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Startup Weekend Pittsburgh
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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 events in over 100 countries and 580 cities around the world.

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!



Mar 28
  • 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. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Mar 29
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Mar 30
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!

Adam Paulisick

Founder/Managing Partner, Data Driven Creative   |   LinkedIn

Adam has had a long history in the online ecosystem, currently leading the business development charge of Nielsen Catalina Solutions' (NCS) New York Office (while calling Pittsburgh home and commuting to NYC each week) combining offline data into online, mobile, print and TV media targeting and measurement. Prior to that role, he served as Senior Director of Commercial Operations for Nielsen’s Emerging Media division (audience, advertising, video and social media market research) where he was responsible for driving profitable growth within Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Before Adam's arrival in London he led global account planning for Nielsen’s Online and Mobile Media portfolio and was one of the early leaders of the BuzzMetrics team (acquired in 2007 by The Nielsen Company) guiding business development for online word-of-mouth analytics. Prior to BuzzMetrics Adam worked at an early stage private equity incubator as part of the proof of concept team evaluating and empowering early stage companies. Adam continues to be active in the early stage venture community as a mentor in domestic and international accelerator programs such as AlphaLab (Pittsburgh), seedcamp (US+Europe), London Techstars (Springboard), and entrepreneurs roundtable accelerator (NYC).

Gold Sponsors

Ilana Diamond

Managing Director, Alphalab Gear   |   LinkedIn

Ilana Diamond is the Director of AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware start-up accelerator which provides physical product startups with investment, mentorship and connections. She helps entrepreneurs make rapid progress through the early stages of product and customer development by leveraging her experience and network, gained from over twenty years of leading and growing companies, from early stage to exit.

Prior to joining AlphaLab Gear, Ilana was CEO of Sima Products, an international consumer electronics accessory company that develops, manufactures and distributes products under the Sima, First Alert, Cherokee and MGM Studio brands. Ilana built Sima’s management team, developed and managed a network of Asian manufacturers and led profitable sales growth at national brick and mortar retail chains such as Target and Walmart , internet retailers such as, and specialty catalog retailers. Based on innovative technology developed by Sima, she also founded and managed a commercial alerting startup, raised outside capital and spun the company off into a separate entity. In 2010, Ilana negotiated the sale of Sima and transitioned operations to the new owners. Earlier in her career, as a management consultant for PwC, Ilana provided marketing strategy advice, turnaround assistance and merger and acquisition support to executive management of Fortune 500, middle-market and growing companies.

Ilana holds a BA in Biological Sciences and Economics from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Rebecca Harris

Director, Center for Women's Entrepreneurship   |   LinkedIn

Rebecca Harris became Director in 2009, and she has applied her entrepreneurial skills to change the face of CWE. Under her leadership CWE has designed and introduced a number of new programs, including the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, CWE Membership, and CWE MyBoard, a program that provides growth-stage women business owners with an experienced mentoring board of professionals with a combination of in-person and virtual meetings through an online platform. Additionally, Harris has grown staple CWE programs such as the Think Big Forum for Women, which has tripled in both size and corporate support.
Harris is as passionate about community involvement as she is about entrepreneurship. In the past several years she has been an active member of the Host Committee of the Annual Greater Pittsburgh Athena Award Program and the Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s Financial Sustainability Vision Team. She is on Mayor Bill Peduto’s Transition Economic Development Committee, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Loan Review board, the STANDING FIRM advisory council, the Community Day School Leadership Committee, is a member of 74% Kitchen Cabinet at Robert Morris University Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management and the PowerUp Pittsburgh Working Group, which was created to ensure community resources are distributed properly to all areas of the city. She is also a frequent speaker at entrepreneurship conferences, workshops, and seminars. She has received marketing awards from Women in Communications and the American Marketing Association, and was selected as the 2010-2011 Member of the Year for the National Association of Women Business Owners of Greater Pittsburgh (NAWBO). She was named a winner of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2012 Women in Business Awards and was selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2012 Western Pennsylvania and Region III Women in Business Champion of the Year.

