Madison Startup Weekend 2018 is here!

We made it! See below for details about the speakers, schedule, code of conduct, etc.

Registration / check-in begins at 5:30pm on Friday at Madworks Coworking.

505 S. Rosa Road
Suite 225
second floor on the west side of the MG&E Building at University Research Park


Accessibilty and Parking

University Research Park is a wheelchair accessible building; there's ample free parking.


We'll have plenty of food over the weekend, including options for all major dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.)

Any questions or concerns? Just shoot us an email and we'll make sure you're taken care of!

Quiet room

If there's ever a moment during the weekend when you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, or maybe need to nurse or pump, or perhaps are just seeking a private space you can just relax for a minute, we've got you covered. Two small offices inside Madworks will be available throughout the weekend for folks who need a little privacy or to take a minute for themselves. Just ask an organizer if you need directions!


We'll be designating the women's bathroom closest to Madworks as a gender neutral bathroom during Startup Weekend.


Friday, April 13th

5:30 pm Registration
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:00 pm Voting
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:15 pm Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

8:45 pm Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

10 pm Rest up!
At 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, we kick everyone out for the night. Self-care (and a good night's sleep!) are invaluable.

Saturday, April 14th

9:00 am Breakfast
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

10 am to 12pm First Round of Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They're here to help!

12:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Check-In
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2pm to 4pm Second Round of Coach Meetings
A new set of coaches will be on-hand for one-on-one guidance.

5:30 pm Dinner

6:30 pm Check-In
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm Wrap-Up
Finished for the day. Go home and get some sleep!

Sunday, April 15th

9:00 am Breakfast
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am Check-In
Some additional coaches will arrive; final opportunity to ask questions.

12:00 pm Lunch

12:30 pm Pitch Practice
Organizers and coaches will be available for pitch practice. Use this time to find any last-minute holes or weak spots!

4:00 pm Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation; tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm Dinner

6:00 pm Final Presentations

7:30 pm Judging & Awards

8:30 pm Wrap-Up

9:00 pm Go Home!
Congratulations! You surived Madison Startup Weekend :) Go home and get some rest - you've earned it!

Speakers & Judges

Friday night speakers

Sabrina Madison

Sabrina "Heymiss Progress" is an award-winning entrepreneur and founder of The Progress Center for Black Women. She's created thriving spaces for Black women, men and families including the Black Women's Leadership Conference, the Black Business Expo, Conversation Mixtape, and the Black Excellence Youth Conference. Among being named one of Madison's Most Influential People by InBusiness Magazine, she's been featured in Essence Magazine.

She's presently trying convince her son to allow her to attend AfroPunk in Brooklyn with him... and also finds each of you to be brilliant.

Alex Lindenmeyer

Alex Lindenmeyer is the co-owner of Short Stack Eatery located in downtown Madison. Short Stack Eatery is an all-breakfast restaurant located in the heart of downtown Madison. Alex believes you have to do things differently if you want to see different results, especially in an industry with a stagnant and often negative reputation.

Sunday night judges

Eugenia Podestá

A master of straddling different spheres, Gina channels 15 years of nonprofit, international development and tourism experience into her role as co-founder of Synergy Coworking. She is passionate about each professional hat she wears—a female entrepreneur; a Director of economic empowerment and entrepreneurship at Vital Voices Global Partnership (an international NGO based in Washington DC); and a local business mentor.

Amy Gannon

Dr. Amy Gannon is a change agent dedicated to identifying and unleashing entrepreneurial talent, particularly in places where others aren’t looking for it. Her work focuses on building pathways to entrepreneurship for those traditionally ignored by existing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Dr. Gannon is a Co-founder and Director of Entrepreneur Development for Doyenne, a Madison-based organization advancing women’s entrepreneurship in Madison and beyond by transforming ecosystems to be more inclusive. With more than 10 years experience working with startup businesses, Dr. Gannon has expertise moving entrepreneurs through the idea validation, launch and growth stages.

Eric Steege

As a devotee to a Build-Measure-Learn-Iterate process to solve unique problems and chart business development strategy, Eric Steege is driven by answering the question "should this be built?" not "can this be built?" For the last five years, he has worked directly with technology startups, leading university technology transfer offices, and Fortune 500 companies to de-risk the riskiest business assumptions, identify profitable business models and acquire first customers through Customer Development/Lean Startup processes and competitive hustle.

Currently as an Innovation Consultant for American Family Insurance, Eric leads several new product/service development projects using design sprints. He is a former professional soccer player and D1 college soccer coach and earned his BA from St. Olaf College in Psychology and Neuroscience, MS in Sport Psychology from West Virginia University, and MBA from the University of Missouri.

Jillana Peterson

While pursuing Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Studies and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Jillana (Jill) Peterson was exposed to the tech world through several years working the Division of Information Technology Help Desk. In 2013, Peterson joined Zendesk, a Danish software company now headquartered in San Francisco. Since she joined the company, the Madison office has grown from 5 to 170 employees, went public, and started the Zendesk Neighbor Foundation. As Zendesk’s Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement Manager, Jill helps manage Foundation grants, employee volunteer opportunities and partnerships and projects with area nonprofits and startups.

Weekend facilitator

Jason Todd

For more than 20 years, Jason has helped businesses see the bigger picture and use that vision to eliminate the constraints that clutter the path to success. His experience ranges from business ownership, marketing & consulting to software application development for small to large and multinational corporations.

Jason knows firsthand the triumphs and struggles that exist for entrepreneurs, and believes the answer to success is within each company. To unleash its greatest strength, he thinks a company needs to know its story. He spends time learning the unique strengths and challenges of a company, and presents a fresh approach from his proven experience that matches a company's needs to propel its growth. In short, Jason helps companies find their stories.

In addition to helping business owners and managers see "what's next," Jason is an active community member. He hosts enriching programs weekly for local entrepreneurs and businesses at Thinker Ventures. As an active music enthusiast, Jason can often be found singing or volunteering with the sound technicians at his church.

Code of Conduct

Note: All attendees must agree to adhere to this code of conduct if they wish to participate in Madison Startup Weekend.

Madison Startup Weekend (SW Madison) is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all SW Madison spaces, both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the SW Madison organizers.

Harassment includes:
  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour.
  • Physical contact without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Deliberate intimidation.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
SW Madison prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort.

SW Madison organizers reserve the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as "leave me alone," "go away," or "I’m not discussing this with you."
  • Communicating in a "tone" you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions

If you are being harassed by someone attending or involved with SW Madison, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the SW Madison organizers at, or find someone in-person to speak with. If the person who is harassing you is on the team, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. We will respond as promptly as we can.

We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of SW Madison members or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.


Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, SW Madison organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all SW Madison spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other SW Madison members or the general public.