Startup Weekend EDU San Diego

    Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015

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

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015

Friday, March 6 - 8, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

The Art Institute of CA - San Diego
7650 Mission Valley Road
San Diego, CA 92108

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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 the complementary skills & passion 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 that will help take your idea to the next level!

Friday night: 60-second pitches that result in the formation of small teams around the best, most viable education concepts.  Educators validate ideas, then all attendees vote.  We hope you’ll pitch, but definitely not required!

Saturday and Sunday: Work days! Teams focus on user research, customer development, validating their ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced coaches from the education and entrepreneurial world.  You’re welcome to stay and work as long as the venue will allow!

Sunday evening: Teams demo their education products and receive valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges.  Winning teams take home a grab bag of great tools to help launch their company!

Examples of startups founded at Startup Weekend EDU:
MathChat is a mobile collaboration tool for students to get instant math homework help from friends.
+ Fantasy GeoPolitics is a fantasy football-like game for social studies and literacy standards.
+ Kidfit Academy- A nonprofit running interactive physical & health education curriculum that empowers students to take control of their health & wellness with fun technology

Perks of attending:
+ Delicious & healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole weekend
+ A free .co domain name
+ $2,000 of credit on Google App Engine
+ $100 of AWS credit for hosting
+ 50 free business cards
+ Event t-shirt
+ Awesome coaching by education startup industry leaders
+ A network of 100 new developer, designer & entrepreneur friends that are also excited about improving education
+ Fun swag from Google, .Co and more!

The Winning Team will receive:
+ Guaranteed interview with EdTech Startup Accelerator, Imagine K-12
Guaranteed interview for EdTech Startup Incubator, 4.0 Schools' Launch program.
+ $2,000 of credits to donate to classroom projects

+ More prizes to come!

Runner-ups will receive:
+ Opportunity to Apply for EdTech Startup Incubator, 4.0 Schools' Essentials program.

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).

We hope you join us!

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Friday March 6th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:15 pm
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce the keynote speaker, mentors, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Keynote Speaker #1
Keynote Speech by Brant Cooper, NYT Bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur

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

8:45 pm
Educators Pre-Vote
In Startup Weekend Education tradition, educators get to vote twice: an initial vote on the teams that influences the general vote.

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams & Assign Rooms
Teams start forming and discussing ideas. Organizers and volunteers will assign them to a room for the whole event.

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

11:00 pm
Close for the Day
The Art Institute will close until the follow day - teams may continue to work elsewhere.

Saturday March 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Keynote Speaker #2
Keynote Speech by Kevin Beiser, Board President of SD Unified School District

12:00 pm
Meet the Mentors
All teams to convene to the community area. Re-introduce mentors and teams sign-up for mentorships

12:00 pm
Mentor Session #1
1st group of mentors arrive to help the teams

12:30 pm

2:00 pm
Mentor Networking
Networking session for mentors and community leaders

2:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

4:00 pm
Mentor Session #2
2nd group of mentors arrive to help the teams

6:30 pm

8:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

9:00 pm

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

11:00 pm
Close for the Day
The Art Institute will close until the follow day - teams may continue to work elsewhere.

Sunday March 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
After-breakfast check-in, status reports, call for help

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
Mentor Session #3 (Pitches)
3rd groups of mentors arrive to help the teams with pitches

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
Stop Work & Submit Slide Decks
The preparation phase of the event is over. All teams to convene to the community area and bring their items.

4:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food and greet other event attendees

5:00 pm
Commence Presentation Ceremony

5:30 pm
Final Presentations

7:00 pm
Stretch and snack break

7:00 pm
Judges Deliberate
Judges review the presentations and select the top three teams

7:30 pm
Awards Ceremony
Award and winners are announced

8:00 pm
Closing Words
Organizers, volunteers, sponsors, coaches, and attendees are thanked and acknowledged

8:30 pm
After Party
Lazy Dog Restaurant Located: 1202 Camino Del Rio N San Diego, CA 92108 (Show your name tag!)


Brant Cooper
NYT Bestselling Author, San Diego Community Organizer

Brant's previous book, The Lean Entrepreneur landed on the NY Times bestseller's list. And previous to that, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development was the first purpose written book to introduce Customer Development and Lean Startup principles. 

Brant travels the globe speaking with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, debunking the Myth of the Visionary, teaching Lean Startup and Customer Development principles, and empowering employees in order to disrupt current innovation practices. 

Brant has also released a new book, 
Entrepreneur's Guide to The Lean Brand.

