Calling all entrepreneurs! Vator Splash is taking its popular competition to LA this May 26.
Like other Splash events and competitions, CEOs and/or founders of 10 companies, chosen by their peers and vetted by judges, will have the opportunity to present onstage and give a three-minute pitch in front of some 250 business professionals, comprising of executives from startups and large companies, angel investors, VCs, and media.
Vator will hold its inaugural Vator Splash LA event at The Highlands Hollywood this May 26th.
Vator, a leading platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to connect and learn from one another, and a provider of news and information through VatorNews, is looking to recognize and film promising startups across technology, including digital media, social media, consumer Internet, software, SaaS, iPhone apps, mobile, etc.
Join Shawn Colo, co-founder and EVP of Mergers and Acquisitions at Demand Media, Zorik, Gordon, co-founder and CEO of ReachLocal.
VC/judges onstage include Neal Hansch and David Travers of Rustic Canyon, Jed Katz of Javelin Venture Partners, Dana Settle of Greycroft, Yair Landau of MK Capital, David Carlick of Rho Capital Partners, Samit Varma of Anthem Venture Partners, Brian Garrett of Crosscut Ventures, Kara Nortman of CityGrid, Zao Yang of Betterworks, and Jeff Lee of Mission Ventures.
Don't miss the afterparty with the band - Darwin5, starring David Cremin of DFJ Frontier and Larry Marcus of Walden Venture Capital.
And, thanks to our online judges Manu Rekhi of Inventus Capital and Michelle Wroan of KPMG and Francisco Ramos of HBS Angels.
What you win:
The top 10 companies have the opportunity to give a three-minute presentation onstage. They'll get a professional video of their presentation produced by Vator, and one free ticket to the event and afterparty, a $100 gift certificate from Amazon Web Services, and a bottle of wine, courtesy Cannonball.
The audience at the Vator Splash event will then cast their vote for their favorite out of the 10.
The Splash winner will get:
-- Professional video of his/her presentation
-- One-hour sit-down meeting with Rustic Canyon
-- One-hour sit-down meeting with Javelin Venture Partners
-- $500 credit at Amazon Web Services
-- 3 seat Enterprise account with Box.net for one year (value: $1250)
-- A magnum of wine, courtesy Cannonball
-- A bottle of wine, courtesy Quill Wines
Only startups under three years old can enter.
Voters are limited to one vote per Participant for the entire competition. Participants may vote for their own company. Vator and the contest organizers have the right, in their sole discretion, to take whatever action they deem appropriate to uphold the integrity and reputation of Vator, the organizer and the competition, including the right to void votes, or recalculate votes, in the event of, but not limited to, multiple votes from the same user from different IP addresses, or votes considered fraudulent, technical failures, errors or problems occurring with the site and/or Internet services, failure of judges to perform their duties. Vator also does not allow proxy voting.
Does this product/service present a new and novel approach to solve a problem?
Is the market a big macro opportunity, and does the company have a clear venture-backed business model?
Does the team have the talent, expertise and drive necessary?
Only semi-finalists who won the first round are part of this round.
All finalists must provide sufficient information for the judges to evaluate the companies on novelty/innovation; commercial viability and team. Please provide PPTs, videos and whatever information you feel will help judges. Keep in mind that the more information provided, the better, but we cannot guarantee that the judges will review all the information.
Judges will vote based on three criteria: novelty/innovation; commercial viability; team. Contestants must provide as much information as possible so judges can make a qualified assessment. Judges will score harshly if there is no information. In order to alleviate the burden of judging for all 18 startups, judges are allowed to give a "zero" vote for three participants. They must vote for at least 15. Judges must leave a ranking, but are not required to post feedback.
Ron Bloom is the visionary Chairman and CEO of MEVIO, the world's premier Independant Online Video Entertainment Network. Mr. Bloom is ultimately responsible for MEVIO's strategy, production, positioning, business units, team building, operations, financing and hyper-growth, and has guided the company since its inception as PodShow, in 2004.
