Startup America 3 year Anniversary, Next Steps, Future Vision

March 4, 2014

I would like to share the future vision for the SUA brand and next steps from the UP Global team.

At the UP America Summit in Iowa, we heard the biggest immediate need is clarity around what Startup America is and how it fits into UP Global. As you know, SUA has now reached its three year anniversary. We've made great progress within this short timeframe and we are now at an important point to determine how we can continue to support the momentum you have created for the startup communities and to ensure continued growth.

As part of the three year milestone, the UP Global team and Board of Directors have been looking at how we can best support Startup America and the community moving forward.

The largest outcome is that we will be retiring the Startup America brand, moving it under UP Global, and continuing to look for ways to support highly engaged Champions and local startup communities.

We will continue to provide resources and work toward additional offerings and benefits. Our focus remains “People, Programs, and Celebration” as we evolve the UP America vision. Our hope is that you will continue to have the opportunity to form strong connections, have access to valuable programs for your community, and find UP America a strong platform for storytelling locally and nationally.

As we make this transition, please feel free to keep in touch and share any questions, ideas, or feedback. We’re thrilled to have you in the community and we look forward to supporting you for years to come.


Marc Nager - CEO - UP Global - [ Startup Weekend - Startup Digest - NEXT ]

A Cup of Common Wealth - Spreading the Commonwealth Cheer

Located in downtown Lexington,  A Cup of Common Wealth puts a unique twist on an old  idea. The owners, Chris Ortiz and Salvador Sanchez are very friendly and hospitible, which is exactly the basis of the coffee shop. You can buy a drink for yourself, pay it forward or claim a coffee already purchased. Their Pay it Forward board (pictured below) is full of drinks that have already been bought - some for moms, named loved ones, or a drink for anyone to claim. 

Below is a full article on their story posted by the Herald Leader. Thanks for setting up shop in Kentucky, guys! 

Owner Chris Ortiz dishes up coffee for customers.

Merlene Davis: Partners creating a community at new coffee bar

Posted July 17th, 2013, by Merlene Davis - Herald-Leader columnist

When you walk through the door of A Cup of Common Wealth, you sense that you have walked into an alternate universe.

Well, maybe not.

Maybe you have simply walked into what this universe is supposed to feel like. Regardless, it is a very pleasant place to be.

The coffee shop, at 105 Eastern Avenue, across from Thoroughbred Park, is owned by best friends Chris Ortiz and Salvador Sanchez, two transplants from Oklahoma and Michigan, respectively, who love Lexington and making their customers feel special.

"Our mission is 'embrace community, serve others and create culture,'" Sanchez said.

One big draw for the shop, which opened July 1, is the "pay-it-forward" board. Customers can buy a drink for someone else and designate the parameters for the recipient. The gift is then written on the "board," which is a large roll of brown paper.

One gift of coffee awaits an attorney who has a wrecked silver BMW. (Make sure they tell you the story behind that one.) A mother who comes in with children will be the recipient of a free latte. And one customer bought 100 drinks for Gray Construction employees.

"We have more givers than takers," Ortiz said.

The board seems to be good for business.

The friends had hoped that the coffee shop would catch on by Christmas. "We could skim by till then," Sanchez said. "If we didn't take off by then, well, ..."

"We could not have forecasted it moving this quickly," Ortiz said. "Not in a million years. Did we have enough capital? No. Did we have confidence in what we could do? Yes."

How do they measure success? The 12th day after opening, the friends were able to hire their first employee. And word of mouth has brought in a steady stream of customers, Ortiz said. He also credits the shop's bright-blue door.

The two men, both 30, met in Amarillo, Texas, where they worked for Hastings Entertainment Inc., a company that sells new and used CDs, books, magazines, video games and electronic equipment and that has store space for coffee bars, reading and listening stations, and children's play areas. Ortiz managed a store, and Sanchez managed the coffee program.

"We met and became friends because we were the only two guys in Amarillo in their mid-20s at the time," Ortiz said, jokingly.

Ortiz traveled a lot for Hastings, stationed at one time for a year in Lexington. Sanchez would visit, and they both loved the area.

The friends moved on to Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, but Sanchez longed to get back to the Midwest. And the friends wanted to open a coffee bar of their own.

In March, Ortiz came back to Lexington to search for a location for the coffee bar. He found the Eastern Avenue spot. In May, Sanchez gave his notice, and the dream was on.

Several friends helped them paint, remove tile and set up the bar, Ortiz said.

Sanchez is the genius behind the coffee products, which are mostly from Water Street Coffee Joint, a company founded 20 years ago in Kalamazoo, Mich. He has worked in the coffee business since he was a teenager, and he knows the science behind the blends they offer, which range from extremely dark Italian roast to a light Colombian roast.

"We have a good variety for anyone," he said.

"He knows the technical side," Ortiz said. "It is kind of a craft coffee, which is why we thought it would be a good scene for here.

"We are coffee snobs, and we love to be able to geek it out on coffee with customers," he said. "Or we can flavor it up for you and make it whatever you want to drink."

Although he has been schooled on the technical side, Ortiz is the people partner, happily interacting with customers, calling each one by name.

"We have the perfect blend," Sanchez said.

The coffee bar added treats this week, including scones and maple cinnamon butter breakfast cupcakes, baked by Alicia Morlote of Sweet Creations in Danville.

The coffee bar will soon host a "Penny University" series of events that will include an art gallery, open-mike nights and time to talk politics, Sanchez said. The idea is based on 18th-century coffee houses in England that charged a penny for patrons to come in and mingle with others.

They also offer coffee for $1 if you bring your own cup, and they have a tip jar for the purchase of a jet pack, because Ortiz said if one comes available, it would be fun to have.

"We pull 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and it doesn't feel like anything," Ortiz said.

The eclectic mixture of a good product, community engagement and a friendly smile seems like the perfect recipe for success. People don't seem to mind spending money where they feel welcomed and appreciated.

Merlene Davis: (859) 231-3218. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Twitter: @reportmerle. Blog:

Startup America and Startup Weekend merge to Create Up Global

Startup Weekend and the Startup America Partnership Join Forces to Launch UP Global

New Organization to Celebrate & Connect Entrepreneurs Worldwide


New York, NY, May 23, 2013 – Startup Weekend and the Startup America Partnership announced today that they will join together to create UP Global, a new organization supporting the creation of vibrant entrepreneurial communities around the world. With generous support from The Kauffman Foundation, the Case Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, Microsoft and The Coca-Cola Company, UP Global will combine the impact and reach of Startup Weekend’s action-based programs with the Startup America Partnership’s deep expertise in building strong regional ecosystems. UP Global will leverage the strengths of both organizations to build a more comprehensive offering that bolsters entrepreneurial communities across the globe.

“We initially launched the Startup America Partnership as a three-year project focused on jumpstarting the entrepreneurial economy, but as we watched the tremendous momentum that was built through the launch of more than 30 regional ecosystems, we knew there was a need to continue a broader effort to help maximize the success of American startups,” says Steve Case, chairman of the Startup America Partnership, who will also join UP Global as chairman of the board. “Partnering with Startup Weekend, an organization that has played a critical role in inspiring and preparing tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, is the perfect solution to continue our mission.”

As part of UP Global, the Startup America Partnership will strengthen and expand the first truly national entrepreneurial ecosystem with deep local roots. UP Global will then expand and utilize best practices internationally with the vision of being the single most effective organization supporting entrepreneurial communities across the globe. Both Startup Weekend and the Startup America Partnership will retain their brand names and missions, joining with Startup Digest, NEXT and NYSE Corporate Connections, all closely collaborating with and powered by UP Global.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen an incredible groundswell in grassroots entrepreneurial activity across the nation and around the world. There is a huge need to drive consolidation and added collaboration among community leaders in order to create more clarity for entrepreneurs so they can easily find the local resources they need to get up and going, when they need them. Seeing two organizations that we support come together is a win for all entrepreneurs,” says Tom McDonnell, CEO of The Kauffman Foundation.

UP Global will become the first full-spectrum support structure for entrepreneurs, focusing on every aspect of the entrepreneurial journey, from pre-idea through high growth stages. The organization will be grounded in two key pillars: empowering startup champions to deliver action-based learning programs for entrepreneurs, and building local, regional, and national networks between startup champions in order to drive collaboration, sharing of best practices, and celebration of the entrepreneurs at the heart of the movement.

“Startup communities are truly driven by their leaders, and we’ve shown that we can provide useful tools and frameworks for those leaders to foster sustainable early stage ecosystems, ultimately leading to the creation of more meaningful and persistent firms,” says Marc Nager, President of UP Global.

For more information on UP Global, please visit

Kentucky Space Announces Space Tango: Business Accelerator

via Startups@KSTC April 23, 2013

Kentucky Space LLC announced the creation of Space Tango, one of the nation’s first business accelerators specifically for space enterprises and entrepreneurs. Space Tango is an early-stage venture fund, business accelerator and community of entrepreneurs for space-driven startups, with the goal of assisting businesses in developing innovations, novel applications and diverse markets.   

The global space marketplace is now poised for significant growth and opportunity. Unprecedented access to space coupled with the rapid advancement of micro technologies and other innovations are combining to create a dynamic space industry. The 2013 report from the Space Foundation noted that “The global space economy grew by nearly 7% in 2012 reaching a new record of $304.31 billion. As in previous years, the vast majority of this growth was in the commercial sector, which now constitutes nearly three-quarters of the space economy, with government making up the rest”.

Opportunities (including adjacent applications) lie in developing entrepreneurial ideas, companies and products that enable the further exploitation of space.  Possibilities involve small high-value satellites and space platforms, the International Space Station (ISS) and opportunities in biotechnology, exomedicine, novel materials, energy, education, and game design and development…as well as areas and applications not yet imagined.  
“The successful development of a commercial and sustainable space marketplace is in large part dependent on disruptive thinking and novel experimentation outside of the traditional boundaries” said Kris Kimel, President of Kentucky Space.
In the initial round, Space Tango will invest in up to six companies from across the U.S.  These enterprises will participate in an intensive twelve week on-site program, centered in Lexington, Kentucky, that will provide a complete constellation of services, advisors and networks necessary to successfully start and grow a space-driven business. Companies will be selected primarily on the basis of their idea, science, technology, market fit, customer understanding, management team, and readiness level.
Selected companies will have access to a full team of advisors (scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals, investors, etc.) and facilities.  These other assets include the Exomedicine Institute, technical and ground operations centers at  Morehead State University Space Science Center (21 meter tracking station) and the University of Kentucky Space Systems Lab and offices at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley (Mountain View, California).
“The Office of Commercialization and Innovation is excited about playing a role in the further development of a global space marketplace…as well as a dynamic entrepreneurial space industry cluster in the region” said Gene Fuqua, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Commercialization and Innovation.
The marketing and due diligence process to select the initial companies will begin immediately. Further details and contact information be found at 
Kentucky Space LLC is an ambitious enterprise focused on R&D, talent development, commercial and entrepreneurial space solutions.

Startup Weekend Louisville Spring '13 WrapUp

Post via Startup Weekend Louisville March 9, 2013 

Louisville’s second Startup Weekend is one for the history books. We set new records for:

  • Participants
  • Ideas pitched on Friday
  • Teams formed
  • Spectators on Sunday

We had a great turn-out, and we’d like to thank everyone who made this possible -  the sponsors, coaches, judges, all of the people who helped us get the word out, and especially the participants! Our hats are off to the dedicated founders and entrepreneurs who accomplished so much in such a short time.

Here’s a re-cap of the teams and their ideas:

1st Place: Tally Rally – Friend-to-friend challenge integrated with consumer brand social media marketing.

2nd Place: Local Weird Louisville – Membership management for independent business associations.

3rd Place: Where The Trucks At? – Food truck geolocation and notification.

Buy Me Lunch – Arranging lunches between mentors and proteges. -Expert advice on buying a bike, lead generation for bike shops.

Front Row Upgrade – On-the-spot upgrade to a better seat at a game or a show.

Give a RAC – Connecting volunteers to nonprofits for Random Acts of Compassion.

Lead Lift – Helping startups generate business leads.

Scrambler – Smartphone app for golfers, logging statistics and offering tips.

Share Search – Upload pics of your purchases from local shops.

Vacay Go – Find discounts on last-minute vacation rental properties.

For more information on the teams and their business ideas, checkout this article from InsiderLouisville and this one from BusinessFirstLouisville.

Thanks again to everyone who made Startup Weekend Louisville a success. Stay involved by adding your name to the mailing list, or following us on Twitter.

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