Kevin Beiser
President at San Diego Unified Board of Education

Kevin Beiser grew up in a large family in poverty and is the only member of his family to graduate from high school and college. He earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Willammette University in Salem, OR. After a successful career in management with a Fortune 500 company, Beiser returned to school to earn a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix in San Diego and two teaching credentials.  He helped turn around Granger Junior High School, an underperforming school in National City, and was named the "San Diego Math Teacher of the Year" in 2009.  He has also received the "Distinguished Service Award" for his work with students and strong support for the Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE).

Beiser has been involved in the community in many capacities to improve education: Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), Math Department Chair, Professional Learning Team Leader (PLC), District Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Committee, Strategic Planning Committee for Budgets, Football Coach, Math Field Day Coach, Public Library Volunteer, Link Crew Advisor and AVID Site Team. Eager to apply his private sector knowledge and results-oriented teaching experience, he successfully ran for the San Diego Unified School Board in 2010.
As a school board member, Beiser is working to reduce central office costs in order to preserve lower class sizes and enrichment programs for our children such as art, music, magnet schools and GATE.  He is  passionate about implementing research-based reforms that have helped turn around underperforming schools. 
Beiser invites everyone to join him in advocating for more public education funding by contacting your local representatives in Sacramento to ensure we have the necessary resources to educate our children.

Event Judges

Neil Senturia
CEO of Blackbird Ventures

Neil Senturia is the CEO of Blackbird Ventures that invests in and incubates early stage technology companies. Current investments include Click2Care, Dealstruck, Abreos and One App Works. Past companies include Atcom/Info, Mohomine, Soflinx, Oberon Fuels, and LonoCloud.

From 1985-1995, Neil focused on real estate development, building more than 1.8 million square feet of condo, office and hotel. From 1980-1985, he was an executive in the financial services industry and worked in real estate syndication. Prior to that, he worked in Hollywood as a screen and TV writer.

Neil has taught entrepreneurship at UC San Diego and writes a weekly column on entrepreneurship for the San Diego Union-Tribune. His numerous awards include CONNECT’s Distinguished Contribution Award for Technology Innovation in 2008 and recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration as “Small Business Journalist of the Year” for 2014 for San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Ed Hidalgo
Sr. Director of Staffing at Qualcomm

Ed Hidalgo serves as senior director of staffing for Qualcomm Incorporated, where he is responsible for the global contingent workforce, immigration and relocation. Hidalgo is also the co-founder of a Qualcomm program called Career Explorations, which provides career counseling and coaching to Qualcomm employees. Through this program he spearheaded the launch of a new initiative called the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab, which works to introduce San Diego middle school youth to technology and engineering careers, while also providing on-site volunteer opportunities for Qualcomm employees. He also serves as the executive sponsor for Qualcomm’s Workforce Development Labs, where he works to promote youth and veteran engagement in workforce development and lifelong learning through hands-on internships.

Hidalgo’s background includes more than 15 years of staffing experience. Prior to his role at Qualcomm, he worked as an area manager for Manpower where he was responsible for technical recruiting and site-management operations, contributing to the employment of thousands of workers throughout San Diego County.

Ed is a co-founder of the Manpower High Tech High Academic Internship Program, which created more than 650 internships in more than 200 community businesses and agencies. He also serves on the boards of San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego Second Chance Program.

He graduated from the University of Miami in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

David Lopez
Executive Director, San Diego at Teach For America

David Lopez, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born and raised in San Diego.

As a student in San Diego public schools, David experienced firsthand many of the challenges that make it difficult for students to succeed. After acquiring an A.S. in electronic engineering, he spent six years in sales and marketing in San Diego’s vibrant tech sector. He returned to school in 2008 to acquire his B.S. in management science from UCSD, then became a 2010 Houston corps member where he taught bilingual Kindergarten and 3rd grade as part of Houston Independent School District.

Outside of the classroom, he co-founded USAdelante, an organization that connects Latino college students to a network of mentors.

As founding executive director of Teach For America – San Diego, he will partner with local schools and districts to help ensure that all students have access to an excellent education, including his own nieces and nephews that attend public school across the county. 

He currently serves as a board member at Barrio Logan College Institute and is a Steering Committee Member of the Civic Leadership Fund at the San Diego Foundation.

Coaches and Mentors

Jeremiah Gardner
Author of The Lean Brand

Jeremiah Gardner is an author, speaker, lean brand practitioner, and bulldog lover. He helps startups, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 organizations reframe the way they think about brand innovation, culture, and leadership. He is the author of The Lean Brand, the first book to apply lean principles to branding, is a sought after speaker, and has been featured in several media outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Lifehacker, The Guardian, Branding Magazine, and SayDaily.

