FIRST TRACK JUDGES
(Ty) Sumner Adams, Managing Director
Ty is an industrial design entrepreneur commercializing innovative products for startups and intrapreneurial corporate teams. He has co-founded and served multiple companies as CDO – chief design officer. Ty spent the previous decade leading design and global product development for Paoli, Inc. and Kimball International’s Advanced Products Group. Ty is active in the Metro’s entrepreneurial eco-system as a Coach for NUCLEUS’ LAUNCHit Program and lecturing professor for the inaugural cross-disciplinary industrial design co-creation course at the University of Louisville. He previously chaired the Vogt Invention & Innovation Awards and served on the Venture Connectors Board. Ty has been awarded nine U.S./EU patents and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ID (industrial design) from California State University Long Beach.
Tendai Charasika, CEO
As the CEO of the fast-growing technology company, SuperFanU, Tendai’s leadership responsibilities include guiding the vision, strategy and execution of value creating milestones including: fundraising, talent acquisition, and business development activities. Prior to joining the Louisville-based SuperFanU team in 2014, he was the Executive Director of Greater Louisville Inc.’s (GLI) EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurship arm of the region’s leading economic development agency. Prior to that he worked for the fast-growing, entrepreneurial firm, Summit Energy. Tendai is involved on several boards including Venture Connectors, the Louisville Sports Commission and the Fund for the Arts. Tendai holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and an Entrepreneurial MBA, both from the University of Louisville.
Lynn Cooper, President and CEO
Lynn is president and CEO of BFW Inc., a Louisville-based manufacturer, marketer and exporter of high-intensity surgical headlight and video systems. As a small business owner, she travels globally to successfully compete in a market of much larger medical device corporations. Within the Kentucky business community, Lynn is an active board member of Venture Connectors, Kentucky District Export Council, Dress for Success Louisville, and the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement. She is also current Chair and a founding member of Louisville’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NEW).
Thad Druffel, Theme Leader
Solar Manufacturing R&D
Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, University of Louisville
Thad’s interests are developing materials and processes for scalable manufacture of devices for renewable energy. Through this work he has mentored post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate and high school researchers that has resulted in several publications, patent applications, presentations, collaborations and funding. He is the founder of Bert Thin Films, LLC, which is pursuing commercialization of some of the research being conducted at the Conn Center. He has been engaged in product development efforts spanning a twenty year career involving projects encompassing solar and water facilities in Africa to corporate research and development of cutting edge technologies. He earned his BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and Colorado State University and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Louisville.
Trisha Finnegan, Vice President
Mission & Impact
Community Foundation of Louisville
Trisha brings nearly 20 years of multi-functional experience identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to create meaningful results. Her experience includes two Fortune 100 corporations, nonprofit organizations and a technology-based social enterprise.
Currently Trisha is focused on crafting and executing efforts and strategies that create sustained, positive impact across our community. Previously, Trisha was the Managing Director of Biometrac, an organization increasing access to and improving healthcare in developing countries. A Louisville-native, Trisha holds a B.S. in Business and Organizational Behavior from Miami University in Oxford, OH where she graduated magna cum laude. Trisha is an active Board member of the Louisville Urban League and of Awesome Fund Louisville.
Maggie Galloway, CEO
Inscope is a medical device company that is developing and commercializing a novel laryngoscope system that combines several devices into one, improving patient safety and saving costs for hospitals. Before founding Inscope Medical, Maggie was an Innovation Consultant at Humana, Inc. Maggie specialized in clinical product development from user research to concept development to product scale. During her time at Humana, she developed several new innovations for diabetes that aimed to slow progression of the disease in Medicare patients. Maggie received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville.
Steve Huey, CEO/Co-founder
Capture Higher Ed
I am passionate about helping others reach their goals. My belief is that human capital is quickly becoming the only differentiator between good companies and great ones. I strive to create a corporate culture that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit in order to align both personal and professional goals. If you can do that, you are assured success. I also love integrating cutting-edge technologies into already existing markets that desperately need them. An experienced executive in leading and growing technology-based businesses, I manage aggressive and innovative management teams – including business development, product design and management, software architecture and operations management.
