Past event…

Event Ended

At the Fertilab Thinkubator in Eugene

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!



Oct 11
  • 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


Oct 12
  • 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


Oct 13
  • 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!
Platinum Sponsors

Jeff Martens

CEO, Co-Founder, CPUsage

Jeff Martens is the Co-Founder & CEO of CPUsage, a Portland based, venture backed startup that enables cloud computing at massive scale.

Before co-founding CPUsage, Jeff spent a decade in corporate finance and strategy at industry leading companies such as Nike and Synopsys. Jeff is a Startup Weekend veteran with more than 10 events under his belt as a participant, organizer, judge and facilitator.

Jeff has a Bachelors degree from the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000.

Nikos Ridge

CEO, Ninkasi Brewing Company

Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi’s CEO, grew up in Eugene and moved to the East Coast for college and to pursue a career in finance. After graduating from New York University, working on the stock exchange floor, and living the hustle-and-bustle of city life, he heard the calling of the Northwest and returned to Eugene.

In the beginning of Ninkasi, Nikos, along with the rest of the crew, wore many hats around the brewery. This included providing a one-man local distribution service — loading up each and every keg and driving it to its final destination in his Ford Ranger. Providing this service enabled Ninkasi to enter the local marketplace with personal, one-on-one interaction with local restaurants and bar owners.

A lot has changed since then, but Nikos can still be found sporting his banged-up distribution truck stating proudly “kegs have been here.” Nikos now acts as the CEO who manages the senior management team and is responsible for the company’s allocation of resources.

Gold Sponsors

Jeff Tunnell

Developer, Designer, Entrepreneur, Gaming Industry Veteran

Jeff Tunnell brings a wealth of experience in the gaming industry & entrepreneurial arena. In 1984 he co-founded Dynamix in Eugene, Oregon and guided the company from an independent game developer for Electronic Arts to an affiliated label of Activision, then sold the company to Sierra On-line, a publicly traded company in 1990.

Tunnell went on to build & co-found new companies including Garage Games and PushButton Labs. He has designed, produced, and directed more than 70 titles throughout his career from independent game projects to mass-market distribution titles in association with some of the world's largest international game publishers.

Jeff currently continues to work with and direct the efforts of the talented crew at Spotkin, a local game development company. He enjoys spending time with family, playing the electric guitar, riding motorcycles, and tending to his family's organic farm in Creswell, Oregon.

John Helmick

CEO & Co-Founder, Gorilla Capital

John Helmick, age 54, is co-founder and CEO of Gorilla Capital. Founded in 2006, Gorilla Capital has become one of the nation’s leading purchasers of distressed homes. By buying, redeveloping, and selling distressed homes, Gorilla Capital is actively engaged in the revitalization of neighborhoods, and increasing neighborhood property values. Gorilla Capital has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 1,000 fastest growing companies in America, each of the last 3 years, and was recently ranked as the 20th fastest growing real estate company in America. Oregon Business Magazine has ranked Gorilla Capital as the 101st largest privately held company in Oregon, and has also honored Gorilla Capital as one the 100 Best Places to Work in Oregon. With operations in eight states, Gorilla Capital continues its rapid growth by using its proprietary technology to research, identify and purchase the best properties available at foreclosure auctions and distressed sales.

Mr. Helmick received a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and received a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Helmick held various positions as an officer and director of eCollege made its initial public offering in December 1999 and was listed on the NASDAQ (ECLG) until it was acquired by Pearson Publishing (NYSE: PSO) in August 2007 for approximately $538 million.

Ann Carney Nelson

COO, Inpria Corporation

Ann has over 16 years of experience investing in and supporting young and innovative technology companies. Since 2009 she has served as COO at Inpria Corporation, an early stage chemical materials company located in Corvallis, OR. The company has been funded primarily by six SBIR grants from the National Science foundation and an equity investment from Applied Ventures, the venture capital fund of Applied Materials. As COO she helps define and direct Inpria's corporate strategy and operations. From 2008-2011 she also worked as an independent consultant working primarily with technology companies in the Pacific Northwest in the areas of corporate strategy, fund raising, and operations. From 2008-2009 she served as Interim Director of Strategy for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) , a non-profit which uses entrepreneurship education as a framework for teaching work skills and life skills to men nearing release from the Texas state prison system.

