GoVertical presents

April 19 Panel
May 4–6 Weekend Event

Machine Learning Startup Creation Weekend

Hosted by Madrona Venture Labs & TiE Seattle

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

Join us at Madrona Venture Labs on May 4-6 for a startup creation weekend. Pitch a startup idea or join a team. The winning team at the end of the weekend will have the opportunity to continue their idea with a $100,000 investment from Madrona Venture Labs, office space at Madrona Venture Group, hundreds of thousands worth of in-kind services as well as access to the Madrona network.

Apply to the waitlist for a chance to be selected into the weekend event. We are looking for a diverse set of participants with business, software development and data science backgrounds.
Learn about about the latest advances in Machine Learning and Deep Learning technology from industry experts.
Pitch your own ideas for a Machine Learning startup. Solicit other participants to join your team.
Gain access to Madrona's network of mentors, advisors, and top experts from local technology companies.
Build Machine Learning models with the help of mentors with deep Machine Learning expertise.
The winning team will have the opportunity to join the Madrona Venture Labs Accelerator program and receive $100k in funding.

Hosts & Sponsors


Event Details

The weekend event will kick off with a pre-event where participants will hear from industry professionals and this is also the chance to pitch an idea and join a team. The actual Startup Ideation Weekend will be held May 4-6 where the newly formed teams will work together to develop detailed business plans, machine learning models and application prototypes for their startup concepts.


Panel Event

Date  April 19, 6:00p – 8:30p
Location  320 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 

The panel event is mandatory for workshop participants and is included in the fee for the workshop

Startup Creation Weekend Event

Date  May 4, 6p – 10p to May 6, 9a – 6p
Location  Madrona Venture Group offices, 999 3rd Ave, 34th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104

Participation is limited to 50 people. 


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



Panel Event

Thursday April 19, 6:00p–8:30p

The panel event is mandatory for workshop participants and is included in the fee for the workshop


• Learn about the latest trends in Machine Learning and Deep Learning from industry experts
• Learn how other innovative startups have leveraged ML technology


• Pitch your idea for a Machine Learning startup
• Vote to select the 8 best ideas

Team Up

• Select the team you want to join
• Meet your team members and develop a plan of action

Weekend Day 1 & 2

Friday May 4, 6p–10p & Saturday May 5, 9a–10p


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


• Select your Data set & build an initial predictive model
• Prototype your Application interface
• Get feedback from potential users


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

Weekend Day 3

Sunday May 6, 9a–6p


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


• Pitch your business plan and demo your application prototype to the judges 
• Defend your plan

Team up

• Winners will be selected by a judging panel of industry experts and VCs
• The winning team has the opportunity to accelerate their idea with Madrona Venture Labs



Heather Redman

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Flying Fish Partners

Ms. Redman is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Flying Fish Partners. She was VP Business Operations & GC at Indix Corporation, Senior Vice President at Summit Power Group and Executive and Senior Vice President at each of AtomShockwave, Inc., Getty Images, Inc., and PhotoDisc, Inc. Ms. Redman's career has included heading product development and acquisition for Atom, wind power development and project financing for Summit and COO positions. She is experienced in corporate development and finance, business development and intellectual property strategy.

Dan Weld

Venture Partner, Madrona Ventures

Daniel S. Weld is a venture partner with Madrona and the WRF/TJ Cable Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, Dan leads a research team investigating intelligent interfaces and methods enabling artificial intelligence systems to explain their decisions. While a professor, he co-founded three companies, all of which Madrona invested in. They include Netbot Inc. (acquired by Excite), AdRelevance (acquired by Nielson Netratings) and Nimble Technology (acquired by Actuate). In addition, he serves as a member of Madrona’s Technology Advisory Board.

Kristen Hamilton

CEO & Co-founder, Koru

Catalyst in the "grit over grades" revolution in talent acquisition. Technology entrepreneur and talent and education innovation junkie. Determined to effect meaningful impact by leveling the playing field so all people have access to opportunity based on their competencies and capabilities. Multiple time founder - IPO exit. My current company Koru is helping the world’s leading companies to hire their best fits by predicting performance and culture fit before they hire talent.

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.

Taylor Soper

Geekwire Reporter

Taylor Soper is a GeekWire reporter who covers a wide variety of tech assignments, including emerging startups in Seattle and Portland, the sharing economy and the intersection of technology and sports. A native of Portland, Ore., and graduate of the University of Washington, he was named a “New Journalist of the Year” by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Sona Vaish Venkat

General Manager, Intelligent SaaS Business Development, Microsoft

Sona is GM, Intelligent SaaS Business Development at Microsoft. Sona and her team lead strategic partnerships, acquisitions and startup investments for MS Dynamics, Power BI and intelligent business applications from Microsoft. Before Microsoft, Sona was Senior Vice President and Head of Competitive and Market Intelligence, Corporate Strategy at SAP. Prior to Microsoft, Sona was with SAP since 2004 and also held various marketing leading roles including leading global SMB Marketing, SAP eChannels marketing, launching two platform partner programs and leading relationships with several of SAP’s key strategic partners


Joseph Sirosh

Corporate Vice President, Cloud AI Platform at Microsoft

Joseph Sirosh is the Corporate Vice President of the Cloud AI Platform at Microsoft. This is Microsoft's platform for enterprise customers to build AI applications, and covers a rich collection of components including Cognitive Services, Bot Framework, Machine Learning, Azure Search etc. My team also engineers the core algorithmic toolkit for Machine Learning that's used both internally at Microsoft as well as in our external products. Prior to this, I was a Corporate Vice President of the Data Platform at Microsoft responsible for Databases, Big Data, ML and Information Management. Before Microsoft, I was the Vice President of the Global Inventory Platform at Amazon in the Consumer Business.