Bloom was the chief strategist in securing PodShow's marquee partnerships with partners such as British Telecom, Apple and Sirius Satellite Radio and the company's elite private investors, including venture firms Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital and Sherpalo Ventures, DAG and Crosslink Ventures. He has gone on to guide the Company through its evolution into MEVIO, and spearheaded its growth to one of the fastest growing sites in 2007 (Compete.com rankings), becoming a Top 20 Internet Site in both Music and New Media in 2008 (comScore rankings in Music and Multimedia). He is often referenced as the visionary author of the media industry's 5/50 rule and Fart's Law of consumer technology adoption.
A respected technology and media executive, consultant, speaker and author, Bloom has provided marketing, media and technology strategy for a broad range of Fortune 1000 clients including AOL, Time Warner, AVON, IBM, Oracle, Chrysler, Ford, BellSouth, DuPont, Nortel, Continental Airlines, Gillette, Microsoft, Omnicom and Procter and Gamble. As a pioneer in e-business and integrated marketing, Bloom has worked to develop internet portals, web sites, cross-media marketing, and integrated broadband and broadcast content, as well as strategic business plans for online businesses such as Preview Travel, The Gap, Network Associates, MSN, Oracle, Netscape, AOL and a host of others. Bloom has acted as a consultant to a range of investment banks and venture firms, working with them to identify and understand the impact of emerging technologies, having helped to raise over $500 million in investment capital for both public and private companies focused on technology, marketing, media and next-generation entertainment and communications.
Ron Bloom is a former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of THINK New Ideas. As a founding partner of THINK, Bloom helped develop the company's business strategy and market positioning, in addition to leading the company to its IPO and forward to become one of the largest and most successful interactive marketing and e-business solutions providers in the world. He helped to build the Company to over 500 employees working out of 8 offices in the US and abroad, driving revenues from a start-up to approaching $100 million in less than three years. Bloom led the company through venture rounds, an IPO, multiple acquisitions, a private placement of public equity, and, eventually the sale of the company for an estimated $350 million.
Prior to joining THINK New Ideas, Bloom, along with partner, Adam Curry, Co-Founded On Ramp, one of the world’s first and most prestigious Internet solutions providers. Bloom directed the company in its Internet and intranet pioneering efforts, creating the world’s first Cybercast (1995 Grammy Awards), integrating next-generation marketing and communications into online communications, and helping On Ramp become one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “Top 25 Emerging Technology Companies of 1995.”
In recent years, Ron Bloom has worked with a range of companies, helping to develop technologies for the cable industry as well as helping to launch a company that provides technology solutions for Homeland Security.
A serial entrepreneur and experienced manager in both the private and public sector, Bloom has founded and operated a range of companies in advertising and marketing, graphic design, music production and music/film postproduction, and fashion. He is a respected contributor, speaker and author in the interactive community whose visionary outlook has helped shape the concepts for developing business, strategy and customer relations in the information age. In addition to other awards and honors, Bloom was selected by Silicon Alley Reporter as one of New York's Top 100 Internet Industry Executives, for 1998 and 1999, and his firms have been the recipient of such honors as Interactive Agency of The Year, as well as accolades for the development of some of the most innovative websites and e-commerce solutions in the world. At PodShow, Bloom was named one-to-watch by AdWeek in January, 2006.
In his first career, Ron Bloom was a celebrated guitarist, song writer, producer, arranger and recording artist, having worked on hundreds of songs, including several Top 10 hits.
David Cremin is a founder and Managing Director of DFJ Frontier, a Draper Fisher Jurvetson venture capital fund focused on seed and early stage technology companies on the west coast. At Frontier, he leads fund management, fundraising and portfolio management efforts. He currently serves as a Director for uSamp, Mogreet, JanRain, AppleTree, MyWinesDirect, and Prolacta Bioscience. Prior to Frontier, he was a founding partner of Zone Ventures in Los Angeles. As an entrepreneur, he served as founder and CEO of Vis-à-Vis Entertainment, a music publishing and digital media company. He also spent several years touring as a professional musician and recording for RCA Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and EastWest Records. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.
Vator was a side project of mine that was a mere concept while I was a columnist/correspondent at Dow Jones MarketWatch. It was originally started to help me vet the many startups pitching me while I was a journalist. It was designed to ensure that those I couldn't cover would have a platform for others to find them. I left in April 2007 and launched Vatortv in June 2007.
At Dow Jones, I covered Internet trends and investments across the public and private sectors. I was a morning business anchor for KPIX (the local CBS affiliate in San Francisco), and reported on MarketWatch's business magazine show on CBS. I made frequent appearances as an expert on technology on CNBC, Fox Business News, and CBS. I was named one of the top 10 most influential journalists on the Web, by Adweek. In the 'mid-90s, I worked as producer at CNN's financial news network, where I created, launched and produced business shows, including one on IPOs and new ideas.
I am married to Ezra Roizen. We have four boys.
Brian Garrett is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Crosscut Ventures. For his entire career, Brian has been involved in building and funding early-stage technology and media companies.
Brian is very active in the Southern California start-up community and currently works with the Boards of GumGum, Verve Wireless, Pulpo Media, Shoedazzle, AffordIt and Circle Street. He is also an advisory board member for the following digital media companies: Jacked, Zannel and Quepasa.com
Prior to co-founding Crosscut, Brian was a Partner at one of the largest Southern California-based venture funds. He joined there in 2001 and played an active role in managing and investing three funds over six years totaling more than $500 million. He was the sponsor and/or an active board member of nine Palomar portfolio companies, including successes such as DataAllegro (data warehouse appliance company sold to Microsoft in 2008), Entone (video on demand server company sold to Harmonic in 2006), Gamma Enterprise Technologies (sold to Informatica in 2009) and Lombardi Software (stand-alone leader in the business process management software market).
Prior to Palomar, Brian was the Director of Business Development at Niku Corporation. Niku developed Professional Service Automation software for Global 2000 companies. He led business development efforts for iNiku.com, an online workplace for independent professionals. Niku subsequently went public and then was acquired by Computer Associates in 2006.
Prior to Niku, Brian was with a boutique strategy consulting firm called R.B. Webber & Company. He worked with many leading early-stage technology companies including CommerceOne, Inktomi, Sagent, Aurum and Broadbase. He worked with these companies in their earliest phases of growth and contributed strategically to their success by working on all facets of their business including business plan writing, market entry strategy, and primary market and pricing research. The firm also began formally investing in many of the early-stage companies with which it worked and this was his first exposure to and involvement in venture capital investing. He has continued to refine the skill of evaluating new business opportunities since 1995.
Brian received his MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business and he graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.
Neal joins MEST with over fifteen years experience in venture capital, technology operations and investment banking. Most recently, he was a General Partner with Rustic Canyon Partners (RCP), an early-stage focused investment fund with $500MM under management. Prior to RCP, Neal was a Corporate Development executive at Macromedia (acq. by Adobe), a venture capitalist with Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), and an investment banker at, Robertson Stephens & Co. Neal’s proven leadership and track record developing US based start-ups will play an important role in MEST’s future success, while deepening the program’s presence in Silicon Valley. Neal earned his BA from Duke University and his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Neal does his best to disconnect from his digital devices by heading to the nearest body of water to enjoy some surfing, scuba diving, sailing or fishing. He lives in the hills of San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
Jed Katz is the Managing Director of Javelin Venture Partners. One of the pioneers of Internet commerce, Jed has spent his 20-year career developing, advising and investing in early stage technology ventures. Prior to joining Javelin Venture Partners, Jed was a Managing Director of DFJ Gotham Ventures in New York. Prior to DFJ Gotham, Jed was the COO of Yamcon, the developer of the highly acclaimed "SkyScout", one of the best selling astronomy products of all time. Prior to Yamcon, Jed was the COO and Founder of Rent Net, the Internet's first rental and relocation guide. Rent Net was acquired by Cendant, and three years later, Jed used its infrastructure as the starting point for the formation of Move.com, one of the Internet's largest real estate sites. Move.com was acquired by Homestore for over $900 million. Jed holds a B.A. in Business Economics from UCLA and an M.B.A. from The Haas School of Business at the University of California – Berkeley, where he was awarded the Price Fellowship from the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, of which he is currently on the advisory board.
