Work, Learn, Grow: UP Global and Galvanize Partner To Unite Industry, Education, and Action

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Galvanize to provide new resources to the startup ecosystem and our community leaders.


In the same way that UP programs seek to make entrepreneurship accessible to everyone, Galvanize is working to make opportunities for education and growth available to anyone. Galvanize focuses on bringing work and learning together in one place – parts of the tech ecosystem that have traditionally existed in silos.

Their end product is two-fold: a startup community coupled with educational programs. At Galvanize spaces you’ll find students, founders, data scientists, programmers, investors, industry experts, and more – all in one place.

It’s a natural partnership for both organizations, as their communities already have much overlap in the startup ecosystem. Both Organizations believe that putting smart, driven people from separate parts of the tech world together can yield amazing results. Startup Weekend, for example, has long been successful because it brings together people with very different backgrounds and provides them with a platform to work together.

As Galvanize grows, they’re looking to bring their unique education and work model to more communities, as well as refine how they support entrepreneurs and individual growth.

As part of the partnership, Galvanize campuses will serve as guaranteed event space for UP programs in Galvanize markets (pending availability), Galvanize is offering discounted membership (30%) to Startup Next teams, one month of free memberships to winning Startup Weekend teams in Galvanize markets, and access to some of their premium content via a series of blog posts to be published on the UP blog.

If you’re in a city with a Galvanize campus and want to level up your skills and meet amazing entrepreneurs, drop us a quick note at and we’ll connect you!

Learn more about Galvanize programs and membership at

Modern Day Storytelling Tools

We are halfway through our first ever Editions Month. In addition to the wide array of special editions of Startup Weekend taking place this month, we asked Organizers of said events to tell us a little more about their communities [see those here].

In the process of putting together recommendations and resources on how best to tell stories creatively online, we came across a few new tools we thought you might like to try out.

Use these to tell, highlight, or enhance stories focused on anything from a series of blog posts, to photos, to videos, to data. Whatever your medium or purpose, you’ll find some really cool stuff in the collection below. We’ll also keep it up to date as we see new ones.


Pledge 1%: Changing The World Together


We’re excited to announce a partnership with Pledge 1% and to encourage your involvement in the effort. As part of our overall commitment to building strong entrepreneurial ecosystems around the globe (1,000 by 2016), we’ve partnered with Pledge 1% to help build stronger companies and stronger communities.

Pledge 1% is a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product, and/or employee time for their communities.

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Pledge 1% founding partners include the Salesforce Foundation and Atlassian, two companies that know first-hand how pledging a small portion of future success today can have an enormous impact tomorrow. In 2014, they came together with the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado to accelerate a shared vision of every business around the globe integrating philanthropy into its corporate DNA.

Why pledge?
Companies and their employees today want to be civically minded and aligned with a social mission that prioritizes having a positive impact on the world.

How does Pledge 1% Work?
Individuals and companies can go to to learn more about how to create a culture of giving through resources, case studies, and best practices. Visitors can also pledge equity, employee time and/or product directly on the website. Pledge 1% facilitates making an equity pledge easy to implement, connects companies with local resources to empower employee engagement programs, and helps companies to further define and respond to community needs.

Who benefits from the pledges?
Pledgees choose the cause, focus area and nonprofits to receive the realized value of their resources based on their community goals and company and employee interests. The Pledge 1% movement is fully funded by its founding partners,
so all realized benefit from pledges goes to the causes that pledgees support.

Be part of the movement. Build giving into your culture today. Contact to learn more or check out their FAQ.

Think your company isn’t ready? Listen to Scott Farquhar of Atlassian talk about how working with the 1% model from their earliest days helped his young company. 

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Edition #1: Small Business Innovation Spotlight

Small Business Innovation Spotlight

What is the the Small Business Innovation Spotlight? A weekly newsletter featuring a real small business with a real problem. Have a solution? If you decide to build a solution for a featured small business problem, we’ll help you get in touch with the small business owner, and potentially feature you on and more.

Edition #1 – April 15th, 2015

Meet Michelle Sahagian and her small business Western Food Safety LLC

Q: Tell us a little bit about your business.

michelleA: Western Food Safety is a food service consulting and training company and we have been in business since 2011. I love the excitement of feeling that we provide top quality customer service to all of our customers from beginning to end. Hearing feedback from happy customers is what gives me the most satisfaction and I feel we do that partly through good communication and providing up-to-date and current options in all areas of the business.


