“Startup Weekend Education” – There’s no better name for it

6 Feb


Last weekend I built an education startup at the, appropriately named, Startup Weekend Education.

It was held in the middle of Campus Party Brasil, in Sao Paulo, which must’ve sounded like a great idea when the organizers first thought of it, but for so many reasons just was not. But, I prefer to dwell on the good side of things, and I loved it for what it was: A weekend to put together an education startup.  

And, put one together, we did.

I’ll be honest. I’d never been to a Startup Weekend, and I didn’t really think much of spending a whole weekend building a startup with complete strangers. I mean, I already have a startup. I’ve been working for 3 years straight on Tripppin, and it just about consumes my every waking hour. I don’t need another startup. But, I did want to see who’s who in the Brazilian education startup scene, so I went, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There were all kinds of edupreneurs: bootstrappers, big operations, private and publicly funded businesses making waves in the online education scene. All these people talking about the education market (which is a VERY tough nut to crack) and either confirming what I’ve learned on my own or expanding upon it.  I read a lot about the cycles, and ups and downs of entrepreneurship, but hearing it from someone you’re looking in the eye is different. It’s unedited.

So, when the time came, I got in line, pitched the idea for Good to Go, and everybody loved it. It was the most voted idea of all. Then, when I had to tell people what I needed, it became clear I didn’t need much, so only 2 educators and one economist joined me, and the next morning nobody in my group showed up. 

I was a bit disappointed, but truth be said, all I needed to validate the idea was some number crunching, and out of the blue came Marina. Marina was unhappy with her group, and wanted to change, so she offered to turn all our data into professional charts and calculations, and had several valid points to add from her sociology background.

Then the mentors started doing rounds. Every time a mentor sat down to chat with us, we’d be blown away. So many insights, and experience in such a new market. From the beginning, I thought I had a great idea, but these mentors just kept making it better.

In the end, out of 5 new online education products presented, we got 2nd place, and I met a multitude of interesting, experienced peers in the online education world.

Definitely a startup education weekend.


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