GAP 50 Entrepreneur Awards

Virginia is known for its robust entrepreneurial community that heralds innovation and ingenuity from all corners of the state.  CIT GAP Funds honored 50 entrepreneurs - recognized by peer entrepreneurs - as most likely to build Virginia's next generation life science, technology, and energy companies on December 13, 2012.

Nominating criteria included:

  • Individuals who are most likely to found a high-growth tech, life science or energy venture in the next 5 years
  • Individuals both with or without current involvement in a start-up
  • Individuals with strong ties to Virginia (but not required to be Virginia residents)
  • Individuals must exhibit substantive involvement in Virginia’s technology or entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • In order to qualify for final voting individuals must be nominated by 3 people
  • CIT Board members and employees are not eligible

2012 GAP 50 Regional Ambassadors

CIT has invited a group of elite individuals from Virginia's entrepreneurial community to serve as regional ambassadors for the GAP 50 awards, including:

  • Jonathan Aberman, Amplifier Ventures
  • Karen Booth Adams, Hot Technology Holdings
  • Bob Bailey, Center for Advanced Engineering and Research
  • Ed Barrientos, Brazen Careerist
  • Shannon Blevins, UVA Wise
  • Mark Crowell, University of Virginia
  • Kristin D'Amore, NVTC
  • Mike Drzal, LeClairRyan
  • Jim Flowers, VT KnowledgeWorks
  • John Feminella, Cardagin Networks
  • C. Mason Gates, InternDirect
  • Charlie Gause, Axnano
  • Frank Gruber, Tech Cocktail
  • Marty Kaszubowski, General Ideas
  • Andy Krouse,TAU Therapeutics
  • Derick Maggard, RBTC
  • Zack Miller, Hatch
  • Ken Newbold, James Madison University
  • Susan Spears, Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce 


2012 GAP 50 Award Winners

Jonathan Aberman, Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures

Jonathan is the Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund that is based in Northern Virginia. Amplifier Ventures specializes in technology transfer and commercialization of DOD/DARPA funded technologies. He is also the Founder and Chair of FounderCorps, a Virginia Not For Profit Corporation that is composed of serial entreprenuers and provides mentorship and regional economic development assistance. He is associated with George Mason University, where he has been an advisor to its technology entreprenuership and commercialization activities in Fairfax and Arlington. Jonathan is also Chair of StartupVirginia, a state-wide entrepreneurship connection effort lead by the StartupAmerica Partnership. Click here to read the full interview.

Hussein Ahmed, Founder and CEO of

Coming from Egypt to Virginia, Hussein got his PhD in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. Staying in Blacksburg, he joined VTLS Inc. as a Software Engineer making his way up to Engineering Manager in two years. Hussein started a number of businesses with thousands of users and several press coverages. He was named this year by Roankoe Times as "Coders Rockstar" and his last startup was selected from among 174 as a finalist in Evernote's 2012 Devcup competing next for the Grand Prize in San Fancisco.

Eddie Amos, Senior Vice President and CTO of Meridium

Eddie is actively engaged in the startup community in Roanoke/Blacksburg.  Eddie is currently focused on software strategy, developers and on-line communities at Juniper Networks.  Prior to this role, Eddie was the Vice President of Developer Marketing and Evangelism. His team was responsible for the marketing, strategy and external evangelism of Junos and the Junos Space Platform. During his tenure, the group launched the Juniper Developer Network and increased the number of active developers by over 500%. Other accomplishments include the creation of a scalable interactive online community and marketplace. The team participated in and keynoted major industry events like JavaOne and EclipseCon. 

Sid Banerjee, CEO of ClaraBridge

A Greater Washington Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in IT services, Sid Banerjee is the CEO and Co-Founder of Clarabridge. Mr. Banerjee provides executive leadership and strategic direction and is a well-known expert in customer experience, business intelligence, and text mining. He has nearly 20 years of business intelligence leadership experience. Prior to Clarabridge, he co-founded Claraview, a leading BI strategy and technology consultancy firm, and was also a founding employee at MicroStrategy. Under his leadership, Claraview grew into a thriving services firm with over 130 employees without any outside funding. Click here to read the full interview.

Ed Barrientos, CEO of Brazen Careerist

Ed Barrientos has a solid entrepreneurial track record and more than twenty years of experience that includes start-up success with Arc Second, Inc., a high growth market leader in the field of laser based, high-precision GPS (sold to Metris NV of Belgium which was later bought by Nikon). As a well-known serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Ed is very engaged with university students, entrepreneurship groups and angel investment forums. He sits on numerous Boards including the Board of Directors of FounderCorps, where he is also a charter member. He is the Angel in Residence at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and sits on the Board of Advisors of the George Washington University School of Business. He is currently the President and CEO of Brazen Careerist, a Virginia-based technology startup that is revolutionizing the way organizations engage with, and hire top talent.

Marti Beller, Co-founder and CEO of PlanG

Marti’s infectious energy for what she does has helped her influence the customer engagement and loyalty strategies of global brands, including the top credit card issuers, worldwide hoteliers, and national airlines. As President of Affinion Loyalty Group for more than a decade, Marti focused on redefining the company’s product and sales strategy effecting double digit growth. Today, Marti is the co-founder and CEO of PlanG. PlanG inspires individuals who care about giving back by connecting them with the nonprofits they care about most, helping them grow the amount they have to give by aligning with businesses who support causes, and inviting them into a community of like-minded people who have a similar passion to change the world.

Brett Blackman, Co-founder and CSO of HemoShear, LLC

Dr. Blackman is the co-founder of HemoShear, co-inventor of its technology, and serves as the Chief Scientific Officer. He is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia where since August 2002 he has led a National Institutes of Health-funded research program that has led to many fundamental discoveries to understand the biological basis for the evolution atherosclerosis, or human heart disease.  Dr. Blackman has published more than twenty peer-reviewed articles, was a co-editor of Hemodynamics and Mechanobiology of the Endothelium, is a member of the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, is a peer reviewer for more than twelve scientific journals, served on UVa’s School of Engineering and Sciences Dean’s Research Advisory Committee, and was a standing member of the American Heart Association Bioengineering & Biotechnology study section.

Kevin Bloomfield, President and CEO of NetVentures

Kevin co-founded and leads NetVentures Corporation, a cloud-based software provider of Operations & Fund Accounting tools that focuses primarily on member-driven, non-profit organizations. While leading and cheering on a team of more than forty passionate and dedicated individuals, Kevin focuses most of his energy into crafting and gauging the company’s long-term strategy and new market identification. When not engrossing himself with company activities, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife of 18 years, Allison, and their four children, Madison, Campbell, Grayson and Tyler.

Danny Boice, Co-founder and CTO of Speek

Speek co-founder & CTO where he runs all things product & tech. Had a successful exit in 2000's. Spent a few years at an Executive at The College Board rolling out apps for students, teachers and parents. Briefly attended Harvard undergrad. Click here to read the full interview.


Michael Bor, Founder and CEO of Car Lotz

Michael Bor is the Founder and CEO of CarLotz, a Richmond-based used vehicle consignment business that provides consumers with the benefits of a private used car transaction (better value) with none of the hassle. Prior to CarLotz, Michael spent 10 years as an investment banker with Harris Williams & Co. and Lehman Brothers. Click here to read the full interview.

BrackenJohn Bracken, CEO of Speek

John Bracken is an entrepreneur and product visionary who has a passion for consumer and business communications products. John has played key roles in several of our generation’s most-influential web products, including Evite, AIM, and Prior to serving as Co-Founder and CEO of Speek, John worked in business development at AOL where he supported the expansion of the AIM Network to hundreds of 3rdparty products and the growth of As an entrepreneur, John was a co-founder and business development of, a website that remains the leader in its category. Click here to read the full interview.

champman.pngMartin Chapman, President and CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies

Martin D. Chapman, PhD, is founder, President and CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies, a biotechnology manufacturing company which produces molecular products for allergy and asthma research. The company has manufacturing and R&D facilities in Charlottesville, sales and marketing offices in the UK, and distributors in Japan, Korea and China, with product sales in over 50 countries. In 2011, Dr. Chapman formed CityCampus LLC to preserve and re-develop an historic Art Deco Coca-Cola Bottling Works in Downtown Charlottesville as the CityCampus Biotechnology Center. CityCampus will provide essential infrastructure for emerging biotechnology and technology-based companies to support innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in Central Virginia. Click here to read the full interview.

chenardFrancois Chenard, President of IRflex Corporation

Francois Chenard is a world-class technical expert in specialty optical fiber who cumulates more than 21 years of experience in corporate management and business development in high-tech industries. Dr. Chenard earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, specialized in Non-Linear Optics and Optical Waveguide at Laval University, Quebec city, Canada (1991). In 1998, Dr. Chenard created CorActive High-Tech, a specialty optical fiber manufacturer in Canada, and in 2006 he started IRflex Corporation in Virginia to produce mid-infrared fiber-optic devices. In 2009, Dr. Chenard setup the state-of-the-art manufacture facility in Danville, VA, to develop and produce next-generation fiber-optics devices for mid-infrared applications: military, medical, industrial. Click here to read the full interview.

chungDuke Chung, CEO of Parature

Duke co-founded Parature in 2000 with a vision to provide superior customer support software accessible via the Internet, and today, Parature’s Software-as-a-Service product suite supports millions of end users worldwide in diverse industries from associations to higher education, gaming and interactive media, services, software and technology.  Duke has been widely recognized for his efforts in pioneering innovation. He has been named to Fast Company’s Fast 50, Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40, Washington Techway’s Top Technology Executives, SmartCEO magazine’s Smart100, Washingtonian magazine’s Power 150 and Bisnow Media’s ‘Top 35 under 35 Entrepreneur’ in the Washington, DC region.

dellorsoMathew Dellorso, Founder and CEO of

Mat is the Founder and CEO of an online network for early stage capital formation connecting entrepreneurs and investors and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WealthForge, LLC a licensed Broker Dealer. Mat is a burgeoning finance executive with a broad range of experiences from large companies to startup organizations. Mat serves on the board of the Venture Forum and is devoted to advancing the the intersection of finance and technology through entrepreneurship. Click here to read the full interview.

dengelTobias Dengel, CEO of WillowTree Apps

Tobias Dengel,CEO of WillowTree Apps, a leading provider of custom mobile solutions to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and other institutions.  Willow Tree recently was named an Inc. 500 company.  Previously, Mr. Tobias co-founded, based in Manassas VA, which was acquired by  He also was a VP at AOL and an Analyst at the consulting firm AT Kearney.  He holds a BS in Finance (Wharton) and a BS in Engineering, both from the University of Pennsylvania. Click here to read the full interview.

edwardsEric Edwards, Co-Founder and Vice President of Intelliject, Inc.

Dr. Eric S. Edwards is a Patient, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Intelliject, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company in Richmond, VA, USA. The novel drug/device combination platforms that Dr. Edwards co-invented are being incorporated into the development of several life-saving or life-enhancing medicines at Intelliject including the company’s first product, Allerject (in Canada) and Auvi-Q (in the United States), in partnership with Sanofi for the treatment of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). Dr. Edwards is named on over 100 issued and pending patent applications and is an author on several scientific publications. He is responsible for overseeing Intelliject’s innovative pharmaceutical research and development pipeline, managing the company’s clinical program strategy, assisting with pharmaceutical development and regulatory affairs efforts, and leading all aspects of medical affairs. Dr. Edwards obtained his B.S. in Biology and Ph.D. in the pharmaceutical sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University.

englishSam English, President and CEO of AttentionPoint

Dr. Sam English is an experienced biomedical and life science entrepreneur, specializing in developing and commercializing university biomedical technologies.  Since starting his first company, an educational software business, in 2000, he has led the formation of several biomedical start-ups including OptiMetric Technologies, OcuCure Therapeutics, and Attention Point.  Additionally, Dr. English has assisted other biomedical entrepreneurs to advance their inventions through product development and commercialization. Dr. English is the former Director of University Relations at the Carilion Medical Institute.  He earned a PhD in Biochemistry and is an author on more than 15 peer reviewed publications. Click here to read the full interview.

feminellaJohn Feminella, CTO of Cardagin Networks

John Feminella is an avid technologist, public speaker, and two-time entrepreneur with successful exits. His first company sold an intelligence-aggregation product to news media and government agencies; his second provided web application development consulting and security audits. John serves as the CTO for Cardagin Networks, a startup that provides a mobile loyalty platform for businesses. When he's not knee-deep in solving challenging technology problems, he stays active in the local community, guest-lectures at the University of Virginia, and mentors budding entrepreneurs.

fitchKristin Fitch, CEO of ZiggityZoom

Kristin Fitch is CEO and co-founder of ZiggityZoom LLC, a multi-media tech start-up in Hampton Roads, Virginia, with a prime web presence,, reaching over 2-3 million users a year. Fitch is a web entrepreneur, with a network of family-related websites, recently branching out into the mobile arena with educational game apps and ebooks. The newest umbrella, ZiggityZoom Publishing, has published over 20 ebooks in 2012 for Barnes and Nobles NOOK kids. Kristin is the innovator of “My Website in a Day” and a frequent mentor for tech start-up projects. Click here to read the full interview. 