Jeff joined Mission Ventures as an Associate in 2007 and represents the firm in their Los Angeles office. He has more than five years of product development and operational experience at high tech companies. Most recently Jeff was at Cisco Systems, where he held technical responsibility for the company’s $1B+ Catalyst 2900 series of Ethernet switches. He also was part of the founding design team for Cisco’s successful Commercial Switching and VDSL product lines.
Jeff received his MBA with high honors from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA where he was a SIF Fellow and a Dean’s Scholar. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Larry Is a Managing Director a Walden Venture Capital, and focuses on Sprout Stage™ investments www.waldenvc.com/Sprout.html
in digital media and cloud services.
Larry has been a Director at Pandora since early 2004 when Walden led the "rebirth round" to focus the company on launching a consumer-facing service. Larry is a Director at SoundHound (sound and voice search), Rootmusic (BandPage on Facebook), Telekenex (IP voice and data services ), a Board Observer at PowerCloud Systems and led Walden's investment in Terayon (acquired by Motorola).
Prior to joining Walden in 2000, Larry was a digital media sell-side Equity Research Analyst at Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown where he lead the IPOs of Maxis, Terayon, CBS MarketWatch, Edmark, and Netflix (initial S-1 IPO filing) among other equity and debt financings (Sierra On-line, Excite@Home, Spectrum Holobyte, CBS Sportsline). Prior experience includes Robertson Stephens & Company, Digidesign and General Management in computer services retail. Larry serves on the non-profit Board of the JazzSchool in Berkeley, CA.
Education: Larry received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.
Larry enjoys collecting vintage technology hardware, golfing and playing music. Hear him on Pandora by seeding a station with Megan Keely, Corinne Marcus or the Flying Other Brothers. See the music he loves at his Pandora profile here (www.pandora.com/people/larry). Or listen to his bands on http://listn.to/Open Source Band http://listn.to/Megan Keely and http://listn.to/Corinne Marcus
Larry has been a guest lecturer at Haas Graduate School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School. He has been a speaker and panelist at numberous conferences including Dealmaker Media’s Under the Radar, SF MusicTech, Billboard, AlwaysOn and Digital Hollywood among others.
Senior Vice President of Publishing, CityGrid Media
Kara Nortman is the Senior Vice President of Publishing for CityGrid Media, an IAC owned online media company that connects web and mobile publishers with local advertising organizations by linking them through CityGrid®, its local content and advertising network. In this role, Ms. Nortman is responsible for overseeing the publisher side of the CityGrid Media’s owned properties, which include consumer sites, Citysearch, Insider Pages and Urbanspoon. In addition, Ms. Nortman is responsible for charting the growth of new content for the CityGrid® network, which includes partner sites such as Bing, YP.com and more.
Previously, Ms. Nortman served as Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions for IAC where she oversaw a number of IAC’s recent moves in the local space including the acquisitions of InsiderPages and Urbanspoon. Prior to IAC, Ms. Nortman worked for Battery Ventures were she focused on investments in the Internet, communications and new media sectors. At Battery Ventures, Ms. Nortman was involved in the development of Synaptic Digital, The Loan Page (acquired by HouseValues), EnvoyWorldWide (acquired by PAR3 Communications), Kashya (acquired by EMC), and Cbeyond Communications (Nasdaq: CBEY).
Ms. Nortman has also held positions at Microsoft and Morgan Stanley. Ms. Nortman holds a BA in political science from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford University.
Past Speaking Experience:
March, 2011 – GeoSocial Conference - The social-loco SMB (Upcoming)
Feb, 2011 – Digiday Mobile – Mobile App Showcase: What is a Good App?
December, 2010 – BIA/Kelsey - Interactive Local Media Conference - The Big Money in Local
July, 2010 – TechCrunch’s Social Currency Event – Check-ins, Coupons and Commerce
May, 2010 – Digital Hollywood – Smart Phones – Smart Consumers – Location-Based Real –Time Marketing
March, 2010 – O’Reilly Webcast – Where 2.0 Preview
March, 2010 – Digiday:Social - The Mobile-Social Connection
December 2009 - BIA/Kelsey - interactive Local Media Conference - Social Local Search Panel
November 2007 – BIA/Kelsey – Interactive Local Media Conference - Investing in Local
July 2007 – AlwaysOn Summit - Panel
June 2007 – Web 2.0 NYC – The Web 2.0 Way of Doing Business
June 2007 - WidgetCon2007 – Keynote session
May 2007 - NEVCA - Sector Focus Breakfast Consumer Internet - Alive and Well on the East Coast
October 2006 - Local Ad World - Web 2.0 meets local search?
April, 2006 - FundingPost event - Perfect Venture Conference
Feb 21, 2011 – BrandWeek – The Customer Review Learns Shorthand
Feb 4, 2011 – BtoC Marketer - Local Businesses, Listen Up: A New Kind of Shorthand is Taking Over
Francisco Ramos has a track record of making impactful changes at multiple large companies. He began his career at a major digital marketing agency where he created award winning websites for Volkswagen, Royal Caribbean, and major book publishers. He then worked at EMC where he was a database admin and project manager responsible for a group of overseas developers who built a back end sales system for producing customized build outs of the company’s flagship network attached storage systems. This customization system resulted in millions of dollars of revenue for the product line.
He is now serving as a financial consultant dealing directly with the treasury departments and board of advisers for Fortune 500 clients such as Microsoft, Intel, Boeing, and Federal Express. He provides critical investment advice for the multi-billion dollar investment portfolios of America’s largest corporations. Mr. Ramos is a graduate from Harvard University.
Most recently he has become active in founding the Southern California chapter of the HBS Angels. This is a growing group of angel investors affiliated with the Harvard Business School.
Manu is a seasoned internet executive and Venture Partner at Inventus since 2008. Manu brings a well respected operating record with both Silicon Valley startups and cross-border US-India companies. Currently VP of Products at Myspace, Manu previously oversaw strategy, marketing, business and corporate development at Lolapps, a startup where he transformed the company into a promising social gaming business. Prior to Lolapps, he was on the product team at Google where he worked on several products including the launch of Gmail, Calendar, OpenSocial, and Orkut and spent over a year with Google in India.
Manu has been active with Inventus for nearly 3 years informally diligencing new investments as well as advising and mentoring Inventus entrepreneurs at Farfaria, Spotzot, Vivu (Acq Polycomm), Genwi, Dhingana, and Credit Sesame. He has also advised entrepreneurs in India (Games2Win, Sapplica and Popcorn Apps), Canada (j2play and Social Game Universe) and Brasil (Mentez). j2play was acquired by EA in 2009.
Manu holds a B.S. from Boston University and a joint MBA from Columbia Business School and Walter Haas School of Business.
Dana Settle is Partner with Greycroft LLC, and she heads the firm's west coast office.
Prior to joining Greycroft, Dana spent several years as a venture capitalist and advisor to startup companies in the Bay Area, including six years at Mayfield, where she focused on early stage companies in the mobile communications and consumer Internet markets.
Dana currently serves or observes on the boards of Greycroft’s investments in K2 Networks, MoVoxx, Sometrics, Sportgenic, United Sample, Vuze and WideOrbit. She also managed the firm’s investments in Digisynd (sold to Disney) and ContentNext (sold to Guardian Media). Dana previously invested in and advised several companies, including Inphi, MobileStar (sold to TMobile), Revenue Science, Trigo (sold to IBM) and Truveo (sold to AOL).
Dana's additional experience includes investment banking at Lehman Brothers in the media and communications group and international business development at McCaw Cellular Communications.