Larry Weidman

Technology Entrepreneur & Executive in Residence at Innovation Works   |   LinkedIn

Larry is a successful executive entrepreneur with more than 25 years of C-level experience leading high performance teams launching and commercializing disruptive technology-based products and services in a variety of domains, including: cloud computing & SaaS, open source operating systems, internet infrastructure, web services, programming languages and applications, electronic payments and eCommerce, advanced embedded computers, MEMS, and semiconductors.
As an Executive in Residence at Innovation Works, he helps advanced Information Technology and Data Processing companies successfully commercialize their technology, effectively bring their product to market, raise money, and create and manage high-performing teams.
Having founded and been the Chief Executive of numerous technology companies, Larry has expert level business development skills with numerous successful product launches, more than $200 million in closed financing, acquisition, and strategic partnership transactions, and multiple exits at companies including Hell’s Kitchen Systems (acquired by Red Hat) and GALT Technologies (acquired by Intuit) among others. His ventures have been backed with investment from founders, angel investors, corporate strategic partners, and institutional venture capitalists. Larry has also been an investor in and advisor to numerous startups.
Larry has come up to speed many times in new technologies and is co-inventor of Patent Number: 7266805 – Systems and methods for generating software and hardware builds.
Larry holds a BA from Drake University, an MA from University of Iowa, and completed Leadership at the Peak at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Denise Desimone

Founder & Chairman at C-leveled   |   LinkedIn

Denise DeSimone's career primarily has been in starting companies. All told she has started several ventures.
In 1998, Denise founded one of her greatest successes, Unicorp. As CEO, she developed this privately held technology based business from the ground floor with sales reaching a global market. Within just another two short years, revenues exceeded $74 million. But if you ask Denise, it’s not all about the numbers. She led great teams that listen to clients’ challenges, assessed their needs, and examined business processes, to develop solutions.

Denise has been recognized for her achievements over and over. Most recently she is the recipient of the Ernest & Young 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year for Western Pa, West Virginia, and upstate New York and Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business for 2009. Some of her other achievements include 2007 Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Top 5 Women Entrepreneur Recognition, Deloitte & Touche Fast 50 Growth Companies, and Microsoft Partner Development. Denise has also been appointed to several Advisory Boards and is a member of the Women's Professional Organization

Kit Needham

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Project Olympus, Carnegie Mellon University   |   LinkedIn

Kit is Entrepreneur in Residence at Project Olympus, the startup incubator at Carnegie Mellon University. She provides students and faculty start-up advice, business strategy planning, connections to industry experts, advisors and the business community. She is a technical advisor to BlueTree Allied Angels and serves on the Screening Committee. She is an Advisory Board member of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship and teaches in their MBA program. She also provides consulting services to promote economic growth to Chambers of Commerce, individual entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations.

Silver Sponsors

Adam Kelson

Partner, Saul Ewing LLP   |   LinkedIn

Adam Kelson represents businesses and entrepreneurs in numerous commercial, corporate and financial transactions, both nationally and internationally. He has represented investors, businesses and management in transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, recapitalizations and equity and debt securities offerings. Adam counsels entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies throughout the lifecycle of their businesses, including formation and start-up, corporate and business counseling, capital raising transactions and commercial relationships. His experience spans a variety of industries, from core manufacturing to service industries and high-tech.

Jonathan Diven

Founder/CEO, Atmosferiq   |   LinkedIn

Jonathan is Founder & CEO of Atmosferiq, a marketing management platform for local small businesses and agencies. Atmosferiq was initially born out of SWPgh in September 2012, and has officially launched tin the market as of February 2014.

Prior to founding Atmosferiq, he was Partner & Director of Product Management for Matrix Solutions, the leading provider of CRM & sales analytics tools to the local media industry. In addition to Product Management, Jonathan held leadership roles in Sales, Marketing and Business Developmetn over his career.

Brian Vukmir

Director of Engineering, Branding Brand   |   LinkedIn

Brian is Director of Engineering for Branding Brand, which powers the mobile commerce sites and apps for over 200 of the world’s leading retailers, including Costco, Dicks, American Eagle Outfitters, Crate & Barrel, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora.
In 2013, Brian led a team of developers in creating an Open Data Platform for the city of Pittsburgh. The app was designed to bring the private and civic sectors together to exchange and build upon open data in the public domain. The app won 1st place at the Steel City Codefest held at Google Pittsburgh.
Prior to Branding Brand, he was Technical Director at BarkleyREI, the largest employee owned full service advertising agency in the country, with an office in the Strip District and based in Kansas City, MO. Brian has held numerous leadership positions in Engineering, Sales, and Marketing throughout this career.

Eric Singer

Cross-Disciplinary Engineer, Programmer, Artist

Eric Singer is an engineer, programmer, roboticist and artist. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, a Diploma in Music Synthesis from Berklee College of Music, and an MS in Computer Science from New York University.
He has over 20 years of arts and multimedia programming, engineering and performance experience in the areas of interactive performance systems, electronic and robotic musical instrument design, integrated music and graphics systems, networked multimedia environments, user-interface design and computer controlled pyrotechnics. He performs and lectures around the world and teaches a wide range of subjects integrating art, technology and creative engineering. He is considered a leading expert in the use of sensors and robotics in multimedia systems. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at the New York University Interactive Telecommunication Program and the Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts.

