7 Irish Startups to Make Education and Learning Better

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success! Here’s a snapshot of the event with the winners announced.

1st Place: Hello Coder

An application teaching girls to code by creating fashion.

Hello Coder team

2nd Place: NextFuture

A platform for second and third level students to work on real life projects and make better career decisions.

Next Future Team
Next Future Team

3rd Place:  Play Academy

Playful games for companies to improve team dynamics and create high performing teams.

Play Academy Team
Play Academy Team


Kids EduPro is a platform where parents can find expert advice and resources about alternative education.

Learning Mat is a multi sensory interactive collaborative learning for all age groups and subject areas.

Propeller is a platform that gives students a real world experience and companies – an affordable labour.

Learn Log is a solution for keeping track of child’s well-being and creating an interactive dialogue with parents and teachers.


Quality of Ideas

As organisers we were impressed by the quality and a variety of ideas, from lifelong learning, school education to professional development – teams at Startup Weekend Education tackled all problems!

Global Startup Battle

Dublin Startup Weekend Education made it to the top 20 at Global Startup Battle, a competition of 102 startup weekends from all around the world competing during November 13-15.

Join our Community

Startup Weekend Education was the first hackathon for education and learning technology in Ireland, and as organisers we hope it will spark a community of edupreneurs! Join our new meetup group Learning Technology Ireland to continue working on ideas that change the way we learn.

Learning Technology Ireland is a community of technologists, designers, educators and entrepreneurs who come together to share knowledge. We’re creating an open space to discuss problems in learning and education, and brainstorm ideas for possible solutions. Send a message to Ruta, Amy or David if you want to organise a meetup together.

Website: http://www.meetup.com/Learning-Technology-Ireland


Momentum at Startup Weekend Education

Ireland’s first Startup Weekend Education is almost over. Seven impressive teams have battled it out late into the night to get the chance to pitch their products to a panel of judges and special guests.


Nothing was going to stop these enthusiastic entrepreneurs from making waves. Innovative ideas, and coffee, flowed at the Bank of Ireland in Grand Canal Square.


A big thanks must go to Gary (@gary_leyden), our special guest speaker on Saturday. Gary is an investor in early stage tech startups and as director of NDRC LaunchPad, leads Ireland’s #1 tech accelerator.



With so much energy being used, refueling throughout the event was essential and KC Peaches (@kcpeaches) supplied us with a plethora of food!



Tension and excitement started to rise as teams developed, divided and merged as the weekend continued.


Not that it was all work and no play, there was time for plenty of joking!



Teams were guided throughout the weekend by organisers, mentors and guest speakers, including lead members of the edtech, education and business communities.




Teams have been under the eagle eye of Richie (@RichieDonelan) from IrishStartUp.TV.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 17.01.37

Let’s hope everyone took Nick’s advice on pitching! As CEO of Sprintfire, he knows the tricks of the trade! Here we go… See you on the other side!

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#StuSWDub, things are getting exciting!

In at 9am this morning, our teams began fueling up on breakfast provided by Google. The smell of coffee flooded the workbenches as our teams got down to work. Check out what some of our fantastic startups are working on right now:

1. Bridal Network– Your go-to guide for wedding planning, where brides can share honest reviews of everything from caterers to dress-makers, what made their wedding special (or terrible) and an outlet to gush about their weddings when nobody else wants to listen.

Bridal Network




2. HeadSpace– A new type of social network program connecting like-minded people, educating, creating awareness and removing the stigma of mental health in Ireland and Worldwide!



3. Banc– a fun and interactive way to teach kids about financial planning through positive discipline.


4. Entify– a platform that connects you with everything and anything you need to plan any kind of event, ‘Event planning made simple’.



5. Seraya– Have you ever needed a taxi somewhere without anyone to split the cost with? Seyai connects you with fellow cab-catchers in the vicinity that are also looking to share a taxi.



6. BandStation– Connect with other like-minded musicians who are looking to form a band!

Band Creator

7. Rosca– Financial app that enables users to borrow or lend disposable amounts of cash instantly.


8. FoodChain– Helping restaurants save their time and money while also reducing food waste.



9. Paroot– A platform that allows you to share your online identity instantly when you meet someone, almost like a virtual business card.



Student Startup Weekend: Student Edition kicks off!

Startup Weekend returns to Dublin once again! But for the first time, in Student Edition. The air here at Google HQ is booming with diversity. International and Irish-based students all crowd the main space, collecting our colourful selection of t-shirts. Our participants enjoyed a free meal from PizzaDog while networking and getting to know others.

Our facilitator and Director of Startup Weekend himself, John Beadle, riled up our students with a big, warm ‘Omaha Welcome’.


First, as per Startup Weekend tradition, we started off with a lively and interesting game of ‘Half-Baked’. The brainstorming begins, from ginger hair dye for Flamingos going through mid-life crises to oboe playing

Our facilitator and Director of Startup Weekend!- @JohnBeadle

for young deaf children.

Next we had the very inspiring Ciara Judge, founder of PurchaseMate and Germinaid, who reminded us to always count your successes and remember how far you’ve come.

“The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek” says Daniel Kyne, Lead organiser here at Student Startup Weekend Dublin. He is often seen lurking around the place whispering this quote to himself, still yet to emerge from his ‘cave’.

As we progress further into the night, eyes are growing weary but spirits are still high. Our newly formed teams have established their work benches and are discussing their plans for the weekend, the day draws to a close but the journey has only just begun…

B&W photos taken by Tomasz Laskowski from http://www.dayinlife.ie/

Check him out on facebook at http://facebook.com/dayinlife.ie



38dd85dbaa094205809f10b89d7e0de8A guest blog from Alan Maguire of Versari Partners

Friday 13th is unlucky for some but today is a great day for Irish Edtech: Startup Weekend Edu has come to Dublin and the first event starts tonight. Versari first got exposed to the event as one of the judges in London some years back and we are proud to be a sponsor of the global phenomenon’s first incarnation in our hometown. May it be the first of many.

Although not specifically in this context, two particular posts caught my eye recently which could arguably be required reading for tonight’s nascent Edupreneurs in Dublin.

First off, this cracking piece from Michael Horn at edSurge which analyses Amplify’s dramatic fall from grace and recent rebirth. There are multiple lessons to be learned here but one stands out for me: ‘It is not about the tech. It Is About The Teachers’ Load’.

Of the hundreds of edtech businesses we have seen in recent years, it is astonishing how few promoters understand the educator’s workflow.

Great idea? Check.
Shiny New Technology? Check.
Wildly passionate founding team? A given.
But where will this fit in the educational process? Dunno mate! Why does that matter?

In some ways, it’s the only thing that matters. Knowing were, how & why your solution makes existing processes easier is critical to getting people to understand, use & buy it. If you’re going to make something that is currently hard for me much easier, you had me at hello. If you’re asking me to do something different, it’s not impossible but it is a much, much harder conversation. Harder conversations take longer. Long sales cycles are the enemy of scale. It’s almost that simple.

Which leads me to post # 2 by Loren Padelford and a favourite topic of ours. Loren is flagging a macro shortage of sales skills that we’ve long experienced here in Ireland, appears to be increasingly endemic globally but, regrettably, that we won’t fix in this post! At a more micro level, what is relevant – especially to our start-up weekenders – is an understanding that a sales competency is as important as any other in turning your brilliant idea into a business. We don’t expect edtech ventures to come pre-packed with high performing commercial skills – they are harder to acquire than that. But we do like to see promoters demonstrate an understanding (at least) that commercial execution is required to scale. Even as I write, this sounds so blindingly obvious and yet Padelford’s post demonstrates how widespread this failing is.
So good luck to all our first Irish Startup weekend-ers tonight through Sunday. And as you break into your teams to dream up the next Udacity, rest assured that few will doubt the efficacy of your solution. Where it will fit & How you will sell it might be less sexy questions. But they might be the more important ones that you have to answer

5 stakeholders to consider when building an EdTech startup

Dublin’s first ever EdTech edition of Startup Weekend kicks offs on Friday. I thought it’d be cool to list out a few stakeholders to consider when identifying problems and building solutions over the 54 hour period.

Pupils and Student – This is usually the focus when looking at problems and solution in Education and that is not a bad thing as these are the most important stakeholders. So get to know more about pain points in the learning process. Get talking to students to find out more.

Teachers – These are also important stakeholders as they play an essential role in the education process. They do face problems in administering knowledge especially in a world where books just don’t cut it any more. You do want to talk to them too and see how to best build solutions to their problems.

Parents – Education and learning is not restricted to the four walls of the classroom. Parents are quite important when it comes to educating the child. They also determine the amount of resource that goes into a child’s education – tuition, books, games, apps, etc. So it’s important to have them on board when developing solutions as they are your most important customers.

Researchers – These stakeholders are often involved in determining the new trends, and technologies to be adapted when it comes to education. They also study current trends such as student performance, and do have plenty of data that can help in coming up with solutions. There are many publications online from researchers you don’t want to miss out on.

Government – This the last but not least stakeholder you want to get involved when developing an EdTech idea, solution, or startups. They provide funding and also make policies, so it is important to get them on board. The government also have pain points from an administrative point of view, and these are worth exploring for solutions.


Look forward to seeing you on Friday at the Bank of Ireland, Grand Canal Square. Last few tickets are still available here.

Dublin Startup Weekend Education: 2 Weeks Out

Last week, the Startup Weekend Education team infiltrated the home of Versari Partners, with the help of Amy Keith, our newest member. This was our final chance to meet before the event kicks off next month. With less than three weeks to go, things were picking up speed and there was much to do, such as make coffee and take selfies.

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Selfie at Versari Partners: (R-L) Nubi, Daniel, Amy, Nana, Ruta and David.

Selfies aside, we have a lot to share with you. Irish graphic designer, Tamara Stone (@TamaraMarieDSGN), has created our new logo for the event and designed the banner featuring the impressive Samuel Beckett bridge. We have also taken control of the Dublin Startup Weekend Twitter account (@SWDub), so make sure to follow us to keep updated.

Startup Weekend Logo
Startup Weekend Education Logo
Startup Weekend Banner
Startup Weekend Education Banner

We are delighted to announce that Bank of Ireland, Versari Partners, Irish Startup.TV and SuppliesBox.com have kindly sponsored our event. Dublin-based The T-Shirt Company printed our hoodies so keep your eyes peeled for us wandering around Dublin. Don’t be afraid to stop us and say hi!

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Not only do Irish companies sponsor us; we will be joined by a host of influential Irish-based change-makers, such as guest speaker Gary Leyden (Director at NDRC LaunchPad) and facilitator Jessica Falkenthal (EdTech Marketing Strategist & Startup Coach). Judging the final pitches will be Martyn Farrows (Director at Learnovate Centre), Dr Claire O’Connell (Science Writer and Journalist), Vicky Godolphin (Head of Digital at Accenture Ireland) and Stephen Moran (Innovation Manager at Bank of Ireland).

No pressure then.

Thankfully, you will have the opportunity to work with inspiring mentors and coaches who are leading the way in their respective fields: Gene Murphy (E.I.R. at Bank of Ireland), Cristina Luminea (CEO at Thoughtbox), Conor O’Sullivan (CEO at Adaptemy), Maggie Green (Founder at The School Door), Kathryn Parkes (Director of UX & Design at Swrve), Kareem Mostafa (Marketing Professional), Nicholas Hynes (CEO at SprintFire) and Olivia Lavelle (Education Psychologist).

Find out more about who you will meet at Startup Weekend Education: http://www.up.co/communities/ireland/dublin/startup-weekend/7134.

Tickets are selling fast. As I type we have only a small number of early-bird tickets available for educators. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. As Ireland’s first Startup Weekend that focuses entirely on education, each one of us has the responsibility of sharing our educational experiences, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Be the change you want to see: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-weekend-dublin-edu-tickets-18153039229.

Educators and Entrepreneurs Come Together to Build Technology


Dublin Startup Weekend Education

Dublin, Ireland, October 25, 2015 — Dublin Startup Weekend Education brings together educators, developers, designers and entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a positive impact in education to build game-changing technology products in 54 hours. Over a course of three days teams develop viable concepts that address the needs of teachers, students and parents, as well as college professors, corporate trainers and everyone concerned with lifelong learning. The teams are supported by experts in education, technology, design and business.

“No matter what your role is, education impacts your present and future. The more you know, the better opportunities you have in life. Education is a complex system, but learning belongs to everyone. To make learning better we need collaboration between various groups of people, especially those with background in education and professional development, and technology makers,” said lead organizer Ruta Danyte. “Good ideas come from diversity. By bringing people from such different backgrounds together, Dublin Startup Weekend Education creates a springboard to create technology we all want to use to acquire new skills.”

The format of the event is focused on bringing people with skills and people with ideas together. On Friday night, participants get a chance to present their technology ideas to the group in 60 seconds. After teams form, the rest of the weekend is spent working on the most popular ideas with the help of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors. On Sunday, teams present their ideas in front of a panel of thought leaders from education and technology industry in Ireland, including Martyn Farrows (Learnovate Centre), Stephen Moran (Bank of Ireland), Dr Claire O’Connell (The Irish Times) and Vicky Godolphin (Accenture Ireland), who will award teams based on business model and customer validation.

“I participated in Startup Weekend a few months before joining the organising team. The vibrant experience of the event was invaluable, it allowed me to validate the need for my idea and turn it into an actual product,” said Nana Adeniyi, the founder of The Alpha Project. “Technology is the most effective way of  informatively improving all aspects of education. I’m glad Startup Weekend allows for opportunities to do that.”

Dublin Startup Weekend Education is part of an international entrepreneurship competition Global Startup Battle which offer prizes such as trip to Amsterdam, the membership at Founder Institute and other resources to help build a technology company. Global Startup Battle unites hundreds of Startup Weekend events hosted around the world where winning teams from each event move forward to compete with one another during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“Bank of Ireland is delighted to be backing the next generation of great ideas that will be worked on during Startup Weekend Education at Grand Canal Square this November 13th – 15th. With a range of supports already in place through the Startup community including our workbench program in Galway and Dublin to get entrepreneurs started as well as our newly released StartLab incubator program also in Galway we are looking forward to how teams progress over this exciting 54 hour challenge at the Startup Weekend Education edition this November,” said Gene Murphy, E.I.R. at Bank of Ireland.

Dublin Startup Weekend Education is proudly sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Versari Partners, IrishStartupTV and Suppliesbox.

About: Startup Weekend Education events are 54-hour events designed to provide superior entrepreneurship education for people with diverse skills. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, Startup Weekend Education events culminate in Sunday night presentations. Participants create working education startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education. Whether you are looking for feedback on an idea or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

Visit our website to get your ticket and follow us for updates:

Website: http://www.up.co/communities/ireland/dublin/startup-weekend/7134

Twitter: https://twitter.com/swdub

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SWDub


Download Press Release.



Startup Weekend Update

So…We’re changing dates.

Not to next Spring or next summer, Just until November 20th so no need to despair.

What am I going to do with all this extra spare time?

No worries, The Startup Gathering kicks off on October 5th and there are a host of events around the Treaty to keep even the most avid and needy Startup Junkie from feeling the withdrawals. 🙂

The date also aligns with our 1 year anniversary so we said, Why not remove the shackles and make it a Startup Weekend Birthday Bonanza?..

That’s right, one year along an epic road of building startups and enhancing relationships right across the MidWest and we couldn’t be more proud of that.

What changes? Well nothing. All the awesome mentors and judges have just been confirmed for the new dates, the venue is still the University of Limerick, the focal point of which is the Nexus Innovation Centre.

What will I do if I have already booked my ticket?

No biggy…Your ticket will either be refunded or we will issue you with a new ticket. We will email all participants in the coming days with information.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of Startup Weekend and looking forward to a bigger and even better event on November 20th.

From Peter, Shane and the Startup Weekend Limerick Team.

Dublin Startup Weekend – Shane Grimes Part 2


From a technical point of view there is always an urge to just build something straight away as the time frame is so short and having a functioning MVP by the pitch time is one of the judging criteria. Depending on what the idea is your MVP might be a landing page to gather signups, it might be a data gathering program, it might be an app and it might a piece of hardware. Your MVP will depend on your team and if it’s software related you’ve got some tools to help you with setting yourself up over the weekend including a free domain and some server time.

But the end product of the weekend is going to be your pitch on stage so if what you’re doing doesn’t add value to that goal then maybe rethink if you should do it. Does what you’re building contribute to validating your idea and will it enable you to start gathering data (signups, users, products etc)? If so then go forth and build, if not, maybe check your premises.

Validation of your assumptions, goals and business plan is really the focus of the first half of Saturday; what is it we’re solving and do people want it? Identify your customers and get out and talk to them is a good step and it can help you identify if your value proposition is attractive to them.

There’s ongoing talks throughout the day from some great speakers and if you can split your team to take in those talks and build those learnings into your process as well as taking on board your mentors advice you’ll be making the most of the weekend.

The second half of Saturday is then really a hell for leather run at finalising your strategy, building out your MVP and working out how to clearly tell the story of your product in the 4 short minutes you’ll have on stage.

Oh and not to forget the tasty Google food to keep you going throughout the day and the few drinks at the end of the day to carry out your post-mortem.

Sunday is more of a minor panic mode as you work towards finishing your pitch with those presenting practising and getting feedback from mentors. Before you know it you’re in the Google auditorium and watching twenty or so pitches up on stage along with doing your own and then it’s all over, winners announced and everyone on stage for a picture and celebration.


And it seemed like only a moment ago you walked in the door on a Friday evening whereas now it’s Sunday and even though everyone can’t win the judge’s prize everyone who has taken part has had some fun and learned something new along the way.

It really is a great experience and you’ll meet plenty of interesting people and listen to some cool ideas throughout the weekend. Technical people and designers are in pretty high demand when it comes to the team forming stage as everyone wants someone to build or design their mvp but if you’re a non technical person have no fear you’ll get just as much out of the weekend.

Startup Weekend is as much about idea validation and learning how to take an idea from a random thought through to validation as much as building something. A killer pitch is really an idea with a defined and reachable market, a well thought out business case, a great looking slide deck and an MVP. How you decide to define all those is up to you.

So make the most of your time by learning from your team-mates, mentors and speakers and you’ll be making the most of what a great weekend has to offer. It’s not the destination that matters it’s the journey!