15 March 2018


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

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.


Michael Moore, Founder and CEO.  MedKairos is automating the cancer biopsy assessment process. 1 out of every 5 biopsies taken fail to collect adequate tissue samples to come to a diagnosis. We are a medical technology company building the Bioptic™ system to increase the accuracy of cancer sample collection and reduce the time and labor required to reach a diagnosis. MedKairos has developed the Bioptic platform to verify sample quality at the point of care to make sure that patients will only have to undergo a biopsy procedure once. Bioptic™ uses a proprietary cartridge, camera, and image processing software package to verify that a sample has enough tissue to make a diagnosis - work traditionally done by a pathologist and a microscope.


NEF Pitch Pit

Four 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 four entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Gail Brown, Platters Chocolatier. A full service chocolatier that specializes in designing, creating, and manufacturing gourmet chocolate custom molded items for corporate branding initiatives, promotional gifting and specialty items for all occasions.
  • Jack Griffin, FoodFinder. Non-profit organization that uses technology to directly inform a food insecure child and their family of the nearest place where they can receive help.
  • Sulaiman Mustapha, RAYN Inc. A philanthropic social media application where volunteers can share first hand experiences of their work by using photos or videos to help donors get on board.
  • Robert Vogt IV, IOSiX ELD. A pioneer in the nascent Electronic Logging Device space, selling intelligent connected-truck hardware to players across the industry.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Sanjib Chowdhury is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the Eastern Michigan University. He leads the university wide entrepreneurship curricular and has developed and executed several co-curricular programs to engage students, faculty and community entrepreneurs.   Dr. Chowdhury's scholarly papers have been published in several high level scholarly journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Business Research, Human Resource Management, etc. He has presented in several academic and professional conferences. In addition, he serves in the editorial board of several entrepreneurship journals. Dr. Chowdhury also serves as a consultant for a variety of small and mid-sized businesses.

Dave Haviland worked for 5 start-ups before starting his consulting firm, Phimation Strategy Group.  He has raised or helped raise $15MM in venture capital and $40MM in government capital, was COO of 3 start-ups, and has helped his clients launch dozens of new products and services.  Phimation is a management consulting firm focused on Stage 2 companies – those who have made it past the start-up phase and are working to grow. Dave is a featured blogger for Crain's Detroit Business on matters related to business growth, speaks regularly to professional associations in Michigan, and has been actively involved with the Small Business Administration of Michigan, the Association for Corporate Growth and Ann Arbor SPARK.  He also contributes insight and articles on Stage 2-related topics to industry publications and is frequently quoted as a Stage 2 subject matter expert in outlets such as inc. Magazine and the American Management Association's publications.

Eric Mandell is the founder of Mandell Growth Consulting, a consulting firm that works with venture capital backed startups to help them accelerate their growth by providing digital marketing strategy and execution, data analysis and data architecture strategy and on-site optimization.  Prior to starting his consulting business, Eric worked as a User Acquisition Manager with LearnVest where he managed the organization's marketing budget across multiple paid marketing channels, identifying and vetting new potential marketing partners, implementing new campaigns, running A/B tests throughout the user experience, and backend data analysis. As a Consultant in the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting, his projects included identifying and quantifying the impact of numerous trends across a multitude of sectors, designing a future state vision for a media company's product data, developing a quality improvement strategy for a large national health plan, redesigning the pursuit and proposal process for a large national health plan, and developing governance and metrics to support the closing of regulatory findings for a leading financial services institution.

Paula Sorrell is the Director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan, an institute that has provided business and technical support to over 800 companies.  The organization's Innovation Services won an award an Entrepreneurship Award from the International Economic Development Council last year.  She recently served as V.P. of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the MEDC, overseeing $1B under management to support Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. With a focus on leveraging private funding into early tech development, expanded private and federal investment leverage from 6:1 to 35:1 and expanded the pipeline of new tech companies three-fold. Primary focus was building companies built on strong science from university research, including creating state initiatives for First Customer program, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and Technology Commercialization Assistance program for early stage companies.

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Registration link available on the home page. Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: