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College of Business, Florida Atlantic University

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!

Tier 1 Sponsors
Tier 2 Sponsors


Nov 22
  • Registration Opens & Networking Starts - College of Business
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Idea Pitches & Voting
  • Weekend Keynote: Daniel Cane
  • Teams Begin to Formalize
  • Idea Discussion & Happy Hour
  • See you tomorrow morning!


Nov 23
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams Setup and Start Work!
  • Mentors Arrive - Available for Consult thru 11:30am
  • Working Lunch - Mentors Check-In on Teams
  • Mentor Rounds - Team Check-In
  • Dinner Time!
  • Keep on Truckin'
  • Call it a day at FAU


Nov 24
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Mentors Arrive - Available for Consult thru 10:30am
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Working Lunch - Mentors Check-In on Teams
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Mentors available for consult thru 4:00pm
  • Light Dinner
  • Judging & Awards
  • Wrap up & Go home!

Daniel Cane

President and CEO, Modernizing Medicine

Daniel is the President and CEO of Modernizing Medicine and
co-founded the company in 2010 with Michael Sherling, MD. In two years, he’s grown the company to more than 70 employees, raised over $7.1 million in funding, and achieved certification as a Complete EHR by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), and Surescripts® certification for prescription routing. In less than 18 months of sales, Daniel has helped his team close more than $10 million in contracts.
Previously, Daniel co-founded Blackboard Inc., and was instrumental in growing the company through five private rounds of financing - raising over $100 million dollars in venture capital, and in 2004 helped take the company public on the NASDAQ (BBBB). In 2011, Blackboard was sold for $1.6 billion. Prior to that, Daniel founded Kadoo, Inc, which in 2007 raised $5 million in investment and created the first comprehensive Social Information Management System that aggregated and intelligently integrated Personal Content Management, Web Applications, and Social Networking capabilities. Daniel led the sale of Kadoo to 3Sixty Web in 2009.
Daniel is very active in the local South Florida community serving as the current vice-Chairman of the Board at the South Florida Science Museum, frequently serves as a panelist on the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, as well as a member of the Foundation Board at Florida Atlantic University. Recently, Dan was named one of South Florida Business Journal’s (SFBJ) ‘40 Under 40,’ for his professional success and community involvement.
Dan holds a B.S. in applied economics and management from Cornell University, where, as a student, he co-founded Blackboard.


Ross O'Brien

Director, Spearhead Capital, LLC

Ross O'Brien is the Director of Specialty Investment Banking for Spearhead Capital, LLC, a broker dealer focused on advisory work for privately held companies and family offices. Mr. O'Brien's experience ranges from starting and operating high growth companies, Venture Capital, Mergers & Acquisitions advisory and working with family offices making direct investments in private companies.

Previously, Mr. O'Brien was a Director with National Financial Companies LLC a family office investment group and responsible for NFC's Venture Capital portfolio evaluating new investment opportunities, performing due diligence and financial and business analysis. In this function he also provided ongoing support on strategy, business planning, research, financial modeling, acquisitions and capital formation for existing portfolio companies.

Prior to joining NFC, Mr. O'Brien was a Partner at a boutique New York investment banking firm focused on Venture Capital and Private Equity transactions after serving as Manger of the Emerging Business Group at Geller & Company and as Assistant Vice President at JPMorgan Chase.

Kimberly Gramm, MBA

Executive Director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the Assistant Dean Community Relations at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business

Kimberly Gramm, MBA
Kimberly Gramm is the Executive Director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the Assistant Dean Community Relations at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. She began her role in early 2008 to create and develop a new strategic overview for the entrepreneurship program which began in 2000. Under Ms. Gramm’s direction and leadership she champions the effort with the help and support of her colleagues at FAU and in the business community of south Florida. The signature FAU Business Plan Competition has grown over the years to review over 200 business plans for funding, and offering cash and in kind prizes of over $200K annually with the help of over 125 business expert volunteers to support local entrepreneurs. Her programs include Entrepreneur in Residence, Entrepreneur Boot-Camp, and free entrepreneur Learning Sessions.

In addition, her new expanded role of Assistant Dean of Community Relations she has assembled a team to develop and execute a community relations strategy for the College including but not limited to development, marketing, events and media. As a firm believer that success begins with education she has dedicated herself to developing programming that provides real world relevant experiences to students, the community and faculty that is rewarding and supports not only FAU’s mission but economic development for south Florida.

Ms. Gramm’s professional experience focuses in the areas of entrepreneurship, business development, marketing, and global corporate strategy. Her most recent professional experience she served as a corporate market strategist for a global business United Parcel Service a solid platform for strategy and business development in her current role at FAU. Ms. Gramm has been featured in the Boca Raton Magazine, Sun-Sentinel and various other media for her efforts in providing entrepreneurs opportunity to develop successful businesses.
Ms. Gramm serves on the following Boards: FAU College of Business, FAU Research Park Association, YMCA Board of South Palm Beach County, Gold Coast Venture Capital Association and The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee.

Greg Shugar

The Tie Guy

Practiced law for 8 years in Chicago prior to launching The Tie Bar in 2004 along with my wife, Gina. Built the business from the ground up, starting alone in our basement and eventually moving almost 20,000 square feet of office/warehouse space and employing 55 great people. Developed what is now one of the most recognizable brands in men's neckwear, which is regularly worn by celebrities and featured in fashion magazines such as GQ and Esquire, despite its $15 price point. Successfully expanded into other men's accessory categories, including pocket squares, tie bars, socks and suspenders. Sold the majority share of our business to a private equity firm in April 2013. In my 9 years running The Tie Bar, I gained some incredible experience in many facets of start-ups, including brand building, importing, marketing, fulfillment and ecommerce. Now, I'm bored out of my mind and looking to teach at a local university and hang out with others who enjoy the same professional interests as I. And if you also play tennis, hit me up.

Maria Hernandez

Chief Innovation Officer, IBM

Maria Hernandez is an executive with IBM spearheading the strategy and transformation of IBM’s Business Partners in North America around key growth initiatives such as Cloud Computing, Business Analytics, and Smarter Cities. Prior to this role, Maria was a worldwide leader for IBM’s Corporate Strategy team responsible for business development initiatives in the emerging markets. She has expanded her leadership into the entrepreneurial space by launching StartupFlorida as one of the first States to be part of the StartupAmerica initiative bringing together the private sector, incubators, investors, and universities to support entrepreneurs who leverage technology to drive innovation. She was also the thought leader and catalyst to bring the first IBM Smart Camp Healthcare competition to So. Florida aimed at identifying early stage entrepreneurs who align to IBM’s Smarter Healthcare vision. Given her entrepreneurial accomplishments, Maria was selected as a core team member of IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge team in Malaga, Spain working with the City government and other key stakeholders to recommend best practices and ideas to drive economic development and job growth through entrepreneurship. Maria’s entrepreneurial ability coupled with her 20+ years in the IT industry demonstrating her leadership and technical knowledge in sales, marketing, growth businesses, technology research and development has given her the experience to lead teams and organizations to develop breakthrough ideas, solutions, and technologies across global markets.


David Jaramillo

Manager, IBM Mobility

Geno Valdes

Kim Munzo

Co-founder & CEO, AspirEDU

Kristi Taylor

Founder & CEO,

Brett Gavagni


Jeremy Rodgers


Srinivas R. Sama


Michael P. Wilson


Kimberly Gramm
Maggie Kelly
David Jaramillo
Kristi Taylor
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