The panel of judges will consist of speakers from PSU Startup Week, including David Rusenko (Weebly), Chris Fanini (Weebly), Steve Huffman (Reddit, Hipmunk), Daehee Park (Mulu), and John Thomas Marino (Mulu).
David Rusenko is the CEO and co-founder of Weebly, a tech start-up based out of San Francisco, California. Weebly is an extremely simple and powerful way for anybody to create a website, blog, or online store. Weebly was named one of Time’s 50 best websites of 2007, and has been featured in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines, as well as on NBC and the BBC. Every month, 4 percent of the United States visits a Weebly website. Rusenko was named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list in 2011.
A 2007 graduate of the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State, Rusenko is the youngest recipient of the prestigious Penn State Alumni Achievement Award. Rusenko lives and works in San Francisco, and enjoys traveling, scuba diving, DJing, and playing racquetball during his free time.
Chris Fanini is the CTO and co-founder of Weebly, a tech start-up based out of San Francisco, California. Weebly is an extremely simple and powerful way for anybody to create a website, blog, or online store. Weebly was named one of Time’s 50 best websites of 2007, and has been featured in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines, as well as on NBC and the BBC. Every month, 4 percent of the United States visits a Weebly website.
Fanini attended the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State.
Steve Huffman is the co-founder of Reddit, a social news website where users provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good and what’s bad. Huffman created Reddit with his college roommate, Alexis Ohanian, Reddit was initially funded by Y Combinator and grew to become one of the largest social news sites online. In October of 2006, Reddit was acquired by Conde Nast Publications.
In October 2009, Huffman left Reddit and in 2010, co-founded Hipmunk, a new travel search site that aims to make travel planning easier. Hipmunk was designed to help people who are overwhelmed with pages of irrelevant search results. Flight results are presented in a visual “timeline” that allows people to select the best flight for them at a glance. Hotel results are shown on a map so that people can view where in a destination they will be staying and the landmarks near them.
Huffman is a 2005 graduate of the University of Virginia (UVA).
Daehee Park serves as the Head of eCommerce for Mulu, a celebrity-supported social commerce platform raising money for charities. At Mulu, he is focused on platform monetization, retailer integration, data strategy and analytics. His passions include high-risk startups, performance marketing, and creating unfair advantages with data.
Prior to joining Mulu, Daehee was a marketing strategy consultant with Acxiom’s Global Consulting Group. There he worked across a wide range of clients, including Macy’s, VISA, Fidelity, Shell, CIGNA and American Family Insurance, to optimize customer value at every interaction across channels. He also co-founded the Emerging Media Forum, a peer-powered network for sharing thought leadership to advance innovation and performance in the new media ecosystem.
Daehee graduated in 2009 from the College of Information Sciences and Technology with a B.S. in Security & Risk Analysis. During his studies, he had founded Whim Media, a performance marketing firm specializing in search engine optimization, paid search, social media advertising, contextual advertising and affiliate marketing. He currently lives in Tempe, Arizona, and is the father of two children.
John Thomas Marino is chancellor of engineering at Mulu, which USA Today reporter Jon Swartz called “e-commerce with a cause.” Mulu, which formally launched in early March at SXSW Interactive, is a social media platform with a unique model for sharing and discovery that aims to benefit social good through charity partnerships. Within a user’s profile, they can identify the charities for which they’re raising money. A unique feature of Mulu is its question-and-answer format and “guru points” that go to curators for activity based on their recommendations.
Marino’s past experience includes working as a software engineer at Hashrocket and at West Arete Computing.
Marino attended Penn State and studied computer science and mathematics. While there, he was a member of the Ruby Group Meetup, Penn State Entrepreneurship Club, and was a computer science and math tutor.