Startup Weekend Volos: Sotiris Bantas as a Mentor

sotiris bantas


Sotiris Bantas is the founder and CEO of Centaur Technologies  a developer of disruptive hardware and apps for the emerging Industrial Internet of Things. In 2000 he cofounded Helic, an EDA software company specializing in RF & high-speed IC design solutions, and served as the company’s CTO until 2014. His responsibilities have included leading R&D and product development and spearheading IP creation. He has also been involved in marketing solutions to the company’s clientele comprising leading American, Korean, Chinese and Japanese technology companies. Helic raised Venture Capital investments from Silicon Valley strategics and angels and from Fujitsu of Japan.

Sotiris Bantas holds a Ph.D. in Microelectronics and Diploma in Electrical Engineering, both received from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He holds 2 US patents and has several pending.


Startup Weekend Volos: ErgoQ will be here!!!



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Judging criteria

Universal Startup Weekend’s judging criteria is broken up into three sections. Teams are judged according to the following criteria (weighed equally):

  • Business Model Validation – Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?
  • Product Execution – Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?
  • User Experience Design – Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?

While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by Sunday, it’s in your best interest to plan your execution around what you’ll be judged for on Sunday: Customer Validation, Business Model and Execution. As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):

  • Wireframes or fully developed website
  • Mobile App (from mock-ups to skeletons to fully functional)
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Videos (i.e. product demonstrations, etc.)
  • Live product demos

See you soon!

Startup Weekend Volos: Faye Orfanou as a Mentor

faye orfanou

Faye Orfanou studied Law in Greece (Athens University), Germany (LLM in private law at Frankfurt University), London (LLM in banking and finance law at King’s College London).  She worked for 10 years (1997 -2007) as attorney-at-law in Athens Law Firms, for both international and Greek clientele in the areas of corporate law, contract law, banking and finance law, administrative law, tax law as well as in the areas of city planning and environmental regulation. For 2 years (2007- 2009) she worked as legal consultant for the Managing Authority for EU Funds of the Ministry for Public Works.

In 2009 she was appointed Special Secretary for EU Funds in the Greek Ministry of Education, a position she held for almost 3 years until July 2012. As Special Secretary for EU Funds she had the opportunity of policy design and policy implementation in the areas of education, lifelong learning and research. She designed or re-designed numerous innovative actions in the fields of education and lifelong learning.

Since 2012, making use of the knowledge, experience and networks she acquired as Special Secretary, she has developed an activity as technology transfer coordinator, mainly through Add2value pc (, a company she has co-founded, while also she has been working as legal consultant in selected projects.

At the same time in order to support people in entering and progressing into professional life she co-founded the non profit organisation “αέλια – working life lab”(

Throughout her professional career she has been an active volunteer in environmental NGOs (mainly WWF Greece) as well as in social ventures. Due to her activity in support of youth entrepreneurship during her Secretariat office term, she was selected and appointed as member of the Committee for Institutional Interventions of the Greek Federation of Hellenic Associations of Young Entrepreneurs (“ΟΕΣΥΝΕ” and she offers services as a mentor for the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Orange Grove of the Dutch Embassy.

She speaks fluent English, French, German, Spanish and Italian and has basic knowledge of Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

Startup Weekend Volos: Makis Antypas as a Mentor

Co-founder and CIO of Viva Payments (, Makis is in charge of technology, operations and new services development at one of Europe’s most innovative mobile payments companies. He holds a BSc in Industrial Management from University of Piraeus and an MSc in Information Systems from the University of Sheffield.

A member of the TEDxAcademy organizing team since 2010, he took part in the organization of 5 successfull TEDx events in Athens and several parallel activities like the Rising Stars mentoring program, the Call to Innovation contest in collaboration with Singularity University, and the #dialogue4change TEDxSalons.

Talk to Makis about ideas in mobile payments, electronic money transactions, open data, technologies in home automation, the internet of things, music and contemporary architecture.

Startup Weekend Volos: Alexandros Melis as a Mentor

Alexandros Melis

alexandros melis

Alexandros has a Bachelor on Mechanical Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a Master in Arts in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations from The University of Sheffield. He has an extensive working experience both in Event Marketing and Community Management. He is also a co-founder of Sponsor Boat and THHF festival.

Education Entrepreneurs: New Name, Same Awesome Community & Programs

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.

Action-Based Programs

Community-Generated Resources

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

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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-12Y 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

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?

Where are the Winners of SWEDU now?

If you’ve participated in SWEDU you probably wondered what happened to all the teams that formed. Do they go on to have their company grow, quit their jobs, and take on their newly created project? Well yes. Some of them do.

Teams like VidCode, Plexx, and CultureConnect, who got their start at Startup Weekend NYCEDU, have grown beyond their Startup Weekend experience into full-fledged startup companies.

Recently, we followed up with Melissa Halfon, VP of VidCode, to see where they are now, six months after they won Startup Weekend EDU NYC 2014.

1. Is everyone who was originally on the team still helping to build Vidcode? Vidcode is truly a Startup Weekend EDU Cinderella story. We were five strangers who teamed up to solve one problem: getting more girls into technology. Since the weekend, our team has neither lost nor gained a member. Allie, Melissa, Leandra, Terry, and Ken are all still dedicated to Vidcode.

2. Did you guys quit your jobs to work full time on Vidcode? Allie & Melissa seamlessly continued working on Vidcode full time after Startup Weekend EDU. Allie was completing her masters at NYU ITP at the time and centered her thesis on Vidcode, devoting all her energy to it as a result. Melissa found herself without a full-time position (for reasons unrelated) and used the serendipitous timing to continue her dedication to the project. Our other team members have continued to contribute to Vidcode outside of their full-time gigs.

