Past Events

28 July 2016

Summer Fun - Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

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. 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:

  • Kid Stuf - revolves around one simple idea; make great toys that promote cognitive thinking and inspire creativity.
  • Parisa Soraya of Ditto is a mobile platform that connects individuals living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person support.
  • Janet Wolforth, Save Niche Products, where the ICevac system makes anesthetizing animals safer for people and less stressful for the animal.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Angela Barbash,Principal at Revalue and Founder of Reconsider. Angela is the founder of two local-social-impact companies: Reconsider, a social impact economy hub in the Great Lakes region specializing in community capital, social entrepreneurship, and information on the growing local investing movement by providing research, community facilitation services, cross-pollination opportunities, and education through speaking engagements and collaborative events. Revalue: a registered investment advisory firm exclusively serving impact and local investors.

Gerry Roston, CEO of Civionics, Inc. providing asset managers a comprehensive wireless monitoring solution that reliably tracks the performance and predicts the future health of advanced engineered systems operating in demanding environments. He is also an Executive in Residence for TechTown Detroit where he identifies technology opportunities, provides business assistance to startups and co-facilitates the annual DTX Launch Detroit accelerator program. Gerry is an experienced small-business executive who has led companies and multi-million dollar projects. He has successfully managed start-up businesses and teams within publicly-traded companies; pursued investment opportunities; and brought new products to the market. Gerry's experience ranges from the development of microscopic biological sensors to the redesign of diesel-electric locomotives.

Brenda Jones has held executive leadership positions with technology-based organizations in Ann Arbor including Arbortext, MyBuys, NSF International and the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. She currently serves as a coach for the New Enterprise Forum. Brenda received her Bachelors Degree from Yale, and her MBA from the University of Michigan. She has volunteered in Kenya, Colombia and Thailand.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

16 June 2016

C-Suite Hires

ForumLocation: 

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

Founders of startups start looking for C-Level expertise as their venture begins to evolve. With seed funding in place, founders need to bring in the right talent to help them build their dream enterprise. Our panelists will help you navigate through this landscape. Learn about: the challenges in hiring C-Level staff; the cultural and economic impact on your organization; and about developing and implementing short-term and long-term strategies C-hires can bring to meet desired milestones. The right talent can help you build a new culture, implement strategy, grow the company, connect with customers and get funding to scale your business.

Panel:

Mike Klein, Mentor-in-Residence, University of Michigan Technology Transfer Office. Mike is an accomplished CEO with over 25 years of experience developing, building and growing high tech, software and IT companies. Mike wrote the business plan for his first company, Steeplechase Software while in the MBA program at the University of Michigan and started the company shortly thereafter. Steeplechase was #89 on the Inc 500 fastest growing company list when it was sold to Schneider Automation in 2000. In 2001, he was brought on by venture capital investors to lead the turnaround of Interlink Networks, a network security software company where he raised $11M in new financing and lead the management buy-out in 2005. In 2008, Mike joined Online Tech as Co-CEO and grew the company 500% over 7 years. He lead the company through a successful exit for its investors in 2012 and recapitalized the company with over $30M from new investors to continue its growth trajectory. Mike received his BS in Computer Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.

Barbara Koenig, Barbara brings over 25 years’ experience working as an executive coach and organizational development consultant, primarily in areas related to leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship and career transition and she has partnered with start-ups, small businesses and global organizations such as Toyota, Stryker and ProQuest. Prior to working in Tech Transfer, Barbara worked at UM Stephen Ross School of business providing career consulting with MBA students interested in Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Technology and Careers with impact. In her current role at Tech Transfer, Barbara works with alumni, and other partners in the ecosystem to provide talent and other resources for new venture spinouts from UM. More recently, she partnered with Ann Arbor SPARK and MEDC to lead and facilitate a career transition program known as Michigan Shifting Gears. Barbara earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Centre College and a M.S. Human Resource Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Michigan University.

Michael Kraft, Managing Partner, MKT Partners LLC and Mentor-in-Residence, UM Tech Transfer Office. Michael delivers strategic vision and business development in advanced materials and technology systems markets. He’s led businesses in several countries from start-up to revenues of $300 million and focuses on business model validation, money raise, and team building. Michael completed many global acquisitions ($5 million to $1.5 billion) and leads transaction diligence, integration, and synergy realization. His focus is to quickly identify critical business drivers, build strategic partnerships and partners with the Global 500, grow revenues and market share organically, and complete accretive acquisitions. Recently, he was CEO of Covaron Advanced Materials (Ann Arbor, MI) and EVP of Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDN; $700M revenues). Michael holds a Master of Management (PSU) and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Systems Science (MSU) and completed courses in Strategic Planning and Technology Marketing at Caltech.

Moderator:

Vic Havele, Founder/CEO, Rockstar Innovations, Inc. Vic brings a wealth of experience and expertise to NEF. He is a Board member and is our news article director. Vic is the President of CAEtech International, Inc. provider of engineering and Information Technology Services to the automotive and non-automotive industry. He is Founder and CEO of Rockstar Innovations which is launching a non-profit organization/portal “iendeavor.org” for helping entrepreneurs in successfully launching technology ventures through coaching, mentoring and partnering using talent, technology, innovation and resources. Vic’s other venture is PeopleForge Technologies in which he is engaged in developing and implementing PeopleForge Talent Solutions such as StartupTalent, StemTalent, GlobalTalent etc. for diverse market segments. He has served NEF as a business coach helping entrepreneurs be successful. Vic is also currently serving as an I-Corps mentor for a tech startup from the University of Michigan and recently mentored teams in the Lawrence Technological Universities’ Customer-to-Cash(C2C) program. Vic holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette University, Wisconsin, and Business Executive training from Tuck School of Business and Loyola School of Business.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

19 May 2016

NEF Pitch Pit - Burst of Spring

ForumLocation: 

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. 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:

  • Abess Makki, CityInsight - A mobile application for Detroit Water & Sewage Department to help residents track their water usage and maintain their budgets.
  • David Cai, Gaudium - Armor Blitz, A mobile game in which players lead a squad of anime-style tank girls from the WWII era into battle.
  • Doug Peterson - Won'tBuy, Inc. A tools sharing app to save money by renting tools and listing equipment you own to earn extra cash.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Lauren Bigelow, is CEO at Growth Capital Network. Dr. Lauren Bigelow has served as the CEO of the Growth Capital Network since 2010. She and her team manage programs for the philanthropic, health care and innovation community by providing strategic, project management, research, analytic, and evaluation services. Lauren has been part of the Michigan entrepreneur ecosystem since 2000 when she was the director of the IT Zone. Succeeding positions as Managing Director of the Cleantech Group and North American Commercial Director at New Energy Finance round out her background in clean energy and early stage company engagement. Lauren is a Lecturer for the University of Michigan Ross School of Business where she teaches an advanced energy finance and modeling course that reviews private equity through project finance. She has served on numerous boards of directors. Lauren holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University and a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Alisyn Malek, was named Investment Manager, at General Mortors Ventures, LLC effective February 1, 2014. She manages deal flow in the automotive and transport sector to support these thesis. Alisyn leverages business unit relationships to create value add opportunities for potential investment companies. She is also the owner and manager of Corktown Studios, a small artist collective in Detroit including gallery and studio space. Alisyn's background also includes being an engineering business manager supporting strategy development in GM's Electrification Group and lead engineering responsibilities supporting technology adoption in GM's Infotainment Group. Alisyn joined General Motors in 2008, leading the early development of the DC charging system for the Chevy Spark. Alisyn was honored in Crains Detroit 2014 List of 20 in their 20's. She is a U of M masters gradate in Energy Systems Engineering and holds an MBA from Indian University - Kelly School of Business. 

