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13805 58th Street N Clearwater, FL 33760

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!

A GIGANTIC thanks to our Premiere Sponsor



What is Tampa Bay Startup Weekend?

An experience you’ll never forget. Think the 48-Hour Film Fest for techies, marketers & entrepreneurs. Work with a team to convert an idea into an operating business in 54 hours.

Who should attend?

Anyone who wants to learn or loves the process of creating a new product or service and turning it into a business. Attendees include makers, programmers, marketers, designers, builders, entrepreneurs and writers.

Why should I attend?

To become inspired, forge lasting friendships, find co-founders & employees, learn new tools & methodologies, practice new skills and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Participating in Startup Weekend is an intense experience that allows you to grow rapidly and build deep relationships. It’s an experience like none other.

What can I expect?

Attendees meet Friday evening and start getting to know each other. After a dinner and inspiring presentations, you’ll go through six steps to build a new business by Sunday evening:

  1. Propose Your Idea
  2. Build Your Team
  3. Create Your Business Model
  4. Connect with Customers
  5. Build Your Product
  6. Present Your Startup

Steps 3-5 usually happen at the same time by different members of your team. You’ll also be supported by a cadre of coaches who will give you feedback on your progress and answer your questions.

What do I get with my ticket?

Your ticket includes 7 meals throughout the weekend, some Google Swag, Internet access and use of the space, free parking at the venue, all the electricity you can consume and an amazing time!

How do I sign up?

Register on our Eventbrite sign up page.

If you fit multiple categories, pick your strongest for now. You will not be restricted to this role during the weekend. If you don’t know which to pick, select Non-Technical for now.

Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors
Contributing Sponsors


Nov 22
  • 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.
  • Time to go home!


Nov 23
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Speaker
  • 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
  • Time to go home!


Nov 24
  • 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!

Dean Akers


Dean is a CEO that grows his businesses and those of who he helps by teaching empowerment and the skills of working on the business, not in the business. His diversity of business experiences has allowed him to come to a conclusion that " All businesses are the same". His proclaimed best attribute in business is " I think like a child", meaning he has very few filters and eliminates the self talk that hurts so many business leaders. He is a master at uncovering the obvious, 99% of all is recommendations or strategies come directly from the ones that don't have one, ie: he gets them to take their filters off.

Ty Mathen

Founder UpValet

Ty Mathen is passionate about leadership, constructing sound business models, and modeling an entrepreneurial spirit.

In 2000, he joined the US Navy as an Intelligence Specialist and was stationed onboard the famous USS Enterprise. During his service, Ty played a role in the Joint Task Force 170 located at GITMO in Cuba

In 2003, he departed from the military and began working in the automative industry working as a sales rep. With a natural aptitude for sales, Ty was quickly promoted into the Finance and Insurance department where he continued to work until June of 2011.

Since leaving the automotive industry, he successfully completed Startup Weekend and Gazelle Labs seed stage business accelerator program, launching two mobile applications TagTexter and (featured in TechCrunch).

To begin his efforts in beginning his own startup, Ty transitioned out of Prospect Smarter, a marketing & technology company, where he was the VP of Sales. He is now founding a disruptive startup in the automotive industry called UpValet.

UpValet is a visionary solution to the archaic sales process that dominates the auto industry and impedes its efficiency. It utilizes tablets to automate the sales process, and drastically cut down the time to purchase a car. With proprietary iOS software designed by UpValet, digitized forms are autofilled using a revolutionary license swipe system. Real-time analytics of the sales process are provided to dealership management to optimize their productivity and efficiency. UpValet solutions also provide cutting-edge social and video tools for generating referrals, tracking leads, and, most importantly, closing deals.


Heather Kenyon

CEO at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum   |   LinkedIn

Heather Kenyon is the CEO of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, where she leads an organization that serves 350+ member companies as well as the overall technology industry in the Tampa Bay area. Previously she was a Sales Development Representative at Insight, a Fortune 500 Technology Solutions Provider. In 2010 she was recognized as a part of the 100% Club as well as the "Impact Player" for Q4 for her position in the Southeast. She was also the Vice President of Development for the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) for almost 6 years. Ms. Kenyon worked to support the TBTF by raising funds for all TBTF events and peer networks. She joined the TBTF in 2003 as the fledgling organization’s second employee. From 2003-2008 she grew TBTF’s membership from 15 to 350 companies. These companies ranged in size from one-person entrepreneurial startups to the largest companies in the region, including Tech Data, Bloomin' Brands (Outback Steakhouse), Jabil, and many other local giants. She was promoted from Membership Director to VP of Development in 2006, after increasing sponsorships and revenues more than 200%.
Ms. Kenyon was recognized in 2012 as one of the ten "People to Watch" by Bob Trigaux in the Tampa Bay Times. In 2006 she was identified as being one of the “Forty Under Forty” class by the Gulf Coast Business Review, and in 2009, as one of the "Tampa Bay 100" a list of 100 Business Leaders who Positively Impact the Region's Economic Development and Community by CEO Magazine. She was also part of the Tampa Bay Partnership CEO Direct Class of 2012 and serves on their Board of Directors.

