Pitch Competition for Underrepresented Founders, with AWS + We Power Tech @ SXSW 2018

The future of tech is every color, gender, belief, origin, and community. The future of tech is accessible, flexible, and inclusive.

To spread this message at SXSW and beyond, Capital Factory is hosting a Pitch Competition for Underrepresented Founders* in collaboration with the AWS Startup Team and AWS We Power Tech. We will select 6 startups to pitch for 3 minutes each in front of a panel of VCs and early stage investors. All contestants will receive an allocation of AWS Activate Promotional Credits (some limitations apply). The winner will be featured on the AWS Startup Blog, receive 3 months of free coworking from Capital Factory, and receive various additional prizes that will help enable their company to grow.

Come watch your fellow founders throw-down and see who has the chops to impress our panel of judges. Sign up today, as spots are limited.

Techstars & Samsung NEXT Lounge @ SXSW 2018

The Techstars Austin program is opening our doors to founders, mentors, community leaders, staff and partners who are visiting during SXSW. We’ll have snacks throughout the day. Come by to hang out, fuel up, and take meetings. Thank you so much to Samsung NEXT for partnering with us on the lounge!

Come See Techstars at SXSW 2018!

It’s almost time to kick off another year at SXSW in Austin! The local Techstars team is excited to welcome the Techstars worldwide network and attendees from around the globe to our city.

Here is a quick rundown of where to find Techstars at SXSW:

Wednesday, March 7th

11:30 AM – 12 PM – From Dorm Room to Board Room

Presented by Blackstone Charitable Foundation: In an increasingly competitive landscape, universities strive to provide students with meaningful experiential education opportunities in entrepreneurship and beyond to ensure they are best prepared to meet workforce demands. Blackstone Launchpad and Techstars will discuss how best to support and scale experiential education programs to help students create their own opportunities, build strong networks, and create impact benefitting the institution, and the wider community.

6-8 PM Blackstone Launchpad Engagement & Panel

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars invites you to join us for a reception celebrating student entrepreneurship in Texas. The event will include a pitch competition featuring student entrepreneurs from Texas A&M, UT Austin, and UT Dallas.

Saturday, March 10th

9 AM – 5 PM Techstars Lounge  

The Techstars Austin program is opening our doors to founders, mentors, community leaders, staff and partners who are visiting during SXSW. We’ll have snacks throughout the day. Come by to hang out, fuel up, and take meetings. Thank you so much to Samsung NEXT for partnering with us on the lounge!

10 AM – 12 PM Female Founders Brunch – Let’s Talk Funding  

Please join us at the Techstars and Samsung NEXT Lounge for a female founders brunch where we will discuss funding opportunities and challenges with VCs. Panelists include Maya Baratz, Managing Director at Techstars, Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner at Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures, Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, Katherine Cheun, Managing Director at Open Road Holdings, and Sutian Dong, Partner at Female Founders Fund.

2 PM Powered by – Alumni of Techstars Accelerator

Year after year, SXSW attendees return to the Comcast Social Media Lounge to connect, recharge, and learn about the latest in innovation, technology, entertainment, product and more. Comcast’s compelling panel discussions with industry experts and influencers are the highlight and centerpiece of the lounge. Maya Baratz (Managing Director of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars) will be moderating a panel of Techstars alumni for an engaging discussion about Techstars. Panelists include Chris Nickless of Vilpsy, James Meier of Synervoz Communications Inc, Meridith Unger of Nix, Sarah Adler of Spoon University, and Dawn Dickson of PopCom.

Sunday, March 11th

11-11:45 AM Get Funded – How to Pitch

Join Maya Baratz, Managing Director Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, to learn how to craft a compelling pitch for investors that will help your company get funded. This session will focus on teaching participants how to structure their pitch, how to build a complementary deck, and how to deliver the pitch to get the right result.

11 AM-5 PM YurHouse powered by Samsung NEXT

The events of 2017 catalyzed a formidable movement, and it’s beginning to shift power structures across industries and behavioral norms from the ground floor to the C-suite. Women are speaking truth and being heard, from the gilded stage of the Golden Globe Awards to newsrooms to dinner-table conversations. Game-changing firms KITE & DFlash want to build on this movement’s momentum and do our part to change the status quo in tech.

With our unique position at the intersection of Enterprise+Startups, Brands & Culture, we asked ourselves, “What if we can help address both power/access and pipeline issues? What if we can shine a light on great female founders and bring together the broader ecosystem to address the power/access challenge together?” This provocation has prompted us to create an event that will feature 100% women speakers/presenters, office hours hosted by female VCs and executives, and a gathering place for people from across the tech industry. Maya Baratz of Techstars will be in attendance.

For the first time during SXSW 2018, YurHouse by DFlash & KITE will be the go-to destination for SXSW Interactive attendees seeking welcome, innovative & inclusive programming, podcasts, startup competitions, networking and a quiet place to work and recharge. Everything we do will embody our mission: Our house is YurHouse.

Monday, March 12th

Pitch Competition for Underrepresented Founders, with AWS + We Power Tech

The future of tech is every color, gender, belief, origin, and community. The future of tech is accessible, flexible, and inclusive. To spread this message at SXSW and beyond, Capital Factory is hosting a Pitch Competition for Underrepresented Founders in collaboration with the AWS Startup Team and AWS We Power Tech. Join judges Arlan Hamilton, Founder & Managing Director @ Backstage Capital, Dana Callender, Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer @ DivInc, Lara Jeremko, Founder & Managing Partner @ Beyond Ventures, Roger Chen, Principal @ Silverton Partners, Zain Gulamali, Manager @ Amazon Alexa Fund, and Zoe Schlag, Managing Director @ Techstars Impact to cheer on participating companies.

Female Founders Brunch @ SXSW 2017

In Austin for SXSW? Please join us at the Techstars office in Austin for a female founders brunch with women and allies from across the globe.

Morning Schedule:

  • 10:00am – 11:00am – Brunch, coffee and conversation
  • 11:00am – 11:45am – Fireside chat
  • 11:45am – 12:00pm – Further networking


Connecting with Female Founders at SXSW

This will be my 8th SXSW. Each year is different and filled with incredible content and new connections. However, I always leave Austin wishing that more of my time was geared towards meeting / helping / interacting with female tech founders. So, this year we decided to host a brunch focused on helping female founders raise capital — a topic I have first hand experience with.

We also curated a list of female-focused events that looks amazing. Now, the usual dilemma of what to attend?!

Women in the Creative Industry Meetup (official — need a badge)
Friday, March 10 – 12:30–1:30

Join the founders of Austin’s own #bossbabesATX and Chicago’s Cliche Collective for an hour of mingling and conversation covering women in the workplace, professional resources for entrepreneurs and goal-mapping for 2017. Following mixer activities, we’ll close with curated discussion, drawing from topics posed by those in attendance. 

Austin Women in Tech Social @SX (unofficial, no badge)
Saturday, March 11 – 11:30–1:00

Join ChickTech and Girl Develop it for the second annual Austin Women in Tech Social! Come escape the hustle and bustle of SXSW for a fun lunch overlooking downtown Austin from the wonderful offices of Box. 

Underrepresented (and Overachieving) Founders Meet Up (official — need a badge)
Saturday, March 11 – 2:00–3:00p

A meetup for overachieving underrepresented founders and the investors who believe in them. This is an invitation for founders that aren’t normally highlighted in the press and on the portfolios of most VC firms. Maybe you didn’t go to Stanford (maybe you did!). Maybe you haven’t worked at Facebook. Maybe your startup isn’t in Silicon Valley. Maybe most VCs don’t understand the market you’re targeting because they’re not in it themselves. This event,brings together founders that don’t fit the standard mold. 

Female Founders Brunch (unofficial, no badge)
Sunday, March 12 – 10:00–12:00p

In Austin for SXSW? Please join us at the Techstars office for a female founders brunch where we will discuss funding opportunities and challenges with VCs including: Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed Ventures Jenny Fielding Managing Director at Techstars Sara Deshpande, Partner at Mavan Ventures Kerry Rupp, General Partner at True Wealth Ventures. 

SXSW Women in Digital Meet Up (unofficial, no badge)
Monday, March 13 4:30–7:00

We Join the most powerful Women in Digital at for our first ever Austin happy hour and mixer. Refresh yourself with a break from the SXSW madness and meet your amazing sisters in arms of Women in Digital. 

IEEE Women in Tech Meet Up (official — need a badge)
Monday, March 13 11:00–12:00

Providing sustainable support for women in technology is one of the most talked-about issues in the tech industry. Many corporations and organizations are focused on inspiring girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and on providing support for women in technology to advance in their careers. SXSW serves as the primary annual gathering for the tech industry, with participation from all levels: corporate, start-ups, investors, and tech non-profits, and it just makes sense to provide an opportunity for supporters of women in tech to gather. 

Female Investors Talk Investing in Women (official — need a badge) March 13, 2017 12:30 — 1:30p

Data suggests that female investors are better at picking which women-led startups are most likely to be successful. What is it that female investors know that male investors don’t? Leading female venture capitalists and CEOs share what they’ve learned investing in and building successful companies led by women. How do women’s leadership styles and insights meaningfully differ from men’s, and how do you assess a woman’s potential to take a company to a successful exit? Explore the power and potential of gender diversity at the top. Find out the qualities female investors look for in female entrepreneurs, and what makes a great leader in today’s startup environment. 

Plus these:

101 on Women’s Health: More Than Fertility

Why Women in Tech Matter

Hear Her Voice: Age of Female Entrepreneur

Make Room for Women in Tech

General search for female founder in PanelPicker

As usual, the time at SXSW will fly by so be sure to hit up a few taco joints, grab a few beers and have a good time. If you have a startup that’s interested in our IoT program in, come say hi by signing up here.

This was originally published on Medium.

Come See Techstars at SXSW!

It’s that time of year again – the annual trek to Austin for one of the coolest events around!

Here is a quick rundown of where to find Techstars at SXSW:

Marc Nager
Judging ReleaseIt @ SXSW, a special pitch competition
Friday, March 11th from 11:00 – 12:00 & 12:30 – 1:30

Ted Serbinski
Mobility Meets VC: Transportation Reinvented
Friday, March 11th from 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Ted Serbinski
Fortune 500 Incubator
Saturday, March 12th from 11am – 12pm
McDonald’s Lounge, Austin Convention Center, 3rd Floor

Jenny Fielding, Semyon Dukach, Troy Henikoff
The Startup Struggle is Real
Saturday, March 12th from 9:00 – 11:00 am

Blake Yeager
General Assembly + SXSW 2016: Get Funded: How to Pitch
Sunday, March 13th from 11:00 – 12:00 pm
Eventbrite RSVP Link

Jenny Fielding
SXSW Accelerator: Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies
Sunday, March 13, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Jenny Fielding
Judging @ Hatch Pitch Competition
Sunday, March 13th from 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Meet the MDs Mixer
Sunday, March 13th from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Andrew Hyde
MCing the SXSW Accelerator Awards Ceremony
Sunday, March 13th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm


Victoria Schramm Shares: 5 Tips for Making a Great Event

Victoria Schramm, Director of Special Events for UP Global has planned and produced 40+ events for over 16,000 attendees worldwide. These include global, regional, and team summits, as well as high-profile events at Startup Oasis for SXSW and at Eureka Park for CES. Victoria, or V as she is known, recently shared how she puts the “special” in special events.

Startup Oasis attendees at this year's SXSW
Startup Oasis attendees at this year’s SXSW

1. Establish a Central Hub
Select a home-base. This can be as simple as a lounge or lobby or as broad as a city block—a central place where everyone can easily congregate. This is where attendees can gather before, after, or in-between programming for some downtime and discussion. This is where conversations happen and relationships are formed. If you think about the events you’ve attended, often times the conversations you’ve had and the people you’ve met are just as important as the content or guest speakers you enjoyed.