Helen Ewing, is President at The Ewing Group, LLC where she is a Procurement Consultant providing procurement optimization services and training to manufacturing companies who want more value from their supply chain and procurement staff. As a business coach, Helen has enjoyed working with entrepreneurs for over six years. Along with private clients, Helen has coached numerous entrepreneurs through multiple organizations. Helen has coached for; SPARK, Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, the Michigan Angel Fund, Tech Town Detroit, and past first-round judge for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. She works with companies in manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices and B2B Software as a Service systems. She is a Board Member and past Vice President for New Enterprise Forum. Helen holds a BBA and a MS in Industrial Technology from EMU and is a member of the Institute for Supply Management.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

21 April 2016

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

ForumLocation: 

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

There are certain things investors are looking for in the financials presented by entrepreneurs in their executive summary or initial investor pitch when they are seeking funding. Although no forecast can be counted on with certainty, investors look for a reasonable business model, expectations of sales growth and cash flow, P&L forecasts, and valid assumptions behind any plan. They also look for red flags: sure signs that the numbers are not to be trusted and that the founding team might need too much help. In this month's forum, we hear from an angel investor, a social impact investor and a pre-seed investor.

Panel:

Patti Glaza, serves as Managing Director of the First Step Fund and Detroit Innovate. She has more than 20 years of experience in the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced technologies. Patti serves as a resource to startups and as an advisor/board member, including: Michigan Venture Capital Association, The Great Lakes Protection Fund, NSF I-Corp, University of Michigan's MTRAC - Advanced Transportation Technologies and Venture Center Council, and The Clean Coalition. Prior to joining Invest Detroit, Patti was with Arsenal Venture Partners, a multi-stage national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy and industrial technologies. She has served as the CEO and executive management of several startups in the nanotech, energy, and healthcare IT sectors. Patti is a graduate of Michigan State University from the James Madison and Honor's Colleges with a Bachelor's in International Relations and Economics and has an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Jamie Shea, oversees all aspects of investing at Mission Throttle from deal sourcing to portfolio management. He recently completed a dual master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment, graduating with high distinction. While working at the University, Jamie focused on developing new models of sustainable finance and using principles of cognitive psychology to promote environmentally responsible behavior. During his time there he was one of the Directors of the UM Social Venture Fund, the first student led social venture fund in the country, and directed the 2010 Net Impact National Conference. Jamie is also the Co-founder of the Icon Group, a multi-disciplinary hospitality company that designs, develops and operates nightlife, restaurant and event spaces around the country. One of the venues, La Condesa, received a James Beard nomination for best new restaurant in the country and was voted best restaurant in Austin. He received a B.A. in Government and Environmental Policy from Bowdoin College and spent his early career working on public lands policy for the Idaho Conservation League.

Kathy Nagy, brings her entrepreneurial background to the world of angel investing by identifying promising Michigan-based start-ups; providing mentoring support and consulting and, when appropriate, financial investment. Kathy began her foray into Angel investing in 2012 to support her desire to give back to promising entrepreneurs with her unique combination of experience, leadership and passion for navigating the crucial early years for promising start-ups. Her expertise is built on a solid foundation based on her own entrepreneurial endeavors – most notably twelve successful years as founder and CEO of Strategy Network, a highly respected strategic marketing agency serving automotive, financial, insurance and non-profit industry clients – in addition to prior stints on the corporate marketing staff of General Motors as well as serving as Vice President of Marketing for Jackson-Dawson Communications. Kathy currently holds several Board Director and Advisory positions and her consulting practice specializes in business strategy with an emphasis on the critical need for integration across all business functions to achieve long-term success while minimizing risk. She also enjoys providing executive coaching to promising entrepreneurs who demonstrate their own passion to learn and succeed.

Moderator:

Lee Gorman, Owner, Barton Consulting Services. Lee is an executive with over 25 years of experience in strategic, business, and product planning, implementation, marketing and leadership. She has done extensive work for local non-profits and early-stage companies. She works with Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator services, and coaches other entrepreneur support organizations to help high tech startups commercialize their technologies. Lee was Formerly a Chief Engineer and Product Planning Director at Ford Motor Company and Manager, Strategic Planning at Allied Signal Automotive. She holds an MBA and a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BSME from Lawrence Technological University.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

17 March 2016

NEF Pitch Pit - A Mid-Winter's Blast

ForumLocation: 

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:

  • Priya Ranjan Dass, Nirmal for Disruptive Eating - A mission-driven food vendor promoting 'disruptive eating,' to address obesity in the U.S. using Indian food and an app designed to enable low-income consumers to access healthy food.
  • Arianna Carley, BraceSmart, - An implanted chip that analyzes the human blood stream, gathering data on oxygen levels, heart rate, blood pressure, glucost levels, Troponin and more.
  • Walker McHue, PreDxion Bio - Profiling inflammatory responses with microfluidic immunoblotting

Pitch Pit Judges:

Scott Taylor, Commercialization Advisor at MI Tech Team where he advises and mentors tech startups in the area of technology commercialization, business planning for rapid scale up, technology road mapping, marketing strategy and raising money from angel and venture capital investors. Scott offers an in-the-trenches business, technical, and entrepreneurial background. Over the past year, he has advised over 50 tech startups on their commercialization plans. As one of two founders of Soloshot Inc, he served as president while the company scaled from an idea conceived on the beach, to a global brand with two product line generations, worldwide distribution, in-house production, in-house sales/marketing/R&D teams, and multiple issued patents. Scott holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, both from the University of Michigan.

Anne Perigo, Associate Director at Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, serving a broad range of entrepreneurial students through the management of several co-curricular programs, advising, and coaching. She runs the Michigan Business Challenge, which is an annual campus-wide business plan competition spanning three months and four rounds of competition. Anne also runs the Venture Capital Investment Competition.

B

Kelly Lapierre, Managing Director at Desai Accelerator, a collaborative effort at the University of Michigan between the Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering. Kelly oversees the accelerator's mission of providing the physical infrastructure, financial resources, and mentorship to support early-stage ventures as they reach the critical phase between early-stage development and the point at which they seek external investors.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

18 February 2016

NEF Celebrates 30 Years

ForumLocation: 

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

The February 2016 meeting is our 30th birthday party, where we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. Join in on the fun as we celebrate entrepreneurialism by awarding the 2015 NEF Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Guess which 2015 NEF Showcase Presenters will take home pitch awards for, Best Presentation, Best Technology and Best Business Plan. In honor of our 30th Anniversary, Tom Porter, NEF's Founder, will be presenting the Tom Porter Leadership Award. Be a part of coaching, perfecting and connecting at NEF where entrepreneurs rule!

Tom Porter Leadership Award - Tom Kinnear, D. Maynard Phelps Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing and founding Executive Director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Tom was former Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Senior Associate Dean of the Business School and former Vice President for Development and Executive Officer for the University. He headed the $1.4 billion Campaign for Michigan in the 1990's. At Michigan, he has received awards for teaching excellence and service to the University. Tom holds an undergraduate degree and LLD (honoris causa) from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, and MA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He received the Herbert Dow Award for lifetime contributions in entrepreneurship to the University of Michigan and to the State of Michigan, and the Michigan Venture Capital Association "Lifetime Achievement Award." Tom is a celebrated author of numerous publications.

2015 NEF Entrepreneur of the Year – Elizabeth Ziph, Co-Founder & CEO, Cohort FS, LLC

Elizabeth is the Co-founder and CEO of three companies: ChohortFS, LLC, a software defined storage development company; Enkive, LLC, an open source email archiving and e-discovery software; and The Linux Box, an open source software services company. She is a member of the steering committee of Open Source for America. Prior to her entrepreneurial achievements, Elizabeth was: the Senior Vice president CIO for Franklin Bank; an Associate Director of Information Technology at the U-M managing the academic computing center; and Vice President / Data center manager at Comerica Bank.

2015 NEF Showcase Presenter Awards

Here are the contenders for the 2015 Showcase presenter awards. They worked hard. They all deserve congratulations on their presentations, but only three will be taking home an award for their outstanding efforts.

