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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!

Schedule

Friday

Nov 15
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday

Nov 16
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday

Nov 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • FINAL PRESENTATIONS
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
Tier 1 Sponsors
Speakers

Lado Gurgenidze

Smartex Principal Shareholder   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Liberty Capital, the investment company 96.45% of which is owned by Lado Gurgenidze, is the controlling shareholder of Smartex. Smartex is Georgia’s first startup incubator and owns controlling stakes in the country’s largest digital wallet and other electronic payments businesses, leading daily deals and ecommerce players and a VoIP provider. Smartex has also made angel and Series A investments in several high-profile online financial services and social gifting startups in Europe and the United States.

Lado Gurgenidze (age 42) is a career banker who, after a decade spent at several investment banks in Warsaw, Moscow and London, returned to his native Georgia in 2004 and spearheaded, as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, the turnaround of Bank of Georgia (LSE: BGEO). During Lado’s three-year tenure, the bank’s total assets and net income grew 854% and 1,775%, respectively, achieving ROAE of 17.7% and ROAA of 3.8% in 2007. As its market share grew from 18% to 34%, Bank of Georgia became the leading universal bank in Georgia and the region, with market capitalisation exceeding US$ 900 million at the time of Lado’s departure (up from less than US$ 30 million at the time of his arrival

Judges

Sandro Rtveladze

Deputy CEO at Liberty Bank   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Sandro Rtveladze, 29, joined Liberty Bank as a Co-Head of Corporate & Merchant Banking (CMB) in 2009 and was appointed in 2012 Deputy CEO in charge of new Markets, Channels and Clients while also remaining a Co-Head of CMB.

In addition to managing the corporate loan origination and client coverage at Liberty Bank, Sandro is a key member of the team overlooking investments in electronic products and channels both by Liberty Bank and Smartex. With respect to the investments Smartex has made to date, Sandro has led the acquisitions of Swoop, Freeshop, eMoney and MyPhone, and has overseen their subsequent integration and development. Sandro has also spearheaded the development of PAYStore.

Prior to joining Liberty Bank, Sandro worked as an Analyst at UBS Investment Bank (FIG team, London). Sandro holds an MS.C in Financial Economics degree from Said Business School, Oxford University

Coaches

Goga Melikidze

General Director, Smartex   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Goga Melikidze joined Smartex as General Director after spending two years as country director for Georgia at MAREXIN, an innovative oil & gas exploration company. In 2001-2007 and 2009-2010, Goga worked at BG Capital (former Galt & Taggart Securities), a leading investment banking firm in Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus wholly-owned by Bank of Georgia, including as Head of Research in 2007 and Managing Director for Georgia in 2009-2010. Prior to Galt & Taggart Securities, Goga worked as an investment analyst at the Aldagi BCI pension fund (the oldest and largest pension fund in Georgia by AUM), operated by the largest insurance company in the country, Aldagi BCI. In 2007-2009, Goga worked in the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Georgia, serving as senior economic advisor to two successive Prime Ministers of Georgia. In this capacity, Goga played an active role in overseeing the privatisation process, issuance of the debut sovereign Eurobond in April 2008, macroeconomic analysis of Georgia and interaction with the credit rating agencies and international financial institutions and investor relations.

In 2010-2011 Goga successfully completed Level I and II of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program and is currently a Level III candidate. Goga received his BBA degree with honours in Economics and Finance from the Caucasus School of Business (CSB), Georgia’s top business school in partnership with Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA).

Levan Kobakhidze

Commercial Director, Smartex

Levan Kobakhidze joined Smartex in December 2011 as Sales Officer in Swoop, the daily deals and discounts business. Levan soon became a Senior Sales Manager, serving 90+ merchants and generating on average 15 deals per day. In January 2013, Levan was promoted as Commercial Director eMoney, overseeing the commercial strategy and business development of the company. In August 2013, Levan became commercial director of Smartex and director in general of Swoop, overseeing the commercial strategy of Swoop group and eMoney. Prior to joining Smartex, Levan spent two years working in BIG, one of the leading micro finance companies in Georgia, as Business Loan Officer.

In 2012, Levan received his BBA degree in Economics and Business from the Tbilisi State University. At present, he is a candidate for MBA degree from Tbilisi State University (class of 2014).

Nugzar Nebieridze

Co-Founder, eMoney

Nugzar Nebieridze co-founded in 2007 eMoney, the oldest and most popular Georgian digital wallet, and owns an approximately 19.1% equity interest in the company.

Nugzar started his career in 1999 as a Software Developer in a newly opened bank, ProCredit Bank Georgia. He worked in ProCredit Bank for seven years, eventually becoming the Head of Development department, responsible for all software development. In 2006, Nugzar moved to Kyiv, Ukraine where he worked as one of the chief engineers on developing CustomWare.NET, a new core banking platform for the ProCredit Group. Subsequently, Nugzar was in charge of migrating the banks in Armenia and Georgia to CustomWare.NET which by now has gone live in 10 countries where the ProCredit Group is present. In 2011, Nugzar returned to Georgia and joined JSC Liberty Bank, the third largest bank in Georgia, as Deputy Head of the IT Department and Head of Development. In this capacity, among numerous other high-value projects, Nugzar has personally led the refactoring of the bank’s in-house card processing centre that serves over two million issued cards.

In 2000, Nugzar received his master degree with honours in Information Technology and Economics from the Tbilisi State University

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