Tip:  Set up an additional private place for your organizing team to congregate. A safe haven allows them to review run-of-show plans, troubleshoot issues, catch up on communications, and to simply recharge.

2. Don’t Overprogram
When you run so many sessions that attendees don’t get any free time, many people lose the ability to form relationships and continue conversations they might have begun during programming.  For example, when you’re doing a fireside chat that is informative and thought-provoking, you’re going to want to give attendees an hour at some point in the day (it doesn’t have to be right away). By scheduling an hour+ of unscheduled time you allow attendees to decompress from the content, to discuss it, and to continue conversations sparked during that session.

3. Make It Fun
Like gaps in programming, fun is another element to incorporate in your planning. You’ll want to ensure attendees have some fun time that is both lightly orchestrated and clearly delineated from content.  These shared experiences are where people come together to get to know each other as well as the community they are in.  For example when V organized an event in Iowa, she hosted a barn party. This included everything from renting the barn, having roasted pig, providing Iowa bourbon, etc. This time allows attendees to truly experience the community, to hang out and have fun. Other examples of programming shared fun are: scavenger hunts, indoor skydiving, museum visits, and geocaching. It helps to do some research ahead of time and to engage local experts in planning the fun so there are elements of local discovery and celebration built into these unique experiences.

4. Get to Know Your Attendees Before They Arrive  
Set up calls with a handful of attendees representing a diverse cross-section of program interests, age, and geography. Get their input on event expectations, content interests, points of value, feedback on previous events, even cool stuff they’ve seen elsewhere. Do your homework so you can create something they will find valuable. Once in registration questions: V asked “let us know if you have an suggestions or ideas for this summit”  One respondent said she loved all the Coke products, but really preferred Diet Dr. Pepper.  V took note of that and in prep for the event procured some Diet Dr. Pepper and supplied it through the event. Those little things make a difference.

5. Surprise and Delight
The details really do matter.  The little things can make the difference between a good event and a great one. Things like sliding a custom reminder notes under doors at night for the next day’s activities as V did at the UP Summit in Las Vegas, or sourcing goody bags and leaving them on the on guests’ beds each night. Those things make such a difference and really change the atmosphere of an event.


Meet the Panelists Who Will Make You Question Everything About School

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? In just a few weeks, Education Entrepreneurs will host a panel at SXSWEdu that will discuss how to design schools of the future that create opportunities for students and teachers to thrive. Personalized learning and competency-based education will be covered, as well as a framework for rethinking school infrastructure and specific next steps to begin the process of redesigning a school. Our panel involves an exciting line-up of educators, technologists, school founders, funders, and researchers. Continue reading below to get a closer look at who they are, checkout the panel location and time, and see the full line-up of Education Entrepreneurs events at SXSWEdu.

Jonathan Tiongco 

What do you do for work?

LA_JUDGE_JonathanTiongco-1406129944[1]I am the Director of Blended Learning for Alliance School Transformation (BLAST) implementation for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter management organization serving 26 schools and over 11,000 students in Los Angeles, California. I oversee our portfolio of blended learning schools, which includes blended learning pilots, full-school conversions, and a Next Generation Learning Challenges grantee school.

What do you do for fun?

My wife and I live in Downtown Los Angeles with our two children, Madelyn and Miles. We absolutely love Los Angeles and try to enjoy all that the city has to offer, including all of the sporting events, public parks, library programming, and of course, our city’s amazing culinary scene. Because of this love for our city, we own and operate a Los Angeles-based food tour company called Six Taste where we take guests through nine different neighborhoods of Los Angeles, learning about the history, culture, and cuisine of these areas. Aside from this, we love to travel, dance, and hang out with our family and friends.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Change management and gaining buy-in from all stakeholders. For many of my colleagues, they have never worked in or experienced education in a blended learning environment. My challenge, which I love, is getting all of my team members to believe in the work that we’re doing and how it can make a positive impact on our students to better prepare them for college and career.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Supporting principals and teachers through ongoing professional development, mentorship, and coaching. Our principals and teachers are the ones doing the really amazing work of educating our children, so whatever I can do to support them is very rewarding for me.

