Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh updates: keynote speaker, sponsors, judges, and more

The new year is underway, and so is our official planning for the first Startup Weekend Education in Pittsburgh. With many things to finalize before the big weekend on February 20-22, we’re thrilled to already have more exciting updates to share, including new sponsors, speakers, judges, and more.


Informational session: January 27

Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh info session

Are you in the education space but not sure what Startup Weekends are like? Or are you a serial Startup Weekend participant who’s not sure how to translate your skills to this new venture? Then come to our info session at AlphaLab Gear! We’ll have presentations and discussions, plus, in traditional Ed Tech Meetup fashion, delicious food.

Register now here:


Keynote speaker: Luis von Ahn of Duolingo

Luis von Ahn DuoLingoduolingo icon

One of the more exciting developments in the past few days has been the confirmation of our keynote speaker, Luis von Ahn. Duolingo has continually been recognized as revolutionary tech for learning a language, and we couldn’t be more honored and excited to have one of the co-founders and CEO speak on Friday evening.


Sponsors: TurnItIn, Cherin Law Offices, and The Hardware Store

Of course Startup Weekend Education wouldn’t be anywhere without the generosity of the community, so we have many thanks to give to our newest sponsors.


At the gold level, TurnItIn is the worldwide leader in originality checking, online grading and peer review for educators, students, and researchers. Having such a pioneer in student learning at our event is a privilege.


Also at the gold level is local co-working space and technology services company The Hardware Store, which will also be handling all our digital media needs for the Sunday pitches. Many thanks to founder Josh Lucas for his ongoing support and documentation of startup events.

Cherin Law Offices

Steve Cherin, of Cherin Law Offices, is a frequent supporter of the startup community and we’re glad to have him officially on board as a silver sponsor. He provides legal services for many of Pittsburgh’s startups and is a valuable resource for companies at any stage.


First two judges: Lisa Palmieri and Elijah Mayfield

We’ve set a promising precedence with the confirmation of our first two judges, who will be among a panel of five.

lisa palmieri
Source: The Sprout Fund

Lisa Abel-Palmieri, Ph.D, is the Director of Technology and Innovation, the Director of Learning Innovation Institute, and the Head of Computer Science at The Ellis School in Shadyside. Dr. Abel-Palmieri is a prominent and active member of the Pittsburgh ed-tech community, and is involved in several projects, including Remake Learning and TRETC.

Elijah Mayfield
Source: Pittsburgh Business Times

We’ve also confirmed Elijah Mayfield, who is the founder and CEO of LightSide Labs, which was recently purchased by TurnItIn. LightSide Labs provides writing support for students and teachers in grades 6-12, and his insight in the ed-tech scene will be invaluable.


We will send out more updates as we confirm more judges, mentors, sponsors, and vendors.

Questions? Email us at


Buy your tickets now for the inaugural Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh and get 20% off with code EARLYBIRD until February 1, 2015.

If you’re a student, you can get 50% off your ticket with code STUDENT– you’ll be required to show a valid student ID at the event.


Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh: A Dream Event Come True

Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh (SWeduPGH) is the perfect storm of education and entrepreneurship in the Pittsburgh community. We have only begun our planning of the event, and already we have some very big announcements:

A Platinum Sponsor

Problem Solutions
Our first major sponsor!

We already secured our first platinum sponsor: Problem Solutions! SWPGH#6 attendee Walt Grata reached out to us immediately after the event and put me in touch with company president Mike Hruska, co-author of the soon to be released “Ed Tech Software Developer’s Guide.” Suffice to say, we are very happy to have their support!

A School for an Event Location

Our event will be held at the Environmental Charter Upper School (ECS)! Located just outside of Frick Park, ECS’s relatively central location, parking accessibility, and consolidated layout works extremely well for the needs of a Startup Weekend event. Plus, where better (or more obvious) to conduct an education-themed event than at a school?

A Top-Tier Facilitator

Mandela Schumacher-Hodge will be our event facilitator! For the uninitiated, every Startup Weekend event requires an out-of-town facilitator to help the organization team execute the event. We really lucked out by tapping the Director of Education Entepreneurs for UP Global, the parent organization of Startup Weekend! Mandela is a Pittsburgh native to boot!

An Amazing Organizing Team

SWeduPGH co-organizers (from left) Shimira Williams, Lee Ngo, and Courtney Francis

We have truly assembled a “Dream Team” for SWeduPGH. Hand-picked for their experience, passion, and reputation in the educational and startup communities, we’re going to knock this event out of the park:

Courtney Francis (@cfrancisrun), Co-Organizer and Marketing Lead
Shimira Williams (@tekstart), Co-Organizer and Operations Lead
Christian Moreno (@cmoreno_13), Sponsorship Coordinator
Cat Tsavalas (@cattsavalas), Social Media Coordinator

As we head into 2015, we hope that you will be a part of this exciting event we’re putting on for the Pittsburgh educational community. We’re actively looking for mentors, judges, a keynote speaker, and game-day volunteers. Tickets are already available here, and for more information, feel free to email us at

See you in February 2015, and Happy Holidays!
Lee Ngo (@leepngo)
Lead Organizer, Sponsorship Lead
Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh (@swedupgh)

In promotion of the first Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh, this blog post is the first of a series by and for the education technology community in Pittsburgh. All inquiries can be directed to

Startup Weekend Volos: Yiannis Giokas as a Speaker!


Yiannis is a serial entrepreneur with over 7 years’ experience in the High-Tech and Security Industries. Prior founding Crypteia Networks, he has been active in the fields of Telecommunications, Network Optimization and Security enabling Telecom Operators to optimize their networks, expand their added value services and enhance their customers’ experience. He holds a B.Sc. in Electronics Engineering and an M.B.A. from Athens University of Economics & Business.

Startup Weekend Volos: Start Tech Ventures is also our Sponsor!

start tech ventures

StartTech Ventures is the investment & incubation arm of the Materializing Innovation Group, having three divisions: Seed Fund, Incubator and Business Angel Network. StartTech capitalizes the experience gained out of starting Virtual Trip, the first successful student start-up in Greece, spinning out more than 10 high-tech companies via investing 4.5 MEur and creating a next generation start-up accelerator via introducing the “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” concept.

Startup Weekend Volos: Frenzy Projects is coming with prizes


 Frenzy Projects will provide to one of the 3 best teams business branding and support for a year!


Web Design
Interior Design
Mobile Applications

Startup Weekend Volos: is here with prizes!!!

new logo think 72dpi ok ΑΕ  will provide the winner’s team with their web page, also support and hosting in their servers for a year and domain name for 2 years!!!


Startup Weekedn Volos: Volos Traditional Drink – Tokali Tsipouro is a genuine Greek product

tsipouro tokali

We started farming our vineyards organicaly in 1990, by applying new cultivation technics such as biological diseases control, dense planting, fertilizing with sheep manure, mechanical destruction of the weeds, etc.

We chose the path of Organic Viticulture, for many reasons. Firstly, in order to protect the members of our family from dangerous pesticides which are ussually applied in most vineyards during the whole process of production. Additionally, we found out that a organic Vineyard can be grown and maintained easily with the necessary experience and the appropriate scientific knowledge.

Our organic vineyard is highly appreciated by consumers, who, prompted us to attempt the transformation of the organicaly grown grapes in wine and tsipouro. We offer our customers a unique product that is safe and qualitatively “distinct” from the usual conventional products on the market.

Based on these principles we started our business and with these same principles we keep serving you the best quality wine and tsipouro today.

Startup weekend Volos: Delicious apple variety in Zagora

logo zagorin tel

The beginnings of the Agricultural Cooperatives’ Union of Zagora Pelion can be found in the last century. It was established in 1916 and is one of the first unions in the country (the law on Cooperative Unions was passed in 1915).

On the 27th of  October 1916, 199 Zagorian people formed the Association, under the name “Commercial Cooperative of Agricultural Products of Zagora”, which originally cultivated potatoes and hazelnuts.

The rising of the union commenced in the mid 60s with the spread of the Starkin Delicious apple variety in Zagora, whose soil and climate conditions has proved ideal for producing fruits and products of high quality and taste. The beginning was made. Shortly afterwards, in the 80’s, the Cooperative made an amazing course which reaches up today, and has managed to collect the 98% of the producers.

In 1985 the Cooperative of Zagora changed form. With the approval of the new statute the cooperative changes its name and becomes the Agricultural Cooperatives’ Union of Zagora Pelion, the form it has today, with trade mark and logo of corporate identity.


At the same time, the apples acquire the trade mark “ZΑΓΟΡΙΝ»/«ZAGORIN an internationally registered trademark.

The union also collected various kinds of agricultural products of the region, such as other apple varieties (golden, renedes, fyrikia), pears, kiwi, chestnuts, olives, cherries, etc., all products of excellent quality.

These products also acquire corporate identity, a new packaging with the trade mark is designed, and from now on, the apples carry a sticker with the logo and moving vehicles have the new corporate identity. The Zagorin apples were born!

Today, the Agricultural Cooperative’s Union of Zagora Pelion collects, maintains, packs and distributes almost 100% of the apple production of the area (10.000 to 15.000 tonnes per year), as well as other products produced, and is one of the most important economic entities of Magnesia.



Startup Weekend Volos: The Association of Industries in Thessaly and in Central Greece (AITCG)



The Association of Industries in Thessaly and in Central Greece (AITCG) is a Legal non-profit Entity operating under Private Law and covering the Regions of Thessaly and Central Greece.


AITCG was established in 1966 in Volos, and within the limits of its responsibility includes the geographic regions of Thessaly and of Central Greece.


Its members may be industrial and handicraft firms in many sectors such as food and beverages, mineral material, wood and furniture, basic metals, textile, chemicals, machinery, renewable energy systems etc., and enterprises providing legal, financial and consultancy services to SMEs, that operate under private-economic criteria.



Startup Weekend Volos: The Cube in Athens support our event!



A new startup cluster and innovation space in the heart of the city, hosting the best of Athens’ innovators in the technology and making space. Bolstered by its core management team, its partnerships with technology training institutes, an investment fund, technology user groups and the maker movement, The Cube will stand out as a hub of innovation and ‘the place’ to be or hang out for the doers of our city. We will be more than happy if you would like to visit us and get to know our space. Feel free to contact us.

Aim of the Cube is to provide high quality facilities and tools to work with. It is a very active community where you could build your network and find diffrent ways to turn your ideas into reality.