  • Blue Water Satellite, Milt Baker, CEO
  • ContentOro, Bob Chunn, CEO COO
  • Do-TheDoc, Dimitris Papageorgiou, CEO
  • MakerOS, Mike Moceri, CEO
  • Mobileteer, Dave Alexander, CEO
  • Mountain Labs, Alex VanDerKolk, CEO
  • Pelico, Amer Abughaida, CEO & Imen Alem, CSO
  • Transcuro, Lauren Shampo, CEO
  • Workit Health, Lisa McLaughlin, CEO

The winners’ names remain secret until show time, even they do not know which award they have won.

Showcase Presenter: 

26 January 2016

16th Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship (ACE'16)

ForumLocation: 

Southfield Westin Hotel, 1500 Town Center, Southfield, MI 48075

ACE '16 is the place where Great Lakes region entrepreneurs gather to network, learn and connect. Each year at ACE, you engage with an exciting, forward-thinking community of innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders – people – like you who have the vision and drive to build new ventures for a new future. Each year’s ACE event, along with the year-long activities of its supporting organizations, is helping to make the Great Lakes region a better place to start and grow a business. Join the crowd of attendees as they take advantage of learning and networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs, funding sources and entrepreneurial resources at  ACE’16. See www.ace-event.org for more information.

NEF participation at ACE'16

As one of the founding partners of ACE, NEF has a strong interest in the success of this event. At ACE'16, NEF will be sponsoring two workshops:

Live Investment Pitches To Investors

Experience the difference in an entrepreneur's investor pitch before and after the NEF coaching process. Participate in the audience by asking questions of the entrepreneurs and the investor panel about the concept, market size, competition, business model, go to market strategy, revenue model, finances or management team.

Live Investment Participants:

  • Mark Kiel of Genomenon - Providing Genomic sequencing analysis software
  • Bob Chunn of ContentOro - A reputable content provider for websites
  • Lisa McLaughlin of Workit Health - A software platform providing care & support to substance abusers

Live Investment Judges:

Reda Jaber is a Partner at IncWell an early-stage venture capital fund, where he is involved in all startup company submissions across all business sectors, with lead responsibility for medical sector related activities. Previously, He gained investment experience at Stage 2 Innovations, a $100 million private equity fund. He co-founded several startups including MDCases and MI Happy App. Reda is a celebrated author in research publications and has presented his findings at major scientific conferences internationally. In 2015, he was named to Crain's Detroit Business 20 in their 20's, and in 2016 he was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Healthcare. Reda holds an MD & MBA from the U-M Medical School and the Ross School of business.

B

Adrian Ohmer is an Associate at Invest Detroit, a company sourcing and evaluation for Detroit Innovate (VC fund) and First Step Fund (seed-stage), 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.

B

Skip Simms is Senior Vice President of Ann Arbor SPARK. He works with technology start-up and early stage companies. He focuses on preparing start-ups for equity fund raising. Skip has been successful in raising over $25 million in grants through the states 21st Century Jobs Fund program for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. This program provides very early stage start-ups with small loans, and provides a matching investment of up to $250,000. Skip is the Managing Member of the for-profit Michigan Angel Fund which invests in Michigan based technology companies that need little capital. The Michigan Angel Fund is the state's largest angel network with 73 high net worth individuals looking for an above average return while helping grow and diversity the states economy. Skip participates on both profit and non-profit boards, and was a founding member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Pitch Pit

Four 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 PowerPoint. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and each judge will score the business. At the end, the person with the highest score will receive a special ACE'16 cash prize of over $300.

Pitch Pit Contestants:

  • Norman Kutemperor of Scientel IT Corp.- Is a pioneer in NoSQL Data Base technology. NoSQL, the key to Big Data, is widely utilized on the internet. Scientel specializes in applications based on NoSQL technologies.
  • Kate Thomas of OT&PT Pups - People who own a dog are eight times more likely to survive the first critical year after a heart attack than those who do not. OT&PT Pups has the Rx for healing
  • Chris Bogdan of Get Up & Go - Provider of the first caffeinated baked goods to mass market in the United States.
  • Syed Hussain, of Flexion, LLC -- Developer of an exercise bike to increase range of motion and strength in upper extremities to increase self care, activities of daily living and independence with functional mobility.
  • Timothy Jones of Colorspritz - Developer of electrical generators for wearable illumination including pedestrian safety and fitness.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Derek Edwards, As Vice President of Invest Detroit, a leading source of private sector gap financing, Derek utilizes a variety of funding tools through managed for-profit and non-profit targeted funds to support economic development opportunities in underserved communities primarily in the City of Detroit. His efforts at Invest Detroit are intended to promote job creation expansion of the tax base, and an improved quality of life for the communities the organization serves. He mentors high school students through the 'Winning Futures' program, helping them set goals, explore career options and reinforce how their values impact their personal successes. Derek holds a BSBA in Accounting from Lawrence Technological University and an MS in Corporate finance from Walsh College.  

