Found Yourself. Launch businesses and discover new ideas alongside some of the world's most innovative founders and funders. In 2015, Tom Tom expanded its innovation programming to include several pitch competitions, luncheons with influential entrepreneurs, product demos, an alumni mixer, and the first-ever Founders Summit.

Founders Summit

A sold-out crowd explored the art of founding with prominent creatives and entrepreneurs at the historic Paramount Theatre. 19 speakers—including the founders of reddit, Gizmodo, The Container Store, and Maker Faire—shared their insider guidance on how to make startups grow.

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Founders Luncheons

The Founders Luncheons were an opportunity for Founders Summit attendees to dig into specific ideas and problems with the Summit’s speakers, known thought leaders, and each other.

Founding Cville

On Founders Day, hundreds gathered to meet the contemporary Founders—artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, and civic leaders—who have shaped Charlottesville into what it is today, getting an interactive glimpse into how they did it.

Crowdfunded Pitch Night

Ten local artists, entrepreneurs, and inventors competed for funding and a coveted spot in Darden’s Innovation Laboratory. Each innovator tried to win over the crowd, which voted to select the winner, Wildrock.

Nonprofit Pitch Night

The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation’s Future Fund hosted its grantmaking cycle this year as a live, public pitch night, increasing public awareness of the powerful work of nonprofits in Charlottesville.

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Genius Hour

Genius Hour

This unique showcase at the Belmont Block Party highlighted interactive technologies from creators in the Charlottesville community and beyond.


This annual gathering brought back together a nationwide network of entrepreneurial U.Va. alumni and students for an evening of drinks and conversation at Old Metropolitan Hall.

Galant Challenge

U.Va. students and alumni join investors from across the region for the largest pitch competition at Tom Tom, with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line.

Innovator of the year

The highest honor bestowed on University of Virginia innovators, the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the year award was awarded, for the first time, to two recipients: 2015 winners are Benton Calhoun and James Smith.

Super Demo

Modeled after Y Combinator’s famous demo days, select groups from more than 10 schools across the East Coast presented projects in tech and entrepreneurship.

CIC Showcase

Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) hosted a showcase where attendees met some of the newest home-grown Charlottesville area businesses and found out how to help the next group of entrepreneurs building our community.

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Founding Partners