Hannes Holste
Entrepreneur in Residence at Ironfire Capital

Led by the mantra that conformity is boring, Hannes looks forward to helping teams design striking software and persuasive pitches. As Ironfire Capital's Entrepreneur in Residence, Hannes brings practical experience in software engineering, design, and evaluating startups to the table.

"Conformity is boring. Be different."

Austin Neudecker
Innovator, Business Guru, Start-up Fanatic

Grew up in San Diego, went East for school (MIT) and stayed for ~12 years. After a 5-year career in Strategy Consulting (Mars), managing high-impact projects for Fortune 50 companies, I left for an MBA (Wharton), joined a VC firm (Genacast) and started investing in early stage tech companies. Left to start a couple digital health companies (AdhereTech & Yealthy).

Went through the Y Combinator program in San Fran, raised a couple rounds and moved back to San Diego. While here I have continued to iterate on startup ideas, advise numerous companies, and help build the ecosystem in town by founding Startup San Diego and starting a handful of open programs (Mentor Night, Domain Expert Hours, SD Startup Week...) & helped build the EvoStart accelerator program. Today, I am head of Growth at, an amazing startup in SF growing at an exponential pace.

Mark Lovett
Organizer at TEDxSanDiego

Over twenty-five years experience in executive positions relating to operations, information systems and corporate management within the high-tech electronics industry, from start up to over $100 million in revenue. Currently organizing TEDxSanDiego.

Leslie Fishlock
CEO & Founder at Geek Girl Corporation

Leslie Fishlock is the Founder and CEO of Geek Girl, an educational company dedicated to empowering women and educating the community through workshops, seminars, and conferences on all topics tech.

Leslie’s vision for education, evangelism, entrepreneurialism, and empowering women is apparent when you meet her. Leslie prides herself on being “the resource”, and will share everything she knows about bring an entrepreneur, startups, growing your business and tech trends with anyone who asks.

Tal Flanchraych
Director, Consumer Products & UX at Novatel

Tal Flanchraych is a startup veteran who recently sold out and joined Novatel Wireless, where she is expanding the product line and identifying new business models for MiFis and other cellular connectivity products.

Previously, she was a co-founder of Flywheel (FKA Cabulous), now one of the most widely-used consumer taxi apps and fleet management SaaS platforms. Prior to Flywheel, she led the design and development of web properties for Bon Jovi, The Killers, Linkin Park, and other top artists.

Adam Markowitz
CEO at Portfolium, Inc.

Paul Hong
Director of User Experience at AttackIQ, Inc.

Paul leads user and customer experience at AttackIQ, Inc., a San Diego cybersecurity startup where he defines overall user and customer experience strategy, devises and drives user research and design validation, and leads design to build compelling and effective product. Paul is also president of SDXD (San Diego Experience Design), a local association of over 900 professionals and students working in UX and related disciplines. He is looking forward to helping teams rapidly identify users, understand their goals, map their journey, and prototype and test ideas.

J.D. Davids
Managing Partner at Fronis Group

Jeff (J.D.) Davids has been helping build, grow and monetize innovative startup companies funded by top tier venture capital and private equity firms since 1991. He has served on the management teams of eight venture capital backed companies and has advised, consulted and invested in many more, having completed well over $1 billion in venture capital, M&A and IPO transactions. Four of those companies successfully completed IPO or sale transactions and three others continue to grow towards successful shareholder exits.

Jeff currently serves as Managing Partner of Fronis Group, LLC. Fronis Group provides content and services to help startup companies finance and monetize their businesses more effectively, develop strategic leverage and position for a financial exit.

Amber Brandner
Producer & Creative Consultant

Amber Brandner builds community through creative collaborations, entrepreneurship and discussions for the new economy.

As founding producer of Connected Dreamers Productions and CoFounder to Collective 1939 Amber leads a collective of neoteric entrepreneurs & creatives bringing ideas to life to serve humanity.
Productions include Crowdfund-UP, TEDxAmericasFinestCity, SDSW, Convergence, and  Amber has brought her experience to events such as the Tijuana Hackathon for Social Change, Startup Weekends, Geek Girl Tech Con, Maker Faire San Diego, Tijuana Technical University, CIBU, Startup Grind, TEDxSantiagoWomen, National Science Foundation an d many more community driven initiatives. As VP of Projects for Global Shapers San Diego HUB Ambers local focus gains global momentum. A Purdue University graduate Amber is native of Indiana, residing in Southern California.

