It’s day 1 of the Startup Weekend Dublin and the room is packed with almost 100 people looking to have an amazing time in the next 54 hours at Google HQ.
One can almost have the feeling as you walk through the door that it’s going to be the best edition so far. “Such a great diversity in the room, feel almost like having one person per country” – Aimee said, she’s one of the organizers for this edition.
Dinner was made possible by another fantastic sponsor – Burritos and Blues. They’ve been always there keeping our belly right and they surprised us with an interesting item on the menu – The Silver Bullet. You’d have to ask Paddy Quinlan about that. Let’s just say spicy is the word.
We definitely give it up to the amazing people who have come in to experience this weekend. It’s definitely going to epic. There are many new faces in the room and a few returnees. We’ve got a good representation of genders and cultures in the room too.
Let the fun begin!
Last year, SXSWEdu was a blast, (if you need any reminding, check out our photo album). We’re certain that this year will be even better! From March 9-12th, we’ll be in Austin, TX participating in five SXSWEdu events.
1. LAUNCHedu Competition
Early-stage startups seeking feedback, investment, strategic partnerships and exposure were invited to apply online to have their company considered for the competition. The promising startups that are selected as finalists in the competition will present their early stage business concepts before a judging panel of industry experts, early adopters and educators, as well as a live audience at SXSWedu. More details.
2. Workshop: Understanding and Empathizing With Education Users
How well do you think you know your user? Whether you’re a teacher trying to understand the needs of students in your classroom or an entrepreneur trying to understand the needs of teachers and students who use your product, empathy and understanding is the secret weapon of successful entrepreneurs. In this workshop, you will discover and practice techniques for understanding your user’s needs. More details.
3. Panel: Redesigning School As We Know It
Why does school mean four walls, one teacher and 20 students? Ever had an idea for how to reinvent a school from the ground up? This panel will discuss how to design schools of the future that create opportunities for students and teachers to thrive. What are the frameworks for thinking about what is needed in a new school model? If you’re interested in designing personalized learning and competency-based education, then this panel is for you. Meet the panelists and find out where this event will be hosted.
4. Edtech Community Builders Meetup powered by Edtech Austin
Leading edtech events, programs or organizations in your community? Looking to take the edtech scene in your city to the next level? Edtech community builders from around the world are gathering at SXSWedu to swap stories and share tactics. More details.
Free entry and free drink tickets, but you must RSVP here.
A few of our Education Entrepreneurs Community Leaders are also hosting events:
Gaming the System: Teachers Hacking the Classroom, featuring Community Leader Courtney Francis
A growing number of teachers are creating games of all shapes and sizes for their own classrooms. They’re defying conventions in creative ways that inspire and engage students (and teachers!) to learn through game play. Let’s talk about what that’s like, and lead the way for other innovative teachers. We’ll share remarkable work, discuss the creation process and inspire one another to think like game designers. Learn how to create, adapt, remix, mash up and integrate games in classrooms. More details.
Building an EdTech Bill of Rights, featuring Community Leader Katrina Stevens
In this 2-hour, hands-on interactive session, we’ll use a design process to collectively create an “Edtech Bill of Rights” that suggests the responsibilities of different members of the EdTech ecosystem and fosters authentic partnerships. Goal is to facilitate dialogue among teachers, EdTech leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, with a focus on educator voices, for the purpose of working together across the ecosystem on innovative ideas that will improve student learning. More details.
For more information about Education Entrepreneurs, visit our website.
Today, we are excited to announce that 4.0 Schools and Education Entrepreneurs have formed a national partnership that covers two of our key program offerings: Startup Weekend Education and Workshops. As a leading incubator for pre-seed education entrepreneurs, 4.0 Schools will play a more active role at our events throughout the United States, ensuring our early stage entrepreneurs have a great next step to pursue, and that event Organizers feel supported in putting on a great event.
Since 2010, 4.0 Schools has launched 43 education ventures, 34 of which are still serving students, teachers, parents today. 4.0 Schools ventures have raised over $5M and earned more than $2.5M in revenue, and include such notable companies as Overgrad, Formative, Community Guilds, and Branching Minds. Also, several Education Entrepreneurs alumni have already taken advantage of 4.0 Schools programming, including Fantasy Geopolitics, Classtracks, Vidcode, and ImagiLabs.
