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A-B Tech Community College: Enka Campus

No Talk, All Action.
Launch a Startup in 54 Hours.

What is Asheville Startup Weekend?

An experience you’ll never forget. Think the 48-Hour Film Fest for techies, marketers & entrepreneurs. Work with a team to convert an idea into an operating business in 54 hours.

Who should attend?

Anyone who wants to learn or loves the process of creating a new product or service and turning it into a business. Attendees include makers, programmers, marketers, designers, builders, entrepreneurs and writers. Students get a special discount to participate.

Why should I attend?

To become inspired, forge lasting friendships, find co-founders & employees, learn new tools & methodologies, practice new skills and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Participating in Startup Weekend is an intense experience that allows you to grow rapidly and build deep relationships. It’s an experience like none other.

What can I expect?

Attendees meet Friday at 6pm and start getting to know each other. After a dinner and inspiring presentations, you’ll go through six steps to build a new business by Sunday at 5pm:

  1. Propose Your Idea
  2. Build Your Team
  3. Create Your Business Model
  4. Connect with Customers
  5. Build Your Product
  6. Present Your Startup

Steps 3-5 usually happen at the same time by different members of your team. You’ll also be supported by a cadre of coaches who will give you feedback on your progress and answer your questions.

How do I sign up?

Register on our Eventbrite sign up page.

If you fit multiple categories, pick your strongest for now. You will not be restricted to this role during the weekend. If you don’t know which to pick, select Non-Technical for now.

How can I help?

Help promote Asheville Startup Weekend to your friends and others. Check out our Help Promote Asheville Startup Weekend page for actions you can take to promote the event.

Where can I find out more?

If you have other questions, check out the Starutp Weekend FAQ or scroll down to see blog articles and information about our speakers, judges, coaches, organizers and sponsors.


More Prizes!

by jeffdotnet

Our sponsors gave us more prizes for you and so we have finalized the awards! Wow! I have been to five other […]



Aug 24
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees Vote for Top Pitches
  • Teams Start Forming
  • Formalize Teams & Start Work
  • Venue Closes - teams may continue in their own space


Aug 25
  • Venue Opens
  • Teams continue to work throughout the day
  • Breakfast
  • Coach Introductions, followed by lunch
  • Coach signup
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner, then continue working
  • Venue Closes


Aug 26
  • Venue opens
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch, featuring Gypsy Queen & Ceci's Culinary Tour food trucks!
  • Coaches arrive for final coaching
  • MANDATORY pitch practice with coaches!
  • DEADLINE for submitting presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judges recess, everyone else mingles
  • Awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home and get some sleep!

Jim Roberts

Founder & Chief Connections Officer, RedSpire Connections   |   LinkedIn

Jim was formerly the Director of Business Development for the Center of Innovation for NanoBiotechnology (COIN). While at COIN, Jim recruited the annual international MANCEF COMS Conference to Greensboro to help promote the new Joint School of NanoScience and NanoEngineering. Jim hosted Investor Sessions at the 2011 and 2012 North Carolina Nano Commercialization Conferences.

Previously, Jim was with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, International Trade Division. Jim covered nanotechnology, aerospace, information technology and alternative energy. While with Commerce, Jim worked with CED to create an Export event for entrepreneurs. Jim was also on the board of the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance. Jim was Employee of the Quarter for NC Commerce for his work on the High Performance Roadmap Speaker Series.

Jim was recruited and worked for AdvantageWest Regional Economic Development organization to start and run the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC) and the Blue Ridge Angel Investor Network (BRAIN).

Jim graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Advertising.

Trevor Lohrbeer

CEO, Lab Escape & Lead Writer, Lean Decisions   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Trevor is CEO of Lab Escape, an enterprise data visualization software company based in Asheville, and founder of Lean Decisions, a blog aimed at helping people make better decisions. He is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of technology leadership & development experience.

Previously he co-founded, one of the first social networks for professionals and, a web site for teens. He led web departments at NetManage and Verio, and worked with several Silicon Valley start-ups in the early days of the web.

In 2005, he co-founded Meet the Geeks, a 501(c)3 non-profit aimed at connecting and growing tech businesses within Western North Carolina. He travels to Boston frequently where he participates in the Boston software and entrepreneur communities.

