Past event…

Event Ended

Albemarle County Office's Conference Center, 1600 5th St Extended, Charlottesville, VA




In just one weekend, 19 pitches turned into five teams to launch startups. At the end of the weekend, each team gave a 5 minute pitch to a panel of judges.
Pulpit rock Congratulations to our winners:

First Place: SpedPort Second Place: Tech Girls Third Place: EyeKey

A couple photos from Friday night:

Pulpit rock

The aftermath of the final Rock, Paper, Scissors match

Pulpit rock

Only 60 seconds to explain who you are, the problem you want to solve, how you want to solve it, and who you need to solve it

StartupWeekend EDU is a fascinating event for those who have great ideas in the edtech space!

We have people with ideas, people with business and marketing experience that want to learn how to launch a startup (and of course network with angel investors and other entrepreneurs), and coders and developers and web designers to help bring it all together! You don't have to be an educator to come with an idea, you just have to have an idea that affects education either administratively or instructionally and that can be at any level, any country, or any targeted group.

This is the third Startup Weekend in Charlottesville but the first in the EDU vertical.



Apr 5
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers Marsha Gartland, Ph.D and Peter Bencivenga's story about CaseNEX
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Apr 6
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Mandatory Mentor Mtg and Training with Heather Gilchrist
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches continue to help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Coaches work with/up-date SW Facilitator on determining how teams are doing, where they are, what they may still need.
  • Dinner for teams, coaches, organizers
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Apr 7
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch for teams and organizers
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsor

Marsha Gartland, Ph.D.

CEO, CaseNEX   |   LinkedIn

Marsha Gartland, co-founder of CaseNEX, was originally compelled to scale the CaseNEX learning model when her dissertation study revealed promising findings for taking authentic case-method learning online. A former high school English teacher, Marsha earned her Ph.D. in Educational Evaluation from UVA's Curry School of Education and was instrumental in grant-funded research and development as well as the Company's spin-off from the University. Since the commercialization of CaseNEX in 2000, Marsha has led the efforts to build on the organization's research-based beginnings at UVA's Curry School of Education through product innovations and several acquisitions that have allowed the company to scale and compete across many segments of the education market. Marsha also holds a BA in English from Villanova University, and an MA in Teaching from Simmons College.

Peter Bencivenga

President and COO, CaseNEX, LLC   |   LinkedIn

Peter Bencivenga has been with CaseNEX, LLC since 2009 and currently serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer. In three short years, Peter--along with his colleagues at CaseNEX—has taken NYC public schools by storm with his breakthrough “DataCation” technologies that big box data companies have spent millions trying to crack over the last decade. Approaching data management with sophisticated extraction methodologies allows the DataCation systems to assemble disparate pieces of information to give schools what they need to keep the most vulnerable students on track. DataCation school management tools are now used in thousands of schools across the country and is a leading data dashboard provider for large-scale state implementations. Mr. Bencivenga has been instrumental in integrating technology and web development across the curricula for the New York City Department of Education. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology.

Gold Sponsors

Jim Cheng, MBA

Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Commonwealth of Virginia   |   LinkedIn

As Secretary of Commerce & Trade, Jim Cheng manages the jobs and opportunity agenda for Virginia. In this role, Secretary Cheng oversees thirteen state agencies focused on promoting the growth of Virginia’s vibrant business community and attracting new investment into Virginia’s economy.
Secretary Cheng has over 20 years of experience in information technology and government contracting, and is active in angel investment and early stage entrepreneurial ventures of various types. He was most recently the President of Totus Lighting Solutions, a startup efficient-energy firm, and mentored several emerging companies.
From 1994-2005, Secretary Cheng was founder and CEO of CHM, a government contracting company specializing in Information Technology, which he grew from a staff of 5 people to 550 and $90M in revenue at the time of sale in 2005. In 1999, his company was named Virginia Business Magazine's fastest growing private company in Virginia and #12 fastest growing private US company in Inc Magazine's "Inc 500". In 2001, he was named SE Virginia's KPMG Entrepreneur of the year. From 1981-1994 at ECI, a government IT contracting firm, Secretary Cheng held various management and technical positions, rising to the position of Sr. Vice President of Marketing.
Secretary Cheng is active in the community and has served on the boards of non-profits, state-level and community organizations. He was a board member of the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority from 1999-2007, and is currently a Trustee of the Darden School Foundation at UVA, and a member of the ODU Education Foundation Board. Secretary Cheng holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, a MBA from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business (UVA) and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Long-time residents of Virginia Beach, Jim and his wife, Jeanette, moved to Northern Virginia in the late 1990's, where they reside.

Nick Schiavi, MBA

North American Higher Education, Blackboard, Inc.   |   LinkedIn

Nick Schiavi is a Regional Vice President with Blackboard Inc.’s academic platforms division in Philadelphia. He was previously a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia. He holds a degree in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and a Master’s in Information Systems Management from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. Nick’s background is in product development, R&D and sales engineering, with an appreciation for markets and market needs, particularly in the edtech space. As a technology professional, Nick has been involved in advising and participating in startups since college and he is actively involved in the local entrepreneurship scene in Philadelphia, where he and his wife reside. He’s an amateur photographer, avid traveler and die-hard Wahoo’s fan.

Silver Sponsors

Peter Malcolm, PhD

Researcher, PhD candidate   |   LinkedIn

Peter Malcolm is a PhD candidate in the Instructional Technology program at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. He holds a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has developed and done research on software for STEM teaching on various platforms in K-12 classrooms, investigating how feedback in software contributes to learning. His projects have included a mathematical app for iOS (iEstimation), mathematics and science virtual manipulatives designed for use on SMARTboards. He has collaborated on building a whole-classroom science simulation called WallCology, where simulated creatures "migrated" across multiple devices. He has helped develop and contributed research for, the first open-source engineering learning management system for K-12 schools. His doctoral research focuses on middle school geometry and rapid prototyping. He is interested in the way students learn to tackle new geometric concepts as they design products and then see them created on 3D printers.

Mark Green, MBA

Managing Partner, ECorp Management , LLC   |   LinkedIn

Mark Green is a real estate developer with over 28 years experience as an entrepreneur in commercial real estate and other ventures. He has founded or cofounded six companies and raised over $4M in equity for those ventures. In addition to real estate development, he has managed and leased over 1,000,000 square feet of office, light industrial, and retail properties. He has deep experience in retail real estate, both as a developer and on the tenant side, having represented retail clients including Vans Shoes, Big Dog Sportswear, LEGOLAND, and U.S. Cellular, negotiated and acquired over 330 store locations (1.3 million square feet of retail space) across North America and internationally. Both personally and on behalf of his clients, he has acquired or sold over $150M of commercial properties.

In addition to his real estate activities, Mark is involved in many entrepreneurial efforts. He is a founding member of the Virginia Active Angel Network (VAAN) and Chairman of the Charlottesville Venture Group, a non-profit dedicated to entrepreneurial education and mentorship. He organized Virginia’s first Startup Weekend event and is a past board member of the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council. He will be the facilitator for Virginia’s first Startup Weekend NEXT program, starting in 2013.

He holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, an MBA from Pepperdine University, and Real Estate Broker’s licenses in California and Virginia. Mark is an avid sailor, has two college-age children (both attending U.Va.) and resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Chad Ratliff, MBA, M.Ed.

District Administrator, Educator, Entrepreneur   |   LinkedIn

Chad Ratliff is a district administrator with Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has broad experience across the education sector, including consulting and being honored for his work as a teacher and coach in one of Virginia's most high-poverty school districts. He has also been recognized as a private sector entrepreneur being profiled as one the "Top 20 Under 40" by the Blue Ridge Business Journal. He currently serves on the board of directors for several nonprofits and is a Virginia Board of Education appointee to the Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education. He has been quoted on educational matters in TIME, The Washington Post, Converge, T.H.E. Journal and other national media. Chad has also taught undergraduate courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Business. He holds a master's degree from the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and an MBA from Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business.

Tom Hickman, MBA

Entrepreneur, Investor   |   LinkedIn

Tom Hickman is a serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, and father of four. Over the past three decades, he has started six companies, three of which were established in the last 12 months. He is a lifelong real estate investor, developer and contractor, assuming all the risks and rewards of endeavors that mirror the entrepreneurial spirit for risk-taking and business endurance. He has earned a reputation as a creative pioneer in developing business models that serve to promote the end result, from creative real estate models to startup endeavors. Tom is currently involved in two tech startups.

Tom is an alum of the US Naval Academy, a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and his newest startup was accepted for Startup Weekend NEXT 5-week validation program, currently underway. His interests are in entrepreneurship and leadership and he serves as advisor and mentor to a number of Darden graduates and serves on the advisory board for He is also an alum of Charlottesville’s first Startup Weekend event.

Craig Honick

Managing Partner,

Craig Honick is the managing partner of metro tribal (, a specialized social research firm that helps organizations of all types solve problems surrounding customer discovery, acquisition and retention.

Earlier in his career, Craig served as an ethnographer and organizational analyst at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies where he studied change management in public organizations as well as the history and behavior of proprietary schools. He also co-taught “The Social Psychology of Higher Education,” a course that enabled undergraduates to examine the transformational effects of their own college experience.

Concurrent with his assignment at UCLA, he was a professor of business in the School of Business Administration and Economics at California State University Northridge, where he taught Communications, Management and Market Research as part of both the undergraduate and MBA programs. As a technology entrepreneur, Craig has been a founding executive with three pioneering companies, including one of the Web’s first commercial site development firms, the Internet’s first full service automobile mall, and the world’s first online time stamp registry for electronic records, a company featured in variety of publications including Inc., Fast Company, Entrepreneur, CIO, and Wired.

Craig holds a BA in History from UCLA, an MA in History from California State University, Northridge, and was a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA.

Bethann Canada

Director, Educational Information Management, Virginia Dept. of Education   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Bethann Canada is the Director of Educational Information Management for the Virginia Department of Education. Her office provides leadership to Virginia’s school divisions in the implementation of administrative educational technologies and is responsible for systems development and data administration for the agency. Her office supports the calculation of the department’s accountability measures with a focus on re-purposing the data for research and decision support. Mrs. Canada is project director for a substantial multi-agency federal grant program that focuses on linking data across K-12, Higher Education, and Workforce.

Under her leadership, OEIM has developed a strong data governance program, adopted software development standards, and consolidated siloed databases into a single, integrated repository. Key projects include the initiation of online testing in Virginia’s schools, development of a teacher-accessible longitudinal data warehouse, development of electronic transcripts, and the development of Virginia’s Longitudinal Data System.

Mrs. Canada is well-known in the national education data community for her work with the National Forum on Education Statistics

Media Sponsors
Letitia H. Green, MBA, M.Ed. ('13)
Brooke Bell
John Zambrotta
Christian des Pallieres

Wrap Up

by swcvilleedu

The results are in! First place goes to SpedPort, second to Tech Girls, and third to Eye Key. All five […]

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