Startup Weekend Education San Jose

    Friday, April 27 - 29, 2018

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

Friday, April 27 - 29, 2018

Friday, April 27 - 29, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Seven Trees Community Center
3590 Cas Dr
San Jose, CA 95111

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Build Your Idea in 54 Hours


Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem in education you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with?

We bring together a diverse group of people passionate about making a positive impact on education.  In 54 hours, participants share ideas, form teams, and turn ideas into realities. Techstars 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 customer development, validating their ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced coaches. On Sunday, teams demo their education products and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges. Come with an idea for a program, tool, service, learning space, or school. Your thought doesn’t have to be fully developed—what matters is your belief in its potential and your desire to make it work. Over the weekend, you'll form a team and build a prototype to bring your idea to life and test it out.If you don’t have an idea, we still need your voice! All attendees will be able to join the teams working on different projects. Everyone’s participation matters, and everyone will bring their own unique expertise.

What do you need to bring?
Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.
Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve any problem in education. Over the course of the weekend, you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your Minimum Viable Product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea. No previous experience is required!

Techstars Startup Weekend Education is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of educators, students, designers, developers and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to improve education.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.


Grand Prize
Meeting with a Venture Capitalist - Shauntel Poulson, Co-founder + General Partner at Reach Capital
  • Shauntel Poulson is a Co-Founder and General Partner at Reach Capital where she provides startup capital and support to education technology companies focused on issues of access and opportunity in education. Prior to Reach, Shauntel was a Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund and invested in over 40 early stage edtech companies through the NewSchools Seed Fund. Shauntel was previously a Senior Engineer at Procter and Gamble where she developed product innovations, designed supply chains, and managed technology partnerships for the global laundry business. She received her BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.
3 Hours of Coaching with Blanca Herrera, director of instructional technology at Saratoga School District and advisory board member of ImagineK12 (YCombinator)
Exclusive Access to 4.0 Schools Equity Online Course 
3 Hours of 4.0 Schools Coaching with team's choice of: (legal services, incorporation, 4.0 Schools alumni, graphic designer, current 4.0 Schools staff, accountant)  
Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association Passports for each team member     

Second Place

An exclusive tour of Newsela and discussion with founding staff
2 Hours of Coaching with Blanca Herrera, director of instructional technology at Saratoga School District and advisory board member of ImagineK12 (YCombinator)
A bottle of wine sponsored by the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers
Exclusive Access to 4.0 Schools Equity Online Course 
2 Hours of 4.0 Schools Coaching with team's choice of: (legal services, incorporation, 4.0 Schools alumni, graphic designer, current 4.0 Schools staff, accountant)    

Third Place 

A copy of John Couch's book Rewiring Education
1 Hours of Coaching with Blanca Herrera, director of instructional technology at Saratoga School District and advisory board member of ImagineK12 (YCombinator)
A bottle of wine sponsored by the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers
Exclusive Access to 4.0 Schools Equity Online Course 
1 Hour of 4.0 Schools Coaching with team's choice of: (legal services, incorporation, 4.0 Schools alumni, graphic designer, current 4.0 Schools staff, accountant)

About the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Passport
The SCMW Passport gives you amazing access to wineries all throughout the Santa Cruz mountains, and special access to exclusive events. Learn more here.

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend Education movement!

No talk, all action!


"My experience that weekend really showed me the possibilities, especially in education and my four walls, to rethink my obstacles and connect with other professionals of all fields to bring my students the equitable education they deserve."
- Nina Portugal, OUSD English Language Development Teacher

"I could not have asked for a more perfect entrance into the world of edtech than SWEDU. SWEDU offers an opportunity to problem solve for educational equity and has created a community of passionate individuals with diverse skill sets to bring solutions to life. I entered as a classroom teacher and felt valued, understood, by folks I would have never otherwise been able to meet or work with. It's surreal to be sitting in our company's office space--in the same building I first pitched the idea, first learned what a wireframe was, recruited my first team--now, as a founder of an award-winning edtech venture."
Xiaohoa Michelle Ching, OUSD teacher, founder of Literator, a Startup Weekend Education winner

"Startup Weekend Education was a life changing experience for me. Not only was I able to connect with really awesome and talented people; I also gained a wealth of knowledge and skills that I've used to advance my professional life and my passion project. Startup Weekend hosts a magical and welcoming community of creative and innovative folks who are enthusiastically looking to connect and build on great ideas. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who is even remotely interested in tech entrepreneurship. It's a guaranteed to take you to the next level."
Tamyra Walker, Director of Recruitment and Retention, #YesWeCode


Do I need to pitch an idea to participate?
No. You can come to be a participant instead even if you don’t have your own idea. In this case, you’ll join someone else's team that you're inspired by instead of leading your own.

