Boston SWEDU Pitchfire Results! 30 Ideas, 9 Finalists to Form

Boston Startup Weekend Education kicked off Friday night with 30 ideas for education innovation from attendees.  After a round of 1 minutes pitches, organizers tabulated participant peer votes, leaving 9 ideas to advance to seek to form teams.  These pitchers were then left to flesh out their ideas and attempt to recruit sufficient teams to actually build these out over the weekend!

Here were our top ideas advancing to team formation:

  • Achieve Financial Freedom Together: pitched by Nancy out of her own experience seeking to learn to save and invest having come to the US from China but addressing universal issues of financial literacy by building a freemium financial education platform for Millennials, who despite strong average incomes have below average savings levels.
  • EDscursion: pitched out of an educator’s real life experience managing field trips for a rural classroom, this online platform would simplify and plan student learning excursions.
  • FeedLoop: pitched by Jeff, an educator turned developer seeking to build a student peer feedback platform for the classroom that adapts models employed by developers to write code.
  • “Google Analytics for EDU”: Pitched by Parviz who out of his decade of experience serving on the board of a local school, sees the need to build a platform that truly tracks learning effectiveness (sentiment analysis, sensor networks, machine learning)
  • Mindful Testing VR: pitched by John,a first year MBA at MIT, with 5 years of development experience at Microsoft, to address test taking anxiety. With 16-20% of students experiencing debilitating test taking anxiety levels, this platform will replace paper based testing with a VR environment for off-site test taking.
  • Quick Deck: pitched by Al, a medical adaptive test prep entrepreneur to create a simple, automated flashcard generator utilizing a Chrome extension for users to highlight given website content which will automatically link to a content library and auto-populate a digital flashcard template.
  • Reskill Me: pitched by Neel, a venture capitalist originally from London, as a skills training platform targeted those threatened to be left behind by Globalization in a post-Brexit world.
  • Super Moms: pitched by Alex (another Brit!) online career platform for reintegrating recent maternity / paternity leave parents into the workforce.
  • Teacher Licensure Tracker:  pitched by Cara, a teacher turned UX designer, this is an administration platform for storing and tracking teacher certifications and licenses.

StartupWeekend Education Returns to Boston (November 10-12)

On November 10th, Startup Weekend Education returns to Boston for the first time since 2014 with a great group of judges, mentors and organizers from the education and start-up worlds set to support you and your ideas to help drive innovation in education!

Backed by Techstars, the worldwide entrepreneur network, and hosted at Pearson Education’s Copley Square offices, StartupWeekend Education (“SWEDU”) creates a space and resources to bring new ideas, technology and entrepreneurs to make a difference across the Boston (and global!) education community. 

No better example exists LeanGap, one of the winning teams from the past 2014 Boston SWEDU. Pitched by by a high-school student as an idea for a start-up accelerator for other high schoolers, LeanGap is still going strong today, having just finished their third summer (read more here on BetaBoston)!  

On November 10-12, you have the chance to be our next success story, working with over 100 educators, students, developers, designers, and other professionals on your team.  Our judging panel includes Mark Racine (CTO of Boston Public Schools), Christine Ortiz (former dean of MIT), Jean Hammond (founder of the LearnLaunch accelerator), Aaron Feuer (CEO of the Zuckerberg funded Panorama Education) and Curtiss Barnes (SVP of Pearson) and our coaches are drawn from some of the leading entrepreneurs, practitioners and software developers in the education industry.

You will also benefit from having a local organizing team who have led nearly a dozen SWEDUs between them, including Vicky Guo of Pearson, a co-organizer of the 2014 Boston SWEDU, Hannah Nyren of the EdTech Times (@edtechtimes), who was on one of the winning teams at 2014 Boston SWEDU, and Christopher Nyren (@cnyren) founder of Educated Ventures.

The winning team will secure additional support, including free invitations to some of the leading education startup conferences and festivals across the country including LearnLaunch, NY EdTech Week, and more to be announced!

Lets see what you can do in 54 hours with all their support, three meals a day, and a fun, collaborative working environment! Learn more and register under the early bird pricing (ending this Thursday!) at!

AquaXI Takes First Place

Another amazing Startup Weekend has wrapped up.  We successfully completed the world’s first Startup Weekend focused on the Blue Economy, we called it Startup Weekend Blue.

Team AquaXI

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was the perfect location and the most gracious host of the event.

Throughout the course of the weekend we had 30 – 50 people at the event from participants, coaches, sponsors, investors and the general public.   We also had some of the wildest weather I can remember on Cape Cod, from dense fog and 50 degrees on Friday night to driving rain and 40s on Saturday to 20s on Sunday and a couple inches of snow…. insane.

SW Blue

Read all about it here on the Cape Cod Times.

Post Event Report

We had over 50 people on Wednesday night, after a brief overview of the vision for the region we got right down to brainstorming.  We had put up the four pillars of the Blue Economy, Climate Change, Water/Wastewater, Fisheries and Energy however the group really focused in on fisheries.

In case you can’t read the text in the photo here’s a list of the ideas and topics discussed:IMG_4678 (1)

  • Buy fresh buy local
  • Community Supported Fishing (CSF) with a special focus on membership interacting with retail
  • Municipal shellfish support
  • Import/Export balancing: the idea that the Vineyard should have a balance of what gets exported and imported specifically with regard to fish/shellfish.
  • Marketing: better marketing of the Island and its assets
  • Little Guards: an ecologically focused summer program for kids
  • Nitrogen Mitigation: cost effective treatment options
  • Easement vs. conservation for shellfishing areas with a view
  • Cultural sustainability: preserving the Island’s culture with a focus on sustainability
  • Shellfish / Nitrogen Mitigation
  • Working Harbors: especially places like Vineyard Haven
  • Field Station: used for research, eco tourism, etc.
  • Shellfish compost

There was a great article published on the event:


Cape’s blue economy lands some green

Blue Economy Ideation Comes to the Vineyard

We’re getting excited for the upcoming session, check out the recent press on the event.

Blue Economy Gets a Boost

In case you missed it, here’s an important milestone for the regional economy.

Startup Weekend Blue to get a rolling start in 2016

The Cape Cod Times wrote a follow-on piece to outline the work we’re doing to keep the momentum going for Startup Weekend Blue.

Building a blue economy

Interesting article in EcoBusiness about building blue economies in Asia, we can do that right here!

Blue Economy Featured on The Point with Mindy Todd

On The Point, we talk about the Blue Economy: a long range plan to promote and sustain a marine-centered live-work-play economy. The Cape and Islands economies have gone through a number of transitions over past few hundred years, from agriculture and whaling to fishing and now tourism. But for decades, community and business leaders been searching for a way to expand and diversify the economy beyond our seasonal tourism base; now they have their sights set on  the Blue Economy. Joining Mindy Todd to discuss this vision of the Blue Economy is Peter Karlson, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and on the phone from her office, Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.  Here’s a link for information on StartUp Weekend Blue