Past Events

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: 

17 September 2015

Raising Money & Investment

ForumLocation: 

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

According to the MVCA, the demand for future Michigan venture capital will most likely exceed availability. What is an entrepreneur to do? Find out from our panelists.

Panel:

Doug Finch,is an active early stage and angel investor based in Ann Arbor. For the past ten years he was co-owner and COO of Summit Health, Inc., a nationwide provider of employee health screenings to Fortune 500 companies, and he recently exited in an acquisition by Quest Diagnostics. Prior to Summit Health, Doug has led startup and R&D companies in the fuel cell, power electronics, automotive component manufacturing and advanced composite materials industries, and has supported M&A and acquisition integration for a leading Japanese trading and investment company. He earned BS and MS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Doug has served for 18 years on the Board of Trustees of Allegiance Health System in Jackson, Michigan, has been a mentor for the NSF iCorps program, and is currently on the board of Levanto Financial and on the advisory board of Tappan Hill Ventures.

Dave Gregorka is a Venture Partner for Baird Capital. He also works as a Mentor-in-Residence at the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer and is an active consultant. He serves on the Invest Michigan Board is an observer on the Molecular Imaging, Inc. Board, and regularly volunteers his services to startups and others in the entrepreneurial community. Previously, Dave was an operations executive who has been part of successful startup teams for two new companies, Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network and HealthMedia, Inc. He helped to grow both to successful exits. Dave has raised over $20 million in venture capital and grants, and has expertise in new venture leadership, fund raising, M&A, corporate administration, technology management, financial leadership, client services, and operations management. He holds a BS in Biology-Geology from the University of Rochester, an MS in Water Resources Management from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Tim Petersen is Managing Director for Arboretum Ventures. His investments primarily target capital-efficient health IT and services companies that redefine efficient models for care delivery and improving access to care. Tim has led investments and held board seats for Arboretum in more than a dozen companies, including HealthMedia, Accuri Cytometers and Inogen. He currently serves on the boards of Advanced ICU Care, KFx, Inogen, Cervilenz, MyHealthDirect, Tangent, Fidelis, and IntelliCyt. Tim has worked for the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, serving as Managing Director as well as directing the activities of the Wolverine Venture Fund. He has also served as Chairman of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Tim holds a BA in Economics from Williams College, an MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Moderator:

Emily Heintz With a background in economic development, capital markets, and finance, Emily brings technical and practical expertise to her role as Associate Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. She develops the MVCA Research Report, planning educational and networking events, manages talent programs, and is an advocate for Michigan's entrepreneurial community. Prior to joining the MVCA in 2013, Emily was a Capital Markets Associate at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She designed, implemented and managed the MEDC's capital markets programs, including; the 21st Century Investment Fund, Accelerator funds, Venture Development Fund, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, Urban Investment Program, and direct investments made in venture capital firms around the state. Earlier, She was the Accounting Manager at Ann Arbor SPARK. She also worked as an auditor with Plante Moran, the 13th largest US certified public accounting and business advisory firm. Emily holds a Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Science in Accounting from Michigan State.

Showcase Presenter: 

20 August 2015

Summer Break - 2015

ForumLocation: 

No meeting this month

Our next Forum event will be 17 September 2015 as we will be taking a break from our normal Forum schedule for August. However, that does not mean we are taking a break from NEF coaching or participating in other entrepreneurial events around the area.

We are extending to you, our NEF Supporters, a huge thank you and hope to see you again at the September Forum meeting. Details will be posted after returning from our brief respite.

23 July 2015

NEF Pitch Pit -- Summer Fun

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:

  • Bert Tiger Whitehead, Planetxlaw.com - Providing software that enables lawyers to profitably provide more affordable legal services to more clients & at lower costs.
  • Arianna Carley, DynamiX Wheels - A convenient, cost effective & risk mitigating transport method for hospital & nursing home patients.
  • Ed Wahl, N2nplus.com - Connecting buyers, sellers, renters, and job seekers from the individual, business and nonprofit groups. 