Rick Cancelliere

Founder and CEO, Treatspace   |   LinkedIn

Rick is a nationally recognized entrepreneur connecting the dots between healthcare, design, and technology. Beginning in 2002, his design firm specialized in healthcare and drove digital marketing efforts for numerous nationally known medical brands. The Small Business Association named him Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 for consistently propelling his clients into lead roles within their categories. His niche agency was repeatedly ranked amongst Pittsburgh’s top advertising and web design firms.

In 2009, Rick launched Nerve Medical, a technology agency specializing in medical startups. Working with Project Olympus and co-founders at Carnegie Mellon, Treatspace spun out of Nerve Medical in 2012 with Rick as its CEO.
There is a social network and a professional network yet there is no health network. Treatspace will be your health network. A one-stop facts-certified healthcare service delivery platform that manages provider and practice visibility and referrals while seamlessly delivering on-demand remote healthcare services to patients.

Ryan Cummings

User Experience Lead, DICK's Sporting Goods   |   LinkedIn

Ryan is UX designer and strategist who solves problems by focusing on the user. By understanding their attitudes, identifying their habits and capturing their needs and expectations, he creates beautifully designed products, systems and services that are engaging and simple to use.

His experience lies in interaction design, web & mobile development, user research, and product vision & strategy.

Prior to working in retail, Ryan worked as the Interactive Director for Zoltun Design agency. His experience spans several business sectors including healthcare, telecommunication, industrial and government.

Ryan is an advisor for PTI Multimedia programs and is a local leader for IXDA Pittsburgh. He is adjunct professor for CCAC and works with small business to build business strategies and help them gain exposure.

Alex Gindin

Founder and CEO, Emplified   |   LinkedIn

Alex Gindin is the founder and CEO of Emplified (@getemplified), a platform enabling a culture of communication between employees and managers and empowering employees to Manage Up. Alex is also the acting director at PantherlabWorks, a new venture accelerator within the University of Pittsburgh, where he has led 20+ companies through the process of identifying, developing, and executing on market strategy.

Joe Vennare

Co-founder Hybrid Athlete, and Co-founder, Fittsburgh   |   LinkedIn

Joe is a writer, fitness professional and entrepreneur on a mission to make everyone happy and healthy.

As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Joe successfully transitioned a brick and mortar fitness facility into a thriving online community of health seekers. After identifying a market opportunity at the crossroads of fitness and technology, Joe created a marketplace for exercise programs and products. To date, he's helped a few hundred thousand people create better habits through a combination of Health, Happiness and Hustle.

In the fall of 2013, Joe launched a new startup - Fittsburgh. This website and mobile platform aims to unite the city around the idea of moving more and eating well. Additionally, Fittsburgh Farm Boxes, containing locally grown, farm fresh fruits, vegetables, free-range chicken eggs, and all natural, grass-fed meats will be delivered to homes and community locations.

David Crawford

Co-Founder and Creative Lead, Roket   |   LinkedIn

David is a co-founder and the creative lead of Roket™, a product-design and brand-development firm based in Pittsburgh. Rocket partners with early-stage businesses to launch smart products, desirable brands, and memorable experiences.

Alex Hendershott

Co-Founder & Technology Lead at Roket   |   LinkedIn

Alex is an award-winning interaction and visual designer who relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has a natural talent for not only visualizing and designing great experiences, but also bringing them to life through his expertise in front-end development. His most recent work includes a breadth of entrepreneurship, including his founding of the company Spacefinity, a P2P marketplace for self storage, and leading the UI and UX of LegalSifter, an automated legal document analysis system. Prior to entrepreneurship, Alex was directing a team of more than 40 engineers as the senior visual designer for Eaton’s power monitoring software, Power Xpert Insight.

Zach Malone

Analyst, Draper Triangle Ventures   |   LinkedIn

Zach Malone is an Analyst at Draper Triangle Ventures with +5 years of experience investing in early stage companies. Prior to joining Draper Triangle Zach worked in the Private Equity Divisions of UPMC and Gateway Financial. He currently serves on The Board of Directors for Rustbuilt, The Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association Emerging Leaders Board of Directors, The Pittsburgh Film Office Board of Trustees, The Propel Charter Schools Advancement Committee and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Young Professionals Board of Directors. He is also a member of The World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Hub in Pittsburgh as well as a member of The City of Pittsburgh's Propel Commission. Zach received his B.S. in Finance from Virginia Tech.

Patrick Perini

CEO, MegaBits,LLC   |   LinkedIn

Justin Mastrangelo

Digital Marketing Specialist, JA Interactive   |   LinkedIn

Zach Panzer

Senior Designer, Thinktiv   |   LinkedIn

Kit Mueller
Kacey Wherley
Cameron Scott
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