Candidates, Entrepreneurs to Meet at Tomtoberfest Forum

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Tom Tom Founders Fest Press Release

Charlottesville, VA ­ September 23, 2013: ­ This week, in preparation for November elections of City Council and County Supervisors, Tom Tom Founders Festival and the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council are holding a Candidate Forum to discuss the Politics of Innovation and Start­Ups in Charlottesville and Albemarle. The Forum will take place this Wednesday September 25th from 7pm ­ 9pm at the Old Metropolitan Hall (101 East Main Street, 22902).

In a unique format, the twelve candidates will hear from leading voices in Central Virginia's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Presenters will include top entrepreneurs, angel investors, University of Virginia administrators and students, and emerging start­ups. The forum will present a context of how startup hubs are built, and perspectives on zoning and regulation, Town­Gown engagement, and municipal promotion of the community as a start­up hub.

The entrepreneurs presenting will include:

● Blake Sirach, co­Founder of WillowTree Apps, one of the largest and most respected mobile development companies in the US. Founded in Charlottesville, WillowTree is an Inc. 500 company, recipient of CBIC's 2013 Spotlight Award, winner of four Webby Awards, and its apps have been downloaded over 1,000,000 times.

● Sandy Reisky, CEO of Apex Clean Energy. Sandy's companies have developed over $1 billion of wind and solar facilities now operating around the country. He was founder and president of Greenlight Energy, a leading independent wind energy company that was acquired by BP in 2006. Sandy was also the founder Axio Power, a utility­scale solar developer; Columbia Power Technologies, a pioneer in wave energy technology; and Greenlight Biofuels, a waste­to­energy company. He was presented with the Leadership in Energy Award at The Keystone Center's 20th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner. He has a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

● Kathy Carr, co­founder and managing director at Tall Oaks Capital Partners, has invested in numerous biotech and life sciences businesses. In 2012, Kathy became the director of the i.Lab Incubator at U.Va., operated by the Batten Institute at U.Va.'s Darden School of Business. This summer, Kathy helped lead 25 start­ups (13 Darden­based, 5 U.Va.­based, 7 community­based) through an accelerator curriculum.

The event will kick off a Tomtoberfest weekend that includes block parties, concerts, innovation talks, and pitch competitions on U.Va. Grounds and Downtown on Sept 25 - 28.