Startup Weekend EDU Miami

    Friday, May 19 - 21, 2017

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

Friday, May 19 - 21, 2017

Friday, May 19 - 21, 2017
Event starts at 4:30 pm

Florida International University
Tech Station (Parking Garage 6)
11200 SW 8th St
Miami, Florida 33199

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Using Innovation to create solutions to improve equity in education #SWEDUMiami

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) brings together people of all skillsets and experience levels to reimagine the future of education. Over the course of this action-oriented weekend, you will be able to design solutions, tools, and learning spaces to address education's most pressing issues and turn an idea into a startup in just 54 hours.

At SWEDU you will be able to connect with educators, business professionals, and hackers to conceptualize and build viable products, services, and school models that can revolutionize the ways in which we teach and learn. This year's theme will be "Creating solutions to improve equity in education." SWEDU Miami is a unique opportunity to experiment with all the necessary stakeholders in the South Florida education landscape.

Join us to explore how innovation can disrupt inequities in education.

Educators, students, parents, developers, designers, and friends are invited! No previous entrepreneurial or tech experience is required!

Registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner during scheduled programming, free SWEDU swag, access to industry leaders and mentors, and a suite of free trials and discounts from our Google Network Partners.

Scholarships: With the support of the Knight Foundation we can provide Assistance Grants via ticketing that is available on a first come - first serve basis. If additional financial assistance is needed to support registration cost, please email

What’s in it for students? You're the expert. You see the educational problems day-to-day. You know what education needs.
  • Share your voice and bring power to your experiences. Build real solutions today!
  • Strengthen team-building, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Meet new people, make new friends, and network with potential business partners.
  • SWEDU is an awesome highlight for a resume.
  • SWEDU provides access to a 21st-century workforce skills and training experience.


See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday May 19th

4:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

5:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:15 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 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 May 20th

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 May 21st

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

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Jean-Claude Noel
Co-Founder, Liber P

Jean-Claude Noel is a Haitian native who first visited Miami at the age of seven--fifty years ago. As a teenager, he returned alone to attend high school in Western New York where he boarded with family friends.  He remained for a liberal arts education at Houghton College in the Genesee Valley and later moved to Atlanta for theological studies.  He later moved to Evanston near Chicago where he participated in the Art of Venturing at the Kellogg School of Management. He is a serial entrepreneur who had his start as a concrete sub-contractor in his 20s, had a practice that structured finance and trade insurances reaching Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the 90’s, followed by fintech and offshore banking at the turn of the Millennium.  It was the latter that led to his wrongfully being brought up on charges of racketeering and money laundering in 2007.  He prevailed on appeal to the Florida Supreme Court in Noel v. Stare, 191 So. 3d 370 (Fla 2016).  While incarcerated at Everglades Correctional Institution in Western Dade, officials assigned him to teach Innovation and Entrepreneurship—a multi-year workshop where participants created several award-winning concepts including Liber-P which won the 2016 Startup Weekend Education at FIU.

Dejean Myrtil
Co-Founder, Liber P

Dejean Myrtil, Jr. is a Haitian immigrant who at age six took to the seas with his father and thirteen others fleeing with only their lives back in 1991.  Before being granted asylum, he endured a long detention in Crown, Cuba.  Once settled in Miami he lived under economically challenging conditions in Little Haiti—at a time that saw the rise of the Zoe Pound gang as violence by incumbent inner-city gangs against Haitian immigrants in and around local high schools intensified.  While he excelled academically, he had been shot and stabbed and homeless before the age of 16.  Despite his early adversities, DeJean went on to attend college and begin a professional career in education.  At age 28 he faced his biggest obstacle: prison.  While serving a three-year sentence at Everglades Correctional Institution in Western Dade, he registered for Innovation and Entrepreneurship—a multi-year workshop where he led a team that created a concept for correctional education and a “hardened” technology system for online education behind prison walls.  After his release, he and a team that included other formerly incarcerated individuals christened it Liber-P and won the 2016 Startup Weekend.

Snow Kang
Co-Founder, LiberP

Snow Kang attended high school in Boca Raton, Florida at the American Heritage.  She has joined the Dartmouth Class of 2021.  She is an outgoing and ambitious woman with a difficult goal in sight: a civil rights lawyer who will change the world for the better.  At the 2016 Startup Weekend Education at FIU she joined the winning team, Liber-P.

Ruthnie Auguste
Co-Founder, Liber P

Ruthnie Auguste was born in Haiti in 1998 and migrated to Miami at the age of eight with her father, leaving behind her beloved mother.  After starting school here, she first had to learn English.  Her mother read to her as a younger girl.  She realized reading would be her best approach to improve her understanding of her new country and its language.  She recalls watch her first U.S. presidential debate as a teaching moment when her Dad talked to her about the necessity of laws and how they differed between nations.  As she grew, she continued to be curious about politics and the law.  She recalls her mother saying “you wake up every day.  There’s only twenty-four hours in a day.  Learn something new and I promise your future will always consist of nothing but blessings.”  Ruthnie attended Atlantic Community High School where she excelled academically making the honor roll every semester.  She was president of the KOP Mentoring Network while she received honors for the MLK Essay Contest, the Organized Eagle Award, and the Anti-Defamation League National Youth Leadership.  Her education continues at Florida International University with intention to complete a pre-law program.  At the 2016 Startup Weekend Education at FIU she joined the winning team, Liber-P.

Robert Dodd
Co-Founder, LiberP

Robert Dodd, at age 16, served a three-year prison sentence back in 1964.  Those were the days of the so-called chain-gangs across the American South.  It meant hard-labor all day and no allowance for education. Returning to society without a high school diploma, he was further relegated to low skilled work and poverty.  Despite being shut out of a formal secondary education, he never lost his curiosity and thirst for knowledge.  He has been a mentor to several youths over the years--many of them children of incarcerated parents.  He now uses his life experience to advocate for criminal justice reform and to promote correctional education at the service of twenty-first century job readiness for returning citizens and their families.  At the 2016 Startup Weekend Education at FIU he joined the winning team, Liber-P.

Allan Tito
Co-Founder, Liber P

Allan Tito is a technology professional with a track record of partnering with business leaders in healthcare, advertising, technology, and the public sector to improve service delivery, grow revenue, and reduce operating costs.  After his US Army service, he began his career in healthcare technology with the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine overseeing technical operations. Thereafter, he assumed numerous technical roles in South Florida’s healthcare sector. While at Cyramed, an EMR provider, he assumed his first divisional IT directorate supporting a $20M platform implementation business called CyramedX.  After that role, he was ready to build an IT services firm to provide centralized EMR implementation services to additional companies around the region.  His consultancy firm also focused on mobile deployment for the enterprise.  Allan also worked in Marketing and Sales for A+M, a digital marketing firm.  In that role, Allan was responsible for the successful implementation of media buying campaigns for ethnic markets across the US.  In keeping with his commitment to sharing technology with underserved communities, he volunteers with Liber-P in product development building a correctional education and “hardened” technology system that will someday facilitate online education behind prison walls.  Liber-P won the 2016 Startup Weekend Education at FIU.

Event Judges

Dr. Lupe Diaz
Executive Director, Department of Career and Technical Education - Miami Dade County Public Schools

Maxeme Tuchman
CEO & Co-Founder, Caribu

Diana Santangelo
Director of Education, United Way of Miami-Dade

Demian Bellumio
CEO, Aunken Labs

Dr. Kenneth Furton
Provost and Executive Vice President, Florida International University

Coaches and Mentors

Brian Brackeen
CEO, Kairos

Brian Brackeen is the founder & CEO of, a facial recognition company, based in Wynwood. Their products not only identify a individual within a million in 800 milliseconds, it also understand someones age, gender, attentiveness, and up to 5 distinct emotions. 

Kairos’s growth was noticed by the Wall Street Journal in 2013, as it was selected as one of the top 25 startups in the country and it participated in the WSJ Startup of the Year. They were also selected as a company in 2014.  Kairos has raised over 5 million dollars in funding from investors in Florida and California. 

Brian cut his technological teeth at leading firms like IBM and Apple. At Apple he managed back office systems for Apple corporate and retail facilities around the world.
Brian has a daughter (who is 13 and going on 23) :) and is a rabid Miami Heat, & Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Willie Avendano
Co-Founder, Learn01

Willie is an entrepreneur, creative technologist, hacker, educator, and new media artist. He was Hacker-in-Residence at The LAB Miami. and has had his artwork shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, MiamiLocust Projects&gallery. His interests include virtual reality, artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms in design and graduated from Columbia University in Operations Research and Computer Science.

Matt Mawhinney
Company Relations Manger, LaunchCode

A Sunshine State native, Matt Mawhinney is the Community Manager for LaunchCode South Florida, a non-profit that helps people from non-traditional technology education backgrounds start careers in tech. Matt is also an alumni of Wyncode, Florida’s first accredited web development bootcamp and is actively involved in South Florida’s technology, entrepreneurial, and creative communities. In his spare time, Matt likes to cook, travel, and do improv comedy–if people in the audience promise they will laugh.

Gianfranco Colombi
Founder, Goddard Robotics

Engineer and strategist, focused on intelligent design and meaningful ideas.

Giselle Latorre
Community Outreach at StartUP FIU

During her time at FIU she discovered her passion for design thinking and entrepreneurship. Through this process, she learned that problems are nothing but opportunities waiting to be turned into solutions. As StartUP FIU’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Giselle will play a key role in building external relationships and strategizing new initiatives for the success of the South Florida Community and StartUP FIU.

Daniela Cadena
Social Innovation Program Manager at StartupFIU

Daniela is an FIU alumna, passionate about creating touch points among students, universities, and local communities through social entrepreneurship initiatives. Through sustainable social value propositions, Daniela leads social entrepreneurship at StartUP FIU by providing resources for projects focused on identifying unjust equilibriums that cause exclusion in segments of the populations lacking financial means or political clout.

Juan Lopezs Salaberry

Co-founder of and Founder of, occasional writer, public speaker, go-kart race driver and a passionate traveler. Previously, partner at 500 Startups. I'm focused on VC, Innovation and Startups in Silicon Valley, Miami, LatAm & beyond

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend EDU Miami 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


Organizing Team

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

  • Kiesha
  • Wifredo
  • Caryn


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 Staff

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