Past Events

17 May 2018

NEF Showcase Presentations and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

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

Showcase Presentations

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. This month we have two presenters.

Ascape Audio

Paul Schrems, CEO & Co-Founder. Ascape Audio is wireless technology design company that believes that mobile music should be - Simple. Our mission is to streamline the way millions listen to music from their smart devices. We do this by providing the most convenient and fluid personal audio solutions possible. With true wireless earbuds we allow our customers to access the thousands of songs in their pocket with simplicity and ease. Our patented smartphone battery case that recharges the earbuds prevents customers from ever having to worry about losing, connecting, or recharging them again. In this rapidly growing marketing we offer the most complete solution.

 

Note: Arbor Automation has been rescheduled for the Fall.

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:

  • Leann Abad, Vicinity.
    A platform that connects travelers to local tour guides for on-demand tours.
  • Blake Osecki  Modular Home & Garden
    Sustainable Do-It-Yourself project kits to help people save time and money with using patent-pending technology.
  • 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.
  • Kiley Judge, Quirk
    Manufacturer of small-batch drinking vinegars from quirky fruits that would otherwise be rejected based solely on their appearance.

Pitch Pit Judges:

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

Toni Brownfield.  Toni works for Michigan's Small Business Development Center as a Business Development and Project Manager.   In this capacity she provides administrative, marketing, communications, and programmatic support to the Tech Team, Business Growth Team, Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), and Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF).  Prior to this Toni held a variety of positions at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for 15 years.  In her last role as Director of Business Development Services she provided leadership direction for the day-to-day operations of the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) Services Team.  She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Sheu-Jane Gallagher.  As the principal of the S’Jane Group, Sheu-Jane consults for startups and entrepreneurial service organizations, advising on commercialization strategies and investment due diligence. Previously, she was the Director of Entrepreneurial Services at TechTown where she implemented startup incubator and accelerator programs, with a focus on program design and intake.  In addition to working at Ford and Dacoma International, Sheu-Jane taught mechanical engineering at Wayne State University. From 2012 to 2015, Sheu-Jane served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Michigan Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity, a board that advises the governor and legislature on the state of poverty in Michigan and recommends changes to policies and programs that support the poor and low-income.  She holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University with a special expertise in biomedical engineering.

Gregg Hammerman.  Greg is a serial entrepreneur who is currently the CEO of Larky, a company that builds engagement and loyalty programs that help financial institutions, health insurers, universities, and media companies connect with their members and subscribers at the right time and place.  In this role he has raised funding from angels and VCs.  Previous to that was the head of Business Development and Strategy for gloStream, a provider of billing, collections, electronic medical record and practice management services.  In 1997, he co-founded the digital publishing company Techstreet that was subsequently sold to Thomson Scientific.   Gregg has been active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for over 15 years.

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: 

19 April 2018

Financials: Tying Your Financials to Your Story

ForumLocation: 

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

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. 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.

Advaita

Sorin Draghici, Ph.D., Founder and CEO

The company’s mission is to  enable  a true  personalized medicine approach by providing advanced tools that can leverage omics and genomics data to improve drug development and patient care. These technologies, available either as SaaS or concierge services, can be used to improve the success of clinical trials by distinguishing between respondents and non-respondents, design optimal treatments by distinguishing between more and less aggressive types of diseases, repurpose drugs based and predict side-effects.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Tying Your Financials to Your Story

In addition, we have a panel of experts who will guide you through understanding importance of financials in presenting your venture to investors. There are certain things investors are looking for in the financials presented by entrepreneurs in their executive summary or initial investor pitch when they are seeking funding. Although no forecast can be counted on with certainty, investors look for a reasonable business model, expectations of sales growth and cash flow, P&L forecasts, and valid assumptions behind any plan. They also look for red flags: sure signs that the numbers are not to be trusted and that the founding team might need too much help. In this month's forum, we want to focus on what founders can do to use Financials to emphasize their story (Plans behind the Financials) - what they want investors to know to reinforce the Investor Thesis.  We are including some founders on our panel to tell us what worked and didn't work from the founder perspective.  We hope that this will be of greater interest and value to founders and it will be a dynamic discussion between investors, founders and the audience. 

Panel:

David Gregorka, Venture Partner, Baird Capital

Gregorka is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. and works to source, evaluate, and oversee investment opportunities in the healthcare sector, with a particular emphasis on healthcare IT. Previously, Gregorka co-founded HealthMedia, now called Wellness & Prevention, Inc. (a Johnson & Johnson Company), where he served in multiple roles, including CFO and Operations VP. In prior organizations he served on the executive management teams of a start-up company that developed tools for managing and analyzing large data sets and an international public health and environmental standards and certification organization. An active member of the Michigan entrepreneurial community, Dave serves as a member of the Oversight Committee for the University of Michigan - Michigan Translation and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program (U-M MTRAC), the State of Michigan Advisory Board of Examiners and the advisory boards of several emerging companies. Gregorka received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, as well as MBA and M.S. degrees from the University of Michigan.

Gerry Roston, CEO, Civionics

Gerry Roston serves as the CEO of Civionics, a University of Michigan startup that delivers intelligent sensor-based systems to manufacturers to help them minimize unplanned downtime; and is an Executive-in-Residence at TechTown Detroit, where he helps entrepreneurs transition their ideas into sustainable businesses.

Colleen Spencer, CFO, Genomenon

Colleen Spencer has an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School and has been a pillar of the Ann Arbor start-up community for over 15 years.  She began her career with one of the Big Five accounting firms and has held lead financial positions with several companies before becoming part of the local start-up community.  She has held the position of controller at EDF Ventures and CFO positions at several early start-ups, including HandyLab, Tissue Regeneration Systems, and Tangent Medical Technologies.  Currently she is CFO at NEF coaching graduate, Genomenon.

Moderator:

Stewart V. (Stew) Nelson, CEO, Mayasil LLC.

If you are active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in SE Michigan, it is likely that you have met Stew Nelson. Stew is the past President of the New Enterprise Forum. Stew is a serial entrepreneur with Founder’s title in Mayasil, LLC, GAPro Systems, Adrelenventis, LLC, Solidspeed Networks and Geostrip Systems just to mention a few.  As an active angel investor, he has ownership equity positions in Blaze Medical Devices, Sentinl, SurClean, Catalyst, Family Mint, among others.  Stew is a retired pilot with over 30 years of military and commercial experience and more recently as a commercial insurance professional with Kapnick Insurance Group.  Not satisfied with retirement three times now, Stew is currently serving as CEO of Mayasil, LLC.  Stew is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, BA, 69 and Eastern Michigan University, MBA 92.

Agenda:

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.

Showcase Presenter: 

15 March 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

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

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.

MedKairos

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: 

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