Batten Institute at UVA Darden School of Business to Host Signature Events at 2015 Tom Tom Founders Festival

04 March 2015

The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business will host two signature events for entrepreneurs and innovators at Tom Tom Founders Festival in April 2015. This will be the third year that the Batten Institute has partnered with the Festival, a week of innovation, music and art in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Batten Institute’s two programs for 2015 are the Crowdfunded Pitch Night and a panel on Conscious Capitalism at the Founders Summit with distinguished Darden Professor R. Edward Freeman and Kip Tindell, chairman and chief executive officer of The Container Store, Inc. The Conscious Capitalism session will also be supported by Darden’s Institute for Business in Society.

“Darden’s Batten Institute is committed to building a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem at U.Va. and in Charlottesville,” said Philippe Sommer, director of Darden’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory at U.Va. (i.Lab).

“Forward-thinking cross-disciplinary initiatives, U.Va.-wide competitions, and the i.Lab’s programs and incubator exemplify our commitment, as does our work with Charlottesville’s unique SXSW-type Tom Tom Founders Festival. Tom Tom itself was part of the i.Lab’s first incubator class to include local community ventures, and we look forward to the festival’s continued success as it continues to grow and expand its footprint,” he said.

The first event on 16 April, the Crowdfunded Pitch Night, is an opportunity for 10 entrepreneurs in the Charlottesville community to pitch their business ideas. The winner will be selected to join the coveted 2015 incubator cohort in the i.Lab, which includes a $5000 venture grant. In addition, the Community Investment Collaborative, a program that supports entrepreneurship in the region’s underserved communities, will select one venture for its 2015 class. The Crowdfunded Pitch Night is free and open to the public, and votes cost $10. The crowd-chosen favorite can select either the cash entry pool or the i.Lab incubator spot.

The second program brings Kip Tindell to Tom Tom Founders Summit, a day of talks with revolutionary founders on 17 April at the historic Paramount Theater. Tindell — a recognized leader in Conscious Capitalism, a management movement based on the principles of higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership and conscious culture — will speak about the personal choices and journey of creating a company that now generates nearly $800 million in annual revenue. His keynote will be followed by a Q&A with Professor R. Edward Freeman, a global leader in business ethics and stakeholder management.

Following the Q&A, Tindell and Freeman will be joined by Jeffrey Cherry, executive director of Conscious Venture Lab; Rick Frazier, Founding Partner at Concinnity Advisors, LP; and Adrian Keevil, partner of PlusTick Partners. Panelists will offer views on multi-stakeholder analysis from the vantage point of startups, global corporations and investors, respectively. Tickets for the Founders Summit are on sale now at

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia