Startup Weekend EDU Houston

    Friday, November 14 - 16, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend EDU Houston

Friday, November 14 - 16, 2014

Friday, November 14 - 16, 2014
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Houston Technology Center
410 Pierce Street
Houston, TX 77002

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Join us for Startup Weekend Education!

About Startup Weekend EDU and Education Entrepreneurs

Have you ever had an idea for improving education? Here's your opportunity to transform your education ideas into action in 54 hours. Startup Weekend Edu is an experiential learning event for anyone who is interested in innovating and contributing ideas to improve education. Form teams and join other people who have complementary skills & the passion & dedication to build an education product in one weekend. Design for learning, conduct user tests, receive coaching from experienced education designers & industry professionals, and win prizes & work together to help take your idea to the next level. This event is for teachers, designers, techies, parents, entrepreneurs, students, and anyone who wants to contribute their ideas and skills to improve education.

The Houston Startup Weekend team with the most votes will also have the opportunity to represent Houston and compete with teams from other cities around the world in Global Startup Battle 2014.  Startup Weekend Edu is a program created by Education Entrepreneurs, which is a global and diverse community, specifically focused on leveraging entrepreneurship to improve education outcomes. Recognizing that education entrepreneurs face unique problems that require unique solutions, we've created a suite of programs that help people launch and scale education ventures, no matter where they are in their entrepreneurial journey. Only three years old, the Education Entrepreneurs community has already expanded to more than 70 cities spanning 6 continents, creating an unprecedented opportunity for anyone anywhere to play a role in shaping the future of education.

Centering on Startup Weekend Education, a 54-hour experiential learning event, education entrepreneurs can now take advantage of education-specific reading lists, bootcamps, and a global network of Community Leaders who are eager to help. Education Entrepreneurs is part of UP Global, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports global entrepreneurship.


Friday November 14th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 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 15th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

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

2:00 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 16th

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

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:05 pm
Doors Open for Demo Day Audience Members
Doors open for Demo Day only attendees. Check-in at the front table.

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Kelsey Ruger
President of HIMA, Adjunct Professor at U. of H., VP at Cogmine

Yash Semlani - Speaker

Yash Semlani is an 8yrs old, 3rd Grader, Honor Roll Student and a Cub Scout. Earlier this year, he won the 2014 Ernst & Young Youth Entrepreneurship award and Lemonade Day Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards for making a difference in sick children's lives. Starting with a simple lemonade stand, Yash adapted things he had learnt through other activities (Cub Scout, School Fundraiser) to set a new national record of $5056 in sales and $4535 in profit at a lemonade stand. He donated over $6000 to Texas Children’s Hospital, by bringing in a matching donor and helped raise an additional $59,000 by launching their fundraising campaign.    He is not stopping at this. He and his brother Jay (5yrs old) are forming a network of marquee Entrepreneurs as mentors and a peer network of other kids like them, to teach and mentor underprivileged kids, about entrepreneurship while making it fun and a rewarding experience. Several prominent entrepreneurs have already agreed to support them in his mission.
Yash has had the opportunity to share his story with leading newspapers, TV stations and organizations like Houston Technology Center and TiE. He's also going to be presenting at TEDx Youth, Texas Governor’s Small Business Conference, and several other events in addition to Startup Weekend Edu.

Event Judges

Anna Eastman
HISD Board of Education

Coert Voorhees
Founder, Grammaropolis

Roberto Moctezuma
Fractal River

Daniel Williamson
Managing Director at OpenStax

Roopa Gir
President of iEducateUSA

Coaches and Mentors

Mike Olson
Founder and Executive Director, Talent Unbound

Ricky Johnson
Co-Founder, CFO at Pledgecents

Ricky Johnson is the co-founder and chief financial officer of PledgeCents, or Bake Sale 2.0. PledgeCents allows anyone to help raise funds for any school or classroom need through an easier, faster, and more efficient fundraising process. So far, nearly $120,000 has been put back into classrooms in over 27 states, and this has directly impacted over 26,000 students with more opportunities. Ricky hopes that PledgeCents can help bring awareness to classroom needs through the connectivity of the internet and improve the quality of education by bringing improved resources and educational experiences to the classroom.

Previous to PledgeCents, Ricky worked as an Associate at The Royal Bank of Scotland in Houston for the Energy Finance Group where he helped to advise and structure financing solutions for the bank's Energy clients.  Ricky attended the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with honors with a BBA in Finance and a minor in Accounting and Spanish.

Katie Conklin
Co-Founder at TechnoTutor

Jamie Lonie
Teach for America

Bon Crowder
Math Education Blogger, Co-Founder of That's Math

Stephanie Sandifer
Educator, Learning Designer, Author, EdTech Consultant

Ben Ochoa

Mia Mundy
Organizer of EdTech Houston

Dan Smith
Co-founder of Sibme

Dave Wakefield
Co-Founder of Sibme

Nathan Barber
Educator, Author

Chris Lipari
Founder, CEO at Mach Interview

Aditi Rao
Houston A+ Challenge, Emery/Weiner School

John Ruff
VP Business Development & School Partnerships, ScribeSense

Charlie Hermes
CEO & Co-Founder at

Hassan Hassan
4.0 Schools, Manager of Idea Development

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend EDU Houston 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.

Community Partners



Organizing Team

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

  • Sarah
  • David


Jessica Falkenthal
Education Community & Growth Marketing Strategist

Jessica Falkenthal leads growth marketing, community building and experience design for education startups, schools and nonprofits. She serves on the SXSW EDU Launch Advisory Board and CUE SF Board.
Jessica loves creating engaging education experiences and  previously managed a dozen online learning communities, coached early-stage education entrepreneurs, grew the Startup Weekend Education program worldwide, founded her own education startup, led professional development workshops for hundreds of educators, and designed and taught technology classes for the Boys and Girls Club and 4-H Youth Development programs. She is also a community organizer for the SF Edtech Happy Hour, 4-H, Startup Weekend Education, and Education Startup Digest.

Event Blog

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