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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Startup Weekends can be found in hundreds of cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Madison, 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!


Henry Schwartz

Co-Founder, MobCraft

Colorado native transplanted Wisconsin, Henry Schwartz began dabbling in business at age 15 with running a retail skateboard shop. Bit by the entrepreneurial bug he studied entrepreneurship at UW-Whitewater and recently launched MobCraft Beer. MobCraft is a crowdsourced brewery that lets beer nuts unleash their inner brewmaster and dictate what gets produced.

Kelda Roys

Founder, OpenHomes

Kelda Roys is CEO & Founder of OpenHomes, a real estate tech startup. An entrepreneur, attorney, and former Democratic State Representative, she served 2 terms in the Wisconsin Assembly, where she served as Democratic Caucus Chair and Vice-Chair on the Committee on Health & Healthcare Reform. At 32, she ran for US Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District, one of the youngest women in the country to have done so. Kelda spent 4 years as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, and is a magna cum laude graduate of New York University and University of Wisconsin Law School.

Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors

Monty Schmidt

Founder of Sonic Foundry and wuntusk

Only a few years after graduating with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Monty Schmidt Founded Sonic Foundry in 1991. Working alone in his apartment in downtown Madison he wrote the first 2 versions of the company’s flag ship product Sound Forge. For the next 10 years he served as the company’s president continuing to be crucial in the development of the company’s major audio/video products Sound Forge, CD Architect, ACID and Vegas. In 2003 after the company sold these products to Sony he became CTO to lead the development of the Mediasite product helping to take it from 0 revenue to over $20 million in 2011. In 2011 he left the company he founded to focus on the entrepreneurship community in Madison.

Since leaving Sonic Foundry, he has spent his time buried in the start-up community advising entrepreneurs young and not-so-young. After 20 years working within the Microsoft/.NET/SQL framework he decided it was time to check out the “other side” and moved his development to a mixture of Linux/Apache/Node/Ruby/Python etc.

Although well aware of Bitcoin in 2011 (a note in his product ideas book right after Black Friday says “Bitcoin Online Poker”) it wasn’t until 2013 that he looked deeply into the technology and realized it had the potential to change the world. Since then he has immersed himself in the technology.

Betsy Rowbottom

Co-founder, The Good Jobs

Betsy is Co-founder and Chief Culture Office of The Good Jobs™. The Good Jobs is an online employment solution that provides companies with a platform to present their unique culture, employment brand and corporate philosophy. Recognizing how people’s work styles have changed, The Good Jobs™ solution helps companies to attract top talent based upon relevant criteria providing better ‘stick rates’ and greater satisfaction for both stakeholders.

Betsy possesses a broad range of roles in Business Development, Human Resources and Recruiting. Within HR/Recruiting, she has experience with all aspects of recruiting including accounts management, working as a recruiter, and developing new business. She thrives in ‘startup business’ environments by upbringing myriad skill sets to the table.

Even with her demanding work schedule, Betsy is a passionate and committed volunteer. Most recently, she has worked with the Big Sister/Big Brother program in Milwaukee for 4 years. Betsy is an avid film buff and as such has worn several hats at the Telluride Film Festival over a 12-year period. (If you’re looking for her over Labor Day Weekend, she can be found in Telluride, CO.) She is a generous supporter of Daystar, a transitional housing facility for women who have suffered from domestic abuse.

Betsy personifies the adage “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”.

Kyle Nakatsuji

Business Development Associate at American Family Insurance

As a Business Development Associate at American Family Insurance, Kyle is focused on the strategic assessment of new business opportunities, including sourcing, evaluating and structuring venture capital investments in emerging companies. Prior to American Family, Kyle was an attorney at AlphaTech Counsel, S.C., where he was focused on emerging company business matters, including business formation and financing transactions. Kyle also spent time working in strategy, finance, and legal roles with a number of startups while completing his JD/MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Troy Vosseller

Co-Founder, gener8tor

Troy is the co-founder of gener8tor, a startup accelerator that invests its community, capital, network, mentorship and expertise in early-stage startups. Troy earned his BA, MBA and JD from the University of Wisconsin. As an undergraduate, Troy founded the apparel company Sconnie Nation. Sconnie Nation markets a line of clothing that focuses on celebrating the Wisconsin lifestyle. Troy is also an experienced business attorney, having worked as an Assistant Clinical Professor for the UW Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, a program providing free legal services to startup businesses and entrepreneurs.

