Portland Startup Weekend EDU

    Friday, April 8 - 10, 2016

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

Friday, April 8 - 10, 2016

Friday, April 8 - 10, 2016
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Concordia University
2811 NE Holman St.
Portland, Oregon 97211

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Join Portland's First SWEDU Ever!

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 and passion to work and learn with along the way. No tech skills required! Pitch your idea (or even better a problem/solution), then test it with real potential customers and receive coaching from industry experts in technology and education from the Portland Metro area. Join a community ready to help you take your concept to the next level!

We're looking for passionate educators, parents, students, developers, designers and business/non-profit professionals who want to make a difference in education now. Come learn the basics of founding and launching a successful education venture while solving real problems being experienced in Portland today.

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 ventures. Startup Weekend EDU 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 morning focusing on customer development, validating their ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced coaches. On Sunday afternoon, teams demo their education solutions and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges. 
All of the pitches on Friday and companies demoed on Sunday will be educator approved and designed to solve problems in the education space, broadly defined (not restricted to K-12 or other “formal” education).

What you get: 
  • A free .co domain name 
  • Awesome coaching by local education and industry leaders
  • Healthy, catered meals including dinner on Friday night, breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday
  • A custom event T-shirt and other swag from sponsors 
  • A network of new educator, developer, designer & entrepreneur friends that are also excited about improving education 
What to expect:
  • Lots of teamwork, though quiet areas too
  • Use of laptops, tablets and other technology
  • Access to public transportation
  • Wifi access on campus
  • Free parking on campus
  • Time spent indoors and outdoors
  • Casual clothing, not business attire 
  • Opportunities for breaks, such as complimentary Yoga mini-classes
  • Schedule flexibility 
  • New ideas welcome - no existing startups, please!
Note: We worked on providing certified childcare for the weekend, but it turns out that requires a lot of insurance and waivers and stuff to make sure your kids are completely happy and safe. We are not able to provide free (or paid) childcare on site at this time. We hope that is not a barrier for anyone and that childcare can be available for future Startup Weekends! 

Discounts Available:  In order to introduce more classroom teachers, professors and students to innovative, nimble and creative principles of startup businesses, we are are offering discounts to these individuals. Learn more at our registration page or contact register@pdxsw.org from your .edu email address. 

Powered By 4.0 Schools
Startup Weekend Education is powered by 4.0 Schools in the USA. 4.0 Schools is a non-profit incubator for education startups and schools. 4.0 is a community of educators, entrepreneurs and families that believe education can be dramatically better for every child. In addition to Startup Weekend Education, 4.0 Schools supports entrepreneurs through its Essentials and Community Catalyst programs.

Hosted by Concordia University
Concordia University is a private, Lutheran, liberal arts university located in northeast Portland, Ore. with a mission of preparing leaders for the transformation of society. Founded in 1905, Concordia University is Oregon’s fastest growing university, now serving more than 7,500 students on its campuses and online. Concordia University, Portland Public Schools’ Faubion School (PK-8) and Trillium Family Services are collaborating on a new national model for education called 3 to PhD® aimed at creating safer, healthier, more educated communities to ensure young people can pursue their highest potential. For more information, visit www.3toPhD.org.

Featuring NBCUniversal Open Possibilities Challenge
This Startup Weekend Education event is participating in the nationwide NBCUniversal Open Possibilities challenge! 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 winning team will receive up to 3 tickets to next year's SXSWedu Conference in Austin, TX. View the eligibility rules and judging criteria here.

The Winning Teams will receive: prizes like free yoga class passes, membership for local entrepreneurship organizations, or professional services. 

Related Events

Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday April 8th

5:00 pm
Registration @ Luther Hall
Arrive at the venue, get checked in and oriented

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

6:30 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

8:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 pm
Begin Work @ Library
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

10:00 pm
Venue Closes

Saturday April 9th

8:00 am
Breakfast @ Library
Arrive, simple breakfast buffet & coffee

8:30 am
Check-In @ Library
After-breakfast check-in, status reports, call for help

9:00 am
Begin Work @ Library
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the day

10:00 am
Validate @ Concordia neighborhood
Get out and talk to real, potential customers to see if they'll buy your idea!

12:00 pm
Lunch @ Dining Hall

1:00 pm
Check-In @ Library
Post-validation, post-lunch check-in with status reports, CALL FOR HELP

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

6:00 pm
Team Check-in @ Library
Status update. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

6:30 pm
Dinner @ Concordia neighborhood
Team dinners - off campus

10:00 pm
Venue Closes

Sunday April 10th

8:00 am
Breakfast @ Kennedy School
Arrive, hot breakfast buffet & coffee

11:45 am
Walk to Concordia
Change venues for lunch, pitch practice and tech check

12:00 pm
Lunch @ Dining Hall

12:00 pm
Coach Meetings @ Library
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to get help from coaches after pitch preview

12:30 pm
Pitch Preview @ Library
Teams complete practice pitches for coaches...ASK QUESTIONS

2:00 pm
Tech Check @ Luther Hall
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm
Final Presentations @ Luther Hall

5:30 pm
Judging & Awards @ Luther Hall

7:00 pm
After Party @ Kennedy School


Dr. Michelle Cowing
Dean of the School of Management, Concordia University

Dr. Michelle Cowing joined Concordia University in 2015, as the Dean of the School of Management. Most recently, Michelle worked at Pacific University as professor, chair, and associate dean in the business program. Prior to that, Michelle taught in the School of Business and Public Management at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.Michelle has worked, taught, and published in the areas of systems and organizational engineering, risk management, and process improvement. She has worked to understand and address problems in diverse applications including nuclear power generation, environmental risk management, and healthcare delivery models.In her role at Concordia University-Portland, Michelle is committed to developing and supporting initiatives that engage and transform our students to create the next generation of skilled and thoughtful leaders of organizations and of society. Michelle holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering – Risk Analysis, and an MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, along with a BS in Electrical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara.

Event Judges

James Keller
Product Strategist

James Keller is a designer, manager and mentor. She has a long history of building digital strategies and successful products for top brands and small startups alike. James once co-founded Small Society, a mobile agency that brought the first wave of native apps for Starbucks, Zipcar, Amazon, and others to market. In 2012, Small Society was acquired by @WalmartLabs, where James helped to define the next generation of mobile retail experiences, where digitally-enabled products augment the physical retail environment.

Keith Oelrich

Keith Oelrich  is presently CEO of Learning.com (LCOM). LCOM was founded in 1999, and provides content, tools and services to help districts “make the shift to digital”; LCOM serves roughly 20% of the nation’s districts and over 5.5 million users per year.  Keith is the Founder and former CEO of Insight Schools. Insight Schools operates one of the nation's leading networks of full-time, diploma-granting online public high schools, and is now a subsidiary of K12, Inc. Prior to founding Insight Schools, Keith was the President and CEO of KC Distance Learning (KCDL), where he operated the nation’s largest private-pay online high school. Prior to joining KCDL, Keith was the President and CEO of Apex Learning, a leading virtual high school company founded by Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen.

Hella Bel Hadj Amor
Practice Expert: Education Policy & Research

Hella leads technical assistance and research, primarily in educator effectiveness and equity. She also leads REL Northwest's Oregon Leadership Network Research Alliance, which focuses on reducing disparities in graduation rates and exclusionary disciplinary actions for different subgroups of students. Before joining Education Northwest, Hella directed Teacher Effectiveness Research and Evaluation for the District of Columbia Public Schools and supported the design of educator evaluation systems in New York State and Massachusetts among others.

Shawn Daley
Chief Innovation Officer (interim), Associate Professor of Education Technology

Shawn Daley is the Interim Chief Innovation Officer and an Associate Professor of Educational Technology at Concordia University.  An Apple Distinguished Educator, Shawn is known on campus for examining the intersection of technology and higher education pedagogy.  He is fascinated by recent developments in digital fabrication, virtual reality, and social media engagement, and how they can impact learning in collegiate settings.

