Ann Arbor, Michigan: Entrepreneur Coaching for Investment Opportunity

New Enterprise Forum (NEF) is an Ann Arbor-based not-for-profit corporation
founded in 1986 to help entrepreneurs prosper and grow.

For more than 25 years we've linked entrepreneurs to management expertise, potential joint venture partners, mentors, business services, capital, and other critical resources. Since its founding, NEF has been a model for similar groups and a magnet for entrepreneurs and investors throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Our success has captured national media attention and is unique among organizations of its kind in longevity, dynamism, and the number of deals assisted.

If you share in our passion of helping entrepreneurs succeed, you will want to explore the services we offer. We offer many opportunities to participate whether you are:

  • An entrepreneur seeking capital
  • A service provider or consultant wanting to get involved
  • A student who wants to learn more from experts
  • An investor searching for business opportunities
  • An entrepreneurial organization looking for project collaboration

You have come to the right place to get connected.

Next Event

NEF Pitch Pit - An Mid Summer's Night Dream

Date: Thursday, 24 July 2014 - 5:00 pm   

Location: Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The three entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Jason Beale of Regaingo - Providing an interactive search engine that allows homeowners to find home contractors. His product is a virtual yard sign.
  • Scott Phillips of The Search Lite - Matching Intellectual Property technology benefits with market needs to assist research universities in assessing commercialization of student products and accelerate time to market.
  • Tony Menyhart of Easy Artisan Bread - Offering several delicious bread mixes that do not require kneading.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Jack Ahrens of TGap Ventures has been a venture capitalist and fund administrator since 1979; first as President of United Capital Corporation of Illinois (an SBIC), since 1983 as a General Partner of Pathfinder Venture Capital Funds I, II and III and since 2002 Founding General Partner of TGap Ventures. Prior to that he had seven years of experience in bank trust investments and operations. He became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in 1982 and has advanced training at the American Institute of Banking, NASBIC Management Institute, and Stanford Advance Management College. He is a graduate of Indiana University.

Adrian Ohmer is an Associate at Invest Detroit a company sourcing and evaluation for Detroit Innovate (VC fund) and First Step Fund (seed-stage fund), along with the support of other funds in the Invest Detroit portfolio as well as entrepreneurial community engagement. He was a Co-Founder of Wedding Seed a web and mobile-based service that attempts to solve the fundamental disconnect in the wedding industry between what a couple asks for and what they truly want for their wedding. Adrian was also the Editor in Chief for the Michigan Journal of Private Equity & Venture Capital Law.

Lauren Bigelow is CEO of Growth Capital Network. She has Broad experience in the entrepreneur and venture capital industry with particular experience in Cleantech and IT. She Developed and managed a number of programs to facilitate fundraising by the venture industry from institutional investors and by early-growth companies from the venture industry. Programs were initiated and executed in North America, Europe and China. She has extensive experience as a marketing exec with broad experience in all aspects of print, media and event promotion. Direct experience with market research, focus groups and marketing strategy in addition to running large conferences, expos and trade shows.

Showcase Presenter


Presenter: Mark Kiel, CEO

GENOMENON is enabling personalized medicine by improving genome sequence interpretation.  We are developing software that automatically identifies meaningful information from complex genetic datasets in both research and clinical settings and presents that information in an intuitive and efficient interface virtually eliminating the expensive and error-prone manual data review process.  The end result is faster discoveries, fewer missed diagnoses and overall improved patient outcomes in oncology and beyond.

Our recent recognition and awards include Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize (First Place) 2014, Spartan Innovations GreenLight (Best Overall Pitch) 2014, MiQuest (First Place - New Business Idea) 2014, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (grant awardee) 2014 and Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (company presenter) 2014.

Mark J. Kiel MD/PhD completed his medical residency in Clinical Pathology in 2014 at the University of Michigan where he is currently a fellow in Molecular Diagnostics. He has extensive experience in genome sequence data analysis with first-hand knowledge of the clinical use of these data and has served in an advisory position to a number of research investigators and clinical diagnosticians.