FleisherRic Fleisher, Co-founder of

Ric Fleisher is Co-founder of, a company that matches consumers with services using locationdetection technology available in many cell phones and computers. Members can broadcast a call for help and be heard by qualified nearby responders immediately.  Mr. Fleisherhas more than 25 years of experience in business development, sales and technology and has been involved with 8 start-ups. These ventures have included products and services for ID verification, networking hardware, speech, streaming video, collaboration, intelligent agents and RFID. Mr. Fleisher also contributed to building early stage technology companies in software, hardware and service areas. Click here to read the full interview.

Will Fuentes, CEO of Lemur IMS

Will Fuentes founded Lemur Technologies, Inc. in 2011a solution that combines unique inventory and local customer data. In his role as CEO, he is in charge of all aspects of vision, strategy and execution for Lemur IMS.  This experience has allowed him, and the Lemur team, to create software that is easy to implement and impactful to the bottom line. After graduating from The George Washington University Law School in 2001 Will worked for two years in legal field before pursuing a career in retail management. Given a unique opportunity to work in a test store for a major big box retailer, Will was able to work with and learn from countless number of executives.

garbeeLarkin Garbee, Founder of 804RVA

Larkin is the Founder and Chief Imagination Officer of 804RVA, Richmond’s official coworking space and country club for nerds. When she isn’t spreading the word about coworking, hosting technology meetups or planning the next entrepreneurial event in Richmond, you can find her brainstorming on her startup, CityScrapbook. CityScrapbook is pinterest for your city that allows you to collect and share the places and events you love.

goodwinChristine Goodwin, Co-founder and CEO of WishStars

Christine is the CEO and co-founder of WishStars, a social fundraising and sourcing platform dedicated to bringing every K-12 classroom in America into the 21st Century.  WishStars is the platform that makes it easy for educators, parents, and businesses to connect and collaborate as one powerful community focused on meeting common goals and making a difference in the future of our children. A product of Virginia public schools and a full-time working mom, Christine has 20 years’ experience in systems and software engineering in the public and private sector.   WishStars believes that all children are magical thinkers and that with a sustained community of parental and business support for teachers every classroom can be an incubator where big ideas become reality.

guptaUday Gupta, President of Global Cell Solutions

Uday is the CEO of Global Cell Solutions, a biotech company focused on development of a patented cell culturing technique with applications in medicine, research, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and orthobiologics. Gupta built Global Cell Solutions on an award winning business plan and the company has become a leader in the field of three-dimensional biology and therapeutics. In addition, he recently co-founded another company, ProteiosBio, to leverage the same technology to produce plant-made functional foods and biologics. Lastly, he was named as one of the 40 Medtech Innovators Under 40 by the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry magazine.

healyAdam Healey, Co-founder of Borrowed & Blue

Adam is the co-founder of Borrowed & Blue and heads up “taking care of business”.  Prior to co-founding B&B, Adam was the co-founder & CEO of Hotelicopter, the hotel search engine acquird by  Room Key in 2011.  Prior to Hotelicopter, Adam was the founder and CEO of Samba Digital Media, a 40 employee e-services consulting firm based in Prague.  Previously Adam has also worked in management consulting at Monitor Group and fixed income trading at Salomon Smith Barney.  He’s a proud DoubleHoo, receiving both his BS (McIntire ’97) and MBA (Darden ’05) from the University of Virginia. Click here to read the full interview.

hendersonAngel Henderson, CEO of Arc DNA

Angel Henderson is the CEO and cofounder of ArcDNA Inc, a software company devoted to enabling students throughout the globe to reach their full potential. Angel Henderson, through ArcDNA created the critically acclaim mobile application Student TA, which is being used by over 23,000 students in 67 countries around the world, and has been recognized by Apple Inc., DOD, and NASA. Angel Henderson was recognized at the 2012 Department of Defense Worldwide Education Symposium for his talent and devotion to creating innovative technology that support the needs of student learners. Angel Henderson, a Gates Scholar, is currently a graduate student at Old Dominion University, pursuing a Masters in Computer Engineering and alumni of ODU with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

herrJohn Christian Herr, Professor of Cell Biology at University of Virginia

Dr. Herr is a cell, molecular, and developmental biologist with basic and translational research experience in academics and industry, including research and corporate management. His research is focused on novel genes involved in spermatogenesis and oogenesis in mice and humans including naming more than 35 genes in the human genome. He has directed a 35-person academic research center in contraceptive and reproductive health [funding > $40 M over 16-year period] and is an inventor on more than 25 issued patents; multiple pending patents. He has served as member of Boards of Directors of corporations and foundations, including 11 years as a Director of the University of Virginia Patents Foundation and five years on the Coulter Translational Partnership Board. Click here to read the full interview.

hoffmanBrittany Hoffman, Founder & CEO of D8Night

Brittany is extremely passionate about bringing good ideas to life. After winning first place as well as $15,000 in seed capital at StartNorfolk, D8Night! was launched. This innovative project is Brittany's first (of many) companies. Click here to read the full interivew. 

houghTom Hough, CEO of Evatran

Tom Hough is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Evatran, LLC. Mr. Hough acquired MTC Transformers in 1998. He and his management team have grown the company into a world-class supplier of transformers and associated services, with an average growth rate of 28% per year since 1998. Prior to MTC, he was the vice president / general manager of electrical equipment for Tampa Armature Works. Mr. Hough began his career in 1973 with General Electric, where he worked for 16 years in industrial electrical equipment sales and service. He graduated with a B.S. in industrial engineering from Purdue University and earned his MBA from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies.

howardMatt Howard, Founder and CEO of ZoomSafer

An experienced and successful software entrepreneur, Matt conceived of ZoomSafer in September 2008 following a distracted driving incident in which he nearly killed a nine year old boy. Together with his co-founders, Matt has developed a patented software application to ensure safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving. Prior to ZoomSafer, Matt co-founded SMBLive in 2005, an innovative provider of online marketing software for small business owners. SMBLive was acquired by Reach Local in Feburary 2010. Click here to read the full interview.

icenhourCrystal Icenhour, President and CSO of Phthisis Diagnostics

In 2006, Crystal Icenhour, PhD, became President and Director of Research for Phthisis Diagnostics, located in Charlottesville, VA.  She is an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases in their Department of Medicine.  She has demonstrated business leadership in addition to her scientific capabilities and is focused on “bridging the translational gap between these two worlds.”  Dr. Icenhour currently serves on the board of Virginia BIO and is a member of Charlottesville Business Innovation Council, Sigma Xi, Medical Mycology Society of the Americas, National Postdoctoral Association, American Society for Microbiology, and Association for Molecular Pathology. Click here to read the full interview.

jacksonBrett Jackson, President and CEO of LogiXML

Brett Jackson has more than twenty years of experience with a variety of technology companies in both the computer software and services industries with a primary focus on information security. Most recently, Brett was president and chief executive officer of Digital Harbor, a provider of anti-money laundering and fraud prevention solutions for large financial institutions. Under his leadership, the company established a strong position with leading U.S. banks and was subsequently acquired by Norkom Technologies. Prior to Digital Harbor, he was Chief Operating Officer of Cybertrust where he was responsible for sales, marketing, professional services and managed services on a global basis. With annual revenues approaching $200M, Cybertrust was one of the world’s largest information security services firms and was acquired by Verizon Business in 2007. Brett was a co-founder, president and Chief Operating Officer of AXENT Technologies. He was responsible for building the company’s sales, marketing and services organizations, and was instrumental in driving the company from startup, through an initial public offering and into one of the world’s largest publicly held information security companies with revenues of $150M. Brett served in this role until the company’s successful acquisition by Symantec Corporation in late 2000. Brett has also served on the boards of several venture backed software companies. He is a 1980 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

JuanarenaDoug Juanarena, Vice President of RackSpace Hosting

Doug Juanarena has been a serial entrepreneur for the past 35 years as a founder & CEO of three sensor and instrumentation startups.  In 2005, he founded GenTek Ventures to mentor startup founders and help raise private equity.  He is a board member for the Va Tech/ Carilion  NewVa venture capital fund.  Over the past 25 years, he has been a board member and director of a number of technology advocacy groups and University advisory boards.

kantorJulie Kantor, CSO of Barrel of Jobs

Julie serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Barrel of Jobs with responsibility for strategic vision and planning, building the necessary capabilities and partnerships to accelerate the firm’s growth, and leadership in sales and marketing. Most recently, she served at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), where since 1995 she was the Executive Director of NFTE Greater Washington DC Region. In this role, Kantor was a recognized leader in the field of entrepreneurship education and grew the organization to serve more than 24,000 local youth in DC, Maryland and Virginia.

KonoweJoshua Konowe, Founder and CEO of Uppidy

Joshua is 3x entrepreneur who got his start in advertising in NYC. He has worked for several fortune 500’s including Nielsen, EuroMoney, Arrow Electronics and venture backed companies like Joshua brings a wealth of digital media knowledge having worked closely with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! to name a few. He also has bootstrapped and raised angel/vc money making him an ideal entrepreneur. Josh teaches at the Founders Institute, advises several companies in the region and is on the board of advisors for Great-Monday, a branding shop located in Silicon Valley. Click here to read the full interview.

KrouseAndrew Krouse, President and CEO of Tau Therapeautics

Founder and leader of two Virginia pharmaceutical companies; Tau Therapeutics LLC (clinical stage oncology) and Xdynia LLC (pre-clinical stage neuropathic pain).  Raised and educated in the DC metro area.  Former VP of the UVA Darden Business School and Analyst at Goldman Sachs, NYC. Serve on several not-for-profit boards. 

LatkaNathan Latka, Co-founder and CEO of Heyo

Learning from Warren Buffet, and desiring larger profit margins and visibility, Nathan taught himself FBML. This followed the launch of Fan Page Factory which dominated as the major provider of customized Fan Pages for small business.He headed sales, social marketing, and community engagement.  Eventually, he couldn’t personally handle all of the work the Fan Page Factory brand was creating. He then partnered with Brian Putt and Joshua Gunter to launch Lujure. The Lujure platform is a DIY drag and drop fan page customization tool. Nathan heads sales, marketing, and product development under his CEO title.

lazarPeter Lazar, CEO of eBroselow

Peter Lazar is co-founder of eBroselow, LLC. With partners Dr. Jim Broselow (the inventor of the Broselow Tape) and Dr. Bob Luten, Lazar developed a web and mobile-based clinical support system for hospitals and EMS. Launched in 2010 and now licensed to over 150 hospitals and over 7000 medical professionals, Lazar hopes it will save many lives by preventing medical errors. Formerly, Peter Lazar founded an award-winning mobile video technology and successful web development company.

leskoJack Lesko, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Virginia Tech

Jack  serves as the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies in VT’s College of Engineering and is co-founder and principle of PowerHub Systems, a 2008 startup headquartered in the VT Corporate Research Center.  Through this startup experience with PowerHub, Jack is working with the university community and the local startup ecosystem to support students and faculty developing new technology based ventures through structured and practical entrepreneurial training opportunities.

mcelrathSean McElrath, Co-founder and CEO of Hallway

Sean is currently a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and is a leading visionary around disruptive innovation and technology. Sean's first entrepreneurial venture was  founding an entrepreneurship program at his high school called Inventeam, which successfully functioned as a business accelerator for high school students. Later, after teaming up with local VC's, Sean founded his first technology startup called Hallway, a social learning network where students can learn from other students. After successfully raising two rounds of funding and launching beta, Hallway now has over 1,000 users and 125 classes offered.

emillerEdwin Miller, Founder and CEO of 9Lenses, LLC

Edwin Miller is the founder and CEO of 9Lenses, a Cloud-Based Enterprise Performance software that provides a game changing approach for all businesses, in less than 4 hours, to turn insight into action.  Edwin is an accomplished four-time CEO and a passionate entrepreneur.  He is recognized as both a growth and a turn-around thought leader.  He has proven his skills of leadership, motivation, and business assessment and creation in both the public and private theaters. He has successfully transformed domestic and international organizations through both organic and acquisitive means.  His experiences span many different technological, horizontal, and vertical markets.  He serves as Chairman of the Board for Callis Communications, board member of Spotlight Ticket Management Systems, and is an Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow at George Mason University.   Edwin also serves on the MindShare Board, an exclusive, invitation-only organization for CEOs of the most promising, high tech, emerging growth companies the Washington, DC metro area and is a member of Young President’s Organization. Click here to read the full interview. 

