Judges

Wiley Becker, Partner, Alerion Ventures

Wiley leads the due diligence function at Alerion. He previously was Principal for Square 1 Ventures, the private equity arm of Square 1 Bank, which went public in March 2014. Wiley also helped found the SouthCoast Angel Fund, a committed captial angel fund in New Orleans. He as a BS from Davidson College, attended Babson College, has a MBA from Wake Forest, and lives in Charleston, SC.

 

 

Jan Davis, Retired CEO, ShopperTrak RCT Corporation, Investor, Triangle Angel Partners

Jan Davis is a retired CEO and active board member for companies in drowning prevention, software, analytics, database and digital marketing and information. She presently serves on the boards of directors of ShowingTime.com, SEAL Innovation and GSP Marketing Technologies and on the boards of advisors of multiple companies, including Megalytics, Market Vue Partners, Spring Metrics and Three Ships Digital. She is President of Triangle Angel Partners, an Executive in Residence for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, and on the Investment Committee for the non-profit Launch Place Seed Fund. Davis served as CEO of ShopperTrak RCT Corporation, the global leader in pedestrian traffic counting, from 2004 to 2008. Before joining ShopperTrak, she was an executive vice president and business unit president at TransUnion LLC, the international credit reporting giant. Previously, Davis was a marketing consultant in Boston, MA and in Warsaw, Poland, working with a US database marketing agency, multi-nationals and a Polish enterprise. She co-founded SmartNames, a venture-backed database marketing information, analysis and services company Davis holds a BA and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ken Ferris, President, Brookewood Management Advisors

Ken Ferris is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience which has included being on the founding team of three technology start-up companies, each of which was sold to a large, publicly traded company. The product technologies involved included fiber optic and DSL communications, wireless sensors and medical devices. He is currently President of Brookewood Management Advisors, assisting technology companies with strategic business planning and operations. He serves on the board of three start-ups in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region of Virginia and is active in the regional angel network, 460 Angels. Ken, an engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, began his career with the Department of Defense in Dahlgren, Virginia. While working for DOD, he spent two years on a temporary assignment to the Pentagon and the Naval Electronic Systems Command in Arlington, Virginia. Ken is past President and currently on the Board of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC). He has also served on the Board of the Science Museum of Western Virginia. In 2009 and 2010, he was a member of the Steering Committee for Botetourt County’s Comprehensive Plan Update. Ken has had leadership roles in starting and growing a number of faith-based community service organizations and churches. He is involved in strategy coordination with the Center for Global Strategies of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Martin J. "Marty" Kaszubowski, Executive Director, Center for Enterprise Innovation, Old Dominion University

Marty Kaszubowski has over 30 years of experience with a broad spectrum of public- and private-sector organizations promoting new venture formation, early-stage investment, technology commercialization, and innovation-led economic development. Marty recently joined Old Dominion University as Executive Director of the new Center for Enterprise Innovation, which offers a collection of integrated services for existing and new businesses. Until taking the new position at ODU, Marty was President of General Ideas, a technology venture consultancy working with US and European start-ups and early-stage companies seeking to establish viable business models and prepare for initial investment. He is a member of several startup company Boards and is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Launch Place Seed Fund and Chairman of the Board of the Norfolk State University Research and Innovation Foundation. Marty holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from the George Washington University. 

 

Andy Schwab, President of First Flight Venture Center

Andy Schwab is the President of First Flight Venture Center. Andy is recognized as a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience building technology-based startup companies. He has been an impactful mentor and advisor to over 30 companies throughout career and he has been involved on multiple boards and committees designed to vet technology and executive teams. As a seasoned senior executive with proven management and startup skills, Andy has led two local companies featured in the Triangle Fast 50.

 

The Launch Place Board of Directors Chairman & Master of Ceremonies for the Challenge

Troy Knauss, Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute

Troy Knauss is Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute, a non-profit spinout of the Kauffman Foundation focused on education and research initiatives for early-stage investors. Troy is a partner in a number of Angel funds and networks that invest in high-growth and turnaround companies. Troy has over 20 years of experience in family, growth, and start-up businesses. In addition to his fund activities, Troy is an exited entrepreneur with start-up and growth management experience in food processing, brand building, software development, and eCommerce companies. Troy is an active investor in more than forty ventures.

Troy was named one of the Triad’s Impact Entrepreneurs by Business Leader magazine. He speaks frequently to investors and entrepreneurs on private investing through his efforts with the Angel Resource Institute. He is also a part-time professor at Wake Forest University, a former Board member of the Angel Capital Association, serves on a number of for-profit Boards, and volunteers on a number of non-profit entrepreneurial committees including Vice Chairman of the Greensboro Partnership, a local economic development initiative to attract, engage and help entrepreneurs start businesses. Troy holds degrees from Susquehanna University and Wake Forest University.