Brandcenter Icon Brandcenter

Friday Forum

Headshot of Matt Donlon for Friday Forum
Friday, Sept. 22
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

VCU Commons Theater

907 Floyd Ave.

Matt Donlon

Founder / UZURV

Topic: How an entrepreneur with sharp vision created the “Open Table” of ride sharing

There’s UBER, LYFT and dozens of other ridesharing services available out there. Is it possible that they’ve all overlooked an opportunity in the marketplace? UZURV founder and serial entrepreneur Matt Donlon is a very creative problem solver who will tell the story of how he spotted a need and turned it into an exciting, Richmond-based business despite many obstacles (and a threat or two) along the way.


Matt Donlon is a Founder of UZURV. He has an almost uncanny ability to detect good ideas and match them with bright, talented people who can make those ideas come to life. (It must be true, he hired us!)

Matt has a storied background in security having worked at the CIA, Department of the Navy, NASA and as the Director of the Security and Intelligence Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The prototype Matt developed at DARPA led him to Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute where he was able to mature the technology. In 2000 Matt decided to start his own company, The ESP Group. There he very successfully led the effort to build a highly secure portal software for the national security community.

After The ESP Group was acquired, Matt was able to pursue a wide array of interests and invest in promising new businesses, including a horse hospital in Amelia County, a whisky distillery in Lovingston, and restaurants in Charlottesville and Richmond.

Matt was one of the first Uber Partners when they launched here in Richmond in 2014. It was a job he embraced as it allowed him to explore new parts of the city and meet and talk to a diverse range of people, a favorite pastime of his.

In May 2015 Matt met co-Founder, Harold Frans, at a Capital One event where they were both representing Uber. They got to talking and on that day the idea for the UZURV app was born. It wasn’t long before he started assembling a crew of top notch IT, marketing and operations professionals to make their dream a reality.

Donlon has lived in Midlothian, VA with his lovely wife Kim for over 20 years. Matt has a passion for Bruce Springsteen and Virginia Tech basketball – his oldest son Greg was a walk on for the men’s team. His youngest son, Peter, is attending Radford University. (Like father, like son!)