26 July 2018


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

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

Past Presenter Update

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 i 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.

This month Workit Health will present their story and give us an update since they initially presented in September 2015 as NEF Showcase Presenter.

Workit Health

Workit Health makes digital substance abuse recovery programs. Workit Health provides the following products and services:
1)  Workit Core- 90 day program for addictive behaviors    
2)  Workit Clnic- 2 year program for opioid use disorders including telepsychiatry

Presently company's flagship product “Workit Clinic” is live in the b2b and d2c markets. The Workit Program competes primarily based on its on ¬demand access to 24/7 therapeutic support from triggering moments for risky drinkers and and on-demand access to care teams of counselors and prescribing clinicians enabling home-based rehab. Clients include Steelcase, Honigman, and Salesforce.

Over the past 2 years, the company has treated 1300 patients both in person and online and 91.07% of the current patient load have attended 4 or more appointments. While the patient retention rates remain high, the conversion rates of potential patients continue to grow by an average of 10% each month.

Lisa McLaughlin is a social entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health, a telehealth addiction care company creating a home-based rehab program for drinking and drug use backed by the National Science Foundation. She is the recipient of the TechWeek Detroit Technology Woman of the Year award for 2017. Lisa serves as a Desai Accelerator Mentor for early stage technology companies and as an advisor to a number of biotech startups.

Lisa has held leadership positions at some of world’s most respected digital health and learning companies. She developed one of the first social sector technology service models in the health informatics space and has facilitated a wide range of learning innovation labs for foundations (Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation) and universities. She has extensive training and experience in addiction research, crisis referral, alcohol and drug treatment aftercare, wilderness therapy, disaster response, and college completion. Lisa was previously an Innovation Fellow at the University of Michigan School of Information building social impact programs at the intersection of information science and social innovation (MSI/MSW).

NEF 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 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:

  • Efay Guo.  SeeU is an on-demand mobile app that allows users to join or create any activities in less than 20 seconds and meet people and make friends within 1 hour.
  • Adrian Lorenzi. TOTAGO is a transportation-focused web and mobile application for outdoor recreation.
  • Sergio Rodriguez.  ToDoolie is an online platform for high school and college students to find work in their neighborhood.

Pitch Pit Judges:

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

Angela Kujava is the Managing Director of Desai Accelerator, which works with early stage tech startups to drive relentlessly toward achieving their first $1 Million. She also serves as a mentor to the startups in Desai's programs, and works closely with the region’s business and campus communities to further existing relationships for the benefit of not only the participating startups but also the broader entrepreneurial landscape. Prior to Desai, Angela was the Director of Innovation at a global software development firm, where she led the marketing, creative, and eCommerce teams. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, creative strategy, content writing and management, and public speaking.

Debra Christein is a partner with B2B CFO.  With 30 years’ experience working with privately owned businesses on the financial management of their businesses, she brings a wealth of expertise and experience to business owners that need solutions and plans to move their businesses forward. She works with business owners on managing immediate needs and/or planning for long-term needs and business transition.  Her services include improving cash flow, setting up the finance structure and procedures to support growing businesses and creating models to guide decisions about operations management and strategic direction.   Debra earned her MBA at the University of Michigan.


Hank Brown has been actively involved with supporting a number of startup businesses. His area of expertise has been in supporting healthcare startups with initial commercialization efforts and managing product development using his healthcare contacts to provide early customer feedback and of course every startup needs help with investor pitch development for raising capital. Working as coach and mentor has also provided an opportunity to serve as a board advisor and board member to a few companies.  These include Surgical Solutions, Stryker and Tangent Medical, a UofM spinout that was sold to ICU Medical in 2016.  Hank earned a BS in Math from York University.


Pete Benedetto is the Manager of Entrepreneur Selection & Growth at Endeavor Detroit, the Detroit chapter of an international organization that promotes economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating entrepreneurs of high-growth, scalable companies.  He was previously a Director at Michigan Corps where he led the organization in its mission of engaging Michigan expats and residents in innovative economic development initiatives.   He also led the growth and development of Kiva Detroit, the nation’s first Kiva City, by establishing a network of support service providers for entrepreneurs. His efforts helped 20 small business owners obtain interest-free microloans in 2014.   He has led youth immersion trips and work programs in the UK and the Philippines. Pete holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.


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.


Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: