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Te Ara Hihiko, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Mt Cook, Wellington

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NZ’s first education-themed Startup Weekend!

Startup Weekend is where entrepreneurs, developers, and designers get together to form new businesses in a 54-hour marathon of inspiration, perspiration, collaboration, and fun! We attract people with all skill levels in a friendly, welcoming, yet challenging environment.

Wellington Startup Weekend EDU will be the first Education focused Startup Weekend in New Zealand and follows closely on the heels of Sydney Startup Weekend EDU.

Startup Weekend Wellington EDU Launchpad
Optional pre-event drinks from 4pm to 5.30pm Fri 29 Aug at Southern Cross

Startup Weekend Wellington EDU
Doors open 5.30pm, starts 6.30pm Fri 29 Aug at Creative Arts Building at Massey University

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) was founded on the belief that entrepreneurship is the most powerful force to positively impact education outcomes. We are a global initiative that brings people together over the course of 54 hours to launch startup companies and projects that have the ability to drastically improve the educational experience for various types of learners or have a positive impact on the education sector. Only two years old, SWEDU has already expanded to 16 cities across the world, and we are excited to give everyone an unprecedented opportunity to play a role in creating the future of education. SWEDU is part of the wider Startup Weekend global initiative.

More than simply a themed Startup Weekend event, the SWEDU programme is designed to drive change and innovation into the education sector by using the awesome power of the Startup Weekend format.

What’s different? SWWLG EDU has the same rigour as a normal Startup Weekend, running from pitchfire to pitch night, Friday through Sunday. The main difference is the make up of the room, which includes Educators and the criteria for judging on Sunday. We’ll post more info on this soon.

Until then, get your ticket, get your education thinking cap on and keep an eye on the SWWLG EDU website for the build up events.

Why attend a Startup Weekend?

  • Learn how to startup through doing it instead of just reading about it
  • Build your network by spending a weekend with Wellington’s doers and makers
  • Meet potential co-founders, there’s no better way to find people you want to work with
  • Step outside of your comfort zone – Try your hand at something new
  • Actually launch a business – Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months
  • Get face time with local tech and startup leaders as coaches and judges
  • Join a global community of over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world

Want more reasons to come?

10 reasons for developers to come to Startup WeekendWhy designers and creatives love Startup WeekendPhoto gallery from our Startup Weekend in August 2013 

What happens at Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend Wellington Education edition starts on Friday evening 29 August, with an icebreaker game and dinner, and then people pitch their businesses concepts to the crowd. 10-15 concepts will attract viable teams around them. By late Friday night, you will have sketched out your concept in some detail and everyone will have roles assigned and an inkling of how they’re going to achieve their goals over the weekend.

Saturday morning is all about validation – you’ll be contacting potential customers and finding out if there’s really a market need for what you’re building. If not, you’ll need to pivot based on the information you’ve picked up by “getting out of the building” and talking to people. Meanwhile, your developers and designers will be furiously building your products (or mock-ups), and your team will be attracting partners, advisers, and customers. You’ll need to start preparing your final 5-minute presentation on Sunday morning, because your team will need to pitch it by dinner time. After that, prizes will be awarded to the best teams.

Where you go from there is up to you. Exciting businesses have come out of Startup Weekends, but the real value is in the skills, new friends, and access to resources you require.

Whether you are just want to find out what the world of startups is like in a fun environment, you’re a developer or designer looking for the next big thing, or an entrepreneur looking for a team to turn your idea into reality, Startup Weekend is a fantastic way to test your own abilities and meet great people along the way.




Startup Weekend Wellington August 2013

More photos from Startup Weekend Wellington August 2013 courtesy the wonderful Mark Tantrum


Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors

Hon. Steve Maharey

Steve is currently the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University. Previously, he was the MP for Palmerston North, and a Minister in the New Zealand Government (including the education portfolio). He started his career as a lecturer in business administration, and then a senior lecturer in sociology. Steve's main academic interests lie in the public sector, social policy (particularly social development), education, social change and politics. He currently sits on a variety of boards, and in 2008 Steve was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Vicki Compton

Vicki is currently a Senior Advisor in Research and Evaluation at the Ministry for Primary Industries. She has previously led many research contracts for the Ministry of Education in the area of technology education, and her early research findings had a significant impact on the policy direction of technology as a learning area. In 2011 Vicki was awarded the highest professional award made by Technology Education New Zealand, for Outstanding Contribution to Technology Education. It reflects Vicki's longstanding commitment, leadership, and service to an area that she is passionate about. Vicki is also a trustee at the ADD Assessment and Family Support Clinic, which seeks to assist youth with inherited neurological disorders through the education system to achieve independent lives, and increases awareness regarding development and progress in the ADD/ADHD and autism community.

Terry Shubkin

Terry is the CEO of Young Enterprise Trust, a not-for-profit organisation focused on helping to grow a more prosperous New Zealand through enterprise. The organisation works with primary, intermediate and secondary schools to introduce experiential enterprise education and financial literacy programmes to their students. Terry has also worked as a consultant, and her time at the charity Barnardos sparked her passion to use her skills to help the NGO sector. Earlier on in her career, she spent 18 years in the IT industry firstly in sales-related roles, then finishing up at Head of Operations for Unisys New Zealand.

Michael Elwood-Smith

Michael is an experienced strategist and coach focused on high-growth start-ups, social enterprises and technology commercialisation. He has more than 20 years of practical experience in ICT, and has worked in Asia, New Zealand, Europe and USA. Michael is currently the Venture Manager at the Akina Foundation, which is growing the emerging social enterprise sector in New Zealand. He also sits on the board of Loomio, an open-source software app for collaborative decision-making started in Wellington.

Silver Sponsors

Michael Dowse


Michael is the founder of Go Vocab, a language-learning app used in high schools all over the world. He has contributed to several startups in education and other industries. Michael has a background in product design and development, but is particularly interested in startup business models. He's also a Startup Chile Alumni, and perennial startup weekend runner-up.

Andrew Preston


Andrew is the co-founder of Publons, a company formed out of the inaugural Lightning Lab class in 2013. Its mission is to speed up science, by making peer review in academic publishing more efficient and effective. Having grown up in New Zealand, Andrew received his PhD in physics from Victoria University of Wellington, and was an active researcher at Boston University prior to starting Publons.

Ed Strafford


After attending an Educational Development Conference as a 13 year old, Ed came to the conclusion that people running education had some strange ideas. Since then, Ed decided to get amongst it and has worked as a teacher, education researcher, and teacher educator. Currently he is helping the Ministry of Education on curriculum innovation.

Peter Dixon


Peter is the CEO and co-founder of Storypark a social enterprise that’s helping teachers, parents and families extend children's learning. Storypark has users in 70+ countries and is quickly scaling after recently closing a major round of investment. Peter has conceived, grown and worked with a range of enterprises locally and abroad, mostly focused on education, design and social impact. He co-founded design agency The Church, helped bring Semipermanent to New Zealand, and loves supporting people to make ideas happen.

Samantha Dixon


Sam’s background lies in building strategy, creating integrated campaigns, and all things digital. She has worked across a number of industries, including automotive, retail, banking and FMCG. Sam also helped to sculpt their enterprise, and previously lived a secret life as an architect. She is passionate about creating experiences that deliver on business problems and makes a difference.

Anna Brown


Anna is a design educator, researcher, and practitioner at the College of Creative Arts at Massey University. Her research focuses on creative leadership, collaboration, and design-led innovation. She teaches in the visual communication degree, and her personal research interests lie in an established discipline of innovative book design. Anna also leads a research team at Open Lab, an enterprise design environment that works on projects utilising user-centric design thinking.

Geoff Nixon


After a career in finance, mainly managing his own hedge fund in the USA, Geoff founded a US-based online remedial reading business in 2006. Since moving back to NZ in 2013 he has been actively involved in startups, including as the mentor-in-residence at the 2013 Lightning Lab and as chairman of an online English language tutoring startup, LearnKo.

Mahsa Marks


Mahsa is the General Manager of New Zealand Institute of Education, a large private tertiary institute based in Auckland delivering programmes in Business, ICT and the English language to local and international adult students. She is also an advocate for education innovation through technology and finding ways to enhance the social impact of education on our communities.

Chris Clay


Through social media, robotics or integrating coding into biology, Chris has always been finding new ways that technology can transform the teaching and learning of science. He was placed 1st in Microsoft's Global Innovative Educator Awards in 2011 and subsequently worked with organisations such as The Smithsonian Institute and Principals Australia. Chris has also featured as a speaker at many conferences where he addressed international audiences of educators, scientists and most recently the global community through his TEDx talk on bringing discovery back into Science Education. Now the Education Director at Auckland-based educational start-up The Mind Lab, Chris works alongside a team of educators who are transforming science and technology education by creating experiences where science, design, engineering and art are fused together in the same way they are in real life.

