John Ason, Angel Investor in the NY/NJ/PA region
Katherine O'Neill, Executive Director, JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network
David J. Sorin, Partner, Chair - Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Company Practices - McCARTER & ENGLISH, LLP
Brett Topche, Managing Director at MentorTech Ventures, a seed- and early-stage venture capital firm investing in the University of Pennsylvania ecosystem
Biographies of the panelists and moderator can be found below.
Please join us for a thought-provoking discussion about early stage investing start-ups and what it really takes to get funded.
PANELIST & MODERATOR BIOGRAPHIES:
Judith Sheft, Associate Vice President Technology and Enterprise Development at the New Jersey Innovation Institute @NJIT.
Judith is responsible for NJIT’s Office of Technology Development creating programs focusing on patent creation, valuation, strategic use and protection of IP. She has economic development responsibilities for the university’s high technology business accelerator/incubator (EDC), the Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Health IT Connections Program funded by JPMorgan Chase. She is an advisor to NJIT’s Murray Women’s Center, on the Board of Einstein’s Alley, the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp., the NJ Entrepreneur’s Network, the NJEDA Technology Advisory Board and is a member of the NJ – Israel Commission.
John Ason has been a professional angel investor for over 19 years specializing in early stage pre-revenue companies. He has made over 70 eclectic investments in the areas of e-commerce, technology, advertising, digital social media and entertainment.
Some of his better known investments are: Diapers.com, Xlibris.com, Bikini.com, Centrak.com, www.Spling.com, jet.com, MotionMathGames.com, CallunaVineyards.com, LiveLook.com, www.Koding.com, www.TuckerToys.com, www.FulcrumGallery.com, ScentBird.com, Primary.com, Pinstory.com, Tunity.com etc.
John was at AT&T Bell Labs for over 25 years, first involved in bleeding edge software and technology development, then in marketing and business management of large telecommunications projects sold internationally primarily in Korea and Japan. He is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a guest lecturer at Wharton, Fairleigh Dickinson, NYU, Rutgers, University of Nottingham and NJIT. John’s hobbies include traveling, golf, Baduk, and mentoring companies. Please check out his website at www.JohnAson.com and his pins at www.Pinterest.com/johnason.
Executve Director, JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network, President of O'Neill Associates
Katherine O’Neill is the Executive Director for JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network, a member led angel investor group that invests in early stage high growth companies in Mid-Atlantic region, and an investor in technology businesses. She currently serves on the Board of the Angel Capital Association ACA the national organization representing angel investor groups in North America. Katherine is a member of the NJ Economic Development Authority Edison Fund Advisory Board, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SEPA Advisory Board, NJ Technology CFO Advisory Board, Princeton University MIRTHE Investment Focus Group and Rutgers Innovation Park Advisory Board. In recent years she has spoken at and judged business plan competitions both regionally and nationally at events such as IMPACT, Astia, Microsoft BizSpark NYC competition, Tri State Donald W. Reynolds Cup, Princeton University Jumpstart Innovation Forum and Start Up Weekend Princeton.
Katherine is a seasoned financial executive and investor in early stage enterprises with extensive experience in start up and entrepreneurial operations as well as operational experiences in a diverse range of businesses. She has particular expertise developing technology-based business as well as strategic business plans. She has extensive multinational experience and financial operation management and knowledge of healthcare pharmaceuticals, information systems, e-commerce and social media.
Dave Sorin managing partner of McCarter’s East Brunswick office and the head of the Venture Capital & Emerging Growth Companies practice.
David focuses his practice primarily on privately- and publicly-owned startup, early stage, emerging growth, and middle market technology, tech-enabled and life science enterprises, as well as the investors, executives, and boards of directors who support and lead them. Dave has a long track record of successful representation of growth companies, having been repeatedly recognized by well-known periodicals for a unique combination of legal acumen and sound business judgment. He also brings to bear his broad range of knowledge and experience in counseling enterprises and investors in diverse emerging growth markets, technology industries (including software, information technology, e-commerce, cybersecurity and communications), and life sciences. Many of the companies he represents are well-known names throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Brett Topche - Managing Director, MentorTech Ventures
Brett joined MentorTech, a seed- and early-stage venture capital firm investing in the University of Pennsylvania ecosystem, in 2007 and has more than a decade of venture capital and private equity experience. He has spent much of his career primarily focusing on investments in ecommerce, digital media, mobile applications, marketing technologies and B2B software. He represents MentorTech on the Board of Directors of PayPerks and served on the Board of Wanderfly prior to its acquisition. He also serves as a Board Observer at Curalate, Cloudmine, Quad Learning, SeniorHomes.com, Soft Tissue Regeneration and TicketLeap and as a member of the Investor Advisory Board of SnipSnap.