With this new partnership, 4.0 Schools is excited to give Education Entrepreneurs participants the opportunity to bring their early stage ventures to 4.0 Schools for coaching and battle-testing their ideas with users via their two programs, Essentials and the Launch program.
- Essentials is a multi-day experience designed to help support 4.0 Schools community members move their ideas forward. Participants will practice the skills of empathy, unbundling, and prototyping, as they work to concisely define their customer or user, the problem they’re working to solve, and the solution they’re testing. Essentials alums walk out the door with a clear plan to test their idea.
- The Launch program supports entrepreneurs to bring new ventures – products, services, or school models – to life in under 90 days. If you’re a bold, gritty individual hungry to solve a tough problem, the Launch program will push you to test and iterate your envisioned solution until it is really meeting the needs of your end users. 4.0 provides an extensive test-bed in NOLA, where companies can iterate based on real user feedback and secure their first customers. During the Launch program, entrepreneurs will have access to coaching, connections, and equity-free capital up to 5k.
4.0 Schools is focused on more than just developing entrepreneurs. They’re committed to building communities of educators, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to build the future of school. This new partnership will also more strategically connect our volunteer event Organizers and national Community Leaders with 4.0 Schools’ network and resources, to ensure the greatest impact possible can be made towards community building efforts focused on education innovation.
You can learn more about 4.0 Schools here.
Startup Weekend Stories: Memories, reflections and lessons learned from Startup Weekend events in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa.
Today we meet Lauren Aguilar, a student at the University of Iowa who has been involved with multiple local projects along with her brother, Nico. Sometimes college towns struggle with a disconnect between students and residents, but Startup Weekend helped Lauren cross the divide – she found the community support to keep going. She writes: “We never stopped working on the idea! I’m actually graduating in May and I will be working on SPEEKO full time!”
The idea – pitch, please:
Friday night we pitched an “um” counting app. Saturday we added helping people get over the fear of public speaking to our value proposition. Sunday night SPEEKO was pitched and it is an app that records your presentation or speech meanwhile tracking volume, pace, and filler words to give you valuable insights into how you speak in order to make effective improvements.
What were your hopes and goals going into the weekend?
I had no idea what I was getting into! I just wanted to meet new people, see what all the hype was really about, and try to learn something out of it.
What was your involvement with the local startup community before the weekend?
As a finance student at the University of Iowa, I really wasn’t involved in the startup community at all! I got involved with the student incubator through JPEC during my third year, but I had no idea that there was so much more. I remember people talking about events that were going on in the community (like 1 Million Cups and TechBrew) but I never went to them. That’s why I’m so glad I eventually did because the community I’ve discovered has been incredible.
What was the most challenging part of the weekend?
The most challenging part of the weekend was just focusing on one idea and sticking to it. When you get a group of creative people together ideas just never stop! It was really exciting to see the evolution of ideas from the Friday night to Sunday night pitches.
Find the next Startup Weekend in Iowa at swia.co!
Since 2010, we’ve been developing programming to support individuals interested in leveraging entrepreneurship to improve education outcomes. Recognizing that education entrepreneurs face unique problems that require unique solutions, we’ve focused our energy on increasing the quality and range of our offerings to ensure entrepreneurs feel supported at every stage of their journey. Centering on Startup Weekend Education, a 54-hour experiential learning event, education entrepreneurs can also take advantage of education-specific reading lists, bootcamps, meetups, resources, and a global network of Community Leaders, who specialize in education innovation.
Opportunities to Connect and Grow
See our flagship program, Startup Weekend Education, in action
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The Community is Driving Growth
Any opportunity that people get to engage with our programming is due to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteer Community Leaders dispersed throughout the world. Community Leaders are those special individuals who want to bring people together to collaborate on the creation of education solutions. They strategically use our programs, resources, and global network to support the development of an education innovation community in their city. It’s because of these Community Leaders, that more people than ever are gaining access to key information, skills, and a network that’s been shown to play a pivotal role in the development of successful education entrepreneurs.
