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About Startup Weekend MU

Startup Weekend at Miami University invites all of the Miami University community who want to learn what it takes to start a business in one weekend.  All are welcome to participate whether you have an idea or just want to work on a business startup team to understand the ‘how-to’ of launching a business. Startup Weekend MU is a 48 hour immersion event that builds companies, teams, and insight.

The participants that attend a Startup Weekend decide what they want to tackle over the weekend and come out at the end with several developed companies or projects. Attendees are responsible for bringing desire and passion to whatever project they work on and will walk out with a business prototype and the launch process roadmap.

What do Attendees get?

Startup Weekend provides an unprecedented level of networking, team building, and learning for participants. Don’t forget that there will be 5 meals provided along with snacks, and a Startup Weekend t-shirt! Sometimes a company emerges, sometimes one doesn’t. Some companies go on to produce revenue or get seed funding, but every time people leave with more experience, insight, knowledge, friends, and resources than they came with.

Miami Students who complete Startup Weekend will receive:

  • 1 hr of course credit for completing ESP 102: Startup Bootcamp (students must be at the event for all check-ins to receive credit)
  • Meetings with successful entrepreneurs, mentors and alumni
  • Understanding the process of launching a business and key issues to address
  • Networking with other like-minded members of the Miami community interested in starting businesses
  • Introduction to the Miami Student Venture Fund and local business incubators and accelerators
  • Exposure to the nationally ranked Institute for Entrepreneurship and opportunities for continuing your business ideas

Still have questions? Contact us at



Feb 8
  • Registration (Course Credit Check in #1)
  • Mandatory Startup Weekend Overview and Logistics, Mark Lacker
  • Welcome and Kick Off with Facilitator, Chris Ridenour
  • Pitches Start- 60 seconds per pitch (if you have an idea for a product)
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Develop basic business concepts and paper prototypes. Teams can stay as late as they want!


Feb 9
  • Arrive, simple breakfast...start working!
  • Customer Discovery Session with Speaker Mark Lacker (Course Credit Check-In #2)
  • Lunch
  • Mentor Team Sessions Begin
  • Keynotopia Workshop with Guest Speaker, Helen Armstrong
  • Guest Speakers- Venture for America (Course Credit Check-in #3)
  • Dinner (Course Credit Check in #3)
  • Gut check on the product, Chris Ridenour
  • Group get together- current status for products


Feb 10
  • Arrive, simple breakfast...start working
  • Mentors arrive and call for help (this is self motivated, so don't be shy)
  • Products are being developed. Start preparing for presentations!
  • Lunch (Course credit check in #4)
  • Final touch-ups on presentations and equipment check
  • Complete Final Assessment
  • Judging & awards

Rahul Bawa

Director of Digital and Software Investments, CincyTech   |  

Rahul Bawa is the Director of Digital and Software Investments at CincyTech. He evaluates investment opportunities, advises startup companies and helps them with their business and technology growth strategies.

Rahul joined CincyTech in June 2011 with over 24 years of Information Technology experience in a variety of leadership positions. Most recently he was Chief Information Officer for Axcess Financial Services from 2004-2011. In this role, Rahul’s team developed innovative technology solutions including a new Point-of-Sale system to support the aggressive growth of various business units in the US and UK providing short-term lending and check cashing solutions. Prior to joining Axcess Financial, Rahul was Vice President of eBusiness for Fifth Third Bank where he transformed Fifth Third’s eBusiness solutions including the implementation of a new consumer Internet Banking solution, a new B2B eBusiness portal, new retail branch and call center transaction systems and a new Intranet.

Rahul also spent 7 years at IBM working on the US air traffic control system, 4 years at United Airlines where he launched the original version of and 3 years at Xpedior, Inc (a Chicago-based eBusiness consulting organization) where he grew annual revenue from $4M to $70M.

A native of India, Rahul holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

Brad Bays

Senior Director, MBA Programs- Miami University

Brad came to Miami after retiring from The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), where he had accumulated nearly 24 years of senior management experience in finance, accounting, purchasing and e-commerce operations. Before leaving P&G, Brad was the Associate Director for North American Purchases, as well as the Finance Manager for the North America Tissue and Towel division and Finance Manager for Procter & Gamble, Switzerland.

Brad, who holds an MBA from Indiana University, received his B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University. He resides in Oxford, Ohio.

Greg Bellman

Miami University Student Venture Fund

Greg is a junior, finance major from Haddonfield, New Jersey located just outside of Philadelphia. He has been an active member of the Miami University Student Venture Fund since his first semester of his freshman year at Miami in 2010. In this role he has been responsible for hearing and evaluating pitches made by current Miami University students as well as alumni who are seeking funding for a wide variety of start-ups. In addition, he has lead teams of fund members in completing the due diligence of prospective investments, drafting term sheets, and completing the funding process for several start-ups.

Greg is also a member the of Miami University Student Foundation, a group responsible for coordinating major on-campus programs, such as a mini-triathlon that is held every spring and offering tours to notable Miami graduates with perspective students. This past summer, Greg interned with TD Bank in Cherry Hill, New Jersey as a Wealth and Insurance Internal Auditor. This summer, he hopes to secure a more finance-related internship.

Ravi Pandey

Investment Analyst, West Virginia Jobs Investment Board

Ravi is an Investment Analyst for the West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust Board (“WVJIT”), a state-backed venture capital firm headquartered in Charleston with a dual mission of seeking a return on investment in funding diverse early and late-stage businesses based in West Virginia as well as job creation in the state. His primary roles revolve around the screening and sourcing of deals, due diligence, and portfolio management. In addition, he serves as an observer on multiple boards of several companies as well as a firm representative at many Venture Capital conferences and symposiums around the country.

Prior to embarking in Venture Capital, Ravi was an Equity Research Associate at FTN Equity Capital Markets and Langenberg & Co. focusing on Consumer Discretionary and Industrial Conglomerate companies, respectively. Prior to capital markets, Ravi was Corporate FP&A Analyst with IBM providing financial reporting and analysis for accounts in the healthcare, technology, and industrial sector.

Ravi graduated from Miami University in 2005 with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics. He remains very active in the Angel and VC community both in West Virginia and Ohio and is always up for conversation on business ideas and venture capital.


Chris Ridenour

Chief Technology Officer, Lisnr   |   LinkedIn

Chris Ridenour is a Cincinnati native and life-long developer. Outside of the small branching into the mechanical world (with a degree in Mechanical Engineering), Chris has pursued his passion for technology in school, free-time and work. During his undergrad, Chris worked as a software developer inside Procter & Gamble's GBS Innovation group. After graduating, Chris joined Rockfish Digital, one of WPP's premier interactive agencies. During his time at Rockfish, Chris worked with a team of developers to build mobile and web applications for some of the world's biggest brands. After participating in the Startup Bus in March of 2012, Chris made the decision to join Lisnr full-time as CTO to lead the product team. Outside of work, Chris stays very active in Cincinnati's thriving startup community. As the organizer of the Cincinnati Web/Tech Drinkup, Startup Weekend Cincinnati and CincyPy, Chris gets a chance to interact with much of the technical talent in the city and is working with a team to advance the Startup Cincy initiative.

Helen Armstrong

Lead Faculty and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Interactive Media Studies Affiliate Faculty

Helen Armstrong is a designer and an educator based in Oxford, Ohio. She has an MA in English literature, an MA in Publications Design and an MFA in Graphic Design. Currently she is an assistant professor of graphic design at Miami University. In addition to teaching, Armstrong also works as principal and creative director of her company, Strong Design. Her design work—for such clients as Sage College of Albany, USInternetworking, and New College of Florida—has won regional and international awards. Her work has been included in numerous publications in the United States and the United Kingdom, including How International Design Annual, The Complete Typographer, The Typography Workbook and Design Elements.

