THE FRONTIER Returns, APRIL 11-13, 2018
THE CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER NEW ORLEANS
900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130
In 2017, over 100 organizations with decision makers representing 20 states visited New Orleans to learn, connect and re-think innovation across eight major industrial disciplines. In 2018, join us for the next edition of The Frontier as we engage an even wider spectrum of disciplines shaping the future of the industrial world.
See list of Frontier 2018 Attending Companies here
Sort Innovators by track:
Co-Founder & CEO
CEO & President | Co-Founder
Director, Business Development
DAA for Strategy | ARMD
CEO & Partner
President & CEO
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO | Chief Creative Officer
The Disruptive Factory
Dr. Kevin Kelly
President & Co-Founder
Dr. Ram Shenoy
The RBR Group
Dr. Tara Karimi
Founder & CEO
Chief, Advanced Tech & Tech Transfer
Co-Founder & CEO
Schlumberger Corporate Ventures
Founder & CEO
Sr Advisor, Corp Innovation | Corporate Liaison
Asst to SVP of Marketing & Business Development
Loyola University New Orleans
Karen Griffith Gryga
SVB Financial Group
Shell Technology Ventures
VP of Research
Lux Research, Inc.
Co-Founder & CTO
City of New Orleans
Ron Ondechek Jr.
South Highland Ventures
Co-Founder & CEO
Director, Business Development
Founder & CEO
Partner | Sutton Stone
Adam Richard is a serial entrepreneur, has been a blockchain consultant since 2014, and helps entrepreneurs build successful companies at Sutton Stone. He founded the Houston Bitcoin and Ethereum meetups, is the co-founder and CEO of Volt Markets and is the Director of Blockchain Development at Game Loot Network.
Co-Founder & CEO | Biota Technology
Ajay bring 15 years of experience in biotechnology across an array of markets including energy, healthcare, and software. Currently, he is the CEO and Co-founder of Biota, applying DNA sequencing and software to the energy market. Previously, Ajay worked at XSeed Capital, a venture capital firm investing in science-based innovation, as a Principal investor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Prior, Ajay was a Senior Manager at Genentech with increasing responsibilities in operations and project management, and an engineer at Biokinetics, acquired by Alfa Laval (OMX:ALFA). Ajay holds a BS and MS in Engineering from UC Berkeley and Stanford University, respectively, and an MBA from the UC Berkeley-Hass School of Business.
CEO & President | Co-Founder | Fluence Analytics
Alex is co-founder and CEO of Fluence Analytics, a manufacturer of systems that produce continuous data streams enabling realtime optimization of manufacturing and R&D processes. His vision and leadership took the Tulane University spin-out from patented laboratory concepts to a company delivering innovative products for process monitoring and optimization for chemical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
Alex serves on the boards for the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and the Applied Polymer Technology Extension Consortium. In 2016 Forbes recognized Alex as a 30 under 30 recipient, and he has been recognized with several local entrepreneur and innovation awards. Alex is also active in the New Orleans community where he regularly mentors local entrepreneurs, students and faculty on the commercialization of technology as well as entrepreneurship.
Check out Alex’s Frontier interview with Frontier Founder, Hank Torbert here!
CEO | Ambyint
Alex Robart is CEO of Ambyint, a company that provides Artificial Intelligence Driven Production Automation & Optimization for Every Well in Every Field. Alex has worked in the oil and gas industry for over 10 years and has served as an investor and advisor to a range of oilfield services, equipment manufacturers, and oilfield technology startups. He was the co-founder of PacWest Consulting Partners and Digital H2O, oilfield data/research/software companies that were acquired by IHS and Genscape, respectively. He holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.
CEO | Microlyze Corporation
Ari Kaufman successfully identifies and pivots businesses towards underserved or non-dominated market opportunities. He has led digital media startups, turn-arounds, and early-stage growth companies for 20 years and has made a career out of successfully anticipating the future of digital marketing technology. Ari has been involved in multiple projects that have included raising capital, mergers and acquisitions and successful exits that maximize shareholder value, including two initial public offerings (IPO). His visionary leadership is complimented by his ability to attract and hire strong teams that execute.
In 2012 Ari engineered the management buy-out and corporate carve-out of Placeable with the financial support of a private equity investment partner and most recently sold that company to a strategic acquirer. As the President of InfoNow-LocationInsight, he automated local search management.
As founder, he successfully sold the interactive lead-generating advertising firm ThinkAcquisition to a global strategic agency. As General Manager for LookSmart, he managed the paid search platform responsible for $250 million in revenue. As Chief Strategy Officer, he led PrecisionIR’s IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
Ari introduced first-party ad serving while at MatchLogic and as a founder of Zacks.com, he pioneered the online advertising industry with the explosive growth of the first fully ad-supported web site in 1996.
