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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Showcase starts at 7 p.m.

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It All Starts With an Idea

Five student teams make their business pitch live and compete for seed funding. Be there when they make the deal!

2023 StartUp Teams



AdXR is the advertising network of the future for brands looking to reach XR (extended reality) audiences, including augmented reality and virtual reality, by providing safe, efficient systems and metrics.

Team members (l-r): Caroline Morrisey MSBA’23, Shahnt Madalian ’23, Méabh Hartney MSBA’24, and John Addeo MSBA’23.

StartUp 2023 | Team - AdXR | Fairfield University

Affluential Clothing

Affluential Clothing is a streetwear clothing brand that seeks to inspire others to change the way they think about wealth.

Team members (l-r): Nick Aicardi '23, Kwahmyre Barbour '23, and Jared Alicea '26. Not pictured: Nadia Sempher ’20.

StartUp 2023 | Team - Affluential Clothing | Fairfield University


Copula is a community-building social media platform that enables users to find places, activities, and people who share similar interests, to build new friendships and share enjoyable experiences.

Team members (l-r): Class of 2024 Alvin Thomson, Joseph Westoff, and Sean O’Hara

StartUp 2023 | Team Copula | Fairfield University

Golden Guardian Solutions

Right Hand Apprentice is a platform connecting students looking for work with homeowners looking for assistance with home projects.

Team members (l-r, back row): Ian Austin ’24, John Holt ’24, Nicole Perugini ’24, and Nicholas Brunetti ’24; (l-r, front row): Hannah Howard ’24, Sarah Leonetti ’24, and Andrew Samarro ’23.

StartUp 2023 | Team - Golden Guardian Solutions | Fairfield University

Pantry +

Pantry + is an intuitive app that uses state-of-the-art technologies in AI and machine learning to read barcode data on the food items users purchase. The platform then provides recommendations on what to purchase next in order to meet customized dietary and health goals.

Team members (l-r): Class of 2024: Tim Ahren, Suraiya Hossain, Daniel Russo, and Christian Morgan.

StartUp 2023 | Team - Pantry + | Fairfield University

2022 Investor Panel

Photo of Joseph Bronson

Joseph Bronson '70

Joseph (Joe) Bronson is currently principal and CEO of The Bronson Group, LLC, a business advisory group focused on operational and financial consulting. In addition, he is a strategic advisor and managing director of Cowen Group, Inc., a New York City based investment banking firm, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Fairfield University. Joe is a CPA and holds a BS in Accounting from Fairfield University and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He was inducted into the UConn Business School Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Fairfield University Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2017.

Photo of Chris Hillock

Chris Hillock '00

Chris Hillock is the vice president and head of portfolio development at Dell Technologies Capital, the venture capital arm of Dell Technologies. He is chartered with creating go to market partnerships and scaling strategies for portfolio companies within Dell Technologies' business units and partner ecosystem. Chris has 22 years of sales leadership and general management experience leading cross functional global sales teams and scaling emerging HW & SW solutions within enterprise accounts. Prior to joining DT Capital, Chris was a GM within the DT Select division of the Dell Technologies Global Accounts practice chartered with growing revenue, operating income, and building an integrated GTM model across the Dell Tech family of businesses. Chris holds a BS in Marketing and Information Systems from Fairfield University, an MBA in Finance from the University of Connecticut, is a graduate from the General Management Program from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Photo of Spring Hollis

Spring Hollis

Spring Hollis is the CEO and founder of Star Strong Capital, an investment firm focused on debt opportunities for early state companies. Prior to founding Star Strong Capital, Spring was a portfolio manager at Park Cities Asset Management, a credit fund investing in small business and consumer finance debt opportunities. Spring previously worked as a managing director at Deutsche Bank in the Global Principal Finance and the Structured Transactions groups, focused on complex debt financings from the propriety trading desk. Spring serves on the Board of Directors for the BOMA Project, an international non-profit focused on economic empowerment of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Ms. Hollis has a J.D. from New York University and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo of Brenda Lewis

Brenda Lewis

Brenda Lewis is the owner of Transactions Marketing, Inc. (TMI), a venture management firm focused on the launch and funding of enterprise mission critical software, systems, and services. On a pro bono basis, Brenda is a charter organizer of One Million Cups Stamford. She is a judge for the annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs at Smith College and serves as a judge at TechStars Startup Weekend and the CT New Venture Challenge. Brenda served on the steering committee for Innovate Stamford, which won a $2 MM CT NEXT Innovation District grant and was a finalist in the Connecticut Technology Council's 2018 Women of Innovation awards. She holds a BS in Economics from Smith College and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Brenda attended Harvard Business School's Program for Management Development and earned a Certificate in Telecommunications Management from NYU.

Photo of Brenda Lewis

Mark Selinger ’90

Mark Selinger is currently an Advisor for multiple B2B software companies across a number of verticals helping executive teams with strategy and operations. With over 30 years of experience in the US and abroad he’s been on both sides of M&A and appreciates the nuances of the software industry. Mark believes very strongly in finding a career you can become passionate about and creating your own destiny. Prior to his current role, Mark was the Chief Operating Officer of Exago, Inc., responsible for driving operations, including strategy, GTM, human resources, product development, quality assurance, customer experience and professional services.

StartUp Host

Photo of Host Alexa Curtis

Alexa Curtis

GrasshoppHer co-founder and former Radio Disney Host Alexa Curtis was born and raised in Mansfield, Conn. From a young age she knew she was different and that she didn’t fit the “normal” social mold. Following being bullied in middle school Curtis needed an outlet to escape and in 2011, at just 12 years old, she started fashion blog A Life in the Fashion Lane.

The blog became a platform for her to express her feelings around topics relating to teens including body image and mental health. As Curtis evolved as a person her blog shifted to discussing sensitive topics that teens and young adults face, and the blog transformed into a lifestyle website and podcast for teens and parents called Life Unfiltered with Alexa Curtis. She also gained sponsorships from brands including British Airways, T-Mobile, Lands' End, and more.

More About Alexa

2022 Team Mentors

Team Quantify, Team Village and Team Present Pass

Winston DeMartini ’20, Founder and CEO, PhysiSens

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Team Quantify

Stephen Dierks, Associate Director of Talent, Oak HC/FT

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Team Quantify and Team Right Hand Apprentice

Jeff Hendrickson, Managing Director of Greenfield Hill Group

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Team Present Pass

Marty Donner, Adjunct Professor, UConn

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Team Right Hand Apprentice

Bob Mattis, Vice President, Pitney Bowes

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Team GreenIRR and Team Quantify

Peter Murrugarra, Co-Founder of ClearVest LLC

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Team GreenIRR

Richard Hyman, Adjunct Professor and Distinguished Visiting Professional, Fairfield University

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Team Village

Curt Naser, Associate Professor and Co-Founder of Axion Education

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Team Right Hand Apprentice

Jason Maloney ’11, Customer Success Executive, Zendesk

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Team Present Pass

Adrian Rusu, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Fairfield University

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Team Village

Emily Yale ’18, MBA’21, Founder of Land Maverick

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Team Right Hand Apprentice

Chip Steppacher, CFO of Rellevate

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Team GreenIRR

Matt Miller President of Stellar Energy Foundation

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2022 Sponsors

Gold Sponsors
  • Future Tech Enterprise logo
  • Phoenix Tower logo
  • Hugh Davis '95 and Amy Baldwin
  • Joseph '70 and Linda Bronson
  • Trish Preston ’80
  • Susan and Charles Vallone P’21
  • John P. Welch ’87
Silver Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors