Past Events

20 October 2016

NEF Pitch Pit - Fall Colors

ForumLocation: 

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

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. 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:

  • Richard Doerer, Owow- Horror/Halloween based products for adults (18-44) and kids (8-5) that are for entertainment and STEM based learning through making stuff
  • Sean Carrol, Enbiologics- Advancing more intuitive and innovative veterinary wound care
  • Elliott Brannon, SmallWorld - Strengthens communities by facilitating high-quality connections between community members

Pitch Pit Judges:

Romy Kochan, Managing Partner, Gingras Global
As founder, Managing Partner and lead administrator for Gingras Global. Romy is primarily responsible for the strategic growth and oversight of the company, which is a third party administrator for impact capital programs, funds, and investors. She founded and hosts a podcast, “Bonfires of Social Enterprise”, and serves on the boards of a variety of philanthropic and impact investing organizations.

Romy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Northern Michigan University, her Certified Financial Planner designation from College of Financial Planning, and a Chartered Life Underwriter designation from American College.

Robb Lippitt, Partner, Secret Sauce Capital
As Partner at Secret Sauce Capital, Robb is committed to empowering, growing, and helping Entrepreneurs achieve their visions through deployment of the firm's strategic, operational, and capital resources. Previously, he served as CEO of Revolution Dancewear. As COO/General Counsel of ePrize, he oversaw the company’s growth from 17 to 325 employees, opened offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, LosAngeles and London, and oversaw the growth of the company’s European subsidiary. Robb also co-founded Scrapbuck, LLC in 2008.

Robb earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Michigan, and his JD from Wayne State University Law School.

Paul Nucci, Eastern Michigan University, Center for Advancing Social Enterprise
The Eastern Michigan University Center for Advancing Social Enterprise’s mission is to be a catalyst for Michigan's social entrepreneurship ecosystem, including social enterprises, the firms that fund them, the researchers that examine them, and the agencies that regulate them. Paul works to engage faculty with clients for consultative opportunities and to facilitate consulting projects. Paul also manages the organization’s communications, online and social media presence, and media relations.

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 September 2016

Raising Money: The Deal

ForumLocation: 

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

Have you ever wondered what the right steps are to raise startup capital? Our experienced panel will 'tell all' the in's and out's of the deal process in the don't miss panel discussion. 

Panel:

Dan Kidle, is a Senior Associate for Arboretum Ventures where he is an Analyst. Dan’s efforts are focused on reviewing new investment opportunities and providing support to Arboretum's portfolio companies. He has undertaken significant due diligence responsibilities to support more than a dozen of Arboretum’s new and follow-on investments, including NeuMoDx, IntelliCyt, Rethink, Cardiac Dimensions, Strata Oncology, and SIBone. Dan’s portfolio company involvement has included serving on the board of directors for life science tools company IntelliCyt, until its $90 million acquisition by Sartorius in 2016. Dan is currently a board observer for NeuMoDx and Strata Oncology. Outside of Arboretum, Dan serves on the Oversight Committee for Wayne State University’s M-TRAC program and on the Investment Advisory Board for the Monroe-Brown Biomedical Seed Fund at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Arboretum, Dan was a Financial Analyst at Eli Lilly & Company, supporting the company’s U.S. sales and marketing operations. Dan earned his BBA and MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Josh Beebe, is a Director at MK Capital, a venture capital firm headquartered in Chicago with more than $250 million in capital under management.  Josh operates out of MK’s Ann Arbor office and leads the firm's supply chain and industrial technology investment practice, as well as certain portfolio investments in the broader enterprise software category. Prior to joining MK Capital, Josh served as a Partner with Arbor Partners, an Ann Arbor based venture capital firm focused on early-stage enterprise software opportunities. He also has prior experience managing mergers and acquisitions transactions in the healthcare services industry, and also previously worked as an equity analyst covering various companies operating in the technology, manufacturing and energy sectors.  Josh currently sits on the board of directors of LLamasoft, Junction Solutions, CMS Technologies, and Bulbs.com.  Josh also presently serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Venture Capital Association and is the chairman of the organization’s Research Committee.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hillsdale College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.

Reda Jaber is a Partner at IncWell, an early-stage venture capital fund based in Birmingham, MI. He participates in the company’s advisory services and leads all medical sector investment activities for the fund, which with more than 40 investments in the last three years has been one of the most active seed funds in the Midwest. Reda joined IncWell in 2014 after he earned dual MD / MBA degrees at the University of Michigan Medical School and the Ross School of Business. Prior to joining IncWell, he gained investment experience as an analyst at the $100M private equity fund, Stage 2 Innovations. Business-minded with an entrepreneurial spirit, he has also co-founded several startups. Reda was selected as a Venture Fellow by the Michigan Venture Capital Association and a Davidson Digital Health Fellow by the Henry Ford Innovation Institute. In 2015 he was named to Crain's Detroit Business 20 in their 20's list, and in 2016 he was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Healthcare. Reda was featured on the cover of the February 2016 edition of Forbes Middle East Magazine.  

Moderator:

Skip Simms is Senior Vice President of Ann Arbor SPARK, where he focuses on preparing start-ups for equity fund raising.  Skip has been successful in raising over $25 million in grants through the states 21st Century Jobs Fund program for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.  This program provides very early stage start-ups with small loans, and provides a matching investment of up to $250,000.  He is the Managing Member of the for-profit Michigan Angel Fund which invests in Michigan based technology companies. The Michigan Angel Fund is the state’s largest angel network with 73 high net worth members who help grow and diversify the state’s economy. Prior to his role at Ann Arbor SPARK, Skip was the Managing General Partner at the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, which is a $31 million fund-of-funds with LP investments in several venture capital funds.  He performed due diligence and analyzed nearly 100 opportunities, made investment recommendations, participated at board meetings and served on advisory committees.  Skip served for 29 years in management positions at several television stations around the country. Skip participates on both profit and non-profit boards, and was a founding member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.  

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.

Registration

This is a FREE event. Registration is not required, but recommended for planning purposes. Also, it helps us keep your name tags ready for you.

Showcase Presenter: 

18 August 2016

Summer Break

Our next Forum event will be 15 September 2016 as we will be taking a break from our normal Forum schedule for August. However, that does not mean we are taking a break from NEF coaching or participating in other entrepreneurial events around the area.

We are extending to you, our NEF Supporters, a huge thank you and hope to see you again at the September Forum meeting. Details will be posted after returning from our brief respite.

28 July 2016

Summer Fun - Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

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

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. 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:

  • Kid Stuf - revolves around one simple idea; make great toys that promote cognitive thinking and inspire creativity.
  • Parisa Soraya of Ditto is a mobile platform that connects individuals living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person support.
  • Janet Wolforth, Save Niche Products, where the ICevac system makes anesthetizing animals safer for people and less stressful for the animal.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Angela Barbash,Principal at Revalue and Founder of Reconsider. Angela is the founder of two local-social-impact companies: Reconsider, a social impact economy hub in the Great Lakes region specializing in community capital, social entrepreneurship, and information on the growing local investing movement by providing research, community facilitation services, cross-pollination opportunities, and education through speaking engagements and collaborative events. Revalue: a registered investment advisory firm exclusively serving impact and local investors.

Gerry Roston, CEO of Civionics, Inc. providing asset managers a comprehensive wireless monitoring solution that reliably tracks the performance and predicts the future health of advanced engineered systems operating in demanding environments. He is also an Executive in Residence for TechTown Detroit where he identifies technology opportunities, provides business assistance to startups and co-facilitates the annual DTX Launch Detroit accelerator program. Gerry is an experienced small-business executive who has led companies and multi-million dollar projects. He has successfully managed start-up businesses and teams within publicly-traded companies; pursued investment opportunities; and brought new products to the market. Gerry's experience ranges from the development of microscopic biological sensors to the redesign of diesel-electric locomotives.

Brenda Jones has held executive leadership positions with technology-based organizations in Ann Arbor including Arbortext, MyBuys, NSF International and the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. She currently serves as a coach for the New Enterprise Forum. Brenda received her Bachelors Degree from Yale, and her MBA from the University of Michigan. She has volunteered in Kenya, Colombia and Thailand.

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: 

16 June 2016

C-Suite Hires

ForumLocation: 

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

Founders of startups start looking for C-Level expertise as their venture begins to evolve. With seed funding in place, founders need to bring in the right talent to help them build their dream enterprise. Our panelists will help you navigate through this landscape. Learn about: the challenges in hiring C-Level staff; the cultural and economic impact on your organization; and about developing and implementing short-term and long-term strategies C-hires can bring to meet desired milestones. The right talent can help you build a new culture, implement strategy, grow the company, connect with customers and get funding to scale your business.

Panel:

Mike Klein, Mentor-in-Residence, University of Michigan Technology Transfer Office. Mike is an accomplished CEO with over 25 years of experience developing, building and growing high tech, software and IT companies. Mike wrote the business plan for his first company, Steeplechase Software while in the MBA program at the University of Michigan and started the company shortly thereafter. Steeplechase was #89 on the Inc 500 fastest growing company list when it was sold to Schneider Automation in 2000. In 2001, he was brought on by venture capital investors to lead the turnaround of Interlink Networks, a network security software company where he raised $11M in new financing and lead the management buy-out in 2005. In 2008, Mike joined Online Tech as Co-CEO and grew the company 500% over 7 years. He lead the company through a successful exit for its investors in 2012 and recapitalized the company with over $30M from new investors to continue its growth trajectory. Mike received his BS in Computer Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.

Barbara Koenig, Barbara brings over 25 years’ experience working as an executive coach and organizational development consultant, primarily in areas related to leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship and career transition and she has partnered with start-ups, small businesses and global organizations such as Toyota, Stryker and ProQuest. Prior to working in Tech Transfer, Barbara worked at UM Stephen Ross School of business providing career consulting with MBA students interested in Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Technology and Careers with impact. In her current role at Tech Transfer, Barbara works with alumni, and other partners in the ecosystem to provide talent and other resources for new venture spinouts from UM. More recently, she partnered with Ann Arbor SPARK and MEDC to lead and facilitate a career transition program known as Michigan Shifting Gears. Barbara earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Centre College and a M.S. Human Resource Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Michigan University.

Michael Kraft, Managing Partner, MKT Partners LLC and Mentor-in-Residence, UM Tech Transfer Office. Michael delivers strategic vision and business development in advanced materials and technology systems markets. He’s led businesses in several countries from start-up to revenues of $300 million and focuses on business model validation, money raise, and team building. Michael completed many global acquisitions ($5 million to $1.5 billion) and leads transaction diligence, integration, and synergy realization. His focus is to quickly identify critical business drivers, build strategic partnerships and partners with the Global 500, grow revenues and market share organically, and complete accretive acquisitions. Recently, he was CEO of Covaron Advanced Materials (Ann Arbor, MI) and EVP of Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDN; $700M revenues). Michael holds a Master of Management (PSU) and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Systems Science (MSU) and completed courses in Strategic Planning and Technology Marketing at Caltech.

Moderator:

Vic Havele, Founder/CEO, Rockstar Innovations, Inc. Vic brings a wealth of experience and expertise to NEF. He is a Board member and is our news article director. Vic is the President of CAEtech International, Inc. provider of engineering and Information Technology Services to the automotive and non-automotive industry. He is Founder and CEO of Rockstar Innovations which is launching a non-profit organization/portal “iendeavor.org” for helping entrepreneurs in successfully launching technology ventures through coaching, mentoring and partnering using talent, technology, innovation and resources. Vic’s other venture is PeopleForge Technologies in which he is engaged in developing and implementing PeopleForge Talent Solutions such as StartupTalent, StemTalent, GlobalTalent etc. for diverse market segments. He has served NEF as a business coach helping entrepreneurs be successful. Vic is also currently serving as an I-Corps mentor for a tech startup from the University of Michigan and recently mentored teams in the Lawrence Technological Universities’ Customer-to-Cash(C2C) program. Vic holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette University, Wisconsin, and Business Executive training from Tuck School of Business and Loyola School of Business.

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: 

19 May 2016

NEF Pitch Pit - Burst of Spring

ForumLocation: 

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

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. 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:

  • Abess Makki, CityInsight - A mobile application for Detroit Water & Sewage Department to help residents track their water usage and maintain their budgets.
  • David Cai, Gaudium - Armor Blitz, A mobile game in which players lead a squad of anime-style tank girls from the WWII era into battle.
  • Doug Peterson - Won'tBuy, Inc. A tools sharing app to save money by renting tools and listing equipment you own to earn extra cash.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Lauren Bigelow, is CEO at Growth Capital Network. Dr. Lauren Bigelow has served as the CEO of the Growth Capital Network since 2010. She and her team manage programs for the philanthropic, health care and innovation community by providing strategic, project management, research, analytic, and evaluation services. Lauren has been part of the Michigan entrepreneur ecosystem since 2000 when she was the director of the IT Zone. Succeeding positions as Managing Director of the Cleantech Group and North American Commercial Director at New Energy Finance round out her background in clean energy and early stage company engagement. Lauren is a Lecturer for the University of Michigan Ross School of Business where she teaches an advanced energy finance and modeling course that reviews private equity through project finance. She has served on numerous boards of directors. Lauren holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University and a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Alisyn Malek, was named Investment Manager, at General Mortors Ventures, LLC effective February 1, 2014. She manages deal flow in the automotive and transport sector to support these thesis. Alisyn leverages business unit relationships to create value add opportunities for potential investment companies. She is also the owner and manager of Corktown Studios, a small artist collective in Detroit including gallery and studio space. Alisyn's background also includes being an engineering business manager supporting strategy development in GM's Electrification Group and lead engineering responsibilities supporting technology adoption in GM's Infotainment Group. Alisyn joined General Motors in 2008, leading the early development of the DC charging system for the Chevy Spark. Alisyn was honored in Crains Detroit 2014 List of 20 in their 20's. She is a U of M masters gradate in Energy Systems Engineering and holds an MBA from Indian University - Kelly School of Business. 

Helen Ewing, is President at The Ewing Group, LLC where she is a Procurement Consultant providing procurement optimization services and training to manufacturing companies who want more value from their supply chain and procurement staff. As a business coach, Helen has enjoyed working with entrepreneurs for over six years. Along with private clients, Helen has coached numerous entrepreneurs through multiple organizations. Helen has coached for; SPARK, Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, the Michigan Angel Fund, Tech Town Detroit, and past first-round judge for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. She works with companies in manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices and B2B Software as a Service systems. She is a Board Member and past Vice President for New Enterprise Forum. Helen holds a BBA and a MS in Industrial Technology from EMU and is a member of the Institute for Supply Management.

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: 

21 April 2016

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

ForumLocation: 

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

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 hear from an angel investor, a social impact investor and a pre-seed investor.

Panel:

Patti Glaza, serves as Managing Director of the First Step Fund and Detroit Innovate. She has more than 20 years of experience in the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced technologies. Patti serves as a resource to startups and as an advisor/board member, including: Michigan Venture Capital Association, The Great Lakes Protection Fund, NSF I-Corp, University of Michigan's MTRAC - Advanced Transportation Technologies and Venture Center Council, and The Clean Coalition. Prior to joining Invest Detroit, Patti was with Arsenal Venture Partners, a multi-stage national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy and industrial technologies. She has served as the CEO and executive management of several startups in the nanotech, energy, and healthcare IT sectors. Patti is a graduate of Michigan State University from the James Madison and Honor's Colleges with a Bachelor's in International Relations and Economics and has an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Jamie Shea, oversees all aspects of investing at Mission Throttle from deal sourcing to portfolio management. He recently completed a dual master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment, graduating with high distinction. While working at the University, Jamie focused on developing new models of sustainable finance and using principles of cognitive psychology to promote environmentally responsible behavior. During his time there he was one of the Directors of the UM Social Venture Fund, the first student led social venture fund in the country, and directed the 2010 Net Impact National Conference. Jamie is also the Co-founder of the Icon Group, a multi-disciplinary hospitality company that designs, develops and operates nightlife, restaurant and event spaces around the country. One of the venues, La Condesa, received a James Beard nomination for best new restaurant in the country and was voted best restaurant in Austin. He received a B.A. in Government and Environmental Policy from Bowdoin College and spent his early career working on public lands policy for the Idaho Conservation League.

Kathy Nagy, brings her entrepreneurial background to the world of angel investing by identifying promising Michigan-based start-ups; providing mentoring support and consulting and, when appropriate, financial investment. Kathy began her foray into Angel investing in 2012 to support her desire to give back to promising entrepreneurs with her unique combination of experience, leadership and passion for navigating the crucial early years for promising start-ups. Her expertise is built on a solid foundation based on her own entrepreneurial endeavors – most notably twelve successful years as founder and CEO of Strategy Network, a highly respected strategic marketing agency serving automotive, financial, insurance and non-profit industry clients – in addition to prior stints on the corporate marketing staff of General Motors as well as serving as Vice President of Marketing for Jackson-Dawson Communications. Kathy currently holds several Board Director and Advisory positions and her consulting practice specializes in business strategy with an emphasis on the critical need for integration across all business functions to achieve long-term success while minimizing risk. She also enjoys providing executive coaching to promising entrepreneurs who demonstrate their own passion to learn and succeed.

Moderator:

Lee Gorman, Owner, Barton Consulting Services. Lee is an executive with over 25 years of experience in strategic, business, and product planning, implementation, marketing and leadership. She has done extensive work for local non-profits and early-stage companies. She works with Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator services, and coaches other entrepreneur support organizations to help high tech startups commercialize their technologies. Lee was Formerly a Chief Engineer and Product Planning Director at Ford Motor Company and Manager, Strategic Planning at Allied Signal Automotive. She holds an MBA and a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BSME from Lawrence Technological University.

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: 

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