Past Events

18 December 2014

Holiday Break 2014

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.

The next NEF gathering will be at ACE 2015, see www.ace-event.org at which NEF will host two panels: The first is on pitching and the second is our now-famous Pitch Pit. Our next Forum event will be in 19 February 2015 - our annual awards meeting. However, that does not mean we are taking a break from NEF coaching or participating in other entrepreneurial events around the area. Please visit our partners in entrepreneurialism for events during August.

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

20 November 2014

Putting the Pieces Together - An Entrepreneurs Guide to a Great Launch

ForumLocation: 

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

It's a conundrum. Where will you focus your energies today...on perfecting a pitch, selling to customers, building your team, developing your product, executing on your marketing plan? Nailing the essential components of startup success is never easy. You have to bring all the pieces together seamlessly for a successful launch and fully functional business. If even one area is weak, you'll fall short of your potential. Join us to hear how you can build strengths in four essential area of business development: Financial Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Product Development. If the critical issues you're facing include a lack of access to capital, ineffective management practices, and difficulty recruiting talent, developing a sales pipeline or scaling up production or services, learn from this panel experts how you can bring these pieces together and get on firm footing.

Panelists:

Angela Barbash, Principal and Investment Advisor for Revalue, is a registered investment advisory firm. Revalue specializes in helping investors align their investment decisions with their values and diversify their capital into the local economy. In addition to her role as an innovator in the local investment advising market, Ms. Barbash is also the visionary and founder behind Revalue’s sister company Reconsider, a research and development firm launched in 2012. Reconsider’s core purpose is to nurture the growth of the social impact economy ecosystem. Both firms are located in the Spark East business incubator in Downtown Ypsilanti and the teams work together to take a holistic systemic approach to building the local impact economy. Prior to launching Revalue and Reconsider, Angela spent 10 years as a financial advisor in the Metro Detroit region, managing over $250 million during the last decade. She studied Cultural Anthropology and History at Eastern Michigan University and began her professional career at the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) before becoming entering the financial services sector.

Kevin Suboski, Professional Implementer for Entrepreneur Operating System. As a Professional Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) Implementer, Kevin helps people get more of what they want from their business. While improved financials generally is part of what people want, he often finds they get as much or more satisfaction out of the peace and predictability they get as well. EOS is the Entrepreneurial Operating System as explained in Gino Wickman's book Traction. EOS is a complete set of simple tools – a system for running your business. The system is designed for entrepreneurial organizations not big corporations. Kevin works with Leadership Teams to implement the EOS which brings three key things to organizations: Vision, Traction and Team Health. Everyone in the organization gets greater clarity on the vision, discipline and accountability in executing that vision and a functional, cohesive and healthy team culture

David Bloom, Founder, Factotem. David is a founder or executive of nine startups; an advisor or director with five emerging companies; and a coach or trainer for scores of entrepreneurial ventures in Software/Mobile/SaaS, Consumer Electronics, Big Data/Analytics, and Life Science/Medical Devices. David mentors startups on Business Canvas and Customer Development, Translational Research/Commercialization, Revenue Generation, and Networking. He serves as coach and connector for Factotem's portfolio of companies. In 1995, David founded the Factotem Constellation, a global team of senior business development professionals who provide hands-on engineering, marketing, and analyst/diligence services to entrepreneurs and investors. Prior to Factotem, David worked as a product developer, project manager, magazine writer, and editor.

Maurice Collins, VP of Operations, InfoReady. Over the last 18 years, Maurice has held a wide spectrum of roles, from developer to CEO. Maurice brings a unique understanding of the business needs and using technology to deliver the business goals. Maurice brings several years of hands-on software development experience complemented by strong product development and team leadership experience. He has been a leader in technology planning and developing software products at companies such as Wellness & Prevention Inc. previously known as HealthMedia. Maurice is currently in his 3rd start-up environment and has also worked for organizations like Johnson & Johnson and AAA Michigan. Maurice holds a masters of business administration degree from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelors degree in computer science from Kettering University.

Moderator:

Diane Durance, president of MiQuest, which is working to ignite, unleash and promote entrepreneurship in Michigan through its initiatives that include competitions, publications, and events. MiQuest is continuing the legacy of the GLEQ Business Plan Competition with a business competition for ventures beyond the start-up stage. In addition to the competition, MiQuest publishes the Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card and supports the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event and the 50 Companies to Watch awards. For ten years, the Entrepreneurship Score Card has tracked 120 key metrics that impact the growth and vitality of entrepreneurship in Michigan and prepared a state-by-state comparison on each metric. Prior to her current economic development roles, Diane founded and grew three companies, including a telecommunications engineering firm; a marketing communications publishing company; and an angel-funded, Ann Arbor-based home repair/handyman business. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration, both from Southern Methodist University

Showcase Presenter: 

16 October 2014

NEF Pitch Pit - Trick or Treat?

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:

  • Zachary Lewis of Phone Bar - providing cell phone charging stations for events .
  • Phil Mather of Speedsters Indoor Kart Racing - providing European style indoor cart racing for kids and adults.
  • Kevin Hagedorn of Metastable Materials, Inc. - providing magnetic labels to improve point-of-care medical diagnostic devices.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Arcadio Ramirez, a Technology Business Consultant for the State of Michigan, advises technology companies preparing to raise private equity. As an attorney he worked with venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital, Benchmark, New Enterprise Associates, Mayfield Fund and Institutional Venture, and with the Silicon Valley investment banking community on public offerings such as Apple, Seagate, Atari and Atmel. He started and sold two companies, including one of the first venture-funded transaction-based Internet sites, Do It Sports, raising over a million dollars in private equity, selling the company to Active.com. He earned his J.D. from Stanford Law and his B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Francis Glorie, Director of International Sales for Tangent Medical Technologies, Inc., has more than 25 years of successful experience in international executive management, consulting, and entrepreneurship. He has been involved with several startups, turnarounds and successful exits. Past roles include: Director of International Sales at Accuri Cytometers, Inc.; Managing Director – Europe at DataCore Software Corporation; CEO at MicroWarehouse – France; and Founder, Senior Vice President, and CFO at Irwin Magnetics. He earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a BBA from Skema Business School in France.

Nancy Benovich Gilby Ehrenberg Director of Entrepreneurship, Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. She has done ten high tech startups, with eight successful exits to date, twelve new market products launched, and has been involved in twelve rounds of venture capital funding. Nancy focuses on bringing great ideas to market and driving their adoption. She is a mentor to University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) Student Teams and two girls robotics competition teams. She earned her BSE in Computer and Electrical Engineering and her MSE in Computer Engineering, both from University of Michigan.

Showcase Presenter: 

18 September 2014

Stories from the Road, why is raising capital so difficult?

ForumLocation: 

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

According to the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s latest Annual report over the last five years we have seen 111% growth in the number of companies receiving Venture Capital and 137% growth in Angel backed companies. So why do companies that have great products and have even raised capital already struggle to raise funds in this growing environment? Join our panel of active company CEO’s as they discuss the real world stories of being on the road and trying to raise the funds to they need to grow to the next level.

Our distinguished panels of experts is:

Justin Adams, CEO of AlertWatch, is a recovering software developer who has been leading high-tech start-up firms since getting his MBA in 2009. AlertWatch, a UM spin-out is developing patient monitoring software. He has a knack at working with strong technical founders on converting their visions into marketable products. He previously spent time at EDF Ventures, providing back-office and due diligence support.

Jesse Vollmar, Co-Founder and CEO of Farm Logs, a cloud-based software company that provides farmers with tools to better manage and plan their farms’ operations from budgeting to data on soils, rain fall, grain pricing, etc., for improving a farm’s productivity and profitability. Prior to founding Farm Logs, Jesse started Aedis IT, LLC, an IT consulting firm which he grew to annual revenue of $350,000 and 5 employees.

Jason Townsend, Managing Director Resonant Venture Partners, has worked in the semiconductor and software industries since 1999, has been an active real estate investor since 2003 and was named to the Crain’s Detroit Business 2010 “40 Under 40” List. Prior to Resonant, Jason served as a managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund’s student advisory board at the Ross School of Business. While at Ross, Jason founded Ikanos Power, a clean energy startup developing a fuel reformer that converts a wide variety of fossil fuels from a liquid state to a gas sate. Prior to Ross, Jason served as a product engineer at both ITT Automotive and Chrysler; and then moved on to Intel where he rose to the position of business development manage.

The moderator for the discussion is:

Steve Schwartz, Managing Member of Alfa Jango, a company acting as CTO and development team for software startups, is a serial entrepreneur. Steve is also co-founder of CarcodeSMS, a text messaging platform for car dealerships. Prior to Alfa Jango, he founded and built RateMyStudentRental.com and LeadNuke.com. Steve is the maintainer of jQuery UJS and jQuery Rails in Rails core and has built popular open-source software including Dynatable.js. Steve is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Enterprise Forum.

Showcase Presenter: 

21 August 2014

Summer Break - 2014

ForumLocation: 

No meeting

Our next Forum event will be in 18 September 2014 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. Please visit our partners in entrepreneurialism for events during August.

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

24 July 2014

NEF Pitch Pit - An Mid Summer's Night Dream

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:

  • 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: 

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