Techstars Acquires UP Global and the Startup Weekend Franchise

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A scene from 2014's Startup Weekend Vancouver. / Flickr

Startup Weekend, a 54-hour experience dedicated to helping budding entrepreneurs ideate and pitch new products and initiatives, is switching up owners.

On Tuesday, June 16, UP Global, the nonprofit behind Startup Weekend, announced that it has been acquired by Techstars, a for-profit startup accelerator and investment fund, for an undisclosed sum. UP Global has gained recognition for leading Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, Startup Next, Startup Week, and most pertinently to the education sector, Education Entrepreneurs.

According to a blogpost, UP Global will continue to operate Startup Weekend under the direction of Techstars. This coupling may create a direct pipeline for Techstars, as the Startup Weekend community will bring the for-profit closer to meeting potential recruits for its three-month accelerator program. “We want to help entrepreneurs through the whole journey, from idea to IPO,” said Techstars partner David Cohen in an interview with TechCrunch.

This isn’t the first time that Startup Weekend and Techstars have worked together. Andrew Hyde, the first employee of Techstars, actually founded Startup Weekend; in 2007, Hyde ran the very first Startup Weekend with teams comprised of members of the first Techstars class. “We’ve had a close relationship with Techstars since Day 1 and as we sought their advice, a natural alignment started to emerge, the result of which is today’s news,” writes Mitchell Cuevas, Senior Marketing Director at UP Global.

What does this mean for Education Entrepreneurs?

While it hasn’t been revealed whether Education Entrepreneurs will continue to function under the umbrella of UP Global, Education Entrepreneurs Director Mandela Schumacher-Hodge published a blogpost today answering any lingering questions about EE's Gates funding:

"In 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided UP Global with a grant to operate Education Entrepreneurs. Due to UP Global’s acquisition by Techstars and its transition to a for-profit entity, UP Global is no longer eligible to operate the Gates grant. Despite this, UP Global is still committed to advancing education entrepreneurship and supporting the Education Entrepreneurs Community. They are currently working closely with the Education Entrepreneurs Team and the Gates Foundation to ensure Education Entrepreneurs is set up for a successful next chapter."

Further updates regarding the future of Education Entrepreneurs will be announced as they become available. Schumacher-Hodge encourages anyone with questions or feedback to reach out to EducationEntrepreneurs@Up.co.

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