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Join our members and celebrate the accomplishments of the outstanding startup entrepreneurs being recognized by New Enterprise Forum.
From among the entrepreneurs who were coached by NEF and delivered a Showcase Presentation at a Forum in 2022, we will recognize the best performers in three categories:
Join us to find out who the winners are!
Our Rising Star Awards recognize startup founders who are in the early growth stage but have already demonstrated significant traction and are making a name for themselves in the Michigan entrepreneurial community. Winners this year are Katie Hall and Prashant Salla.
Katie Hall is the Founder and CEO of claira. The claira platform helps businesses optimize their human capital by unleashing the true potential of their workforce using advanced competency science and machine learning. Claira digitally maps team competencies and hidden capabilities to fit the organization’s performance needs. It matches people and roles to proactively find competency gaps and fill them from within or through claira’s marketplace. Katie spent eight years in global workforce development building competency models and helping companies and policy organizations prepare for the future of work. She regularly speaks and writes on a variety of topics including diversity hiring, ai ethics, and automation impact on the workforce. She holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, an MPA from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a BA in political science from Hope College. Claira is backed by Heartland Ventures, Trend Forward Capital, Connetic Ventures, North Michigan Angels, ID Ventures, Google for Startups and Mass Challenge.
Prashant Salla is the Founder of Goodhood (previously known as FixMyCar), Goodhood provides consumers with one subscription for all things car related, starting with maintenance & repair. Goodhood matches car owners with certified mechanics who come to their home or office. The company has established operations in Michigan, Texas and Arizona and positions itself as the Amazon-prime of car services, delivering it all to the consumer doorstep. Prashant’s prior experience includes several years working as an engineer in the automotive industry in Michigan. Goodhood is backed by Mucker Capital, Okapi VC, Emerging Ventures along with founders of Netflix, ApartmentList.com, HelloTech, HomeHero, and Nutshell.
This new award recognizes an individual who has made a huge positive impact by devoting their time and energy to building a robust startup community in our region and who has directly and indirectly fostered the growth of numerous entrepreneurs. Our first winner of this new award is Patti Glaza.
Patti Glaza is Executive Vice President & Managing Director of ID Ventures, the most active early-stage investor in the state of Michigan. Patti joined ID Ventures in 2014 with over 30 years of experience in the tech sector. Her primary responsibilities include sourcing and facilitating the development of early-stage and high-growth companies by providing guidance and investment capital. She engages in outreach activities supported by a diverse network of experienced entrepreneurs to support inclusion efforts to help ensure women and minority entrepreneurs are proactively mentored to build their high potential tech startups. Previously, she managed the Michigan office for Arsenal Venture Partners, a national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy, and industrial technologies. Patti started her career at Accenture, where she managed national teams of consultants for F500 companies. She earned a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Saliva Systems manufactures the SWIK™ Oral Suction System, a novel device to manage oral secretions in the mouth. SWIK is a single use, hands free, disposable suctioning device that fits comfortably in the mouth. A single SWIK device offers up to 12 hours of continuous management of saliva and other secretions without caregiver intervention.
Rebecca Altounian, Founder and CEO of Saliva Systems, Inc., is a patented inventor and a small business owner. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for those living with Dysphagia. Throughout the product development period, Rebecca has worked alongside professionals and physicians in product development, manufacturing, research, and design and has been involved with several market studies. Rebecca has also had the opportunity to work with industry leading businesses, build a dynamic team, launch studies, fundraise and bring awareness to the Saliva Systems brand.
Rebecca is the proud mother of three daughters and resides in White Lake Michigan.
Come join us in person to enjoy food and drink and conversation with members of the local startup community.
Portions of this meeting will also be available for viewing online via Zoom. For remote viewing, select an Online Ticket when registering via Eventbrite.
Depending on the current CDC risk level for Washtenaw County, visitors to Spark Central may be required to wear a mask while indoors.