Boston Startup Weekend EDU

    Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
Buy Tickets

Event Alerts and Updates

Get the latest on Techstars Startup Weekend, Boston, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Boston Startup Weekend EDU

Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017

Friday, November 10 - 12, 2017
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Pearson Education
501 Bolyston Street
Boston, MA 02116

Buy Tickets

Have you ever had an idea for improving education?

Here’s your opportunity to transform your education ideas into action in 54 hours. Find the right people with complementary skills and the passion to build an education product in one weekend - you'll get a crash course in being part of a founding team. Design for learning, conduct user tests, receive coaching from experienced education designers & industry professionals and win prizes that will help take your idea to the next level!

Friday night: 60-second pitches that result in the formation of small teams around the best, most viable education concepts. Educators validate ideas, then all attendees vote. It's a thrill to pitch, but definitely not required! 

Saturday and Sunday: Work days! Teams focus on user research, customer development, validating their ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced coaches from the education and entrepreneurial world. You’re welcome to stay and work as long as the venue will allow!

Sunday evening: Teams demo their education products and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges. Winning teams take home a grab bag of great prizes to help launch their company, and may be eligible to advance & compete in Startup Weekend's Global Startup Weekend!

Here are some of the things you get from attending:
  • Delicious & healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole weekend
  • A free .co domain name
  • $300 Google Cloud Platform credit
  • Awesome coaching by education & tech industry leaders
  • A network of 100+ new educator, developer, designer & entrepreneur friends who are also excited about improving education
BONUS: Our Signature Sponsor, Pearson Education, will be additionally awarding a special prize to startups that focus on improving access to quality education for underserved learners. If your teams solution falls into this category, meant to be interpreted broadly, you may be eligible for an additional prize.

How can Startup Weekend change your life? In 2014, LeanGap, a start-up accelerator for high schoolers led by a founder who was a high-schooler himself, was one of the winning teams of Boston SWEDU. Today, LeanGap is still going strong, having just finished their third summer (read more here on BetaBoston)!  Come be our next success story!

Come join us! At Startup Weekend, we're...No talk. All action.


Friday November 10th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 11th

8:00 am
Begin Work
Breakfast & coffee to help you start work!

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

1:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday November 12th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:00 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Curtiss Barnes
Managing Director, Global Product Management & Design at Pearson

Curtiss Barnes is the Managing Director for Product Management & Design in Pearson’s Global Product organization. His main focus is identifying ways to accelerate the transition away from traditional content models and leverage digital media and technology to develop the next generation of high value, high quality and high impact learning solutions for Pearson’s customers globally.

Curtiss has more than 25 years of experience in the education industry and expertise in a broad range of enterprise and instructional systems that support the core missions of education. Prior to joining Pearson, Curtiss held executive roles at large and small enterprises serving the education industry worldwide, including Cengage Learning, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SCT and Campus Pipeline. Before his career transition to the commercial sector, Curtiss held positions in alumni and corporate relations, development, admissions and executive education at a number of higher education institutions. 

Mark Racine
CIO, Boston Public Schools

Mark has been with BPS since 2007 in both teaching and technical capacities before becoming the District's Chief Information Officer.  

Jean Hammond
Co-Founder, Partner

Jean Hammond is currently a Co-Founder and Partner at LearnLaunch supporting the edtech community with an accelerator, co-working space and community engagement with startup and educator support at LearnLaunch Institute.  Jean is an active angel investor and member of Launchpad, Hub Angels, and Golden Seeds angel groups. Jean was the 2014 recipient of the Hans Severiens Award, honoring angel investors, by the Angel Capital Association. Jean is an active mentor at TCN, TechStars, and MassChallenge along with other organizations and was a co-founder of two technology startups in the Boston area. 

Christine Ortiz
Founder, Professor

Christine Ortiz is the (tenured and chaired) Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ortiz is the founder of a new nonprofit postsecondary educational organization which seeks to create an inclusive, humanistic and modernized model of higher education. Ortiz served as the Dean for Graduate Education at MIT between 2010 and 2016, supporting approximately 7,000 graduate students. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Ortiz has led cross-institutional initiatives in global education, technology-enabled learning, new methods of learning assessment, fostering diversity and inclusion and new postsecondary financial models. Ortiz has served on over 50 MIT departmental and Institute committees and working groups.

Aaron Feuer

Aaron Feuer is CEO and Co-Founder of Panorama Education, a Boston-based education and technology company. Panorama Education partners with schools and districts to collect and analyze data about social-emotional learning, school climate, family engagement, and more. With research-backed surveys and a leading technology platform, Panorama helps educators act on data and improve student outcomes. Panorama has supported more than 5 million students in 6,500 schools across 40 states, including those in the New York City Department of Education, Dallas Independent School District, Seattle Public Schools, and San Francisco Unified School District.

As a high school student, Aaron was President of the California Association of Student Councils (CASC), the state-chartered student leadership and advocacy organization. In that role, Aaron led a campaign to pass legislation around student feedback in the classroom -- and an initiative to seat a student on the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education. Following high school, Aaron came out East and graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science.

Coaches and Mentors

Craig Alexander
SVP of Production & Digital Studio, Pearson

Craig Alexander joined Pearson in 2015 and is accountable for the successful end-to-end production of our Higher Education and other courseware across all formats and product models including print, eBooks, rich media, simulations/games, current generation supplemental, and next generation integrated digital including AR/VR, as well as oversight of Pearson rights & permissions, courseware quality assurance, and global content solutions. 

Craig joined Pearson from Warner Bros, where he was VP of Product Development for their Turbine studio's massively multiplayer online gaming franchises, including The Lord of the Rings Online. Craig previously held senior roles at Activision, Electronic Arts (EA), and Sierra On-Line where he produced a number of fantasy, science fiction, and superhero titles. At Sierra, Craig developed both education and entertainment software products. 

Sujata Bhatt
Managing Partner, Innovation @ Boston Public Schools

Sujata Bhatt serves as Managing Partner of Innovation for Boston Public Schools, where she seeds and accelerates new ways of thinking, problem-solving, and designing in the nation's oldest school district. Working cross-functionally, she grows capacity towards what the system may become three to ten years out and develops pathways for equitable access to the innovation economy. Previously, she was the founder of The Incubator School, a Los Angeles Unified school focused on equity and entrepreneurship. Her work draws upon her 14 years' experience as a National Board Certified teacher. She has advised and been on the founding teams of edtech companies, served on the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Games and Learning Publishing Council, and written and spoken extensively on educational transformation. She has B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard.

Gayle Grader
Career Coach, Business Advisor

Gayle Grader is a career coach and executive business advisor and strategist. In her over 20 years of experience, Gayle has advised top-level executives spanning across a number of fields, including but not limited to the television, clothing, and edtech industries.

Matt Hoffberg
Director, Product Management, New Products and Markets at Pearson

Matt Hoffberg heads the New Products team in Pearson’s Higher Ed Digital Courseware division. He and his team leverage Pearson’s vast reach and industry insights to drive the ideation, exploration and validation of early-stage product initiatives. Matt came to Pearson in 2013 after running an EdTech startup focused on ePortfolios and digital transcripts. Previously Matt spent seven years in Silicon Valley at Macromedia/Adobe, where he managed the development of Macromedia's Studio, the collection of web authoring tools that became the core of Adobe’s Creative Suite. Before Macromedia, Matt developed custom multimedia applications for major broadcasting clients, including CNN, Shadow Traffic, and HBO. Matt holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior (field of Sociology) from Cornell, where he also served as a teaching fellow at Cornell's Writing Institute.

Asad Butt
Partner & Director, LearnLaunch Accelerator

Asad Butt Is a Partner with LearnLaunch Accelerator, an education technology focused startup program. At LearnLaunch Accelerator, he oversees day-to-day activities, program creation and implementation, and sourcing of the edtech startups. Asad works with investors, mentors, strategic educational partners, and educators to help edtech startups in LearnLaunch Accelerator get the resources they need to grow their companies. Asad is a media and tech professional with 15 years of experience working in both the creative and business sides of startups, media production companies, non-profit organizations, and broadcast news outlets. His first foray into edtech was in 2005 when Asad worked for Empower Peace, a non-profit that implemented cutting-edge digital technology to connect high school students in the Middle East to their peers in the U.S. Asad earned an M.B.A., an M.S. in Media Ventures, and an M.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University and holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Bates College.

Nael Musleh
Engineering Manager/Software Architect

Nael Musleh heads up the tech team at Chalktalk, an adaptive practice platform for both academics and standardized exams. Nael holds a B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Computer Engineering from Boston University and an MBA from Babson. He worked as a software engineer and product architect in various industries ranging from education to healthcare to semiconductor fabrication. He was a senior officer in several companies, including small businesses that he founded in the U.S. and Middle East.

Marco Morales
Product Manager, Designer

Product designer for educational software products and startups, and currently a product manager and user experience designer at EdX. I was also previously the product lead for a small startup called BrightLoop I cofounded with an elementary school teacher. Other educational projects I have worked on include R&D on self-paced learning environments for Autodesk through their IDEA Studio program and Olin College’s SCOPE Program. Previously, I did product design for Alleyoop, Pearson’s college readiness supplemental learning platform, and co-founded Alight Learning, a middle school learning tool, during a leave of absence from Olin College with other classmates. While a student at Olin College, I worked on various other educational projects, culminating in a NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program portfolio titled “Creating Visual, Self-Directed Learning Environments.” 

Jodi Bolognese
Director, Product Management @ Pearson

Jodi Bolognese has spent the last 15 years working to empower people through education by developing learning products for  higher education students. Currently, Jodi is a product model manager for Mastering, Pearson's market leading digital learning product for Science and Engineering. Previously, she was a strategist for online learning and global planning, product manager for Course Connect, Pearson's customizable, off-the-shelf online learning curriculum. She's also been an acquisitions editor, sales representative and project manager for both print and digital learning products. Committed to lifelong learning, she's currently honing her product management skills on the job, and working part time on a master's degree in Library and Information Science.

Steve Shapiro
Founder, CEO, EdTech Investor

Steve brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience to his role as Chief Executive Officer of FineTune Learning. Steve has launched four different successful startups, ranging from K-12 intervention in urban school districts, tutoring and test prep, adult workforce development and international student exchange. In addition to his numerous entrepreneurial ventures, Steve is an adviser and angel investor for a number of other edtech startups and is an active angel in Launchpad Venture Group and Cornell Red Bear Angels. Steve currently guides FineTune Learning’s strategy and has successfully helped the company pivot to engage a number of nationally recognized partners. Additionally, he is on a never-ending mission to ensure that education technology is flawlessly implemented at the school level. Steve has both a BS and MBA from Cornell University and is currently on sabbatical from the M.Ed and Ed.D program at UMass Boston.

Ben Bungert
Program and Marketing Manager

Ben Bungert is the Program and Marketing Manager for LearnLaunch Accelerator. His focus is on identifying and supporting early stage edtech companies in the Pre-K, K-12, Higher Ed, Continuing Ed, Workforce Development, Workplace Tech and Adult Ed sectors.

Prior to LearnLaunch, Ben built programs at the New England Venture Capital Association, more specifically their Massachusetts-based internship program, TechGen. Prior to that he held sales, marketing and operations roles at Education First, Fiksu and CloudLock.
He spends much of his spare time working in the community with mission-based nonprofits such as BUILD, IDEA, ESAC & The Capital Network 
— whether it's as a mentor, coach, or advisory board member.

Eliza LaJoie
Head of Product, Shearwater

Eliza LaJoie is passionate about empowering all kinds of curious minds. She is currently head of product at Shearwater (Techstars `15), a company that partners with universities and secondary schools to help students succeed in the school community. She leads the development of online programs that combine personalized mentorship and scalable reporting to improve student experience, engage young alumni, and increase retention. Shearwater currently works with over 40 partner schools including Tufts University, Washington University in St. Louis, Northeastern's College of Professional Studies, and many of the best independent schools in the United States.

Prior to joining Shearwater, Eliza was a founding team member, student advisor and program architect at Quad Learning, which has raised $40 million to create 2+2 transfer pathways for high-potential community college students. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Boston Startup Weekend EDU team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching & learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning.

Visit Website



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Boston is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Vicky
  • Hannah
  • Christopher


Bill Kenney
CEO at Test My Pitch

Bill Kenney has founded 6 companies and currently leads two growing ventures. One is a business promotion company and the other is a self-promotion company. MEET ( specializes in helping growth healthcare, energy, and technology companies exhibit at trade shows. MEET develops and implements client event participation strategy. His second company, Test My Pitch ( is an online platform helps students, entrepreneurs, and professionals develop their communication skills in a safe and collegial environment. Think of Test My Pitch like a batting cage for communication skill development. Test My Pitch is currently embedded in the curriculum of universities, accelerators, incubators and corporations from Saudi Arabia to San Francisco.

Bill also leads four community building efforts in Connecticut. The first has developed a statewide entrepreneurial event calendar where more than 30 organizations events are now aggregating and the second is a statewide entrepreneurial mentor cooperative where more than 20 organizations are sharing mentorship best practices and resources. The third is a statewide entrepreneur awards event. And the fourth is a statewide entrepreneur summit.

Bill is also part of the leadership team at Startup Champions Network (formerly Startup America) and he emcees and speaks frequently on a variety of networking, business, mentorship, entrepreneurship and community building topics.

Event Blog

See Full Blog