TechRaising 2016


Participants will gather on a Friday evening and have 90 seconds to pitch their idea for a product, service, or company to the group.

After the pitches, everyone will break out, discuss their ideas, and form teams to build the idea. The goal is to have something to demo or launch at the end of the weekend.

Past events have been huge successes. If you have an idea for a startup or be part of a startup team, this is the event for you.

Teams should consist of at least one developer (ideally two or more), one designer, and one business development marketing person, but can be as large as necessary. Feel free to talk to others about your ideas beforehand, refine them, get buy in, and please come with the intention of embracing others.

Cross team collaboration is promoted and facilitated. This will be a learning event and a way to interact with, promote, and nourish the community of entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz.

Mentors will interact with teams, discuss key issues that all startups encounter — legal, design, PR and promotion, getting early adopters and customers, fundraising team building, and business model — and share their experience and ideas.This is an opportunity to brainstorm with others who have done it before and iterate on your ideas and products. The Santa Cruz Tech community has been talking a lot about losing businesses and exporting talent over the hill. Let’s join together for a weekend and create things that will demonstrate that we are a thriving entrepreneurial community that is not only talking but also doing.

Sample Schedule of Events


6:00PM — Reception / Networking
6:45–8:00PM — Pitches & Team formation
8:00PM — Design / Development / Coding Begins


8:30AM — Breakfast
9:00AM-12PM — Morning Mentors
10:00AM-12:00PM — Startup Skool with Jose Caballer— Core Strategy for Entrepreneurs
12:30PM — Lunch
1:00PM to 4PM — Afternoon Mentors
6:00PM — Dinner


8:30AM — Breakfast
9:00AM-12PM — Morning Mentors
12:30PM — Lunch
4:00PM–6:00PM — Demos with Mentor Feedback

Special Workshop

Startup Skool — Core Strategy for Entrepreneurs

 Imagine being able to go from idea to prototype in less than a day.

In an easy, simple and intuitive process that anyone can do. No tech or design experience needed.

Jose Caballer, Chief Education Officer for The Skool will be sharing…

The Skool OS CORE framework for rapid product definition in a hands on workshop.

You will walk away with the following:

  1. Core Product Statement: What your product does, for who it does it for, how it does it and what value it provides.
  2. Core Customer Profiles: What problem they have and what features they need to solve it.
  3. Core Features: A prioritized list of what features you should build first.

With these 3 things defined, the design of your smartphone app, SAAS platform or media startup will be a breeze.

As a bonus Jose will show real life examples of how startups across the country are using The Skool OS CORE to help them execute in “Hi Fidelity” and “Hi Velocitity”. 

This hands one worksessions can’t be missed if you need a framework to take the guesswork out of your startup, help you avoid painful mistakes and disagreements between you and your team.

As a extra bonus Jose will share the Skool OS CORE workbook and 13 free videos showing a real life example of the Skool OS CORE beininstalled in a real company.

Who should attend?

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Developers
  • Engineers
  • Designers
  • UX experts
  • Business development professionals
  • Marketing professionals
  • Social media peeps
  • Anyone with an idea for a product or startups
  • Angel Investors

Join us and help raise the roof on Tech in Santa Cruz!

Past Mentors

Over the past fifteen years, Steve has directed strategic initiatives for leading technology, consumer, and entertainment companies including AFLAC, AMD, BEA, Disney Pictures, HP, NetApp, Netflix, Sun, TiVo, TIBCO, Twentieth Century Fox, VISA, and Universal Pictures.
As Director of Strategic Services for Coakley Heagerty, he’s led branding projects for Charles Schwab, Rambus, Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, and several divisions of Cisco Systems. In addition, Steve has written executive video presentations or a number of technology leaders, including Steve Ballmer, John Chambers, Mark Hurd, and Dan Warmenhoven. A Silicon Valley native, he was the 2010-2011 Web Strategy Forum Manager for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association.

High technology entrepreneur and investor with 30 years experience in Silicon Valley, Canada and Europe. Founder Gavilan Corporation, designed and marketed the first notebook computer. Founder Micro-ware Ltd, author of micro chess, the fist game software marketed for personal computers, Chairman of Visicorp – the developers of the original “killer app” VisiCalc – the first spreadsheet application, and much more.

A full-stack developer with experience developing for the Internet on 3 continents. From tiny startups to Yahoo! and anywhere in between. Currently at Twitter as part of the Growth team. Hands on Ruby, PHP, JavaScript coder who is equally at home in Emacs on a remote server as a well as in a modern IDE on a shiny MacBook Pro.

Patrick Reilly, J.D. is the Founder or the Intellectual Property Society, Associate Publisher of the Personal Data Journal and a practicing intellectual property attorney. Patrick has a special commitment to encourage civic engagement with the evolution of Patent Law, personal data rights and Internet identity.
His law practice encompasses patent prosecution, creative rights management, start-up formation issues, trademark prosecution, copyright protection and trade secret policy. Patrick is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Russian Language Studies, and has earned a BS in Sociology from the State University of New York, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toledo and a JD from Concord University. He is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar and the California State Bar. Patrick’s personal interests include linguistics, open water swimming and (remedying the lack of) public service media.

Stephen Beitzel has been developing software for over 20 years. He’s worked at all stages of the product lifecycle, from startup through iterative improvement and maintenance to end-of-life support. He has
experience in large and small environments and has worked at startups and established companies. He has over ten years’ experience developing high-performance Java server applications for LinkedIn and Netflix. He is currently working in Perl for San Jose State University Research Foundation, in partnership with NASA.

Creative visionary with over twenty years of experience producing successful marketing solutions for some of the world’s most recognized brands. Expert in concept and strategy development, with a proven ability to motivate and inspire creative teams to deliver outstanding creative work.

Craig Vachon wrote his first business plan at 12 years old, sold his first company at 25 years old, and has been a relentless entrepreneur/angel investor ever-since. To date, Craig has raised $1.17B in PE/VC investment for 14 companies in seven countries.
Craig is currently supporting a portfolio company as their corporate development leader. He joined AnchorFree in 2011 but has been an investor and advisor to the company since 2005. AnchorFree is the world’s most popular consumer VPN providing security, privacy and freedom to over 60M web surfers. Prior to AnchorFree, Craig was Chief Commercial Officer at Immersion [NASDAQ: IMMR] and he has held leadership positions at major mobile operators, as well as software, services, and technology licensing companies. He was CEO and president of Varatouch, an intellectual property components and software company focused on the UX for consumer electronics. Before Varatouch, he was CEO and chairman of Sirenic, Inc., a mobile information access software company, [both Varatouch and SIrenic were sold at multiples of VC investments].
Earlier in his career, Vachon was chief operating officer of Nextel Int’l; vice president of sales and marketing of Birla AT&T in India; and director of new product development at AT&T Wireless Services (formerly McCaw Cellular). He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Communication, both from Emerson College.

Jose is the co-founder of The Skool, an education company that teaches solopreneurs, design agencies and statups how to collaborate, execute and thrive in the digital economy. He studied graphic design at Art Center College of Design. He has worked with diverse clients such as Al Gore, Jamie Oliver, Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and corporate client like Disney, Nike and Myspace.

Today he combines his 18 years of experience and his passion for teaching the design of business and the business of design on his show The Skool and in training thousands of students, freelancers, and professionals at

My goals: membership of advisory board for tech companies. Consulting on building a tech company and online marketing in general. Bootstrapped companies excite me.I’m a software entrepreneur, and have been since the age of 14. I have much experience building software/tech/internet companies, designing products, acquiring customers and engineering an exit. I consider myself a do-er, someone who worries as much about tactics as strategy.Specialties

Building bootstrapped companies, designing good software, walking both sides of the developer and sales aspects of companies.

Sol Lipman is an experienced entrepreneur and mobile developer who recently joined AOL as a part of the company’s acquisition of Rally Up, maker of the popular Rally Up and FacePlant mobile applications.
At AOL, Sol is focused on bringing killer mobile-first applications to market and identifying mobile opportunities for existing AOL properties.Sol was the founder and CEO of Rally Up and also co-founded, an online video sharing platform. Prior to that, he co-founded Sticky Inc, a flash memory-based operating environment that was acquired by DeviceVM. During the swinging dotcom days, he founded thedigs network, which was acquired by idrive and is credited as being one of the first social networks.

Bob brings years of software industry management expertise to productOps. Prior to cofounding productOps, he spent two years at Krugle, where he built and managed the team that created a vertical code gathering and information management tool designed for software developers.
In 2001, Bob co-founded Open Field Software, developers of the award-winning Ella for Spam Control anti-spam product.In 1990, he co-founded Thuridion, a commercial software consulting firm. During his tenure as Thuridion’s CEO, he led the growth of the organization to over 50 people as it completed more than 500 projects for companies like Symantec, Microsoft, Adobe, Hewlett-Packard and American Express. Bob’s passions include quantitative analysis, usability, and software aesthetics.

Alex Cowan is the founder & CTO of Leonid Systems, a leader in enterprise 2.0 solutions for cloud communications. He is also the author of ‘Starting a Tech Business’ (Wiley, 2012). Alex has always had a strong interest in helping others distill, understand, and apply technology to their business. His role as a mentor and advisor to other startup’s led to his writing ‘Starting a Tech Business’ with the team at Wiley.

Bill is solo corporate lawyer based in Santa Cruz, California. After years of advising entrepreneurs, he took the plunge and started my own solo corporate law practice. His mission is to provide entrepreneurs with a level of corporate and transactional service that goes toe-to-toe with the big national law firms (but at rational prices), and in doing so, to give entrepreneurs the tools and backbone they need to close transactions that are durable, smart, fair and maximize value.

Prior to forming Richter Law Offices in 2002, he practiced corporate law for five years at each of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., and Shearman & Sterling LLP. I served as Chief of the Privatization Division within USAID’s Moscow Mission in the mid-90’s.

He holds a B.A. from Yale College, a Masters from Harvard (Russian) and earned my J.D. from New York University School of Law. I serve on two non-profit Boards, Shakespeare Santa Cruz (at UCSC) and Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 school in Santa Cruz. He intentionally keeps a low web-profile (not even a website), as he prefers to meet clients and maintain relationships the ‘old-fashioned way’. You can reach him by e-mail at, and at 831-458-2100.

Tyler Young is a commercial artist and entrepreneur with experience producing professional journalism, action photography, illustration, typography, information and ecommerce web sites, product and brand name creation and identity design, and more.Having founded and sold two indie brands since 2000, he is currently co-founding his third venture, Plastic Trophy, focusing on emerging trends in the digital lifestyle revolution.

Danielle Lanyard is the Founder and CEO of Village Green and the Green Breakfast Club. Her life and work experience blends environmental study, community action, business development, and being at the right place at the right time. Her activism work began as a child in her own backyard and now spans two decades and four continents, including a B.A. in Community Psychology and a minor in Environmental Studies.

I am a Bay Area business consultant who for the last 16 years have taken seeds of ideas and transformed them into award-winning, successful and recognized small businesses. I’ve worked with every sort of client, from restaurant owners to ice cream makers, to clothing boutiques and artists. One of the companies I helped get off the ground even received praise from President Obama.
My approach is straightforward and it works. I specialize in helping clients create one-page business plans that do away with overwhelming planning and simplify the process of getting their business moving forward. A concise business plan that is results-driven and provides accountability is an absolute must in this current climate in order to enhance your chances of success.

G Stearns Entrepreneur Venture Capitalist Imagineer at Stearns & More Capital focused on Sustainability, eCommerce & Social Networks plus Regional Development for People, Planet, Profits with the SPACE & LOHAS Fund & Accelerator. Educated in Philosophy, Psychology, Religion and Technology. Founder Global Sustainable Lifestyle Network & California Spaceports Network. Co-Founder Brand Monterey Bay, Monterey Bay Air & Spaceport, Monterey Bay UAV Flight School. Member of the National Space Society as a Space Ambassador for Planetary Sustainability Earth Mars & Beyond…

An advisor and hands-on participant in early-stage startups providing product development, planning, budgeting, MVP refinement and system architecture.

Frank brings more than 20 years of experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics, and data storage to expand Looker’s reach and capabilities. Frank is the former VP of Business Development for Greenplum (acquired by EMC) and former SVP for Virsto Software (acquired by VMware) and now serves as Looker’s CEO.

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