Winners of the 2016-17 Howard Cox '64 Prize for entrepreneurship
($15k) 1st Place: KULISHA
($10k) 2nd Place: AERONICS
($5k) 3rd Place: FIND YOUR DITTO
MEET THE SPEAKERS
Kat Manalac is a partner at Y Combinator and originally joined as its first Director of Outreach. Kat focuses on finding great entrepreneurs for the program. Prior to YC, Kat worked as Chief of Staff to Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of reddit and investor. Before that, she was at WIRED Magazine. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Jack is certainly no stranger to Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial community. After graduating from Baylor High School, he attended Princeton University and eventually worked on Wall Street in corporate finance, mergers, and acquisitions for Credit Suisse. Jack next founded a software company, Draftspace, which was later acquired by Moody’s Investor Service. After success in Silicon Valley, he returned to Chattanooga and began to make waves in the burgeoning local startup scene. He co-founded the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, an angel investment fund for southeastern entrepreneurs, as well as Lamp Post Group, a venture capital incubator which has created hundreds of local jobs and millions of dollars in local economic impact and successful exits. Before joining CO.LAB as executive director in 2016 he also co-founded Torch, a WiFi router with built in parental controls. Jack also serves as the chairman of the board of the Erlanger Hospital System, a billion dollar safety net trauma hospital. He spends his spare time reading, playing with gadgets, and having quality time with his wife and two daughters.
Laurie Stach is an MIT instructor, founder and executive director of Launch high school entrepreneurship program, and Commander of MIT ProtoWorks maker space. Laurie brings together a unique combination of engineering and design background with business experience to engage and inspire others, plus create real change in education. The Launch Program that she founded seeks to help students build entrepreneurial skills and mindset through students starting real companies. The flagship is a summer program where students come from all over the US and world to MIT campus to gain knowledge, mentorship, and take action on startup ideas. Launch is continually expanding to reach more students, most recently through Launch Clubs and an online course provided on edX. Laurie has a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and MBA from Harvard Business School.
MEET THE JUDGES
Nikhil Basu Trivedi '11 is a Principal at Shasta Ventures in San Francisco, CA, where he focuses on early-stage venture capital investing in consumer-oriented companies. Nikhil joined Shasta in 2012, and has led or co-led the firm's investments in companies such as Bloc, Canva, ClassDojo, Eero, Frame.io, Hinge, Imperfect Produce, Stance, Survios, Tally, Timehop, and Whisper. Nikhil was previously at Insight Venture Partners, and at Artsy, a company he co-founded back in 2009 during his sophomore year at Princeton. Nikhil concentrated in molecular biology, with a certificate in finance, and restarted the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club in 2008.
Denali is an Associate at General Catalyst and Director of Operations at Rough Draft Ventures, an initiative backing student-founded startups. What excites her most about working with young entrepreneurs is the unique energy that drives them to get started now, not someday. She is also passionate about encourage more women to go on the startup journey. That includes working with universities to create the conditions for women to see themselves as entrepreneurs.
Doc Parghi is a venture capitalist with operational experience running and scaling businesses globally. Doc is a Partner with SRI Capital, an early stage venture capital firm. With over 30 investments, SRI Capital provides funding, advice and liquidity solutions to early stage start-ups primarily in enterprise software and deep tech. Previously, Doc was the Global GM of the Mobility, Social, and IoT business unit at CSC (now DXC Technology), with complete responsibility for building the business globally. DXC (NYSE: DXC) is a $20 Billion IT services and consulting company. Doc was on the founding team at AppLabs, the world’s largest independent software testing company with over 2,500 QA professionals in US, UK and India. He helped lead AppLabs through various transformations into what became the largest company of its kind. AppLabs was funded by Sequoia Capital. CSC acquired AppLabs, providing Sequoia with a sizeable return. Doc was involved with other early stage companies prior to AppLabs including iCoop (group purchasing dotcom). Doc received his BS and later his MBA from Drexel University.
Tripp is a General Partner with August Capital in Menlo Park, CA, and invests broadly in information technology companies, with a particular focus on consumer internet and enterprise applications software. Tripp also leads August’s Special Opportunities fund.
Tripp led August’s investments in ADARA, Bark & Co, Caer, CommonBond, Compology, Hipcamp, Paperless Post, Rocketmiles, Quandl, and Wattpad, and was involved in August’s investments in Avant, Ebates, Fastly, INRIX, Integral Ad Science, Mirantis, PubMatic, RJMetrics, Rockets of Awesome, and Zulily.
Tripp is a graduate of Princeton University.
Kef Kasdin is President & Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps, which mobilizes people, organizations, and networks for public good. Kef is also Board Chair at Rachel’s Network, a vibrant community of women at the intersection of environmental advocacy, philanthropy and women’s leadership. Kef created and taught the introductory “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” course at Princeton University, where she mentored 50 Princeton undergraduates per semester, inspiring them to launch innovations that can create value and make a difference in the world. Earlier in her career, Kef held senior leadership roles at 3Com Corporation, including general manager of a $1B division. She became a technology-startup consultant in the late 1990s, a venture capitalist in 2000 and a founding general partner of Battelle Ventures, where from 2003 to 2015 she led the firm’s investments in clean energy and started several companies based on U.S. Department of Energy Lab technologies. Kef holds a B.S.E degree in operations research from Princeton University, with a certificate in science and policy from the Woodrow Wilson School, and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Amit joined NEA in 2012, where he is currently a Partner focused on consumer technology investments. He is a Board Observer for Casper, MasterClass, Brandless, and The Players’ Tribune, and was previously a Board Observer for Jet.com (acquired by Wal-Mart). As an Associate and Principal, Amit conducted diligence or assisted on more than two dozen companies on behalf of NEA, including Duolingo, Robinhood, Coursera, Snap, Uber, Appian, OnShape, Banjo, Moda Operandi, Care.com and Bridge International Academies. Amit was named to the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital. Prior to joining NEA, Amit was a member of J.P. Morgan’s Internet & Digital Media investment banking team. While at J.P. Morgan, Amit performed in-depth valuation analysis, due diligence, and industry analysis for over $37 billion worth of transactions including TripAdvisor’s spin-off from Expedia, Netflix’s common stock and convertible notes financing, and the IPOs of Facebook and Zynga. Amit earned his AB in Economics (Magna Cum Laude) from Princeton University.
Mitchell R. Julis is Co-Founder, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Canyon Partners, LLC, a leading global alternative asset management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Canyon specializes in value-oriented investments for endowments, foundations, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors. Its investment strategies focus on distressed loans, corporate bonds, convertible bonds, securitized assets, direct investments, real estate, arbitrage, and value equities. Mr. Julis is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., honors). In 2014, Mr. Julis, along with his Co-Founder Mr. Friedman, received Institutional Investor’s “Lifetime Achievement” Award. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Princeton University and the Advisory Council for the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.