Past event…

Event Ended

Apollo Education Group, 4025 S Riverpoint Pkwy Phoenix, AZ 85040

What is Startup Weekend EDU?

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Startup Weekend EDU are Startup Weekends with a focus on only education.

Edupreneurs from Justin Gutwein on Vimeo.

Why in Phoenix?

This is the first ever Startup Weekend EDU in Phoenix. The K-12 and Higher Education sectors have significant challenges here and therefore, interesting opportunities. We need collaboratively think of innovative ways to tackle these challenges. The number of startups have been growing in the valley. Startup Weekend EDU is a space to draw the startup momentum to education and solve meaningful problems. Join us for the highly anticipated launch in our community.

What ideas succeed at Startup Weekend EDU?

Any idea related to education can be pitched. For example, if you want to start a new school model, create an edtech app, or provide a Makerspace service, Startup Weekend EDU is for you. Your idea must be at the early stage, with little to no prior development. We encourage all members of the community to share ideas and get feedback.

Here are some examples of startups that have come out of Startup Weekend EDU in other parts of the country:
  • ImagiLabs’s Challenge Box - educational adventure games for kids age 8-12 and seek to inspire them to explore real challenges until they find their moment of triumph
  • Qeyno - a career exploration game that helps inform students about possible STEM career options & offers guidance on how to achieve them
  • Kidfit Academy – a nonprofit running interactive physical & health education curriculum that empowers students to take control of their health & wellness with fun technology
  • PDnearMe – a marketplace for finding and tracking professional development for K-12 teachers

Why attend this Startup Weekend?

It is about learning, professional development, and support. We structure the weekend's curriculum to help you gain new knowledge and skills in business, design, and development. You can also build your network, get face time with education and business thought leaders in Phoenix, and of course, find people to launch a successful business.

Who should attend?

If you are passionate about education and have an idea or want to lend your talents to a great idea, Startup Weekend EDU is for you.
  • Participants - We're looking for students, educators, designers, developers, business and school leaders to kickstart the next great startup. Register today!
  • Coaches - Do you have a successful education startup already in the Valley? Come mentor the next class of entrepreneurs. Contact us for more information.
  • Sponsors - If your organization has similar goals and would like to support the first Startup Weekend EDU in Phoenix, check out the sponsorship tiers and contact us.
  • Volunteers - If you have media, video, social media, photography, or personal skills to lend to the event itself, we'd love to hear from you.

Register now

And look out for discounts from our partners and sponsors! Your ticket covers training, seven meals, snacks, all the coffee you can drink, and support for our community. It also helps provide only serious entrepreneurs the resources from Startup Weekend. Any proceeds go back into education in Phoenix. Participants also get freebies from our sponsors.



Apr 25
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.
  • Wrap-up for the night


Apr 26
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Call for needs & skills. Sign up for coaching
  • Lunch
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Apr 27
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Lunch
  • Judging & awards
  • Dinner and wrap up

Jaime Casap

Global Education Evangelist, Google   |  

Jaime Casap is the Global Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. Jaime evangelizes the power and potential of the web, technology, and Google tools in education. He helps educational organizations across the world find ways to utilize these tools in support of new learning models. His team is responsible for bringing Google tools to millions of administrators, teachers, and students across the globe. Jaime was named one of Tech & Learning’s Top 10 Most Influential in Education, and a SXSWedu (South by Southwest) Distinguished Speaker.

In addition to his role at Google, Jaime is a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University, where he teaches graduate classes in leadership, innovation, and public policy.

Gold Sponsor

Matthew Pittinsky

CEO, Parchment   |  

Matthew brings to Parchment a unique background as both an education technology entrepreneur and a sociologist of education. In 1997 he co-founded Blackboard Inc., serving first as Chief Executive Officer and then Executive Chairman. Millions of students across the world use Blackboard technologies.

Matthew is on the faculty of ASU, serves on the Board of Trustees of The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and is leading a national effort to establish a national, standardized Postsecondary Achievement Report (PAR), a digital “extended transcript” that would more fully record student achievement and knowledge during their higher education experience.

Matthew holds a B.S. in Political Science from American University, Ed.M. in Education Policy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Lisa Graham Keegan

Founder, Education Breakthrough Network   |  

Lisa is an education reform advocate and the author of the popular parenting book Simple Choices: Thoughts on choosing environments that support who your child is meant to be. Since 2010 she has been the CEO of the Education Breakthrough Network.

A former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, she served as a senior policy advisor on education to Senator John McCain's presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008. At the 2008 National Republican Convention in St. Paul, MN she was a vice chairman of the Republican Party political platform committee, for which she wrote policy statements on education issues.

Keegan's expertise and outspoken nature have made her a sought after education reform expert who has worked with national education leaders, the media, U.S. Congress, state legislative bodies, business groups, policy organizations, community groups, and the education industry.

Tom Vander Ark

Partner, Learn Capital   |  

Tom is a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in EdTech startups. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience including serving as a senior executive for a national public retail chain.

A prolific writer and speaker, Tom has published thousands of articles, has written and contributed to six published books and co-authored more than 20 white papers. He is the author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and CEO of Getting Smart, a education advocacy firm, while also writing a daily Education Week blog, Vander Ark on Innovation, and making regular contributions to Tom is Treasurer for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), chair of Charter Board Partners, and serves on several other boards.

Damian Creamer

CEO & Founder, Primavera Online High School and FlipSwitch   |  

Damian is the founder of FlipSwitch and Primavera Online High School. Since its founding in 2001, Primavera has grown to become the largest high school in Phoenix and one of the largest in the country. To share the success of Primavera with other online institutions, Damian launched FlipSwitch in 2011, offering a turn-key solution boasting a configurable suite of systems and curriculum. Damian started his career at the University of Phoenix. He has an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA from BYU.

Nan Williams

Past President, Arizona Technology in Education Association   |  

Over the past 30 years, Nan has been a classroom teacher, an instructional technology coach, the Director of Educational Technology for the Arizona Department of Education, and is currently in a district administrator role as the Director of Technology for an urban school district in the Phoenix area. She has facilitated online courses for over 10 years, including with Alhambra school district and in her adjunct faculty role at Grand Canyon University. She believes that education is the great equalizer in our country and that it is our responsibility to prepare our students for any opportunity they wish to pursue.

Nan is the past president of the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AZTEA). She has three degrees from Arizona State University, including a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Innovation, a Master's in Educational Media and Computers (Instructional Design) and a Bachelor of Arts in Education (BA.Ed.), Elementary Education and Teaching.


David Roland

Chief Venture Capital Officer, Ingram Content Group

David leads Ingram Content Group’s investment activities, which include identifying and providing early stage funding for emerging technologies and services that are core to Ingram’s businesses. In addition, he leads Ingram Content Group’s merger and acquisition activities. David received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Lowell Vande Kamp

Chief Technology Officer   |   LinkedIn

For the past 14 years, Mr. Vande Kamp has focused on higher education systems, holding senior leadership positions at Apollo Group and Education Management Corporation. His systems responsibilities have spanned the entire student and faculty life cycles, including inquiry acquisition and distribution, customer relationship management, contact center technology, student information systems, online enrollment applications, degree audit and student/faculty portals.

Prior to entering the higher education industry, Mr. Vande Kamp worked as a technology consultant to one of the world’s largest financial services organizations. Initially leading projects in the retirement services portfolio, Mr. Vande Kamp received accolades for his service and was requested to help lead one of the largest online brokerage implementations of the interactive division.

As a lifelong learner, Mr. Vande Kamp is passionate about improving both the way we teach and the way we learn. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

Nikki Gusz

Special Assistant to the Dean, Arizona State University Teachers College   |  

Nikki Gusz is Special Assistant to the Dean in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. In this role, she advances strategic initiatives, partnerships and projects for one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the country, ranking in the top 20 education colleges nationally. In her current role, she co-launched a class on education innovation and entrepreneurship for undergraduates. Also at ASU, she has worked in the Office of University Initiatives supporting entrepreneurship and education initiatives. Previously, Nikki taught secondary social studies in the Mesa Public Schools through Teach For America. She earned her Masters of Education from Arizona State University and Bachelors of Arts in American Studies from Cornell University.

Andrew Collins

Director, Arizona Charter School Association

Andrew currently serves at the Senior Director of School Development for the Arizona Charter Schools Association and New Schools For Phoenix. In this role, Andrew has developed and launched numerous programs to improve the quality of developing and existing charter schools. Previously, while a member of Teach For America, he served as a mentor teacher for young corps members and received an Excellence in Education award for outstanding student achievement and school leadership. He holds a B.S. in Business Economics and is a graduate of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Arizona.

Sentari Minor

Director, SVP Arizona

Sentari facilitates engagement of SVPAZ partners to strengthen SVPAZ and its investees while serving the philanthropic interests of the membership. Prior to SVPAZ, he served as a development officer at the Arizona Humane Society where he oversaw initiatives and programs to increase corporate and foundation support. Sentari is an alumnus of DePauw University. Additionally, he was a member of Cohort IV of the Generation Next Leadership Academy through ASU's Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.

Jennifer Vollman

Executive Director, New Global Citizens   |  

New Global Citizens provides after school programs, classroom curriculum, and professional development focused on global competency and service. Over the past three years, New Global Citizens have transformed the organization from a 100% philanthropic supported organization providing after school programs to 1,000 students to a 30% earned revenue and 70% philanthropic organization providing blended learning curriculum and professional development to over 15,000 students. Jennifer Vollmann graduated from Santa Clara University with a double degree in Political Science and Religious Studies.

Shawn Mahoney

VP of Product Design Research and Efficacy, Pearson   |  

Shawn Mahoney began her career serving in public education for 7 years, including tenure as the lead literacy specialist for the Office of Professional Development and Academics in Tucson Unified School District (serving over 40 secondary sites). Shawn has an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she was the 2010 recipient of the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award, and a Ph.D from ASU in Educational Technology. As Director of School Product Design, Research, and Evaluation, Shawn drives all vision and framework strategies encompassing the entire research lifecycle—market research, usability and participatory design, and efficacy research—for an 18 member team within K-12 School.

David P. Lewis

Partner and Chair of US Education Sector, DLA Piper   |  

David is focused on corporate and securities law and corporate finance transactions. He counsels boards and executive team serving as ongoing corporate and securities counsel.
David is a co-founder of DLA Piper's Education Sector team, a cross-disciplinary group of lawyers experienced in the representation of education companies.

Joe Merrill

Co-founder, SmartFunded   |  

Joe is the co-founder of SmartFunded, the first platform dedicated to exclusively helping schools revolutionize their fundraising programs online. Previously, he founded and led Pan Am Education, a blended online learning solutions provider for English learning, which was sold to the Pivotal Group in 2012. Joe previously worked in business development for Apollo Global, the international Apollo Group - Carlyle joint venture international education fund after previously working in business development for John Deere. Joe started his career as a Foreign Service Officer (Diplomatic Corps). He has an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and a BA from UC Davis.

Akshai Patel

COO of Phoenix Collegiate Academy

Akshai is an Arizonan and an educator. He co-founded and is Chief Operating Officer of Phoenix Collegiate Academy, the 2012 AZ Charter School of the Year. PCA prepares the city's most disadvantaged 4th-10th graders, 97% of whom live in poverty, to succeed in college and be leaders in the community. He's leading their growth efforts to create the first K-college pathway in a low-income AZ community to ensure every student, regardless of background, will have the opportunity to graduate from college.

He's a graduate of Columbia (MBA) and "The" Arizona State University (BA Econ, BS PoliSci, MEd Curriculum), a Fulbright grantee, and started his career as a 5th grade TFA teacher in Phoenix. He co-founded DeansList, a cloud software tool he incubated at PCA, now an edtech company that helps high-performing schools across the country use data to improve character education.

Donna Kent

SVP, Tallwave Venture Development and High Tide

Ms. Kent consults on the most effective ways to extend the organization's unique business model to assist its clients to achieve their objectives in the areas of new customer acquisition, sales lead generation and management, and marketing intelligence.

Prior to Tallwave, Ms. Kent served as the Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Services at Pegasus Research Group, Inc. She served as Senior Manager with Xerox Corp. where she was responsible for its largest field operation. In 1991, Ms. Kent Co-founded Thunder Bay Paper Corporation. She created her own company Thunder Bay Consulting in 2001. Also, she serves on the board of the Bioscience Road Map, Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture, Governor's Council on Innovation and Technology, and Phoenix Workforce Connection Board.

Contributing Sponsor
Julie Bai
Christopher Nyren
Emily Breuker

EDU Judging Criteria

by phoenixedu

The Startup Weekend judging criteria is broken up into four sections. Teams are judged equally on the following: Business Model […]

Upcoming Events

© Copyright 2018, Startup Weekend. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy