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University at Buffalo

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Oct 4
  • 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


Oct 5
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Doors Close


Oct 6
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Coaches Arrive...ASK QUESTIONS
  • Lunch
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Premier Sponsors

John Seman

President and CEO Launch NY

Mr. Seman is the President & CEO of Launch NY, a non-profit venture development organization dedicated to accelerating economic and entrepreneurial growth across the 27 counties of Upstate New York, with regional offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, and Syracuse. Launch NY collaborates with a wide range of regional entrepreneurial resource providers to insure start-ups receive support that leads directly to business growth and job creation.

Mr. Seman began his career in global life science corporations working for E. R. Squibb & Sons and then Johnson & Johnson, holding various management positions in sales, marketing and business development. During this tenure, he was a team member responsible for the introduction a new cardiovascular drug that achieved sales of $100 million in the first year on the market, managed a portfolio of biotech products valued at over $500 million, and actively participated in the licensing and acquisition of multiple pharmaceutical products. His senior management experience includes an executive leadership position focused on expansion of central laboratory services into the global market for Covance, an international contract research organization.

Aron Solomon

A global strategist, entrepreneur, and advisor who has always refused to accept the status quo, Aron Solomon has over a quarter century of experience at the intersection of education and innovation.

Having done everything one can do in education, from teaching and coaching sports to fundraising, student recruitment, setting institutional strategy, and actually running schools, Aron was awarded a Ford Fellowship in 2003. As his leadership project, Aron launched the first independent school in-house consulting business, which became profitable in its first year.

Soon after, Aron became Chief Operating Officer of an early global e.learning initiative. In this role, he established and communicated a new online brand throughout the world with a focus on India and China. He was also the Chief Executive Officer and first employee of THINK Global School, the most innovative high school in the world, where students study in three international cities each academic year.

Aron holds an undergraduate degree in Political Theory , a graduate degree and teaching certificate in English and Economics, a law degree, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, where he graduated as a Kellogg Scholar and had the great good fortune to be taught leadership by Dr. Deepak Chopra. He is also a 2011 graduate of Sweden’s leading-edge Hyper Island Master Class.

Diane McMahon

Diane McMahon is a business lawyer who began her legal career as a Partner in the Corporate/Finance Group at Hodgson Russ LLP. She left Hodgson Russ to direct startup operations at a plastics technology manufacturer and subsequently became a partner in a real estate and mortgage brokerage firm. During this time, she also directed startup operations at an ecommerce company and managed 2200 seats of 24x7 call center operations including project management of the development, staffing and initial operations of one 600 seat call center. In 2001, Ms. McMahon returned to private practice establishing a solo practice representing business clients in various commercial and financing transactions with a primary focus on early stage and entrepreneurial, technology based enterprises, including such companies as Kinex Pharmaceuticals, IsleChem, NanoDynamics, and First Wave Technologies. She currently serves as a consultant to the UB Office of Economic Development and has served as a Trustee of The New York Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

Brigid Doherty

Brigid Doherty is the Executive Director and Secretary of the James H. Cummings Foundation, a $35 million dollar foundation located in Buffalo, New York. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profits that: advance medical science, research and education, provide services for underprivileged boys and girls, and assist aged and infirm persons. Grants are made in Buffalo, Toronto, Canada, and Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Doherty worked at the WNY Women’s Fund as its Executive Director. Her past experience includes investment banking at Goldman Sachs and strategy consulting at Bain & Co. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Nardin Academy and a Trustee of Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Harvard Business School Club of WNY. Ms. Doherty holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Boston College and master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

Adrian Roselli

Adrian is vice president at Algonquin Studios, which he co-founded in 1998. Algonquin Studios is a professional services firm providing world-class software development, web design & web content management systems, and business & technology consulting. Algonquin Studios provides expert business solutions for many industries including health care, legal, financial, and not-for-profit.

Adrian has also participated in a series of companies spun off from Algonquin Studios along with years of incubating startups within Algonquin Studios' offices.

Adrian has worked on the Web since 1993, as well as building interfaces for multimedia and software applications. With a focus on standards and accessibility, he ensures software and web-based applications can be utilized by users with varying levels of ability on a wide array of platforms.

Adrian serves as an invited expert in the W3C HTML Working Group, the standards body responsible for developing HTML5, and is also part of the W3C Accessibility Task Force.