Currently I serve as CEO of Capture Higher Ed, an industry-leading Technology firm that combines the principles of Narrow AI, Machine Learning, Big Data and Best Practices in Enrollment Management. We are creating and implementing new technologies to assist our partners in meeting their enrollment goals. I am an avid promoter of gaining higher education; it helps provide hope, build critical understandings and influences possibilities of the future. I believe that at Capture we are doing our part by helping people obtain an education to build a better world.
Ross Jordan, Principal
Ross joined the Yearling Funds, an early-stage venture capital firm, as an Associate in September 2012, and was promoted to Senior Associate in January 2015. He performs due diligence for prospective investments and assists existing portfolio companies with fundraising, business strategy, financial modeling, and general corporate structuring issues. With his legal background, Ross is deeply involved in the document drafting phase for new and follow-on investments. Prior to joining the Yearling Funds, he spent two summers as a Summer Associate with Stites & Harbison, a large Southeastern law firm with offices in five states. While at Stites & Harbison, Ross worked on a range of legal projects, including both corporate and litigation matters. Ross received his BA from Xavier University and his JD/MBA from the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Venture Connectors and is a licensed attorney with the Kentucky Bar.
Greg Langdon, Angel Investor, Startup Advisor
Greg is an experienced executive with a background in corporate and product strategy for technology businesses. He has a range of experience in executive management, business development, M&A, product management, marketing and product development. Greg was a senior member of the management team that led Efficient Networks from a venture-funded startup into a market-leading position in broadband equipment, an initial public offering, acquisitions of several smaller firms, and subsequent acquisition by Siemens AG. He serves on the investment committee of an angel fund, is a board member for several early-stage technology companies and is a member of the Board of Advisors for GLI EnterpriseCorp and Venture Connectors. Greg has worked closely with numerous startups in over a dozen accelerator programs. He is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and is co-author of three patents
Kacie Neutz, CEO/Co-founder
Kacie is the co-founder and CEO of TheraBracelet, an early stage start-up in the wearables industry, whose core product utilizes a unique vibration technology to improve reaction times, fine motor skills, and sensitivity in the hands. Kacie and her team competed in numerous business plan competitions across the country and internationally, culminating with a third place finish at the Global Venture Labs Investment Challenge (GVLIC) in Austin, and winner of the $100,00 Mercury Fund Technology Transfer Award. Prior to her role at TheraBracelet, Kacie served as the primary at Strategic Communications for proposal development & implementation of multi-million dollar contracts in IT and Technology, and has held several positions within the IT industry over the past 10 years. She has a BS in Justice Administration, and an Entrepreneurship MBA from the University of Louisville.
Melissa Marvel, CPA, CFS, CGMA, CEO & Founder
Marvel Enterprises, LLC
With more than 15 years of experience as a Chief Financial Officer in healthcare and logistics, Melissa launched Marvel Enterprises, LLC to pursue her entrepreneurial spirit. Today, she is engaged in the financial and investment sector, with a healthcare focus. Melissa is involved with both early stage startups as well as growth oriented merger and acquisition teams.
Prior to launching Marvel Enterprises, Melissa served as Chief Financial Officer for The Buddeke Company, and as the CFO, Director of Administration for Kosair Charities, Inc. in Louisville. Melissa served in various capacities for these entities, including: Strategic Planning, Finance, Personnel, Policies and Procedures, Commercial Real Estate Development/ Leasing, Property Management, Marketing, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Budgets facilitated and managed rose into the millions, with treasury management exceeding $200M in assets. Melissa holds an Entrepreneurship MBA from the University of Louisville.
