SWO3 – So how is this weekend judged and who are the judges?


JudgesIconWhy are judges important? 

Having 3-5 Judges evaluate the final presentations on Sunday is a great way to provide additional, valuable feedback to teams. It’s also a great learning experience for those that pitch on Sunday – many of whom are pitching before a panel of professionals/investors for the first time.


Event Judging Criteria

Universal Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into four sections. Teams are judged according to the following 4 criteria (weighed equally):

  • Business Model
    Can this idea make money? Is there positive customer growth or revenue? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic? Is the idea/team ready for capital and execution? Would you invest in this company at this point?
  • Customer Validation
    Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What channels of communication are used? Product/Market fit?
  • Technical – Execution
    Is there a functional product (e.g.in the case of an app, did they build one)? Were architecture diagrams and API signatures included? Which services did they integrate with? How much of the product is running on a real server with non-sample data?
  • Design – Execution
    Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?


The key to a great judges panel is variety!

This means having experienced entrepreneurs, investors, designers and programmers on the panel to ensure we consider all areas of the judging criteria fairly. We’ve put together a list of some of the Ottawa judges so you can get to know them:


CodeCubitt_Headshot Code Cubitt (Mistral Venture Partners)

Code (@motocode)  is the Managing Director at Mistral Venture Partners, focusing on venture capital investments in Mobile, Digital Media, eCommerce and Enterprise applications in Canada and the United States. Prior to Mistral, Code was the Chief Operating Officer at Zephyr Technology – a Venture Capital backed startup company based in Annapolis MD, focused on Remote Physiological Monitoring. Before joining Zephyr, Code spent nearly a decade investing in and growing a number of startup companies including mFoundry, Intelleflex, Apprion, Dilithium Networks, and many others. Prior to his investing career, Code spent 8 years as an electrical design engineer, beginning with IBM, where he worked on the original IBM Multi-processor mainframe computers. Code then specialized as an RF hardware designer and subsequently designed a number of products, some of which are still in volume production today. His technical experience includes digital, analog, radio frequency and optical circuit design.


Luc Levesque (TravelPod.com

Luc (@luclevesque) is a web entrepreneur from Ottawa who, at age 21, founded the world’s first travel blogging website, TravelPod.com. TravelPod was acquired by Expedia 10 years later in 2006. Luc is currently TravelPod’s General Manager at TripAdvisor. In 2008 Luc was a recipient of the Ottawa Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 award. Luc has lead the creation of several award winning products such as the Traveler IQ Challenge ( “Excellence in Social Media” – CNMA ), TravelPod ( “Top 100 sites you can’t live without” – PC Magazine ) and TripWow.com (“Outstanding Achievement Award” – Web Marketing Association ). Luc stays involved with the startup community as an active advisor to several companies and is also a mentor with startup accelerator Founder Fuel.

 JeffParksJeff Parks (DIGIA UX Inc.)

Jeff (@jeffparks) is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc, a past Executive on the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute, was the Program Chair for UX Poland conference in 2013, and has been a trusted mentor to over a hundred designers for the past five years, the world over. He presented at the 2011 Information Architecture Summit in Denver, was the Closing Keynote at the 2012 Polish IA Summit, and presented at UX Camp Ottawa last year. In addition, he has lead commodities and e-commerce teams through new strategies for both web and mobile in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Ron-NEWRon Warburton (BDC IT Venture Capital

Ron (@ronwarburton) is an experienced senior executive with a proven record of building successful software companies over the past 26 years. During the early part of his career, he held progressively senior positions in engineering, product management, software sales and marketing. In 1991, Mr. Warburton became President and CEO of Simetra Inc. after leading a management buyout. Over the following nine years, he grew Simetra\’s software business across Canada and the U.S. and successfully sold it in 2000. In the process, he co-founded a second software business which he helped build and eventually sold. Mr. Warburton has actively participated on the board of directors of a number of IT companies. Mr. Warburton is a registered professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.