Katherine Krajnak
Senior Industry Liaison - Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Katherine is a Senior Industry Liaison at the Prosper Portland, the development agency for Portland, Oregon. Her current focus involves projects and initiatives to bolster Portland’s high-growth entrepreneurs across industry and throughout the city, including management of the city’s annual startup competition and incubator, Startup PDX Challenge and launch of the city’s first Inclusive Startup Fund.  A core focus of her work is building partnerships, connections and programs to make Portland’s startup and technology community more inclusive for startups led by 
women and people of color. Follow her at StartupCityPDX.

Katherine has a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and has worked in the field of economic development for over a decade.

Amy Keiter
Director External Communications

Amy Keiter is Director of Media/External Communications for Comcast in Portland, Oregon.  She was a professional radio journalist in Portland for many years on KINK-fm102.  She also served in Governor Kulongoski’s administration in economic development, working to recruit, retain and expand businesses both large and small in the Portland metro area.  Prior to joining Comcast, Amy worked as the Community Relations Manager at SolarWorld in Hillsboro.  Amy is married with four grown sons.  She’s a proud Oregon Duck (when they’re winning).  She enjoys traveling, camping and hiking, cooking, crosswords, sailing, and Scrabble.

Carla Wade
Digital Learning Specialist

Carla Wade is the Digital Learning Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education. Her experience in ranges from creating Zoo Education programs that grew 750% in the first year to managing curriculum and instruction (including Spaceflight Academy) at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry before getting into the formal education arena.Carla is committed to providing quality education for students in an environment where they have access to tools, effective teachers and processes for learning that inspire them to develop college and career ready skills and a desire for life-long learning. She has managed federal grant programs including Title I-A, Title II-A, Title IID and the Technology Literacy Fund. She has authored and/or implemented successful grants including grants from Intel Education Foundation, federal ESEA programs, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the National Science Foundation. Carla has served on the boards of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA). She has received recognition for her work in educational technology from the George Lucas Education Foundation, ISTE and SETDA where she won the 2010 State Leader of the Year Award.

Coaches and Mentors

Alison Anderson
Teacher/Media Specialist

I am a Media Specialist in Portland, returning to the classroom after working as the Managing Editor for the education advocacy firm, GettingSmart.com. I have loved having technology integrated into the classroom since I was a second grader in Chicago, playing Oregon Trail on my Apple lle. My mind was blown about 20 years later, as I drove west with my husband to start our life here in Oregon and realized The Dalles was truly a city—I asked if we could pull off and float the river to finish our trip.

Nate Angell
Doorman, Lumen Learning

Making connections between people, technology and ideas is the passion I've pursued as a longtime, active member of several open learning and technology communities, working with both large institutions and young startups. Learn more about me on my blog at http://xolotl.org, or if you really want to get to know me, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/xolotl, where I curate a list of #OER people and organizations. I hold an MA in American Civilization from Brown University and am ABD for a PhD, specializing in film, television, and digital media studies. I received my BA from Columbia University in the history and literature of Latin America. When I'm not working, I'm fortunate to live in Portland, Oregon, where I spend time with my family, enjoying the Pacific Northwest's rich array of community and outdoor activities that all somehow lead to creative collaboration, biking, hiking and fantastic food and drink.

Elia Freedman
Founder, Infinity Softworks

Elia founded Infinity Softworks in 1997 to create information-centric, data-rich applications. Their powerOne line of calculators designed for smartphones and tablets includes over 20 million customers. In addition we have partnered with industry leaders DEWALT Tools, GE Security, National Association of Realtors and the College Board, among others. While we have developed for the education market on Windows Mobile, Palm OS, BlackBerry and Windows in the past, he is now primarily focused on iOS and Android today.

Stephane Keller
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Alma

10+ year experience in account management and sales in the K-12 SaaS industry. Passion for Learning: making it happen for me and others.

Past and current responsibilities: enter new markets and drive client adoption and success through leadership, guidance and sharing of best practices. I can cover the entire client life cycle from lead qualification, sales demos, pilot system creations, development of license proposals, system requirements conversations, implementation and rollout strategies, training, to ongoing relationship development.