Adrian is a founding member and contributor to, one of the first online communities for web professionals from around the globe to share their knowledge and experience in web development.

Adrian has written articles for trade journals, web sites, and participated as an author and editor on several books. His work has been cited in many books and articles on usability, accessibility, and interface design.

Adrian earned his bachelor's degree in Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Gold Sponsors

Jordan Hegyi

Owner + Art Director, Riveter Design   |  

After ten years as Art Director at local agencies, Jordan launched Riveter Design, focusing on branding and advertising for start-ups to medium-sized businesses. With strategic thinking, a passion for good design, and a knack for connecting with target audiences, Jordan has helped launch 17 new brands and helped build another 20 existing brands in the last year alone. She has also served on the Advertising Club of Buffalo Executive Board and as an adjunct at Buffalo State and Villa Maria.

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.

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 State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo (UB). He currently teaches strategy and technology entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate, MBA and doctoral levels. His research focuses on how to make venture capital and international investment decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Dr. Li has published extensively in leading strategy and entrepreneurship journals. He has advised and consulted for technology startups. For more, please visit:

Jack McGowan

John A. (Jack) McGowan is a Project Manager at Insyte Consulting, based in Buffalo, New York. He provides consulting and assistance to manufacturing and technology companies in the areas of business planning, strategic planning, Lean initiatives, finance, ISO quality management systems, and marketing.

Jack’s work at Insyte includes serving as the director of the Western New York Venture Association/Buffalo Angels, an angel investor forum and network, and management of the Western New York Business Development Fund, a pre-seed stage investment fund.

Jack is one of four Regional Innovation Specialists designated by the Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). In this role he helps New York State businesses successfully access the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program and assists with technology matching to NY State technology resources.

Jack holds an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a BS in Business Management from Cornell University.

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.

Garrett Smith

Founder, CEO - Pitch & Pivot   |  LinkedIn

Garrett is an ideal hybrid of analyst, business developer and marketer, with rich technology sales experience and deep expertise in how the Internet allows businesses to find, acquire and maintain customers. As the Founder of Pitch & Pivot, Garrett is focused on providing expertise, advice, execution that drives revenue growth, new customer acquisition and organizational change for startups, early stage and transitioning companies.
Prior to founding his own agency, Garrett was a driving force behind the success of VoIP Supply, an industry leading ecommerce company that is one of Western New York’s Top 50 Private companies. From building the first racks in the company’s warehouse to his final post as Chief Marketing Officer, Garrett led the online marketing, business development and sales efforts that have grown the company from $2.5 million in sales in 2004 to $24 million in revenue, 100,000 monthly visitors and over 130,000 worldwide customers in 2013.

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 driving results for clinets, Garrett is likely working on generating revenue from some new idea, consulting or helping local entrepreneurs as his love of building never stops.

Pauline Soeffing

Pauline Soeffing is a New York State Certified Business Advisor, and has worked with more than 800 business owners and potential entrepreneurs over the past 15 years. In 2012, she was recognized by the SBA’s regional office, which covers 14 counties, as “Women in Business Champion of the Year.” That same year, she was selected by the NYS Small Business Development Center as first runner-up for Business Advisor of the Year, from amongst her nearly 200 colleagues. Before joining the Small Business Development Center in 2008, she was a management consultant with a large, local CPA firm and then enjoyed having her own financial consulting business, focusing on the financial and succession-planning needs of business owners. In addition to serving as the Assistant Director of the NCCC Small Business Development Center, Ms Soeffing is an adjunct faculty member at Daemen College, where she teaches Entrepreneurship in the Division of Arts and Sciences, and Finance in the Business Division. She also is an instructor in the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency’s Microenterprise Training program, conducts workshops for the Lumber City Development Corporation, and is a judge for the annual City of Niagara Falls Microenterprise Business Plan Competition. Ms. Soeffing earned her MBA from the University at Buffalo.
Her mission is to empower individuals with the knowledge necessary to maximize their economic potential.

Kim Grant

Kim Grant is the Business Development Executive for the University of Buffalo Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences . She has a B.S. in Business from Buffalo State and is a graduate of Leadership Buffalo. Grant is a strong advocate of the Western New York Community and is actively involved in local groups that promote STEM and Entrepreneurship. She holds board positions with the Buffalo Public School Policy Board, Western New York Invention Convention, the Niagara Frontier Section of the International Society of Automation Engineers, and Boy Scout Troup 250 in Clarence. She is also active with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Medtech.

Rory Allen

After living in San Francisco from 1999 -2003 Rory Allen moved to Buffalo to start In 2003 with $5,000 in savings and $6,000 loan from his parents he launched, a document scanning company out of a room of his west side apartment. Soon after Rory moved to it's current home on the 700 block of Main. Although document scanning is still at the core of Zoomcopy's services, they quickly grew to offer more services to include a wide variety of business printing and has a niche in Buffalo's litigation support space. Rory has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Studies from Buffalo State and is a 2007 graduate of UB School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Joe Peters

Joe Peters is a Senior Product Manager at Synacor Inc. where
he manages the ideation and creation of next-generation products. Previously Joe
worked at Apple in Product Marketing where he worked exclusively on new product
concepts. Joe is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.

Vipin Chaudhary

A veteran of High Performance Computing (HPC), Dr. Chaudhary has been actively participating in the business and technology innovation frontiers of HPC for over two decades. His contributions range from heading research laboratories and holding executive management positions to starting technology ventures. He is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, the Center for Computational Research, and the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at SUNY Buffalo and the Director of Data Intensive Computing Initiative.

From 2010 to 2013, Dr. Chaudhary was the Chief Executive Officer of Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) where he grew the company globally to be the HPC cloud and solutions leader before selling it to Tata Consulting Services. Prior to this, as Senior Director of Advanced Development at Cradle Technologies, Inc., he was responsible for advanced programming tools for multi-processor chips. He was the Chief Architect at Corio Inc., which had a successful IPO in June 2000.

Dr. Chaudhary was awarded the prestigious President of India Gold Medal in 1986 for securing the first rank amongst graduating students at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). He received the B.Tech. (Hons.) degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 1986 and the Ph.D. degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1992.

Janine E. Tramont

Janine became Investor Relations Manager at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) in May of 2012. Prior to her appointment to the BNP, she was at the University at Buffalo, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) where she held the position of Director of Business Development & Special Projects. While at CEL from 2007 to 2012 Ms. Tramont coordinated the Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (TEC) and the Allstate Minority and Women’s Emerging Entrepreneurs (MWEE) Program.

Ms. Tramont is the former Director of Member Services at the BNP from 2001 to 2007 as the small business contact and a founding member of the Woman to Woman Mentoring Program. She additionally directed the Small and Minority Business Councils and managed administrative and council staff.

Ms. Tramont has an extensive background in business and entrepreneurship that includes positions with the University at Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Heritage Oak Foundation and the Office of the Erie County Executive. Janine is a graduate of Canisius College where she received her BA in Communications. Ms. Tramont is entering the Masters of Business Administration Program at the State University of New York in January of 2014.

She currently holds a board position with the Canisius Women’s Business Center and is a volunteer for Child & Family Services. Ms. Tramont is the recipient of a number of awards throughout her career, honored by the Amherst Chamber of Commerce as the 2011 Small Business Advocate of the Year and as the 2010 Women in Business Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Ms. Tramont was also recognized in the 2010, Spree Magazine, Most Powerful Issue, as one of WNY most powerful, nurturing women leaders.

Lisa Primerano

Lisa Primerano is a business lawyer who started her own practice in 2009 after practicing nine years with prominent Buffalo‐area law firms in corporate law and commercial litigation. She is also special counsel to the law firm of Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP.

Lisa concentrates her practice in the areas of business and corporate law, with an emphasis on intellectual property. She counsels clients and other attorneys on creating value from intellectual property by strategically protecting, enforcing and licensing trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights. Lisa also counsels clients on general matters such as business formation, operation, dissolution and governance.
Lisa traded the comfortable world of corporate law for the hustle and energy she found in the entrepreneurial community. For Lisa, nothing is more important than her mission to help educate the startup community in how to use the law as a tool to help them, rather than view it as an obstacle to overcome. If there's a gathering of hungry and energetic business people, Lisa is there, ready to offer her mentoring and her knowledge.
In addition to serving as a mentor for Startup Weekend Buffalo, Lisa has been one of the event’s organizers since its inception.

Silver Sponsors
Dan Magnuszewski
Steve Poland
Nicholas Barone
Lisa Primerano
Charlie Wertz
Mark Branden
Katie Krawczyk
Eric Holtz
Thomas Murdock
Carmaletta Zandi

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