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Session 1 - How to Raise Funds from Strategic Investors | February 7, 2023 | 11:15am - 12:15pm EST


Jack Bell

Managing Director - Pantek Partners

Jack is a founder and Managing Director of Pantek Partners, Pantek is a boutique investment banking firm focused on the hard tech sectors with deep networks in the North American, European and Asian technology centers. Strong expertise in advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, semiconductors, batteries, alternative energy platforms and computer vision systems. Our mission is to provide our clients with unique insight and access to strategic investment, M&A and business development channels globally coupled with seasoned execution capabilities. Founded in 2007, Pantek has advised over a 200+ clients with regards to their global capital raising, strategic business development and M&A initiatives.


Alisa Band

Senior Investment Manager - Henkel Tech Ventures

Alisa is a Director with Henkel Tech Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Henkel Adhesives. Henkel is a leading global $20B materials and consumer goods corporate. Henkel Adhesives' main markets are metals, automotive, packaging, manufacturing, construction, electronics, and industrials. Adhesives, sealants, coatings, conductive inks, thermal management materials, UV curable resins for 3D Printing are some of the main product categories. LOCTITE is a leading brand of Henkel Adhesives, along with TEROSON, BONDERITE, TECHNOMELT AND AQUENCE.

Alisa's professional career includes roles in business development, sales and marketing, in a diverse range of markets and technologies. Before joining Henkel, Alisa led the technology scouting team for Israel Chemicals Group (ICL), a global mining and specialty chemicals company. Earlier on in her career, she was a Business Development Manager at Tel Aviv University's tech transfer office. She was also an entrepreneur and founder of a healthcare IT platform for the fertility medical domain.

Alisa holds a MSc in Material Sciences from The Weizmann Institute, a BSc in Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.


Josh Epstein

Managing Partner - UDC Ventures

Josh Epstein is the Managing Partner of UDC Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Universal Display (NMS:OLED) a $6Bn+ leader in the research, development and commercialization of organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies and materials for use in display and solid-state lighting applications. Before joining UDC Ventures, Josh had a 20+ year career as a technology investment banker, heading global practices focused on electronics, digital media and emerging technologies at Cowen and Stifel. During his banking career, Josh focused on working with unique 'story' companies, helping to enable and define new technology sectors with an expertise in strategic advisory, M&A and capital raising assignments.

UDC Ventures seeks to partner with entrepreneurs, disruptive start-ups and innovative, emerging companies in fields related to our strategic focus areas. Companies can be at any stage, ranging from pre-commercial stage research and development to early prototypes through late stage, established companies. UDC Ventures is focused on investing in mega-trends that can impact the technology landscape similar to how OLED technology has impacted the broader display market.


Brian Wong

President - Zelos Energy

Brian Wong has 40 years' experience in the technology sector and has been CEO and C-Level executive at 5 private and public companies and a Board Director at 9 companies. As an entrepreneur he has raised over $220M in equity funding (with $53M of that total raised from 17+ strategic investors) and has formed strategic partnerships and investments with over a dozen international companies.

Mr. Wong is currently President & COO at Zelos, a sustainable battery company for renewable energy, and a Board Director at Lemurian Labs (Edge AI Processors). He most recently was Chief Product Officer at Impinj (Nasdaq: PI), the leader in RFID products and services. Previously, he was President & CEO of TriLumina Corp, (VCSELs for Automotive LiDAR) leading to TriLumina's acquisition by Lumentum (LITE). Mr. Wong has also been President and CEO Enevate Corp (Silicon Anode Li-Ion batteries), CEO of D2Audio Corporation (digital audio and software semiconductors) which he sold to Intersil Corporation; and CEO at Primarion Inc, a (optical comm and digital power semiconductors) that was acquired by Infineon.

His first 17 years was at TRW, an aerospace company developing communication systems for satellites. 

He holds a BSEE from UCLA, MSEE from USC


Yi Zhang

Head of Strategic Investments, Senior Advisor to the President of Wanxiang America - Wanxiang America Corp.

Yi is the Senior Advisor to the President of Wanxiang America and advises on strategic investments for the firm. Wanxiang America is a multi-billion-dollar subsidiary of Wanxiang Group, a leading conglomerate and the largest automotive component manufacturer in China. Yi has been instrumental in advising Wanxiang's strategic investment strategy, including forming and advising a joint corporate venture capital fund with the largest automotive OEM in China.

