Startup Week, IO Summit Energize Entrepreneurs

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Startup Week, IO Summit Energize Entrepreneurs

An exciting Lincoln Startup Week from October 18–25 had many different events and meetups to take in, including the exciting and well-attended Inside Outside Innovation Summit. In its third year, the IO Summit, held October 20–22, brought innovators from all over the world to Lincoln with the goal of networking and showcasing and celebrating the local startup community. Not only did the IO Summit attract a record attendance of nearly 400 people at the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, but Lincoln Startup Week as a whole attracted more interest and continues to grow.

Christina Oldfather, director of innovation and entrepreneurship for LPED, says startup week’s evolution has been incredible to see, benefitting local entrepreneurs: “Lincoln Startup Week has continued to grow and offer content and sessions for startups at every stage, from how to find an idea to tactical growth strategies.”

The biggest draw remained the IO Summit. This year, the IO Summit featured over 20 amazing keynote speakers including Lorrie Vogel who helped bring innovation to Nike as the former VP of material science and innovation; Zainab Ghadiyali, product lead at Airbnb and former tech lead at Facebook; and Fernando Garibay, an American record producer, songwriter, DJ, and entrepreneur. In a week jam-packed with presentations and ideas, the summit helped create a buzz that ramped up as the week continued.

“The IO Summit was a great addition to Lincoln Startup Week, creating a lot of momentum and leveraging a lot of great speakers that we were able to bring into Lincoln for those unable to attend the Summit,” according to Oldfather.

The big winner from the Startup Pitch Competition at the IO Summit was Lincoln-based startup Layer, whose management app makes it easier for building and construction professionals to manage and update their project workloads. Winning the pitch competition secured a $25,000 LaunchLNK grant from the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development in addition to other services from local Lincoln companies.

After the conclusion of the IO Summit, evening events at Turbine Flats were held. The events featured the Startup Tech Crawl, which helped connect local startups and tech organizations to potential interns and employees, and Startup Grind x Lincoln, which saw Oldfather and an audience conduct a fireside chat with Doug Durham, CEO of Don’t Panic Labs and co-founder of Nebraska Global.

Turbine Flats joined other venues in hosting a variety of events, such as the Carson Center, FUSE Coworking, The Barnyard, Catalyst, Union Bank & Trust, The Foundry, and Arrive Coworking.

Ultimately, the idea was to celebrate the startup network that exists in Lincoln and to inspire others who have designs on becoming an entrepreneur themselves.

Pictured (L-R): Luke Peltz, director of business development, LPED; Pat Haverty, vice president, LPED; Wendy Birdsall, president, LPED and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; Christina Oldfather; Jeff Eellss, director of business development, Layer; Kayla Meyer, coordinator, Lincoln Young Professionals Group; Kaylie Hogan-Schnittker, director of talent strategy, LPED.

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The Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together. For more information on the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, ( please contact Jaime Henning at

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