Growth Over Past Year
A Few Success Stories
Several education entrepreneurs that participated in Startup Weekend/Education have gone on to develop edtech products and teams that have been admitted into some of the most prestigious startup accelerators in the world (e.g. Imagine K-12, Y Combinator). Here’s a few of them: Sam and Liam of Class Dojo, Dan of Clever, Jeff of No Red Ink, and the team of Experiment. These entrepreneurs have all created effective solutions to significant pain points of teachers and/or administrators, and their impressive traction has resulted in several million dollars being invested in their companies in recent years.
As a high school social studies teacher, Eric Nelson had a problem of his students being disengaged & disinterested in geopolitics. At the recommendation of his mentor organization, 4.0 Schools, Eric pitched Fantasy Geopolitics at Startup Weekend Education Chicago in 2013. A year later, his product is engaging over 10,000 students and 500 teachers in learning about the world in which they live via a fun “fantasy football” type of game.
Ed an internet entrepreneur, Simon a graphic designer, and Paul an educator built Night Zookeeper during Startup Weekend Education London in 2011 to improve creative writing and literacy skills in young children. Night Zookeeper is now used in more than 5000 schools by more than 500,000 children, and they’ve raised about $900,000 to-date.
At Startup Weekend Education New York City in January 2014, three female developers, Alexandra Diracles, Melissa Halfon, and Leandra Tejedor, teamed up to get more teen girls excited about technology. Feeling a mutual charging that the tech world is still heavily male-dominated, these entrepreneurs wanted to find a way to teach girls that coding and working in tech is creative and fun. What resulted was Vidcode, a video coding app that is not only self-expressive, but paired with a hobby that teen girls love – creating and sharing videos. Today, their Kickstarter Campaign has already reached its goal, with five days still left to go!
Recognition from the Broader Education Community
- Nominated for the “Better Together” Digital Innovation Learning Award (winner announced November 21st)
- Selected as a panelist at SXSWEdu 2015 (topic is “Redesigning on School as We Know It”)
- Invited to conduct the Keynote at this year’s NYSCATE Conference, the largest professional organization of technology-using educators and administrators in New York State
What’s even better, our successful and seasoned entrepreneurs often times return to our events as Mentors, Speakers, or Judges, guiding the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs, and strengthening the “pay it forward” culture our Community Leaders have established.
The Name Should Reflect The Community
Recognizing that our Participants, Community Leaders, and Mentors are just as much the drivers for success as the programming and resources themselves, we have made the decision to move forward with a new name that shines a light on exactly who is responsible for this growing education innovation movement: people passionate about education entrepreneurship. As of today, we are officially retiring the Startup Education name and establishing ourselves as Education Entrepreneurs. Clear, to-the-point, and representative of who we are, our community is excited to carry this message forward:
We are Education Entrepreneurs, a global and diverse community that uses entrepreneurship to improve education.
So What’s Next?
- Visit our website to learn more about Education Entrepreneurs
- Stay up-to-date by following us on social media (Twitter and Facebook), subscribing to our newsletter, and bookmarking our website
- Check out our list of upcoming events to see which one you want to participate in
- Bring education entrepreneurship to your own community by organizing an event
- Email EducationEntrepreneurs@up.co with any questions or comments
On September 13th in Los Angeles, EdSurge is hosting its next Tech for Schools Summit, and once again, Startup Education wants to give one lucky Startup Weekend Education alumni the opportunity to earn the coveted “Startup Education Featured Company” spot, and showcase their product in front of hundreds of educators and school leaders. The deadline to apply is Thursday, July 31st, at 5:00pm PST, so read on to find out how you can take advantage of this incredible opportunity!
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What is the Edsurge Tech for Schools Summit?
Last month, Startup Education formed a partnership with EdSurge, the leading source of news and resources for education entrepreneurs. This partnership offers an opportunity for Startup Education’s global community of education innovators to engage with EdSurge’s timely content, resources, and opportunities – including EdSurge’s Tech for Schools Summits. Encompassing day-long events in a variety of cities around the country, the Tech for Schools Summits give educators an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with some of the most innovative technology being built for schools, and at the same time, gives entrepreneurs the chance to get unfiltered feedback from their end users.
What are the perks of being a “Startup Education Featured Company” at the Summit?
Application fee is waived
Participation fee for Saturday’s “Educator Day”
1 round-trip flight
1 night hotel accommodation
Your own showcase table, branded “Startup Education Company”
Who is eligible?
The applying team must be based in the U.S.
At least one member of your team has participated in a Startup Weekend Education (Volunteers, Coaches, and Judges are not eligible; only participants that worked on a designated team throughout the 54 hour event qualify as “participants”)
Your product is built for the K-12 market
Your company has raised less than $150,000
Your company is less than 2 years old
You must be available to travel to Los Angeles on September 12th and 13th
Where do I apply?
2 Applications to Complete
When are the applications due?
Both applications must be completed Thursday, July 31st, at 5:00pm PST
Anything else I should know?
Startup Education will cover the flight and accommodations for one team member. You are welcome to bring additional team members; however, your team will be responsible for those costs.
It is OK if the company you are applying to represent at the Summit was not developed at a Startup Weekend Education event. We are interested in knowing who on your team has participated in a Startup Weekend Education event, and what impact participating in the event has had on the development of your product.
When will we know whether or not our team has been selected?
Friday, August 8th at 5:00pm PST
What if our team is not selected?
You are more than welcome to still participate in the Summit and get tremendous value out the experience; however, like other companies attending, your team will be responsible for covering the registration fee, flight, and accommodations.
You can also consider applying for one of EdSurge’s upcoming Tech For Schools Summits.
This is the first of many opportunities that Startup Education will be doing to further support alumni teams from Startup Weekend Education. Subscribe to the Startup Education newsletter to learn more about these opportunities.
Questions? Email email@example.com
Want to learn more about Startup Education? Visit our website
Today, the Startup Weekend Education team and UP Global are excited to introduce Startup Education, a comprehensive set of programming specifically built for those interested in innovating education. We’ve also just kicked off an exciting new partnership with EdSurge, the leading source of news and resources on education technology. Read below to find out more.
The First of Its Kind
On June 3, 2011, the first Startup Weekend Education event launched in San Francisco, CA. Hosted at the offices of one of the most promising edtech companies at the time, Grockit, the event drew educators, entrepreneurs, developers, and designers from all around the country. Over the span of 54 hours, a group of roughly 80 participants pitched ideas, formed teams, received mentorship, and launched the first version of their startup aimed to solve a particular problem in education. The formula was pure magic!
ideas + teams + entrepreneurship + mentorship = innovative solutions
But that wasn’t surprising. Startup Weekend had been in existence since 2009, and the “idea-to-startup in one weekend” concept had already been proven in hundreds of cities around the world. What was up for debate, however, was the likelihood that this model could be applied to innovating education. The Startup Weekend Education event in San Francisco provided a good test, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
Within a few months, Mountain View, Seattle, Washington DC, and London all followed suit, giving hundreds more people access to education entrepreneurship for the very first time. By the end of 2013, Startup Weekend Education expanded to 16 cities, spanning three continents, and played a pivotal role in the development of such companies as Clever, Class Dojo, Fantasy Geopolitics, and Trinket. In just over two years, Startup Weekend Education solidified itself as the largest starting point for education entrepreneurship in the world!
When You Know Better, You Do Better
The initial success of Startup Weekend Education proved that those passionate about leveraging entrepreneurship to solve problems in education could benefit from engaging in the 54-hour experiential learning event. However, as the number of events grew and increasingly more entrepreneurs went through the experience of trying to scale their venture beyond Startup Weekend Education, new learnings surfaced that highlighted opportunities for the program to improve its structure and expand its offerings.
In July 2013, Startup Weekend Education formed a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This partnership afforded Startup Weekend Education an important opportunity to apply its learnings from the first two years and build out new programming to further support entrepreneurs in their quest to get their innovations to the learners they were designed to help. Below is an outline of the expanded offerings:
- Startup Weekend Education: Increasing involvement of key stakeholders, such as educators, school administrators, and policy makers
- Special Editions: Focusing on a specific part of the education industry (e.g. Next Gen, Youth, Library)
- Sponsored Challenges: Connecting education problems that organizations want to solve with the community of entrepreneurs that are equipped to solve them
- Bootcamps: Teaching key information and skills to scale education innovations
- Meetups: Building community with others who want to improve education
- Resource Hub: Aggregating the most valuable resources for education entrepreneurs
- Pathways: Customizing paths people can take to play an influential role in the education innovation movement
- Summits: Gatherings bringing together Startup Education Community Leaders, participants, partners, and the broader public
The Start of a New Era
Expanding beyond the flagship 54-hour event known as Startup Weekend Education, the organization is excited to announce it’s new brand, Startup Education. Comprised of all the opportunities outlined above, Startup Education is the one place where anyone interested in education innovation can learn how to launch and scale their endeavors. Providing a comprehensive set of action-based opportunities for those passionate about innovating education, Startup Education has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.