Can I work on an existing project?
If you've already started building or prototyping your project, you will not be eligible to participate with that idea. Our goal is to have every team start their project from scratch over the weekend. We do encourage you to spent lots of time researching and thinking about your idea before you arrive—just not building it out yet.

What are examples of past projects?
Here are some examples of technology tools. This event will also be open to school site innovations and learning space design.
  • Literator - providing real-time insights into student reading performance
  • Emote - helping school communities work together to meet students' emotional needs
  • TalkingPoints - connecting teachers with families in multiple languages
  • Vidcode - teaching programming through video art
How does this work if I’m creating a project for within my existing school (IE- not an idea for a new school or program)?
Existing schools are invited to come and reimagine an aspect of their school. This might be a new schedule, new staffing roles, new classroom routines or courses. It could also center on new school models and technologies, educational designs, and more!

Refund Policy: 
 No refunds will be granted within 7 days of the event if food and drink have already been ordered. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Terms of Participation Agreement:
 It is our job to provide you with an incredible networking and learning opportunity. Our intention is that you meet some amazing people that you might actually start a company with, build relationships with coaches, and learn from your peers. The event is intended to be a collaborative forum for sharing, learning, building, and having fun. As such, by registering as a participant, you acknowledge that any ideas shared by you or anyone else over the course of the event are contributions to the overall experience and community. If you as a participant are worried about someone stealing your ideas, please reconsider your participation in the event itself or simply refrain from sharing specifics about your idea. 
As a member of your startup community, you agree to be inclusive of any and all people and their ideas. You agree to act professionally, treat everyone with respect, and treat the event facilities with proper care. You agree that you are responsible for any accidents or damages that you cause. You also agree to not hold Techstars Startup Weekend Education, your local volunteer team, or any of the event supporters liable for any loss, damage, injury, or any other unforeseeable incident.

By Participating at the event, you grant Techstars Startup Weekend Education permission to capture photo/video of the event. You can find the exact legal terms on our FAQ Page but to summarize, we want to share your success with the world.

By submitting your information above you agree to the Techstars website's Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive email communication from Techstars and its programs about events and updates that may interest you.

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Friday April 27th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue, check in, and start grubbing!

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

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

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

10:00 pm
You can continue working with your team OR get some sleep to be ready for a BIG day tomorrow!

Saturday April 28th

8:00 am
Arrive, Continental 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 April 29th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

11:00 am

12:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:00 pm
Final Presentations

4:30 pm
SCMWEF Wine Tasting
The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Education Foundation are delighted to sponsor a wine tasting as part of our Sunday events!

5:15 pm

6:00 pm
Awards Presentation

6:15 pm
Close out

6:45 pm
Go home!


Xiaohoa Michelle Ching
Founder and CEO of Literator | Educator | Artist

Michelle Ching was a teacher in Oakland who wanted to solve a critical problem in her classroom. Literacy instruction needed to improve if her students would be successful. After working on her idea at a Startup Weekend EDU event, Michelle recruited an ex-Apple designer and a serial startup CTO to help her do just that. Together, they’ve built Literator. Now, as founder-CEO of Literator she’s helping over 1,100 schools around the world meet their student’s exact literacy needs. Literator has won several awards and honors from the TechStars Startup Weekend, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Teach For America, Tech Inclusion, Camelback Ventures, and The Unreasonable Group. Xiaohoa Michelle was listed as a 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education and a Forbes 30×100 “intelligencer” set to influence the next century. She’s been a speaker at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Google, and SXSWedu, and has been featured in Forbes, Voice of America, EdSurge and Business Insider.

Event Judges

Frances Teso
Executive Director/CEO of Voices College-Bound Language Academies

Mrs. Teso is the founder and Executive Director of Voices College-Bound Language Academies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Masters of Elementary Education from San Jose State University. Her graduate work focused on studying the effects of language, culture and society on schooling. In particular her research examined a new transformational model for staff development. Mrs. Teso is a National Board Certified Teacher committed to serving historically underserved students. In 2005 she was accepted into the prestigious New Leaders for New School principal training program. She has worked as a university instructor, principal coach, school administrator, instructional facilitator and Dual Immersion teacher. Mrs. Teso has been married for 22 years to her wonderfully supportive husband Greg and has three teenage sons.

David Wu
Chief Technology Officer at Santa Clara County Office of Education

David Wu leads the Technology Services Branch at Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) as the new Chief Technology Officer. Technology Services combines the departments of Technology Programs & Instructional Support and Information Systems. Branch services include administrative systems support, network administration and security, information systems operations, educational technologies, data systems and technical support. 