Lisa Seymour, is the Program Manager for Techstars Mobility, an accelerator program that is operating at the intersection of Detroit's automotive dominance and its entrepreneurial resurgence. Her experience in operations and relationship building allows her to help entrepreneurs move easily through an intense accelerator program as well as support the growth of the Detroit startup community. Lisa has lived in Detroit for over ten years after moving to the city to attend Wayne State University on a softball scholarship. After graduation she served as the Chief of Staff in the Wayne State Athletic Department. She first transitioned into the startup world with a position at Duo Security in Ann Arbor. Lisa holds a B.S. in Management and an MBA from Wayne State University.

Rachele Downs, is the Vice President of Entrepreneurial Strategies for Inforum and the Inforum Center for Leadership (ICL). She is responsible for leading in GAGETM which is Inforum's strategy to position Michigan as the Midwest hub for high-growth women entrepreneurs.The formation of ICL turbocharged Inforum’s mission to help women lead and succeed, giving the organization a real discipline and substance to developing women as leaders – not just supporting them. Inforum is one of the few organizations of its kind in the country that combines professional development, top-notch networking and original research to accelerate careers for women – and make a positive impact on the business environment.

Facilitator:

Stefan Sysko

17 December 2015

Holiday Break 2015

ForumLocation: 

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

To allow everyone to unwind and relax, we will be taking a break from our normal Forum schedule for December. However, that does not mean we are taking a break from NEF coaching or participating in other entrepreneurial events around the area.

The next NEF gathering will be at ACE 2016 when NEF will participate with our famous Pitch Pit. Save the date for ACE 2016 on January 26 at the Southfield Westin Hotel from 12:30 – 6:30 pm. For more details, see www.ace-event.org.

Our next Forum event will be our annual awards meeting AND our 30th Year Anniversary. Mark your calendars for February 18, 2016. We be will be celebrating past NEF Showcase presenters, awarding entrepreneurs, reminiscing, and having fun. Whether you are a past NEF supporter, a current supporter or are interested in entrepreneurialism, come on by and join in the festivities.

19 November 2015

Latest Buzz In Technology Trends

ForumLocation: 

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

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors are always in search of the "next-big-thing." Hear from our November panel about some of the disruptive technologies presently in the pipeline and learn from them what is fundable and what is not.

Panel:

Dan Radomski, Vice President, Industry & Venture Development for NextEnergy. Dan leads NextEnergy’s commercialization services including the market and technology analytic efforts to support the growth of early stage and mature energy technology firms. He also manages the organization’s venture services supporting the commercialization efforts of approximately 100 new developers of advanced energy technologies helping attract over $274 million in investment/funding for clean tech ventures over 6 years. He is an instructor for I-Corps Energy and Transportation Program. Dan is also responsible for industry outreach, market research, value chain analysis and technology road mapping of several energy market segments. He currently serves as an advisor for the National Governor’s Association’s (NGA) Clean Energy Economic Development Policy Academy program. Previously, Dan was co-founder of an innovative clean energy technology consultancy known as Kinetik Partners, which provided product and business development strategy support for companies looking to enter or expand their business into the growing clean energy markets.

