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Lawrence Public Library

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!



Sep 26
  • Registration & Networking
  • Dinner
  • Welcome & Kickoff Speaker
  • Pitches
  • Attendees vote for 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.
  • Library closes for the night. If your team wants to keep working, we recommend relocating downtown!


Sep 27
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and begin customer validation
  • Lunch and sign up for mentor sessions
  • Mentors help teams one on one until 3pm.
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Afterhours work session and social at Yantra Payments, 840 Massachusetts St.
  • Library closes for the evening.
  • Yantra Payments afterhours conclude.


Sep 28
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch and option to sign up for session with demo mentor
  • Demo mentor sessions start
  • Tech Check
  • Doors open to public for final presentations.
  • Reception while judges deliberate
  • Awards and judges feedback
  • Reception continues
  • Go home!
Tier 1 Sponsors
Tier 2 Sponsors
Tier 3 Sponsors

Nick Yecke

Kickoff Speaker   |   LinkedIn

Nick Yecke is a serial entrepreneur based in Kansas City focused on creating digital products and implementing growth strategies. Most recently he was vice president of marketing at Geostellar, a startup building a solar energy marketplace for web and mobile. Previously he co-founded PVPower, a Chicago-based startup developing PVPower.com, Kiwi, and SolarBear, the web platform powering America’s solar installers. Nick started his first business at age 17, a breakfast delivery service in the Detroit area.


Michele Weigand

Founder, Focused Perspective   |   LinkedIn

Michele Weigand, based in Lawrence, is a seasoned business consultant with twenty seven years of finance, business development & marketing experience, especially in the high tech, real estate, mortgage and insurance industries. Before founding her consultancy, Weigand served as the chief investment officer, CFO, and COO of Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC), which invested in companies that developed or commercialized new technologies. Before joining KTEC, Weigand worked for General Electric affiliates in business development and product development. As vice president of business development at GE Mortgage Insurance, Weigand led investments in Internet startups, including Lending Tree.com. Her current seats on boards include Network Kansas and local bioscience firm Crititech.

Suman Saripalli

Founder, KalScott Engineering   |   LinkedIn

Suman Saripalli, based in Lawrence, is the founder of KalScott Engineering and Aerometrix, which focus on research, product development, and testing services for the aerospace and defense industries, including remote drones, and Intellispeak, a startup developing a method to remotely track individuals with cognitive disabilities such as autism and Alzheimer's. Prior to founding his own companies, he counseled several businesses as a consultant with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Small Business Development and Technology Center.

Will Katz

Director, University of Kansas Small Business Development Center   |   LinkedIn

Will Katz, based in Lawrence, has spent nearly a decade counseling hundreds of small businesses and startups each year at the University of Kansas Small Business Development Center. He holds a CVA certification from the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. His prior experience includes management of a forty employee group at Target Corporation and seventeen years at E and E Display Group, where he managed a group of up to 60 employees in a 40,000 square foot, three-shift industrial facility.


Jana Dawson

Strategic Marketing, Miller Meiers Communication Arts Agency   |   LinkedIn

Jana Dawson specializes in strategic and experiential marketing at Miller Meiers Communication Arts Agency with offices in Lawrence and Kansas City. Her career spans nearly every business segment with experience in corporate affairs at Crayola, in economic, business and leadership development as the president of the Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas City, Kan., and in financial services marketing, human resources and commercial lending at a $280 million community bank. She believes in culture as brand and enjoys helping people tell their unique stories.

Ben Smith

Social Media, Callahan Creek   |   LinkedIn

Ben Smith is the director of social and emerging media at leading firm Callahan Creek. Ben is also a principal of partner agency Social: IRL, where he focuses on digital education and advocacy. He hosts a nationwide conference series featuring some of the industry's more respected thought leaders and innovators in a unique “beyond the keynote” format.

Daryl Bugner

Graphic Design, Design Brilliance   |   LinkedIn

Daryl Bugner is an award-winning graphic designer based in Lawrence, Kan. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.F.A. in Visual Communication and Graphic Design. Her career began at Sunflower Broadband, where she produced outreach marketing for the company for 2 years. In 2007, she became art director at Kern Marketing Group, where she designed websites, logos, brochures, multiple print advertisements and brand identity campaigns for various businesses. In 2013, Daryl launched her own agency, Design Brilliance.

Dennis Steinman

Veteran Entrepreneur, Manufacturing & Electrical Engineering, Iron Mountain Products   |   LinkedIn

Dennis Steinman is CEO of Iron Mountain Products LLC, based in Lawrence and Lecompton, Kan. A serial entrepreneur and investor, Dennis also loves the outdoors. His current company is developing an electronic radio frequency-based product for tracking and recovering big game animals taken with a bow and arrow. Prior to his current venture, Dennis built up and then sold an electronics manufacturing company.

Chris Nickols

Software Development, Rx Savings LLC   |   LinkedIn

Chris Nickols is a seasoned software developer with significant experience with HTML, PHP, Javascript and other user-facing web technologies. He is currently lead software engineer for tech startup Rx Savings Solutions, and has previously worked for Firemon. Chris and his wife Jennifer co-founded Lawrence startup Whobaloo, and formerly operated a contract code studio, UpsideDownDesign. They are alumni of local startup accelerator, BetaBlox.

Jennifer Nickols

Usability & Frontend Design, Whobaloo LLC   |   LinkedIn

Jennifer Nickols is a designer with experience in usability and front-end design. She is the CEO and co-founder of Lawrence startup, Whobaloo, which is a cutting-edge tool for making graphic design available to the public through a cloud application. Along with her husband, Chris, she is an alumni of local startup accelerator, BetaBlox.

Joe Jarvis

Legal & Capital Raising, Tallgrass Legal LLC   |   LinkedIn

Joe Jarvis is a lawyer passionate about startup, business, and securities law. In 2013, he founded Tallgrass Legal to focus on helping small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. He previously worked as a corporate finance and securities associate with top Kansas City business law firm, Polsinelli PC. Jarvis is an original co-organizer of 1 Million Cups Lawrence and co-founder of Startup Lawrence.

Beth McKeon

Pitching, Kids Calendar, Inc.   |   LinkedIn

Beth McKeon is founder of the local startup, Kids Calendar, which curates local activities and services for families. She started the Kids Calendar in Lawrence, Kan. and has now expanded the company to five other cities. She is currently attending the GAN accelerator, Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids. She is also the co-founder of Startup Lawrence.

Tier 4 Sponsors
Beth McKeon
Joe Jarvis
Devon Bull
Jacob Von Feldt

The Teams!

by swlawrence

Our first Startup Weekend Lawrence is complete, and we’re so thrilled with the innovation and creativity of the teams! Here’s […]

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