Mike Miller

General Partner, Liquid 2 Ventures

A particle physicist by training, I enjoy both long term fundamental research and bringing new technologies to market. I was an early leader in the cloud computing, no-sql and big data markets, helping create, evangelize, and ultimately bring these technologies to both hyper-growth startups and Fortune 500 enterprises. I am author/co-author on over 100 scientific publications and my research contributions and interests include the Quark Gluon Plasma, the Higgs Boson, measurement of the non-zero neutrino mass, the hunt for Dark Matter in the lab and ultra-low-noise solid state detectors (fundamental research, medical applications and nuclear non-proliferation applications).

Tim Porter

Managing Director, Madrona Ventures

Tim Porter is a Managing Director at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies in the Pacific Northwest. Madrona manages nearly $1 billion, including a current $300 million Fund. Tim is focused on investments in the B2B software, infrastructure, and mobile sectors. He has been particularly interested and active in the areas of SaaS, cloud infrastructure, data analytics, security and next-generation mobile platforms. Tim joined Madrona in 2006. Prior to joining Madrona, Tim was a member of Corporate Development at Microsoft, where he shared responsibilities for sourcing, structuring, and negotiating Microsoft’s acquisitions, strategic investments, and joint ventures. At Microsoft, Tim focused on enterprise software, security, and mobile and closed 14 transactions for over $850 million.

Pradeep Rathinam

Founder & CEO, AnswerIQ

Pradeep  (Paddy) has 28 + years of experiences in the high-tech industry with a track record of building successful businesses. He is the founder of AnswerIQ that recently raised a series A round from Madrona. Prior to this he was the CEO of Aditi Technologies where he grew the company and executed a successful sale to Symphony Teleca and Harman International.  He served at Microsoft for 12 years in various roles and was a General Manager. Paddy is actively involved with software community and startups in Seattle and serves on the board of Tie Seattle. He served on the board of Washington Technology Association for a decade and is on the advisory board of several startups.

Xin Luna Dong

Principle Scientist, Amazon

Luna has been a principal scientist at Amazon since July 2016, leading the efforts to build Amazon Product Knowledge Graph, and managing the scientist team to conduct research on knowledge management, data cleaning and integration, information extraction, graph mining and embedding, knowledge-based search and recommendation. Prior to joining Amazon, Luna worked for Google, AT&T Labs - Research. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at Univ. of Washington. Before coming to the United States, Luna obtained a M.S. in Computer Science at Peking University, and a B.S. in Computer Science at Nankai University in China. She won the VLDB Early Career Research Contribution Award for "advancing the state of the art of knowledge fusion".

Yejin Choi

Associate Professor, University of Washington

Yejin Choi is an associate professor of Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, adjunct of the Linguistics department, and affiliate of the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences. She is also a senior research manager at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Previously, she was an assistant professor at the Computer Science Department of Stony Brook University. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Cornell University (advisor: Prof. Claire Cardie) and BS in Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University in Korea. She is a co-recepient of the Marr Prize (best paper award) at ICCV 2013 and named among IEEE AI's 10 to Watch in 2016.

Ankur Teredesai

CTO Co-Founder, KenSci

Ankur is CTO Co-Founder at KenSci, fighting death with data science! At KenSci, Ankur leads the movement to make AI for Healthcare assistive and context-aware across the patient care continuum. Solving for impact everyday by making healthcare actionable, affordable and accountable. Ankur is also a professor at the University of Washington, teaching applied machine learning and leading a world class research center in the UW Center for Data Science.

Kevin Jamieson

Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Kevin  is an Assistant Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington and is the Guestrin Endowed Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. He received his B.S. in 2009 from the University of Washington, his M.S. in 2010 from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, all in electrical engineering. He returned to the University of Washington as faculty in 2017 after a postdoc in the AMP lab at the University of California, Berkeley.




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Liz Pearce


Liz Pearce is a Seattle startup CEO with 11 years of experience at LiquidPlanner, building a SaaS Project Management business from the ground up. Liz began as the company's marketing contractor and worked her way up as a full-time employee, from Director of Marketing, to VP of Sales & Marketing, to COO, and ultimately to CEO in 2012. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Technology Alliance, the board of the UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and was a founding board member of the Ada Developers Academy. Liz left LiquidPlanner in November 2017 to pursue new interests; prior to LiquidPlanner, she held marketing roles at Amazon, Google, and PlayStation and ran an independent marketing consulting business. She holds a B.A. in Political Communication and a M.A. in Telecommunications from The George Washington University.