millerZack Miller, Managing Director of Hatch Norfolk

Zack Miller is the Managing Director of Hatch, a mentor-based startup accelerator program for technology and design entrepreneurs.  He also is the COO for We Are Titans, a product development and design studio.  Mr. Miller isvery active in the entrepreneurial community in the Greater Norfolk area, having founded Sparkroute, the Hampton Roads Entrepreneurs' Mentorship Program, Drinks Downtown, Start Norfolk and Hatch, which is committed to growing and building Norfolk's technology and entrepreneurial community. He is also a Principal at Aeir Talk and Chief Operating Officer at VinylMint and We Are Titans, a custom software development company.

montalentiAndrew Montalenti, CTO of

Co-founder and CTO of, which provides big data insights to the web's best publishers. Technologist with nearly a decade of experience in software engineering. Earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from NYU. Acted as a technical lead on a small software team within Morgan Stanley. Prior to, built large-scale web applications and systems through the software engineering consultancy he owned and operated. Click here to read the full interview.

neelJames Neel, President of Cognitive Radio Technologies

After receiving his PhD in 2006 and a short post-doc stint at Virginia Tech, James Neel founded Cognitive Radio Technologies (CRT) with Jeff Reed in 2007 to help transition cognitive radio research from the laboratory to the field. Loosely, cognitive radio is the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improve the performance of wireless networks, which enables WiFi to operate in the TV bands and supports other applications to cellular, public safety, and defense networks. James was one of the early researchers into cognitive radio, pioneering the use of game theory with cognitive radio for networked applications, has received three paper awards for his research, and is the chair of the Cognitive Radio and Dynamic Spectrum Access committee in the Wireless Innovation Forum. Since its founding, CRT’s revenues have grown to $1 million annually with customers and transition partners in Virginia, California, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Arizona.

nguyenMinh Nguyen, Founder and CEO of Syllabuster

Minh has over 17 years professional experience in web/online product development. He has experience in developing innovative consumer and enterprise internet products and services and proven experience in early stage startups. Prior to Syllabuster, Minh co-founded Plaxo.


powersJames Powers, CEO of HemoShear, LLC

James C. Powers is Chairman and CEO of HemoShear, LLC.  HemoShear is a leading developer of human surrogate systems for discovery and assessment of new drug compounds.  Prior to joining HemoShear, Mr. Powers spent 18 years as an executive with PRA International where he grew the company from a niche services provider to a global clinical trials management organization of more than 3,000 employees. PRA International had a successful IPO in 2004. He was a board member of CellzDirect, Inc., a leading provider of drug metabolism and hepatotoxicity testing products, a board member of Averion International, an international contract clinical research organization, an adviser to Tall Oaks Capital and an advisor to the Coulter Translational Research Partnership in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. Mr. Powers received a BS in Administration and Management Science from Carnegie-Mellon University.

prichardMichael Prichard, Founder and CTO of WillowTree Apps

Michael is responsible for day-to-day management of the WillowTree App’s development team and projects. Michael founded WillowTree Apps, Inc. in 2008. Before WillowTree Apps, Michael founded an email archiving services company whose technology was acquired by in late 2007. Prior to that, Michael worked for Rotech Healthcare, Inc. at their headquarters in Orlando, FL designing and developing a number of company-wide systems, some of which are still in use today. Click here to read the full interview.

pughCaroline Pugh, COO of VirtualU

Caroline is the COO and Co-Founder of VirtualU, a company based on integrating 3D human modeling technology into the e-commerce industry. Caroline is the former President of the Virginia Tech Entrepreneur Club where she raised a record amount of over $11,000 for the club, organized the annual student team competition (VT $5K), helped to introduce the first entrepreneurship classes with in the College of Science and host weekly week networking and speaking events. Currently working with university officials and entrepreneurs to help build an Entrepreneurship Center at Virginia Tech that would help fund innovative technologies and help commercialize them. To build entrepreneurship on a more national and global level, Caroline serves as the President for the DC region and Director of Partnerships for Kairos Society, one of the largest and most prominent, student run entrepreneurship organizations. Click here to read the full interview.

QuigleyJames Quigley, CEO of Canvas

Jim is an award winning mobile and wireless solution executive with an extensive background in building and growing wireless start-up ventures. Prior to founding Canvas, Jim was V.P and Managing Director of the Enterprise Wireless Solutions Division at inCode Wireless then acquired by VeriSign. While at VeriSign, Jim and his design team were honored with the prestigious Motorola Wireless Solution of the Year Award. Click here to read the full interview.


reiskySandy Reisky, CEO of Apex Wind Energy

Sandy Reisky de Dubnic is the CEO of Apex Wind Energy, Inc., a leading U.S.- based developer of commercial-scale wind energy facilities in North America, that collectively developed, financed, constructed and managed more than $10 billion in operating wind farms totaling over 5,000 megawatts of capacity.  He built one of the largest wind development companies in the country, which became the foundation for a Global 26 firm’s wind energy operations.  He also started five renewable energy businesses in the Charlottesville area, two of which have been purchased by Fortune 500 companies and the other three employ more than 176 people. 

summersBob Summers, Chief Geek of Friendeo

Bob Summers has developed and marketed commercial software applications for consumers and enterprises since 1994. He is currently Chief Geek @ Friendeo, his fifth startup. Mr. Summers has a BS in computer engineering from Virginia Tech and MBA from MIT Sloan. He is founder of 460 Angels and TechPad. Click here to read the full interview. 

thomasCharlie Thomas, CEO of RazorSight

Razorsight provides Cloud-based Analytics to AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, IBM and numerous other industry leaders. Charlie has co-founded, grown and sold 4 Virginia-based companies over the last decade, and he has negotiated over $1 Billion in capital financings. He has successfully closed over 15 M&A transactions. Prior to Razorsight, Charlie founded and grew Claris Capital, a boutique investment bank, from 2002 to 2005. Charlie co-founded an Internet Service Provider which Verio acquired and a Professional Services firm that sold to Private Equity firm GTCR. Charlie founded Net2000 Communications, a broadband telecommunications provider, and led the company as CEO for nine years from start-up to an IPO led by Goldman Sachs with an initial market cap over $1.6 billion. Net2000 grew to $150 million in revenue and over 1,000 employees before being acquired by Cavalier Telephone (now Windstream) in 2002.

venkateshD.P. Venkatesh, CEO of mPortal, Inc.

D.P. Venkatesh, CEO of mPortal Inc,  a 12 year old McLean, Virgina company that provides software products and solutions across connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. He is a pioneer in the mobile industry having started mPortal in 2000 well before the mobile boom that is all around us today and was therefore well positioned to take advantage of the current mobile wave. DP is a frequent speaker at local tech and entrepreneur events and spends a significant portion of his time helping other VA entrepreneurs start or manage their business as a mentor or Board Member.

walker.pngWilliam Walker, President of HemoSonics, LLC

William Walker founded HemoSonics, a medical device company founded to develop and bring to market innovative diagnostics to quantify and characterize the hemostatic potential of whole blood. He is the Founder of three medical device companies based on ultrasound technologies he co-invented. In addition to his entrepreneurial efforts he was a full-time faculty member at the University of Virginia from 2007 to 2010, where he helped create the undergraduate program in Biomedical Engineering, and was promoted to the rank of Professor. Dr. Walker holds BSE and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University.

wamhoffBrian Wamhoff, Co-founder of HemoShear,LLC

Brian is  an entrepreneur committed to commercializing innovative biomedical technologies.  He recently co-founded HemoShear, LLC and serve as VP of R&D.  HemoShear is a biotechnology research company that de-risks pre-clinical and clinical drug discovery, putting more efficacious and safer drugs into humans.  HemoShear won the 2012 CBIC “Rocket Award”, continues to create value for its investors and pharmaceutical partners and is stimulating the local economy through extensive, high-value job creation (>25 employees).

zuffolettiJim Zuffoletti, President of OpenQ

Jim is an entrepreneur with a love for social media and technology. After starting a business unit within GE, Jim  helped co-found FreeMarkets, an early ebusiness company which went public in 1999. Jim now serves as President of OpenQ where he has been a catalyst for determining the company’s strategic direction and for forging critical relationships with customers in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industry segments. OpenQ is a venture-backed business which now serves 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies. Click here to read the full interview.