About University Startups

Creating Opportunity

University Startups is committed to creating opportunities for students and life learners to expand their minds beyond traditional curriculum by teaching an entrepreneurship model. The organization develops pathways to college and the workforce through access to college preparation, internships and new career opportunities. 

Supported by a leading team, partnering with nonprofits and foundations, and offering a virtually delivered hands-on program, we’re set on changing hearts and minds through the power of entrepreneurship. 

Leadership Team

Marc Steren

Co-Founder and Co-CEO

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John Jabara

Co-Founder and Co-CEO

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Khuram Zaman

Chief Technical Officer

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Tremain Davis

Chief Strategy Officer

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Le-Marie Thompson

Nonprofit Business Development

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Brooke Smith

Lead Designer

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Katherine Zmoda

SVP of Operations

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Laura Lee Williams

SVP of Corporate Development

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Board of Advisors

Bobby Tahir

CTO, Hobsons

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Byron Garrett

CEO, National Family Engagement Alliance

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Dan Cohen

Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Wake Forest University

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Jon Issacson

Chief Financial and Corporate Development Officer, Lefteris Acquisition Corp

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Jonathon Perrelli

Angel Investor & Seven-time Founder

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Marla Beck

Co-Founder and former CEO, Blue Mercury

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Melissa Bradley

Co-Founder, Ureeka

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Neil Shah

CEO, ThinkNimble

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Steve Mariotti

Founder & Former President, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and CEO, Atlas Learning

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Talia Fox

CEO, KUSI Global, Inc.

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Tom Raffa

National Leader, Nonprofit and Social Sector Group, Marcum LLP

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Featuring Professors From Top Tier Business Schools

The story behind “University Startups”

In the early days of the pandemic, our founders, both academics and entrepreneurs, created an online course for high school students on how to launch a social impact venture. Utilizing proprietary online resources while students were at home, they were able to teach students and provide a different style of learning with access to top tier professors.

The initial course was a success, not only igniting an entrepreneurship flame in many participants, but several of the students went on to elite colleges in an entrepreneurship-related career path.

As the company grew, they connected with a foundation looking for ways to reach under-resourced high school students and they knew this program was exactly what was needed. A connection between teaching, the style of learning, the lived experience of building a business and the desired result - leading to increase in college admittance. 

And that’s how University Startups was born. 

Building off that first idea, University Startups provides a transformational learning process that creates pathways for success, in school and beyond. The program opens doors to college preparation, internships and new career opportunities.

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