What’s the biggest challenge you face in trying to manage your business?

A: Our biggest challenge is having a system that works for what we do and we haven’t yet found something that fits our niche. We have to use workarounds to try and make systems work but none of them quite fit and this means that managing our customers can be difficult and lead to confusion and errors. For example we host open food safety classes throughout California that people go onto our website and register for. Customers enter their contact information, class date selected and payment information into our website forms. We use the app Zapier to automatically pull the customer data in QB’s online but it doesn’t import the actual transaction. This means we have to manually go into QB’s Online and create a sales receipt or invoice depending on the customers payment preferences. We also have to use the memo line is order to sort the classes to create a roster for each class date because their isn’t any other way we can sort through the sales receipts to find out who is in which class. Essentially we are trying to use QB’s online as a class management system but that’s not what it really is.

How many different software solutions do you use to run your business?

We use: Quickbooks Online (accounting), Formsite (online form building), Zapier (API), Godaddy Hosting, QB Payroll, Google Adwords, Godaddy Calendar (scheduling), Live 2 Support (online chat), (online based calendar), WordPress (blog), Powerpoint (training course design).

What would be an ideal software solution for your business look like? How much would you pay for it? 

To see the answers to these and more, you must be a subscriber. Sign up to get new ideas every week directly from customers willing to pay for them.


How much time do you spend working online in the course of a typical business day? How do you use your time online?

I spend almost 100% of my time online during the business day. I am generally using all the software types I mentioned above since most are online based products. Most of my time is spent generating business with larger clients online using LinkedIn and other networking websites. I also do daily accounting and scheduling for the instructors and work on the website. Lately, I have been building registration forms for our corporate clients so that they can have their employees register for classes we set up for them as an additional benefit for them and a way to manage the classes better.

Do you currently use any mobile apps to run your business?

My instructors use the mobile QB Online app to receive payments at the class location. I also use the QB Online app on my iphone and tablet when I’m on the go and want to check reports or contact a customer.

What features of your current small business software do you love?
Does it help you stay organized? Save you time and money?

I love how Zapier acts as an API and links the registration form information on our website to Quickbooks Online. It really saves time because in the past we would have to pull the contact information the customer entered and then manually enter it into Quickbooks online. This saves time and money from an admin perspective which helps since we are a growing business.

What features of your current small business software do you hate? Is it well suited to your type of business? Do your different software solutions work well together?

The same software I love, I also hate at the same time because it doesn’t do everything we need. A majority of the software we use is missing something.

What would be an ideal software solution for your business look like?

The ideal software would be something that provided a back office and a front office. The front office would offer an online store as well as an event/class registration system that could be installed easily as a widget or java script on a webpage. The front office would accept orders and/or registrations and process them by either creating a sales receipt and charging the credit card provided or invoice the customer and record that in the back office. The back office would also allow you to manage those orders either by easily helping to queue the product for shipping and manage the event/class sign ups by class or event and easily create class rosters and move people around if they wished to reschedule their class date or cancel.

How much, if anything, would you pay for this solution? How much would this solution be worth to you on a monthly or annual basis?

This solution would replace 4 software solutions I currently use as well as hours of my employees time. I would value it for myself at around $300-$350/month.

Do you have any additional thoughts you would like to share? Is there anything about QuickBooks or any other small business software solutions that you would like to share?

I really like how Intuit has been progressive with gradually allowing more apps to integrate with Quickbooks Online. I would like if Quickbooks had more options for sorting and creating reports as well as options to create additional fields embedded in the sales receipts/invoices that are fully searchable and able to be used as a filter. This would be useful for class/event management purposes.




Guest Post: Where There's A Will, There's a Way

Every business owner knows that feeling. The feeling when you start feeling nauseous, not because you caught a stomach bug, but because you are about to launch a new product. Thats excitement and nerves playing. I had that exact feeling when we were launching our product.

When planning for our launch we decided to use a professional videographer service. We knew how important a good video is for a project, so we wanted our video to be great.

When shopping around we realized that such services are not cheap at all! The best quote we received was $2,500/per edited minute.

We didn’t have much but we thought it was worth the investment. when trying to book a date we learned that we had to book almost 2 months in advance! We couldn’t do that! With all of the hassle of a launching a project, setting a video date 2 months ahead was the last thing on our minds! After a long and dreadful discussion we decided to do the whole video by ourselves….

Three unexperienced and camera shy guys shooting and editing a video for the first time ever….one would say “that is the exact recipe for failure”.

