Thrill Mill is Pittsburgh’s premier early-stage incubator/accelerator providing funding, programming, mentorship and collaborative office space for startups across all industries.

Have Expertise?

Be a Mentor!

Can You Offer Your Experience?

Thrill Mill seeks seasoned mentors and advisors with a breadth of knowledge and experience to help our startups avoid those critical early mistakes and ultimately achieve great success.

The tools and resources you need to succeed.

Office Space

24/7 access to a first-class, 5,000 square foot collaborative workspace with your own dedicated work area, breakout/conference rooms, high-speed internet and of course NES, SNES and ping pong.

Funding

Startups receive initial seed capital along with access to our extensive networks of individual, corporate, angel, government and venture funding sources.

Mentors

Gain invaluable insights and consultation from experienced and industry experts who will help you accelerate growth.

Programming

Accepted applicants incubate/accelerate for approximately a full calendar year, beginning in January 2015. A select group of applicants participate in a Foundation Boot Camp.  Startups accepted into Thrill Mill’s program also participate in an intensive entrepreneurship course taught by leading entrepreneurial professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. 

Thrival Festival

Thrill Mill companies also showcase their work at the annual Thrival Innovation + Musical Festival to a crowd of community stakeholders, leaders, and investors — while enjoying full access to an entire week of innovation-focused events and weekend concert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Story

Do you have a great idea? Start your journey with us.

Founded in 2012, Thrill Mill is a nonprofit organization serving as an incubator and accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs. We offer entrepreneurs the tools and resources to help build their ideas - regardless of industry. Thrill Mill accepts all types of organizations, from nonprofits to tech startups.

We were founded on the principle that Pittsburgh has the next impactful ideas that will be difference-makers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

In order to do this, Pittsburgh needs an access point - a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can come to grow, learn, and succeed. With a breadth of hands-on programming and a dedicated staff, Thrill Mill's portfolio has over two dozen companies and we look forward to bringing in another great class for 2015's cycle.

Our 5,000 square foot collaborative workspace is located in East Liberty, and is home to an interdisciplinary group of entrepreneurs making their ideas realities. These companies incubate/accelerate for almost a full calendar year, having access to a top-tier workspace, mentorship, funding, legal counseling, and host of capacity-building support.

Pittsburgh is on the verge of something great, and our startup ecosystem is integral to taking our region to the next level. Thrill Mill is proud to be a part of this success story.

Our Portfolio Companies

Because
Campus Buck
CCChampions
Fittsburgh
MeshNet
Mix Salad Concept
Pittsburgh Beats
Nomadz
Tamera Online
Allegheny Organics
Blog Local
Fliplynk
Haitian Families First
Kennedy Blue communications
Navity
Open Curriculum
Project Aura
Private Lender Nexus
Scholar Hero
Student Intuition
Virtual Lobbies

Our Team

Our core team consists of a diverse group of highly experienced individuals driven to help you succeed.

Bobby Zappala

Bobby Zappala

CEO & President View Details
Dan Law

Dan Law

VP of Business Development View Details
Luke Skurman

Luke Skurman

Chairman of the Board View Details
Mark Broadhurst

Mark Broadhurst

Board Member View Details
Kevin Heher

Kevin Heher

Board Member View Details
Justin Kasznica

Justin Kasznica

Board Member View Details
Tom Link

Tom Link

Board Member View Details
Serge Smailbegovic

Serge Smailbegovic

Board Member View Details
Bobby Zappala

Bobby Zappala

CEO & President

Bobby was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He left to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he majored in Public Policy Studies and Economics. Bobby worked in Washington, D.C. for then-Senator Joe Biden in his legislative office before returning to Pittsburgh to pursue his law degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Dan Law

Dan Law

VP of Business Development

Dan Law is the Vice President of Business Development at Thrill Mill, Inc. He is responsible for resource development, fundraising, strategic planning, and growing the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival.
Dan joined Thrill Mill after serving as a Program Officer at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, where he managed and coordinated a programming portfolio that promoted a deeper understanding of key contemporary international issues – and why they matter – in order to increase Pittsburgh’s competency and competitiveness in a 21st global environment. He was also the producer and co-writer of the Pittsburgh Global Press Conference, the Council’s weekly radio program on KQV All News AM 1410. An experienced leader within Pittsburgh’s nonprofit and NGO community, he was a graduate fellow for the Heinz Endowments (2011) and President of the New Pittsburgh Collaborative (2012-2014). Dan is the current Curator of the Global Shapers Pittsburgh Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum and a partnering organization for both Food Revolution Pittsburgh and the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival.

Luke Skurman

Luke Skurman

Chairman of the Board

Luke Skurman is the CEO and Founder of http://www.Niche.com. Niche provides in-depth reviews and analysis on colleges and K-12 schools. Luke originally started the business as College Prowler and has since grown it into one of the largest content start-ups in the United States. Luke grew up in San Francisco, he came to Pittsburgh in 1998 (and where he currently resides) to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his bachelors and masters degrees. Luke is the youngest trustee in the history of Carnegie Mellon, he sits on the finance and research technology commercialization committees. Luke is the founding curator of the Global Shapers Pittsburgh Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. Luke is also a board member of the www.sproutfund.com fund. Luke has won national awards related to entrepreneurship from Business Week, Fast Company, and Inc. Magazine.

Mark Broadhurst

Mark Broadhurst

Board Member

Mark Broadhurst is the Vice President of Corporate Dining & Retail Development for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. Mark joined the company in 2004 to design, develop and open a new restaurant concept for the company called Six Penn Kitchen. Since that time Mark has overseen all new restaurant development for Eat’n Park, including The Porch at Schenley, and Hello Bistro and oversees the expected growth of these new concept restaurants.
Mark is active in the Pittsburgh community and currently sits on the boards of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, that aims to improve the vitality of Downtown Pittsburgh; Point Park University; and is the Chair of the Board of the Sprout Fund, a nonprofit organization supporting innovative ideas and grassroots community projects that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh. Mark graduated from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France and brewing school at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, Illinois.

Kevin Heher

Kevin Heher

Board Member

Kevin is currently President of Liberty Insurance Agency, the 5th largest independent agent and brokerage firm in the Pittsburgh region according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. On a daily basis he focuses on client development, management, and agency operations. He is a current board member for the National Kidney Foundation of the Alleghenies, an avid fly fisherman, and a member of Longue Vue and Nevillewood Golf Clubs. Kevin graduated from Villanova University in 2004 and currently resides in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. He is also a founder of Thrill Mill.

Justin Kasznica

Justin Kasznica

Board Member

Justine M. Kasznica is a Partner at Harrison, focusing her practice on supporting technology and high growth potential start-ups, universities and research institutions seeking to commercialize new technologies, later stage companies developing innovative products and services, as well as investors. Prior to joining Schnader, Ms. Kasznica served as Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Innovation Practice Institute. She continues to teach as an Adjunct Professor at Pitt Law.

Tom Link

Tom Link

Board Member

Tom is the Director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, which invests in several programs including Pittsburgh Life Science Accelerator, the Venture In and Venture Out Program and Urban Innovation 21; these programs have helped over 500 companies. In addition Tom directs the URA’s commercial real estate investments, which has invested over $66 million while leveraging over $360 million in over 300 commercial and business developments, leading to the creation of over 5,000 jobs. Mr. Link represents the URA on the Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives, LLC New Market Tax Credit Governing Board, the Northside Community Development Fund’s Loan Review Committee, the Urban Innovation 21 Board of Directors and the Steel Valley Enterprise Zone’s Board of Directors.
Tom has a MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) degree from Carnegie Mellon, and is certified by the Urban Land Institute in Real Estate Development Finance.

Serge Smailbegovic

Serge Smailbegovic

Board Member

Serge Smailbegovic is a Vice President, Global Procurement at BNY Mellon where he leads a team of category managers focused on strategic, global sourcing in a variety of categories. Serge has close to ten years of wide-ranging business experience and has led negotiations on over forty multi-million dollar deals with companies headquartered in the United States and abroad. Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serge has lived extensively in Croatia and Germany. He is fluent in three languages and holds a BA from St. Vincent College. Serge was one of Pittsburgh’s 40 under 40 winners in 2012.

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