Everything You Need to Know About Detroit Startup Week 2019

Detroit Startup Week 2019 info

Got questions about Detroit Startup Week 2019? We’ve got answers.

What is Techstars Startup Week Detroit?

Techstars Startup Week Detroit is a free five-day celebration of entrepreneurship, hosted by a unified community in spaces that you love. Participate in a new type of conference, led by entrepreneurs dedicated to building momentum and opportunity in a revived city.

How do I register for Startup Week?

You can register here on our Eventbrite, then create your schedule on Sched. Be sure to do both steps!

Who runs Startup Week?

Startup Week Detroit is a Techstars event powered by Quicken Loans and sponsored by many generous local companies. Startup Week is completely volunteer-run, led by the team at Venture Catalysts. We are dedicated to making the event accessible to and empowering for the Detroit community.

Where is Startup Week Detroit?

This year, we’re launching a whole new venue concept. Quicken Loans Basecamp will be at Lear Innovation Center (downtown) with daytime programming. Evening programming will be at Durfee Innovation Society (Dexter-Linwood neighborhood). In addition to programming at Durfee and Lear, 5-10 key walkable indoor & outdoor neighboring Capitol Park locations will be activated (think: Bamboo Detroit, Grand Circus, parks, community and technology centers and co-working spaces). Keep an eye out for signs with our snowglobe logo to tell you where to go in each location. For information on specific sessions, check out our schedule on Sched!

What will I learn at Startup Week Detroit?

There are sessions at Startup Week focused on everything from blockchain to branded storytelling. This year, we are focusing each day around specific learning areas! This will allow you to more easily build your schedule around your interests. You can also maximize your time with other attendees with similar interests, experiences, and expertise.

Monday, June 17: Mobility, Marketing, & Technology

Tuesday, June 18: Technology, Fintech, & Blockchain

Wednesday, June 19: Finance, Funding & Legal, Entrepreneurship 101

Thursday, June 20: Social Impact, Health, Retail, Small Business/Place-Based Entrepreneurship

Friday, June 21: Art & Design, Music, & Female Founders

Where should I park?

There are several options when it comes to parking for our Downtown locations:

  • Street Parking – We encourage you to download the app to make it easier to pay.
  • Financial District Garage – 131 W Lafayette Blvd
  • Kennedy Square Garage – 720 Griswold St
  • Griswold Parking – 1421 Griswold St
  • Z Park Garage – 1234 Library St

For Durfee we will have parking available and there will be security guards, as well as, volunteers to assist you.

How can I get around?

Transportation is available Monday – Thursday 5PM – 9PM (Monday goes until 10PM).

We’re offering a looped route that runs hourly between:

  • Durfee Innovation Society (2470 Collingwood St, Detroit, MI 48206)
  • Capital Park (1150 Griswold, Detroit, MI 48226)

Check back here and follow us on social media for the link to reserve your seat- coming soon!

Any lunch recommendations?

Go! Sy Thai

Downtown Louie’s Lounge

Queens Bar

Lovers Only

Chickp Detroit

La Pecora Nera

Brome Modern Eatery


The Hudson Café

Is there childcare available onsite?

Yes! Childcare is available from 5 – 9 p.m. at Durfee Innovation Society through Detroit Play Care. Details are below:

Detroit Play Care

5-5:30pm- welcome/ free play

5:30-6pm- craft time

6-6:30pm- bathroom break/ snacks

6:30-7pm- Group Game

7-9pm- Movie/ Free Play

Snacks, art & craft supplies, toys, games, books and more are provided.

Where can I stay up-to-date on everything?

Follow along with us! We’re on the following platforms, and you can use our hashtags to connect with other attendees, speakers and more:

Instagram: @detroit.startupweek

Facebook: @DetroitStartupWeek

LinkedIn: @DetroitStartupWeek

Twitter: @detstartupweek

Official hashtags: #DETSW2019 #WeAreDetroit

All this and more awaits you, for free, next week.

Have you registered yet? If not, register here. If you have, bring a friend!

Capturing the Moment Beyond Movement with Monique Becker

Tash Moore: So, tell us how you got started. What led you to found CREATIVE RELATION?

Monique Becker : We’re in our second year now with CREATIVE RELATION. During last year’s pilot, we went by Resident Movement as the program was most heavily focused on access to Movement Music Festival. I was born in Detroit and always knew Techno music as black Detroit music, but over the course of a decade of attending the festival, it felt like it began to reflect black Detroit culture less and less. So, [we] birthed out of a frustration for that reality and a desire to do something about. So I linked up with Adrian Tonon from the mayor’s office, who’s the night time economy ambassador, Michael Reyes from We Are Culture Creators and then Sam Fotis and Jason Huvaere from Paxahau, the production company behind the festival. I could not have asked for stronger, more genuine partners. It was important to Paxahau in particular that we give the right folks — emerging creatives of color looking to grow professionally — an avenue to attend the festival and also understand the behind the scenes, the production side, the visual arts components, vending opportunities, etc. beyond just the performance side. Our grassroots effort and team have grown to include Cyrah Dardas, Kashira Dowrige and Xavier Cuevas as Creative, Social Media and Media Directors, respectively. We are always looking to build with other like-minded businesses and excited for the future of our work.

CREATIVE RELATION’S Monique Becker, Photo by James Charles Morris

TM: How do you define & redefine the business of art?

MB: That can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. [The business of art is] how to make money from art, how to make a sustainable career from art, how art really is incorporated into the economy. And we really start with education about business aspects of art. There are a lot of amazing groups that offer workshops for small and creative businesses in the city. We definitely don’t believe in working in silos or reinventing the wheel, so rather than our approach to education focusing on a more formal workshopping session, we’re working to connect people with people. We bring in speakers, we have a quarterly educational series that focuses on topics from financial planning, budgeting to real estate for creatives and understanding lease terms, what do you need to be aware of. Gentrification is something that every city has to tackle. The folks in the creative economy are the ones who make a place cool, add that social capital, and then don’t have any equity and so they are pushed out. How do Detroit creatives purchase property and position themselves to protect against future gentrification? We have to understand negotiating and contracts, or how to pitch yourself or sell your work….We advocate that it needs to be sustainable and opportunities need to flow democratically and to folks that tend to be marginalized. We’re sharing our collective knowledge.

TM: How do you see Detroit’s creative or cultural economy evolving over the next few years?

MB: I feel that Detroit is in a very important moment in terms of cultural and creative output. The desire for folks to collaborate on a broader scale is there. Developments are also ramping up and we see the tourism industry growing. Michigan is one of the fastest growing markets in the country and it’s in large part because folks are beginning to learn and become more familiar with the real Detroit story. They want to visit and participate in the culture here. The tourism industry should benefit the creative economy greatly as a way of connecting art and culture consumers with art and culture producers? For us at CREATIVE RELATION, we want to make sure emerging creatives of color see the upside of increased tourism and outside money as well.

TM: What drew you to entrepreneurship?

MB: In Detroit where everyone has five side-hustles, I am no different. I’ve always been entrepreneurial, and self-directed and self-motivated. As CREATIVE RELATION and my other company, Mona Lisa Development, began to ramp up, I found it difficult to focus on my entrepreneurial work while working full-time for someone else, especially when the leadership or mission did not quite fit with my values. With CREATIVE RELATION we’re continuing to refine our business model but we see ourselves as a social enterprise, so we’re really rooted in providing a good to the emerging creative community, the business community and government. It’s important that our work always contemplates who are we serving and who are the opportunities going to? It’s important to redirect ourselves and make sure that focus is strong. In the end, our goal is to sustain work that brings a real benefit to our community and city.

TM: What is your favorite memory from [Detroit] Startup Weeks past?

MB: I am really looking forward to [attending for the first time], not just as an aspiring entrepreneur…and Olivia Guterson* who is leading Detroit Startup Week is actually in the CREATIVE RELATION cohort.

Monique Becker is Managing Director of CREATIVE RELATION. Monique is an art and design lover and collector that appreciates the union of vintage and contemporary styles. This aesthetic interest carries over into Monique’s passion for connecting people across lines of difference, which is essential for innovation and mutual growth. Monique is co-founder and Partner of Mona Lisa Development, which focuses on adaptive reuse of duplexes in Detroit. More information about CREATIVE RELATION can be found here.

In celebration of Detroit Startup Week, 5 day conference for Detroit’s entrepreneurs, we’re speaking with leading creators and founders in our community. Meet local leaders in person at the conference June 17th-22nd. RSVP here: http://detroitstartupweek.com/

Full Disclosure:

* Olivia Guterson is a lead organizer with Detroit Startup Week.