But that didn’t stop us. We put our heart and soul into the video, the same way we put our heart and soul into our product.

Two days and two nights later, we are showing our two and a half minute Kickstarter video to our friends and family. And guess what, the feedback was positively overwhelming!

This was the second time we felt truly proud for creating something for the people. (The first moment was when we created the product).

Only later it dawned upon us that if we went with a professional videographer service, we would have to give away over $6,000 for a Kickstarter video! We saved that money to deliver the most to our backers!

This is an example that everything is possible! People, should not underestimate themselves, put your put your heart and soul into everything you do, it will be great!

If 3 guys who didn’t know what Final Cut Pro was, can do it…anybody can do it!

Our Kickstarter Campaign

Fresh from Detroit: MagicBook at CES

Marjorie Knepp and Christina York are two of the founders of Magicbook, an app that engages children with books by bringing stories to life via your smartphone or tablet.

Beyond being a popular attraction at CES this year, Magicbook won the Startup Women’s track in Global Startup Battle 2014.

 unnamed-1The MagicBook team at Global Startup Battle 2014 (above). Marjorie and Christina at CES (below).unnamed

Q: Has your businesses or team changed since winning Startup Weekend, and then the women’s track for GSB?

Christina: “I think we’re still working on same problem and solution, but we have definitely received a ton of great feedback and ideas for the future and we’re prepared to listen and make decisions as new information from continuing validation efforts progress… The Detroit community has also helped us so much. Whatever we’ve needed, they’ve been willing to connect us.”

Marjorie: “We’re definitely the same core business, and our team had not changed at all… Although we are excited about even larger opportunities that we’ve come to recognize after starting this business. People at CES were really excited about the prospect of an API or platform they could use to take our product to their content”

Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about starting a company since all this began?

Marjorie: “I would say the biggest thing is just the huge community aspect to all this. The startup community has just been so supportive and it wasn’t even something I knew existed before. All you have to do is be open-minded and plug in, it’s very welcoming and people are extremely willing to help us, provide connections, and really just help us out with things we have needed.

Q: What have you learned about yourself personally since this all started?

A: Christina: “Well, I always have ideas, but it can feel hard to go do something about it… there are always reasons not to do it, excuses, something in the way. But I’ve learned, ‘Why not?’ My attitude has changed. I think about, ‘why shouldn’t I be working on something that I actually feel passion about?’ My life shouldn’t be about paying a mortgage and making a car payment. I feel confident about working on something I care about even though it is a risk, and requires changes in my life… but I’ve taken the first step and my world is opened up now.”

Marjorie: “I’ve learned that you don’t have to know how, you just have to be passionate about something and you can figure it out as you go… and there are people to help you! I’ve really learned how to persist and find ways of doing what I want and need to instead of being trapped by responsibilities and scared to try something.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?

A: Marjorie: “Besides GSB, I would say the biggest challenge has been legal issues. We really want to make sure everything is in order and are working through some complicated things. Also, we haven’t had a chance to breathe since everything started! Great experiences, and all valuable, but tiring and definitely a change from before. We were still working full time jobs up until 2 weeks ago… and we have families!

Q: Considering the city’s current economic challenges, how do you feel about starting a business in Detroit?

Marjorie: “Detroit has an amazing and helpful startup community. We’ve been totally blown away. We’re 40-year-old parents starting out fresh… we don’t match your stereotypical Silicon Valley founder profile, but it hasn’t mattered. We’ve been able to get all the help we need and then some.

Christina: “We’re really proud of the great network we’ve been able to build really quickly. We’ve already seen the benefits and it helps us keep pushing to know people are rooting and are excited for us. We’re really excited about being a part of the community and giving back as well, it’s very rewarding.

Q: What does the next 6 months look like for your team?

Marjorie: “Right now, we’re really focused on continuing our customer validation and nailing down the perfect market to start with and then a solid go to market strategy. We’re working to refine our MVP and we’re working to get our investor deck ready in the next 90 days so we’re prepared to raise angel money in the near future.”

Q: In terms of the product, what do you hope to have done this year?

Christina: “We will start full production 6-12 months out– meaning our App is refined and available, and our subscription service for available books is ready. We hope to offer between 10-30 titles by the end of the year.”

Marjorie: “We’re also working with teachers on a potential educational offering, and will be trying to grow the team. We’ll also be continuing to take beta tester feedback, and new ideas from the people who like what we’re doing”

Q: What advice would you give to other SW teams or teams looking to compete in GSB next year?

