MEDIA ADVISORY: ‘Startup Virginia’ Tour to Kick Off at U.Va. Nov. 26

November 26, 2012

The University of Virginia will join with Charlottesville business leaders and representatives from the Startup America Partnership to kick off a statewide tour highlighting Startup Virginia.

A statewide network supporting entrepreneurial ventures, Startup Virginia was founded earlier this year by the Startup America Partnership, a privately funded, national network seeking to help “create strong startup ecosystems in every state.”

Media are invited to attend the kickoff event Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Darden Innovation Laboratory, or i.Lab. Parking is available in the Darden School parking garage. (See map.)

“Charlottesville and Virginia are beginning to behave like a young-at-heart Silicon Valley, with local investors and regional venture capitalists scouting the hallways of a major research university for ideas with game-changing impact and enjoying the creative ferment of an extremely diverse set of talents,” Thomas C. Skalak, U.Va.’s vice president for research, said. “People are realizing that they can move here and live here for the high quality of life while engaging in a world-class innovation ecosystem.”

The first of six events scheduled as part of the Startup Virginia tour, the Charlottesville kickoff event will feature remarks by Skalak; Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer; W. Mark Crowell, executive director of U.Va. Innovation and associate vice president for research; and Donna Harris, managing director of Startup Regions for the Startup America Partnership.

“The commonwealth is rich with startups ripe for high growth, and this tour will help showcase them and the communities that are helping them thrive,” Harris said. “We look forward to visiting each of the six cities, meeting entrepreneurs and gathering bold ideas for what the future of Virginia startups can be.”  

Charlottesville entrepreneurs will discuss the community’s growth as a hub for new business formation in a panel discussion moderated by Michael P. Straightiff, director of the U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group. U.Va. students, including 2012 U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup winning team “PhageFlag,” will pitch their innovative business concepts.

The event program, subject to change, follows. Speakers will be available for media interviews beginning at 12:40 p.m.

Additional Startup Virginia tour stops include Arlington, Blacksburg, Hampton Roads, Richmond and Roanoke.

If you intend to cover the event, please contact Morgan Estabrook at 434-982-4191 or

Event Schedule


11:30-11:35 a.m.         Opening Remarks

Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer

11:35-11:45 a.m.         Overview of U.Va. Programs and Initiatives

Thomas C. Skalak, U.Va. Vice President for Research

W. Mark Crowell, Executive Director of U.Va. Innovation and Associate Vice President for Research

11:45-11:55 a.m.         Overview of Startup America/Virginia

Donna Harris, Managing Director of Startup Regions for Startup America

11:55-12:20 p.m.        Panel Discussion: Charlottesville’s Emergence as an Entrepreneurial Hub

Moderator: Michael P. Straightiff, Director, U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group

12:20-12:30 p.m.        Student Business Concept Pitches

12:30-12:40 p.m.        Remarks on Biomedical Innovation Fund

Bobby Battle, Ivy Foundation

Closing Remarks

Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer

12:40-1:15 p.m.          Networking / Media Availability

Media Contact

Morgan Estabrook

Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications U.Va. Innovation