And the winner of Startup Weekend EDU is…

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After 15 amazing pitches at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU, Team Text2Teach  was chosen as the winner of the weekend! Basic concept, Text2Teach is a tool that allows teachers to engage with at-risk students via text messages in a secure and easy platform.

Text2Teach w/ Mitch Kapor "Connect, motivate and engage your students with text messages"

One of the most compelling aspects of their pitch and idea was the validation of working with a teacher. I had a chance to ask educator, Jamie Burns, a couple quick questions about Text2Teach and her experience at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU…

(Joey) Why did you decide to come to Startup Weekend?

Jamie: “I decided to attend this particular Startup Weekend primarily because of the educational focus. Being in the field, I was definitely taken by the concept of an all Ed related Startup Weekend. It is a space that needs more innovation, especially in terms of technology. Reaching this increasingly tech savvy generation of students is of the utmost importance. I believe that if we don’t get on board and find ways to connect with students through their preferred channels, we run the risk of losing their interest.

(Joey) How did you feel coming into Friday’s kickoff event?

Jamie: “Excited and nervous. I have no problem being in front of a class of students, but pitching to 120 plus adults was a bit nerve wracking. Overall, I was excited to hear all of the pitches as well as gain some insight as to what others (outside of the edu space) saw as some of the major pain points in education.”

(Joey) Why do you think there is a need for your idea?

Jamie: “Nearly 7,000 students drop out of high school each day, and the majority of these students have already been identified as at-risk. While they may have extra support in school, they often lack support and positive role models beyond the school walls. If we can keep them motivated and engaged, we can keep these students on track for graduation. Text2 Teach aims to do just that. We wanted to create a service that allowed teachers to connect, motivate and engage their students with simple text
messages after school hours. We are targeting the at-risk youth population who need more support and encouragement in their home life. If they feel that their teachers care about them, they are more likely to come to school, engage and participate in class and ultimately succeed. We are embracing a technology that these students actually use, communicating with them in a way that they communicate with one another, and on the teacher end, it is a simple to use program. Being able to track the metrics between out of school communication and attendance is also something that could prove to be
invaluable to educators.”

(Joey) Lastly, what were the major take-away’s you had from attending?

Jamie:
“-What an amazing community of entrepreneurial minded truly innovative people we have in Seattle.
-More educator turnout could have made a significant impact (I was saddened to be not only one of few females in attendance, but one of even fewer educators)
-The importance of the team (being able to work together well, and share a common vision)
-Developers/engineers are AMAZING
-Sleep deprivation and copious amounts of caffeine can really be a bonding factor
-Dave may have been right…Golazo may actually have crack in it.
-This is definitely something I will do again!”

The rest of the Text2Teach team includes:
1. Joey Kotkins
2. Manish Maheshwari
3. Brewster Stanislaw
4. Joe Cartano
5. Amy Lin
6. Evan Jacobs
7. Josh Scotland
8. Ash Bhoopathy

Check out BootStrapper Studios’s documentary of the Text2Teach experience at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU. Also, we will be giving the team $1000 in Twilio credits which will be perfect to help them move forward on their project. Good luck to you all!


List of all teams who pitched at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU

SeeQRs: a QR platform that can be used for educational tours

1001 Mentors: a site for matching mentors and mentees

LetsTea.ch: a video tool to help online instruction

Budding World: an online archive for saving and sharing kids’ artwork

Text2Teach: text messaging between teachers and at-risk students

SkillupLearning: an app for vocational learning for migrant workers in China

TextWorks: a project aimed at low-income students, where they’d earn discounts on textbooks based on their grades

StudyBuddy: match.com for study buddies, aimed at large university lectures

Teenstarter: micro-finance for teen entrepreneurs

SpeakerBuddie.com: real-time feedback for lectures

Microryza: Kickstarter for scientific research

BabbleMath: voice-activated math flash card app

MathBoxee: real-time math feedback and homework help

DeathMath: violent video game for math drills

Game2Code: a video game that teaches players to code