Past Events

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: 

29 January 2015

15th Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship (ACE '15)

ForumLocation: 

Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia

ACE '15 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 one thousand attendees as they take advantage of learning and networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs, funding sources and entrepreneurial resources at  ACE’15. See www.ace-event.org for more information.

NEF participation at ACE'15

As one of the founding partners of ACE, NEF has a strong interest in the success of this event. At ACE'15, NEF will be sponsoring two workshops:

Acing the Investor Pitch

Having the best team and best technology are only part of what you need to succeed a an entrepreneur. You also need to be able to present your business effectively to potential investors. A panel of NEF coaches will first provide an overview on presenting your business, to be followed by one-on-one coaching to help you craft the critically important, first 30 seconds of your pitch.

Panelists:

  • Stew Nelson, President, NEF
  • Helen Ewing, Vice President, NEF
  • Francis Glorie, Director of International Sales, Tangent Medical Technologies
  • Mike Brooks, Director - New Materials Programs, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
  • Gary Hessenaur, CPA, Hessenaur & Associates
  • Gerry Roston, Executive in Residence, TechTown Detroit

Pitch Pit

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 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 cash prize of at least $100.

Contestants:

  • Mike Moceri of Manulith, delivering MakerOS, the operating system for your maker business.
  • Justine Sheu of Evolve, developing a web and mobile app that connects youth to opportunities and opportunity providers to youth.
  • Jim Ward of Fido's Marketplace, partnering with vets and pet service companies to deliver value to both pet owners and our partners.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Jeff Smith, Director of the New Economy Division of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (Leap, Inc.), spearheads the division’s mission to create and support the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Lansing Region, thru Business Incubation, Acceleration, Programs and Events. Prior to joining Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Jeff spent 4 years as Project Manager for New Economy Initiatives for the City of East Lansing, as well as staff of the Lansing Regional Smartzone. Jeff has been involved in the launch of the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, The Hatch, Lansing Startup Weekend, Ignite Lansing, The Hatching, The DirtyFeat Adventure Race, Launched, and Pointillism.

Paul Riser, Managing Director, Technology-based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, guides the design, execution and ongoing management of the nonprofit’s technology programming: acceleration, proof of concept, university/health care system commercialization, and incubation. He previously served as chief technology and information officer for Innovative Health Technologies, a Detroit biotech startup developing regenerative, biomimetic medical devices. He is president and CEO of the Riser Group, a Northville-based IT and business development consulting firm, a founding member of Legacy Associates Foundation, board member/equity partner of B.L.A.C. Magazine, board member of New Detroit Coalition, the Detroit Youth Connection & the Focus:HOPE ITC Employer Advisory Council.

Ray Waters president of Detroit Development Fund, and managing director of the Detroit Community Loan Fund, provides growth capital to minority-owned businesses in the city of Detroit. He previously was a managing partner at BBC Ventures in Ann Arbor, and served as president of mezzanine venture fund, Horizon BIDCO Investment Company. He has served on the National Advertising and Franchise Committee of the Hertz Corporation as well as the National Distributor Board of the Adolph Coors Company. His business career includes over 20 years of experience as chief executive officer and owner of three profitable growth companies, two of which were start-up ventures.

Facilitator:

Ian Charles

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: 

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