It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur at UVA Darden.

Among the numerous resources and programs for Full-Time, Part-Time and Executive MBA students, there lies a flourishing underground community of aspiring student founders. A pillar of this community is the KPI Club, an unofficial club of female founders started by five women of the Full-Time Class of 2022. 

What is the KPI Club?

The KPI Club is a place for accountability that continues to be passed down from class to class. The year of its inception, the club’s founders swept at the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup (E-Cup), with each member being named a finalist at the Pitch Competition and one advancing to win the entire cup. 

“I was fortunate to inherit the KPI Club in my first year at Darden,” said Ellie Jamison.

Ellie Jamison (Class of 2024) Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club President

“It wasn’t long before I met Curie Chang, Grace Collins, Sloane Grey, Hoi-San Guan and Emily Kahn. While we had very different business ideas, we deeply respected and supported each other from the beginning. We would meet every other week at lunchtime to share updates, asks and challenges. With the support of our mentor, Damon Devito (Class of 1994), we were able to navigate the academic rigor of our first year while starting five ventures. This was no small feat.”

Hear more from Jamison and Grace Collins about their venture Play Henry.

What does “KPI” stand for?  

“Key Performance Indicators.” DeVito planted the idea of having key performance indicators to encourage student founders to identify specific problems and goals to move their ventures forward. DeVito taught the popular “Venture Velocity” course at Darden and had been an instrumental coach for student founders up until his passing in February 2023. His legacy lives on with the club and its members.  

Today, the club is run by Curie Chang (Class of 2024) and the group is mentored by Jim Zuffoletti (Class of 2005). A serial entrepreneur and longtime friend of Damon DeVito, he has done a remarkable job honoring DeVito’s legacy while advancing the entrepreneurial community at Darden.  

Curie Chang (Class of 2024) Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club Vice President of Startup

“KPI is an amazingly supportive, tight-knit accountability group where we support one another through the ups and downs of the startup life,” said Curie Chang. “This community of fellow women founders not only gave me the encouragement and focus for my entrepreneurial journey at Darden, it helped me elevate my approach to various challenges I faced launching Petrichor. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey – only you truly understand the countless ups and downs that come with turning an idea into a real product. And I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a group where I get to share that journey with fellow women founders.” 

Continued Excellence

The proud legacy of the KPI Club continues with the current Darden class. Most recently, Be Wellness Coaching led by Sloane Grey and Ethiopian Delights led by Beza Bisrat, were selected as winners for the Concept stage in the E-Cup competition.

Students at the ECup Competition.

In addition, Fairway to Green led by Kelly Okun was selected as a finalist.  

KPI continues to meet biweekly throughout the year. Each startup founder is given the chance to cover their progress, plans for the future and any “asks” they may have for the group. Beyond Darden, KPI has both an undergraduate chapter as well as an alumni chapter that meets regularly.

Darden Female Founders’ Startup Snapshot:

Take a closer look at some of the ventures coming out of the KPI Club.

  • Ethiopian Delights is a company focused on sharing the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Ethiopian cuisine by offering convenient and authentic shelf-stable food products. 
    • Founder: Beza Bisrat (Class of 2024) 
  • Petrichor is a circular apparel startup that creates essential apparel with a planned path for recycling, upcycling, or decomposition. Our approach sets the standard for extended producer responsibility, taking on 100% of the end-of-life impact for our apparel. Check out their Instagram @petrichor.aftertherain
    • Founder: Curie Chang (Class of 2024) 
  • Be Wellness Coaching is a holistic wellness company seeking to transform generational health for black families through a community, resources, events, and coaching. We focus on the five key pillars of health: relaxation, nourishment, mindfulness, movement, & connection. 
    • Founders: Sloane Grey (Class of 2024), Aubrey Royster MSN, FNP-C, ENP-C
  • Voyage Peak Capital specializes in acquiring and elevating established businesses. With a background in Amazon, Hoi-San blends entrepreneurial spirit with process improvement, focusing on growth and innovation while maintaining the essence of the businesses she acquires. 
    • Founders: Hoi-San Guan (Class of 2024) 
  • Play Henry is an elevated pickleball brand for active and social play. Through function and style, they focus on creating high-quality, sleek paddles for beginner, intermediate, and professional players alike. Check out their Instagram @shopplayhenry
    The Play Henry Team
    • Founders: Ellie Jamison (Class of 2024), Grace Collins (Class of 2024)
  • Memorial is a service company that celebrates life, memorializing people the way they and their loved ones want to remember them. 
    • Founders: Adair Maynard (Class of 2025) 
  • Fairway to Green is a golf media company that will increase visibility and funding for the women’s game. 
    • Founder: Kelly Okun (Class of 2025) 
  • Jamila Skin is a skincare brand devoted to the art of cleansing. Jamila combines clean, simple to pronounce ingredients to help you start your skincare routine with a fresh, clean base. Our flagship product, an oil-based cleanser, is the perfect addition to your routine. Check out their Instagram @getjamilaskin
    • Founders: Gheed Saeed (Class of 2024) and Josh Lei (Class of 2024)