3. What stage would you say Vidcode is at, as a startup? We spent six months after Startup Weekend EDU in full build stage, validating and testing the product. This summer, we were one of the teams in Launch, 4.0 Schools’ accelerator, during which we launched Vidcode’s public beta and identified our target market. Now we’re in the first growth stage, building our user base and selling to early adopters.

4. Have you gone for funding outside of kickstarter? We are currently raising seed capital.

5. Do you think you would have built Vidcode outside of Startup Weekend given the opportunity? The most valuable asset that emerged from Startup Weekend EDU was the opportunity to form an incredible team of like-minded people. The problem is so important to each team member that we would’ve found a way to address it individually. But without the complimentary and talented team we assembled that weekend, the results wouldn’t have been as powerful.

6. Anything else about Vidcode and any of the problems you’ve faced as you have worked to build this product. The response to Vidcode in general, especially from girls, has been so overwhelmingly positive. Their reactions to what we’ve built make all the risks, unknown, and sleepless nights very much worth it. We know there’s a place in girls’ lives where Vidcode belongs and we’re determined to get it there.

7. Also, what is it that the Startup Weekend community can do to help? Spread the word. Our success at Startup Weekend validated that we have a compelling product. We’ve built it out, and now we want to get it into the hands of as many teens and schools as possible. Startup Weekend has a huge following of education leaders and teachers and we want them to know about Vidcode to implement in their own classrooms. The best way to do that now is by supporting and sharing our Kickstarter!

What does all this mean? It means you should come to the next SWEDU event, because you never know what might happen!

Want to get more updates like this? Subscribe to our mailing list for events and opportunities tailored for the Startup Weekend EDU NYC community.

Le 10 cose da sapere sullo Startup Weekend Ascoli Piceno

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Non conosci ancora lo Startup Weekend Ascoli Piceno? Ecco le 10 cose da sapere:

  1. È un evento che inizia venerdì pomeriggio 3 ottobre e termina domenica 5 ottobre presso la Cartiera. Papale, qui le indicazione per arrivare.
  2. È a numero chiuso e si partecipa come singoli, acquistando un biglietto cliccando qui.
  3. Il prezzo del biglietto serve per coprire le spese di cibo e bevande che saranno offerti ai partecipanti, dall’inizio alla fine della manifestazione.
  4. Tutti gli altri costi sono sostenuti da sponsor locali e nazionali, sensibili al tema della  nuova imprenditoria e dell’innovazione.
  5. Infatti, lo scopo dell’evento è far fare i primi passi a nuove idee d’impresa.
  6. Le idee vengono proposte dagli stessi partecipanti, che voteranno le migliori 10 su cui lavorare in team nei due giorni successivi.
  7. Non è necessario presentarsi con un’idea d’impresa per partecipare allo Startup Weekend Ascoli Piceno.
  8. Chi non presenta una sua idea può divertirsi a votare la sua preferita quindi a scegliersi il team con cui sviluppare il progetto.
  9. Una giuria valuterà le 3 migliori idee.
  10. I premi saranno finalizzati a supportare il successivo sviluppo delle 3 idee.

Emprendimiento + educación


El sistema educativo de varios países en Latinoamérica está mejorando cada vez más, específicamente en países como Brazil y Chile, pero sigue estando des actualizado si lo comparamos con los sistemas educativos de países de primer nivel, como Suiza, Alemania o Estados Unidos.

El desarrollo de un país depende de la oportunidad que tenga cada ciudadano para aprender y del espacio que se le de para desarrollar a plenitud sus potenciales. De la satisfacción que cada quien alcance y del sentido que, a través de ese aprendizaje, le dé a su vida depende no solo su bienestar sino la prosperidad colectiva.

El emprendimiento comienza a convertirse en una de las principales herramientas económicas de estos países, con la creación de startups que son escalables a nivel global y que tienen un alto ingreso monetario, lo cual brinda a su comunidad en un escenario ideal, soluciones sociales y mejoras en la vida cotidiana de las personas. Pero entonces, ¿por qué no estamos enseñando emprendimiento a una edad en donde los jóvenes no tienen miedo de tomar riesgos y cuando la creatividad está en su más alto nivel? ¿Es posible que la educación evolucione de clases de salón en dónde escuchas a un maestro y eres evaluado por tus conocimientos “aprendidos de memoria” más que por tu habilidad de crear e innovar en productos?

El emprendimiento es una forma de pensar, razonar y actuar centrada en las oportunidades, planteada con visión global y llevada a cabo mediante un liderazgo
equilibrado y la gestión de un riesgo calculado, su resultado es la creación de valor que
beneficia a la empresa, la economía y la sociedad. Y dentro del marco de la educación no es diferente.

Universidades y escuelas han empezado a entender la importancia de la libertad a la hora de tener una educación más enfocada hacia el individuo y lo que puede lograr; y se han diseñado clases y cursos en torno a la enseñanza de herramientas que nuevos emprendedores pueden utilizar y esto requiere un esfuerzo coordinado y sostenido por parte del establecimiento educativo, así como una estructura organizacional coherente de un horizonte institucional orientado hacia la formación de personas integrales.

En Startup Education, lo que buscamos es que esas ideas sean validadas hacia el mercado y que tengan un modelo de negocios sostenible para que la educación avance en Latinoamérica. Del 3 al 5 de Octubre tendremos nuestro primer evento enfocado a resolver estos problemas de educación en la Ciudad de México. Para registrarte haz click aquí.

Si te interesa organizar un evento en tu ciudad acerca de educación, contáctanos a Síguenos en Twitter, o Facebook para información acerca de nuestros otros programas.