THIS: The Houston Innovation Summit — EdTech Startup Showcase

Join us for an inspiring evening with founders of Houston’s education technology startups to discuss the major challenges facing the education ecosystem and their solutions to prepare our future talents.

We have invited some of the most motivated entrepreneurs leading Houston’s EdTech Startups to articulate the challenges facing education and to present their solutions. Whether you are an educator, a student, an administrator, a family member, a potential employer, or someone in the community, we would love to hear your feedback.

After the showcase can split into breakout rooms to discuss, share insights and network.

Moderator: Sunny Zhang: Founder & President of Z LAB; Associate professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Presenting Startups:
– Just Add Beats
– Camppedia
– OpenStaff
– True Leap

Just Add Beats helps students build 21st-Century Skills through audio design challenges in beat making, podcasting, and sound effects design. JAB’s mission is to prepare the next generation of collaborative and resilient creatives.

Andrew Karnavas is the Founder and CEO of Yawp Records, a creative audio agency. He has written and produced seven studio albums of original music in a variety of genres, including Rock, Blues and Children’s music, as well as music and sound effects for ads and a virtual reality video game. Andrew performs a hundred music-based STEAM learning shows per year as Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse at schools, libraries, and museums nationwide. He has been a featured performer at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and The Houston Health Museum’s Biorhythm Exhibition.


Every year millions of parents are stressed and frustrated when trying to find camps for their kids. Camppedia is building a community for parents of school age children and camp providers by giving parents an effortless way to discover camp options and plan their children’s school breaks. In addition, we give camps the best avenue to present their unique programs, connect with the right parents and reach a wider audience to fill more seats.

Tudor Palaghita is the Founder and CEO of Camppedia. I have two amazing little girls who changed my outlook on life and inspired me to think about solving problems and reducing stress for families. In 2018 I founded Camppedia after experiencing the stress and difficulty of finding and planning enriching care and activities for my girls two years in a row.

I’m on a mission to make parents lives easier. I understand requirements, technology, and what it takes to build a successful product. As a father and an engineer, I am obsessed with details and optimizing the platform to deliver unparalleled experiences for parents and value for camp providers. I want to build a platform and a community, parents, local kids organizations, coming together to help and improve each other. I imagine a one stop shop, a central place where busy families manage the multitude of kids related activities and responsibilities, while highlighting the local organizations providing superior services.


OpenStaff is an on-demand marketplace for the Early Childhood Education industry. Our mission is to help centers never work understaffed again by connecting them with the right talent in a fast, friendly and inexpensive way.

Hi, I’m José Rodríguez, founder of OpenStaff. I am from Venezuela, moved to the United States six years ago, and have been an entrepreneur for most of my life. I have worked in different areas over time, but to be honest, I never thought I would work in Early Childhood Education. As soon as we arrived, I started looking for a business opportunity and before I knew it I ended up becoming the owner and director of a daycare center. It has been a challenging and rewarding journey at the same time, and in the midst of that process, my interest was piqued in finding a real solution to the greatest challenge we face, staff management. Now with great enthusiasm, I embrace this new challenge!


True Leap is an integrated learning management system (LMS) for all stakeholders in the education ecosystem including students, teachers, administrators, and parents, integrating learning, teaching, managing, and communicating in one virtual campus.

Dr. Sunny Zhang is an educator, an entrepreneur, and a mom of two boys. She is a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas with 16 years of teaching experience including 8 years online/hybrid. She has received multiple awards for her unique approach to project-based action learning. She is the founder and president of Z LAB, an innovation company partnering with entrepreneurs and corporations to build digital platforms.

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More info on THIS: The Houston Innovation Summit — EdTech Startup Showcase

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