Lauren Avenius

Lauren Avenius (BS in Sociology, Bard College) is a lead Operations and Strategy consultant for AERES, where she is focused on go-to-market and execution. An expert on creating opportunities, eliminating inefficiencies and delivering high impact results, she believes that success is determined in the details. Before AERES, Ms. Avenius led strategy and operations for Sony Electronics, where she launched the Top 50 key products into market, including new product platforms such as 4k and Hi Res Audio, and was awarded the COO Award for Excellence five times. She also was the founder of SPIN, the Sony Professional Intrapreneur Network. With her expertise in consumer products and mobility, she brings a keen eye for strong consumer engagement. Ms. Avenius is a member of Global Shapers, a World Economic Forum Initiative, helping to bring forward technologies that help humanity. She also engages with members in South America and Europe, leading innovation workshops for business and government through Innovators Collective, a collaborative venture with Connected Dreamers.

Niraj Kaji
VP of Corporate Development at Bridgepoint Education

Raj Kaji joined Bridgepoint Education in September, 2011. As Vice President of Corporate Development, Mr. Kaji is responsible for managing the mergers and acquisitions process for Bridgepoint Education and evaluating attractive adjacent markets.

Mr. Kaji’s professional track record spans 15 years in various executive management positions in investment banking, general management and business development. He has also served on the founding teams of four startup organizations.

Among his prior roles, Kaji served as a Vice President at Walden University where he was responsible for approximately 6,000 students and 225 employees. He was also a mergers and acquisitions professional for Laureate Education where he helped to execute acquisitions domestically and internationally.

Mr. Kaji earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BS in Economics and Finance from New York University.

Michael Shangkuan
CEO of Terra Education

Mike Shangkuan serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Terra Education, an organization with over 100 employees across 12 countries. He has a background in finance and digital and consumer marketing. He is looking forward to helping teams uncover consumer insights, evaluate business models, and develop marketing plans.

Mike earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BS in Economics from Yale College, magna cum laude and has worked for Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, and The Clorox Company.

Alan Cole
Chief Operating Officer at TakeLessons

Alan has been working with B2B and B2C Internet companies for 20 years. He has been involved in the startup world as a founder, early-stage team member, late-stage executive, advisor and investor. Prior to TakeLessons, Alan was a Senior Vice President at Active Network where he was responsible for their Consumer Media division and Business Incubator. As Chief Operating Officer, Alan is currently responsible for the product, marketing, sales and customer service teams at TakeLessons. 

Specialties: Strategy, General Management, Corporate Development, Business Development

Andrea Yoder Clark
CEO at LiveGoode

Dr. Yoder Clark has been honored throughout her career with accolades for her scholarly work on the topics of social justice, educational change and service-learning. Dr. Yoder Clark has worked with companies like UCSD, Biocom, Billabong, Social Venture Partners, The Monarch School, San Diego Workforce Partnership, The Honor Foundation and more. In 2007 and 2008 Dr. Yoder Clark was named a National Emerging Leader and Emerging Scholar in the Service-Learning Field by the Corporation for National and Community Service for her non-profit work.   In 2009, Dr. Yoder Clark finished her PhD studies and started her company YourBecause.Is to help others build and study high quality social good programs. In mid-2014, YourBecause.Is launched a mobile app LiveGoode to provide social good organizations an inexpensive, easy-to-use, mobile data collection tool. In September 2014, LiveGoode became its own corporation and merged with Full House Analytics. 

Andrew Motiwalla
Chairman of Terra Education, Inc.

Andrew Motiwalla is the Chairman and Founder of Terra Education and also serves as the Managing Director of Discover Corps, a leading educational travel program.

Throughout his career he has combined entrepreneurial passion and social purpose to launch several ventures. Andrew is also involved in the B Corporation movement which seeks to harness the power of business as a force for good.

June Clarke
Founder at The League of Amazing Programmers

June is a startup veteran and is currently working on expanding The League of Amazing Programmers, a non-profit school that teaches programming to kids. She runs the Agile user group in San Diego and promotes the local software community through As a software engineer, she hopes to help you with the technical side of things, and as an educator to use her experience to help validate and develop your idea.

Austin Dean
Director of Business Operations

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend EDU San Diego 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.


Contributing Sponsorship

Media Sponsorship

Organizing Team

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

  • Jayrell
  • James
  • Dianne
  • Rando
  • Nick
  • Alex
  • Francis
  • Tiffany
  • Paul
  • Amin
  • Thanh
  • Jen


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