilitator.

Daryll McDade

Developer Evangelist, Microsoft   |  

Daryll McDade and his team help early-stage companies (startups) be awesome and have a highly valuable relationship with Microsoft. Daryll is also the creator and Executive Producer of the documentary film Ctrl+Alt+Compete that that tells a story of the passion, fortitude and insanity that is bringing a startup to life. Daryll has been with Microsoft for 8 years in a number of evangelism, business development and marketing roles working with customers like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Seesmic, Starwood, Cablevision and Travelport. He is also an advisor to a number of early stage companies in the consumer Internet space. Prior to joining Microsoft, Daryll held business development, product strategy and product management roles at a couple of bootstrapped startups (one with a great exit, the other not so much) with AOL, Inc. and Onyx Software.

Scott Nonnenberg
Kav Latiolais
Willow Blugh
Michele Pewitt
Ruchit Garg
Shelly Lai
Alejandro Chouza


Feb 17
  • Registration starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. If you'd like, you'll be able to stay until 11:30pm.


Feb 18
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Mentors help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. If you'd like, you'll be able to stay until 11:30pm.


Feb 19
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help. Don’t be shy!
  • Lunch
  • Mentors arrive. Ask questions!
  • Gut check. Start practicing presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
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