Yi also leads the Greater China and APAC group for Plante Moran, a major audit, accounting, tax, and consulting firm based in Detroit. He has extensive experience helping clients unlock business value through global expansion and strategic partnership. Yi has advised many leading automotive OEMs and component manufacturers from Asia on global expansion planning, strategic acquisition, and venture investments.

Yi received his bachelor's degree from Renmin University of China, PhD's degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Yi has been an associate research fellow at the China Institute for Employment Research in Beijing since 2014.

Lunch & University Technology Showcase | February 7, 2023 | 11:45am - 3:15pm EST


Joe Slezak

Director of Marketing and BD - H2R CPA

Joe facilitates the growth of a company by developing and implementing high-impact sales and marketing strategies that deliver a return on investment. His accumulation of twenty plus years of business experience provides valuable insight in how marketing interacts with all departments and levels within a company. This enables him to identify and utilize all the resources that are available within a company to improve brand recognition.

For over 10 years, Joe has been driving organic growth within the accounting industry for both regional and national firms. He is an active member within the business community and enjoys expanding his personal network. He is proud to serve as the Secretary for the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association (PVCA) and is highly involved with the 3 Rivers Venture Fair and the Great Lakes Capital Connection. He was the Founding Chairman of the PVCA's Emerging Leadership Board (ELB), the ACG Pittsburgh's Future Corporate Leaders (FCL), and the TMA Pittsburgh's NextGen Board.


Secretary - Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association

Executive Committee - Great Lakes Capital Connection

Member - Association for Corporate Growth (ACG)

Co-chair of the Marketing Committee - 3 Rivers Venture Fair

Member of the Marketing Committee - Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference

Member - Vistage® Worldwide (Trusted Advisors Group)

Member - Association for Accounting Marketing

Member - Professional Services Marketing Association


Nehal Bhojak

President & CEO - Lumis Corp.

Nehal Bhojak is currently President & CEO of Lumis, a technology company that provides an augmented-reality driven solution for training healthcare professionals. She is also Adjunct Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering where she teaches Medical Product Entrepreneurship.

Nehal has deep roots in the region's innovation ecosystem and brings over 20 years of experience in early-stage investment, new venture creation, technology commercialization and healthcare innovation. Prior to joining Lumis, she ran Silicon Valley based OneValley's innovation center in Pittsburgh. From 2017 to 2021, she was the Managing Director of Pittsburgh CREATES, an industry facing corporate innovation center at the intersection of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh. From 2003 through 2017, Nehal was part of the leadership team at Idea Foundry a technology based economic development and investment organization. As its Director of Innovation, she led the creation, growth and management of their Healthcare & Life Sciences Accelerator and Investment programs where she was EIR to 177 new ventures across diverse industry verticals.

Nehal is on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association and advisor to several start-ups. She has held positions as Senior Consulting Engineer at i2 Technologies, Dallas and Whittman-Hart, Chicago in the areas of management consulting, product strategy, supply chain management and optimization.

Nehal holds a Master's degree from the Heinz College of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.


Afshan Khan

Portfolio Executive - Innovation Works

Portfolio Executive with the Hardware Sector at Innovation Works, consistently one of the top 10 most active early stage investors in the country, investing approximately $117 million and supporting over 729 companies. Afshan works primarily with physical product companies, advising on critical business issues, and evaluating companies for funding. Prior to Innovation Works, Afshan was fortunate to have a great diversity of roles in many different types of small and large companies. Afshan was CEO of an international manufacturer and distributor of polyurethane building materials, and also held key positions in Xerox Corporation, in business development, M&A, and strategic planning. Afshan secured over $10 million in equity and debt funding, completed 3 acquisitions, oversaw 200 employees across 3 facilities, and a network of 100 independent sales representatives. Afshan also held key roles at Xerox Corporation, including financial analysis, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning. Afshan has an MBA from Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Business Administration and English from Duquesne University. 


