Past Events

26 July 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

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

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.

REGISTER

Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

21 June 2018

Building Your Team - Filling the Void

ForumLocation: 

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

New Enterprise Forum invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to join us at our monthly Forum to connect with entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and businesses.

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.

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.

HLX Engines

Evan Collins, Founder and CEO. Military equipment, both tactical and non-tactical, is increasingly electrified and computerized, and there is a significant need for compact, efficient, and high-quality power generation. HLX (www.hlxengines.com) has built an innovative, hybrid, multi-fuel, combustion engine, designed to improve fuel efficiency by 50%, while decreasing weight and complexity.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Building Your Team - Filling the Void

In addition, in this month's forum we have a panel of experts who will guide you through understanding importance of building a great team for your startup. Building a solid team for a startup is extremely important. Generally, founders begin with sharing roles as CEO, CTO and CMO in early stages. However, once you raise funds and gain investments from either angels or VCs, the team building exercise needs to be done with professional and thoughtful insights. As the roles evolve, the executive team and the staff you bring on-board need to be adept in “executing” business strategies, achieving the “promised” milestones and building an organization for growth and scalability. To build the business, you need a business savvy team. The panel will discuss:

  • Building high performance startup teams with limited funding
  • Managing teams for achieving milestones and growth 
  • Implementing strategies for hiring and retaining talent
  • Startup challenges like; making offers for employees and contractors, equity compensation, options, and vesting schedules etc.

This enlightening panel discussion, from entrepreneurs and investors who have gone through this journey and are eager to share their experiences, will be ideal for you and will assist you with making your company venture-ready. Come and learn about the challenges, the opportunities and the strategies in building an effective team for your venture.

We hope that this will be of greater interest and value to founders and it will be a dynamic discussion between founders, investors and the audience.

Panel:

Dave Jansen
Dave is a technology operations executive with deep background in process improvement, team building and technical infrastructure. Dave has worked and been a stakeholder in numerous startup software product companies. He has a passion for developing teams and managing process for organizations as they grow from small, dynamic groups to larger, scalable enterprises. Dave is currently the VP of Operations for Give and Take, Inc., a startup operating out of Spark in Ann Arbor. 

Melvin Muskovitz 
Mel is a member of Dykema’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, represents employers from startups to large multi-state companies, with respect to the full range of employment issues from pre-hire to post-termination.  Mel devotes a significant portion of his time counseling and assisting employers with respect to issues arising under state and federal employment laws, addressing poor performing employees, assisting in drafting employment policies, preparing and enforcing confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition provisions, and negotiating employment and severance agreements, including with highly placed corporate executives. Mel is also a frequent speaker and author on labor and employment-related matters.  Mel has been named in The Best Lawyers in America 2009 to present in the practice area of Labor and Employment Law and  named a "Lawyer of the Year" in Ann Arbor for Litigation - Labor and Employment by Best Lawyers for 2015 and 2017.  

Mel will address best practices in the hiring process, including such topics as: how to obtain meaningful information about candidates; employee vs. independent contractor; exempt/non-exempt status; critical provisions to include in offer letters and in employment, bonus and commission agreements; issues related to equity compensation agreements, including options vs. grants and vesting schedules; work-for-hire protections; and post-employment restrictions.

Kristin Welch
Kristin is an innovation enthusiast and experienced leader. Currently she is an advisor to two mobility companies SPLT and Bedestrian.  Most recently, Kristin was the Head of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SPLT. She came to SPLT after completing an Executive MBA at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and when looking for a more mission-driven role in business. For SPLT, Kristin managed successful teams in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, leading up to (and through) an acquisition by Bosch. Kristin continues to align SPLT with strategic partners and is very focused on the future of mobility around the globe. Since then, she has devoted her full attention to the emerging field of social and environmental sustainability and promoting the tech industry in Detroit. Her previous experience was in global client engagement with Deloitte, the multi-national consulting and accounting firm. She resided in Boston, Zurich, London and New York City, focusing on key accounts and innovative projects. Kristin holds a B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University and serves on a number of Detroit-area boards. She supports non-profits in her spare time and was the project lead on a non-profit incubator in Saint Clair Shores, pulling together 10+ non-profits into a former elementary school.

Kevin Wittrup
As an early stage entrepreneur and venture partner at RSVP Capital, Kevin has been a key operator in several early stage and technology commercialization ventures, most recently BIOVIGIL Hygiene Technologies. As the co-founder and CEO of BIOVIGIL from 2011-2017, Kevin led the effort to commercialize a sophisticated healthcare technology product and build a team that operationalized the diverse aspects of the business including product development, cloud data applications, installation and maintenance services, clinical implementation and support services, and manufacturing. Kevin is also an active member of the managing board at Advanced Battery Concepts. ABC is a battery technology company based in Claire, MI. that has developed a disruptive bipolar battery technology. Kevin holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Adam V. Chiasson, Moderator

Mr. Chiasson brings more than 15 years of experience, primarily focused in Operations and Supply Chain.  He currently serves as CEO of DMAX Consulting, a strategy consultancy focused primarily on scaling operations for growth stage companies. He also currently works as an Adjunct Lecturer of Supply Chain at Eastern Michigan University, specializing in Operations Planning and Supply Chain. Previously, Mr. Chiasson served in various leadership roles at ZIVO Bioscience and Accuri Cytometers ($205M acquisition in 2011 by BD).  Prior to ascending to leadership, he was employed by Stirling Energy Systems, Visteon Corporation, and PepsiCo. He earned a BS from Michigan State University and MBA from Eastern Michigan University.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, coffee dates with his wife, Kristin and coaching his two sons, Dominic and Maxwell, in hockey and baseball.

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.

REGISTER

The event is FREE. Registration is not required but recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

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: 

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