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Virginia’s Biggest Party is All About Startups

Virginia’s Biggest Party Is All About Startups

Tom Tom Founders Festival: A Week of Concerts, Art, and Ideas in Charlottesville, April 13-19

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (February 10, 2015)Tom Tom Founders Festival celebrates grit, creativity, and good ideas with an inspiring week of parties and pitches this April. Beginning with a birthday bash for Founding Father Thomas Jefferson on Monday, April 13th, Tom Tom will host over 150 bands and artists alongside revolutionary founders such as Alexis Ohanian of reddit, Dale Dougherty of Maker Faire, and Peter Rojas of Gizmodo and Engadget. The Festival will take place in multiple venues across downtown Charlottesville, one of America’s most beautiful and historic small cities.

Tom Tom is presented in partnership with numerous departments at the University of Virginia, including the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business. Tom Tom represents an ongoing investment for one of the nation’s top educational institutions, reflecting its commitment to entrepreneurship, technology, and design, and its recognition that culture and community are an intrinsic part of building a flourishing ecosystem for startups.


Four Live Funding Competitions

Over half a million dollars of seed stage investment was offered to new ventures through Tom Tom’s competitions in 2014. This year, Tom Tom will host:

The Nonprofit Pitch Night, putting the principles of venture philanthropy into action for $30,000 worth of grants to innovative non-profits. Hosted in partnership with the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation’s Future Fund on Tuesday, April 14th at The Haven.

The Crowdfunded Pitch Night, a realtime crowdfunding campaign in which one winner will take a coveted spot in the i.Lab, U.Va.’s incubator for startups. To be held on Thursday, April 16th at The Jefferson Theater.

The Galant Challenge, connecting angel investors with U.Va.’s all stars. Hosted in partnership with the Galant Center at the McIntire School of Business on Friday, April 17th at The Paramount Theater.

Super Demo, gathering entrepreneurial undergrads from across the East Coast to show off their inventions to a team of pre-eminent investors led by Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of reddit, on Saturday, April 18th at The Old Metropolitan Hall.

Six Block Parties

Bands, craft beer, art, and serious local food converge in free-flowing outdoor concerts. Last year’s attendance exceeded 22,600. Stay tuned for a major music lineup announcement, February 20th.

The Founders Summit

Entrepreneurs from across the country gather to share stories and insider gossip at a day of talks on Friday, April 17th at The Paramount Theater. Each session examines a prominent founder’s story, and then places it in the context of a national issue. With Alexis Ohanian (reddit), Tarek Pertew (Uncubed), Kip Tindell (The Container Store), Jeffrey Cherry (Conscious Ventures), Ed Freeman (Darden School), Rick Frazier (Coca-Cola), Adrian Keevil (PlusTick Partners), Peter Rojas (Gizmodo, Engadget), Becca McCharen (CHROMAT), Dave Frey (Lockn’), Dale Dougherty (Maker Faire, O’Reilly Media).

City as Canvas

Charlottesville’s downtown banners, bus stops, retaining walls, and intersections become open canvases for illustration, photography, painting, and design. Globally recognized artist-in-residence Claude Wampler challenges boundaries between audience and artist, while painters, crafters, and artisans from throughout the region display pieces in an open air art market.

Farm to Table Restaurant Week

The “Locavore Capital of the World” according to Forbes and one of the “Tastiest Towns in the South” according to Southern Living, Charlottesville shares its rich mix of farms, sustainability, and culinary craftsmanship at the Farm to Table Restaurant Week through prix fixe menus prepared by its most outstanding chefs.



Tom Tom Founders Festival is a 501c3 nonprofit that hosts dozens of free events every year in Charlottesville, VA. Its mission is to catalyze new creative, civic, and entrepreneurial ventures. In 2014, Tom Tom had attendance of over 22,600, showcased 381 community organizations, and had an economic impact of $843,000 on the community of Charlottesville.


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