Galen Powers, Executive V.P. SIDIS, Global CEO
Galen Powers is an entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience developing products and business models for both small and mid-size companies. Building smart, cross-functional, fast moving teams that are focused on innovating in ways that benefit the customer is his primary strength. Solving tough problems and product challenges in new ways is where his passion lies.
Mr. Powers is the Executive Vice President of Covington Kentucky based SIDIS, the parent company of Propel Labs, MobileMedTek and Biologic. He is also the CEO of MobileMedTek, a Louisville Kentucky based Neurology equipment startup. Mr. Powers is the past President of Vision Dynamics, which he joined when it was a startup. He is a cofounder of the Louisville startup, LensFactory.com. In conjunction with his team members, he is named on over 50 US and International patents.
Mr. Powers is the current Chairman for the Enterprise Corp Board of Advisors (the early stage business group within Greater Louisville Inc.) and the past Chairman of the Vogt Awards, an accelerator like program that provides initial funding and mentoring to selected early stage companies.
Jeff Shrensker, Vice President
Jeff Shrensker has been with BB&T since 1995 and currently serves as a Commercial Credit Underwriter within Kentucky’s Regional Corporate & Commercial Banking teams, which involves extensive credit underwriting and risk management, along with relationship support for BB&T clients and prospects. Past roles within BB&T included retail branch management, small business relationship management, and credit portfolio management for middle market and corporate clients. He has been a judge for the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Challenge business plan competition since 2009. Former board membership includes The Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) for the City of Louisville, Seven Counties Services, Inc. and The Venture Club of Louisville, Inc. Mr. Shrensker graduated from the University of Louisville in 1995 with a major in finance and a minor in political science, and graduated from the school’s Professional MBA program in 2009.
Jennifer Williams, CEO
Cuddle Clones, Cartoonize My Pet
Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Cuddle Clones, a startup company that creates soft and adorable plush versions of people’s pets as well as other custom pet products. She has a BS in Mathematics and Business from the University of Puget Sound and an MBA from the University of Louisville. Jennifer spent 10 years as a benefits consulting actuary and her last job before making the entrepreneurial leap was with PwC. She is actively involved in the entrepreneurial community in Louisville and periodically develops financial models for other startups in the area. Cuddle Clones recently acquired Cartoonize My Pet, an online customization engine in which people can pick from several hundred base pets, tweak every little detail from eye color to socks on the paws, to create their one-of-a-kind cartoon version of their pet. After adding accessories and themed backgrounds, the design created is then projected onto Zazzle’s product line which includes over 250 custom products such as gift wrap, apparel, stationery and pet bowls.
Jackie Willmot, COO
Jackie has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry including executive positions in the Life Science, Payer and Healthcare Service space. Her experience also includes 7+ years working directly with and for healthcare start-ups. In addition to her role as Chief Operating Officer of XLerateHealth, Jackie is currently working with Digital Reasoning, an artificial intelligence company located in Nashville, TN.
Jackie volunteers her time in the start-up community and has served as a judge for the annual Invention and Innovation Awards competition, the Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge and the European MBA challenge. She is a Master’s prepared Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and holds an MBA from the University of Louisville’s entrepreneurship program, a Master’s of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Baccalaureate Nursing degree from Villa Maria College.
Jeff Ames, Founder, Bluegrass Barrels
VP Commercial Relationship Manager, Stock Yards Bank
With a BS in Finance from Virginia Tech, Jeff bolstered his education by graduating from the University of Louisville’s IMBA program in 2011. A commercial banker by day at Stock Yards Bank, Jeff also founded Bluegrass Barrels, LLC in January 2011. Bluegrass Barrels has sold more than 35,000 mini-bourbon barrels since inception and sold more than 7,500 barrels in 2016. Jeff has served on several volunteer boards, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, YPAL, and the St. Xavier Business and Professional Association.