Dana holds a BA in Finance and International Studies from the University of Washington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bruce has 17 years experience as a venture capital investor, entrepreneur, technology investment banker and corporate attorney. Prior to joining Blumberg Capital in 1998, Bruce co-founded and held several senior management positions within technology companies including Charles River Computers. Bruce also structured and managed early-stage technology transactions at Hambrecht & Quist, Mayer Brown & Platt and Bankers Trust Company. A native of New York, Bruce earned his BA in Finance and Communications, cum laude, from Yeshiva University, and his MBA and JD from Fordham University.
Bruce serves as a member or observer on the Board of Directors of DoubleVerify, CaseStack, Insightix, LiteScape, Correlix, Nolio, Revionics, Yap.tv, BringIt, NearbyAd, Mertado, Any.do and Offertarget. He also serves on the board and the investment monitoring committee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Northern California.
Past investments: eVoice - Acquired by AOL [TWX], PureSight - Acquired by Boston Communications Group [BCGI], Vista Research - Acquired by McGraw Hill [MHP], IP Infusion - Acquired by ACCESS CO., LTD [TSE: 4813], GO Networks - Acquired by NextWave Wireless [WAVEX], and Siperian - Acquired by [INFA].
David Travers grew up working every odd job in his family’s business. His admiration for business creators started with his Dad and has grown into a passion for providing entrepreneurs with the capital and support to help them succeed, and his technology and media experience are instrumental to his investment and advisory work at Rustic Canyon.
Prior to joining Rustic Canyon in 2005, David worked at eBay, where he focused on the growth of their sports, toys, collectibles and media marketplaces. Previously, David worked on corporate strategy at The Walt Disney Company, where he helped launch Disney’s credit card business. David also worked at the White House as the Executive Assistant to the National Security Advisor, where he was awarded the Secretary of Defense's Award for Outstanding Public Service.
David loves sports and his favorite activities include going to yoga class with his wife, playing at the park with his daughter, and working to support his favorite after school program: LA’s BEST.
Education: David earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BA from Stanford University.
Samit Varma started as an Associate at Anthem in 2003. He worked with several portfolio companies including Audyssey Labs and Advanced Cell Technology. He currently serves on the board of JanRain, Audyssey and BeachMint and is a board observer at Cynvenio and Wavestream. Samit also works closely with Zag and and TrueCar.
Before Anthem Samit started at Audyssey Labs in conjunction with the first round of funding and worked there for over three years as VP of Operations. He also managed finance and coordinated three rounds of venture and debt financing. Samit was instrumental in making Audyssey a leading supplier of audio technologies to consumer electronic, automotive, and professional sound companies.
Samit earned his MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He concentrated on Finance, Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization while at USC. Samit also received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. After graduation, he moved to Charleston, SC where he completed the one year Naval Nuclear Power Training Program.
Michelle is an audit partner in KPMG LLP’s Media and Entertainment practice based in the Los Angeles office. Michelle has extensive experience with media and entertainment businesses and completed a three-year rotation in the Firm’s Department of Professional Practice in New York. Michelle currently serves as an engagement partner on a number of media clients including NBC/Universal, The Anschutz Entertainment Group, Ascent Media Group, and Game Show Network. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree from University of California at Los Angeles. She is a certified public accountant in California and New York and is member of the AICPA and the California Society of CPA’s. Michelle is also a frequent instructor and panelist for audit and accounting courses, including executive education and media industry conferences.
Zao is currently the COO/co-founder at BetterWorks, Inc., a perks platform for small medium businesses. Previously, he co-created Farmville, and was the CEO/co-founder of MyMiniLife, Inc. (sold to Zynga Game Networks, Inc.). MyMiniLife is the common technology platform at Zynga and powers 150M monthly users with Cityville, Farmville, and Frontierville. He also designed the Farmville iPhone application (top iPhone app), and worked on corporate development deals including Microsoft, Yahoo, Zynga Japan, and Zynga corporate strategy. He is also an active investor with stakes in companies like Hipmunk, GroupMe, Facebook, Zynga (acquisition stock), and SV Angels.
Angel investments and exits:
Bubble Gum Interactive (funded)
GroupMe (acquired by Skype $85M)
Kima Labs (acquired by Groupon)
MyMiniLife (acquired by Zynga)
Speak With Me (funded)