startups start 'em up

Start 'em up: Fun startup event last Friday at Stanford University, cosponsored by New Schools Ventures, the Stanford d-school and Teach For America. Eight entrepreneurs pitched their ideas for companies; two teams (four judges apiece) offered (mostly) gentle questions and encouragement. Here's NSV's take. Lots of glamour folks showed up including Calif. governor-wannabe, Meg Whitman. Bragging rights for top entrepreneurs went to Percilla Ortega, founder of designED, who aims to create a blended-learning charter school for credit recovery in juvenile detention centers. Runner up, EdJigsaw, won praise for its plan to connect families with out-of-school activities matched to their interests. (EdJigsaw debuted at the NSV meeting in May but is still in a pre-webpage existence.) The most popular judge seemed to be Mitch Kapor, who had to duck into a side room to avoid the crush. His counsel to entrepreneurs: don't try to "boil the ocean." Start with a bite-size project.

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