College of IST hosts 2nd Annual Start-up Week March 18-23

March 18, 2013

Visionary entrepreneurs from around the country, including alumni from the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), are visiting Penn State this week to inspire future innovators during the second annual IST Start-up Week. The event, taking place March 18-23, features more than 25 speakers and visitors from trailblazing companies such as Weebly, Reddit, Sincerely, Dropbox, Scribd, Social Cam and SongSplits. The event is open to the public.

Start-up Week recognizes and celebrates Penn State’s commitment to entrepreneurship, job creation and industrial partnership,” said David Hall, dean of the College of IST.

Highlighting the success of young entrepreneurs and innovators in technology and security, Start-up Week showcases the possibilities that exist for enterprising students in the College of IST to pursue their business ideas.

“The owners and founders of these companies are literally changing the way we work, collaborate, share data and information and interact socially,” Hall said.
The speakers for this year’s Start-up Week will provide lectures in IST classes, conduct workshops and hacking sessions, interact with students, faculty and staff and hold town hall meetings. All presentations and discussions will be video streamed live and recorded for access through This year, IST has collaborated with Penn State’s College of Engineering, the Smeal College of Business, and the College of Agricultural Sciences to provide an even more robust experience for event-goers.

Visitors to Start-up Week will have several opportunities to network with the speakers. There will be a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in the Business Building Atrium, hosted and coordinated by the College of Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences, College of IST, and the Smeal College of Business. The reception will be followed by a University-wide panel that will include Rick Grazzini, (’75 Eberly, ’93 Agricultural Sciences) executive director of Garden Genetics, Bob Morgan (’89 Engineering), CEO and co-founder of MorganFranklin; and Paul Silvis (Smeal MBA ’06) founder and CEO of SilcoTek. In addition, there will be a public networking reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 in Reese’s Café in the IST Building. Speakers, students, faculty, staff, and the IST community are invited to the reception.

On Friday, March 22, there will be a Town Hall with Justin Kan, founder of TwitchTV and, and Matt Brezina (’03) co-founder and CEO of Sincerely, at 12:20 p.m. in room 113(Cybertorium) of the IST building. Following the Town Hall, also in the Cybertorium, there will be a “Cyberside Chat,” hosted by David Rusekno (’07), co-founder of Weebly, with Michael Seibel, general manager and co-founder of Socialcam, a division of Autodesk Inc.  The Cyberside Chat will be followed in the Cybertorium by another Town Hall at 2:30 p.m. with Tikhon Bernstam, co-founder of Scribd and Parse, and Steve Huffman, co-founder of Reddit.

For more information on Start-up Week and a full schedule of events, visit

Last Updated March 21, 2013