Forrest Woolworth
Chris Meyer
Amy Gannon
Allen Dines
Brian Samson
Lorin Toepper (In Memoriam)


Apr 4
  • Registration Opens & Networking Time
  • Dinner & 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. You may stay and work up to midnight.


Apr 5
  • Breakfast & coffee
  • Morning work time
  • 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
  • Recommended finish for the day. You may stay and work as late as you would like


Apr 6
  • Breakfast & coffee
  • Morning work time
  • Lunch
  • Start prepping and practicing for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!

Jane Boutelle

Principal, Boutelle & Associates

Jane Boutelle has spent over fifteen years building and managing businesses and brands. At Intuit, she was the first product manager for QuickBooks, which quickly became (and still is) the market leader in the accounting category. As Small Business Marketing Manager for Apple, she developed key relationships with critical business influencers. Over the past 5 years, Jane has worked as a consultant, providing product management, marketing, and strategy guidance to a range of technology companies, non-profits, and educational institutions (including the Wisconsin School of Business).

Dennis Barnum

Merlin Mentors

Dennis Barnum has started several companies in the Information Technology space, primarily in the Twin Cities. He has been mentoring startups in the Madison area for 4 years. He has bootstrapped companies, as well as, secured funding from angel groups. He is currently working with a UW startup, which is in the final phases of securing seed funding.

Abby Larner

Co-founder, UI Designer 900dpi

Abby is one of the co-founders of 900dpi, a tool that allows web designers to easily implement a CMS, a blog, forms, and includes with only HTML and CSS. Abby has 6 years of experience with graphic and web design and 4 years of experience as a UI designer. She has consulted on design with several Madison startups along with being the lead designer on 900dpi since its inception last year.

Niko Skievaski

100state, 100health

Niko studied economics at Arizona State while working as a full-time incentive analyst at a large bank.

Upon graduation, he wanted to work for a small company where he could make a bigger impact. That's when he was recruited by Epic. In his nearly three years in the company, he bounced around to six different offices in a tour of operations before leaving to spin out various tech startups.

In 2013 he co-founded 100state to nurture collaboration and community among young professionals in Madison.

James Lloyd

Co-founder, 100health

Served in a variety of technical and development roles at Epic over a 5 year span. Now I am a director at 100state (non-profit co-working community) and a co-founder at 100health (healthcare IT incubator). I've worked for and consulted to a number of healthcare based startups.

Glenn McElfresh

COO, The Bos Creek

I'm the COO of the Bos Creek. I used to work at Epic as a usability expert, and joined the Bos Creek to focus on business development and increasing operational efficiency. I'm good at getting things done, and my expertise lies in shipping perishable goods.

Terry Sivesind

MERLIN Mentors

Long time involvement in the Madison area as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and mentor. Co founded a series of biotechnology companies, started the Wisconsin Investment Partners angel investor group, and helped create the MERLIN Mentors organization. Also created the Silver Lining Foundation.

Ben Raboine

CTO, Custom Offsets

I am an entrepreneur and web programmer helping other entrepreneurs start their business. I am the technical co-founder of profitable businesses including Custom Offsets, Optimal Media Group, Raboine Web Matrix, and new businesses including Mysteria Games, Vistrata Health, and Book Chiropractors. My specialty is creating a minimal viable product to prove the market and building a business around the idea if it flies. I also enjoy meeting with entrepreneurs to give and receive advice.

Brian Jensen

CEO, Fishidy

I’m a successful entrepreneur and business operator with a focus on consumer technology and software development. I have extensive leadership experience in business planning, growth hacking, digital marketing, demand generation, software development, financial management, business model optimization, early stage capital raising, and building new products and taking them to market.


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