Al Carpinelli, Sr. Business Development Manager for Logic Solutions Inc. Al brings more than 35 years of technology experience to his role as account executive at Logic Solutions. He assists clients in bringing their web and Mobile presence forward while integrating and taking advantage of investments in their legacy systems. As a solutions consultant for over fifteen years at Logic Solutions, he has managed dozens of projects. Before coming to Logic, he worked in Relationship/Direct Marketing Services (CRM), at a Big 5 consulting firm, and as an account executive with a large computer manufacturer. Other career highlights include more than eight years experience in technical sales support and consulting services management, including systems analysis and programming, database design, and technical systems support.

Connie Chang, Managing Director for Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI), U-M. Connie helped form, launch and now leads the FFMI team, a unit of the University of Michigan Medical School Office of Research and part of its Strategic Research Initiative. FFMI serves as an innovation navigator for U-M biomedical faculty researchers, trainees and students, helping them navigate the commercialization process via education, mentoring, funding resources and personalized consultation services. Connie joined the University of Michigan in 2009 after a 15-year career in business in Boston and New York, including nearly 12 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry where she worked in the commercial and marketing business functions. Previously she held senior roles at Sepracor and Pfizer. She also served as Director of Regional Marketing for the New England region. She also worked as a consultant at Mercer Management Consulting's New York office. Connie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychobiology from Harvard University and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Moderator:

Paula Sorrell, Principal at Paula LLC. Paula is an independent consultant focused on strategy and marketing, specifically helping organizations who are building an innovation economy. Recently, she served as Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the MEDC overseeing $1B under management to support Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. Prior to MEDC, she has held full and interim senior management roles at seven early stage technology companies. All start-ups resulted in successful sale of the company, or are still a going concern. Paula has been a technology business evaluator for investment portfolio companies, business incubator tenants, for the U.S. Department of Energy, and for a membership group of 1300 international investors. She holds a bachelor degree in marketing and an MBA from Central Michigan University.

Showcase Presenter: 

15 October 2015

NEF Pitch Pit -- Fall Fantasies

ForumLocation: 

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. 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:

  • Demetrius Hayes of Flicked. Ubiquitous cloud that provides users with reliable traffic details related to accidents, road blocks, closed ramps, etc.
  • Barry McDonald of Try2See,Inc.Provider of an app and service called SmallGyfts that allows users to raise money for charities while shopping with local businesses.
  • Chris Bogdan of Get Up and Go. Get Up and Go is the creator and manufacturer of the first caffeinated baked goods to mass market in the United States.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Jill Ford, Special Advisor to Detroit's Mayor, Mike Duggan. She heads the City of Detroit's innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. Jill chose to come to Detroit from the San Francisco Bay Area, where as an Angel Investor and Advisor, she transformed emerging businesses using strategies forged in mobile gaming. Jill brings a wealth of global leadership in mobile and games including heading Disney Mobile's worldwide distribution to mobile manufacturers and running Motorola's global games usage. In addition to traveling to more than 15 countries,she ran a company in Ghana that discovered, developed, and funded new entrepreneurs. Jill combines a Wharton MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Harvard University.

B

David Bloom. David serves as Course Operating Officer and Lecturer at the Ross School of Business, Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance. In this role, he teaches entrepreneurial finance, and runs the Financing Technology Commercialization accelerator practicum at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. For nearly 20 years, David has been the Venture Catalyst at Factotem, providing business acceleration, technology commercialization, business modeling, market positioning, valuation, outsourcing, scalability, and incubation services for Software/Mobile/SaaS, Consumer Electronics, Big Data/Analytics, and Life Science/Medical Devices. David earned his BSE in electrical engineering and his MSE in Industrial and Operations Engineering, both from the University of Michigan.

B

David Tarver. David is the Founder and President of the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative that facilitates business innovation benefiting urban communities. He began his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories and left to start Telecom Analysis Systems out of his basement later selling it for $30 million. He founded the New Jersey community-based nonprofit, Red Bank Education and Development Initiative, catalyzing dramatic improvements in academic performance and opportunities for Red Bank children. He has served on the National Advisory Committee for the U-M College of Engineering, the U-M Alumni Association board of directors, the Red Bank, NJ Board of Education, the National Commission on NAEP 12th Grade Assessment and Reporting, and several other civic and not-for-profit organization boards. David received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.

 

Showcase Presenter: 

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