Lauren Williams

Director - 412 Venture Fund

Lauren is a Director at 412 Venture Fund, a Pittsburgh-based VC fund focused on early-stage companies. Previously, Lauren was on the investment team at PNC Riverarch Capital, PNC Bank's private equity group. Lauren has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 

University Representative

Peter Allen

Executive Director, Inventor Engagement and New Ventures - University of Pittsburgh - Innovation Institute

Dr Peter Allen originally trained as a physicist, undertaking research in inverse photoemission and postdoctoral research in multi-layer semiconductor devices. He has worked in a University start up, in Blue Chip consulting firms and founded and run an international consulting business. Most recently, he has worked out of Pittsburgh-based Design Agency, Bally Design, where he has worked on integrating Design Thinking with Strategic technology and innovation management - he is now a shareholder and Board member.

Over the last 15 years, his client work has involved engaging subject matter experts to support client in-house expertise. This knowledge domains for these networks has been extremely broad, including medical devices, regenerative medicine, sensing, novel chemistry and materials, biofilms, communications technologies, advanced algorithms and associated mathematics. This experience has helped him gain strong insights into the dynamics of building and maintaining University/Business partnerships.

Peter now runs the Inventor Engagement and New Ventures team within the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Pittsburgh. His team is responsible for startup coaching, NSF I-Corps programming, Gap Fund awards and outreach to faculty around opportunities for commercialization.

University Representative

Daniel Broderick

EIR - University of Pittsburgh - Innovation Institute

Dan is actively involved in the venture capital community on a regional and national level. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). He has testified before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the NVCA; worked on a number of NVCA committees, and Chaired the Research Committee. Dan is the founder of the Mid-America Healthcare Investor Network (MHIN) and Global Agtech Investor Network (GAIN). He also is the past President of the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Medical College of Wisconsin Research Foundation and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Research Foundation. Over his career Dan has sat on over 40 boards and has been a frequent speaker at venture capital and industry-related events and meetings.

University Representative

Reed McManigle

Mentor in Residence - Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation - Carnegie Mellon University

Reed McManigle is the Mentor in Residence in Carnegie Mellon's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC). In this role, he advises faculty and PhD students as they seek to launch and grow startup companies based on their research results. Reed manages the CTTEC gap fund program; and helps to run the CMU I-Corps program and the CMU Innovation Commercialization Fellowship program. Reed is also responsible for connecting potential entrepreneurs/co-founders to scientists/founders; and for connecting investors to the CTTEC portfolio of companies. He has over 35 years of experience in managing intellectual property and assisting in the formation and early funding of technology-based startup companies. He has been at CMU since 2006 initially as a Licensing Manager before becoming the Mentor in Residence.

Prior to joining CMU, Reed was a licensing officer at the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Technology Management. He also has extensive experience working in and with regional technology-based economic development groups, including at the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania (now Innovation Works) and at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.

Reed received a BA in Political Science/Economics from the University of Dayton, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from CMU.

University Representative

Paul Petrovich

Assistant Director, Business Development - University of Pittsburgh - Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Since 2007, Paul has worked closely with university researchers to create startup companies that utilize university inventions. He is intimately involved in the Innovation Institute's National Science Foundation I-Corps Site Program that supports the Pitt Venture's First Gear Program.

The Pitt Venture's First Gear Program trains faculty and students in experiential customer discovery initiatives relating to the commercialization and spinout of their university-developed technology. Paul oversees related workshops and business competitions focused on innovation and new company creation.

Previously, Paul was with the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence providing hands-on business development consulting to regional technology-based companies. He maintains an expertise in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and has consulted with over 80 participant companies, with successful awards well in excess of $25 million. Relatedly, he authored "A Guide to Federally Funded Research, Budgeting and Accounting," a how-to tome to help small companies manage federal funding. In 2006, he received the prestigious national Tibbetts Award recognizing his services connecting Western Pennsylvania's technology-based companies with SBIR funding for research and product development. He has served on several loan and proposal review committees, including serving as Chair of the Pennsylvania Innovation Partnership Funding Committee.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Session 2 - The Underdog Financing Option: Why You Should Consider Debt Financing During Your Capital Raise | February 7, 2023 | 3:15 - 4:15pm EST


Thomas Dwyer

Partner - Troutman Pepper

Tom focuses on advising and executing mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and growth equity venture capital transactions. He also serves as outside general counsel to several emerging, middle market, and public companies who rely on him for general corporate matters and for coordinating additional firm resources as necessary and at all points of a company's life cycle. Tom works with clients across many industries including various areas of technology (SAAS/cloud software, predictive analytics, machine learning and big data, blockchain/crypto/NFT's, industrial technology, augmented reality, ecommerce and internet services, energy technology, health care information technology, 3D printing, and geospatial/aerospace/defense related technologies), energy, natural resources and infrastructure, health care, life sciences, manufacturing, business services, food and beverage, and gaming.

Tom's experience includes serving as in-house counsel to the treasury and capital markets groups of a Fortune 500 company. He also serves as co-chair of the firm's Emerging Company + Venture Capital group and is on the steering committee of the firm's Technology Group.

Tom founded and leads the Mid-Atlantic Energy Technology Forum and the Health Care IT Forum. He served as chairman of the 2009 IMPACT Conference (formerly MAC Conference). In addition, Tom sits on the Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) Investment Advisory Committee. and was previously a member of the American Bar Association's Venture Capital and Private Equity Subcommittee.

Tom is a frequent speaker on topics such as mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, entrepreneurship, private equity, and technology transfer. He has served as a guest lecturer at Villanova University School of Law and was an adjunct professor for the University of Baltimore's MBA program.

Representative Matters

Represented Innovative Control Systems, a leading provider of technology solutions for the carwash industry, in its sale to Dover (NYSE: DOV).

Represented Clemens Food Group in an acquisition of a hog farming business in North Carolina and Indiana.

Represented CareAR, an augmented reality technology provider, in its sale to Xerox (NYSE: XRX).

Represented Cloudnexa, a cloud migration technology based service provider, in its sale to NHN.

Represented ColdLight Solutions, a machine learning and predictive analytics technology company, in its growth equity investment, Kayne Partners, and its subsequent sale to PTC (Nasdaq: PTC), a global provider of technology platforms and enterprise applications.

Represented Infor, a global enterprise software company, in its acquisition of GRASP Systems International, Saleslogix (SaaS CRM software), Starmount, Inc. (retail software solutions), certain assets of Ciber and Reserve Interactive (cloud based hospitality software) and several other acquisitions.

Represented a specialty chocolatier in its sale to a private equity firm.

Represented Greenphire, a market leading provider of cloud-based clinical trial payment management and data analytics solutions, in its Series A and Series B venture financings and its sale to The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm.

Represented Nuvon, Inc., a leader in medical device integration, interoperability, and clinical intelligence, in its merger with Cardiopulmonary Corp., a leader in real-time connected health care.

Represented a Nasdaq-listed business services company in its initial public offering and the implementation of a nationwide acquisition program (16 acquisitions since IPO, including a $260 million merger in 2007).

Represented Insight Strategy Advisors, a market access consulting firm to the biopharma industry, in its sale to Precision Value & Health.

Represented a well-known Philadelphia-based private equity firm with respect to its initial investment in, and $55 million recapitalization of, a leading health care information technology company.

Represented Proscia, an innovative digital pathology technology provider in its Series Seed, Series A, and Series B capital raises.

Represented Osage Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm in its investment in Sidecar, a Philadelphia-based ecommerce marketing company and its investment in, and exit from, PeopleLinx and several other investments.

Represented Activate Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in several investment transactions.

Represented Core Solutions, a software provider in the mental/behavioral health space, in its Series A and Series B equity raises.

Represented a major buyout fund in the acquisition of a portfolio company in the education space.

Represented a nutritional bioscience company, with respect to corporate and licensing matters in connection with a settlement and licensing agreement covering bioscience patents.

Represented a family owned medical device manufacturer in its sale to a private equity-backed platform company through a merger.

Represented a partnership in the sale of a majority interest in a race track/gaming operation to the world's largest casino operator.

Represented various financial sponsors in the formation of private equity funds.

Represented emerging companies with strategic financing issues, including venture capital and angel equity investments.

Energy Technology, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Transactions

Represented NavPort, an energy technology company, in its sale to RS Energy (a Warburg Pincus backed company).

Represented a Fortune 100 energy company in its strategic investment in an innovative solar technology company.

Represented Graymont, a global specialty natural resources company, in the sale of certain of its non-core assets to Barrett Industries.

Represented a private equity fund focused on energy technology and the water/energy nexus in its preferred stock investment in a water-focused environmental technology company.

Represented a renewable energy developer in connection with the development of an 11.5 MW solar facility and the project's sale to the renewable energy development arm of a Fortune 100 energy company.

Represented a venture investor in connection with its cleantech investment in an innovative "upcycling" company.

Represented a large infrastructure company in the purchase of its stone, gravel, and sand supplier.

Represented an energy efficiency technology company with respect to its expansion stage venture financing and licensing agreement with a Fortune 500 strategic partner.

Advised in a $440 million transaction that securitized a unique asset, while serving as in-house counsel to the treasury and capital markets group of a Fortune 500 energy company.


Dan Frechtling

CEO - Boltive

Dan has led B2B SaaS businesses since 1999. Prior to Boltive, he was President of G2 Web Services, acquired by Verisk, where he expanded G2's cyber security solutions to detect brand damaging activity and transaction laundering. He was also GM/VP at Hibu, VP at and Sr. Associate for McKinsey. He has an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and a BS with High Honors from Northwestern University.


Wendy Jarchow

Chief Investment Officer - River SaaS Capital

Wendy leads River SaaS Capital's due diligence and lending activities, helping SaaS businesses fund their growth plans with non-dilutive capital and managing the company's portfolio of loans. She has more than 24 years of experience in finance, venture capital and strategic planning at both large corporations and entrepreneurial ventures. Wendy is a Northeast Ohio native and an alumna of John Carroll University. She lives in Lakewood with her husband and two children.

Session 3 - How the Right Funding Partners Can Help You Navigate Business Challenges | February 7, 2023 | 4:30 - 5:30pm EST


Wendy Jarchow

Chief Investment Officer - River SaaS Capital

Wendy leads River SaaS Capital's due diligence and lending activities, helping SaaS businesses fund their growth plans with non-dilutive capital and managing the company's portfolio of loans. She has more than 24 years of experience in finance, venture capital and strategic planning at both large corporations and entrepreneurial ventures. Wendy is a Northeast Ohio native and an alumna of John Carroll University. She lives in Lakewood with her husband and two children.


Bethany George

Partner, Investments - JumpStart Inc.

Bethany George is Partner, Investments at JumpStart Ventures working across all of our funds on sourcing investment opportunities, executing due diligence and working with entrepreneurs post-closing to help them through the ups and downs of building a high growth business.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs in Ohio, she has deep empathy for the entrepreneur's path and is passionate about the growth opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Bethany has dedicated her career to building a thriving early-stage investment ecosystem in Ohio since the formation of the Entrepreneurial Signature Program by the Third Frontier, partnering with hundreds of founders, entrepreneurs, principal investigators, and investors to put their companies, and Ohio, on the map.

Bethany created her own Masters Degree at Ohio University via the Individual Interdisciplinary Program while she helped form TechGROWTH Ohio and taught MBA students the ropes of working with early-stage entrepreneurs. Bethany also holds a Bachelors of Science in Journalism from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism.

Bethany is the founding Executive Chair of VentureNext, a group of 150+ rising investment professionals across 100+ funds throughout the midwest. She recently co-led the creation of the group's mentorship program and currently serves on the executive committee in the Mentorship Chair role.


Gerald Hetrick

CEO - Bezlio


Dave Lowman

CFO - Proformex

Entrepreneur and Executive leader with more than 25 years' experience building successful, high-growth businesses leading to six liquidity events. Led the development of SageQuest, Inc. from start-up to sale and in the process earned numerous accolades including Best Software Product, Best Company to Work For and winner of the Weatherhead 100 based on generating 1,500% top line growth.

Specialties: Strong financial leader with extensive experience in capital markets and operating in high growth environments across diverse industries.

Current Roles:

• President - VisCap LLC

• CFO - Proformex, Inc.

• Executive Director - North Coast Venture Fund

• Board Member - Agency Insurance Company, Amplifund, Bezlio, Friends of Breakthrough Charter Schools

Graduate of Miami University and The Kellogg Graduate School of Management


Alicia McGinnis

General Partner - Audrey's Kitchen

Alicia McGinnis, utilizes her background as a music educator/entrepreneur to direct private equity and real estate investments in the family office portfolio of Audrey's Kitchen.

