Arts Business & Economy Campus News Society & Culture

Yik Yak founders to headline Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week at UGA

Yik Yak founders Thinc. Week
Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll

Athens, Ga. – Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week, which will be March 23-27, will once again bring an array of innovators to the University of Georgia to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking.

This is the third year that Thinc. has sponsored a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship with events organized by the university’s colleges and programs as well as community organizations. Throughout the week, workshops, panel discussions, competitions and networking events promise to engage, inspire and build the confidence in attendees to take ideas from concept to reality.

Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, founders of Yik Yak—a social media app that allows people to anonymously create and view “Yaks” within a 10-mile radius—will headline Thinc. Week on March 23 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Tate Theater at the Tate Student Center. They will share the story behind the founding of their controversial company, their challenges and their meteoric company growth and success.

Other Thinc. Week events are listed below by date.

Monday, March 23
• Second Annual Local Arts and Culture Business Summit, 12:30-2 p.m., Room 285 of the Richard Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
The summit is a public forum for local arts and culture business owners to share experiences, best practices and ways to support local arts entrepreneurs. The event will feature local artist Michael Lachowski and entrepreneurs from Agora Vintage, Look-Listen, the Broad Collective, KA Artist Shop, Double Dutch Press, Treehouse Kid & Craft and Community Boutique. The UGA Career Center and a lawyer who specializes in creative professionals will be on hand to offer advice to entrepreneurs.
• Agbioscience Startup Company Safari, 4-5:30 p.m., Center for Applied Genetic Technologies
Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the research and production facilities of companies associated with UGA’s Innovation Gateway startup incubator. The tour, led by the founders or chief scientific officers of these companies, is ideal for those interested in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in the modern agbioscience.
• Innovation Gateway Open House, 5-6:30 p.m., Center for Applied Genetic Technologies
Learn about companies started by UGA faculty who are working on cures for diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Find out how these companies engage students and industry partners. The event includes a tour and reception.
• Yik Yak Day, 7-8:30 p.m., Tate Theater
The event will feature Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, founders of Yik Yak.

Tuesday, March 24
• Digital Disruption: The Latest Ideas Driving Change, 3:30-5 p.m., Room 271 of the Richard Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
A panel representing the College of Family and Consumer Sciences will share their experiences with technology. The moderator is Debbie Phillips, a UGA alumna and owner/founder of The Quadrillion. A reception will follow the event.
• Students 2 Startups, 4:30-6 p.m., UGA Science Library
Formerly “Talk Tech,” this twice-annual event on the UGA campus connects students with the Athens tech startup community to make connections and discover opportunities. The event includes free food and drink.
• Rapid Prototyping with Emerging Technologies, 5-8 p.m., Room 202 of the Science Library,
Students will learn how to create engaging products with the latest technologies, including laser cutters, digital scanners, 3-D printers and more in UGA’s new Makerspace.
• eHub Pitch Camp: Powered by Four Athens, 6-9 p.m., Room B2 of the Main Library
Participants in eHub’s Business Idea Accelerator program will take the stage to pitch their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors for prize money. Students and others interested in entrepreneurship and innovation are invited to come and see how pitches are done.

Wednesday, March 25
• Entrepreneurship Opportunities in Landscape Architecture and Engineering, 12:30-1:45 p.m., Room 123 of the Jackson Street Building
Three generations of design professionals will hold a roundtable discussion on the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur in engineering, planning and landscape architecture. The panelists are from the International Development and Energy Alliance, Lorberbaum Odrezin & Associates and the Sustainable Design Consultants.
• UGA/Athens Startup Ecosystem Design Thinking Session, 2-4 p.m., fourth floor study area of the Main Library
The drop-in is designed as a brainstorming event on how to create a better entrepreneurial community in Athens. Snacks, drinks and design thinking tools will be provided.
• Idea Generation with Kyle Williams, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Center for Community Design and Preservation
Use design thinking to generate ideas for new projects and businesses, collaborate with diverse students and learn the techniques to continue developing the entrepreneurial mindset. Williams is the Athens Land Trust conservation director.

Thursday, March 26
• Slingshot: Sensory Overload Conference on Big Data Perceptualization, March 26 at 8 a.m. through March 27 at noon, Room 271 of the Richard Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
World-class scholars will present artistic and useful tools for the analysis of big data using sonification, visualization and advanced analysis. The event is part of the Athens Slingshot Festival, which engages a diverse audience with music, art and technology.
• Learning Social Entrepreneurship Through Movement, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Studio 276 of the Dance Building
The workshop will be led by Stanford University dance instructor Aleta Hayes, who uses dance and free movement to increase leadership and collaboration. Lunch will be provided after the workshop.
• UGA Alumni Startup Panel, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Room 313 of Sanford Hall
A panel of UGA alumni will discuss their journeys to entrepreneurship. The speakers include Ty Frix, founder of Ichor, a biomedical technology company seeking to integrate experience from healthcare and athletics; Cali Brutz, founder of Borrowing Magnolia, a digital brokerage service for high-end wedding dress rentals and sales; Sean Durkin, founder of Axon Tutors, a company seeking to empower students and provide better jobs for tutors; and Ashley Edmonds, founder of Lilywrap, a pioneer of innovative stretchy gift wrap.

Friday, March 27
• TEDxUGA, 1-5 p.m., Tate Student Center Grand Hall
The third annual TedxUGA, an independently organized TED event, will feature ideas worth spreading from UGA students and faculty. TedxUGA is sold out but will be streamed live from

For a complete listing of Thinc. events, times and locations, see