Chris Blakely, Founder and CEO
Chris is the Founder and CEO of Credit Fair-E. Credit Fair-E helps low and middle income families break their cycle of debt by providing them with fair, affordable small-dollar loans. Chris received a BS in Business Administration and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville. Chris has over 15 years’ experience in both product development and project management as well as technical and operations experience for Fortune 500 companies in the financial services, healthcare and restaurant industries. Chris has a proven track record of leading teams to meet both short-term and long-term goals.
Jacy Cruz, Head of Experience
Jacy Cruz has spent the past several years helping support and grow Louisville’s entrepreneurial community both professionally and in her spare time. In 2011, she cofounded US Chia, where she helped commercialize a patented chia seed technology. In 2013, she was a founding Director of the XLerateHealth, the first healthcare accelerator in the region. She later served as Operations Director of Velocity Indiana, an entrepreneurship center offering co-working space, an accelerator program, and startup pitch competitions. She is currently Head of Experience for MobileServe, a local tech startup, and is responsible for Marketing, Account Management, and User Engagement.
Jacy volunteers her time as an Organizer of Startup Weekend Louisville and serves on the board of the Network of Entrepreneurial Women. She received an A.B. from Princeton University and an Entrepreneurship MBA from the University of Louisville.
David Gollinger, Co-Founder
Amy Burns the Recipe Book
David is currently working to build and commercialize his wife’s deliciously healthy and entertaining food blog, www.amyburnstherecipebook.com. Previously, David spent three years working as a plant controller in Louisville, KY and another 10 years in public and private accountying roles in Columbus, OH. David is a licensed CPA and graduated with distinction from the University of Louisville’s Entrepreneurship MBA program in May 2016. David and his wife Amy reside in Louisville, KY.
Brett Moreno, Industry Engagement Coordinator
Research & Innovation, University of Louisville
Brett works full-time in the Research and Innovation Department at the University of Louisville. He is responsible for analyzing University owned inventions and seeking out entrpreneurs, start-ups and companies who can bring them to market. His responsibilities also include partnering with businesses to match them with research expertise, student talent and R&D capabilities that exist within the university. Brett also works for a growth-stage company in Louisville called Cuddle Clones. There he performs various Business Development related activities; including managing and implementing the acquisition of Cartoonize My Pet. Brett’s volunteer activities include participating on the board of the UofL MBA Alumni Council as Vice-Chair of Marketing, and supporting local entrepreneurial events such as Venture Connectors and Open Coffee.
Vik Chadha, Managing Director
Vik is the co-founder of a number of high-tech companies such as Backupify, a leading backup provider for cloud-based data; GlowTouch Technologies, a four-time Inc. 500/5000 software and services company with 1,000+ employees; and Scalable Ventures, an early-stage startup investment and operating firm.From 2001 to 2010, he served as a Managing Director of the EnterpriseCorp in Louisville, where he managed a portfolio of over 100 client companies and helped them raise $120 million in funding. Prior to EnterpriseCorp, he worked as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at bCatalyst, an early-stage business incubator. Vik holds a B.S. degree in Electronics & Communications Engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology and has an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Kenneth Gardner, Founder/Executive Chairman
Ken has more than 40 years in the enterprise software industry. A serial entrepreneur, he holds over 20 patents. Prior to founding SOASTA–a Silicon Valley- based web and mobile performance testing company— he founded five other successful tech firms. Istante was acquired by Oracle in December 2004; Sagent Technology (IPO in April 1999); ReportSmith (acquired by Borland in March 1994); and ViewPoint Systems (acquired by Knowledgeware in June 1992). His first startup was Tesseract Corporation, where he was senior vice president of technology. Ken, a graduate of the College of Business at the University of Louisville, was named Alumni Fellow in 2000, and was inducted into the College of Business Entrepreneurship Circle of Fame in 2013. He lives in Menlo Park, California.
Bob Saunders, General Partner
Bob is a General Partner at OCA Ventures (a leading Chicago venture capital firm), a Founding Partner of Saunders Murdoch & Associates (Louisville/Boston) and is Chairman of XLerateHealth (Louisville).