What are you most excited to share with the audience at SXSWEdu?

Practical ideas and strategies for going blended in their school contexts.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, school is…

An unlimited passport allowing students to “travel” and learn about all of the wonderful people, places, and things that they’re passionate about at their own time, path, and pace.


Christine Ortiz

C086What do you do for work?

Currently, I’m a student in the Ed.L.D. program at Harvard.

What do you do for fun?

My favorite thing to do is just spending quality time with cool people. I enjoy playing poker, dancing and snowboarding now that I’m up north again. Does organizing events (like Startup Weekend Education) and coaching startups count?

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Being in school and not “doing” is super hard for me, but something I know I need to do right now to be able to really impact the sector in the future.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Being around really passionate, intelligent people with such a diverse set of experiences and points of view is a dream come true.

What are you most excited to share with the audience at SXSWEdu?

How possible (not easy, but definitely possible) it is to take a vision you have for education and make it a reality.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, school is…

A real life choose-your-own-adventure book.

Benjamin Kutylo

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions - BK (32)What do you do for work?

I lead the Chicago Public Education Fund’s Innovation Portfolio, which is focused on empowering and enabling Chicago educators to redesign schools and classrooms to better meet the needs of each student. More specifically, I do the following:

  • Develop and launch programs that offer educators opportunities to rethink schools at various levels of depth and scale.

  • Make seed investments in other organizations to build and strengthen the ecosystem in Chicago to support innovation in education

  • Provide strategic consulting to district leadership and other Chicago-based organizations to create policies and strategies to support great educators in innovating.

What do you do for fun?

I’m an obsessed fly fisherman!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Navigating the many complexities and competing forces in a huge city and district to accomplish our objectives.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with great principals, teachers and students and giving them time, space, guidance, support and some resources to develop solutions to the challenges they face.

What are you most excited to share with the audience at SXSW Edu?

The great work that Chicago educators are doing to redesign public schools of all types and the growing innovation movement in the nation’s third largest district.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, school is…

A place where the holistic needs of every child are met by educators and the school community effectively, efficiently and sustainably.

Check here for the full listing of SXSWEdu events that Education Entrepreneurs and its Community Leaders will be hosting. 

Join UP Global at SXSWi for Startup Oasis 2015!

Startup Oasis is the place for everything startups on 6th St during SXSWi!

Startup oasis, startup, sxswi

Here’s what to expect and how you can get involved:

Oasis Startup Party:

This year, we’re offering up one of our most-coveted party slots to the community we love the most, startups! Most startups can’t afford prime time party slots during SXSWi. So we’re breaking it up – we’ll split the cost of the bar 10 ways and each startup will get free drink tickets, a place to setup banners, swag, and more, and an awesome party atmosphere in prime-time realty. Calling all startups! This is your chance to impress investors, customers, and friends. If you’re interested in being a part of this party – email us at specialevents@up.co.

Community Happy Hours:

Happy Hours galore from some of the best places in the US! Iowa, Colorado, Dallas, and other startup communities will be hosting happy hours and showing you what they’re all about. All are welcome – please register online!

Come on by, on March 14, 15 and 16, Startup Oasis will be a collaborative and chill lounge thanks to Turnstone Furniture who are turning the bar into a relaxing escape from the craziness of SXSW. Come by, order a snack, have a drink, take a nap, or enjoy the people watching from our 6th street patio.

We will be announcing our full schedule on Monday, February 23 so tune in and we’ll see you on 6th Street!

See pics and updates from last year’s Startup Oasis. 


What time is it? SXSWEdu Time!

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.

5. Happy Hour in partnership with EdsurgeHireEdu4.0 Schools, and New Schools Venture Fund

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.