Silvia Zuur


Silvia is the co-founder and CEO of the social enterprise Chalkle - an online system that supports organisations to host and organise community classes. Chalkle's aim is to use technology to help people share knowledge, and allow all learners to curate their own life-long learning experiences. Silvia is a board member at Enspiral, a network of social entrepreneurs and enterprises, and was a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards 2013 and nominated Wellingtonian of the Year. She has previously supported social entrepreneurs across Europe and North America, working with start-ups, established not-forprofits and education programmes. Silvia has a degree in Environmental Science and Psychology.

Alan Froggatt


Alan founded Genratec, an Integral Leadership Development and Generative Coaching company. Genratec has developed its own proprietary methodology, a platform chosen by over 2600 individuals, leaders, celebrities, entrepreneurs, business owners & others in over 7 countries to develop their capacity for professional performance. He has founded/co-founded several other business, one of which generating over a $1.2M profit for investors within the first year of business.

Dave Guerin


Dave Guerin is currently the CEO at Education Directions, an organisation that interprets the policy and strategic environment in which New Zealand tertiary education operates to help clients develop, implement and review strategies to respond to their external environment. During his time at ED, Dave has been involved in many projects, ranging from early childhood to NZQA to tertiary. He brings over 20 years of experience and expertise in tertiary education, including from working in the industry, tertiary education organisations, government, as well as from his time as President of the Victoria University Student Association and Treasurer at the New Zealand University Students Association.

Greg Millen


Gregory is an innovator, passionate about ideation, experience, strategy, and design. He has delivered strategic and design led digital solutions for over 15 years, and living and working in Autralasia, Europe, and South America has shaped his international perspective. He has run his own business, set up departments for others, and most recently he was a mentor at Lightning Lab in Wellington. Gregory is passionate about exploring the disparate, challenging convention, cutting through silos and connecting the unconnected. He is also a founding trustee of the Creative Kapiti Charitable Trust.

Rowan Yeoman

Rowan is interested in technology and innovation that is going to impact the world positively. He has a passion for working with and creating high performing teams of inspired and committed individuals. His background includes experience with practice methodologies that allow groups of individuals to consistently deliver great results on things that matter.

Helene Malandain


Helene is the Venture Manager at the Akina Foundation, which aims to grow the emerging social enterprise sector in New Zealand. Helene started her career working at Procter & Gamble, and subsequently joined Forster where she managed campaigns and community engagement programmes across a wide range of issues such as health, sustainability and social justice. Helene is a hands-on project manager, with a strategic head and creative approach to challenges. She has also had many years of experience working in top communication agencies, and three years ago when Helene moved to New Zealand, she first worked at Saatchi & Saatchi and then Clemenger BBDO before starting her role at Akina.

David Allison


Business strategist at Creative HQ, mentor at Akina Foundation and manager of Wellington's angel investor network Angel HQ.
Dave Allison loves working with start-up businesses, he has a background in science and accountancy, but now specialises in raising funds and growing businesses. Dave is a fantastic coach, having been an entertaining and valuable mentor at Lightning Lab and previous Startup Weekends.

Martina Battisti


Martina returns to Startup Weekend having previously supported teams as a mentor, and also participating in a team. With over 15 years of experience in tertiary education, as well as in private sector training and development, Martina has expertise in the design and delivery of a wide range of educational approaches, including educational technology. As a trained psychologist, she also has the theoretical foundations to understand individual learning and development processes. Since 2010 she has been running start-up courses at Massey University, where she is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, and mentors student entrepreneurs.

Dan Khan


Former programme director at tech accelerator Lightning Lab and serial tech entrepreneur, tech and business media commentator, teacher, advisor, good guy.

Dan has experience in building and scaling high-growth web technology ventures. After exiting a $100m social network venture in 2000, he's since co-founded six further ventures over the last 12 years - some failed, some on hold, and one generating some decent revenue. Dan is also known to whip up flawless pitches from budding entrepreneurs. Ultimately, Dan is driven by doing work that matters, to solve new and interesting problems in fun and innovative ways, whilst inspiring others to do the same.

Sandy Brown


Sandy works at the Network for Learning (N4L), which aims to provide all students with a seamless online experience that suits their individual skills, strengths, interests and needs, whilst recognising identity, language and culture. Sandy leads N4L’s relationships with key stakeholders, including government agencies, Ministers’ offices, and key parliamentary and political audiences, to ensure effective interactions. Prior to joining N4L, Sandy was a Chief Advisor of Education Sector Leadership at the Ministry of Education. He has also held several senior management and policy roles in Education New Zealand, the Treasury, the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry of Justice.

David Clearwater
Dave Moskovitz
Nick Churchouse
Kath Field
Paul Spence
Jill McCarthy
Sean Coley
Laura Reitel
Sarah Day
Danielle Vandendungen
Lucy Luo
Thomas Harding
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