Moving Forward Together
The ability of Startup Education to fulfill its mission is dependent on two main things: its community and its partners. Every Startup Education event is organized by a group of Community Leaders, forward-thinking individuals who volunteer their time, energy, and talents to empower others to play a role in innovating education. Startup Education is fortunate to have over 120 Community Leaders all over the world, and it is these special people who are the captains of this ship.
Startup Education is also fortunate to have formed a partnership with EdSurge, the leading source of news and resources on education technology. Going into effect July 2014, this partnership represents the pairing of Startup Education’s global community and action-based programming with EdSurge’s timely content, resources, and opportunities created specifically for education entrepreneurs.
The Startup Education community looks forward to utilizing EdSurge’s Edtech Index, Reports, and Guides to better identify opportunities to pursue and pitfalls to avoid. With the inclusion of EdSurge’s Tech for Schools Summits and Jobs, Opportunities, and Events Boards, the Startup Education community members will be aware of all the opportunities available to them as they navigate their journey through the education ecosystem. With the support of EdSurge, the Startup Education community will be better equipped to take on the hefty challenge of disrupting education.
The Time is Now, The Leader is You
Last year, 11 Startup Weekend Education events took place in North America and Europe. During the first six months of this year, there have already been 13 events, including two Youth events, one Library event, and one Next Gen event. With 39 more events already being prepared (including several Bootcamps launching this summer), Startup Education is on track to experience a 500% growth, closing out 2014 with 70 events, spanning nearly every continent on the globe!
With the addition of new programming, increasing interest to organize events, growing leadership within the community, and a valuable new partnership with EdSurge, the opportunity to change education for the better has never been more promising.
As with any truly catalytic movement, though, there is one particular factor that makes all the difference: the people. It is the people who show up and make their voice heard, it is the people who choose to collaborate, it is the people who put in the hard work, and it will be the people who determine what is done with this opportunity; this rare opportunity to play a role in shaping the future of education. Startup Education is confident that the people will rise to the occasion.
Startup Education Community Leaders from five continents gathered at the UP Summit in Las Vegas in May 2014
Five Ways You Can Make an Impact
- Become a Leader: Bring Startup Education to Your Community
- Join the Movement: Find an Upcoming Event Near You
- Stay Informed: Subscribe to our Newsletter
- Share the Opportunity: Tell Someone Else About Startup Education
- Show the Community Some Love: Like Us on Facebook
More About UP Global
UP Global, the umbrella organization for Startup Weekend, Startup Next, Startup Education, Startup Digest and now Startup Week, currently fosters entrepreneurship in 500 cities across the world, serving over 150,000 innovators. By 2016, the organization will support 1,000 communities through partnerships with local grassroots leaders and partnerships with organizations including Google for Entrepreneurs, the Case Foundation and Kauffman Foundation among others.
More About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, the Gates Foundation aims to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in America. Particularly, with respect to K12 education, Gates is focused on supporting innovation that can improve U.S. K-12 public schools and ensure that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college.
More About EdSurge
EdSurge is an award-winning source of news and resources on education technology. Founded in 2011 in Silicon Valley, EdSurge has become the go-to resource for educators who want to learn about the latest products, entrepreneurs trying to build products that will accelerate learning and investors who are keen to participate in edtech. In addition to news, EdSurge has built the largest index of edtech products products and also runs a powerful series of Summits that brings together educators and entrepreneurs. EdSurge was named as “Organization of the Year” by the NewSchools Venture Fund (2014) and won a “Return on Education” Innovation award from the 2013 ASU GSV Education Summit.