Startup Weekend Education Oakland

    Friday, November 6 - 8, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Education Oakland

Friday, November 6 - 8, 2015

Friday, November 6 - 8, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

La Escuelita Elementary School (a few blocks from Lake Merritt BART)
1050 2nd Avenue
Oakland, California 94606

Buy Tickets

Are you passionate about making an impact in education, now?

Register and buy your ticket here right away before they sell out!  
  • STUDENTS: Contact from your .edu email address for a discount code!
  • TEACHERS: Omninox is giving away scholarships to entrepreneurial educators! If you’re an educator that would like to apply to participate in this event for free, please email us at with the name of your school and 2-5 sentences about your idea for how you want to improve education.

Startup Weekend Education (SW-EDU)

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 complimentary skills & the passion & to work with and learn along the way. No tech skills required! Test your idea with potential customers. Join a community ready to help you take your education concept to the next level!

We're looking for passionate educators, designers, developers, 
parents, students, and business/non-profit professionals who want to make a difference in education now. Come learn the basics of founding & launching a successful education or edtech venture, while solving real problems in education. You can participate just for the experience -- serious creative thinking, inspired work, and a lot of fun!

Recent Ventures that came out of Startup Weekend Education
  • Talking Points, which was hatched at a previous Oakland Startup Weekend EDU and further developed in partnership with Oakland teachers and public schools, just received $250,000 as a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge/Bay Area!
  • Epic, a SF Startup Weekend EDU winner, went on to found a real school, receive $600,000 of startup funding, and opened in Oakland Unified!
  • Fantasy Geopolitics- Think fantasy football for world news, social studies, and literacy standards.
  • Mathchat- Mobile collaboration for learning math
  • Vidcode- Connects computer science to teen girls’ lives and hobbies, empowering a new generation of coders.
The event:
We bring together a diverse group of people passionate about making a positive impact on education.  In 54 hours, participants share ideas, form teams, build products and launch education or edtech ventures.

Startup Weekend Education begins with open-mic 60-second pitches Friday night that result in the formation of small teams around the best, most viable concepts. 
Teams spend Saturday and Sunday focusing on validating their idea by talking to users, designing/building prototypes and building a business plan with the help of experienced coaches from the education market. On Sunday, teams present and demo their education products and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges. 

Here are some of the things you get from attending:
  • 7 meals of food & snacks for the entire weekend including delicious coffee from our sponsor Peets Coffee Alameda
  • A unique opportunity to be mentored and coached by edtech and educator leaders
  • A network of new local developer, designer, educator, student & entrepreneur friends that are also excited about improving education 
  • A free .co domain name 
  • An awesome portfolio piece
  • The possibility of something more...
The Winning Team will receive:
  • A 90 minute in-person consultation session with Gloria Lee, CEO of Educate78 and former President/COO of NewSchools Venture Fund, to provide feedback on the team’s plan or product and suggestions for increasing attractiveness to prospective donors or investors.
  • An automatic interview with education startup accelerator ImagineK12
  • Scholarship to attend the 4.0 Schools Essentials program in New Orleans or NYC (If accepted)
  • Free app design by award-winning design agency PLATFORM
  • 1 year subscription to the Omninox product
  • 1 month ORG25 membership at co-working space Impact Hub Oakland OR 6 month access pass to I-Gate
The Runners Up will receive:
  • Scholarship to attend the 4.0 Schools Essentials program in New Orleans or NYC (If accepted)
  • Free co-working space
NBCUniversal Open Possibilities Challenge: This Startup Weekend Education event is participating in the nationwide NBCUniversal Open Possibilities challenge! NBCUniversal is committed to using media and technology to connect and strengthen communities. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to design solutions which prepare students for the 21st century workforce and to lead 21st century communities! All teams will be considered for this special prize and the team who wins the NBCUniversal Open Possibilities challenge will receive up to 3 tickets to the SXSWedu Conference in Austin, TX.  View the eligibility rules and judging criteria for this prize here. Note: these eligibility and judging rules for NBCUniversal Open Possibilities challenge are for the SXSWedu prize; they are not the judging rules and criteria for winning this Startup Weekend EDU event itself.

Terms of Participation Agreement:  You must review the Terms of Participation Agreement on the Eventbrite ticketing page, and by purchasing your ticket you agree to & accept those Terms.

All startup ideas pitched and developed this weekend will be focused on education!  All kinds of education related ventures may be pitched, so be innovative, and think big and high impact! Pitches at this event will be new education or edtech ventures.  Pitching a problem/solution is encouraged but not required, but only new ideas you have not previously worked on can be pitched. No existing startups, please! You don't need to pitch a startup idea to participate -- just join a team that interests you!  

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 6th

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 7th

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

1:00 pm
Coaches are Ready
Sign up for coaching

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 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:30 am
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

12:00 pm

1:30 pm
Practice Pitches
Sign up for a practice pitch session with our coaches between 1:30 and 3:30

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!

Event Judges

Silver McDonald
Chief Commercial Officer @ BrightBytes

Silver has been in the educational technology industry for over 15 years and is a passionate believer in making a difference.  Silver is the Chief Commercial Officer at BrightBytes, an analytics research organization focused on providing educational leaders the data to make informed decisions about students, staff, stakeholders and systems, and driving learning outcomes.  At BrightBytes, Silver is responsible for leading sales, marketing and partnerships. Previously, Silver was an early employee with Schoolnet, an organization focused on reporting and assessment for large urban Districts and States. In her 10 years at Schoolnet, Silver led Client Services and then Sales. Schoolnet was acquired by Pearson in 2011. At Pearson, Silver served as SVP, Sales for K12 Solutions. Prior to Schoolnet, Silver began her career at Razorfish, a successful 90’s startup focused on digital design strategy and delivery for organizations such as McKinsey Consulting, Joe Boxer and Sega of America. Silver has an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and is an Advisory Board member for Noodle Markets.

Michael Staton
Partner @ Learn Capital

Michael Staton is a Partner at Learn Capital, where he has helped lead investments into Coursera, Minerva, BrightBytes, AltSchool and Brilliant. He is the founder and former CEO of Uversity, the pioneer of Social Enrollment Management technology in Higher Education. For Uversity, Michael secured the first venture investment from the Gates Foundation’s US Programs into a private company. Because of his years as a public school teacher and his intuitive understanding of K12 education, Michael served as a Venture Partner and Community Advisor to NewSchools Venture Fund’s Seed Fund, now Reach Capital. Outside of investing, he has had early roles, befriended and advised many EdTech companies, including Dev Bootcamp and Goalbook. Michael was declared a top one hundred innovator by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and he is on the advisory board of SxSWEDU and the Higher Education Working Group of the American Enterprise Institute.

Lynn Liao
Chief Program Officer @ Rocketship Education

Lynn Liao is responsible for all talent management, leadership development, and recruitment and selection at Rocketship. Lynn joins Rocketship from The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems where she co-founded and led the growth of The Broad Residency, a national program to attract and support emerging business leaders to join urban school systems. Under her leadership, the program graduated over 200 Residents, 90% who remain in K-12 education. She most recently served as managing director of network services. The goal of network services is to strengthen and leverage the power of the Broad Center’s network of participants and graduates through career services and connecting network members to facilitate knowledge sharing and advance reforms. Prior to joining The Broad Center, Lynn served as a director at The Broad Foundation and was responsible for the Foundation’s portfolio of investments in district and national principal leadership programs. She also served as the Foundation’s liaison with districts including New York City, San Diego and Philadelphia supporting their work on district redesign and restructuring.  Lynn holds a Master in Education & Master in Business from Stanford University, and Bachelor of Political Economy, University of California, Berkeley.

Coaches and Mentors

Dan Barber
Head of Educator Experience @ AltSchool

Dan has been a leader in high growth technology companies since transitioning outside of the classroom. At AltSchool, Dan is focused on giving educators superpowers through world class operations and products. Specific responsibilities include: - Defining the role of an educator as we build a school system for tomorrow by leveraging the data and insights gathered today.  - Inform AltSchool's strategy for product, school design, and organizational growth for all educator impacting decisions. - Maintain world class hiring, staffing, and management of our schools. Currently manage the staff of 40 amazing educators selected from over 4000 applicants. - Supporting operations of our schools. Prototype and launch systems to improve the educator experience at AltSchool including staffing models, process improvements, and product solutions.

