Startup Weekend EDU Seattle, powered by Grow with Google

    Friday, October 5 - 7, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
  6. Blog
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Startup Weekend EDU Seattle, powered by Grow with Google

Friday, October 5 - 7, 2018

Friday, October 5 - 7, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Seattle Central Library
1000 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

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Your idea in 54 hours


Startup Weekend EDU (SWEDU) brings together people of all skill-sets and experience levels to collaboratively launch tools, schools, services, and learning spaces that re-imagine the future of school and education more broadly. Everyone is welcome and no previous entrepreneurial experience is required!

This year, our event is fully sponsored by Grow with Google, through a Techstars Startup Weekend Scholarship. Grow with Google's support allows us to make Startup Weekend EDU Seattle FREE for all participants! Hurry to secure your spot; this event will sell out quickly!


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

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Grow with Google is an initiative that draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through Grow with Google, Google aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Learn more about this initiative by visiting our Grow with Google website.

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 should be related to education. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or 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.

Techstars Startup Weekend 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 developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

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

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

No talk, all action!


Friday October 5th

6:30 pm
Registration & Dinner
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants.

7:00 pm
Take a moment to hear from our speaker and learn more about what will happen over the weekend. Introduce coaches and community leaders.

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Vote & Form Teams
Attendees vote for the top pitches. Teams start forming and discussing ideas.

9:30 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work up to 11:00pm.

Saturday October 6th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Educator and Student Focus Groups
Get feedback from current educators and students

12:00 pm
Pre-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

12:30 pm

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

5:45 pm
Pre-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

6:30 pm

10:00 pm
Finished for the day!

Sunday October 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

10:00 am
Pitch Practice
Work with coaches to start honing your final pitches!

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:00 pm
Judging & Awards

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
After Party
Celebrate an amazing weekend with new friends. Location at Tap House Grill, 1506 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101.

Event Judges

Chelsea Byers
VP of Instruction at Galvanize

Chelsea has built her professional career with experience spanning urban public K-12, secular international schools, and adult career education.    

In her current role at Galvanize, she oversees educational quality and advocates for and supports teachers at centers that prepare adults for careers in the tech industry. Prior to this, her experience in the tech industry includes roles as an education-based Product Manager and as a Director of Instructor Development for education startups.

Rekha Bhatt
Chief Program Officer, WA Charters Association

Rekha serves as the Chief Program Officer at WA Charters leading member services, school incubation and Strong Start program for newly operating schools. Prior to joining WA Charters, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at an independent charter school in Brooklyn, New York, and later served as the school’s Director of Operations. Rekha began her career in education in West Philadelphia, where she taught high school English and earned her M.S.Ed at the University of Pennsylvania. Rekha is committed to working for equity in public education to improve outcomes for all students.

Reetu Gupta
Co-founder and CEO of Cirkled In

Reetu Gupta is Co-founder and CEO of Cirkled In – An award-winning, 21st-century recruitment platform matching high school students with the best-fit colleges and universities, improving outcomes for both sides. On this secure online platform students maintain their holistic profile and portfolio of accomplishments, showcase themselves in the best possible way and get discovered by colleges. Using this rich data, colleges find the best-fit candidates and meet their enrollment goals along with equity and diversity goals and improve follow on metrics of retention, graduation and employability. Cirkled In’s mission is also to level the playing field of college admissions by bringing at-risk youth into light.

Reetu is passionate about education and knows that this 100+ year old industry is ready for disruption. Before Cirkled In, Reetu spent 20 years in corporate America from startups to Fortune 50 companies. Reetu earned her MBA (Valedictorian) in Technology Management from Foster School of Business at UW and MS and BS from NIT, India. Reetu volunteers her time and skills for various organizations as a speaker and mentor. With Cirkled In, she hopes to leave a lasting legacy in the field of technology and education.

Coaches and Mentors

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 (

Kathleen McKissack
User Experience Researcher, Blink UX

Kathleen is a User Experience Researcher at Blink UX, where her research informs the design of products and services for Fortune 100 companies and beyond. Prior to Blink, Kathleen helped social impact organizations leverage the power of user-centered design. She's coached early-stage education entrepreneurs with organizations like 4.0 Schools and Moonshot edVentures. She earned a Master's degree in International Education Policy & Management from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Clemson University.