Prior to his role at SCCOE, David served as the Chief Information Officer at Hawaii Department of Education, senior director of systems development for Hawaiian Airlines, senior engineer for IBM, and development manager for Oracle.

David earned a BA in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and is proficient in several computer languages and operating systems.

Matt Mahan
President and CEO, Brigade Media, Inc.

Matt Mahan is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of, guiding the company toward its vision of creating the world’s largest platform for social change. He previously managed business development at Brigade, creating new revenue products and overseeing thousands of corporate and nonprofit relationships. Before working in tech, Matt taught in San Jose, CA through Teach for America and, prior to that, supported economic development work in Bolivia through Harvard’s Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship. Matt graduated from Harvard College and is a native of Watsonville, California.

Rupa Gupta
Cofounder and CEO, Sown to Grow

Rupa is cofounder and CEO of Sown to Grow, a student goal-setting and reflection platform that builds learning skills. She spent the last several years working in the San Jose Unified School District, most recently leading school redesign implementation. She loves working side-by-side with students, teachers, and school leaders to help make every learning interaction awesome. Before working in schools, Rupa spent nearly 10 years working in consulting at Bain & Company and The Bridgespan Group.

Vinit Sukhija
Principal, Learn Capital

Vinit Sukhija is a Principal at Learn Capital. He previously led Teach For America’s Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Initiative, where he supported and invested in over 200 early-stage education entrepreneurs, launched Teach For America’s first social entrepreneurship conference in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and was named to Forbes’ 2015 30 Under 30 in Education.Vinit boasts a diverse range of experiences at the intersection of education, technology, and entrepreneurship, including serving as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon, an Investments Fellow at The Chicago Public Education Fund, a strategy consultant for the Charter School Growth Fund, a judge and coach for numerous Startup Weekend EDU events and business plan competitions, an advisory board member for two education non-profits, and a high school mathematics teacher in the South Central and South Gate communities of Los Angeles. He graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and earned his MBA from MIT Sloan.

Coaches and Mentors

Angel Geden
Director, Instructional Content at Newsela

Angel leads a growing team in building instructional supports, reusable learning objects, assessments, and curriculum to be used in tandem with our leveled news and library articles. She formerly was a Curriculum Designer at Apple and a former history teacher in Chicago Public Schools.

Julian Golder
Founder & CEO of Emote

Building on 12 years of his own teaching experience as well as published research, Julian became concerned about students who lose a lot of potential learning time when their life-circumstances generate powerful emotions, and schools’ inability to anticipate and respond well to those emotions leads to escalation from which recovery is difficult.​ He developed a solution that enables teachers to quickly note whatever indicators they see and inform their colleagues, so that they can respond more quickly and empathetically to the student’s need before behavior escalates out of control. Julian started Emote during a Startup Weekend Education event in San Francisco and has seen gone through 4.0 Schools fellowship and YCombinator.

Jaymes Hines
CEO / Founder, FanHacks

Jaymes negotiates on behalf of client content providers, production companies, on-demand networks and advertising agencies as well as overseeing all in-house production and development of VR-AR apps, games, VOD and interactive content programming for social,broadband & mobile video platforms.

As an entrepreneur, Jaymes brings over 12 years of negotiating and consulting experience in independent music, film, television, newmedia, and e-commerce and over 10 years experience in interactive and digital production.

Yael Kidron
Director of Character Education, Santa Clara University

Yael specializes in character education, social and emotional learning, child and adolescent development, and systemic efforts to promote supportive learning environments. Before coming to Santa Clara University, she was a principal researcher at American Institutes for Research, where she developed website content, conducted workshops and presentations, and provided technical assistance to school districts. Kidron coordinated the Character Education Topic Review for the What Works Clearinghouse, and initiative of the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. She has also served as a project director and principal investigator on projects for the US Department of Education, as well as states, districts, and private foundations.

Frank Kotsianas
Founder & CTO at DoGooder Labs

Frank received his Master's in Education at Harvard University before becoming an engineer at Pivotal Labs. After Pivotal Labs, Frank became a Founding Engineer at Zeal Learning, a VC-backed edtech startup in San Francisco. He is a proud graduate of Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Robbie Torney
Lodestar Assistant Principal and Founder

Robbie is the founder and leader of a next gen school in East Oakland and a former K-2 teacher.

Vu Trinh
Director of Schools at ACE Charter Schools

Vu is a former principal, lead learning specialist, special education teacher and currently the director of schools.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Education San Jose 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

The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Education Foundation is the non-profit arm of the Santa Cruz Mountains winegrowing community which promotes regional awareness of the local wines and champions innovative and transformative learning in the Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Visit Website


Organizing Team

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

  • Adnan
  • Christina
  • Phil
  • Diana


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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