GoVertical presents

OCT 12 Panel
OCT 27–29 Workshop

Blockchain Startup Ideation Workshop

Hosted by TiE Seattle & Madrona Venture Labs

We’re very pleased to announce the winners!

We had a great weekend with our participants, mentors, volunteers and judges.  We really appreciate everyone’s help and participation!  


Fundable Ideas • Expert Mentors • VC Access

Following the success of the first GoVertical Startup Ideation Workshop on Machine Learning in June 2017, TiE Seattle and Madrona Labs are partnering again to host a workshop on Blockchain technology in the Fall. 

The Startup Ideation Workshop is your golden opportunity to team up with other smart people to build an exciting Blockchain based startup over the course of a weekend.

Learn about about the fundamentals of Blockchain technology, Ethereum and Hyperledger platforms, use cases and innovative token based business models
Pitch your own ideas for a Blockchain startup. Solicit other participants to join your team.
Work in teams consisting of business professionals and software developers through the course of a weekend.
Build dApp prototypes and business plans with the help of mentors with deep Blockchain and startup experience
Enter a high stakes competition that will be judged by leading experts and VCs. Win exciting prizes and receive follow-on mentorship that will allow you to turn your plans into real startups.
No prior Blockchain experience required. We will provide the necessary education and resources to get you up to speed quickly on Ethereum and Hyperledger platforms



Event Details

We will kickoff the Blockchain workshop with a Panel event to educate everyone on the fundamentals of Blockchain technology, platforms, use cases and token based business models. This will be followed by the Startup Ideation Weekend workshop where teams will work together to formulate exciting Blockchain startup concepts.


All workshop tickets sold out. Please join waitlist

Panel Event

Date  Thursday Oct 12, 5:30p – 9:30p
Location  320 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Who should attend  Business executives and professionals, Software Developers and Blockchain enthusiasts who are interested in learning about Blockchain technology. Blockchain experts welcome as well!

Startup Ideation Weekend Workshop

Date  Friday Oct 27, 6p – Sunday Oct 29, 6p
Location  Madrona Venture Group offices, 999 3rd Ave, 34th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104
Who should attend  Business professionals, software developers, Blockchain enthusiasts and experts who are interested developing exciting startup concepts based on Blockchain technology. 

No prior Blockchain experience required to participate in the workshop.

Participation is limited to 50 people. Your workshop ticket will include the fee for the Panel event


We’ve assembled a set of blockchain resources for our participants to reference in preparation for the event. You'll find everything you'll need here to dive deeper into blockchain.



Panel Event

Thursday Oct 12, 5:30p–9:30p


• Learn about Blockchain platforms, building Smart contracts and Token-based business models from industry experts


• Pitch your idea for a Blockchain startup concept
• You will have 60 seconds to make a pitch
• Vote to select the 6 best ideas

Team Up

• Vote on which team you want to join
• Meet your team members

Workshop Days 1 & 2

Friday Oct 27, 6p–10p & Saturday Oct 28, 9a–9p


• Explore your business opportunity in depth 
• Validate concept with customers


• Build an initial mockup or prototype 
• Get feedback from potential users


• Develop initial business plan and model 
• Meet with mentors to get feedback

Workshop Day 3

Sunday Oct 29, 9a–6p


• Finalize your prototype and business plan 
• Get final round of feedback from mentors


• Demo your prototype and present your plan to the judges 
• Defend the plan


• Winners will be announced by the judging panel 
• Win exciting prizes from various sponsors


All workshop tickets sold out. Please join waitlist


Jay Bartot

CTO, Madrona Venture Labs

Jay is a technologist, machine-learning enthusiast and serial entrepreneur whose startup career spans over 20 years and includes co-founding a number of venture-funded data/analytics companies which were acquired by companies such as Microsoft, Nielsen/NetRatings and Hulu. Jay enjoys playing music, collecting guitars and tinkering with his 3D printer.

Shirish Nadkarni

Serial Tech Entrepreneur

Shirish Nadkarni is a serial entrepreneur with proven success in creating multiple consumer businesses that have scaled to tens of millions of users worldwide. Shirish was the co-founder of Livemocha, the world’s largest language learning site with 15+ million registered members from over 200 countries. Livemocha was acquired by RosettaStone in 2013. Prior to Livemocha, Shirish was the founder of TeamOn Systems, a mobile wireless e-mail pioneer that was acquired by Research in Motion in 2002. The TeamOn technology served as the core foundation for Blackberry Internet E-mail which serviced over 50 million BlackBerry users.

Jagan Nemani

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Madrona Venture Labs

Jagan is an innovator, serial entrepreneur and blockchain-enthusiast who has built innovative products and high growth businesses from ground up. He is passionate about building products that deliver best-in-class customer experience, using technologies that disrupt the current way of doing things. He believes blockchain is one such technology that would change the way we do our jobs. As Chicago Booth MBA, strategy consultant, product executive, entrepreneur, speaker and author; he has well rounded experience across different industries and different size companies.


S. Somasegar

Managing Director, Madrona Ventures

Soma joined Madrona in November 2015 and is a Managing Director at Madrona. Prior to Madrona, Soma had a successful twenty-seven year career at Microsoft Corporation. His last role at Microsoft was Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division. Soma has long been an angel investor with investments across a wide range of technology areas both in the U.S. and internationally. At Madrona, he is focusing on Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Applications, Developer centric platforms and tools, and the emergence of new technologies such as VR/AR.

Sharon LaDay

Blockchain Ecosystem Leader, IBM

Sharon LaDay comes to the blockchain industry with a background in enterprise infrastructure solutions, startup investing, and education technology. Prior to her current role as Blockchain Ecosystem Leader at IBM, Sharon was Vice President, Business Development for Macmillan New Ventures where she developed and executed growth strategies with a portfolio of startups. Her additional startup experience comes from her time at edtech startups like Wimba which was acquired by Blackboard Inc., and storage networking startups like Andiamo Systems which was acquired by Cisco Systems.

Ted Leung

CTO, NewAlchemy

Ted is an experienced technologist in software strategy, design and development; strong background with emerging technologies such as Internet of Things. Builder of high trust, high performance, startup teams. Over a decade of hands on involvement in multiple open source communities.  Past: The Walt Disney Company, Sun Microsystems, Open Source Applications Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, Apple. Author, speaker, semi-professional photographer. Named a Seattle PI (now Geekwire) “Geek of the Week” in 2009.

Dave Parker

Venture Partner at Seven Peaks Ventures

Dave Parker is a Venture Partner for Seven Peaks Ventures, an early stage (Seed & A Round) venture fund based in Bend OR with an office in Seattle. As a five-time founder he sold three and closed two of his startups. As a Board Member he’s been part of six additional transaction on both the buy and sell side. He ran global programs for UP Global (Startup Weekend/Startup America) including Startup Week, Weekend, Next and Digest. His community program, “6 Month Startup - ideation to revenue” focuses on Founder Development in the Seattle market.

Bill Shihara

Co-Founder/CEO, Bittrex

Bill is Co-Founder and CEO of Bittrex. He was previously a Security Engineering Manager at Amazon and Manager of Security Threat Analysis and Security Engineering at BlackBerry. He drove the anti-malware and security automation strategy for the BlackBerry ecosystem to protect customers from threats before they happen. Previous to working at BlackBerry, Bill spent 11 years at Microsoft working on the Windows Operating System and the Trustworthy Security team.

Matthew Kerner

Partner GM - Blockchain - Microsoft

Matthew is an engineering leader specializing in enterprise-grade computing platforms, currently leading Microsoft's blockchain engineering. He has over 13 years of experience building teams of high performers to solve complex technical and business problems across organizations and technology stacks. Mathew has a proven leadership track record in understanding customer and business needs, and working collaboratively to remove impediments to service scale and to expand the addressable market. Matthew has domain expertise in blockchain, cloud computing, market expansion, service resiliency & service design to deliver availability, scalability, COGS efficiency, security and operability.


Joe Roets

Founder, Dragonchain Foundation

Joe Roets is a successful software and systems architect with experience as CIO, CTO, and Senior Vice President across industries. For over 20 years he has worked at companies such as Disney, Lockheed Martin, Sprint, FBI, DoD, and createTank, and has spearheaded new technology groups and led software engineering teams both large and small. He has been involved with blockchain and cryptocurrency projects since 2010, working with Coinbase, Overstock, Symbiont, Bloq, and Disney. He currently heads the Dragonchain Foundation and Dragonchain, Inc.

Peter Vessenes

Managing Director, New Alchemy

Peter has consulted for and advised numerous groups about the Bitcoin technology, including the Department of Treasury, FinCEN and the US Senate GAO. He has introduced Bitcoin to and helped build Bitcoin practices at major law firms like Perkins Coie, and is a trusted advisor to big four accounting firms like Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Price Waterhouse Coopers and major Venture Capital firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners, DFJ, Ribbit Capital, Pantera Capital, Cedar Hill Capital and others.

Prakash Sundaresan

CEO, TrustedKey

Prakash is a technology industry leader, innovator and investor. With over 20 years of industry experience building world-class products, Prakash is a recognized expert in the areas of Big Data, Cloud Computing and IOT. Previously, Prakash was the CTO of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D.

Ryan Straus

Counsel, Fenwick & West LLP

Ryan Straus focuses his practice on providing strategic advice to companies on legal, policy and business issues relating to financial technology. As an attorney with a background in both technology and financial services, Ryan assists clients with payment and lending matters, including electronic payments, mobile payments, prepaid cards, virtual and digital currencies, consumer lending, and federal and state licensing. Ryan is a frequent speaker on a wide range of consumer finance topics, including issues related to new product development, operational compliance, and Bitcoin and the Blockchain, and has been interviewed by, and written for, many national publications, including Forbes, Time, American Banker, Bloomberg Brief: Financial Regulation, Communications of the ACM, the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists, and The Hill.

Claire White

Partner, K&L Gates

Claire is a partner in the firm’s Seattle office, and a member of the corporate practice group. Her practice focuses on representing startup and growth-stage companies and venture capital and private equity investors across a wide range of corporate, securities, and finance matters and industries. In addition, her experience includes securities transactions ranging from seed and venture capital to IPO, mergers and acquisitions, credit and debt financings, and corporate governance matters.

Daniel Li

Senior Associate, Madrana Venture Group

Daniel joined Madrona in 2015 and works on identifying new investments and supporting the growth of Madrona’s portfolio companies. He is also actively engaged in the firm’s activities in the Seattle community through organizations such as Challenge Seattle, where he serves as a Principal Advisor, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he serves on the Evergreen Fund, Startup Weekend, and the Greater Foundation. Daniel has been active in developing Madrona’s thought leadership around machine learning, autonomous vehicles, eSports, and VR/AR and is a frequent contributor to publications such as TechCrunch and the Seattle Times. He also serves as a board observer and works closely with the management teams of several portfolio companies such as Eventbase, Matcherino, and SayKara. Dan led the investment in Gawkbox in 2017 and sits on the board of that company.

Rahul Sood

CEO, Unikrn

Rahul Sood is the CEO of Unikrn, a Seattle-based esports startup. Previous to Unikrn, Sood created the first incubation fund for startups at Microsoft, and eventually Microsoft consolidated their global startup activities under Sood’s leadership.  In June 2013, he launched Microsoft Ventures. A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer Voodoo, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard.  Voodoo brought the ENVY and OMEN product lines to HP, contributing advanced technologies such as commercial liquid cooling and an increased focus on design. Unikrn is his new baby - their mission is to heighten the experience of watching and participating in esports by introducing safe, regulated, and responsible live in game betting to esports tournaments and video games.  Since November 2014, Unikrn has raised a total of 10 million dollars with investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban, Liz Murdoch, Shari Redstone, Binary Capital and many others. Unikrn signed an exclusive global partnership with one of the largest wagering companies in the world, and has opened their doors to multiple international markets.  Unikrn has been featured on Forbes, Fortune, ESPN, CNBC and countless publications around the world.

Zeyad Rajabi

Principle Program Manager, Microsoft

Zeyad is a Program Manager on the Blockchain team within Azure. Zeyad has been a PM at Microsoft for over twelve years across multiple organizations, including Office, and has worked on several v1 products, including Microsoft Sway. Zeyad drives strategy, customer insights, customer engagements and programs, and product development (around middleware services) on the Blockchain team.


Mike Fridgen

CEO, Madrona Venture Labs

Mike is a long-time entrepreneur, having built multiple successful Seattle companies, including Farecast and Decide. After selling Decide to eBay in 2013, Mike was the GM of eBay’s Seattle office. Mike is a Seattle startups and sports nut.

Maria Karaivanova

Principal, Madrona Venture Group

Maria has nearly a decade of deep technology experience, garnered through roles at some of the world’s leading technology companies, including Cloudflare, Intel and Boeing. Maria was head of business development and an executive team member at Cloudflare, a San Francisco – based web performance and security company, where she helped build the company from 25 employees to unicorn status. Prior to Cloudflare, Maria was an investor at Intel Capital with a focus on enterprise technologies and cloud security.

Satbir Khanuja

President and CEO, Datasphere

Satbir Khanuja is responsible for leading the overall growth and managing day-to-day operations of DataSphere Technologies. He previously served as SecondSpace's senior vice president of marketing and business development, responsible for the company's partnership, traffic-building and revenue-generating initiatives. He also spent seven years at as a member of the executive team and was vice president of's Worldwide Traffic organization, responsible for driving billions of dollars in sales through free and paid traffic to all websites worldwide. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of's and In-Theater businesses, where he created all business functions and built the division into one of the 50 most-trafficked websites in the world.

Lawrence Lerner

President, Lerner Consulting

During his career, Lawrence has worked in many industries in multiple roles (executive, lead technologist, board member) while growing businesses 25% year-on-year. The common thread? He’s enabled digital transformation, scaling up businesses using edge technologies and processes creating $100Ms in new revenue. Whether it was re-architecting Dun&Bradstreet’s core product (35% growth), delivering the next generation of coupons across 31,000 Retailers, growing an outsourcing business by $100M, defining Motorola’s smartphone strategy or helping launch a dozen startups he’s  generated wealth for businesses, owners and shareholders. Today Lawrence creates sustainable advantages in companies as an interim executive and business coach. He’s currently the Technical Evangelist for RChain, a scalable blockchain company building networks capable of 40,000 transactions per second.

Jesse Proudman

Distinguished Engineer & Entrepreneur in Residence, IBM

Jesse Proudman has spent the last 20 years as a founder and startup executive. As the founder of Blue Box, Jesse helped raise $23M in venture capital and develop the company into a Seattle based leading private cloud provider. Blue Box was acquired by IBM in 2015. Jesse is now a Distinguished Engineer and Entrepreneur in Residence at IBM focused on the Crypto-Asset space. Jesse has been active in the entrepreneurial space in Seattle as a board member for the UW Buerk Center, a mentor for the UW Jones Foster Accelerator and for the Techstars Alexa Accelerator.

Sanjay Puri

Co-Founder and General Partner, 9Mile Labs

Sanjay is a marketing and product management leader who has successfully helped commercialize a wide range of breakthrough technology offerings -- spanning roles with innovative startups and mid-sized growth companies, as well as top global enterprise / B2B organizations. As a products executive at startups (iConclude, Opsware, Edifecs) and large companies (Microsoft and HP), Sanjay has helped companies achieve successful exits and exceptional revenue growth. Sanjay holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from IIT-BHU and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.

Kenny Rowe

Head of Operations, MakerDAO & COO, RChain Cooperative

Kenny is an entrepreneur who brings a focus on governance, community building and collaboration to projects across the blockchain industry. Currently, he serves as head of operations at MakerDAO, and COO of Rchain Cooperative. Additionally, as a senior consultant at CoinFund, Kenny advises early stage Blockchain projects. Such projects include Aragon and SweetBridge. Kenny is also the founder of OnChain consulting and the Seattle Ethereum Meetup group. His previous career was focused on IT and ecommerce for Newell Brands in various management roles.

