19 March 2015
NEF Pitch Pit - A Mid-Winter's Blast
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.