Previously, Ann was the Senior Associate at Menlo Ventures, an early-stage high-technology venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. She joined the firm in 1999 and during her tenure was active in a wide range of investments in early-stage infrastructure, software, semiconductor and Internet companies. She was responsible for 18 new investments, representing over $150M in initial investments and participated in all stages of the investment process. Her investments included companies such as DriveCam, Emptoris (acquired by IBM), GreenNote (acquired by, Librato, PowerReviews (acquired by bazaarvoice), RNA Networks (acquired by Dell), and Tablus (acquired by RSA). She also often represented Menlo Ventures as a Board Director or Observer. In addition to her investment activities, Ann organized and managed the business development programs for the firm’s portfolio. These programs included, among others, opportunities for portfolio companies to interact with Chief Information Officers and other key decision-makers at large public companies. From 1997-1999 Ann served as an independent consultant to Menlo Ventures and was responsible for performing market analysis and research for early-stage medical device investments.

Ann is a graduate of Stanford University (B.S. in Biological Sciences).

Silver Sponsors

Christopher Bailey

CTO & Co-Founder, Hotel Tonight

A master in the art of proper espresso preparation, Chris manages all aspects of HotelTonight technology. He previously was CTO of and earlier was an architect and senior computer scientist at Adobe Systems. He has led many an engineering team, been involved with myriad startups and done a variety of consulting. Chris travels frequently (a few times a month) to the HotelTonight San Francisco offices, but when he's not away, he's enjoying time with his family, mountain biking, or running the great trails in and around Eugene.

Andrew Nelson

Assistant Professor of Management and Bramsen Faculty Fellow, University of Oregon

Andrew Nelson is Assistant Professor of Management and Bramsen Faculty Fellow in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business. He received his PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, where he subsequently served as a Lecturer. Prof. Nelson also holds an MSc (with distinction) from Oxford University and a BA (with honors and distinction) from Stanford.

In 2008, Prof. Nelson was named to the first class of Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellows, a group of the most promising entrepreneurship faculty in the United States. He has received a number of other awards, including 2013 “Rising Star” recognition from the Industry Studies Association and the 2008 Best Dissertation Award from the INFORMS Technology Management Section. At the University of Oregon, he is the four-time recipient of the James Reinmuth MBA Teaching Excellence Award and the 2010 recipient of the Business Advisory Council Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Prof. Nelson’s current research explores the development and diffusion of innovations in digital music, green chemistry, IT, and biotechnology. With Tom Byers (Stanford) and Dick Dorf (UC Davis), he is the author of Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, published by McGraw-Hill and now entering its fourth edition.

Mike Biglan

Head of Technology, Happy Bits, Inc.

Mike is the Head of Technology at the Silicon Valley startup Happy Bits, maker of the AnyVideo Apps for iOS and Android. With a background in software development and architecture, computer science, bioinformatics, statistics, and economics, Mike's day-to-day often pulls from a variety of these along with a side of Barn Light caffeine.

Having lived in Chicago, Washington DC, and San Diego, Mike returned for good to Eugene in 2005. Since returning, he has co-founded two startups (rData Consulting and Simple Gifts), spoken at OSCON and DjangoCon, and sat on the Simple Gifts board, the Promise Neighborhoods Research Consortium (PNRC) board, and the City of Eugene's budget committee. Also during that period, Mike was the CTO of Concentric Sky (, overseeing a quadrupling of the size of the company, achieving high employee retention, and providing a strong and collaborative culture.

Mike lives with his wife Jennifer, their two children Ashlyn and Grayson, and their two dogs.

Education: University of Chicago, B.A. in Economics, University of California, San Diego, M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering

Alex Swanson

Sr. Game Design Manager, Disney Social Games

Alex came to Eugene to study multimedia design at the University of Oregon. After graduating, he started as an early employee at GarageGames, a company focused on providing tools and support for independent development teams. Later he joined Disney Social Games' (formerly Playdom's) studio in Eugene as a founding employee. He is now the studio's Sr. Game Design Manager.

Now with over 10 years experience in game development, his focus has shifted to exploring the intersection of business models and game design in social and mobile games.

In his free time he enjoys escaping into the Oregon wilderness, traveling overseas, and exploring the renaissance of new game systems made possible by modern board gaming the and kickstarter revolution.

Nathan Lillegard

Program Manager, UO Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship

Nathan has a passion for the world of new ventures and innovation. As the Program Manager for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon, he works with community and student entrepreneurs to help them find their personal passion and opportunities.

His experience includes co-founding Floragenex, which is a genetic research company, raising capital and growing that business to profitability, as well as years spent as a project manager and consultant in the software industry.

He is active in the Oregon entrepreneurship ecosystem, advising several science and technology based startups, and as a co-founder of the Eugene based ‘SmartUps’ entrepreneur’s support group.

Noah Parsons

COO, Palo Alto Software

Before joining Palo Alto Software, Noah was an early Internet marketing expert in the Silicon Valley. He joined Yahoo! in 1996 as one of its first 101 employees and became Producer of the Yahoo! Employment property as part of the Yahoo! Classifieds team before leaving to serve as Director of Production at He is a graduate of Princeton University.

Noah devotes most of his free time to his three young sons. In the winter you'll find him giving them lessons on the ski slopes, and in summer they're usually involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits.

Sabrina Parsons

CEO, Palo Alto Software

Sabrina has served as CEO of Palo Alto Software since 2007. She and her husband, Noah, founded a UK software distribution company in 2001 that was acquired by Palo Alto Software in 2002. Sabrina is a successful Internet expert, having served as Director of Online Marketing at Commtouch, Senior Producer at Epinions, and founder of her own Web consulting company, Lighting Out.

She is a staunch supporter of entrepreneurs, and supports entrepreneurial organizations. She is President of the Princeton Entrepreneurs Network. Sabrina has also chaired and sponsored both the Princeton Business Plan Competition and the Willamette Angel Conference in Eugene, Oregon for several years. She additionally gets invited regularly to participate as a judge for other business plan competitions across the U.S., as well as to speak on business planning, leadership, and women in technology.

Caroline Cummings

VP of Business Development, Palo Alto Software

As the VP of Business Development for Palo Alto Software, Caroline brings an excellent perspective to entrepreneurs. As the former co-founder and CEO of two technology companies, she’s experienced both start-up failures and successes, and has raised close to $1 million in investment capital. Her first venture, (healthy social shopping), dissolved in 2009. Her second venture, RealLead (mobile marketing for real estate) sold in early 2012. She has co-founded several successful entrepreneurial programs for the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, including Smart-ups Pub Talks and the Southern Willamette Angel Network. Caroline is regularly invited to participate as a judge for several business plan competitions, as well as speak on topics including, entrepreneurship, angel investing, social media and authentic self promotion. She is a graduate of Drexel University’s LeBow School of Business.

Other than her affinity for entrepreneurship, Caroline is passionate about mentoring. She mentors several young women and is also the immediate past president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County’s board of directors. She strongly believes in the power of mentoring.

Carrie Russo

Entrepreneurial Resources Director, Eugene Chamber of Commerce

As the Director of Entrepreneurial Resources at the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Carrie facilitates networking and educational programming through SmartUps events which support early-stage startup endeavors and allows people to connect with each other for mentorship and investment opportunities. She encourages people to take personal responsibility for their careers, to become more resilient and flourish through the change that is required to achieve progress and success, and to have the courage to promote their innovative ideas. She also believes mentorship is fundamental to strong communities and progress.

Michelle Gall, CPA

Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP

Michelle has been in public accounting since 2003. Prior to joining Moss Adams, Michelle worked as an economist and she brings a unique perspective having specialized in assessing the economic impacts of public policies on natural resources and local communities. Her current focus is financial statement audits for not-for-profit and manufacturing organizations.

Michelle is a member of the firm’s Government and Not-for-Profit practice and co-leads the Eugene office Food Processing Practice. She also serves on the Firm’s Sustainability committee, developing and overseeing their sustainable audit practices. She has served as one of Moss Adams’ firm-wide facilitators for training accounting and auditing staff in new accounting and auditing standards.

Michelle served as the treasurer for the Eugene Public Library Foundation and currently serves as a board member for LCHAY – Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth. She has been a speaker at not-for-profit industry events hosted by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon and numerous Moss Adams sponsored seminars.

Joe Maruschak
Peter Thorsson
Mark Davis
Geoff Miller
Jenny Miller
Jason Zollinger
Eric Harvey
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