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Medaille College - Events Center

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Nov 16
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 18
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Lunch
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Premier Sponsors

Eric Reich

President and Co-Founder

Eric Reich has led Campus Labs from its inception to its current place as the leading assessment community and technology platform in higher education. Today, Eric determines the strategic direction of Campus Labs, evaluating alliances and acquisitions that serve to grow both the capabilities and campus membership of the company.
While working towards his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees at the University at Buffalo, Eric had the experience of serving as the student representative on the University Council (the equivalent of the Board of Trustees). On the Council, Eric pioneered a system of linking assessment data to the unique challenges of colleges and universities. The resulting program was awarded the Panasci Entrepreneurial Award by the University, forming Campus Labs.

Tom McManus

Chief Executive Officer   |  LinkedInGoogle+

Tom is the Chief Executive Officer of KegWorks, a privately held company that distributes draft beer dispensing equipment, bar supplies and other products for people who serve alcohol

Prize Sponsors

Jordan Levy

Jordan Levy is a General Partner at SoftBank Capital NY and also
Managing Partner of Seed Capital Partners, an early stage venture
capital fund that he co-founded in 1999.

Prior to co-founding Seed Capital Partners, he was co-founder of
ClientLogic and was President, co-CEO and co-Chair of its predecessor
companies SOFTBANK Services Group and UCA (now SITEL Worldwide).
Previously, Jordan was SVP of Software Etc,now GameStop (NYSE:GME) and
prior to that he was also co-founder of Software Distribution
Services, now known as Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM).

In the summer of 2012, he co-founded Z80 Labs Technology Incubator in
Buffalo, NY. Z80 Labs goal is to re-ignite the internet-based
technology sector in the Buffalo area, providing a catalyst in
building a technology economy in Buffalo and western New York. We are
a technology incubator, which allows participants to build technology
businesses within an accelerator environment that provides valuable
support across a wide range of functions.

Jordan currently serves on the boards of several technology companies
including SocialFlow, Spanfeller Media, Synaptic Digital, COKeM Int.
and is Chairman of Synacor (NASDAQ: SYNC). He is a Board Observer of
Betaworks and Boxee. Previously, Jordan served on the boards of
ZipList (sold to Condé Nast in 2012), OMGPOP (sold to Zynga in 2012),
Hyperpublic (sold to Groupon in 2012), and KickApps (sold to KIT
digital in 2011). He also is the first non-Native American on the
Board of Seneca Holdings Corporation.

Jordan is Chair of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the
State Agency responsible for the redevelopment of Buffalo’s vast
historic waterfront. He is also on the Advisory Board for NYC Seed
and a trustee of the University of Buffalo Foundation. He served for
nine years as a trustee of the Albright Knox Art Gallery and is a past
President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo.

Andrew Mager

Developer Community Manager, Spotify   |  

Just moved to Brooklyn from the bay area, working for Spotify as a developer community manager. I'm excited to explore the New York tech scene! My previous companies are SimpleGeo, ESPN, CBS Interactive and Ning.

George Chamoun

Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing and Co-Founder

Recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and leadership by Ernst & Young as an "Entrepreneur of the Year," George Chamoun has been critical to Synacor's success since its inception. Currently the executive vice president of sales and marketing, he has been instrumental in creating a company that helps cable operators differentiate their broadband offerings in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Chamoun co-founded Synacor in 2000 through the merger of MyPersonal, a portal infrastructure company, with, a messaging infrastructure provider. Prior to the creation of Synacor, Chamoun was co-founder and president of He has been recognized for his accomplishments throughout the cable and telecommunications industry, most notably in 2009 when Multichannel News named him one of the publication's "40-under-40" most influential innovators in the industry. He is a graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Teo Balbach

Principal at Mercury Capital Partners

Mr. Balbach started his career in the Harvard Economics department, doing research with Department Chairman Dale Jorgenson. He subsequently joined Kenan Systems (sold to Lucent for $1.3B) in Boston, developing expert systems, custom software applications, and telecommunications billing systems. During his business school summer, Mr. Balbach worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft and participated in shipping Windows NT 4.0. After business school, he managed music industry sales for Reciprocal, a SoftBank Group company and a pioneer in Digital Rights Management and secure digital media distribution. Mr. Balbach joined Mercury Capital Partners in 2001 and is responsible for digital media initiatives. Mr. Balbach earned his BA magna cum laude in economics from Harvard University in 1991, and his MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1997.

Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors

Frits Abell

Entrepreneur, Angel Investor   |  LinkedInGoogle+

E. Frits Abell has over 15 years of experience in marketing, corporate development and operations for start-up to mid staged ventures, for which he has managed all aspects of new business formation. Frits has a deep contact base that ranges from financial and strategic investors to early stage ventures to strategic acquirers.
Frits is Managing Director of Northside Advisors, a boutique media and technology-focused investment bank based in New York City. Prior to working for Northside Advisors, Frits served as Managing Director of Progress Partners, a boutique investment bank for which he managed operations including PR, marketing and new business initiatives. Frits also developed transaction processes and infrastructure for the New York and Boston offices.
Frits currently divides his time between New York and his hometown of Buffalo, where he is working on some startup ventures. Frits formed the Buffalo Expat Network, a social network with a mission to deepen former Buffalonians' engagement with the their hometown, three years ago—which only served to deepen his love for the city. Frits is a graduate of Nichols School and Skidmore College, where he received a BA in economics. He is trilled to be part of the inaugural Startup Weekend Buffalo.

Jack McGowan

Consultant   |  

Jack McGowan has over 30 years experience working with early-stage technology and small to medium-sized manufacturing companies. He provides consulting in the areas of business planning, strategic planning, lean initiatives, finance, ISO quality management systems and marketing. Jack's work at Insyte Consulting includes serving as the director of the Western New York Venture Association, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates interaction between entrepreneurs and angel investors, and management of the Western New York Business Development Fund, a pre-seed stage investment fund. He is a certified Professional Business Advisor through MEP University and a certified trainer in Lean enterprise inititatives. Jack has also received provisional certification as an ISO 9001:2000 Lead Auditor and is a certified Eureka! Winning Ways Growth Coach.

Jack is one of three SBIR/STTR Regional Specialists designated by the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). In this role he provides information and proposal development assistance to technology-based small businesses located in New York State to help them access the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program.

Tom Ulbrich

Executive Director, University at Buffalo School Of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership   |  LinkedIn

Tom assumed the role as Executive Director of the University at Buffalo School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership on May 1, 2008. The Center was developed in 1987 with the sole purpose of fostering the entrepreneurial talents of business owners and leaders in Western New York.

His professional career gives him a skill set that reflects over twenty five years of education, communication, management and public service skills. He owns two businesses and possesses a demonstrated record of success as an entrepreneur.

Tom has an Executive MBA from UB where he graduated with distinction. He is a vocal advocate for small business at the state and national level and is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business New York State leadership team. He is also a member of many community organizations and was a candidate for public office in 2007.

Tom is a contributor to a recent report published by The Public Policy Institute in Albany titled “Transcending the Hamster Cage – Unfettering New York’s Static Innovation Economy” which discusses creative ways to improve the NYS business climate. He speaks frequently on subjects related to entrepreneurship and the importance of small business to the economy.

He is an adjunct professor at UB and teaches in the Professional MBA and full-time MBA programs.

As a business owner, consultant and small business advocate, Tom has a unique understanding of the importance of creating an environment of opportunity for the small business community and strongly believes in the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America great. He is committed to representing those ideals in his role at the university.

Joe Peters

Joe Peters, a native of Western New York, graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2009 with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. Joe spent time in both engineering and product marketing at Apple before leaving to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. He moved back to Rochester last June to start Iterative Ideas, a location-less incubator that just launched Spoil Me!, a social shopping app for iOS, in September.

Chris Smith

Reporter/blogger for @artvoice, engineer, @buffcashmob guy, one of the @communitybeer guys, board member at @dropinnation, reader of things, do-er of stuff.   |  LinkedIn

Christopher Smith was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, and believes that the city is one of America’s great hidden treasures. After 15 years living and working around the world as an Intelligence Analyst in the United States Air Force and Information Architect for Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Sun Microsystems, Chris moved back home to Buffalo in 2005 to help start the revolution.

Chris has led efforts to bring other Buffalo expatriates home as the co-founder of Buffalo Old Home Week (now Citybration), and has served as a board member and volunteer for local organizations like Buffalo ReUse and Drop-In Nation. He is also currently employed as a systems engineer with Oracle, as a blogger and reporter for Artvoice, and is a co-owner of Community Beer Works, a startup nano-brewery in Buffalo.

Chris launched the idea of cash mobs, a social experiment to use social media for a greater good. Using Facebook and Twitter, cash mobs gather 100 people at local businesses to spend $10 each and generate a positive impact in the community. At its most basic level, cash mobs are about returning the investment that small business owners have made in our community. The idea was well received, and the first cash mob generated nearly $3,000 for the first business. Over the course of the next year, cash mobs in Buffalo generated nearly $25,000 for local businesses and the idea has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Jamel C. Perkins

Managing Partner   |  LinkedIn

Jamel is currently Managing Partner at Execision Partner, a boutique management-consulting firm servicing many Fortune 500 companies across a wide range of industries. He is also currently an adjunct professor at Canisius College and a principal at StartUPstate Ventures, which keeps Jamel well grounded within the community.

