Programs

What's Your Pitch:
Innovations Meet the Marketplace

Are you an entrepreneur with a unique business idea, product or service? Are you an investor looking for the next great thing to invest in? Are you a corporate buyer looking for an innovative product or service? If so, this program is just for you!

Pitch 2017

Winners will receive:

  • $15,000 Total Cash Prizes
  • One-On-One Prescheduled Meetings with C-Suite Executives
  • Opportunity to Connect with Angel Investors
  • Access to Additional Start-Up Funds (via letter of intent from group of investors)
  • Elimination and Final Round: May 31, 2018

Previous Winners

2016 Winners

Wrainbo
Zeitgeist Inc.
GamePlan

ScholarJet Wins Attention of Potential Investors from Silicon Valley, New York, and Texas

Learn more about how taking first place in last year's competition helped ScholarJet break out and capture the interest of investors.

Read more
Scholarjet

2018 Judges and Committee Members

Mike Duke

Mike Duke

Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation Architect

Wells Fargo

Mike Duke

Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation Architect
Wells Fargo

A Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Architect, Mike shares hundreds of patents with Wells Fargo and is responsible for the continued growth of both Wells Fargo’s innovative culture and educational programs focused on “Diversity of Thought” delivery.

  • Honored as one of “American Banker’s Top 25 Innovators of the Year, 2009.”
  • Recently featured at www.InnovationLeader.com
  • Executive Co-Chair of The Innovator’s Club (a Wells Fargo community of Practice over 10,000 strong from LOB and IT worlds)
  • Featured speaker at Ford, Laureal, BP, and many others.
  • At home - Goat Farmer and Drone enthusiast.
  • Favorite Drink - Apple Martini with 2 olives.

Mike advises technology and line-of-business teams across the company and beyond on the alignment of results-driven innovative styles.

With an MBA from Wingate University and a B.S. in Computer Science, Mike brings a unique, humanistic perspective to innovation delivery.

Steve Hagood

Steve Hagood

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Ingersoll Rand

Steve Hagood

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Ingersoll Rand

Steve Hagood is senior vice president and chief information officer at Ingersoll Rand and a member of the company’s Enterprise Leadership Team.

Steve leads the company’s global information technology (IT) organization and is responsible for the development and execution of Ingersoll Rand’s information technology strategies, including enterprise technology infrastructure, information security, and business IT solutions.

Prior to joining Ingersoll Rand, Steve spent 19 years with the Goodrich Corporation, most recently as the company’s vice president and chief information officer. With more than 30 years of experience, he has held multiple executive and financial leadership roles in the aerospace and defense, manufacturing and service industries.

Steve currently chairs the Charlotte CIO Executive Summit and previously served as the chair of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce IT Summit. He is a past director and Board Chair of Apparo, a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization, and a prior director for the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Technology Advisory Board.

Steve holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as ‘CIO of the Year’ in 2014.

Guru Vasudeva

Guru (Guruprasad) Vasudeva

Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer Prog & App Services

Nationwide Insurance

Guru (Guruprasad) Vasudeva

Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer Prog & App Services
Nationwide Insurance

Guru Vasudeva is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Program & Application Services at Nationwide Mutual Insurance, a $27 billion revenue financial services and insurance company. In this role, Guru manages a shared services organization that provides program and project management, application development, and requirements and testing for the enterprise. He is also responsible for the delivery of large and complex programs, Lean and Agile transformation of application development and maintenance functions across Nationwide.

Prior to this role, Guru held several senior leadership positions at Nationwide including Enterprise Chief Technology Officer, Business Unit CIO, and Chief Architect.

Dan Woolley

Dan Woolley

Founder and Managing Partner

Ponderosa Management Group

Dan Woolley

Founder and Managing Partner
Ponderosa Management Group

Dan is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Ponderosa Management Group and former General Partner and co-founder of MACH37, the nation’s leading cyber security accelerator. Over the four years Dan and his partners Rick Gordon and Bob Stratton led MACH37, the team successfully identified and funded more than 46 next generation cyber security companies. A 40-year cyber security veteran, he has been involved in startup teams, successful IPO’s and acquisitions of companies he has led. Dan’s experience crosses software, hardware and global cyber-security services companies as well as driving global strategic alliances for Fortune 500 companies like CA and Dell spanning companies such as Microsoft, Intel, SAP, Oracle, SalesForce, Citrix, and BMC. Currently, Dan is engaged with several cyber security accelerator programs and early and growth stage companies in Taiwan and the US. In addition, he works with “The Smart Cites Actuator”, is a regular “judge” on the AFCEA Cyber Security Shark Tank program and is engaged with Mid Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) creating greater ties between corporations consuming new technology, investors and the east coast entrepreneurial ecosystem. Dan has testified before the US Congress on threats to the US corporate infrastructure and is regularly asked to speak on the threats to corporate America and the evolving security industry. Most recently he was the keynote speaker at “Invest Augusta” where a vibrant cyber security community is emerging.

George Thomas

George D. Thomas

Global Director, Smart Infrastructure

Hatch, Ltd.

George D. Thomas

Global Director, Smart Infrastructure
Hatch, Ltd.