Managing Director | Techstars Energy
Audun Abelsnes is the Managing Director of Techstars Energy in partnership with Statoil. Statoil is Norway’s by far largest company, dual listed at the Oslo SE and NYSE. Statoil is recognized as one of the most admired energy companies globally always pushing the theoretical limits of advanced engineering.
For several years, Audun Abelsnes has been responsible for the master-level course “New Venture Creation” (5th year) at BI Norwegian Business School (one of the Top30 business schools in Europe). He also founded and sold one company and he has been instrumental in funding and scaling up a medical diagnostic company.
Audun has spent several years in PWC management consulting and holds Master of Science in International Marketing from BI Norwegian Business School and City University in London.
CEO | Sarcos
Ben Wolff serves as the Chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Sarcos Robotics.
Wolff previously co-founded Clearwire Corporation, where he served as President, CEO and Co-Chairman. Wolff raised more than $12 billion in equity and debt financing for Clearwire, and grew the company to more than $1 billion in revenues during his tenure. Clearwire was sold to Sprint in 2013 for more than $14 billion. Wolff also served as the President of Eagle River, a telecom and technology focused private equity and venture capital fund, and as the CEO and director of various public and private Eagle River portfolio companies.
Wolff earned his law degree from Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 1994, and his Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in 1991.
Director, Business Development | SPLT
Benjamin Seidman is the Director of Business Development at SPLT, an enterprise transportation management platform. A 2015 Venture For America Fellow and University of Michigan alum, Benjamin studied English and Entrepreenurship. As the first employee at SPLT who jumped on board during the Techstars Mobility accelerator, Ben is acclimited to wearing a few hats at a time! Ben is committed to the Detroit startup community, where he organizes different initiatives, focused on bridging gaps and collaboration between Detroiters.
DAA for Strategy | ARMD | NASA
Mr. Pearce is responsible for leading aeronautics research mission strategic planning to guide the conduct of the agency’s aeronautics research and technology programs, as well as leading ARMD portfolio planning and assessments, mission directorate budget development and approval processes, and review and evaluation of all of NASA’s aeronautics research mission programs for strategic progress and relevance.
Pearce is also currently acting director for ARMD’s Airspace Operations and Safety Program, and responsible for the overall planning, management and evaluation of foundational air traffic management and operational safety research.
Pearce has received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for sustained excellence in planning and advocating innovative aeronautics programs in conjunction with the White House and other federal agencies. He received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for outstanding leadership of the JPDO in support of the transformation of the nation’s air transportation system. Pearce has also received NASA’s Cooperative External Achievement Award and several Exceptional Performance and Group Achievement Awards.
Solutions Architect | Poetic
Bryan is an ex-Navy fighter pilot turned serial entrepreneur. His current company, Poetic, helps big companies foster an innovation culture by providing mentorship to internal teams tasked with ‘Intrapreneuring’. Poetic chose this model because it generally has Seed and a first customer built in.
CEO & Partner | RenshawCo
RenshawCo is a venture capital firm that invests in both real estate and FinTech companies. Camille was previously Head of Sales for Ten-X, a Google Capital company and leading online marketplace for real estate that includes products like Auction.com. Prior to Ten-X, she founded the Stan Johnson Company’s New York office where she led their sales team with a focus on Industrial properties and Sale Leaseback.
Renshaw has established herself as an industry leader, making frequent speaking appearances, authoring articles and being quoted extensively by a number of leading publications, including Wired, The New Yorker, WSJ, and GlobeSt.com. She was recognized as a “Woman of Influence” by Real Estate Forum, and named one of “NYC’s 15 Women to Watch in Real Estate” by Sokol Media. A member of multiple corporate boards for FinTech companies, ranging from Brokers+Engineers to Space in the Raw, she also serves as advisor to DreamIt’s UrbanTech Accelerator.
President & CEO | Servato
Chris Mangum is a seasoned entrepreneurial leader with extensive experience in executive-level management, strategy, business development, M&A, innovation and entrepreneurship across a broad range of business models.
Mangum is founder and CEO of Servato Corp., a leading innovator in the emerging Internet of Things space. Servato is ensuring that the Internet is “Always On” by automating remote management of backup power for Internet infrastructure.
From 2007 to 2012, Mangum led corporate strategy and business development for CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) where he was part of a leadership team that grew the independent telco’s market capitalization from $2.5 billion to over $25 billion. While at CenturyLink, he developed the company’s growth strategy, championed the firm’s move into the data hosting / cloud space with the $3.2 billion acquisition of Savvis, and incubated highly profitable new revenue streams that represented the future of the business (wireless, online advertising, network security).
Managing Partner | Opus Faveo
Christian is Managing Partner of Opus Faveo Innovation Development, where he has a particular interest in the challenges of innovation for universities, governments, and larger corporates.
Prior to Opus Faveo, Christian was a founder and investor in several start-up companies, an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in New York and London, and treasurer for the international operations of GTE/Verizon. His industry experience includes energy, telecommunications, technology, financial services, natural resources, education and infrastructure. Christian has led transactions of well over US$ 1 billion in size, mostly cross-border in nature, and he has a large amount of experience in emerging markets. He has conducted business in over 40 countries, and he speaks 4 languages.
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO | Chief Creative Officer | The Disruptive Factory
Cynthia A. Phillips, Ph.D. is the Founder & CEO of The Disruptive Factory. Phillips is an economist/agricultural economist as well as a business consultant to for-profit and social enterprises with over 20 years of experience in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, branding, analytics, big data, business development and global expansion. Former Director of International Marketing & Risk Management at American Express and currently consults with technology companies and start-ups such as Cisco Systems, Full Cycle Bioplastics, BioSerie, and Riverbed.
She currently serves as the interim Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer for Ascalon, LLC, a disruptive consumer and commercial bio-based products company. Phillips sits on several non-profit boards and advisory boards of start-ups including Akilah Institute, OROECO, and accelerators such as Think Beyond Plastic. Phillips served as the Founder of GlobalShiftTV, G Media Partners, and Disruptive Spirits. Phillips is serving as the CEO of Good Causes Corp and is the architect of Passport2Good, an engagement app to serve citizens and social enterprises.
Dr. Kevin Kelly
President & Co-Founder | Mezzo Technologies
Dr. Kevin Kelly is the President and co-Founder of Mezzo. Dr. Kelly received his Ph. D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as a full-time faculty member of Louisiana State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department from 1993 – 2007. While at LSU, he directed heat transfer research programs that utilized the LiGA micromachining process to fabricate heat exchangers with micro channels. At Mezzo, Dr. Kelly has overseen Mezzo’s evolution from a company sustained primarily with research and development grants to one that now designs and manufactures micro tube heat exchanger products for commercial customers who require extremely high thermal performance.
Dr. Ram Shenoy
CTO | The RBR Group
Ram Shenoy is CEO of the RBR Group, a technology products and services commercialization company working with Fortune Global 500 clients, with offices in Silicon Valley, Houston and Dubai. Previously he was Chief Technology Officer of ConocoPhillips, a position he held for 4 years. Ram also spent 20 years with Schlumberger, with his last role being Vice-President of Research, leading Schlumberger’s global corporate research laboratories.
He serves on the boards of directors of Vertice Oil Tools and AlphaX Decision Sciences, and on the advisory boards of several energy startups including Kelvin Inc., Unipolar, Atomica LLC and BioInspira, and is a co-founder & chairman of WellDiver LLC. He is also Technical Director and Chair of Technical Committee for the Project Production Institute. From 2013-2017, he served on the U. S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board as the sole representative from the oil & gas industry, as well as on the Advisory Board of Energy Ventures Private Equity.
Ram earned his B.A and M. A. from the University of Cambridge UK, his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University NY, and his MBA from the Stern School of Business, New York University.
Dr. Tara Karimi
Founder & CEO | Cemvita Factory
Dr. Tara Karimi is the founder and CEO of Cemvita Factory, a startup making the first ever solar cell that produces food. Dr. Karimi has devoted her academic career to learning biological systems and applying the natural principles to the outside world. Dr. Karimi started her research in veterinary medicine, and from there ventured into biochemistry. Introduction to biochemistry was the onset of her journey into multidisciplinary science as she completed several projects in tissue engineering, genetic engineering, molecular and developmental biology, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine. This broad exposure and passion for chemistry of life allowed Tara to connect the dots in biology and chemistry to pioneer what she calls “Cognitive Chemistry”. Dr. Karimi received her Doctor in Veterinary Medicine & PhD in Biochemistry from Shiraz University, her Postdoc in Tissue Engineering from University of South Carolina & her Post doc in Stem Cell Programming Tulane University.
Chief, Advanced Tech & Tech Transfer | NASA
Mr. Duane Armstrong is the Chief of the Advanced Technology & Technology Transfer branch at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi.
Mr. Armstrong manages NASA’s technology development program at Stennis Space Center. Stennis engineers are developing new valves that are more reliable and more cost effective that commercial options, energy harvesting techniques to capture and utilize waste heat, novel propulsion systems to enhance the capabilities of small satellites, computational modeling techniques to predict the effects of rocket fuel detonations, and intelligent, autonomous systems to safely and efficiently operate critical systems without human intervention.
Mr. Armstrong also manages NASA’s technology transfer program at Stennis Space Center to ensure that technologies developed for NASA missions are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation. Over the last two years Mr. Armstrong negotiated more patent licenses for Stennis technologies than were licensed in the previous twenty years combined. Under his leadership, the intellectual property created by Stennis is now licensed in thirty states across the country and twenty countries around the world. Furthermore, Mr. Armstrong has created a network of 550 institutions across Mississippi and Louisiana to inform the public about the benefits of NASA research and development in daily life, and to educate students and industry about the opportunities to utilize NASA intellectual property in business.
Finally, Mr. Armstrong serves as a strategist to help Stennis Space Center solve difficult problems and adapt to changing market conditions so the center can thrive for decades to come.
Co-Founder & CEO | STRATIS
Felicite Moorman is an award-winning technology entrepreneur and attorney with over twenty-five years of experience founding and building companies. She received the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award and has earned an international
reputation as a go-to IoT industry expert, developing pioneering strategic partnerships and unprecedented technology strategies and initiatives in the Internet of Things.
Moorman is the Co-Founder and CEO of STRATIS and CEO of BuLogics, companies that pioneer groundbreaking IoT development across the globe. STRATIS is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for access, energy, and automation management and control for multifamily and campus communities in Smart Cities. BuLogics designs, builds, and certifies wireless devices and solutions for the Internet of Things.
Moorman, an international speaker and columnist has been featured in dozens of mass media outlets and publications.
Prior, Moorman launched the Emerging Technologies Division for GE’s Consumer and Home Electronics brand. Moorman quickly established her reputation in technology, engaging eight Fortune 500 companies in less than eighteen months, entering new vertical channels, and creating and beginning execution on the strategic plan to dominate the Internet of Things lighting peripherals market. Today the GE lighting line is a part nearly every home automation and security platform offered in the United States.
Early in her career, Moorman lead the most sought after marketing and management partnership in Baltimore real estate. Moorman oversaw $1.5 billion dollars of transactions in less than five years, including property acquisition management for the $500 million dollar expansion of Rutgers University.
CEO | Revelry Labs
Gerard has been working on the web for nearly 20 years. The CEO of Revelry Labs in New Orleans, he’s a self-taught developer who proved his chops with major e-commerce retailers and then turned entrepreneur. Gerard is a builder who spots new business opportunities and quickly positions himself and others to take advantage.
He is invested in the future of New Orleans and the entire South Louisiana community, leveraging his experience and talents to mentor others and lead software projects that improve businesses, communities, and the environment. When he’s not on his computer, you will find him sailing open waters, fishing the south Louisiana bayous, building things, traveling, and urban farming.
Manager | Schlumberger Corporate Ventures
Iain Cooper has managed Schlumberger’s Corporate Venture Capital Group since 2008, a group that has made over 20 investments across the globe. Their most recent exit, the ocean-powered drone company Liquid Robotics, was acquired by Boeing.
Previously in Schlumberger, he has managed Drilling and Completions Research, and Global Product Development for the stimulation, cementing, and coiled tubing business units.
Iain has degrees in Mathematics and Physics and a PhD in Meteorology. He is a Chartered Physicist and Chartered Scientist, and Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society. He also holds 26 granted US patents in a range of oilfield technologies, and co-authored and edited the best-selling SPE textbook “Advanced Drilling & Well Technology”.
Based in Houston, in his spare time he likes to play rock guitar loudly and badly.
Founder & CEO | VoyHoy
Jake Moskowitz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Voyhoy, a multimodal travel platform to compare and purchase bus, flight, train, and ferry tickets throughout South America. Since its launch in 2015, Voyhoy has acquired over 10M visitors to the site, consolidated over 1000 transport operators, and has become one of the largest sources of intercity transport inventory and data throughout the region.
Previous to his role at Voyhoy, Jake worked in the mobility space in Latin America and Europe, both in corporate travel and passenger transport. He’s also a regular panelist and speaker on subject matters like technology, user experience, digital marketing, and travel innovation and provides mentorship to founders in the startup ecosystems of Miami and Chile.
Jake earned his BA from the University of Georgia.
Managing Partner | Sutton Stone
James is the managing partner of venture building and blockchain advisory firm, Sutton Stone. He is also the Honorary Representative in the USA for the Board of Investment of Mauritius focused on innovative ventures and blockchain. James has founded, advised on and lead several ventures in various fields from blockchain, token sales, cryptocurrency, casino & gaming, power markets, healthcare to logistics. He holds degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Law and postgraduate qualifications in Applied Finance and Investments and carbon accounting.
Sr Advisor, Corp Innovation | Corporate Liaison | Statoil
Jens Festervoll is a Senior Advisor in Corporate Innovation in Statoil and Statoil’s Corporate Liaison for the Techstars Energy Accelerator hosted in Statoil’s Oslo offices from September 2018.
Festervoll has 17 years of experience in the energy sector as a consultant and professional across the energy value chain, primarily in Oil and Gas. He has recently worked as a Programme Manager to set up Statoil’s recently established Digital Centre of Excellence. Prior to that he was Vice President for Corporate Strategy in Statoil. In addition he has held a number of positions from gas trading, business development and analysis in Norsk Hydro and Statoil. He has a keen interest in innovation, digitalization and change management. He holds a Master in Economics from the University of Oslo and University of Essex.
Festervoll sits on the Board of Subsea Valley Cluster, a Norwegian Centre of Expertise technology cluster delivering world leading engineering from subsea to space.
General Counsel | MalarVx
Jodi L. Hansell Herczeg is a highly accomplished executive and senior attorney with more than two decades of experience as a business leader and global corporate lawyer with a focus on securities, finance, and complex multi-national negotiations and transactions. Jodi is the General Counsel of MalarVx, Inc.,a bio-pharmaceutical company located in the Center for Infectious Disease Research facility in Seattle, Washington. MalarVx is developing a vaccine that puts it at the forefront of the fight to eradicate malaria by 2030.
Partner | Opus Faveo
John has held a variety of technology sales and marketing positions during his career. Most recently John was Senior Vice President of Business Sales for Sprint where he led a team of over 3,000 global sales professionals and generated annual revenues in excess of $13 billion. John held a number of other officer positions at Sprint including Vice President of Marketing for Sprint Business. Before joining Sprint in 1998 John served as Vice President, Sales for Muratec, the US subsidiary of Murata Machinery Limited in Japan, and he was Executive Director of the Society of International Business Fellows, a professional association of senior executives interested and active in global business affairs.
John is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and The Fletcher School at Tufts University. He speaks and writes frequently on business topics and is the author of The Stubborn Glebe blog.
Asst to SVP of Marketing & Business Development | Alabama Power
John is originally from Norman, Oklahoma but now calls Birmingham, AL home. He graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelor’s of science in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and completed a Master’s of Business Administration with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011. After graduating from Auburn, he started work with Alabama Power in their Professional Development Program. He has held varying roles in marketing, regulatory and external affairs. Recently, he worked in the Regulatory Affairs organization as the manager of Retail Pricing and Rates. He is now the Marketing and Business Development Manager where he supports Alabama Power’s Smart Cities initiative as well as other new business ventures.
John is the immediate Past-President of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the largest community based Rotaract Club in the world. In addition to Rotaract, John chaired the United Way of Central Alabama Campaign for Alabama Power. He is a member of the New Element group supporting the McWane Science Center, leads a small group with high school youth at Trinity United Methodist Church and served on the board of the United States Green Building Council. John is married to Cassi, a pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama, and have two-year old twin girls, Madelyn and Margaret. During their free time they enjoy long distance running, spending time outside with their golden retriever, cooking and international travel.
Director | Loyola University New Orleans
Jon Atkinson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Management at Loyola University New Orleans and the Founding Director of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, which is a university initiative working to train the next generation of local entrepreneurs to recognize business opportunities and start and scale new and innovative enterprises. Jon, currently, teaches Entrepreneurial Strategy and Entrepreneurial Finance and is leading the development of the College of Business’s undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship specialization within the MBA program. As Founding Director, Jon also brought Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad methodology to Loyola, developed a technology commercialization program with NASA, licensed and expanded the IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge, and focused on creating career pathways for Loyola students within high impact jobs in local start-ups and value-creating enterprises.
As an expert in entrepreneurial finance and growth strategy, Jon helped build the local angel investment group Lagniappe Angels from the ground up and currently serves as its Coordinator, where he manages the group’s deal flow process, including sourcing, evaluating and structuring equity investments in early stage, high growth potential companies. Jon is a self-proclaimed “recovering banker” and an integral part of the local entrepreneurial community, serving as judge for numerous pitch competitions and Startup Weekends and leading finance bootcamp sessions for entrepreneurs at local incubators The Idea Village and Propeller. In addition, Jon has served as CFO to startups in New Orleans and founded the Changemaker Institute at Tulane University while earning his MBA in Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management and Leadership. He was twice recognized by New Orleans City Business in 2011 and 2015 as a “Money Maker” Honoree, whose fiscal work has set the pace for their organization and the region, and he also made the Silicon Bayou 100 list in 2014 as a major influencer in New Orleans’ startup community.