Marjorie: “Easy! Just listen. Listen to everything the mentors and coaches have to say, read the resources you’re provided, and be open minded. You don’t have to take every bit of advice, but you’re given so much during that time, it’s silly not to absorb as much as you can. Ask questions and take advantage of having everything in one place.”

Q: Do you have advice for females in the startup world? Have you felt disadvantage or discriminated against being a female founder in a community that is really male heavy?

Christina: “We’ve heard of things, but for us, no, we haven’t felt that. Coming from a corporate IT background, it’s the same issues we face in business and the startup community has actually been way more supportive than anywhere I have ever worked before. It’s been an issue in previous roles for sure, but not with this business, or in the startup world thus far.”

Fresh from Canada: ConceptKicker at CES

Shan Shan Fu and Denny Hollick are two of the founders of GSB winner, ConceptKicker; a Vancouver startup that helps artists sell their 2D artwork as 3D printed figures. Kickstarter for artists! Winners of the Global Startup Battle and #SWVan. 

Startup Weekend, Global Startup Battle, Concept KickerDanny (far left), Shan Shan & ConceptKicker team winning Global Startup Battle 2014. 

Q: Has your businesses or team changed since winning both Startup Weekend Vancouver and GSB?

Denny: “We were eight people, and now we’re four. We all had different priorities after the weekend… so we had to work through separating and being honest with ourselves about who was committed all the way. In terms of the business, we’ve pivoted a lot. We’ve really found a natural fit with individual concept artists, independent game studios and the like.”

Shan Shan: “We’ve had the opportunity to work with some great early customers who are helping us refine what we are doing. We’re thankful to have them trust us to work with them as such a young company and are excited about where those relationships can take us.”

Denny: “I think the right word is ‘snowballing’… We have our own jobs and lives and are still trying to do everything with the business… [Through winning] we’ve been provided office space and resources. We’re hoping we can pave the way for more startups to come through Vancouver and successfully fundraise on a global stage. The mayor even told us, ‘Thank you for putting Vancouver on the startup map!’”

Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Denny: “We went through team changes right away, and being real about the team you have versus the team you need can be difficult. We’ve had a hard time finding exactly the talent we need, but we’re getting there. It’s also a constant pivot-or-pursue question that we face, it’s always looming. How do you know when to push through and when the feedback is telling you that you need to change if you want to survive? It’s a balance of persistence and insight and listening to your customers.”

Q: What has been your biggest opportunity as a startup thus far?

Shan Shan: “Our biggest opportunity is probably our partnership with Thinking Ape, they are a world renowned game studio, formerly of Y Combinator, and have been extremely supportive.”

Q: What does the next 6 months look like for your team?

Denny: “In the next 6 months we want to do more customer validation and get some real sales. We want to have proved that this model really works and look at the bigger picture of what we can be… we want to become a platform for artists to complete an offering, take what they’ve created, and show their customers something new.”

Tony YangTony Yang, co-founder of ConceptKicker. 

Q: What advice would you give to other SW teams or teams looking to compete in GSB next year?

Shan Shan: “If you want to work on an innovative team, Google search pitches as they are happening at the event, and don’t work on the teams that are doing something that has already been done.”

Denny: “You can’t undervalue the element of fun at a Startup Weekend. I was an orphaned team member at first and I joined ConceptKicker because it seemed like they were going to have fun together. I was motivated because of the excitement, the energy, and I knew I wanted to work on something I would enjoy, otherwise what’s the point? Your heart won’t be in it.”

Q: What was the coolest thing you saw at CES?

Shan Shan: I liked this startup called TZOA, a wearable enviro-tracker that measures pollution, UV, and more.

Denny: I saw an add-on to a filament printer that lets you print in full color… so that was interesting in consideration of our own business.

unnamed-2Conceptkicker at CES 2014

Global Startup Battle 2014: La infografía

Otro noviembre pasó, y una vez más, la comunidad de Startup Weekend se unió a la carrera para organizar 236 eventos en dos semanas únicas durante GSB.

Y en números: ¡Doscientos treinta y seis!

Sin embargo, fue mucho más que números. Por que gracias a los Organizadores locales, Facilitadores, y líderes de comunidad, la oportunidad de experimentar el emprendimiento fue brindada a miles de personas, de las cuales algunas nunca habían tenido esta posibilidad. Algunos aspirantes a emprendedores en lugares como Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Guam, Tacna (Peru), y otros tuvieron su primera oportunidad en alguno de esos Startup Weekends.