George Thomas is a thought leader and adviser to public and private sector organizations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. With more than twenty years of experience, George has held a variety of sales, strategy and consulting roles. A dynamic leader and team builder, George has helped clients develop successful strategies and execute transformational projects in business operations, capital improvement, enterprise processes and applications, organizational change management and strategic planning.

George currently serves as Global Director, Smart Infrastructure, for Hatch Ltd. In this role, he leads Hatch's efforts in helping clients maximize value across all Infrastructure and Urban Solution domains.

George also founded New Urban Informatics, a boutique business advisory firm, providing expertise to some of the most innovative companies and governments focused on Public Sector Analytics and Smart Cities. He is based in Washington DC.

George previously served as Global Director of Strategy & Markets for IBM’s Government Industry vertical. In this role, he was responsible for the strategy and execution of new innovations and solutions to assist governments globally in delivering improved services to their citizens. From 2013 to 2014 he was the Director of Smarter Cities for IBM Greater China, based in Beijing, PRC; and from 2010 to 2012, he was the Global Director for Smarter Cities Sales Strategy & Execution. Prior roles have included US Sales Director responsible for IBM’s services portfolio in State & Local Government, Education & Public Healthcare segment and Partner responsible for IBM’s US SAP State, Local and Education Practice. George has successfully delivered several complex, mission-critical transformation consulting engagements in the public sector which include innovative and breakthrough projects in technology, process and people transformation. Prior to joining IBM in 2000, George held senior positions with the management, business consulting and engineering practices of PSINet; Metamor; and Mott MacDonald respectively. In these roles, he was involved in global multi-million dollar engagements covering complex implementations in finance, human resources, supply chain, reengineering, process improvement, and core engineering projects.

George is a recognized industry expert at the intersection of technology and business in areas such as cognitive computing, deep analytics, smarter cities, Blockchain, the API economy, internet of things, and cloud computing. George is a founding member of the Smarter Cities Council, a member of the US NIST Executive Committee for Global City Teams Challenge, a prior resident expert at the IBM Center for Cognitive Government, a Senior Advisor to the Virginia Center of Innovative Technology, leads the Transportation Segment for Governor’s Virginia Smart Communities initiative, and is a mentor, board member and coach to several start-ups and innovative companies. George is a proven thought leader and a regular speaker at conferences and events including at the C40 Mayor’s Conferences, TEDx, Chambers of Commerce, Harvard Club, American Institute of Architects, the World Bank and the United Nations.

George holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering and Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Kurt Nguyen

Kurt Nguyen

President and CEO

Qnexis

Kurt Nguyen

President and CEO
Qnexis

Kurt is a technology entrepreneur with long and successful record in sales, marketing and executive management with early-stage and Fortune 1000 technology companies. He is President and CEO of Qnexis, a DC based provider of mobility, cloud and strategic communications services.

As a consummate entrepreneur, he has commercialized mobile app products for the Mass Emergency Notification marketplace and in the Business Mobile Collaboration space.  His RUOK (pronounced as Are Your O.K.) mass emergency notification mobile app was a winner at the AFCEA Cyber Shark Tank contest.  He has also commercialized a health care mobile app called LIINX that lets doctors and nurses connect with patients to create patient-centric communities that improves the quality of care.

Prior to founding Qnexis, Kurt has held management and executive level assignments for leading technology companies. Kurt is a regular speaker at business conferences and has published numerous articles on effective marketing. Kurt chairs a DC metro business network for technology entrepreneurs called ForeFront. He is also co-founder of the Asian American CEO Organization (AACO), a business networking group with the goal of promoting and grooming Asian American business leaders and serves as a board member on the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC).

Kishore Khandavalli

Kishore Khandavalli

CEO & Chairman

Itech Global Group

Kishore Khandavalli

CEO & Chairman
Itech Global Group

Kishore Khandavalli founded SevenTablets in 2012 as a part of the iTech group of companies. He started iTech in 2003 and he remains the group’s CEO & Chairman today. Under Mr. Khandavalli’s leadership, the company has evolved into a global group, established key partnerships and acquired numerous clients, many of which are Fortune 100 organizations. Currently managing over 1,200 employees, three offices outside the U.S., and five within the United States and Canada, he steered iTech to be the fastest growing technology company in New England. Over the last few years, he made strategic acquisitions to make iTech into a consortium of companies with global delivery centers offering solutions in IT services (www.iTechUS.comwww.SmtWorks.com) mobile technologies (www.SevenTablets.com), software solutions and data management (www.iTechDataServices.com). Before founding iTech, Mr. Khandavalli founded Primesoft in 1997, which was later merged with another software company. He spearheaded the merger and subsequently led the combined organization until 2002. Prior to venturing into the IT industry, Mr. Khandavalli worked as a chemical engineer at Enerfex, a technology think tank in Vermont where he developed a unique patented technology to capture greenhouse gases and reuse them as byproducts.  He was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year finalist for two years in a row in 2009 & 2010. He was also a Wells Fargo Asian Business leader finalist in 2010. He is an avid flying enthusiast and a private pilot and holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio.