About SPURstartup

We’re Maggie and Jon, and we believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur.

Since both of us can remember, we’ve wanted to start our own company. We always dreamed of being our own boss, building teams of smart people, and changing the world. But as college students, there are a lot of factors that get in the way: discouraging people who’ve told us to get a “real job,” not knowing the right steps to take to build a company, and, of course, mega-huge fear of failure!

But not giving ourselves a chance to launch our startup was even scarier – what if we never tried? What if we missed our chance on a great idea? What if we got stuck in a corporate job under fluorescent lights and always regretted not following our dreams?

That’s the exact reason why we started SPURstartup.

SPURstartup is a launchpad for student startups, making the transition into the startup world after college easier than ever. Here, you can raise money for every stage of your startup journey, find mentors, and transform an idea into your dream business.

Maggie Barton


As a Co-Founder of SPURstartup, Maggie leads strategy, operations, curriculum & business development. She brings diverse business aptitude from her degree in entrepreneurship & her previous work at a variety of companies from a hedge fund to a career website to a global fashion brand. When Maggie isn’t in front of her laptop, she can be found painting, planning her next travel adventure, or bookmarking her favorite pages in Vanity Fair.

Jonathan Schick


As the other Co-Founder of SPURstartup, Jon directs all things tech, design and branding. He brings design thinking strategy from his degrees in entrepreneurship & design and entrepreneurial experience from his work on multiple university startup teams, from robotic surgical equipment to spider-silk hiking gear (!). In his spare time, you can find Jon teaching himself to play a new instrument, planning his next outdoor adventure, or listening to Frank Sinatra.

Mayur Kathale

Software Developer | Synerzip

Mayur Kathale is a Software Developer with 3 years of extensive experience with an Agile Software Development Company, Synerzip. He has developed various web based applications. Mayur has a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. Apart from coding, he is interested in gaming, travelling, and photography.

Robyn Stringfellow

Business Development Manager | Mark Cuban Companies

Robyn is responsible for advising growth initiatives and investor relations for SPURstartup. She brings business analytic skills from her experience managing development and growth opportunities at Mark Cuban Companies and Johnson & Johnson. When Robyn is not mentoring teams from Shark Tank, she can be found networking at a Dallas hot-spot or scouting for the city’s best slice of cake.

Leslie Zaikis

Sales & Marketing | Skillcrush

Leslie advises our marketing, sales, and overall startup strategy to keep our team on track (and sane!). Leslie has led zero to 7-figure startup sales growth and has facilitated strategic planning for Fortune 500 companies and top 25 universities. When she’s not writing marketing copy or building analytics dashboards, Leslie can be found reading dystopian YA fiction, testing guacamole recipes, or at SoulCycle.

Lila Thomas

Marketing Manager | Chegg, Inc.

Lila helps develop and execute SPURstartup’s go-to-market strategy. She has built high-profile programs to target and recruit millennial talent for companies including Chegg, where she currently works to create marketing campaigns that engage their student audience. When Lila isn’t dreaming up her next big marketing stunt, she’s teeing up for a round of golf or hiking with her dog, Dixie.

Jeremy Vickers

Executive Director | The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UTDallas

Prior to UTD, Jeremy was at the Dallas Regional Chamber from 2011 to 2015 as the Vice President of Innovation where he led strategy and program implementation to support building the North Texas innovation ecosystem. His efforts were to support university research growth, technology commercialization, startup resource support, and startup capital access. Specifically, he was involved in the launch of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center as a Co-Founder, the Texas Research Alliance, and InnovateDFW, which is now a part of LaunchDFW.com.

David Lynch

Founder | DML Group, LLC

David is the Founder and Managing Partner at DML Group, LLC, providing strategic, financial and operational advisory to companies across a range of industries. He draws on his experience in investment banking, private equity and company turnarounds to help firms achieve their long-term vision and the sustainable expansion of their companies. David has over a decade of experience living, working and studying overseas which brings a unique point of view to local, domestic and international strategy. He has an MBA from London Business School and a BBA from The University of Texas at Austin. David tries to spend as much time as he can with his wife and two children, and any spare time getting back in the air with his pilot’s license.

Philip Zeller

Project Manager | Netsync Network Solutions

Phil is a Project Manager with Netsync Network Solutions, overseeing network and server infrastructure deployments for customers in the education and healthcare vertical markets. In his career in IT services, Phil has delivered projects for household brands and Fortune 500s like Best Buy, American Airlines, LEGO, Tenet Healthcare, and large public sector clients including the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the University of Texas system. Aside from his love for meeting business challenges with IT solutions, Phil is a devoted husband, father to an adopted golden retriever, econ and markets geek, Feed My Starving Children supporter, dance music addict, occasional cyclist, and cancer survivor.

Brett Hagler

CEO & Co-Founder | New Story

Brett is the CEO and Co-Founder of New Story – an innovative nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities in the developing world. He is a cancer survivor, author, keynote speaker, Y Combinator graduate and a 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur. For fun, Brett enjoys reading, trying new restaurants, great wine, and CrossFit workouts in the early morning.

Thomas Barton

Partner | White Rock Capital

Tom Barton is the founder, President and General Partner of White Rock Capital, a hedge fund and venture capital investment firm located in Dallas, TX. Tom has numerous experiences serving on boards for both public and private companies including AquaBounty, Levo, and several non-profit organizations including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He co-founded the public company Microtune and was one of the founding venture capital investors in Intrexon and USSB (which became DirecTV).

Larry Plummer

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship | Ivey College of Business

Larry reviews SPURstartup’s courses to teach idea generation and how to find good venture opportunities. He has a Ph.D. in strategy & entrepreneurship and currently teaches at a top entrepreneurship program in Canada. Larry has launched two startups and has consulted for organizations internationally, in the aerospace, environmental, and television & film sectors.