Startup Weekend Edu Phoenix

Startup Weekend Edu came to Phoenix this weekend (#sweduphx). Hosted on the giant University of Phoenix campus, teams worked on preschool reading, classroom guests, real-time feedback for teachers, better PD, autism supports, and small business onboarding.

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!”

After a weekend of work with super capable coaches, teams present to judges Shark Tank style. An all star panel considers customer validation, product execution, user experience design, and potential educational impact.

The top three startups included:

  1. Read Together: combining an ebook with skype, the early learning platform encourages reading to young children at least 15 minutes every day even when mom or dad are on the road.  The proposed B2C app will include helpful teaching tips

  2. connecting teachers to guest speakers.  Guest speakers create a profile, teachers search, they coordinate a visit. GuestEd could not only leverage local but national guest speakers. Proposed as a nonprofit, the judges (including me) thought that (like EverFi) this would more likely go to scale as a for-profit.

  3. Onvard:  learning management platform for small business makes it easy to create and share onboarding playlists with new employees.

Paugme is another interesting idea–a game-based platform for teaching young people on the autism spectrum not only how to recognize emotions but how to respond to them.

Chris Nyren (@cnyren ) did a great job organized the weekend gathering. As recently noted, Startup Weekend Edu is more evidence of Phoenix on the rise.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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