She is the author of Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field(Princeton Architectural Press, 2009) and Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content (Princeton Architectural Press,Fall 2011).

Mark Lacker

John W. Altman Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship   |  


Tony Alexander

Co-Founder, Traveler's Joy and Simple Registry   |  

Tony is the co-founder of Traveler’s Joy and SimpleRegistry, two of the leading gift registry sites on the web. More recently, he helped start SmartyTags, a 2D barcode analytics platform. He likes to structure his businesses to allow him (and his partners) to work from anywhere. Though based in Cincinnati, during the past few years he has spent extended time working from New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Florence, London, Nairobi, and Tbilisi. Tony has a business degree from Miami University and spent 4 years at Accenture managing ERP implementations for multiple Fortune 500 companies.

Tim Metzner

Entrepreneur   |  

Tim Metzner is an entrepreneur and startup enthusiast. He has spent the last decade leading and executing initiatives around digital marketing, brand building, customer acquisition & social media. Tim currently serves as a marketing and strategy consultant to several startups. Prior to consulting, Tim served as the Vice President of Marketing for, a company he joined in 2001 and helped grow into the largest diet and fitness website in America. Tim is also an organizer of Cincinnati Startup Weekend events.

Joshua Johnson

CEO, Mindbox Studios   |   LinkedIn

Joshua is the CEO of Mindbox Studios, a digital agency focused on custom mobile and web software development for startups and enterprise businesses. His team of 25, with hubs in Oregon and Ohio, have worked with over 60 startups in three years from coast to coast. He is passionate about digital marketing, technology strategy, design, and user experience.

Joshua is also the founder of the Continuous Web tech and startup community. He is on the board of the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, a frequent mentor with Morning Mentoring and the Entrepreneur Bootcamp, and a speaker on various technology and marketing panels. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children.

Danny Stull

Danny Stull is a dreamer. He works hard every day to make his dreams come true. He is currently working on two companies: and Be Ohio Proud. Don't be limited, go try stuff.

Justin Crowe

Justin graduated from Alfred University with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2011. While at Alfred he founded and managed “The Attic,” a student art gallery that provided a place for students to exhibit work outside of the University setting. Upon graduation Justin expanded this localized idea into the global digital realm utilizing crowdsourcing trends to curate the collection of art and build a community of art enthusiasts. Dizbe is a 'Creative Marketplace' for artists, designers, and craftsmen to sell what they make.

Dizbe raised the necessary startup funding in Dec 2011 and launched publicly in October 2012. Dizbe is in its early stages and is currently focused on building a passionate user base and a high quality collection of artwork. The goal of is to spread and strengthen art culture online.

To check out the site visit Visit

Tom Heuer

Forsythe Chair Entrepreneur, Miami University

Tom is the Richard A. Forsythe Chair of Entrepreneurship at Miami University. Prior to joining Miami he was the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Strategic Planning and Innovation at Fifth Third Bank where he designed and implemented the corporate strategic plan as well as identified new growth opportunities. Tom is also the founder of International Leadership Associates, an education and consulting firm.

Jim Friedman

Markley Visiting Executive Professor

Jim is an expert in all things creative. The Markley Visiting Executive Professor at Miami University's Institute for Entrepreneurship, he also serves as the supervising producer of the Blind Squirrels Creative Group, Inc and founded The Dreambuilder Celebration. Jim's creative endeavors range from Program Creator at WCPO-TV to Director of Program Development for Scripps Howard Broadcasting and Media Management Consultant for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Jim is a dreambuilder, wordsmith, teacher, idea donor, author and inventor. He holds 2 U.S. patents in addition to a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University.

Joe Condit

Chairman & CEO, The Condit Group, LLC

Joe Condit is the Chairman & CEO of The Condit Group, LLC a holding company based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Condit founded The Condit Group umbrella in 2010 from which he has invested and started five companies. To date, he has successfully sold three companies, two of which he built from concept to sale. Condit specializes on new and emerging companies, preparing them for capital-raising, market introduction, and sale or sustainable growth.

Among his many successes, Joe Condit was the co-founder of Campus1Housing, LLC, which he started in February of 2005, out of the campus of Miami University (Ohio). He nurtured it to become a national resource for off-campus housing, becoming the first website in the world to allow potential renters to bid for their rent. Between 2005 to 2008, grew to represent more property for U.S. universities than any other website in the nation.

Condit also founded CMG Booking in 2006, the country's leading Catholic speakers bureau. He also invested in Texas Precious Metals, LLC a gold and silver brokering firm based out of Ft. Worth, TX. In January 2011, Condit co-founded his most recent venture, Foodservice Advantage, LLC which helps restaurants nationally with decreasing their costs and winning the absolute best contracts with distributors.

Joe Condit holds a BA in Business Communication from Miami University in Ohio. Joe currently sits on 4 boards and was honorable mention in Young Money Magazine as a national entrepreneur to watch in 2006. Condit was also presented the prestigious award of "Forty Under 40" in the city of Cincinnati in 2011 being recognized as a leader of the next generation. Joe was also awarded and included in Stanford Who's Who in 2011. Today, The Condit Group owns 5 companies in industries such as clothing and retail, marketing, PR and design, restaurants and foodservice, and gold and silver brokering. Joe Condit is 31 years old and hails from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Joseph M. Engelhart

CEO, Cincinnati Capital Corporation

Mr. Engelhart is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business as a Junior at Miami of Ohio. He developed Rivertown Industries into a tier 2 manufacturing supplier to the likes of Ford, General Motors, and The US. Dept. of Defense. In 1990, Mr. Engelhart founded Cincinnati Capital Corporation – a middle market boutique Investment Banking firm that specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Turnarounds/Workouts and Distressed Debt. Mr. Engelhart has managed over $1B in transactions in a diverse group of industries including software, banking, manufacturing, distribution, retail, healthcare and real estate. During his tenure at CCC, Mr. Engelhart has also served as the interim CEO / CCA (Chief Change Agent) for numerous companies facing a turnaround and currently serves(ed) on the Board of Directors of over a dozen companies. A true Redhawk family– wife Melissa Class of 82…. daughter Allie Class of 2015.

Sean Lane

CEO, Chairman of BTS Software Solutions

Sean Lane is an award winning entrepreneur and '02 Miami University alumnus. Sean spent the first 6 years after graduation as an Air Force Intelligence Officer where he served four tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Since 2008, Sean has founded several technology companies in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Texas. His first company, Battlefield Telecommunication Systems (BTS), based in Baltimore, MD has generated over $100M in revenue and employed over 100. BTS continues to build technology to support the military on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Sean is the CEO and Chairman of BTS and a Founding Partner at OmniScience Technology Partners (OSTP), and early stage venture capital firm. Through his investments, Sean serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for CrossChx, Digital Harbor Real Estate Development, Betamore, and Lane Capital. Sean also serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council.

In 2011, Sean was chosen as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Maryland Award winner and is now a competition judge. His company, BTS Software Solutions, was chosen as a Best Place to Work by Baltimore Magazine for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Sean is also recognized in several communities as a philanthropic leader. In 2011, Sean began his effort to revitalize his home town of Gallipolis, Ohio through the Digital River Project (DRP). DRP has since created an entire ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship by providing grants to small businesses and property owners located along the Ohio (Digital) River. Sean also founded Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) in Baltimore, MD. DHF works with students, teachers, and technologists to strengthen digital literacy, increase tech capacity and empower students to become tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs. In 2012, DHF renovated a de-funded community rec center into a youth technology center, The “Rec 2 Tech” Center, in the heart of Federal Hill, Baltimore.

Sean holds a B.A. in Political Science from Miami University and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Rio Grande.

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