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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!


Matt Howard

CEO of EatStreet

Matt Howard is the CEO and co-founder of EatStreet, a online ordering platform that connects restaurants with diners. Founded in 2009, EatStreet has expanded to over 150 cities and 15,000 restaurant accounts under Howard’s leadership. His primary responsibilities include driving the strategic vision of the company, spearheading business development initiatives, and overseeing all expansion efforts. To date, Howard has raised $12.7 million in three rounds of funding. He leads an ever-growing staff of 80 employees out of EatStreet’s headquarters in Madison, WI.

Howard received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin (Class of 2011). He is active in the Wisconsin startup community and enjoys helping Gener8tor as a mentor to its companies. Outside of EatStreet and the startup community, Howard enjoys traveling, snowboarding, and spending time with friends and family.

Kendra Hill

Sr. Associate Brand Manager and Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial-minded business and marketing enthusiast driven by innovation, big picture objectives, branding, and collaboration. Interested in developing and executing ideas and strategies that positively impact customers, consumers, and the bottom line.

Professional objectives include learning, networking, and building on entrepreneurial, leadership, and marketing experiences to provide products and services that enhance people's lives.

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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.

Molly Lahr

Senior Analyst at American Family Ventures

Molly Lahr is a senior analyst with American Family Ventures. Prior to AFV, she served as the director of partner relations for Gillware a Madison-based data services company, director of marketing at Branch2, a health IT company and director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the membership and programming arm of the Wisconsin Technology Council. She is passionate about fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in Wisconsin and making Madison the best community it can be.

Troy Vosseller

Co-founder of 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.

Jane Boutelle

CMO and Co-founder at Digsite

Jane has spent her career in marketing and product management, with an emphasis on creating and sharing technology products that improve people's lives. She's the CMO and co-founder of Digsite, a truly social online community platform that makes consumer collaboration as fun and easy as using Facebook.

She was the original product manager for QuickBooks, which is now more than a $1 billion business. Jane also worked in Business Marketing at Apple. She had her own marketing consulting practice for several years, working with startups, education and non-profit clients. Jane lives here in Madison with her husband, kids and her goldendoodle Dylan.

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


Apr 10
  • 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 11
  • 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 12
  • Breakfast & coffee
  • Morning work time
  • Lunch
  • Start prepping and practicing for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!

Mark Barnard

Edgewood College

Mark is an Associate Professor of Management at Edgewood College’s School of Business. After graduating with a BA in International Studies, Mark started his career in a non-profit startup, recruiting and training English teachers to teach in colleges and universities throughout China. Mark also taught English in China for a year. Mark returned to school earning a Master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii and an MSc and PhD in Business at the National University Singapore where he also taught for two years. Mark has been teaching management courses in the undergraduate, returning adult (RAAD) and MBA programs at Edgewood since 2003. Most recently, Mark assisted in the development of the undergraduate business capstone course that integrates strategy, ethics and entrepreneurism and currently teaches the course. His research interests include the employee/employer relationships, strategy, and entrepreneurship

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.

Adam Bock

UW Madison

Adam J. Bock is a Visiting Lecturer at The UW-Madison School of Business. He is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at The University of Edinburgh Business School. Adam is the co-founder of three university spin-out companies, including two medical device companies and one regenerative medicine venture. Nerites Corporation, his second venture, was sold to Kensey-Nash for $20 million in 2011. He has managed multiple angel networks, facilitating more than $10 million of seed investments into early stage technology firms. He mentors technology and social entrepreneurs around the world, and was the lead Advisory Board member for Power of Youth (Scotland). He has served as Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Moscow), and a Visiting Fellow at Imperial College London. Adam is the co-author (with Gerry George) of Inventing Entrepreneurs (Prentice-Hall 2008) and Models of Opportunity (Cambridge 2012), and has published articles in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and Journal of Management Studies. He is the co-author of Entrepreneurship in the Research Context, an online course for research scientists produced by Epigeum, Ltd. Adam is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy.

Maurice Cheeks

Wisconsin Innovation Network

Maurice Cheeks is actively working on several fronts to strengthen his community. As the current director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN), Maurice is focused on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the state. WIN is a membership program of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which serves as advisory to the Governor and the Legislature regarding the growth of the science and technology sectors in Wisconsin. Maurice Cheeks also serves on the Madison Common Council. Since being elected in 2013, his work on the council is focused on ensuring that Madison is a national example to other mid-sized cities on innovating to eliminate persistent opportunity gaps, increasing citizen engagement, and designing intentionally for anticipated population growth. Previously, as the Director of Sales at a Madison based educational video game studio, he helped to grow a small business from 25 employees to over 40 employees while partnering with national organizations like Smithsonian, McGraw-Hill Education, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Maurice first moved to Madison in 2007 when he was recruited to work for Apple, Inc. In this capacity, he led K-12 education sales for Apple throughout Wisconsin and successfully worked with several school leaders who were committed to building 21st century learning environments. Maurice received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, and has since continued his education through executive level coursework at the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison. He also serves as a non-profit board member for the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, as a founding executive board member of the Madison chapter of the New Leaders Council, and he serves as a member of the inaugural steering council for Scale Up Milwaukee.

Craig Miller

Neider & Boucher

Craig Miller is an associate attorney with Neider & Boucher, S.C. in Madison, Wisconsin. His practice is focused on business formation, early stage financing, and business transactional work. Attorney Miller works with companies on early stage issues and associated business matters all the way to implementation of successful exit strategies. Attorney Miller also holds an MBA, and he is a lecturer on legal issues for the UW-Madison Small Business Development Center's fundamentals program, as well as other early-stage programs.

Jeff Glazer

UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Jeff Glazer is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic. Jeff has been representing startups for the past 11 years

Venkat Raman

VR Advisors

Venkat is the managing principal of VR Advisors , an advisory services firm. VR Advisors creates value by applying contemporary management science and advanced risk analysis to solve their clients’ most critical issues and business opportunities. Venkat has 30 years of experience in strategy and corporate finance across public companies and entrepreneurship. He started his career with Coopers & Lybrand in their auditing and management consulting practice. Venkat’s experience includes significant exposure at the senior leadership level - Insurance (Sedgwick – Head Corporate Development & ACE Insurance - CFO Eastern Europe & Middle East)

Will Robus

UW Discovery to Product

Will Robus is Project Manager for UW-Madison's Discovery to Product program, an incubator within the University focused on commercializing innovations from students, staff, and faculty. Will is also co-founder and COO of Little Green Pencil, which provides golf outings with tools to improve engagement, communication, and fundraising. Little Green Pencil was a finalist in the 2014 Wisconsin Governors Business Plan Competition. Previously, Mr. Robus spent 10 years as a project manager at the UW-Madison, Space, Science, & Engineering Center where he oversaw remote sensing instrumentation, field, and facility projects.

Kate Toews

Kate Toews has more than 10 years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies on growth strategy, market entry, and product innovation with McKinsey & Company and Accenture. Her expertise spans sectors, including advanced industries, CPG, agriculture and high tech. She has an MBA from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and a BA from Brown University

Heather Wentler


Heather Wentler is the founder of Madison startup Fractal which provides STEAM enrichment programming for school aged participants. She is the organizer of Madison SOUP a community funded micro-granting event providing funds for organizations helping make Madison a better place for all of us. Heather is also the co-founder and Executive Director of Doyenne Group, Inc. a non-profit organization providing networking, mentoring and funding support for women entrepreneurs across Wisconsin.


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