With over 15 years of leadership experience, he has held Sr. / Executive positions at many major companies including: Delaware North Companies, Great Lakes Bancorp (Greater Buffalo Savings Bank), Hewlett Packard, Compaq, etc. This experience has allowed Jamel to amass a wealth of technical, financial, operations and executive management experience.

Jamel holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Masters in Telecommunication Management and a Bachelors of Science in Finance from Canisius College, of Buffalo, NY. He currently serves as a Trustee of D’Youville College, Advisory Board Member of National Academy Foundation of West Seneca School District, the Heartland Industry Advisory Board and the Canisius College MBA Alumni Board. Jamel was also named to the 2011 Business First “40 under 40” class.

Yong Li

Academic Director, Entrepreneurship Academy, University at Buffalo

Dr. Yong Li is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the School of Management at the University at Buffalo. He received his Ph.D. in strategy and international business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Li currently teaches strategy and technology entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate, MBA and doctoral levels. His research focuses on how to make investment decisions under uncertainty. Dr. Li has published in leading strategy and entrepreneurship journals. He has been recognized for his research on financing entrepreneurship and investing in emerging markets. For more, please visit:

Bina Ramamurthy

Dr. Bina Ramamurthy was one of the early adopters of the grid computing into the CSE curriculum and her effort Project GridFoRCE (Grid For Research, Collaboration and Education) was supported NSF-DUE-CCLI-0311473 (2003-2006) approx. 150K. A distributed systems course (CSE4/586) was introduced into the CSE curriculum and it has become a core course.
She was awarded an NSF grant to support a newly (2006) created Embedded and Realtime systems course (CSE321) by a grant NSF-DUE-CCLI-0727243 (2007-2008) approx. $75K. This Project Nexos (Next Generation Embedded Operating Systems) is in collaboration with Dr. Dennis Brylow of Marquette University. It is based on the famous XINU operating systems by Doug Comer of Purdue University.
She is the PI on a grant for data-intensive computing curriculum development NSF-DUE-CCLI-0920335 (2009-2013) approx. 250K. A SUNY-wide certificate program in data-intensive computing has been designed and is pending approval from SUNY central. This Project TIDE (Timely Introduction of Emerging Data-intensive computing) was instrumental in adding a new course Data-intensive Computing (CSE4/587) to the CSE curriculum at Buffalo. This course deals with data-intensive computing, BigData and cloud computing.
Dr. Ramamurthy (PI) recently received an NSF grant for inter-disciplinary research Project POP!World (CI-TEAM Demonstration Project: A Cloud-enabled Evolutionary Genetics Learning Tool for Engaging the Net-Savvy Generation) NSF-OCI-CITEAM 1041280 (2010-2013) approx. 250K. This is in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Poulin and Dr. Katharina Dittmar De la Cruz of Biological Sciences department.

Nick Rovisa

Senior Account Executive, Text100   |  LinkedIn

Nick is a tech communications professional with a passion for people trying to do something big and a curiosity for what's next. He cofounded a startup in the fashion space fresh out of college in 2008, consulted on a few others for some years and has spent the last 4 years of his professional career in social/digital media.

In addition to his role as SAE for Text100, He's also cofounder of RNY DAY, a Rochester-based, design-led digital startup. RNY DAY is currently building their first product - Howly - a simple and beautiful way to share and explore sounds. Before relocating back upstate in March, Nick lived/worked/played in NYC for a year meeting some of the best and brightest in the game, and he's looking forward to passing along as much insight as he can to the SWBuffalo teams.

Chirag Desai

Director of Operations at IVR Technology

Chirag serves as the Director of Operations at IVR Technology and as the VP of Customer Success. Chirag loves technology and is fascinated with how we interact with the technology that surrounds us. He spent several years in public accounting before making the jump to starting and growing a web development firm, which was later merged with IVR Technology Group.

Chirag is involved with a venture accelerator in Upstate New York, is a co-founder of a healthcare technology startup and he also sits on the board of a local non-profit. Chirag has been invited to speak at several entrepreneurship and technology conferences. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, consuming science fiction, sipping philosophy, going on hikes with his wife, and tending to his vegetable garden.

Dr. Vipin Chaudhary

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Vipin Chaudhary is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at University at Buffalo, SUNY. He is also the director of Data Intensive Discovery Initiative which is a unique inter-disciplinary research consortium involving partners from Academia, Industry, Non-Profit and Government sectors. Earlier, he spent several years at Wayne State University where he was the Director of Institute for Scientific Computing and Associate Professor of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. He currently maintains an adjunct position at Wayne State University in the Department of Neurological Surgery.