Mark Schnitzer

Software Engineering Manager, Microsoft

Mark Schnitzer has 35 years of experience in finance and software. He has been leading engineering teams building analytical services at Microsoft since 2006.  Mark led development of the ModelWare system for Morgan Stanley. He democratized access to SEC filings as the founder and President of FreeEDGAR. He was a distressed securities analyst and an investment banker prior to founding FreeEDGAR.  He served in a number of leadership positions as a founding member of the XBRL consortium.

Ryan Tate

Software Engineer & Core Author, GitToken

Ryan Tate is an independent software engineer and core author of GitToken, an Ethereum ERC20 Token-based open-source reward point system for GitHub organizations. Previously, Ryan worked as an enterprise software engineering consultant for Consensus Systems LLC, was an investment analyst for Threshold Group LLC, and has been a serial entrepreneur in the blockchain space since 2012.

Arean Van Veelan

Co-Founder and CTO, Offer Up, Inc.

Arean Van Veelan is a technologist with nearly 20 years cross functional experience with the design, building and management of software products. He is currently involved in management of products and teams touching social media, cloud, crowd-sourcing, mobile app development and LBS. Prior to Offer Up, Mr. Van Veelan designed, sold, implemented enterprise and consumer products at Boeing, Philips, Marconi, Union Pacific, FirstGroup, CAT, GE and other large corporations.

GoVertical Team

Ejiro Akporobaro

Madrona Venture Labs

Priya Nagar

TiE Seattle

Savitha Swaminathan

TiE Seattle

Ben Zulauf

Madrona Venture Labs


What is the purpose of the Startup Ideation Workshop?

The purpose of the Ideation Workshops to help jump start the formation of new companies based around innovative technologies. Our first Ideation Clinic In June 2017 was based around Machine Learning which showcased many interesting ML based startup concepts many of which are being actively pursued by the winning teams. In the future, we will explore other interesting technologies such as AR/VR, IoT etc.

Do I need to have Blockchain experience to participate in this workshop?

You don’t need to have prior Blockchain Learning experience to participate in this workshop. We have mentors with deep Blockchain experience who are available to help you. However, to get the most out of the workshop, we would recommend learning the basics of Blockchain technology. Our Blockchain resources section will provide you with guidance on how to get up to speed quickly. In addition, we will also be holding an education event on October 12th that will go into more details around Blockchain platforms, applications use cases and business models.

How do I prepare for the workshop?

We would recommend learning the basics of Blockchain technology prior to the event. Our Blockchain resources section will provide you with guidance on how to get up to speed quickly. It is mandatory for all Workshop participants to also attend the Panel event on Oct 12th as it will provide valuable educational content to prepare for the Workshop. In addition, the Startup Ideation and Team formation will happen at the Panel event.

How is the workshop structured?

We will kickoff the Blockchain workshop with a Panel event on Oct 12th to educate everyone on the fundamentals of Blockchain technology, platforms, use cases and token based business models. This will be followed by the Startup Ideation Weekend workshop on Oct 27-29 where teams will work together to formulate exciting Blockchain startup concepts. Your fee for the Workshop includes the fee for the Panel event.

It is mandatory for the Workshop participants to attend the Panel event as the Ideation and Team formation will start at the Panel event. Participants are encouraged to bring their own ideas and pitch them to other participants. Participants then get to vote on which idea they want to work on. Once the teams are formed, they can start collaborating on their startup concept in advance of the Workshop. We will establish a Slack channel to connect all the team members with each other.

The Startup Ideation Workshop will begin on a Friday evening (Oct 27). Teams should be prepared to begin work on their startup concept in earnest including developing a solid business plan and a dApp prototype. Throughout the weekend, teams will be supported by experienced mentors with deep startup and Blockchain experience. By Sunday afternoon, teams should have finalized their business plan presentation and application prototype to present to a distinguished panel of judges who will select the top 3 winning concepts. Each of the winning teams will receive exciting prizes and the support to continue working on their ideas to turn them into real companies.

What are the rules for participating in this workshop?

Please refer to the Terms and Conditions outlined on our website.


Terms & Conditions

Please visit our Terms & Conditions page if you have any questions concerning legal terms,
refund policy, or other details.