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Written by organizers of Startup Weekend EDU in Phoenix:

On April 25th, Phoenix will kick off its first-ever Startup Weekend EDU, bringing together educators, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and other business professionals from across the Valley of the Sun.  Driven by their passion for education innovation, participants share ideas, form teams, design products and launch education start-ups — all in just 54 hours.

The Valley is already home to a number of leading, innovative education institutions, including Apollo Group (University of Phoenix), Arizona State University, Arizona Venture Fund for Quality Education, Grand Canyon Education, Mesa Public Schools and its TechExpo, Pearson, FlipSwitch (Primavera Online High School) and Rio Salado Community College.  Phoenix also boasts a growing number of dynamic, education technology start-ups including Parchment, rSmart, StormWind, Synergis Education and recent LAUNCHedu finalists Proctor.io as well as ASU’s innovation center Skysong and its Education Innovation Summit.

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As Matt Pittinsky, the CEO of Parchment notes, “having relocated to Phoenix first to teach at ASU and then to lead Parchment, I appreciate the history of education innovation here and our great scaled online and campus-based education institutions.  I can also appreciate the value of entrepreneurial ecosystems as I previously co-founded Blackboard in the thriving edtech hub of Washington DC and Baltimore.  We are working to tie together all the Valley’s players, from public schools to online start-ups and in that way put Phoenix on the map.”

Phoenix Startup Weekend EDU seeks to add the missing grassroots element to these large and formal efforts.  Having had the good fortune to be involved with Startup Weekend EDU efforts across LA, Chicago, and NYC, we have observed the energy and outcomes of these events, including new start-ups and non-profit programs like ImagiLabs’s Challenge Box, Qeyno, Kidfit Academy, and PDnearMe. In combination with our new local network Educelerate Phoenix, we are eager to transform new innovative education ideas into action.

Phoenix Startup Weekend EDU commences just two days after the ASU Education Innovation Summit on Friday April 25nd.  Purchase your ticket at phoenixedu.eventbrite.com to join a team and work with our supporting educators, entrepreneurs and investors, including our organizers Julie Bai (API Evangelist, Developer Relations at Pearson), Emily Breuker (higher education strategy leader), and Christopher Nyren (founder of Educated Ventures and Educelerate).  A special thank you to Tom vander Ark who has also helped promote our event and the Phoenix education ecosystem.

John Baldo