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Reid Hall, Montana State University

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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.

In a first for the events in Montana, Startup Weekend Bozeman 2015 will include access to Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's for all attendees. These devices can be used to build physical electronic products quickly and cheaply. There will be a multitude of sensors available and experts on hand to help teams that use them. Any team that uses Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's and continues after the weekend is over will get to keep the units at no charge. We will also have access to 3D Printing!

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!

Meet your facilitator

Steven ChauSteven Chau

Software Developer, Startup Weekend |   LinkedIn Google+
Steven is not your typical developer. He organizes events and activities to bring together the entrepreneurial-minded. His journey started in Kansas City, MO with organizing the first Startup Weekend KC in 2009 then later was involved with the local social media user group, Social Media Club of Kansas City, and the Ruby programmers group, KCRUG. In 2011, Steven relocated to Seattle to join Startup Weekend full-time as a software developer to build out tools and automation. Outside of work, Steven serves on the board of AIGA Seattle as the HIVE director, he is a crossfit athlete, and a frequent Lindy Hop Dancer.



Apr 4
  • 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


Apr 5
  • 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


Apr 6
  • 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!

Ryan Rickert

Keynote Speaker   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Ryan Rickert is an award-winning business leader and founder and president of both Clean Slate Group and CSG Media in Bozeman. Rickert is honored to serve as the alumni mentor for Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University (MSU). A natural entrepreneur, Rickert started his first company at fifteen and continued it while at the College of Business at MSU. Community-mindedness and philanthropy is a given in Rickert’s approach to business. While with the Storm, he weaved charity events into every team function. Annually, the team donated $150,000 and more than 10,000 volunteer hours. When Rickert founded Clean Slate Group in 2011, he had two goals: provide unprecedented service with innovative product and contribute to the community.

Today, Rickert emphasizes community involvement with Clean Slate Group’s charitable arm, Clean Slate Project. A full ten percent of Clean Slate Group’s gross profit is returned to the community in product, in-kind, and cash donations. In 2013, over $40,000 was donated to communities around the country. Rickert’s love of community makes for good business. Clean Slate Group helps forward-thinking towns and cities across the country showcase their unique personalities while protecting investments, reducing city maintenance costs, and transforming growth-depressing urban decay. Clean Slate Group uses an exclusive 3M™ anti-graffiti vinyl to wrap traffic and utility boxes, walls, dumpsters, windows, and other eyesores. Leading Clean Slate Group’s 450% growth in 2013, Rickert develops tight business relationships with customers and partners. Some of the most exciting projects to date include Bozeman, Great Falls, West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Minneapolis, and Sioux Falls. The company is currently targeting progressive cities like Nashville, Austin, and Portland. Rickert was honored as one of the “Top Ten Up-and-Coming” business leaders in the Sioux Falls Business Journal in 2009 while Vice President of the Sioux Falls Storm. He was chosen as one of only five current Blackstone LaunchPad Alumni Representatives around the country and is the first at MSU. Rickert is joining the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Gallatin County in 2014.

Passion-focused entrepreneur, a consistent feature of Rickert’s business experience is dedication to solving customer problems. He’s driven by a deep need to not simply provide customer service, but to create a customer experience. He’s built a business around this obsession: save the customer money.

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Ryan Stout

Developer,   |  

Ryan has been building technology products since he was in high school. Ryan primarily focuses on web applications and mobile apps. This includes,, and Agile Games - a social gaming company that passed 10 million users between a series of social games built on the Facebook platform. Ryan was also lead developer on, a Facebook tab content manager that sold to VistaPrint in 2011 as part of the 117 million dollar acquisition. Currently Ryan is working on, an online dating site that mines social information to determine a persons interests and personality, then uses that data to match people.

Paul Gladen

Co-Founder, Muzeview Research   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Paul Gladen is President & Founder of Muzeview Research LLC a research, training and advisory firm focused on the professional services sector. Paul is also the co-founder of Hellgate Venture Network, a Missoula-based network for the entrepreneurially-minded. Prior to founding Muzeview, Paul was a Partner with Arthur Andersen where he played a key role in growing Arthur Andersen’s Technology, Media and Communications Industry practice in Europe. He was also a founding member of Andersen’s Center for Research & Innovation based New York. Paul has a MA in Mathematics from Oxford University, an MBA from Manchester Business School and is a UK Chartered Accountant.

Wes Hunt

Founder at Armigent   |   LinkedInGoogle+

After 12 years of developing web applications and sites, Wes is passionate about all things web and improving user experiences. Wes cut his teeth for start-ups in the boom and has since worked with the largest players in the tech industry designing and building UIs for the web. At Armigent Wes is working to bring better experiences to real estate sellers and listing agents and help them be more productive. As a founder he recognizes the importance the user interface, experience, and interaction plays in product adoption and the success of new companies.

Danny Choriki

VP Product and Support, ADTECH US   |   LinkedIn

Born in Bozeman and raised around the agriculture industry of Montana, Danny Choriki decided in his 20's to see if there was life without dirt under his finger nails. With a degree in the social sciences, Danny went to New York City to study environmental psychology with an eye towards understanding how people cope with and adapt to rapid social and technical change. Along the way, he became an "accidental techie" as his day job during graduate school was assisting the director of The City University of New York Graduate School's computer center to move from card punch machines, Wilbur and VAX terminals (9600 baud - woo hoo!) to pc's on a lan, structured databases, and eventually the internet. His first full time job in NYC was at a policy research center looking at the impact of information technology on the New York City Public Schools. That was followed by a series of consulting and strategic planning positions Fortune 50 corporations in legal, finance and telecommunications.

After the internet bubble burst, Danny returned to his startup roots in the online advertising technology ecosystem helping to build a vertical ad network and then the US presence of an ad serving company from Europe that was purchased by aol. After leaving aol., he tried startups in digital privacy and online games.

Danny returned to Montana in 2012 to spend some quality time with his parents and extended family in the Billings area and to help reboot his father's startup, which after 40 years had grown a little stale. He is currently working on building on the companies 18 years of experience with GPS farming consulting using internet technologies and cameras in flying drones.

He is looking to help build the entrepreneurial and information technology communities in Montana (especially Billings). Through out his career, he has worked with not-for-profits on the technology side. He is working on a book about how to integrate strategy into daily life. He is still interested in digital privacy, ask him about his game idea (specially if you are into STEM, the economic development of low earth orbit or graphics), and hasn't lost site of his original focus, how people adapt to rapid change.

Jake Cook

Founder at TadPull   |   LinkedIn

Forever curious entrepreneur with a background in digital marketing. Experience in applying web technology and analytics to solve branding challenges for clients across life sciences, luxury, enterprise, consumer web, and the outdoor industry.

Guest writer for Behance's 99u and Smashing Magazine. Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Scott Bryant

Executive Director of the JJCBE Center for Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Management, Montana State University

Scott Bryant is the Executive Director of the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship and an Associate Professor of Management at Montana State University. He received his Ph.D. in management, with an emphasis in strategy and entrepreneurship, from the University of Oregon. His research focuses on how entrepreneurs manage knowledge.

He worked for several years in a small advertising agency and a technology startup in Seattle, spent a year in Poland teaching English, and worked as an admissions officer for nearly five years at SPU. His experience with technology companies in the Seattle area has prompted an interest in researching how high-tech, entrepreneurial firms manage knowledge to create sustainable competitive advantages. He has conducted research projects at Microsoft, Nike, Planar and published articles in leading management journals.

Dr. Brent Rosso

Assistant Professor of Management, Montana State University

Brent Rosso is an Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Jabs College at Montana State University. Brent teaches courses in start-up entrepreneurship, and his expertise is in the areas of creativity and idea generation, identifying and evaluating innovative start-up opportunities, new product development, and entrepreneurial team dynamics. Prior to his academic career, Brent consulted with corporate clients in the areas of leadership development and change management.

Dr. James Oakley

Associate Professor of Marketing, Montana State University   |   LinkedIn

My name is Jim Oakley, and I am a marketing professor at the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. I received my Ph.D. in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and I also have an MBA from Purdue University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois.

My primary research interests lie in the areas of marketing strategy and branding and their impact on consumer behavior. The results of my research have been published in a number of outlets, and my research has also been cited in the media many times, from local articles in newspapers like the Sacramento Bee and Indianapolis Star to national stories on NPR and in USA Today to international stories in Financial Times and Business Week. At MSU, I primarily teach two courses, Marketing for Entrepreneurs and the Senior Capstone Marketing Course. I also have significant experience teaching in graduate programs in previous faculty appointments at Purdue University, University of California-San Diego, and the University of North Carolina. In addition, I have extensive experience teaching around the world in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Germany. Prior to pursuing an academic career, I worked in the financial services industry as a business analyst, first for First Bank Systems (now US Bank) in Minneapolis and then for several years for Capital One in Richmond, Virginia. At both stops, the focus of my work was on the development of new business opportunities. As a StartUp Weekend coach, I can help with all things marketing, but my specific skills lie in strategy, branding, and consumer behavior.

Kim Knuth

Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Venture Forward   |   LinkedIn

Kim was born in Nebraska and earned her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in Industrial Engineering. During her time at Iowa State she was elected the 2001-2002 National President for the National Association of Engineering Students and received the 2002 Dean’s Leadership Award. Before earning her International MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Kim worked at John Deere where she specialized in Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, process efficiency and partner management. During her time as the senior manager of Dealer Development she partnered with John Deere dealerships and focused solely on increasing dealer profitability. In 2006, Kim transitioned from traditional manufacturing at John Deere to technology development for Intuit, Inc. During her time as a Group Product and Marketing Manager, she was directly responsible for the design and development of products that enabled small businesses to get help easily, operate efficiently and grow their business.

Liz Marchi

Fund Coordinator at Frontier Angel Fund   |   LinkedIn

Liz Marchi is currently the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund, LLC, Montana’s first angel fund ( In addition, she is working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to build the Montana Angel Network and Innovate Montana. Finally, Liz is a co-founder of Northfork Strategies (

Liz has a background in legislative and public policy issues related to business growth and development at both the state and federal levels. She is a proven leader and relationship builder and has served as President of the Montana Ambassadors, Trustee of Hollins University, and President of the Hollins University Alumnae Association. She served for seven years as President and CEO of Montana West Economic Development and the Flathead County Port Authority, focusing on marketing, communications, and access to capital for economic and entrepreneurial development. She is on the Advisory Board for the Montana Meth Project, the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council, and the Greater Polson Community Foundation, where she is Vice Chairman. She has been recognized for her vision and courage in bringing the entrepreneurial imperative to rural areas.

Liz currently resides with her husband, Jon, on a ranch outside of Polson, Montana, where she sells natural, Montana-raised Wagyu (Kobe) beef and registered Angus. She has three children and two stepchildren. She can be reached at

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