No Talk, All Action.
Launch a Startup in 54 hours.

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Come share ideas, form teams, and launch startups. Learn More

Thanks to our sponsors, we are announcing some special prizes for the winning teams! Local and global Startup Weekend sponsors are also providing some awesome perks, swag, and resources for all attendees.

The Winners’ Circle

  • Twin Cities StartupWeekend EDU is providing a $500 credit to the winning team for the Minnesota co-location work space or technology development consulting service of their choice.
  • Oppenheimer is providing  three hours of free legal consulting services covering new business formation, including entity selection and related documentation.
  • Gener8tor, is offering the top two finishers an automatic interview to their next accelerator program (Milwaukee 2014). Gener8tor is a startup accelerator that invests its community, capital, expertise, mentors and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models. More at
  • Pearson Catalyst, will connect with the winning team to provide mentorship and advice.
  • Blinkist is providing access and subscriptions to its new mobile app providing the main insights from leading titles in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management, Finance (all digestible within your “micro downtimes”, say commuting or  waiting).  All participants receive a 30-day free premium subscription while the winning team receives a 1 year premium subscription, the second place team a 6 month premium subscription, and the third place team a 3 month premium subscription.

We are also excited to highlight several global Startup Weekend resources and sponsors – check out the below for information about Google bootcamps, free domain registration, and more!

  • .CO is proud to support Startup Weekend by providing all participants with the opportunity for a free 12-month .CO domain registration. Don’t settle for a lame name with dashes or missing vowels — get a short, memorable, user friendly domain name to launch your startup this weekend! Find an available .CO name via and use the promo code provided by your organizer to get your .CO at (thanks @dotco!)
  • Google is providing everyone a $500 of credit to build startups on Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine. Redeem (verification code: swoff-org). (thanks @google!)
  • Built with the same technology that powers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides start-ups and businesses with a secure, reliable, easy-to scale, low-cost computing platform “in the cloud.” AWS is issuing all SW participants a credit voucher valued at $100 which can be applied to an existing account and is good until 12 months from issue. Please follow the instructions on to sign up for AWS and redeem the promotional code provided by your SW Organizer. (thanks @awscloud!)
  • Orchestrate is providing 3-months of usage ($120 value) to any team that uses Orchestrate to build their app this weekend, as further detailed at

Join us this Sunday at 5:00pm for the final presentations and awards of Twin Cities Startup Weekend EDU.  Tickets are still available at  Our esteemed judges are  drawn from leaders in the Twin Cities of school districts, public policy, EdTech startups, and education venture capital.  Their criteria is broken up into four sections, with teams judged equally on the following:

  • Business Model and Validation
    Can this idea make money? Is there positive customer growth or revenue? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic? Is the idea/team ready for capital and execution? Would you invest in this company at this point? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What channels of communication are used? Product/Market fit?
  • Impact on Education
    How well does this idea address a real, significant problems in education and learning? How is it based off of sound literature, research, and feedback? What evidence is there that the product or service will have the impact that it claims?
  • Technical Execution
    Is there a functional product ( the case of an app, did they build one)? Were architecture diagrams and API signatures included? Which services did they integrate with? How much of the product is running on a real server with non-sample data? For non technical products and services, is there an MVP sample?
  • Design and Experience
    Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?

Friday started with the flurry of StartupWeekend’s Pitchfire, distilling 25 ideas to 14 advancers in just 60 second pitches. With the subsequent challenge to form teams, another 6 ideas failed to achieve the critical resources or were otherwise convinced to fold in with another team. Now midway through the second day at Twin Cities StartupWeekend EDU, we find our teams hard at work! Here is a full rundown on each idea, with the 8 finalists noted in bold:

SkillSlice (originally Skillipedia), pitched by Andrew Northrop providing a crowd-sourced wiki site for skills (academic and vocational) and the resources helpful to master them

Post My Passion, pitched by Colin Lee,  a crowd-based marketplace applying advertising – design principles around for hard to find great online education content with the most linked posters featured prominently on the site

Pop Thought pitched by Andrew, an idea for real-time feedback on the pulse of the classroom.  Andrew was careful to point out this is not another Clicker, but a simply, once a week update (though note sure how that would still be “real time”).

Internovate, pitched by Mike Dohan of Lakeland University from Thunder Bay(!), a marketplace for businesses to source business school students for internships and short-term projects (note existing start-ups Flinja and Mindsumo)

Cyclo6, an existing approach for teaching Organic Chemistry pitched by long-time teacher Julia Winter (@OChemPrep) from Michigan, she is looking to take this forward with an actual mobile, game-based app

Auto Planner, an automated method for teachers to push out assignments and students to update planners, with daily to do lists and tracking for long term projects for students and parents

Zumo Robotics, pitched by Doug Thorpe, a take-home education kit that kids take home

iReadaBook, pitched by Michael Rex Schumacher, a GoodReads like platform for kids to share books that they have read, building a connection between home and school with an assessment tool that overcomes the limitations of Accelerated Reader

DocentEDU (formally Webtions), pitched by teacher Matt Nupen, an API for teacher question and student answer overlays on third party content to add more social functionality to more static “digitized” content

Content Bank, pitched by teacher Karin Hogen, an online content clearing house to help teachers quickly find quality, curated reliable standards based content; seizing on the same issues confronted by our second place finisher from LA StartupWeekend EDU, Karin ended up merging with DOCent.