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.

Andrew Albertson

Partner, Fenwick and West LLP

Andrew counsels public and private life sciences and technology companies. Andy’s practice focuses on providing strategic and practical counseling to high growth life sciences and technology companies, ranging from early startup teams to mature public companies, as well as many leading venture capital and private equity firms. Andy has extensive experience structuring, negotiating and executing a wide variety of corporate transactions including: seed and venture capital financings, growth equity/structured minority equity financings, debt financings, corporate reorganizations and recapitalizations, joint ventures, complex mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions.

Matthew Kirk

Chief Scientist & Founder, Modulus

Matt Kirk is a data architect, software engineer, and entrepreneur based out of Seattle. For years, he struggled to piece together his quantitative finance background with his passion for building software. Then he discovered his affinity for solving problems with data. Now, he helps multi-million dollar companies with their data projects. From diamond recommendation engines to marketing automation tools, he loves educating engineering teams about methods to start their big data projects.

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.

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.

Paul Zimmerman

Venture Business Development, Amazon Web Services

At AWS, Paul works with the venture capital ecosystem to help entrepreneurs, start-ups, and their venture capital backers successfully leverage AWS, and Amazon, to build and scale their businesses. Prior to joining the team at AWS, Paul was CEO of three startups over thirteen years - Aegis Mobility, Angstrom Power and Oregon Scientific. Each startup was sold in a successful exit and the innovations born in these startups continue in the market today. Prior to his CEO roles, Paul was a co-founding Managing Director of the Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund (SAIF) – a $2B venture capital fund. Paul had joined SAIF from Cisco Systems Inc where he was a senior director responsible for the wireless business across the APAC region.

Kenny Daniel

Founder, Algorithmia

Kenny is a founder at Algorithmia, building a community around state-of-the-art algorithm development, where users can create, share and build on other algorithms. Algorithmia gives developers the ability to turn algorithms into scalable web services with a single click. Application developers can then integrate the algorithm into their own applications with under 10 lines of code. Algorithmia hosts the web services, makes them discoverable and enables algorithm developers to get paid for usage.

Stefan Schoenmackers

Data Scientist, Madrona Venture Labs

Stef's interest and expertise are in using Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to make products and tools that make people's lives easier. Stef had data scientist roles at eBay and He earned a Ph.D. in Computur Science from the University of Washington.

Dinesh Chahlia

Engineering Leader, Google Cloud

Dinesh is a a engineering leader with a passion for cloud computing and artificial intelligence. He has built and scaled teams in the areas of distributed machine learning, storage systems, Internet scale near real-time systems, relevance and recommendation systems. Dinesh has helped hundreds of teams embrace cloud computing and have taught cloud computing to 500+ engineers. He has also worked on ideas that grew to 1000+ people orgs.


Dan Weld

Venture Partner, Madrona Ventures

Daniel S. Weld is a venture partner with Madrona and the WRF/TJ Cable Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, Dan leads a research team investigating intelligent interfaces and methods enabling artificial intelligence systems to explain their decisions. While a professor, he co-founded three companies, all of which Madrona invested in. They include Netbot Inc. (acquired by Excite), AdRelevance (acquired by Nielson Netratings) and Nimble Technology (acquired by Actuate). In addition, he serves as a member of Madrona’s Technology Advisory Board.

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.

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.

GoVertical Team

Shauna Causey

Startup Advisor

Jason Flateboe

Madrona Venture Labs

Navita Mansingh

TiE Seattle

The Ideation Workshop is a real opportunity to pitch an idea and find a team of talented individuals who are interested in building it with you. Even after the weekend is over!"

Love the energy and entrepreneur nurturing environment of Madrona Venture Labs."

"One of the best hackathons I have ever attended."

There was a lot of interesting projects, smart people and good food involved. Would definitely come again!"



What is the purpose of the Startup Ideation Workshop?

The purpose of the Startup Ideation Workshops is to help jump start the formation of new companies based around innovative technologies. In 2017, we held workshops on Machine Learning and Blockchain technologies. Over 14 teams and 75 participants participated in both workshops. These workshops showcased many interesting ML and Blockchain 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 Machine Learning experience to participate in this workshop?

You don’t need to have prior Machine Learning Learning experience to participate in this workshop. We have mentors with deep Machine Learning experience who are available to help you. However, to get the most out of the workshop, we would recommend learning the basics of Machine Learning technology. Our Machine Learning resources section will provide you with guidance on how to get up to speed quickly..

How do I apply to the workshop?

Here are the steps to apply to the Workshop:
1. Click on the "Apply Now" button or navigate to the Application page
2. Fill out the application form with background information about yourself and any idea that you would like to pitch. You will have until March 26, 2018 to fill out this information and submit it.
3. On April 2, 2018 you will be informed whether you have been accepted or not.
4. You will then receive an email from us indicating your ticket has been released on Eventbrite. You will have 24 hours to purchase your ticket to the workshop.

How do I improve my chances of being accepted?

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.

How do I prepare for the 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.