Believer that behind any successful software implementation and adoption, there needs to be a strong process in place with a clear road map, measurable and achievable goals and a dedicated human capital. Few - if any - tools thrive without a process. Consultation services is the oil of the engine.

Conceptual and divergent thinker, problem solver, visual communicator, learner and citizen of the world.

I love working with new markets, learning new business practices, opening new sales territories and building rapport.

Quadrilingual: English, French, Spanish and Catalan. Some German.

Tim Lauer
Principal, Lewis Elementary

Created (quite literally) the third elementary school website ever way back in 1994. He's been doing incredible things about instructional technology ever since. He the principal at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. He regularly posts on http://www.timlauer.org/ to make notes to myself about technology and learning, and how teachers, school leaders, and students can utilize technology to gain a greater understanding of their world, and as a means to tell their stories… Also, a life long Chicago Cubs fan.

Melissa Lim
Instructional Technology Educator, Portland Public Schools

I began my career in education as an elementary classroom teacher in Vancouver (WA) Public Schools and then Portland Public Schools. I became interested in using technology when I was awarded a classroom grant that brought hardware and software into my classroom and also provided me with regular training to implement best practices using technology. I left the classroom to take a job in instructional technology, which I have had, in some incarnation, for the last 16 years.

Lindsey Murphy
Producer/Talent, Crazy Aunt Lindsey

Creator of YouTube "Crazy Aunt Lindsey". Jack/Jill of All Trades. Master of Some. Creator. Motivator. Ideator. Doer. Friend. "I'm self very self reliant! My mother told me to always be that way." - Shirley Temple, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas A. Edison "That, and I have yet to meet a stranger in my entire life." - Me

Jim Snyder
Marketing Director, Quality Matters

Besides being Marketing Director for Quality Matters, Jim serves as the volunteer director of the NW Education Cluster.  He is a also part-time Ed.D. candidate at George Fox University; and is an adjunct instructor of business and math at DeVry University. He deeply believes that everyone is a life long learner.  Jim has an MBA from Portland State University, an MS in  Physics from the University of Oklahoma and a BA (cum laude) in math and  physics from Kenyon College.  Jim has over 20 years of work experience in marketing, finance, and account management at companies like Zairmail, Nokia, NWEA, PacifiCorp, CFI ProServices, and NWEA.  He enjoys leveraging that marketing and high tech experience, coupled with his educational background, into a position that enables an e- learning/educational organization to succeed and grow.

Erik Palmer
Assistant Professor of Convergent Media, Southern Oregon University

I am assistant professor of convergent media at Southern Oregon University, where I teach social media, visual communication and design thinking in the university’s interdisciplinary program in Emerging Media & Digital Arts and the Department of Communication. I am a Digital First educator who helps students learn, think and be better with new technologies. I also co-founded and continue to lead Vico Images, a commercial stock photography agency that creates contemporary lifestyle images and licenses them to clients around the world. I previously held multiple tech and marketing roles for startup software companies.

Bob Williams
Retired Director of Marketing & Strategic Planning

Bob Williams built a 30+ year career in healthcare administration at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), serving as Director of Marketing & Strategic Planning for 15 years prior to retiring in 2006. During his time at OHSU Bob navigated a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace and found a unique, competitive position for OHSU as the premier healthcare facility in Oregon and as a research facility in a national market. Bob managed and developed integrated strategic directions across the university, including an annual marketing/advertising budget of $1-2M, the re-branding of the university and healthcare system, the development of the Casey Eye Institute and Doernbecher's Children Hospital, and more. He currently is on the Portland Velo Cycling Club leadership team, formerly served on the Board of Trustees for Acumentra and as a Board Director for the Kids on the Block Awareness Program. Bob has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from Portland State University. During retirement, Bob enjoys visiting his four grandchildren in Seattle and Amsterdam, regularly takes philosophy classes at Portland State University and logs 100+ miles a week on his road bike.