Karen Griffith Gryga
CIO | DreamIt Ventures
Karen Griffith Gryga is an experienced venture capitalist, investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of startup and emerging growth company experience. Karen is Chief Investment Officer for DreamIt. Karen is also co-founder of Dreamit Health and founder of the DreamIt Athena program which focuses on female founders. Karen has helped launch over 200 companies that have generated over $1.5 billion in shareholder value. Karen has held over a dozen board roles on private companies including Synchronoss (Nasdaq: SNCR) and is currently on the boards of Haystack Informatics and the Please Touch Museum. DreamIt is a leading technology accelerator for entrepreneurs which has worked with and launched close to 300 companies since 2008 including SeatGeek, HouseParty, LevelUp, Biomeme, Biobots, Tissue Analytics, Parsely, MindSnacks and Adaptly. Dreamit is the only growth accelerator designed for mature startups. Post-seed companies with product market fit, some revenue, or early traction are left with limited funding options and resources to scale before qualifying for today’s “super-sized” A rounds. We put our companies in front of customers, key strategic partners to drive pilot programs and distribution before we match them with larger venture funds and investor groups to raise follow-on funding. The DreamIt Fund focuses primarily on the follow on investments of DreamIt companies exhibiting strong growth and traction. Dreamit Fund has been named as one of the Top 30 venture capital firms in the United States. We are also one of the most active early stage healthcare investors in the country.
Karen was Co-Founder and CEO of FashInvest, an initiative focused on emerging growth entrepreneurs within Branded Goods, Fashion, Fashion Tech and Retail. The goal of FashInvest is to create a business platform focused on bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and industry executives to foster the growth and development of emerging growth enterprises within Branded Goods, Fashion and Retail. FashInvest is a media, events and advisory entity. Karen was also Co-Founder of Lipstick Wisdom whose focus was on practical, actionable video-based day-to-day advice for moms with children with neurological challenges.
Prior to her entrepreneurial experience, Karen was a Founder and Partner of Liberty Venture Partners, a Philadelphia based venture fund established in 1997 with $150 million under management. Prior to Liberty, Karen was a Managing Director of Philadelphia Ventures Inc., a privately held venture capital management firm with a family of corporate and institutional limited partnerships exceeding $100 million of committed capital. Notable transactions included Synchronoss (Nasdaq: SNCR), InSoft, (acquired by ape), Liveprint.com (acquired by Kinkos), Cadis (acquired by Aspect Development) and WiseBear (acquired by Michael Milken).
Karen has also been Executive Director of MAG, The Mid-Atlantic Angel Group as well as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Context Capital Partners.
Ms. Gryga is well known throughout the entrepreneurial community and was previously on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group for seven years and was Chairman of the group for the 1999-2000 term. Ms. Gryga also serves on the board of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Ms. Gryga began her career at TRW Inc., a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, in their Federal Systems Division as a software developer. Ms. Gryga is a frequent speaker on the subject of venture capital and entrepreneurialism in both professional and academic communities. Karen holds a MBA in decision analysis from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (with Distinction). At the same time as Wharton, Karen obtained a Masters in Computer Science from the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Karen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in computer science (Phi Beta Kappa) from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Vice President | SVB Financial Group
Kelly Belcher is vice president for SVB Financial Group in Houston, where he’s responsible for due diligence activity on new opportunities and oversees a portfolio of clients. In addition, Kelly is also in charge of cultivating the energy-tech ecosystem throughout the region. Because the energy sector has been extremely slow to accept change, Kelly is particularly passionate about how his work will help advance technologies in this industry. He’s excited about working with companies that are at the epicenter of developing ways to do things cheaper, faster, safer and more environmentally friendly.
Shell Technology Ventures | Shell
Kirk is a member of the team at Shell Technology Ventures (STV), Shell’s corporate Venture Capital fund. STV invests in technology companies focused on the oil & gas and future energy (clean/green tech) markets, as well as IT and mobile technologies that support them. STV acts as a strategic partner and makes minority investments in select technology companies, including Shell technology spin-outs, and also acts as an LP in some externally managed venture capital funds.
Kirk has over 15 years of experience as a successful serial entrepreneur and over 7 years as a venture capitalist and early-stage angel investor. Prior to Shell, Kirk was the founder and managing director of SURGE Ventures, a mentor-driven accelerator and seed stage venture fund. During this period, he led the investments into over 45 technology companies solving problems across the energy value chain including oil & gas, cleantech, power, energy efficiency, and horizontal applications that reach across. Under his leadership and direction, SURGE recruited more than 200 industry-leading scientists, investors, policymakers, customers, and entrepreneurs to serve as mentors. SURGE was repeatedly recognized globally as one of the top startup programs and early-stage investment funds.
Check out Kirk’s Frontier interview with Frontier Founder, Hank Torbert here!
Principal | LDR
Lauren Gore is a Principal with LDR specializing in deal advisory, strategy, and disruptive technologies. Prior to joining LDR, Lauren spent 5 years as an Army Infantry Officer with a deployment to Iraq and later was an associate with Baker Botts LLP focused on large-scale energy-related transactions and complex deal design. Lauren is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and Harvard Law School.
Founding Partner | Independence Equity
Laurence K. Hayward is a founding partner of Independence Equity, an early-stage venture capital fund launched in 2012. The fund’s portfolio comprises ten companies with technologies that promote resource efficiency.
Hayward has been forming, investing in and advising start-ups since 2000 following 8 years at Arthur Andersen in the Emerging Company Services practice. He was one of four U.S. Andersen personnel appointed to represent the firm at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 1996.
Hayward serves of the Board of Directors of several of the fund’s portfolio companies. He is a graduate of the Joint MBA/BS program at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana and hold Series 7 and 63 licenses.
Consultant | MIST Cluster
Laurie Jugan is an independent consultant currently supporting the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) through the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET) at Stennis Space Center and USM’s contract for the formalization of the Marine Industries Science & Technology (MIST) Cluster. Under the latter effort, she promotes the Blue Economy of the Gulf Coast region, coordinates events, and assists small to medium-sized companies find business opportunities.
For MSET, Ms. Jugan serves as a Program Manager, developing and conducting programs that link technology providers with organizations that can apply the technology to their missions. She is well-versed in government contracting and the technology transfer process. She routinely provides guidance to companies as they navigate through the processes of various federal agencies and identifies business opportunities for companies based on their products/services.
Prior to her work with MSET, Ms. Jugan worked for 25 years in a small, local technology business serving in a variety both technical and business roles. She is a retired Oceanographer, maintaining connections to the industry through the Marine Technology Society, as well as former work associates. Her other roles included hiring manager, contracts manager, supervisor, facilities manager, supervisor, proposal manager, and business development/marketing specialist.
VP of Research | Lux Research, Inc.
Mark Bünger joined Lux Research in 2005. As a VP of Research he focuses on strategic planning and advanced technologies in bio-, aero-, and energy domains. Over 20 years and across 40 countries, he has worked as a management consultant, technology analyst, and entrepreneur at Accenture, Forrester Research, and several startups. He has served as chairman of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, and guest lectures at the University of California Berkeley.
Mark studied business at Mälardalen Polytechnic (Sweden) and the University of Texas at Austin, and studied and worked in neurology and bioengineering labs at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is an avid linguist, athlete, and Maker.
Co-Founder & CTO | Houston Mechatronics
Nicolaus Radford. Mr. Radford is co-founder, and CTO of Houston Mechatronics, Inc (HMI), a rapidly growing robotics and mechatronics startup, specializing in robotics, intelligent automation, and electric-based platforms with a strong focus in the subsea domain. Prior to HMI, he spent 14 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory. At the conclusion of his service to the government, he was the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Valkyrie robot, a bipedal humanoid developed for both disaster response as outlined in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) and NASA’s Mars exploration vision. Former to that, he served as the Chief Engineer for Robonaut 2 (R2), a spaceflight humanoid robot, initially developed in partnership with General Motors as a prototype for advanced manufacturing processes requiring human level dexterity and coordination. He then led the efforts to redesign and qualify R2 for the International Space Station (ISS). He was also the PI for NASA in DARPA’s advanced electric machine research for robotics using Variable Flux Memory Motors (VFMMs). He also led NASA’s efforts in exoskeleton research for ISS crew exercise and mobility assistance and initially served as Co-PI for NASA on DARPA’s Warrior Web program, which focused on wearable robotics for military applications. He has extensive experience leading multidisciplinary teams in challenging development timeline environments. During Mr. Radford‘s tenure at NASA, he was the recipient of numerous patents, design awards, and commendations for his expertise and leadership that ultimately culminated in him receiving NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. He has been published several times on a multitude of topics relating to spaceflight robotics and is Part Editor for Springer’s Humanoid Robotics Handbook.
Founder Partner | Autonomy Ventures
Oliver is the founding partner at Autonomy Ventures, a venture firm focused on early stage investments in business and industrial automation technologies, including robotics, smart mobility, remote sensing and machine intelligence. Oliver’s portfolio has returned over six exits in the past five years with two IPOs. Previous transactions have included selling Holmes Protection to ADT/Tyco, Americash to American Express, and launching RobotGalaxy, a national EdTech brand. He is an active member of New York Angels and holds 14 patents. Oliver speaks often at international trade shows and writes syndicated articles that reaches thousands of weekly readers.
Senior Advisor | City of New Orleans
As senior advisor for economic development, Rebecca Conwell is instrumental in strengthening the City’s economic development functions. In this role, Rebecca attracts new businesses, oversees the City’s incentive offerings and works closely with the New Orleans Business Alliance to manage the guidelines that are used to evaluate requests for public financing. She is also responsible for managing the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, a collaboration with The Food Trust and HOPE, which offers direct financial assistance to retailers that increase access to fresh foods in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
Prior to joining the City of New Orleans, Conwell served as the member-manager of Twenty-Two Ten, L.L.C., a consulting business specializing in government affairs, project creation and execution, issue analysis and management and grassroots coalition building. Conwell spent 14 years at Tulane University, serving as executive director of state and local governmental affairs, chief of staff for the University president and interim executive director of the Cowen Institute, a think tank for K-12 education in New Orleans. Conwell has a B.B.A. in Finance from Lamar University.
Ron Ondechek Jr.
Managing Director | South Highland Ventures
Co-Founder & CEO | Kyndor
Sanjay Parihar is Co-Founder and CEO of Kyndor Inc.(A blockchain based social app). He has overall 19 years of experience technology and management. His entrepreneurial venture has started with building MOOC in 2012. Later, he worked with ParentRound.com which has been acquired recently.
His current venture, Kyndor inc, is working on building the Parents network over blockchain and encourage peer-peer communication with the full data privacy. In addition, He is also a Blockchain Speaker and blockchain contributor for the CSA group.
Licensing Associate | Tulane University
Shafin Khan has recently joined Tulane University as Licensing Associate at the Tulane University Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development. At this office, Shafin works to help researchers and students within Tulane translate bench research into commercialized products. Previously, Shafin served as Director of Technology Commercialization at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center where he developed a life science technology commercialization program, providing business strategy and planning assistance, mentorship, and educational programming aimed at growing the life science startup ecosystem in Southeast Louisiana. At the BioInnovation Center he helped clients create over 300 jobs and raise over $80M in funding for their technologies.
Shafin earned his J.D. from Loyola University of New Orleans and gained his B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University. Additionally, he has four years of life science research experience, performing research at the LSU Health Sciences Center.
Product Manager | Fluence Analytics
Stephanie McCormick has enjoyed living in Louisiana since 2003. Her career has encompassed field biology, biotechnology science, project management, and software development. Currently, she is a Product Manager at Fluence Analytics and collaborates with her team for the development of an IoT biopharmaceutical device for product research and analysis.
Managing Director | Techstars Mobility
Ted Serbinski is a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist investing in founders around the world building the future of transportation. Ted is the Managing Director and founder of the Mobility program for Techstars, which is the the longest running mobility startup accelerator program in the world. He has invested in 33 startups in 30 months that have raised $45M valued at over $200M. Two have already been acquired. Ted also is the founding curator of the Startup Expo part of Automobil-D at the North American International Auto Show. An entrepreneur and software developer at heart, Ted is happiest rolling up his sleeves and getting to work. Ted holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Cornell University. He lives in metro Detroit with his beautiful wife and 3 kids under the age of 3.
Principal Roboticist | General Electric
Dr. Todd Danko is a Principal Roboticist at the General Electric Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. At General Electric, Todd has been building a family of robotic systems that perform inspection and maintenance tasks from the inside of industrial equipment such as gas turbines and aircraft engines, minimizing the need for equipment disassembly.
Prior to joining General Electric, Todd worked at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Labs in Cherry Hill, NJ where he served as the Principal Investigator for Team TROOPER during the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
Todd earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University where he focused his efforts on the design and control of aerial manipulation systems.
Managing Director | AIAA
Tom Irvine is the Managing Director for Content Development at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In this role, he leads the identification of emerging societal trends, aerospace technologies and adjacent business sectors that are of importance to the aerospace community. His office is responsible for developing products related to these emerging technologies, ranging from events, to publications, to the development of positions on matters of public policy.
Previously, Mr. Irvine was the Deputy Associate Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA HQ where his responsibilities included the executive management of NASA’s aeronautics research program.
During his career, Mr. Irvine has worked in a number of areas including test and evaluation, aircraft icing, space electrical power systems, and composite material mechanics. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1980 and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1982, both from The Ohio State University. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Director, Business Development | Derq
Will Foss leads Derq’s North American Business Development and Partnerships and has responsibility for its US operations. Will joined Derq from Techstars Mobility, where he supported the cohort on business strategy and planning. Prior to Techstars, Will was a Strategy Consultant at Monitor Deloitte and an entrepreneur inside Deloitte’s Venture Lab, where he helped build and bring to market an auto telematics business that reached 10,000+ consumers and generated ~$30M in annual revenue growth for its customers. He earned his BA and MBA from the University of Michigan.
Founder & CEO | Water Foundry
Will is an internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation. He has authored numerous books and articles and presented on: the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy, and the energy-water-food nexus.
He has been a water strategy advisor to private and public-sector enterprises and NGOs for his entire career. He has worked with multinational companies across a range of industry sectors in evaluating the technical viability and market potential of innovative water technologies, market entry strategies and M&A programs.
He is the author of: “Corporate Water Strategies” (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013); “Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector” (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013); and “Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth” (Dō Sustainability 2015). He is currently working on the forthcoming books, “Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity” (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018) and “The 21st Century Sustainability Challenge: Creating Abundance through Public Policy Innovation.
(Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018).
Check out Will’s Frontier interview with Frontier Founder, Hank Torbert here!
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