He is an active investor in several healthcare and technology startups. Bob was a Managing Director and General Partner at Chrysalis Ventures (1997 – 2009). Bob was a founding board member of MetaCyte Business Lab, the University of Louisviille’s life science incubator. He is also a co-founder of XLerateHealth, one of the leading healthcare accelerators in the US. Over the last 30 years, he has invested in dozens of startup companies (several of which have gone public or been acquired by large strategic investors) and has mentored 100+ startups. Bob worked for several years as a strategy consultant with both The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Co. before becoming a professional venture capital investor. Bob received a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and an M.A. from Harvard University. He was both a Marshall Scholar and Fulbright Scholar.
Viji Sundar, Technology Director, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Sales & Producer
Viji is a strategic leader responsible for directing geographically diverse IT Solution Engineering teams to deliver cutting edge, mission critical applications to support Humana’s CRM Sales and Producer domains. The systems in her portfolio
enable thousands of internal and external agents to sell Humana’s Medicare, Individual, and Commercial products. Her 20+ year IT career includes technology leadership for Fortune 500 companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Kraft Foods. She is active in the Louisville entrepreneurial community, and enjoys applying her business process streamlining expertise on a variety of entrepreneurial ventures in the capacity of investor and strategic partner. Viji completed her MBA in Entrepreneurship from University of Louisville and holds a Master of Management Studies degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India.
John Wechsler, Founder
John has founded, co-founded or served in C-level roles in several high-growth and venture-backed startups including Formstack, Formspring, DeveloperTown, Vontoo, Wishoo and beenz. John is also an active advisor to entrepreneurs and startup teams. John founded Launch Fishers, a 52,000 square foot launch pad for start-ups and high-potential enterprises with the goal of being a catalyst for economic development. Most recently, John founded the entrepreneurial mentorship initiative Launch Indiana.
John has been a lifetime volunteer with community and nonprofit organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce where he co-chairs the Technology & innovation Council.
John started his career at IBM where he managed the global account plans for multiple Fortune 500 clients and achieved membership in the Golden Circle – recognizing the top 1.5% of the IBM sales force. Prior to starting with IBM John earned a marketing degree from Indiana University where he participated in the School of Business Overseas Study Program in Maastricth, the Netherlands. John also served in the US Army where he learned the art of jumping from perfectly functioning helicopters as an Air Assault Combat Engineer in the First Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas!
Maggie Galloway, CEO
Maggie Galloway is CEO and co-founder of Inscope Medical Solutions, a medical device company that is developing and commercializing a novel laryngoscope system that combines several devices into one, improving patient safety and saving costs for hospitals. Maggie’s knowledge of the healthcare industry along with her experience in new product development allows her to bring Inscope Medical a strategic view of the industry combined with a practical understanding of how medical products are developed and marketed.
Before founding Inscope Medical, Maggie was an Innovation Consultant at Humana, Inc. Maggie specialized in clinical product development from user research to concept development to product scale. During her time at Humana, Maggie developed several new innovations for diabetes that aimed to slow progression of the disease in Medicare patients.
Maggie is passionate about improving the health of the Louisville Community. She served on board of Slow Food Bluegrass from 2011-2014 and as board co-chair from 2013-2014. During that time, Maggie created a School Garden Grant program that provides funds and support for elementary schools to build school gardens and teach kids about healthy eating. In 2015, Maggie was selected to participate in the Rotary Leadership Fellowship program to accelerate her development as a community service leader. In her spare time, Maggie is an avid beekeeper and cyclist.
Maggie received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was a Division I rower. In 2015, Maggie received her MBA in Entrepreneurship from University of Louisville. Inscope Medical Solutions was formed out of the MBA program. Maggie led the Inscope team to win or place in seven New Venture Investment competitions, culminating as the Global Champions in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition. The team won a grand total of $327,000 in contest earnings and was invited to close the NASDAQ on August 17, 2015.