Anna S. Mills

Attorney, The Van Winkle Law Firm

Anna S. Mills is licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and Tennessee and focuses her practice in general business and corporate law. She earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She returned to Western North Carolina in 2001 bringing with her experience and knowledge from the real estate department of a publicly-traded company and a large corporate law firm.

Anna’s attention to detail and thorough knowledge of the intricacies involved with commercial transactions makes her an ideal legal counsel for large and mid-size companies in regional business ventures. In addition, her business law expertise enables her to assist start-ups and small businesses.

Anna’s practice highlights include counseling entrepreneurs starting a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) & assisting businesses with contracts & other commercial and business law matters, guiding clients through the legal issues inherent in selling or buying a business, and counseling companies, lenders & investors during the capital raising process


Jonathon Lawrie, PH.D.

Executive Director of the Western Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Dr. Lawrie is an established entrepreneur and has spent the last 30 years commercializing emerging technology in successful venture capital backed biotechnology companies and established biomedical corporations. He co-founded 5 venture or angel capital backed companies including StemCo Biomedical (Aldagen) a cellular therapy company in Durham and Arbovax, a vaccine company for mosquito transmitted viruses in Raleigh.

Dr. Lawrie is currently the Executive Director of the Western Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and is responsible for the promotion of Center programs and supporting the creation and growth of entrepreneurial ventures and later stage life science businesses.

Dr. Lawrie earned a B.A. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine, a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Washington and a Master of Entrepreneurship degree from Western Carolina University. He performed postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco with Dr. Herbert Boyer, a biotechnology pioneer and founder of Genentech.

John Stanier

Managing Director at Carolina Financial Group

John joined CFS’s investment banking practice in March of 2004. John brings a depth of investment banking expertise to CFS having worked for the last 16 years as a banker to the leverage buyout and venture capital community as well as being both a high yield finance and media & telecommunications specialist.

Prior to joining CFS, John was a Managing Director with Merrill Lynch’s Financial Sponsor Group in London. John spent nearly 10 years in London as a banker with both Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase. John began his career as analyst in the Corporate Finance training program with Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. After spending the last 15 years living in New York and London, John and his family are pleased to have settled in the mountains of North Carolina. John has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.

John is active with local charities and is a member of the board of the Friends of Western North Carolina Nature Center.

Joe Emison

VP, Research and Development   |   LinkedIn

Joe Masters Emison oversees the award-winning BuildFax cloud architecture and frequently speaks on cloud architecture, scaling in the cloud, and cutting costs in the cloud. BuildFax collects, analyzes, and sells construction records on millions of U.S. properties.

Joe began his IT career by winning the 1996 Weird Software Contest with the Mutant Chicken Races and creating the first Windows-based iPod application. Over the past ten years, he transitioned from development to systems design and data analysis, creating the first BuildFax engines in 2003, the original architecture in 2007, and designing the Pragmatic Extract-Transform-and-Load (PETL) architecture that has made the current national footprint possible.

He graduated with degrees in English and Mathematics from Williams College, where he was co-president of the student body, and has a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor on the Yale Law Journal.

Dr. K. Paul Knott

Director of the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville

Dr. K. Paul Knott was appointed in July 2011 by Lenoir-Rhyne University as the founding director of the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville to help create programs and delivery formats that meet the diverse needs of the region's graduate students. He is actively seeking input from the community in developing these programs.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Knott served as Curriculum Coordinator and Manager of the BioNetwork BioBusiness Center and Laboratory from its opening in January 2005. He directed all activities, projects & staff, including business development, educational programming and laboratory & product design support services for life science companies.

Dr. Knott's career has included roles in public service, business ownership, executive leadership, consulting & teaching. He has held faculty and staff positions at nine colleges and universities including University of Maryland, College Park, UC Davis and UNC Wilmington.

Raised in Hagerstown, Maryland, Dr. Knott earned a B.A. in history with Honors and an M.A. in health education from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Master's in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University.


Rob Zazueta

Partner Integration Manager at VerticalResponse

Rob has more than 15 years of Web development experience, three years as an independent business owner and more than two years in business development and technical sales support. Prior to VerticalResponse, he was the founder/owner of TechKnowMe, helping small businesses develop their online presence and online marketing programs. He also has held various management, developer and engineering roles at companies such as Intuit, The Academy of Art College and MightyWords Inc. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.

When he’s not evangelizing the power of the VerticalResponse API and the benefits of integration, Rob can be found brewing beer, roasting coffee and resisting the urge to use his toddler son as a taste tester.

Denise Gaskin

Chief Operating Officer at Van Winkle Law Firm

Denise has worked in various operational and administrative roles for over twenty years. She holds a B.S. in exercise physiology, M.S. in counseling psychology, and Ph.D. in collaborative learning and communications. She has been the COO of The Van Winkle Law Firm for the past four years and prior to this role worked as the Director of Administrative Services for a non-profit behavioral health organization. Denise has lived in the greater Asheville community for almost 16 years. She is an avid hiker, cyclist, runner, and admits to also being quite a bookworm.

Tracy Sigler

COO of

Tracy is a veteran of several start-ups including the popular financial media company The Motley Fool, where he was VP, Web Operations. In 2009 he launched the marketing and PR company AVL Marketing and continues to grow that business. Coming full circle, in March 2012 he signed on with as COO. Readership is growing rapidly and could top 5 million monthly visitors by the end of this year.

Steve Poland

Director, Technology Commercialization A-B Tech Business Incubator

Steve has over 17 years of experience leading start-ups and corporate teams in technology infrastructure, product development, digital media management, publishing, and consumer products. He has worked in startups in the fields of anti-virus software, ring-tone and telephone add-on devices, digital music download services, and on-demand manufacturing solutions.

Besides startups, Mr. Poland has held leadership positions in the corporate world, most recently as Director & Founder, Digital & On-demand Services for Arvato Storage Media–the world’s 3rd largest CD/DVD replicator and supply chain services company. Under Steve’s leadership, the Digital Services division grew to more than $2.5 million in revenue with profits exceeding 60%. The Digital Services team was the first company to deliver music to the iTunes Music Store for several major record labels, including Arista, Jive and RCA.

Prior to his tenure at Arvato, Poland held leadership and management positions with Walt Disney Interactive, Walt Disney Records, and Macmillan Computer Publishing – publisher of the Complete Idiot’s Guide series. Mr. Poland has a B.S. in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.

Jake Sorofman

Founding Partner, Marketlever   |   LinkedIn

Jake is a career software executive with product and marketing leadership experience with early-, growth-stage and established companies.

Prior to founding Marketlever, Jake was CMO of rPath, a leader in cloud automation tools. Previously, he was SVP of marketing and alliances for JustSystems, the largest ISV in Japan. Prior to that, Jake was VP of product marketing for Mercury Interactive (now part of HP Software), where he was responsible for the Systinet product line. He joined Mercury though Mercury's $105 million acquisition of Systinet Corporation. Before Mercury, Jake led marketing for two WebSphere products at IBM Software Group, which he joined through the 12/04 acquisition of Venetica. Prior to Venetica, Jake was director of product marketing with Documentum, Inc. (now part of EMC), which he joined through the acquisition of eRoom Technology.

Jake has a BA in English and political science from University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University, where he was an American Marketing Association George Hay Brown Scholar.

Carol King

President, Carol K King & Associates, PA

Carol is President of Carol K King & Associates, PA, a full-service accounting and financial and tax services firm formed in 1991 and based in Asheville. A graduate in Accounting from University of North Carolina-Asheville, she was honored in 2011 with the Francine Delaney award for service and currently serves on the UNCA Foundation Board. Carol is also active in Rotary International, serving as President of the Asheville Club in 2001-02. Carol received Rotary International’s Distinguished President Citation, then served as District Governor in 2009-10 and has completed Rotary mission trips to India, Nicaragua and Indonesia.

An entrepreneur by nature, Carol has owned several businesses in addition to her CPA and financial advising firm and has served on many Asheville-area non-profit boards including Mountain Micro-enterprise and the Pack Square Foundation. When not advising small businesses on tax and investments, Carol can be found ballroom dancing and horseback riding.

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Pam Lewis
Trevor Lohrbeer
Jonathan Feldman
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