Michael de la Cruz
Head of Education, Americas @ Google for Education

Michael de la Cruz leads the Americas team responsible for delivering Google solutions and initiatives for Education.  His team collaborates with higher education and primary-secondary education institutions to achieve their visions and goals using open technology based solutions from Google. He is based in Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA.  Michael also brings international experience as the former Head of International Education at Google and Director of Market Development at Intel Corporation before that.  He has managed global sales and marketing teams to develop and grow new sales channels for education solutions across China, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  Michael has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Minaxi Gupta
Director Security and Ops @ Edmodo

Minaxi Gupta is the Director of Security and Operations at Edmodo. Her mission is to keep Edmodo's user's safe and the infrastructure efficient. Edmodo is the leading online learning platform for 57.5 million K-12 teachers, students, parents, and administrators around the world. Prior to joining Edmodo in 2013, Minaxi was a professor of computer science at Indiana University. Her research at Indiana University focused on online fraud and defenses. During her tenure there, Minaxi graduated three Ph.D. students and taught courses in computer networking and online fraud.

Gene Wade
CEO & Co-Founder @ One University Network

Gene Wade is Co-founder and CEO of One University Network, a company that enables students throughout the world to earn a college degree using their mobile device. Wade was founder and CEO of UniversityNow, which operates a self-paced US university with an affordable, pay-as-you-go tuition model.  Wade was co-founder and CEO of Platform Learning, which provided after-school tutoring to tens of thousands of low-income students throughout the US. He was also co-founder and CEO of LearnNow, which built and operated a national network of urban charter schools.  Wade’s work has been profiled by numerous news publications, including Forbes Magazine, The New York Times, Fast Company and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2011, he shared his personal story and vision for higher education at TEDx San Francisco. He serves on the boards of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and The Pahara Instutue. He earned an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA from Morehouse College. 

Diana Barthauer
Director Investor Relations @ Reach Capital

Diana Barthauer works as the Director of Investor Relations at Reach Capital, a leading fund for early-stage K-12 education technology ventures. In her role she handles all communications with limited partners, as well as participating in investment discussions, and assisting the Reach Capital team with market analysis needs. Previously, she was the Entrepreneur in Residence at Reach Capital where she worked on a program that provides an alternative pathway to success for students who will not attend college. The program helps students obtain rewarding, high-paying careers in the middle skills and is now being continued by JobTrain, a none local profit in East Palo Alto. Diana continues to support the project in an advisory capacity. Prior to that, she worked for NewSchools Venture Fund. Diana graduated from Stanford where she studied Educational Systems Engineering, a hybrid degree between computer science, education, product design, and management.

Leonard Medlock
Product Manager @ EdSurge

Leonard Medlock currently serves as a Product Manager at EdSurge, where he manages the Edtech Concierge. He took a leave of absence in the summer of 2013 to serve as designer-in-residence for the ESI School Design Fellowship, a New York City Department of Education initiative to rethink high schools for at-risk black and Latino males, which launched three new public high schools in the Fall of 2014.Before joining EdSurge full-time, Leonard was a coach and lecturer at the Stanford and a Research Assistant at Stanford’s Project Based Learning Lab, where his work on global teamwork and collaboration was published in the International Journal of AI & Society. He is also co-author of “Blend My Learning: Lessons Learned From a Blended Learning Project,” the precursor to

P.H. Mullen
VP Marketing @ Junyo (also Partner @ Arc Capital)

P.H. Mullen is vice president of marketing at Junyo, a learning-analytics company, and a partner at Arc Capital Development, an edtech advising firm. He advises multiple edtechs on go-to-market strategies and selling to K-12. He is a mentor at GSVlabs and co-chair of SIIA's 2015 Education Business Forum. He holds a BA form Dartmouth. 

Natalie Bonifede
Director of Programs @ Girls Who Code

Natalie Bonifede is the Director of Programs at Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. Natalie oversees Girls Who Code's suite of programs nationwide. Previously, Natalie served as Girls Who Code's Director of Summer Immersion Programs, where she achieved 200% growth, expanding the program from 19 sites in four cities to 57 sites in 9 cities reaching 1200 girls nationwide. Natalie's background spans the social impact, technology marketing and for-profit sectors. Natalie is a graduate of the UC Berkeley, where she received her undergraduate degree in Sociology.

John Krull
Chief Information Officer @ Seattle Public Schools

John Krull is the chief information officer at Seattle Public Schools. He began as a teacher and has 13 years of classroom experience. John then moved to being an adjunct professor of education technology and then to Microsoft in systems engineering and enterprise data work. He then went on to increasingly challenging leadership roles including his most recent experience as chief technology officer for the Oakland Unified School District.

Arjan Khalsa
CEO @ Conceptua Math

Arjan Khalsa is a leader and visionary in digital curriculum for the 21st century classroom and economy. Over the past 30 years, he has been a pioneer in educational technology, educational research, and successful entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder and CEO of Conceptua Math, where he directs business development, interacts with school district and policy leaders nationwide, and serves as an industry voice in digital learning. His prior company was IntelliTools, a market leader in special education. Arjan co-founded the Assistive Technology Industry Association, helped write the federal special education act, and sold the company to Cambium Learning in 2006, bringing strong returns to IntelliTools investors and staff.  Arjan’s entrepreneurial career began in the early 1980’s when he invented the LittleJack® headphone system, selling thousands to improve the use of the Apple IIe in classrooms. He also started and funded a non-profit that brought enabling technologies to students with disabilities in Latin America.

Kieran McMillen
Director of Professional Development @ Summit Public Schools

Kieran McMillen is Director of Professional Development for Summit Public Schools, having previously served as the Math Specialist for the CMO, and earlier a math teacher and the head basketball coach at one if it's schools, Summit Prep.   A thought leader in design thinking, he facilitates all-day experiences at Summit to guide teachers through the design thinking process so that they can consider how to create lessons that are personalized for students.  In the area of EdTech product design, he continuously collaborates with Summit's Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) Tool designers to create a student-facing dashboard that contains all of the information and structures needed for students to become self-directed learners.  Kieran studied Public Policy and Economics at Duke University. Within two years of graduating from college, he accepted a job teaching math at his former high school, Georgetown Prep, in North Bethesda, MD. After teaching there for four years, he went on to earn a Master's degree at the Stanford Teacher Education Program, where he began his time at Summit Prep completing his student teaching.

Judy Wilson
Director, School Development and Support @ CCSA (California Charter Schools Association)

Judy Wilson has been in the education space for over 10 years, currently driving and supporting new charter school growth across the Bay Area for the California Charter Schools Association.  She began her career as a middle school teacher in New York City through the Teach for America program, then as a grantmaker for the Robin Hood foundation in New York City, and later as the grants director for All Stars Helping Kids foundation in Silicon Valley. Judy holds a Masters in Education from Pace University, and a BA in Women's Studies and Political Science from University of Michigan (Go Blue!). 

Caitlyn Metteer
Associate Director @ Rocketship Education

Caitlyn Metteer is Associate Director at Rocketship Education and comes to work every day to ensure that she brings the best possible teachers and leaders to our Rocketeers. Before joining the Rocketship family, she was the founding teacher at another charter school in San Jose. Caitlyn became passionate about education reform after hearing an episode of This American Life. It changed her view on what is necessary for education, and sought out Rocketship in order to be a part of the movement to eliminate the achievement gap. Caitlyn understands the importance of making learning fun and meaningful, and continues to seek out teachers that will bring this type of education to our young Rocketeers.  She holds a BA Political Science from California State University, Chico.

Nick Arnold
2-time SW-EDU Winner, Attorney, and 2015 Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow

Nick Arnold is a 2-time winner of Startup Weekend EDU (SF 2013 and SF 2014), a BUILD mentor, a compulsive MOOC course taker, and he just happens to find time to practice law. Nick is a 2015 Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow, and during his fellowship, worked with Alpha Public Schools in San Jose to develop and implement policies to help Alpha attract quality talent. With extensive experience in the entertainment industry, Nick also was former general counsel of an "edutainment" startup in Los Angeles that created a multi-platform language learning program for kids incorporating television, gaming, and interactive toys. In his spare time, Nick has proudly served as a student tutor and mentor for over 15 years. Nick has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from Boston University. 

Cosmo Wolfe
Engineering Team Lead @ Clever

Cosmo Wolfe is an engineering lead at Clever, where he helps build the platform that powers edtech applications in almost half of US schools. As part of his role he is often working with and advising educational companies across all stages of growth. Before Clever, Cosmo worked as a software consultant in the Midwest, helping early stage startups get off the ground.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Education Oakland 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.




Organizing Team

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

  • Ethan
  • Diana
  • Jackie
  • Brian
  • Xiaohoa Michelle
  • Jessica


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.

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