She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Music from Northwestern University, and a Certificate in Family Office Governance from the Kellogg School of Business.

She serves as Chief Financial Officer for the company she co-founded, CraftYourMusic.

Alicia serves on the board of several companies in which the office has invested, including UpContent and Exchangelodge. She focuses on adding operational and accounting efficiencies to early-stage companies. She provides Financial Controller services to partnerships, corporations, and sole proprietors.

She serves as a judge for the McGinnis Venture Competition held at Carnegie Mellon University, a competition named for her family's entrepreneurial contributions to the region, as well as for Northwestern's VentureCat competition.

Alicia served as Executive Director of Fortyx80, an economic development initiative of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, raising seed money for programming to connect start-ups with strategic investors.

She provides mentorship and scholarship funding for the Propel Program at Northwestern's Garage, a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors at the university.

Alicia is an Honorary Board Member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She is the Treasurer of the Pine Township Democratic Committee.

Feel free to visit Audrey's Kitchen to learn more and connect with Alicia. 

Breakfast & UPMC Fireside Chat: Commercializing the Medical Expertise in Pittsburgh | February 8, 2023 | 8:15 - 9:30am EST


Marlee Myers

Partner - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Marlee S. Myers represents publicly traded and emerging companies in US and international transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, initial and follow-on public offerings, venture capital and debt financings, and strategic alliances. She advises on general corporate matters, including securities compliance and corporate governance. In addition, she serves as corporate counsel to family offices and venture investors. Founding partner of Morgan Lewis's Pittsburgh office, Marlee has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business every year since 2003.

Marlee serves on the board of trustees of the University of Pittsburgh and previously served for many years on the boards of directors of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and UPMC. In addition, she was the founding board chair of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recognized Marlee as one of the city's top 50 business leaders, and she was twice selected as an ATHENA Award finalist by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. She was honored as one of Pennsylvania's Top 50 Women in Business by former Governor Tom Ridge; received a Pittsburgh Business Times Business Women First Award (2009 and 2016); and was named by the National Diversity Council as one of the "Most Powerful and Influential Women of Pennsylvania."


Rob Hartman

Senior Director, Translational Sciences - UPMC Enterprises

Rob Hartman, PhD, has over 10 years of healthcare and commercialization experience. He is currently a Senior Director of Translational Science at UPMC Enterprises, where he leads strategy and operational support for portfolio companies, supports investment strategy and diligence, and serves as a connector of teams and opportunities spanning life sciences and digital health technology. Before moving to Translational Science, Dr. Hartman led the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, a program that enables UPMC to support and commercialize potentially disruptive innovation in healthcare with multi-million-dollar annual investments in health-related, data-intensive, local, academic research. Prior to working with UPMC, he was an innovation and commercialization consultant within the University of Pittsburgh where he received his Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees in bioengineering.


Rebecca Jacobson, MD, MS, FACMI

President - Astrata

Dr. Rebecca Jacobson is President of Astrata, a software and analytics company that is changing the way that healthcare quality is measured. She has more than 25 years of experience in clinical natural language processing and health informatics in academics, healthcare and industry. Prior to her position at Astrata, Dr. Jacobson was Vice President, Analytics at UPMC Enterprises and Professor of Biomedical Informatics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.


Nicholas Shapiro

Vice President - UPMC Enterprises

Session 4 - Building a Platform Strategy | February 8, 2023 | 9:40 - 10:40am EST


Jennifer Van Dam

Director of Platform - Genius Guild

Jenn is a strategic thinker building community for early-stage startup teams both on and offline. Jenn is currently the Director of Platform at Genius Guild, a Chicago-based venture capital firm building a new kind of venture platform focused on creating a world where everyone gets alpha-Investors, Founders, and Communities. They invest at the intersection of the five social determinants of health (SDOH): healthcare access and quality; social and community factors; economic factors; education access and quality; and neighborhood and built environments.. Prior to joining Genius Guild Jenn led Digital & Community Engagement at Innovation Works (IW).


Patrick Bailey

Director of Platform - 412 Venture Fund


Hunter Hartwell

Partner - Glasswing Ventures

Hunter Hartwell is a Partner at Glasswing Ventures focusing on investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled enterprise software as a service (SaaS) companies and B2B marketplaces. He has spent the vast majority of his VC career investing in companies that bring emerging technologies and automation to legacy industries or functions, including banking, insurance, manufacturing/logistics, HR, and finance.

Prior to joining Glasswing in 2022, he was a Principal at Forte Ventures, where he spent five years leading Series A and B investments across various sectors, including enterprise SaaS, fintech, and insurtech. While at Forte Ventures, he led the Series A rounds and served on the boards of two Glasswing Ventures portfolio companies, Verusen and Inrupt. Before Forte, Hunter worked in strategy consulting and M&A at Deloitte with a focus in international transactions. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Jordan Marinkovich

Platform Community Manager - Innovation Works

As Platform Manager of Innovation Works, Jordan Marinkovich supports the growth of software, hardware and life-science startups throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. She has a passion for creating innovative, equitable opportunities and a community of support to advance entrepreneurs to their next stage of growth. Jordan works closely with IW's portfolio companies to help them leverage resources and networks to promote their growth and profitability.

Prior to overseeing IW's Platform offerings, Jordan worked on the Marketing and Communications team helping to create unique digital content. Her marketing experience spans across several industries including legal, non-profit, and healthcare fields.

Jordan holds a BS from Carlow University and an MBA from Point Park University.


Alison Todak

Director of Platform - Plymouth Growth

Alison is the Director of Platform at Plymouth Growth. In this role, she focuses on providing support and critical resources for Plymouth's portfolio companies, as well as leading efforts across marketing, communications, and overall community building. Prior to Plymouth Growth, Alison used to work as an Ecosystem Development Manager at Bamboo Detroit, creating founder-focused communities and events for technology and mobility entrepreneurs. She was also the Managing Director at Cahoots, where she focused on building bridges between entrepreneurs and the greater technology community. She also co-founded the Desai Accelerator at the University of Michigan, running the day-to-day programming and mentorship outreach for the startup teams selected to participate in the 13-week program with $50,000 in pre-seed funding.

Alison's passion project is Shine & Rise, a support network for women in tech that she co-founded in 2019.

Session 5 - Is Crowdfunding Right for Your Company? | February 8, 2023 | 10:50 - 11:50am EST


Perry Patterson

Shareholder - Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Perry S. Patterson is a shareholder at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC in Pittsburgh, PA, and Chair of Buchanan's Mergers & Acquisitions practice group. He is a member of American Bar Association's Business Law Section Mergers and Acquisitions Committee, and its Subcommittees on Private Equity M&A and M&A Jurisprudence, Task Force on Legal Project Management, and the Committee on Legal Opinions, and served in the study group of the M&A Committee's inaugural Carveout Transactions Deal Points Study published in 2018. Currently chair-elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Business Law Section, he has served on the Title 15/Business Associations Committee since 2015.  


George Cook

CEO & Co-Founder - Honeycomb Credit


Jenna McLaughlin

COO - Velum Fermentation


Nate McLaughlin

CEO - Velum Fermentation

Closing Lunch & Awards Ceremony & Keynote Speaker: Mary Beth Green of Sheetz | February 8, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:45pm EST

Keynote Speaker

Mary Beth Green

Chief Innovation Officer - Sheetz

Mary Beth Green is an accomplished, c-suite innovation leader and change agent, whose passion and expertise fuels growth by attracting top talent and by commercializing innovation. She identifies opportunities and champions strategic initiatives that transform business.

Mary Beth's successful executive career includes leading business development, marketing and now innovation, most recently as Chief Innovation Officer at Sheetz, a $9 billion convenience store chain with more than 600 locations across six states. She is a successful entrepreneur, product strategist and process improvement professional who has driven sales growth up to 50 percent and margin growth up to 20 percent for companies ranging from a consulting startup to a Global 500 healthcare giant.

Mary Beth is a respected leader and active participant in the Pittsburgh startup and innovation ecosystem. She often coaches and mentors founders, judges pitch competitions, speaks at local and national venues, and teaches new product management at Carnegie Mellon University and commercialization innovation at the University of Pittsburgh.

A lifelong learner, she earned an MBA in Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship from CMU - Tepper School of Business and an MPIA in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Illinois.