Mark Swanson

Bright House Networks   |   LinkedIn

Mark Swanson is a serial technology entrepreneur who has successfully started and grown six multi-million dollar companies in the last twenty plus years. Most recently, Mark was the co-founder and CEO of Tampa-based, Telovations, a three time Inc. 500/5000 Company which was founded in 2006 and sold to Bright House Networks in December 2012. Mark has started and grown technology businesses in Atlanta, New York, Silicon Valley and Tampa Bay. Mark started his career in the United States Army where he commanded several military units including forming the first unit of Apache attack helicopters. Later, he managed several high tech projects as a test pilot.

Mark’s industry recognition includes several Inc. 500 Awards, Fast 50 Awards, Tampa Bay Entrepreneur of the Year, New Media Invision Award, five Webbie Awards, 3 Emmy Awards, Ernst & Young International Business Plan Award and New York City’s Champions of Technology Award. Mark is a former member of the Young President’s Organization, the founder and past Chairman of the Georgia Electronic Commerce Association and the Southeast Software Association. Mark graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Computer Engineering and holds a Master of Science degree in Technology Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Chad Jaquays

VP of Search at Rakuten Marketing

Chad Jaquays is a veteran in the field of Internet marketing, product development, and sales. He co-founded Traffic Strategies in 2002, a performance based online marketing company, Rakuten. LinkShare acquired the company in 2007. Chad founded daily deal company, in 2009 and with an aggressive roll-up strategy acquired 18 daily deal sites and integrated them into their proprietary e-commerce platform before selling to nCrowd in 2013. Chad re-joined Rakuten Marketing as VP of Search in September to focus on accelerating the growth of the company's paid search business. Chad is a member of Tampa Bay Wave, a local non-profit that helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into growing tech ventures and is currently active in their mentorship program.

Alfred Goldberg

President of the Americas Absolute Mobile Solutions   |   LinkedIn

Creative and innovative manager, administrator, public speaker, instructor, and entrepreneur, taking pride in ability to analyze viability of business ideas, design products and services around the mobile medium. Recognized and sought-after public speaker, bringing a wealth of knowledge and high level of enthusiasm.
Expert in mobile marketing, mobile design, and mobile development.

Richard Fox

Idea Fund Partners   |   LinkedIn

Richard has 20 years of experience in the creation of new companies from defense and aerospace technology. He is a founding partner of Astralis Group LLC, an Orlando-based partnership that works with technology companies in creating and executing growth strategies. His first company was a spin-out of an operation of Westinghouse, with a machine vision system derived from a military target recognition system. Based on that success, Richard pioneered innovative concepts for nurturing and growing entrepreneurial high-tech businesses. Richard served on the Florida Seed Capital Board and has been a member of several task forces for the State of Florida on venture capital and seed capital investing. He serves on the board of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, and is a frequent panelist for the National Science Foundation’s selection of SBIR grant awards. Richard earned his B.S. in Physics from M.I.T., and holds 14 patents on the application of computers to industrial processes, and on medical devices.

Josh Ebert

Bright House Networks   |   LinkedIn

A dynamic and respected leader in B2B telecommunications sales and operations, Josh has helped business owners deliver maximum results by providing solutions that make running their businesses easier, reduce their costs, and help them grow - for more than 17 years. Josh brings to Bright House Networks his in-depth knowledge of strategic planning, market segmentation, sales methodologies, and telecommunications solutions which provide a strong foundation that has empowered Josh to execute winning sales strategies and lead highly successful teams.

As Bright House Networks Corporate Vice President of Sales and Operations for Small & Medium Business, Josh leads the company’s marketing, sales, installation, and customer service efforts for Small & Medium Business customers. In this multi-functional role, Josh is uniquely well positioned to ensure that Bright House Networks delivers the best overall customer experience in the industry.

While Josh has experience working with customers of every size, he is particularly passionate about supporting small and medium size businesses…
“Small businesses employ more than 50% of all private sector workers in the U.S., and produce 75% of the net new jobs in the economy. They are both valuable clients and a vital engine of economic development. We are proud to serve and support them… and dedicated to providing innovative products and services that allow small business owners to focus doing more of what they love: running and growing their business.” – Josh Ebert
Josh has many years of broad-based experience in marketing, sales, operations and telecommunications at companies such as MCI, T-Mobile and XO Communications. Most recently, he served in various capacities at XO Communications, including Vice President of SMB. Over the course of his career, Josh has been highly successful at implementing new business development strategies and new growth initiatives that drove significant market share gains.
Josh earned a Business of Arts degree in Psychology at Roanoke College. In addition, he pursued post graduate work at Harvard University, completing their Leading Change and Organizational Renewal program. He resides with his wife Mary of 16 years in Tampa, Florida along with his son Zachary and Daughter McKenna. Mary is an accomplished and award winning photographer. McKenna is an avid pianist and cellist, while Zachary is a talented martial artist. When not at work, Josh is passionate about personal improvement, reading and most of all, his family. Having grown up in Philadelphia, PA Josh is an avid fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers.

Michael Fountain

USF Center for Entrepreneurship

Michael Fountain holds three faculty appointments at USF, serving as the John & Beverley Grant Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, a professor in the College of Engineering, and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine. He currently serves as founding director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship and the director for university-wide, interdisciplinary entrepreneurship educational programs. The Center's national prominence is evidenced by receipt of top national awards in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and is ranked among the top 25 best graduate entrepreneurship programs by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine for the USF graduate entrepreneurship educational programs in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Dr. Fountain also, serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Tampa Bay Research and Innovation Center (TBRIC) housed at the USF Center for Advanced Medical and Learning Simulation (CAMLS) located in downtown Tampa.

Tony DeSisto

Co-founder of Citizinvestor

Tony DeSisto is a Co-founder of Citizinvestor - a crowdfunding and civic engagement platform for local government projects - a company that was birthed out of Tony’s work on the City of Tampa’s Citizen Advisory Budget Committee. Since launching in September 2012, 17 municipalities across the United States have crowdfunded 21 public projects on Citizinvestor, 70%+ of which have been successfully funded.

Tony is an attorney focusing on municipal litigation. He is also the author of Economics Island - an introduction to economic principles and theory.

Nicolle Panuthos

Department Chair College of Business SPC

Nicolle Panuthos is the Department Chair for the College of Business and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at St. Petersburg College. She has over 20 years of business and entrepreneurial experience in NYC and Florida, and launched a national award winning curriculum for the Certificate and Associates Degree Programs in Entrepreneurship at SPC. She earned her MBA from the University of South Florida-Tampa, in Entrepreneurship and Marketing, and her efforts to promote creative thinking and inspire an interest in entrepreneurship extend to future college students and leaders through partnerships with Pinellas County Schools. She has served as a judge, guest speaker, mentor and worked to build relationships throughout the Tampa Bay area with Pinellas County Economic Development, Tampa Bay Innovation Center, SCORE, NACCE, CEO, AMA. Greenhouse, and local City Chambers and Councils.

Her curriculum, teaching philosophy and support of entrepreneurship, both inside and outside the classroom, puts students at the forefront of learning and provides them with opportunities for success. Under her direction students are awarded $10,000 at the SPC Annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition. Where great students and ideas are showcased and jump started!


Brent Kraus

Co-founder Ella Bing

Brent has a background in Information Technology and is currently the co-founder of Ella Bing, a Tampa based men's fashion label. Brent 's focus is on data, brand development, men's fashion, social presence and SEO. He also enjoys podcasting, blogging, photography and web development and loves to be involved with entrepreneurship education, community and people helping people.

Brent Britton


Brent helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into companies. He practices intellectual property and corporate law and in rare cases, he joins startups as a founder.

Brent writes and speaks frequently on entrepreneurship, intellectual property, ethics, social media, and general business and legal topics.

Admitted to practice law in California (1994), New York (2004), and Florida (2005).

Amy Sauers

Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Amy Sauers is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at St. Petersburg College. She specializes in relationship marketing and market research. Her vision of learning is that her students can do anything they set their minds to do and she is here to help them do that.

Dr. Sauers earned her Ph.D. in Marketing Communication from the University of Connecticut where she enjoyed teaching and researching top consumer companies including Best Buy, Apple, HP, and Verizon. Her research uncovered how customers move through relationship stages with these companies, their salespeople, and their products.

Dr. Sauers was the Director of Marketing, Customer Analytics for the financial startup, Revolution Money, Inc., before joining SPC in Fall 2008. Dr. Sauers consults as The Customer Dr. working with data on top brands and businesses using market research to uncover customer potential and drive business strategy.

Since leading the Entrepreneurship sub-plan at the College of Business, she was a winner in the 2009 StarTec IdeaCamp Contest for her startup, VivaVidi. Dr. Sauers' leads workshops in the community and in schools so students are encouraged to start their businesses while still in school. Amy Sauers has enjoyed nurturing veteran entrepreneurs in an SPC-SCORE Certificate Program. In addition, she began a startup incubator/market test lab (see to further support students, entrepreneurs, and business connections and the Tampa Bay entrepreneurial eco-system.

She is the author of Effective Customer Relationship Management: How Emotion Drives Sustainable Success. Recently, Dr. Sauers' research has included surveying entrepreneurship thought leaders on their views about new ideas about entrepreneurship. She is an active member of the AMA and is pursuing her PCM certification.

John Duncan

Co Founder 64labs   |   LinkedIn

John Duncan cut his teeth turning around newspapers in the UK, helping the Guardian of London bring a $1m-a-month loss-making Sunday title to breakeven in five years by investing in journalism and cutting costs at the same time. The paper had 130,000 more readers on the day he left in 2005 than the day he took over in 2000. John came to Tampa in 2006 to get out of big companies and think smaller. He was invited to Stanford as a Knight Fellow for 12 months in 2009 and developed two concepts with Stanford students - Audionewspaper (an audio news business) and Hearsay (passive sharing social news). Both failed for different reasons and John learned some hard truths about startups. John came back to Tampa to work as head of development at Mad Mobile and after two years growing the development team from four to 25 developers, he decided once again, with two colleagues, to start his own company, 64Labs doing mobile web development for major companies and startups. He has a shiny MBA from London Business School where he earned a distinction in strategy and he was the world's undisputed official No 1 Neil Young fan in the world in August 2005.

Cathy Helean

Add Water Social   |  

Cathy Helean has more than 20 years of experience as a successful marketer, specializing in media organizations. Her positions included creative director at TBS (Turner Broadcasting) and marketing director at some of the country’s top broadcast television stations. She’s developed and implemented integrated communications strategies for the Olympics, the Super Bowl and has 12 Emmy awards to her credit for her consumer marketing campaigns.
Cathy’s also an emerging technology leader…from new digital products to live social media marketing strategies. Most recently, Cathy joined the NASA social media team to implement a live Twitter strategy for the launch of the MAVEN space mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Cathy and her team took third place honors for their idea,, at the Pensacola Start Up Weekend in October, 2013.
Cathy currently runs Add Water Social, a social media communications company that specializes in live twitter strategies for companies and events.

Travis Miller

SPARK   |   LinkedIn

Travis Miller is Full Stack Web Developer at SPARK, an Advertising Agency based in Tampa, FL. He brings with him a variety of experience in the technology development space for mobile and web applications. He collaborates with SPARK’s clients on web and mobile design & development, content strategy information architecture and digital campaign development. At SPARK he has been an integral member of digital marketing team for brands such as AVI-SPL, SweetBay Supermarkets, All Children's Hospital, Lee Roy Selmon’s, Tampa Bay & Co and Reeves Import Motors.

Russ Miller

Co-founder SunView Software   |   LinkedIn

Russ is the co-founder of SunView Software, a Tampa-based enterprise software company. Starting his career in Silicon Valley, he has been effectively building and launching software products while helping lead and advise a number successful startups. His recent focus has been on lean startup and development processes. Russ is also the co-host of a weekly software architecture podcasts. In his “spare” time, he enjoys running, and is very active in the leadership of his sons’ Boy Scout troop and pack.

Timothy Freriks

Serial Entrepreneur

Mr. Freriks is the former President of SimuTech Corporation, a software company that developed interactive air traffic control modules that would be integrated into four of the five major flight simulators. His next startup, TelSim, Inc., developed standard-title online coursework and custom training projects for corporate clients. Mr. Freriks also has six US patents. He was an architect and involved in commercial real estate as a developer and broker. Currently, Mr. Freriks coaches small businesses on the problems of being a startup, and the integration of successful B2B sales process.

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