Si organizaste, facilitaste, participaste, fuiste parte del panel de jueces o mentores, o incluso si moviste cosas pesadas y alimentaste a la gente durante GSB, esperamos que hayas aprendido cosas nuevas, conocido amigos, compañías, perspectivas, metas o todo lo anterior. Lo que sea que hayas sacado del fin de semana, y lo que hayas hecho con eso, te queremos agradecer enormemente por formar parte de este movimiento. Estaremos aquí para ayudarte en tu camino continuo.

[No esperes hasta el próximo año para involucrarte, estamos organizando la iniciativa de Editions Month durante May en ciudades alrededor del mundo. Organiza o encuentra una edición especial de Startup Weekend cerca a ti.]

Más información


Ahora, te presentamos los números para una perspectiva que te dejará con la boca abierta: 

Haz click para agrandar


Global Startup Battle 2014: The Infographic


Another November came, and once again, the Startup Weekend community rallied to host to 236 events in just two weeks of GSB.

Let me write that out: Two hundred and thirty six!

It’s more than just numbers, though. Because of local Organizers, Facilitators, and Community Leaders, the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship was given to thousands of people, some of which had never had that chance before. Aspiring entrepreneurs in places like Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Guam, Tacna (Peru), and others had their first shot at a Startup Weekend.

Whether you Organized, Facilitated, attended, judged, coached, mentored, or moved heavy things and fed people as part of GSB, we hope you left it with new knowledge, friends, companies, perspectives, goals, or all of the above. Whatever you got out of it and whatever you go on to do with it, we thank you for being an integral part of a very important movement. We’ll be here to help you as much as possible along your continued journey.


[Don’t wait until next year to get involved, we’re hosting the first ever Editions Month initiative this May in cities around the world. Host or find a special edition of Startup Weekend near you]

Learn More


Now, to the numbers for some mind-blowing perspective:

Click to enlarge


The Chief Technology Officer of the United States Talks Immigration With UP Global.

Las Vegas – Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer, knows the importance of staying connected with startups, and few places offer more opportunity for connections than the technological smörgåsbord that is CES.

The startup economy is spreading across the globe, influencing international policy in unprecedented new ways. Administration representatives like Smith are actively seeking feedback from startups on how to design policy that makes fostering competitive, innovative businesses possible.

“The US has long been a welcoming place for native and foreign born inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their vision into a reality,” said Megan Smith, US CTO. “In the United States, immigrants and their children have founded over 40 percent of companies in the Fortune 500, collectively employing more than 10 million people and generating annual revenue of $4.2 trillion. It’s important that we continue to make it possible for highly skilled innovators from around the world to come to the United States and help create, engineer, and develop the innovations, together with native born Americans, that will keep our Nation on the cutting edge and bring jobs.”

UP Global, CES, Startup WeekendFeatured: UP Global’s Senior Vice President of Development, Enrique Godreau III and Marketing Director, Mitchell Cuevas – with Megan Smith, USA CTO. 

Smith sat down with 11 UP Global community leaders and entrepreneurs during CES to collect information on how startups are affected by the current Immigration System. Participants highlighted their most pressing issues:

  • US startups having to settle on second or third rate talent because of visa or immigration issues

  • Talent being constrained by big companies promising a green card

  • The US Immigration reputation being complicated and drawn out

As a part of its effort to modernize and streamline the US immigration system, the Obama Administration is hoping to encourage a diverse global workforce of entrepreneurs by identify new actions that would:

  • Streamline and improve the legal immigration system — including visa processing — with a focus on reforms that reduce government costs, improve services for applicants, reduce burdens on employers, and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.

  • Ensure that the government issues all of the immigrant visas that Congress provides for every year, consistent with demand.

  • Modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system with a goal of reducing redundant systems, improving the experience of applicants, and enabling better public and congressional oversight.

This news will be welcome by startups both inside and outside the United States.

The US Government is asking for feedback on these actions – from you! UP Global believes that startups are the key to an economically sustainable future. The legislative issue of immigration has existed in the US since the 1800s and finally, instead of denying access, the US government wants to grant it. Startups need access to good talent! The US government is asking entrepreneurs everywhere to weigh in and have their voices heard.

Please visit the full Request for Information to see the complete list of questions, along with instructions on how to submit your comments and recommendations by January 29, 2015. You may respond to any or all of the focused questions, or simply submit your general comments.