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John Pappajohn Business Building UI Campus 21 E. Market, Iowa City, IA

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 5
  • 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 6
  • 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 7
  • 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
Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors

Erik Martin

reddit General Manager   |  

Erik Martin joins us as an honorary judge via the Internet 2012 bus tour.

Alex Angel

reddit Community Manager

Alex Angel joins us as an honorary judge via the Internet 2012 bus tour.

Ben Huh

The Cheezburger Network CEO   |  

Ben Huh joins us as an honorary judge via the Internet 2012 bus tour.

Robert Roderick

AgLocal Head of Marketing   |  

Robert Roderick joins us as an honorary judge via the Internet 2012 bus tour.

Curt Nelson

President and CEO, EDC inc.   |  

With over thirty years of successful national and international business creation and leadership experience, Curtis Nelson has directed the development and successful launch of over 45 new businesses and more than 300 new products for the communications, IT, military, transportation, medical, health, food, and gardening industries worldwide. Nelson is a seasoned public speaker, entrepreneur, investor, consultant, and three-time veteran of Inc. Magazine's 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies® list.

Troy Miller

Founder, Naomi's Kitchen   |  

Troy's 15 years of entrepreneurial endeavors focus largely on technology start-ups and education. After serving as a specialist in the Engineering office of start-up VoiceStream Wireless in Denver Colorado, he returned to Iowa and became a State of Iowa Certified teacher prior to teaching two years. He later launched innovative Naomi’s Kitchen before creating the Development Department for Heritage Christian School and raising funds for the non-profit’s successful $3.5 million building campaign. He also successfully served as Director of Investor Relations for SaaS start-up Green Team Technologies' first round offering for their award-winning product Fuse5. Troy's an investor who also assists start-ups with strategy and business development, and he has a passion to help innovative companies grow in the region.

David Hensley

Executive Director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center   |  

David is a Clinical Professor and Executive Director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa. He is also President and Founder of the Hensley Group, Ltd.

Sean McKay

Founder and President, ConnectFive   |  

Sean McKay is the Founder and President of ConnectFive, a fast growing User Experience design firm based in Iowa City. Over the past 20 years, he has been designing digital marketing, products and services for a diverse range of clients such as Sun Microsystems, Chamilia Jewelry, Summit Brewing, NBC Sports, and many others. Sean has a strong passion for designing user experiences that are meaningful for the user and effective for business.


Josh Cramer

Founder and CEO of Cramer Dev   |  

Josh is an internet entrepreneur currently living in Iowa City, IA with his family and friends. Josh is founder and CEO of Cramer Dev, a software development team that builds interactive products for startups. Previously, Josh built and sold an IT company based in Coralville, IA. In addition to starting and growing these companies, Josh has been involved in the creation of several successful web and e-commerce based startups in both strategic and development roles.

Josh is also involved in the development and strengthening of the startup and entrepreneur community in the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids metropolitan area.

Josh will also be returning Sunday night as a judge.

Lee Groeschl

Associate Director of Economic Development, University of Iowa

As the Associate Director of Economic Development, Lee is the central point of contact for faculty, staff, and students interested in technology commercialization. Lee acts as the University of Iowa “Entrepreneur Concierge”, navigating entrepreneur teams through IP protection, FDA regulatory pathways, capital acquisition, and business development.

Lee will also be returning Sunday night as a judge.

Michael Ott

Founder of Terra Biologics

Michael Ott has been the first employee at 6 different start ups, all related to biotechnology. He is currently an Entrepreneur In Residence at Nidus Investment Partners and a founder of Terra Biologics.

Michael has raised over $150 million for various projects, including traditional biofuels, next generation biofuels, biobased products, biomass replacements for coal, bioammonia and other environmentally friendly technologies. He has worked on projects domestically and in Brazil, Ukraine, Ireland, El Salvador and Canada.

Michael has a Master’s degree in Bioinorganic Chemistry from the University of Iowa. He started working in the renewable energy industry in 2004 and sees it as the best opportunity for long term global growth in this lifetime.

Michael will also be returning Sunday night as a judge.

Ben Anderson

Director of Data Services, X-Wires Communications

Ben Anderson formed X-Wires Communications, L.L.C. in March of 2002 with a group of six other UI students. The company began as a high-speed wireless internet provider in the Iowa City area, growing to provide wireless and DSL internet services to 26 communities across Iowa. In early 2003, X-Wires identified a niche opportunity, providing managed internet services to multi-family clients in Iowa City and developed its services to also include Colleges/Universities, Student Apartments and Retirement Communities. Today, the X-Wires managed internet solution serves over 45 properties and 6,000+ users across the U.S.

In July 2010 the X-Wires brand was sold to Lamont Digital Systems, Inc. d/b/a Campus Televideo, the nation’s leading provider of satellite delivered cable television and resnet data services to colleges and universities. Campus Televideo currently provides television and/or internet services to over 240 campuses and 500,000+ students nationwide.

Anderson graduated from the UI in December 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, a business minor and the certificate of entrepreneurship from the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Mr. Anderson is the Director of Data Services for Lamont Digital Systems, Inc.

Shannon Younger
Zachary Cohn
pitch resize

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