Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Yearbook 2016–17


Darden and i.Lab at SXSW

March 2017
Austin, TX
innovative organizations met with i.Lab ventures at SXSW

UVA Darden and Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference

The Batten Institute co-hosted an annual conference with the Cambridge Judge Business School in Cambridge, UK.
19–20 June 2017
Cambridge, UK

Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative

Launched in May 2017, this new initiative fosters multi-stakeholder dialogue and conducts research on the role of disruptive innovation in tackling climate change.

Charlottesville Entrepreneurs + Espresso

Every month, entrepreneurs, faculty and students gather at the i.Lab to hear from an experienced entrepreneur and a pitch from a new venture.

Batten Venture Internship Program

The Batten Institute subsidizes summer internships for Darden students interested in working with early-stage startups or venture capital firms through the Batten Venture Internship Program.
Learn More
i.Lab ventures from 8 of UVA’s schools and the greater community

Batten Advisory Council

The mission of the Batten Advisory Council is to advise and support the Batten Institute in its efforts to advance Darden as a thought leader and preeminent educator of entrepreneurship and innovation.

UVA Darden Launches Digital Product Management MOOC

Darden offers a new online product management course that will provide the latest in customer-focused development processes to aspiring or current product managers and general managers.

Acting Boldly, Embracing Failure

Encouragement is the highlight of the Darden Entrepreneurship Conference.

Prosperity and Pitfalls: The Impact of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Small Cities

Presented in partnership with Darden, the inaugural Hometown Summit was created as a conference for leaders redefining small cities across the country.
Global Innovators’ Roundtables (Singapore, San Francisco, and the greater Washington, D.C., area)

Global Innovators’ Roundtable: San Francisco

13 Oct 2016
San Francisco, CA

Global Innovators’ Roundtable: Singapore

4 Oct 2016

Global Innovators’ Roundtable: D.C.

20 Apr 2017
Greater Washington, D.C. area

Tom Tom Founders Festival

April 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Technology Venture Fellowship

A new program offers students the chance to experience early-stage tech ventures during an intensive 10-week fellowship.
Learn More
speakers from 40 U.S. cities spoke at the Hometown Summit


Design@Darden is an online community that advances knowledge and facilitates a vibrant exchange of ideas among people innovating the future of design and design thinking for business and beyond. By sharing inspirations, stories and tools, Design@Darden aims to enrich the global conversation and application of design thinking strategies. During the 2016–17 academic year, there were approximately 3,800 registered members of the platform.

Cities Innovating Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

A research initiative that seeks to understand the drivers and outcomes of entrepreneurial ecosystems in U.S. cities.

FY 2016–17 Operating Expenses

Income to support entrepreneurship and innovation through the Batten Institute is provided primarily through an endowment established by Frank Batten Sr. and the Batten family.
The Numbers
i.Lab ventures exhibited at SXSW trade show

Entrepreneurship Pitch Competitions

Meet the winners of the first pitch competition held by Darden’s Entrepreneurship Venture and Capital Club and the winners of the 2017 UVA Entrepreneurship Cup Competition stages.

Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

16 Nov 2016
Charlottesville, VA

i.Lab Highlights

Discover the mission and milestones of the UVA i.Lab.
Explore Highlights

i.Lab at UVA Mentors

Our mentor community includes more than 100 individuals from a wide range of professional roles and backgrounds. The contributions made by i.Lab mentors tend to fall within three general categories: entrepreneur-in-residence, venture coach and expert advisor.
mentors supported i.Lab ventures

Batten-Sponsored Faculty

Each year the Batten Institute sponsors Darden faculty whose teaching and scholarship predominantly address topics in entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2016–17, the Institute sponsored five such faculty members.
Meet our faculty

Batten-Affiliated Faculty Publications and Awards

In 2016–17, our faculty members were published in leading journals and recognized with several awards.
provided in aggregate grant support to more than 225 new ventures and 425 founding team members

2016–17 Course Offerings

In 2016–17, Darden offered 28 courses in entrepreneurship.
Discover Courses

i.Lab at UVA Launches 2017 Incubator With 22 Ventures, New Program Innovations

After a record number of applications, the i.Lab at UVA is welcoming 22 new ventures to its 2017 Summer Incubator Program.

Humility Is the New Smart

A new book by Darden professors explores human excellence: how human beings can excel at the skills that smart machines and smart robots will not be able to do well in the next few decades.

Big Month for Darden Students’ Startup 1Degree

It’s been quite a run for Sam Boochever and Max Huc and their startup, 1Degree, which they founded as students at Darden with support from the W.L. Lyons Brown III i.Lab Incubator program.

She Started It: UVA Darden’s Batten Institute Co-Sponsors Screening of Documentary on Women-Led Tech Startups

The film “She Started It” offers a thought-provoking examination of the roots of gender bias and challenges facing women entrepreneurs through the stories of five fiercely determined young women.

Batten Institute Team

Meet our team
founders offered peer support to i.Lab ventures

Entrepreneur­ship Conference

17 Feb 2017
Charlottesville, VA
views of the Batten Institute blog on since its inception (April 2012)

Batten Institute Blog at Forbes

We write about the transformative powers of entrepreneurship and innovation at

UVA’s i.Lab Showcases Innovative University Startups at South by Southwest 2017

The i.Lab at UVA welcomed all SXSW tradeshow attendees to meet the founders of three startups that emerged from of the University, which were incubated through the i.Lab.

Rhoback: From Idea to Startup in a Year

Kristina Loftus (Class of 2017) and her husband, Matt Loftus (MBA ’16), used the assets of Darden and the i.Lab at UVA Incubator Program to launch their “Under Armour meets Vineyard Vines” line of high-end active wear.

KiraKira Founder Wins UVA Darden’s Inaugural Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

The i.Lab at UVA, an initiative of the Batten Institute, is pleased to announce the inaugural winner of the Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Suz Somersall.

The Front Porch and AgroSpheres

Inspired by the rich musical heritage of Central Virginia, The Front Porch seeks to create a strong, vibrant musical community comprised of music lovers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. AgroSpheres develops unique biotech solutions to degrade pesticides to make the harvesting process safer and more lucrative for hard working farmers.

2016–17 Fellows

The prestigious Batten Fellows program sponsors prominent thought leaders to engage and collaborate on significant topics in entrepreneurship and innovation. Since 2001 more than 80 individuals have been named Batten Fellows.
Meet the Fellows

2017 Startup Grant Program

This new program was established to lend continuing support to qualifying ventures that participated in the Incubator Program in the previous year.
Learn More
recipients of the Startup Grant Program

Journal of Business Venturing

The Batten Institute supports the Journal of Business Venturing, the premier scholarly journal devoted to entrepreneurship and innovation. JBV is ranked by the Social Science Citation Index as one of the world’s most influential management journals. From 1995 to 2009, Darden Professor S. Venkataraman served as JBV’s editor-in-chief; the current managing editor is Darden researcher Sarasa Subramony.

2016–17 Research Grant Recipients

Each year the Batten Institute solicits proposals from UVA faculty members pursuing rigorous and relevant research in entrepreneurship and innovation. The following scholarly projects were awarded support in 2016–17.
Learn more

UVA Darden, i.Lab Startups Make Their Pitch at South by Southwest

For the first time this March, Darden carved out an official presence at the massive South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, with i.Lab at UVA exhibiting three i.Lab Incubator program startups at the conference.

The Innovation Dream Team: Opposites Succeed

As an increasingly popular approach to business innovation, the crux of design thinking is that it embraces both creativity and analytical thinking to solve problems.

The Darden Network Jumpstarts a Startup

Benjamin Pitts (MBA ’09) was working at a job he enjoyed at one of the world’s premier financial institutions when he decided to scrap it all and start over. Six years later, in a story that serves as a testament to the network at Darden, Pitts is now the CEO of a startup formed with four Darden graduates he met along the way.

Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative Panel Calls for Stronger ‘Green Finance’

In late May, just one week before President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, the Batten Institute launched its Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative to address one of the most singular global challenges of the 21st century.

Student Clubs

The Batten Institute partners with a number of student-led organizations that seek to foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
Learn More


The Batten Institute continues its partnership with Forbes on behalf of the University of Virginia. For the 2016–17 academic year, our blog on received 26,848 views.

2016–17 Scholarships

Each year the Batten Institute provides more than $1 million to support scholarships for MBA students who have an entrepreneurial or innovative orientation. In 2016–2017, six full scholarships were awarded to members of the Class of 2018.
Meet the recipients

Startup Stories: Ventures Develop Direction and Build Their Story in the i.Lab Incubator

Progress comes fast and furious for many of the young ventures, and pivots in strategy are often the rule rather than the exception as founders glean new insights from their fellow entrepreneurs and an ecosystem of support provided through the i.Lab.

Optimizing Innovation in the Age of Digital Technologies: Put People Before Machines

Darden Professor Edward D. Hess believes that in order to survive and thrive in the digital age, both organizations and individuals need to transform. As Hess put it, “Transformation will mean embracing new ways of working, new structures, new mindsets, new behaviors, new ways of making decisions and faster, data-driven adaptation, innovation and resilience.”

5 Reasons Your Next Job Is Agile

Your job is going to change (if it hasn’t already), and it’s going to be great—better than finding your car magically washed and waxed and in the company parking lot. Your creative potential is about to be unshackled from a centuries-old management paradigm that is no longer relevant to innovative firms.

Surviving the Digital Age: 4 Corporate Transformations

The magnitude of the coming disruption is mind-boggling. One major aspect of this disruption will be the impact on employment and the resulting loss of global consumer purchasing power.

Society for Effectual Action

The Society for Effectual Action, or SEA, spearheaded by Professor Saras Sarasvathy, is dedicated to the groundbreaking form of entrepreneurial thinking known as effectuation. SEA is a global society advancing effectual action for entrepreneurs from all industries.

Batten Briefings

Our white paper series communicates the latest findings from Batten-sponsored research on entrepreneurship and innovation.

2017 i.Lab Companies

In 2017 the i.Lab supported a diverse array of companies led by entrepreneurs and innovators.
Meet the Companies

Designing for Growth: 5 Keys to Innovation

If you’re nudging your organization toward a core capacity in innovation, you can’t do better than these takeaways from the half-dozen stories presented in “Designing for Growth.”

The Rise of the Smart Machine Age and the Need for a New Story on the Purpose of Business

How we think about, and live out, the purpose of business matters a great deal—not just in businesses, but also in larger societal conversations about democracy, the environment, income inequality, the American dream and the kinds of regulations necessary to manage our economy.