I Left My Heart in Startups with Seun Phillips

Tash Moore: So, tell us about My Big Dream Club. What is your mission?

Seun Phillips: My Big Dream Club started in 2018, I co-founded with my wife Omonye Phillips. The mission [and vision] is to discuss transformative topics with like-minded individuals to motivate, inspire, and to dream BIG. And, what we do is bring a group of people together [to] get excited, sparked up, whether it’s innovation, pursuing something outside of their 9–5, or a passion project. Then creating that support system along with accountability for these dreams to come true and for people to step outside their comfort zone because they see how others in the group are also stretching themselves to new opportunities.

TM: How do we encourage more black children, especially boys, to consider technical roles or roles that historically [BIPOC] were excluded from?

SP: I think what’s important is that we are able to expose these children and the youth at an early age. So, my background is electrical engineering, and I’ve co-founded a STEM organization (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and one of our key things is that we allow our youth to program at an early age: [we] program robots, cars, and launch rockets, [etc.]. All of these are exposing them to the field of technology. And I think for my children and the children that I interact with, it’s all about exposure. The key is that they feel comfortable because not everyone is going to be interested in technology, not everyone wants to pursue engineering. However, give them a choice where they’re able to have the ability to see what engineering is about or science. What a doctor really does. That ability opens their horizon and gives them options on the type of career they want to pursue. Also, science and math and [similar] subjects really help with problem-solving and critical thinking which are generally important in life.

Seun Phillips of My BIG Dream Club

TM: How do you see Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene evolving over the next few years?

SP: So what’s happening in Detroit as many people can see is very exciting — you have accelerators popping up, accelerators like Techstars*. You have different pitch competitions and Detroit is becoming more entrepreneur-friendly which is attracting entrepreneurship in the region and promoting it. And also providing support for it. It’s one thing to say Hey, just be an entrepreneur, but [t]hen you’re able to provide tangible support. [My] full-time job is with PlanetM** and we’ve created the PlanetM Landing Zone to have the ability to get people to innovate and accelerate that innovation. Then we bring together the right players; we make it as easy as possible for a small company…as a startup you’re bootstrapping….I think that’s going to continue to grow and evolve over the next few years.

TM: What drew you to entrepreneurship?

SP: So, I was first drawn to entrepreneurship as a little kid where I had my first CD burner and I had friends who wanted to be artists. They would come to my house with a 4x speed CD burner, which was extremely slow, but through the process you start to understand how business works, and you also have the ability to create things and I get very excited about just creating something from nothing, building it from the bottom up. This is essentially the third business I’ve been able to create. A lot of people will talk about Hey, I want to do this, or this is my passion. When you’re actually able to do that, it’s fulfilling, and to see the impact that you have on other people’s lives and having the ability to bring together partnerships, it’s exciting. There are no excuses as to why things cannot happen when you’re doing something entrepreneurial when you’re the creator or directing how things move. This is your company, this is your business, this is your vision, so that in itself is very exciting.

As you think about the economy, what makes things evolve, which brings more work for people, it’s all about entrepreneurship. That’s why there are so many incentives for businesses, that drives the economy. You want the Googles, the Amazons, the Apples, but all companies must start at the beginning, that’s how you start, and then you work and watch it grow.. That’s what excites me.

TM: What is your favorite memory from [Detroit] Startup Weeks past?

SP: Last year I was on a panel around #mobility and just being able to see the all the people inspiring each other to be entrepreneurs…at times it can be lonely, you’re thinking: Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing something that’s really going to impact? There’s a lot of doubt that can come into one’s mind, but when you surround yourself with other entrepreneurs or supporters it gives you that spark, that excitement…[you see] that other people are going through similar challenges. Other people want to help. Having that is exciting. When I see that with Detroit and Detroit Startup Week and what it’s become, how it continues to grow, you can tell there’s a lot of interest, a lot of excitement, a lot of people that want to participate. The energy is what gets me excited about DSW.

Full Disclosure:

*Techstars is a leading partner of Detroit Startup Week.

**PlanetM is a partner of Detroit Startup Week.

My Dream BIG Club started in January 2018. Husband and wife, Seun and Omonye Phillips, always desired a group in their local area where they could connect with other professionals and discuss transformative topics to better ourselves. They could not find this group and decided to start one. Most importantly they have experienced members of the club getting inspiration from other members to start their own business or to undertake an endeavor they once feared. More info can be found here.

In celebration of Detroit Startup Week, 5 day conference for Detroit’s entrepreneurs, we’re speaking with leading creators and founders in our community. Meet local leaders in person at the conference June 17th-22nd. RSVP here: http://detroitstartupweek.com/

Harnessing Your Social Capital with Jacob Evan Smith

Tash Moore: How would you define social capital?

Jacob Evan Smith: When I think of social capital, I think of earned trust and influence between people and communities. One can build up social capital by adding net-positive value to others and the community at large, and then can “exchange” that capital in the future by asking for reciprocal support.

TM: How do you leverage your capital to best serve Detroit?

JES: Give first! Enter into spaces and interactions thinking about what you can give, not what you can get. Frame everything in terms of how you can add value, whether or not you will ever get something concrete in return. This is how you build trust and influence, which hold inherent future value in the form of social capital.

TM: How do you see Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene evolving over the next few years?

JES: Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene will continue to grow and organize at an increasing rate. When I say “scene,” I’m referring to the number of entrepreneurs, startups, and related employees; the amount of capital that’s accessible; and the programmatic support available (like accelerators, mentors, etc).

This scene has come a long way since I moved to Detroit in 2012, but there’s still major work to be done. For example, there’s a big skills gap, particularly in software and tech, between available jobs and people with the right skills for those jobs. This is one of the reasons why I’m so excited to be in my current role with Altimetrik, launching a hangout and collaboration hub for the Detroit software community, located downtown at 1500 Woodward. We also need more major success stories (shout-out to Duo Security!) and mentors with proven track records (I see you, Assembler Labs!) who can inspire entrepreneurs to think big and reduce avoidable mistakes. All in all, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

TM: What drew you to entrepreneurship?

JES: For me, entrepreneurship has always been about leveraging the power of business to drive positive social change. I’m also the type of person that when I stumble across a problem, I enjoy thinking of solutions, particularly when I see challenges that are being avoided. For example, a lot of my friends left Michigan after the 2008 financial crisis because there weren’t a lot of jobs, but my thought instead was that if there aren’t enough jobs, we should create some jobs! So a friend and I found a juicy problem — helping local homeowners save money while reducing energy waste — and launched a business.

TM: What does your perfect workday look like?

JES: A perfect workday is when I’m out and about interacting with people. I love meeting people, collaborating, and seeking out mutually beneficial partnerships.

TM: What is your favorite memory from [Detroit] Startup Weeks past?

JES: I have a very fond memory of being at one of the big social events last year, looking around at a sea of smiling, familiar faces, and thinking “Wow, we’re really building an amazing startup community!”

Jacob Evan Smith is an entrepreneur, community builder, and and community organizer. He is a lifelong Michigander who grew up in West Bloomfield, graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and has lived in Detroit since 2012.

More info about Jacob can be found here.

In celebration of Detroit Startup Week, a 5 day conference for Detroit’s entrepreneurs, we’re speaking with leading creators and founders in our community. Meet local leaders in person at the conference June 17th-21st, 2019. RSVP here: http://detroitstartupweek.com/

#DetSW18 Celebrates the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Michigan has been a magnet for innovation and entrepreneurship for hundreds of years, from fur and timber to mining, manufacturing, and mobility.
Detroit is Michigan’s economic epicenter. Ann Arbor is its research hub. The entrepreneurial ecosystem stretches from the thumb downriver, and from the mitten to Canada. Innovation, meet traction. Will, meet way.

This year, Techstars Detroit Startup Week celebrates the unity and diversity of our broad and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem by building regional connective tissue and bringing together hundreds of startups, thousands of entrepreneurs, and millions of dollars in investment capital.