Pitch Pit Judges:

Sarika Gupta, Managing Director, Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies (ZLI). In her role as Managing Director, Sarika leads the development and execution of ZLI's student-oriented programs. She also coaches and mentors U-M student teams. Prior to joining ZLI, Sarika was the President and CEO of Dance Telephone, a group party game, the COO of V-teractive, an online gaming startup, and a Senior Quantitative Research Associate at Cambridge Associates, an investment management firm. Sarika holds a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Ken Kousky, CEO, Mid-Michigan Innovation Center. Ken leads the Mid-Michigan Innovation Center to drive innovation and embed a culture of entrepreneurialism into the Michigan region. He serves as President of the Blue Water Angels and is an active member of the Angel Capital Association. Ken founded Wave Technologies, took it public, then sold it to Thomson Reuters. An IT Security Expert, Ken was awarded a patent in cyber security technology. He founded IP3, Inc., an IT security education company and serves as Chair of the IEEE NESCOM Committee to establish safety and security standards. Ken has taught at several Universities as well as serving on the boards of the Washington University National Counsel, IEEE NESCOM, Michigan Sugar Corp., RetroSense, Mid-Michigan Innovation Center, Saginaw Public Schools Foundation, and numerous private companies.

Special Update: The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) will present the results of its 2015 Annual Research Report which tells the story of venture capital's success in helping to rebuild Michigan's economy. MVCA values your role in advancing Michigan's entrepreneurs as part of our economic recovery. We want to do our best to keep you updated on the activities of the venture capital community in Michigan by giving you the most current information on the growth of venture capital throughout the State.

Showcase Presenter: 

18 June 2015

The Jobs Act, Mile Act, and Crowd Funding

ForumLocation: 

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

It has been another year and although the entrepreneurial community hoped for more, much uncertainty still surrounds Crowd Based Equity and Debt funding. Listen to our panel of experts tell us where crowd funding stands with both the SEC and the state of Michigan and what this may mean for your business funding in the future.

Panel:

Angela Barbash, is the Founder of Reconsider. She leverages her understanding of finance, passion for empowering people through knowledge, and ability to make connections between trends and implementation, to help build a future that works for everyone. Reconsider is an impact economy research, education, and consulting firm based in Ypsilanti. With the support of the community in 2012, she and an advisory team then launched Revalue, a registered investment advisory firm, to serve conscious and local investors. Additionally, Angela currently serves as Treasurer of the Social Enterprise Alliance Detroit chapter. Prior to this work, she spent a decade as a financial advisor. Previous to her advising career, she worked for the Michigan SBDC at EMU while studying cultural anthropology and history.

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.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.

Moderator:

Carrie Leahy, is a Partner at Bodman, PLC where she concentrates her practice in corporate and business law. Carrie counsels established and emerging businesses on general corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, compliance with securities regulations, and issues involving venture capital funding. She has drafted and negotiated M&A transactional documents, operating and joint venture agreements for publicly and privately held companies. Carrie has also advised clients on entity formation, corporate governance, and other general business issues. She has significant experience working with the University of Michigan's Technology Transfer Office and is part of a Bodman team that has represented more than one-third of the start-up and spin-off companies that have recently licensed technology from U of M. Carrie is an author for ICLE. She servers on several boards of directors. She has been recognized as a "Rising Star" in Business/Corporate law in Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 and is named a 2014 "Top Lawyer" by DBusiness magazine.

Showcase Presenter: 

21 May 2015

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:

  • Reed Benet, Valor Villages USA - A military veteran-founded and led Zillow-style website for the small (2-7 unit) multi-family property space.
  • Susan Dancy-Syriac, Cooks For Me - Providing cooking enthusiasts an online platform to sell home-cooked food within their community and from their own home
  • David Silver, Horse Power Riding Center - Detroit-based equestrian center teaching urban youth horsemanship and life skills.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Alain Piette, Technology Team Manager at MISBDC. In his most recent assignment, Alain was president of an advanced manufacturing company. The company was a technology spinout from a large automotive supplier. His activities included the technology spinout, marketing and commercialization as well as leading the advanced R&D activities. The company focused its efforts in the aerospace, military and transportation industries. Alain has also worked in Europe, Southern Africa, Central and South America for international corporations such as DuPont, Sherwin Williams and Kongsberg Automotive. He has also been involved with turn-around, startup and M&A activities. Alain brings his extensive experience in organizational development, manufacturing, R&D market development, technology transfer and international expansion to the team.

Dominic Spadafore, Principal at Dominic Spadafore and Associates LLC. Dominic is dedicated to helping early stage companies, emerging technology companies and investors expand their business. He has helped commercialize new technologies, and developed messaging strategies for complex clinical products in executive leadership roles for several medical device companies, including: Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales for Netherlands-based BMEYE; Vice President, Advanced Parameters and Market Development for Covidien, and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Somanetics Corporation. Dominic earned his B.S. in Biology fro Oakland University.

Scott Olson, Managing Director, U-M Pediatric Device Consortium. Scott is an experienced entrepreneur involved in eight start-ups. He currently serves as Managing Director, M-PED Pediatric Device Consortium at the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. Previously, he spent 14 years as President of Life Science Consultants, LLC providing strategic guidance, technology validation and market assessment to companies in; pharmaceutical, biotech medical device, medical IT, and other life science segments. Scott also served as Managing Director, Entrepreneurial Business Development at Ann Arbor SPARK, leading efforts to build the entrepreneurial community in Southeast Michigan. Scott earned his BA in Psychology from Purdue University and his MBA from the University of Michigan.

Showcase Presenter: 

16 April 2015

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.

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.

Michael Godwin is Managing Director of Resonant Venture Partners. He has worked with venture backed startups in the software, consulting, wireless and online commerce industries since 1996. He currently serves on the board of directors of Accio Energy and Pinoccio. Michael is a former Managing Director of the Wolverine Venture Fund's student advisory board at the University of Michigan. Prior to his role with the Wolverine Venture Fund at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, he was a consultant and software engineer with Menlo Innovations, the Independent Online Distribution Alliance and WebCrawler, and Zengine/MCSI. Michael holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, Boston.

Dave Gregorka is a Venture Partner for Baird Capital. He also works as a Mentor-in-Residence at the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer and is an active consultant. He serves on the Invest Michigan Board, is an observer on the Molecular Imaging, Inc. Board, and regularly volunteers his serves to startups and others in the entrepreneurial community. Previously, Dave was an operations executive who has been part of successful startup teams for two new companies, Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network and HealthMedia, Inc. He helped to grow both to successful exits. Dave has raised over $20 million in venture capital and grants, and has expertise in new ventures leadership, fund raising, M&A, corporate administration, technology management, financial leadership, client services, and operations management. He holds a BS in Biology-Geology from the University of Rochester, an MS in Water Resources Management from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Moderator:

Lee Gorman, Owner, Barton Consulting Services LLC and Management Consulting Consultant Lee Gorman is an executive with over 25 years of experience in strategic, business, and product planning, implementation, marketing and leadership. Ms. Gorman has done extensive work for local non-profits and early-stage companies. She works with Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator services, and coaches through organizations including New Enterprise Forum, Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest, UM’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the Cleantech Open, and Shifting Gears. Formerly a Chief Engineer and Product Planning Director at Ford Motor Company and Manager, Strategic Planning at Allied Signal Automotive, Ms. Gorman holds an MBA and a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BSME from Lawrence Technological University.

Showcase Presenter: 

19 March 2015

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:

  • Harry C. Arnold, Detroit Drone - Detroit Drone flies Drones and develops uses for them in new markets.
  • Derek Debiak, The Song Market - The Song Market is a socially competitive online song trading platform that tests your ability to predict music success.
  • Erik Wesslen, Gathrd - Gathrd is a service that allows people to quickly and easily discover and create gatherings of people around topics of interest by leveraging existing social networks.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Alyssa Martina, CEO, Memloom; Alyssa is a successful businesswoman, successful serial entrepreneur and educator. Most recently, she has launched a new startup called Memoom, which  is a B2B storytellling digital platform that helps companies and brands connect with consumers through engaging stories. Alyssa serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She sits on several boards including the Michigan Women's Commission, The Center for Citizenship, and the Children's Leadership Council. She has received many awards for her contribution to parenting, journalism, and entrepreneurship. Alyssa is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences, seminars and workshops as well as mentoring many women who wish to start companies of their own. 

Lee Gorman, Owner, Barton Consulting Services LLC and Management Consulting Consultant Lee Gorman is an executive with over 25 years of experience in strategic, business, and product planning, implementation, marketing and leadership. Ms. Gorman has done extensive work for local non-profits and early-stage companies. She works with Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator services, and coaches through organizations including New Enterprise Forum, Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest, UM’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the Cleantech Open, and Shifting Gears. Formerly a Chief Engineer and Product Planning Director at Ford Motor Company and Manager, Strategic Planning at Allied Signal Automotive, Ms. Gorman holds an MBA and a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BSME from Lawrence Technological University.

Doug Neal, Co-founder and Managing Director / Michigan eLab, has over 25 years of technology industry experience including the founding of five companies and is an experienced entrepreneur, educator and venture capitalist. He has held leadership positions at Hewlett Packard, Symatec and iPass as well as co-founding Mobil Automation which was sold in 2005. In 2009, Doug became Executive Director of the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship and was instrumental in developing a process for teaching entrepreneurship to students, faculty and researchers. In 2013, he left the University of Michigan to launch Michigan eLab, an early stage venture fund focused on disruptive technology startups in the Michigan ecosystem.

Showcase Presenter: 

19 February 2015

NEF Celebrates 29 Years

ForumLocation: 

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

The February 2015 meeting is our 29th birthday party, where we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. Join in on the fun as we celebrate entrepreneurialism by awarding the 2014 NEF Entrepreneur Award. Guess which 2014 NEF Showcase Presenters will take home pitch awards for, Best Presentation, Best Technology and Best Business Plan. Celebrate with us in launching our new branding. Be a part of coaching, perfecting and connecting at NEF where entrepreneurs rule!

2014 NEF Entrepreneur of the Year – Steve Schwartz, Co-Founder & CTO, CarcodeSMS

In February of 2014, Snapshot Mobile, Inc. launched CarcodeSMS which was acquired by Edmunds.com in October of the same year. Driven to streamline the car-shopping experience, CarcodeSMS allowed dealers to receive text messages from customers. When dealers adopt the program they are provided with a local phone number to facilitate the text message exchange. When a text message is received, the system assigns it to a salesperson who quickly responds to the customer and is tracked through the dealerships customer relations management software.

Edmunds.co President, Seth Berkowitz, said it best about what the acquisition means to them by stating: “Car shoppers are clamoring for mobile solutions and we saw an opportunity to provide an on-demand mobile experience through the CarCode platform. We are laser-focused on streamlining the car-shopping experience and this acquisition is just one example of the investment we are making in mobile technology to achieve our goal. We think CarCode provides a very relevant service that ties directly to the growing trend in mobile showrooming and shopping.”

2014 NEF Showcase Presenter Awards

Here are the contenders for the 2014 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.

  • Airs, Valerie Obenchain, CEO
  • Exodynamics, Mushir Khwaja, COO
  • Simpathic, Dan Riesfiled, CEO
  • MyFab5, Omeid Seraifi-Pour, CEO
  • Genomenon, Mark Kiel, CEO
  • Foodjunky.com, Travis Johnson, CEO
  • DataSpeaks, Dennis Nash, CEO
  • PicoSpray, Lihang Nong, CEO
  • A2B Bikeshare, Ansgar Strother, CEO
  • Phaseiq, Arlyne Simon, CEO
  • Roomations, Katie Miller, CEO

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

Showcase Presenter: 

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