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One Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142

August 30, 2018

3:00 – 8:30 PM



EdTech Connect 2018

Save the date for Venture Cafe’s Ed-Tech mini-conference, “Innovation in Education & Educational  Services”, taking place on August 30th, 2018. This special ‘conference night’ event seeks to bring together the brightest minds who are building, funding, and innovating in the Greater Boston area’s Education Community. Come prepared to not only hear the best ideas and see the latest technologies but also to participate in building Boston’s EdTech Ecosystem.




 Our Partners

EdTech Connect is hosted by Venture Cafe and brought to the Greater Boston community by:










3:00 – 5:00 PM Special Office Hours

4:00 – 5:00 PM Youth Night – Student Pitches (*TIME CHANGE: 5:15 PM*)

4:15 – 5:15 PM MA Leading The Way In EdTech Innovation

5:30 – 6:30 PM Teachers’ Perspective on EdTech

5:30 – 7:00 PM Book Signing – Sarah Boisvert, “The New Collar Workforce”

5:30 – 8:00 PM Youth Night, Student Demos

5:30 – 8:30 PM EdTech Demos

6:45 – 7:45 PM UX Within The Context of Education

6:45 – 8:00 PM Shark Tank

OFFICE HOURS (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

OFFICE HOURS (3:00 – 5:00 PM)

In partnership with Teacher Collaborative, early-stage ventures and prospective entrepreneurs have an opportunity to sign up for Office Hours during this event. Entrepreneurs may sign up for 30-minute consultations with a variety of experts.

 Reservations will open on August 10nd, 2018, and are booked on a first-come, first served basis.

Sarah Boisvert Fab Lab Hub Edtech Connect Venture cafe

Sarah Boisvert, Founder, Fab Lab Hub

Sarah Boisvert is a high tech entrepreneur who has created businesses that range from building the laser for LASIK eye surgery to operating a 3D Printing contract service bureau. Her book, The New Collar Workforce, is based on research with 200 U.S. manufacturers on the skills needed in the Digital Factory.


Vinit Nijhawan, Founder & Academic

Vinit teaches MBA courses on Entrepreneurship at BU Questrom School of Business, over 400 students have taken his courses. Vinit Nijhawan was Managing Director, Office of Technology Development at Boston University where he launched 8 venture-backed spinoffs and successfully executed a patent monetization program. Vinit has over 30 years experience building five startups: as CEO of three, five were acquired.



Maria Fenwick, teacher collaborative, venture cafe edtech connect

Maria Fenwick, Founder & Executive Director, Teacher Collaborative

Maria Fenwick is the founder and Executive Director of The Teacher Collaborative. Maria taught in Boston Public Schools for six years and brings an extensive network of local education leaders from non-profits, foundations, districts/CMOs, and state policy. She holds a A.B. in Human Development from Colby College, a master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard, and another in Elementary Education from UMass Boston/Boston Teacher Residency. VR, design thinking, problem-solving, & more.




We are preparing the pipeline! In partnership with Whiteboard Youth Ventures, five youth entrepreneurs (middle and high school age) will be pitching their startups to seasoned entrepreneurs. Come out to hear these young entrepreneurs pitch!

Meet our judges:

Kate Wald,  Executive Director, MIT Enterprise Forum

Much like a startup founder, Katja does a little bit of everything to make sure the organization issuccessful; including fundraising, product/ program strategy, operations management,marketing and volunteer management. The ultimate goal is to ensure the organization is alwaysfocused on providing coaching, mentoring and a community network for those who are takingthe risks to found new startups today.


Leila Pirhaji, CEO, ReviveMed

Leila Pirhaji, CEO, ReviveMed

Leila Pirhaji, CEO, ReviveMed

Experienced computational biologist and entrepreneur with a PhD from MIT. Founder and CEO atReviveMed, an AI-driven drug discovery platform by uniquely leveraging metabolomics.


Arjun Mendhi, CEO, Mtonomy




In partnership with LearnLaunch, the focus of this session is to bring all key stakeholders (e.g. educators, policymakers and innovators) to explore the role of EdTech in optimizing Massachusetts’ educational infrastructure. As the leader in education, Massachusetts is often looked at as a model to emulate. From leading school districts to the most densely populated higher ed cluster, Massachusetts has a lot to offer.

But what has kept us ahead of the curve? Success can’t be attributed to just one component — and of course, what made us successful in the past will not make us successful in the future. This panel will address, from a variety of perspectives, the part that EdTech plays in the future of education and the trends that are emerging across sectors!


Mark Miller, Managing Partner, LearnLaunch

Mark Miller is a co-founder and partner at LearnLaunch. Mark is a lifelong entrepreneur since winning the business plan competition at Cornell University and building one of the earliest education publishing subscription businesses. As a result of his own company exits and leading the sale of two companies, Miller founded and serves as Managing Partner of Good Harbor Partners (GHP). GHP provides strategy consulting, outsourced corporate development and advisory M&A services to some of the top companies in the education marketplace.

Melissa Corto, CEO & Co-Founder, Education Modified

Melissa was a special educator in Brooklyn, NYC at a Title I high school for 9 years. She led her school’s inclusion & co-teaching program & served as a UTR Mentor for new special education teachers entering the profession. Melissa is the Co-Founder & CEO of Education Modified, a Boston edtech company that uses the latest research to help teachers improve outcomes for students with special needs. Melissa is responsible for setting Education Modified’s strategy, leading product development, & building internal capacity.

David Kozhuk, Founder of uConnect

David left a private equity firm to start uConnect. Their mission is to help colleges and universities align the pursuit of higher education to meaningful career pathways and professional outcomes. He loves creating, investing, sleeping, traveling, Ed Tech, hip-hop music and Boston.

David Soo, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Dept of Education 

David Soo is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary. His work focuses on a broad array of higher education policy issues, with a particular focus on areas of academic quality and innovation. In addition, he provides leadership to the Department on financial capability for young Americans. David earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jim Tracy, CEO, Woodrow Wilson Academy 

James Tracy is the first President of the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning in 2018. The Stanford University Ph.D. is a leading national voice on education innovation and the use of technology in school improvement. Formerly the Head of School at the Rocky Hill School, Dr. Tracy has also been on the Board of Boston University’s Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. He currently serves on the advisory board of Boston University’s Digital Learning and Innovation effort, co-chairs the MassRobotics Work of the Future Committee, and is a Board Member of the Boston-based edtech accelerator and convener LearnLaunch.


Teachers’ Perspectives on EdTech:

What’s Working, Where Are The Needs, and How Teachers and

Entrepreneurs Can Be #BetterTogether

Join a panel of local K-12 educators as they share their perspectives from the classroom. Hear about the technology they’re currently using and how it supports (or hinders) their work along with common challenges they face. They will talk about how technology can meet the needs of their students and education more broadly, i.e. solutions and innovations through the design, test, and implementation processes. This panel is supported by The Teacher Collaborative, a startup nonprofit built by teachers, fostering collaboration, innovation, and meaningful professional learning for all educators.

Steve Guditus, Tri-Town School Union

Steve Guditus is entering his 18th year as a public educator in Massachusetts. A middle school teacher for 10 years, he has also served as an assistant principal and principal, and now is the Director of Educational Technology for the Tri-Town School Union on the north shore. He is a lifelong learner and techie teacher, a 2017 MassCUE Pathfinder Award Recipient and EdCamp-Boston co-organizer.


Dan Adler, UP Academy Leonard

Dan Adler is a 6th-grade science teacher at UP Academy Leonard in Lawrence, Massachusetts, as well as a 6th-grade cohort leader. He was the recipient of the 2017 Milken Educator Award for Massachusetts. His teaching involves hands-on inquiry, singing, and lighting things on fire.


Diana Marcus, Burlington Public Schools

For the last 20 years, Diane has been a Special Education and Grade 5 teacher at Burlington Public Schools. She also currently serves as an instructional coach to students and educators.


Kourtney Hallice, Boston Public Schools

Kourtney Hallice has been teaching in Boston Public Schools for the past four years. Currently, she is a Kindergarten (K2) Inclusion Teacher at Young Achievers Math and Science School in Mattapan. Kourtney serves as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and as a Team Leader for the K2 team.


Yusuf Hamdan, TechBoston Academy/Boston Public Schools

Yusuf teaches 9th-grade history to students at TechBoston Academy in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. He is the 9th grade STEAM Academy facilitator as the school works with MIT and STEAM Studios to innovate and personalize learning for their students. In this effort, Yusuf was sent to California with “Next Generation Learning Challenges” to tour innovative high schools and co-authored “Innovation in Real Time- Part II” published in Edweek.


Book Signing – Sarah Boisvert, “The New Collar Workforce”

Meet Sarah Boisvert, founder of Fab Lab Hub and get a copy of her book signed! Armed with 200 manufacturing company interviews, Sarah Boisvert has unlocked the skills needed in today’s Digital Factory. And they are not what you would expect. From humans working with Co-bots to 3D Printing and predictive analytics, smart manufacturing requires a New Collar Workforce that can accelerate a digital transformation in industry. This engaging book reviews the state of the art on the factory floor and offers suggestions for innovative workforce training that includes digital badges. More details Eventbrite.

YOUTH NIGHT: STUDENT DEMOS, 5th Floor (5:30 - 8:00 PM)

YOUTH DEMOS, 5th Floor (5:30 – 8:00 PM)

Venture Café Demos are a great way to gain exposure through our online and offline channels. During EdTech Connect, Venture Café will give a selection of the area’s youth led ventures an opportunity to showcase their product.

EDTECH DEMOS, 5th Floor (5:30 - 8:00 PM)

EDTECH DEMOS, 5th Floor (5:30 – 8:00 PM)

Venture Café Demos are a great way to gain exposure through our online and offline channels. During EdTech Connect, Venture Café will give a selection of the area’s EdTech ventures an opportunity to showcase their product.


Workshop: Universal Design Within The Context of Education

The principles of Universal Design (originated from the world of architecture, and later adopted in product design for tech and beyond) also has tremendous opportunities to make educational experiences more inclusive for different types of learners. In this session, we Cross-pollinate educators, innovators, and designers for a deep dive discussion and interactive workshop. Limited slots are available for a more hands-on discussion.

Mirko Chardin, Putnam Avenue Upper School, edtech connect Venture Cafe Cambridge

Facilitator: Mirko Chardin, Putnam Avenue Upper School

At the Putnam Avenue Upper School, students are guided towards the “Good Life.” That is, we believe that our students will be college-ready and will become successful and contributing members of society with the best possible quality of life. In order to live the “Good Life,” students will develop a sense of mastery of our core values of passion, pride, and ownership with balance and perseverance.


Vicky Wu Davis Youth Cities Venture Café Cambridge

Vicky Wu Davis, YOUTH Cities

Youth CITIES seeds students with an entrepreneurial mindset that turns them into the game-changing leaders of tomorrow. We do this through four structured programs that unleash their critical thinking skills and challenges them to always ask, “what if.” We provide curriculum, tools to tinker with, and access to thought leaders who guide them as they explore solutions for existing and future world challenges.

SHARK TANK (6:45 - 8:00 PM)

Hosted by The Boston EdTech Meetup Group, five EdTech Entrepreneurs will pitch a selection of investors. It is a great platform to pitch, meet and build relationships with influencers in the EdTech Industry.

Moderator: Jean Hammond, LearnLaunch

Jean Hammond is a Co-Founder and Partner at LearnLaunch supporting the edtech community with an accelerator, co-working space and community engagement with startup and educator support at LearnLaunch Institute. Jean is an active angel investor and member Launchpad, Hub and Golden Seeds angel groups. Jean is an active mentor at TCN, TechStars, and MassChallenge along with other organizations and was a co-founder of two technology startups in the Boston area.

Adrian Mendoza, Mendoza Ventures

Adrian Mendoza is a managing partner at Mendoza Ventures. His focus is on advising and investing in AI, Edtech, Fintech, and Cybersecurity startups.

Barbara Clarke, Founding Principal, The Impact Seat

Barbara is an economist and angel investor with a personal portfolio of over 40 investments. In addition to her membership in Astia and Pipeline Angels, she on the investment committee of the Portfolia Funds. Barbara is a Deal Lead for the Rising Tide Europe Program which is an international effort to increase the number of women angels investing in European startups. Barbara’s portfolio consists of a broad range of high-growth technology companies across the US and in Europe.

Liam Pisano, Managing Partner, EduLab Capital Partners

Liam Pisano is a Managing Parter at EduLab Capital Partners. He is an early stage investor in learning technology businesses, with 18 years of experience as an investor and operator. His passion lies in unearthing new technology to drive better learning in and out of the classroom and workplace.


Adrian Mendoza
Mendoza Ventures
Dan Adler
UP Academy Leonard
David Kozhuk
Diana Marcus
Burlington Public Schools
Jean Hammond
Kourtney Hallice
Boston Public Schools
Maria Fenwick
The Teacher Collaborative
Mark Miller
Sarah Boisvert
Fab Lab Hub
Steve Guditus
Tri-Town School Union
Vinit Nijhawan
Founder & Academic
Yusuf Hamdan
TechBoston Academy/ Boston Public Schools
Vicky Wu Davis


YOUTH Cities

Mirko Chardin

Founding Principal

Putnam Avenue Upper School

David Soo

Senior Policy Advisor

U.S. Department of Education

David Kozhuk



Barbara Clarke

Founding Principal

The Impact Seat

Liam Pisano

Managing Partner

EduLabs Capital Partners



The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in New England that focuses exclusively on education. The Foundation supports the promotion and integration of student-centered approaches to learning at the high school level across New England—where learning is personalized, learning is competency-based; learning takes place anytime, anywhere; and students exert ownership over their own learning. Learn more at