Ann Arbor and Detroit both attract new talent and capital to the state, which the entrepreneurial ecosystem challenges, rewards, and recycles. The synergies we forge at Startup Week help retain these critical resources, building regional wealth and sustainability.
Techstars Detroit Startup Week is investing regionally to break down internal (and international) barriers, hoist a big tent, invite broad collaboration, and advance the broad and diverse community of Michigan innovators.
Zoom out: what does this look like? It looks like a community. It looks like an ecosystem. It looks like a region bootstrapping itself, marshaling resources, and investing in its entrepreneurial future. It looks a lot like Michigan.
David Bloom
University of Michigan School of Information
[photo credit: Tara Turkington, www.taradanielle.com]

Volunteer Checklist for Success

Volunteer Checklist for Success


  • Dress for the weather, you may be spending time outside.
  • Wear something you can be active in, you’ll be walking!
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your volunteer shift – this will help us effectively transition between volunteer shifts.
  • Always be courteous, kind, and hospitable toward hosts, speakers, attendees, other volunteers, etc. – we are here to make the event as enjoyable and valuable as possible.
  • If you see someone who needs help – reach out and help – we want to be proactive in asking if we can help with directions, a suggestion for a session, feedback they have to give or assistance our guests may need. Please be proactive with attendees!
  • If someone has a complaint, or looks frustrated with something, please engage them, ask what we can do to make it better, find one of the core leads for help, and get a phone number for follow up. Our goal is that people feel included, welcomed, and valued.
  • If you have questions or need assistance, look for the person in charge at your location or contact one of the volunteer leads.
  • If you need to cancel your volunteer shift ahead of time, please contact one of the volunteer leads or update via the link on the volunteer tab of the Detroit Startup Week website.
  • Don’t forget to chat, network, learn, laugh, and have some fun!


Volunteer Leads
Colleen Geyer
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (248) 376-1673

Joe Schoch
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (419) 779-4053

Gerard Smith
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (313) 244-7125

Detroit Startup Week Speaker FAQ’s

Speaker FAQ’s:

How many people are coming to my event?

A good amount – We’re anticipating 8-10k attendees this year


What is the venue size?

Venue sizes range from 50-200 people


Will my event be recorded?

No, your event will not be recorded by the DSW team. However, you are welcome to bring your own equipment to record your talk if you would like.


How do I add a speaker?

Email:  [email protected]


How do I add my bio and picture?

Login into sched.com


How do I share my event?

Find your talk on detroitstartupweek.com and share the link on social media.


Will there be A/V equipment available?

Yes – the only thing we request from you is that you bring your laptop, if you wish to display a slide show. We will also provide you with all mic equipment


Parking and Transportation at Detroit Startup Week

Parking for Techstars Startup Week 2018 will be at The D Garage (located at 90 E Fisher Service Dr. Detroit, MI 48201) and is walking distance to basecamp at Grand Circus Park. Olympia Development of Michigan is offering a 20% discount to the garage and parking passes can be purchased in advance using promo code DETROITTECH or by using this link:


For traveling to and from surrounding events, MoGo, Detroit’s public bike sharing system, has also sponsored a heavily discounted $15 weekly pass (a day pass is regularly $8) for attendees. The discounted rate will be available at MoGo kiosks using the code DSW18.

Public transit is also an affordable option for getting to events. Basecamp at Grand Circus Park is a short 5-minute walk from DDOT’s Rosa Parks Transit Center and a stones-throw from Grand Circus Q-Line and People Mover stops.

To get to neighborhood programs and events, shuttles will be provided courtesy of the Detroit Bus Company. Buses will leave Basecamp at 30 minutes after the hour and depart the neighborhoods at the top of the hour. Shuttles will be provided on the following schedule:

12:30PM – 5PM Monday: Grandmont- Rosedale

830AM – 4:30PM Tuesday: Southwest Detroit

8:30AM – 5:30PM Wednesday: Durfee Innovation Center

9:30AM – 5:30PM Thursday: Osborn


Podcast: Conversation with Corey Williams

Corey Williams: Strategic Business Development by Detroit Startup Week

Corey Williams is a self-proclaimed urban place-maker. He takes urban blight, revitalizes it, and creates spaces for people out of them.

listen to more podcasts…

Podcast: Conversation with Brooke Dunwell

Brooke Dunwell: Boj by Detroit Startup WeekBrooke

Dunwell is the Founder of Boj, a mobile app that connects current college students and graduates to job opportunities within companies that hire recent college grads and or interns. It is simple and easy for college students to create a profile, upload their resume, and submit a self-video.

Boj: www.bojapp.com


listen to more podcasts…