Don Wolff
Director of Technology, Hillsboro School District

Prior to serving as CIO/CTO at Hillsboro SD, Don was Director of Technology and Information Systems at the Willamette Education Service District. He began his career as a 5th grade teacher in the Del Norte County Unified School District in Crescent City, California. In 1992, he moved to Phoenix, Oregon, where he spent four years teaching 4th grade, 2nd grade, and 5th grade (Dual Language) before becoming the Phoenix-Talent School District’s Director of Technology. After ten years in that position, he took a job in private industry with Vortx, Inc. as their Network Services Manager then returned to the public sector as Director of Technology for the Oregon Education Enterprise Steering Committee from 2008-2011. He has been working at the Willamette ESD since 2011. He is a past board member and board president of the Oregon Educational Technology Consortium, has extensive leadership, teambuilding, and curriculum development experience, and the combination of educational and technical skills that is well suited to this position.

Jonathan Mann
EVP at Netop

Director of Sales at Inspiration Software, Co-Founder of channelBOOST, co-Founder & CEO of Sublime Learning, SVP Sales & Marketing at Roovy, and now currently EVP at Netop. Knows everything there is to know about sales and marketing in the education industry.

Joel Morrisette
Director of Technology at Uncorked Studios

I'm a technologist by day, a musician by night and a cyclist by mid-September. I speak geek, hardware, software, business, design, engineer, bike and music.
I have over 15 years of experience working with interdisciplinary teams to solve a broad range of engineering problems in software, hardware, systems engineering, and new business development. I have a passion for the beauty and efficiency of design, for cutting-edge technology and for entrepreneurship.
I've been fortunate to wear many hats throughout my career, including hardware and software designer, technology researcher, entrepreneur and visual designer. I work best when I have to jump in the deep end and swim my way out. The possibilities of the unknown are invigorating. Constant study keeps the soul fed and the skills relevant.
Most importantly, I love being a critical part of a successful team.

Mark Oronzio

Mark co-founded Ideaphora to help students and teachers more effectively use the growing array of online content to accelerate learning. As CEO, Mark sets the long-term vision, strategy and objectives for Ideaphora, focusing on learning solution strategies, product management, global business development, financing, and go-to-market strategies. Mark’s leadership is based on more than 20 years of experience in executive-level positions for education technology companies, overseeing all elements of successful education solution development and implementation. Prior to co-founding Ideaphora, Mark served as Senior Vice President of Inspiration Software, the global leader in concept-mapping technology for education for 16 years. He and his teams achieved 65% penetration in US Schools through paid licensing programs. As principal of Oronzio Consulting, LLC, Mark has also consulted with 25 Education Technology companies from 7 countries to help them rapidly grow and diversify their businesses through product, messaging and go to market strategies.

Throughout his career, Mark has championed the use of strong pedagogical research and educator feedback in the creation and improvement of digital teaching and learning tools. His work has been instrumental in creating successful technology-enriched learning environments that support 21st century skills.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Portland 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.

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Organizing Team

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

  • Julie
  • Juan
  • Dina
  • Matthew
  • Thor
  • Jenny
  • Kristen
  • Elizabeth
  • Josh
  • Caesar
  • Dana
  • Shardul
  • Megean
  • murray
  • Glennon
  • Erin
  • Yu


Lee Ngo
Educational Technology Community Architect

Lee Ngo is an educational technology community architect and founded his startup Scholar Hero through Startup Weekend. Previously, he served as Regional Manager for UP Global (acquired by Techstars) and has worked for educational organizations such as Strayer University, Galvanize, and Metis. Lee is currently the Chief Operating Officer with the Greater Foundation (begreater.org).

Julie Williams
Strategic Communications Consultant at Versatile Creative

Julie Williams, MS, APR, is an energetic, award-winning strategic communications consultant with passionate roots in education and journalism, founder of Versatile Creative Consulting and active community organizer. Julie is currently a co-lead organizer of Portland Startup Weekend Education, director-at-large, service for PRSA Portland Chapter, Board Director for Harper’s Playground and an interfaith women’s group leader. Julie’s expertise is providing communications counsel and training to maturing, mission-driven businesses and organizations, such as Nike, Concordia University and Multnomah Education School District.

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Event Blog

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