In 2005, he founded Micass LLC that is focused on Computer Assisted Diagnosis and Interventions. Earlier he was the Senior Director of Advanced Development at Cradle Technologies, Inc. where he was responsible for advanced programming tools and architecture for multi-processor chips. From January 2000 to February 2001, he was with Corio, Inc. where he has held various technical and senior management positions, finally as the Chief Architect. In addition, he is on advisory boards of several startup companies.

Garrett Smith

Marketing executive who develops prominent & profitable brands through ecommerce and online marketing channels   |  LinkedIn

Passionate, creative, and driven, Garrett has a knack for acquiring customers, closing deals, building relationships and talking. A lot.

Since 2002 Garrett has been a driving force behind the success of VoIP Supply, an industry leading ecommerce company and one of Western New York’s Top 50 Private companies. From building the first racks in the company’s warehouse to his current post as Chief Marketing Officer, Garrett has led the online marketing, business development and sales efforts that have grown the company from $2.5 million in sales in 2004 to $22 million in revenue and over 100,000 monthly visitors in 2011.

Today Garrett spends much of his time training, coaching and leading a great team of future leaders in his version of the fine arts: Sales, Marketing, SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, Social Media and Ecommerce. An ambitious entrepreneurial spirit, Garrett strives to be a student of the game, constantly learning, growing and adapting while encouraging others to do the same.

With a strange affinity for rap, Garrett firmly believes, as does Kanye West, that your attitude determines your latitude. When not at VoIP Supply, Garrett is likely working on generating revenue from some new idea, consulting or helping local entrepreneurs as his love of building never stops.

Ed Tierney

Brand Development Guru   |  LinkedInGoogle+

Edward J. Tierney, BlackDog Strategy & Brand Principal loves change. He has conducted international business in at least 20 countries and has had 26 changes of address in his professional career, thus far. Gone are the days of career ladders within one company, or even one industry. Edward believes we are entering the MULTI-era.
Edward is a systems engineer turned fanatical Brand Strategist that left the lucrative high-tech industries for a more strategic role in business, bringing multi-disciplinary perspectives to the excavation, illumination, substantiation and elevation of serious brands. Edward’s ability to row with both the right and left sides of his engineering/humanistic mind frees him to see the elusive big picture that many of us miss. Edward is skilled at identifying the relevant connections between seemingly unrelated matters

Bob Fritzinger

Director at SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator   |  LinkedIn

Result-oriented business-builder and entrepreneur

Charlie Riley

Chief Marketing Officer at 3rd Learning   |  LinkedIn

Charlie Riley is currently Chief Marketing Officer at 3rd Learning, an
educational technology company. Riley has over 11 years of experience
working in advertising, marketing and public relations. He has led
departments at nationally recognized advertising agencies and managed
multi-million dollar budgets leading marketing teams in industries such as
student loans, quick service restaurants, energy, digital signage,
professional sports, consulting retail and more. Riley is an adjunct
professor, serves on multiple boards and marketing committees and hates
onions. A lot.

Akash Desai

IVR, SMS, and Mobile Technology Company Executive   |  LinkedIn

John Seman

CEO of Launch NY   |  LinkedInGoogle+

As CEO, Mr. Seman is responsible for building Launch NY to support innovative, high-growth potential companies across the upstate region (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton) by providing founders with an active entrepreneurs-in-residence (EiR) program, and, for qualified companies, initial funding. Among the first initiatives for Launch NY will be to enhance collaboration across economic development organizations and to begin building an entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the region. Seman, a Hastings-on-Hudson native, brings more than three decades of business and entrepreneurial experience, including CEO roles at AVANTEC, a data management startup and PhysioGenix, a drug development spin-off from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Tina Dietz

CEO & Owner, Business Development & Consulting   |  LinkedIn

Tina Dietz is the owner of Tina Dietz Business Development and the
inventor of the Success Funnel System(tm). With a mission to kindle
10,000 Thriving Businesses, Tina has served clients in more than 20
industries internationally from solo entrepreneurs to the corporate
level, and she speaks internationally on topics that impact small
businesses. She has also developed not for profit centers for teens and
training programs for some of the US's largest utility providers. As a
fourth generation entrepreneur and Nationally Certified Counselor, Tina
brings together years of expertise in human development and behavior,
entrepreneurship, education, strategic planning, public speaking & audio
production, and business development to ensure that her clients have the
practical tools, skills, and team to consistently build both their
business and their mindset for long term success.

Dan Magnuszewski
Jon Spitz
Dan Gigante
Steve Poland
Jeff Ross
Charlie Wertz
Nicholas Barone
Lisa Primerano
Mitchell Patterson

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