18 October 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.

Legacy Shave

Mike Gutow, CEO and Co-Founder.  Shaving can be a chore, especially with today’s busy lifestyles. But, what if there was a way to have a better shaving experience and pamper your self at the same time? That’s the idea behind Legacy Shave and The Evolution Brush – a unique, patented technology brings that old-fashioned barber shop experience into your home. The Evolution Brush combines the feel and benefits of a traditional barber shop shaving brush (i.e., hands free shaving cream and a clean, close shave) with the convenience of modern shaving cream and gel shaving cans. Simply attach the shave brush to the can and enjoy the ultimate shaving experience – while traveling back to a more elegant time.

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:

  • Gina Adams-Levy.  Buttons to Button sells innovative accessories to help people with disabilities get dressed.
  • Beau Mann.  Sober Grid is a social network and peer coaching network for people with substance abuse disorder.
  • Robert Oklejas.  eScapes is a 24/7 relaxation television programming to transform stressful settings.
  • Nicolas Theoret,  Osci provides a noise and vibration monitoring system to improve the reliability and safety of autonomous vehicles.

Pitch Pit Judges:

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

Ted Dacko currently runs Arbor Dakota, a consulting company dedicated to helping early stage tech companies grow great ideas into great companies. He helps companies with their growth strategies and focuses on marketing strategy and sales discipline.   Prior to that he successfully managed HealthMedia for 10 years leading to a great exit with J&J.  This success was recently cited in Blue Ocean Shift as an example of using the Blue Ocean Strategy of creating "uncontested market spaces" in the healthcare sector. Ted is a frequent speaker and educator, specifically at the University of Michigan and at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Dr. Mai Iskandar-Datta is Professor of Finance at Wayne State University.  As an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Faculty Fellow, she teaches courses on the resources essential for the entrepreneur’s success and the various forms of financing the entrepreneur can access at different stages of growth. Students learn about the canvas business model, best structure of a pitch deck and pitch presentation, the term sheet, and how to value a start-up.  Her research interests in corporate finance include executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, capital structure, initial public offerings of debt securities, to name a few.  She holds a BS, MBA and PhD from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Brian Kelly is the CEO of Censys, a company that continually monitors every reachable server and device on the Internet, so you can search for and analyze them in real time. Brian is a leader of A2 New Tech, one of the longest-running, largest attendance, tech startup events in the region.  Brian founded Third Rail, a boutique consultancy that helps software businesses position themselves for investment, growth, or acquisition. He also served as the VP of Product at Nutshell CRM and for three years he was the Principal Product Manager at Duo Security.  Brian holds a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.

Rahul Mitra is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at Wayne State University. His scholarship focuses on sustainable organizing, corporate social responsibility, leadership for social change, and how people find their work meaningful. He also teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes on leadership, small group communication, organizational communication, and qualitative research methods. His current research project examines the impact of entrepreneurial ecosystems on urban sustainability, especially in post-industrial cities like Detroit. Rahul has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and encylopedia entries till date, and has obtained several awards for his work. He holds a PhD in Organizational Communication from Purdue University, and a Master's in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from Bowling Green State University.

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: