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Selected entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business plan to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. PowerPoint slides are not permitted. Think of it as the proverbial “elevator speech.”
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 $250 cash prize.as well as the opportunity to receive a free Business Readiness Assessment from NEF.
Kim Gamez is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Michigan State University and at the University of Michigan’s Desai Accelerator. For the past twenty years, Kim has founded businesses in both the US and Mexico. Recently, she was featured in Forbes, The Today Show,and CNN. She has been dubbed Tech Start Up Darling with her latest endeavor, Mi Padrino, which was acquired earlier this year. Kim is also an active real estate investor. She and her husband own and manage a multi-million portfolio including over 140 rental units in Mid-Michigan.
Gary Hessenaur is President and owner of Hessenaur & Associate, C.P.A., P.C…
The firm provides a full range of accounting, tax, consulting and part time CFO services. The firm focuses on small to mid-size businesses with a specialty in start ups and technology businesses. Start up business clients have been funded through owner funds, grants, angel and VC investors. He is very well networked in the startup and financing community. Gary has been on the New Enterprise Forum (NEF) board since 1993, current treasurer and past president and program committee chair. He coaches entrepreneurs with several startup programs. Gary does a variety of workshops for startup businesses including financial projections, business financing and more.
Moses Lee is the CEO and Owner of Michigan Language Center (MLC), an accredited online program serving companies and students all over the world. Moses believes empowered students change the world. That’s why he has spent the past two decades helping thousands of students - from high schoolers to working professionals - to achieve their goals. In addition to leading MLC, he is a scout for VC backable startups for Grand Ventures, and is the Applebaum Innovator-in-Residence at the University of Michigan. In 2011, Moses co-founded Seelio, an education technology company that partners with universities to help prepare students for meaningful careers. The company was acquired by Keypath Education, a global education company.
Nadine Lee is the Founder and CEO of Throdle, connecting auto enthusiasts via their cars and content to groups, events and experiences. Throdle’s app and web platform provides users with clutter-free automotive content allowing them to feature their cars and skills, find friends, purchase event tickets and join groups - all in one place. By creating a purpose built, engaging social platform and marketplace, Throdle is cultivating a hyper-focused audience that businesses will pay to engage with. Throdle is Nadine’s first entrepreneurial venture. She won the SPARK Accelerator Best of Boot Camp competition in 2021 and was awarded $25,000. Previously Nadine managed global sales and software delivery teams primarily for Tier 1 Investment Banking clients. Nadine spent the last 17 years working for enterprise software companies selling Data Analytics, Operational and Security solutions and brought in $23 Million USD in revenue in her final year. Her SaaS and Cloud experience comes from global roles at SAP, QlikView, and Splunk where she travelled extensively for work in the USA, Europe and Asia. She earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia.
Farzad Ehsani is the co-founder and CEO of Innsightful, providing an integrated end-to-end digital health solution to help people manage stress and prevent stress-induced mental health issues through a wearable that collects biometric signals, proprietary AI engine, just-in-time therapy, and group coaching. Innsightful is currently being tested with students at two universities, with plans to expand to nurses and military personnel. Farzad has previously founded and successfully sold two digital health companies. In addition to creating and driving over a dozen AI-centered products in health-tech, education, e-commerce, travel, and the U.S. Army, he created and executed a $4B business plan at Amazon. Farzad has five degrees from MIT, been awarded over 20 patent, and studied 7 languages.
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.