Marion Desmazières
International Expansion Lead, Amazon Alexa

Marion is a tech business developer based in Seattle, WA. She manages international expansion of developer programs for Alexa, the voice service powering Amazon's Echo devices. Before joining Amazon about four years ago, Marion coordinated the 2012 Global Startup Battle and managed partner relations for Startup Weekend in Seattle. She holds a Master's in Business Management from EDHEC Business School and an MBA in Technology Commercialization from the University of Alberta. A Startup Weekend veteran, Marion has facilitated 20+ events in France, Canada, the US, Algeria and Morocco.

Nishant Dani

Nishant Dani is the founder of Yeti Live. Its mission simply is to provide classrooms everywhere the opportunity to access and engage with the greatest minds of our time. He is also the founder of Loudscoop building out a new digital channel for crowd accelerated marketing. Prior to this Nishant worked many years as an architect in Microsoft on Bing, Ads and Messenger.

Mike Altman
Sr. UX Designer, Google Cloud Platform

Mike is a Sr. UX designer at Google and Instructor at UW (HCDE) and a recovering developer with 12 years industry experience. He is also a 2 time Startup Weekend winner which resulted in 4 LLCs, one of which launched at SXSW and another ran successfully for 6 years.

Allison Rosenberg
CEO, posed2, Inc.

Allison Rosenberg, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of posed2, Inc., a platform that matches kids and colleges using science-based games and AI. Previously, she was Director of Academic Outreach at Microsoft and a senior administrator at the University of California; UNC Chapel Hill; and Iowa State. Rosenberg received her A.B. from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Harvard, both in developmental psychology.

Tom Melendez
Software Engineer at Google

Tom enjoys bringing unique and challenging product ideas to life. He was Tech Lead at an EdTech startup that specialized in a head-of-network appliance for schools which provided lesson plan creation, web-filtering and firewall all on a custom-built Linux kernel. He was also an early employee and TLM at Skybox Imaging (acquired by Google), where he built and lead the Data Engineering team to efficiently process satellite imagery to analytics and provide a quick, seamless user experience. Today, as a Googler, he works with another acquisition, Orbitera, allowing customers to deploy and monetize their software across multiple clouds.

Vijay Sen
Director, Google Cloud

Vijay is a Director at Google and has experience in taking on numerous incubation efforts, and making them real. As part of his Product/Program management roles at Microsoft, Amazon and Google, he has had the opportunity to conceptualize, build and deliver cutting edge products and solutions to customers across the globe.

Christine Witcher
STEM Specialist, Forest Ridge School

Christine is a middle school science teacher and Technology & Innovation Specialist at Forest Ridge School in Bellevue. She is also co-founder of Flash Feedback, a peer-to-peer feedback tool for secondary classrooms. She is passionate about moving towards a gradeless and feedback-rich education system, solving problems with technology, and introducing kids to the outdoors.

Dylan Swartz
Product Manager / Senior Software Engineer at Mason

Dylan is a Startup Weekend veteran with 8 Startup Weekends under his belt who is currently running product for a Y-Combinator backed company. His background is in software engineering with several years experience working in the education space. He has developed apps for a $1bn education company along with working at and consulting for universities.

Thibaut Labarre
Software Development Manager, Angel Investor

Engineering Manager with a Darwinian approach to innovation and long time Startup Weekend participant and organizer. Over the past 4 and a half years at Amazon, Thibaut built Heartbeat, a tool that leverages Natural Language Processing to combine millions of data points from disparate sources like product reviews, customer contacts, and social media to provide this information to worldwide product teams. 7k users access the tool every month to meet operational cost reduction goals and drive product improvements. Heartbeat started as his internship project and is now developed by a team of 18 engineers.

Organizing Team

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

  • Melanie
  • Christina
  • Jason
  • Domonique
  • Jay


Deborah Chang
Co-Founder @ Nexus Works from New York

Deborah Chang is the founder and executive director of #NYCEDU, New Yorkers working together to equip ALL of New York City's young people with the skills, resources, and community supports they need to flourish as happy, healthy, and impactful citizens of the world.

Her previous careers have spanned teaching 5th grade science to founding an education startup consulting company. She's an expert in community building, design thinking, and education who loves supporting innovators, educators, and young people.

Event Blog

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