Communitech (formerly WeDo, originally WinWin), pitched by Lisa, a new partnership model between businesses and schools to solve issues of inequitable access to classroom technology across school districts, with businesses providing the technology and students 16 years or older able to volunteer in the community to keep the device and pay it forward

North Loop Careers, pitched by Carleen, an online skills development training and coaching platform to provide students skills to compete successfully in a competitive job market

Yummy Brain Food, pitched by Adam Salmi, a doodlers/developer sourced online platform providing graphics and animations representing concepts that students need to learn in school

Math Ready, pitched by David Radcliffe, helping students to prepare for college math placement tests
and 16.

XpertLink (formerly Sidewalk Experts), a mash-up of two separate pitches: Sidewalks.Me, a digital platform to bring experts from around the world to learners to help free up limited teacher capacity, and Experts in Class, a website to connect schools andtheir community for hard to find outside speakers and solution to enhance student learning; the end result actually calls to mind the second place finisher in last week’s Phoenix StartupWeekend EDU (see @Guest_ED)

Infiniit, pitched by Ashish Shrivastava, memory based techniques for computation

EdFlix, a solution to flip education for tutoring and enrichment programs with digital content, downloaded like netflix

GameIt, pitched by Caitlin Cahill, a gamified framework (do-overs, mastery, quests and badges) addressing issues of motivation in the classroom

Mentor Match, pitched by LaVonne Carlson, a marketplace to match people with mentors

Interactive Chemistry, pitched by Patrick Levy, a digital interactive, 3D simulation based solution for teaching chemistry; I think you can guess which team Patrick merged with

REDU, pitched by Petar Petrovic, an online platform for finding volunteer educators/tutors to help students who have fallen back in school; this team ultimately merged with WinWin, first working together on REDU and now, upon our last update, is back to WinWin.

My Maps, pitched by TC SWEDU organizer Kristin Daniels, a Google Maps based Telematics interface for parents to engage children during car trips while connecting them to local landmarks; a great idea that I thought was going to steal Kristin away from until she decided to leave her sudden stardom behind and return to the thankless tasks of SWEDU organization

LoopEDUin (formally Unconference), pitched by Stephanie, a virtual communication and document sharing platform to bring Parent Teacher Nights online

Scholar, pitched by Alex Rodriguez, a website match students to the best/possible scholarship opportunities, which frankly has been many times (see AllTuition), though most are rather spammy lead gen oriented.

logo_landscape Orchestrate is proud to be a Gold sponsor for Twin Cities Startup Weekend EDU. If you’re participating and plan to build an application, Orchestrate might be the perfect tool to build that application fast, and at no cost to you.

Orchestrate provides a simple, RESTful API service that eliminates the need to operate databases in production. Powered by best-of-breed NoSQL databases, it unifies full-text search, social graph, activity feed, key/value document and time-ordered event queries in a single interface. Behind the scenes, Orchestrate handles the complex task of building, operating, and scaling a high performance, fault tolerant data layer. The database magic happens on the backend so you don’t have to think about it – all you have to do is code.

Early stage startups need data infrastructure that scales as they grow. If your startup is based on an application, this solution will let you iterate in minutes instead of days, allow you to quickly test and deploy application features, and scales with your app’s usage. It’s well suited for building a social networking app, a productivity or business application, directory, recommendation engine, mobile app, voting app, games platform, a Twitter clone, and so on.

Developers and businesses currently using Orchestrate include Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, and several pre-launch and pre-venture startups. For more examples of how it can be used, take a look at the Marvel Comics app built on Orchestrate, a Hacker News style Voting App, and an app for searching through the Enron emails. If you’re a Node.js developer, there’s a simple five-step guide for building apps, though clients are also available for Java, Go, and Ruby.

Orchestrate is free to use for the weekend, and will continue to be free as long as data usage is < 1 million queries/ month (that’s a lot). As your app’s data usage grows and your startup takes off, get an additional three months of free service (up to 10 million API calls a month) so you can continue to grow your business. The offer is redeemable when you need it, at any time you choose.
Participating teams can sign up for Orchestrate’s Startup Weekend offer now at

Good luck!

If you’re still deciding whether to register for Twin Cities StartupWeekend EDU, the following information might be helpful:

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, 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.

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. Your ticket covers seven meals, snacks, all the coffee you can drink, and support for our education community. Participants also get freebies from our sponsors.

Friday night is all about networking and the pitches. Those with an idea who are brave enough will stand in front of 100 strangers and give a 1-minute elevator pitch to the crowd. Teams form organically around the most compelling pitches, and then spend the next 48 hours (minus sleep and our delicious catered food) hacking away on your product and business plan.

Saturday and Sunday are work days – you and your team validate the problem, market, and customer, ideate and iterate relentlessly, and prototype your team’s solution, including building a minimally viable product (MVP). Mentors will be on hand throughout the time to help you your idea from a fledgling concept into a working company with huge potential in less than two days. While a small web app or other interactive deliverable is ideal, example final products include promotional websites, mock-ups, or anything else that would convince an audience that your product is viable, compelling, and worth developing further.

Sunday night is where the jury panel comes in – Seasoned startup veterans will scrutinize MVPs to evaluate your chances of real world success, and the most promising product will win its team a grab bag of great tools to launch your company. From there? Well, it’s all up to you. Startup Weekend EDU is a launchpad for your idea, and you can take it wherever you want to go.

Startup Weekend events offer participants access to a variety of resources to help get you started!

Visit this page for a breakdown of the different resources that are made available during your event!

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 Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees are encouraged to bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams design and develop business plans while constantly streamlining their startup vision. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes, listen to judges’ feedback and in some cities, win prizes.

Startup Weekends are specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in receiving feedback on an idea, looking for a co-founder, or who want to learn a new skill. We also welcome anyone looking to test the entrepreneurial waters. Startup Weekends are risk-free environments where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startups.