Meet The Big Launch Challenge 2023 Judges
Director of Growth Development, Tech Town
Dr. Dawn Batts has over two decades of experience, analyzing business opportunities, developing and implementing strategic plans, and managing their subsequent operations and compliance processes. Her diverse professional experiences and research have led to her solutions-based approach in addressing the myriad of factors causing the economic disparity between women and men.
As the Director of Growth Capital for Tech Town -- Detroit's entrepreneurial hub -- Dawn secures and aligns resources that help Detroit-based entrepreneurs achieve the vision and goals of their businesses. She also manages the Catalyst Angel Program which trains, mentors, and engages emerging underrepresented angel investors in the Great Lakes Region. She extends her work as co-founder of Commune Angels, a diverse community of investors who seed scalable consumer, enterprise and life science companies that transform lives.
Dawn has served on a variety of local and national non-profit boards. She currently serves as a director on the Michigan Early-Stage Venture Investment Corporation Board and a board member of the Angel Capital Association.
Dawn has a B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University, her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and her PhD in Anthropology from Wayne State University.
Partner and Co-Founder, Fifth Avenue Family Office; Chairman, Tamiami Family of Angel Funds
Timothy J. Cartwright is a Partner and Co-Founder at Fifth Avenue Family Office, a multi-family office and Chairman of the Tamiami Family of Angel Funds. Prior, he co-founded By-Products Interactive, an electronic trading, market research and publishing company which he sold in 2021 to Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, a FTSE 250 Public Company. Earlier, he founded Benchmark Solutions, a supply chain consulting company, which was sold in 1999.
Mr. Cartwright recently completed a 12-year term as a member of the Florida Gulf Coast University’s Foundation Board, finishing as Chair of the Board. During this time, he was a prime mover in starting the Institute for Entrepreneurship which grew into the DK School of Entrepreneurship at FGCU where he served as Adjunct Professor for six semesters. In 2023, at the invitation of former FGCU President Mike Martin, he chaired Project Ascend, a task force that studied and published a White Paper on the future financial sustainability and continued athletic competitiveness of the FGCU Athletics Department.
His post-secondary education includes a Bachelors of Science in Economics at the University of Wisconsin and a post graduate Masters in Management in Finance and Accounting from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. For the fifth consecutive year, he was named by Florida Trend Magazine to their list of Florida’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders. He is a Naples resident, a volunteer softball and soccer coach, and an active member of First Baptist Church of Naples.
Silvia Mah, PhD, MBA
General Partner, Stella Impact Capital
Stella Impact Capital is a seed-stage venture fund, investing in diverse women founders building scalable startups at the intersection of deep tech & impact. Focused on “Impact with Integrity”, Dr. Mah is the founder & Chairwoman of Stella Foundation, founder of the startup accelerator Stella Labs, and Founding Investor Member of Stella Angels, all contributing to a national conSTELLAtion of organizations and leaders walking alongside womxn-led businesses from startup to sale and the funders who champion them. Dr. Silvia Mah is also a redemptive entrepreneur and investor serving as the Director of Innovation at Biola University. Since 2010, Dr. Mah has invested in over 140+ seed-stage startups that are female-led or have BIPOC founders, from medical devices to life sciences to SAAS platforms to CPG companies and from San Diego, Portland and Brooklyn. Dr. Mah is honored to have also invested in 12 emerging fund managers and has been blessed by 6 exits and 1 IPO. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Mah believes in integrating family and work to create a lifestyle that serves both with a strong cup of integrity.
Sumedha is a physician, 2nd-time founder, angel investor, and healthcare leader. Her interests are in supporting female-founded startups, designing programs to address SDoH, and creating the patient experience of the future. As a founder, she has helped create digital health platforms for clinicians, as well as patient-facing platforms to innovate school health programs. Sumedha uses her expertise in digital health and medical devices as an advisor for a number of healthcare startups. To further support founders, she is a mentor for Techstars DC and the Future of Longevity (with Pivotal Ventures). She has also participated as a judge for the Stella Foundation’s Women’s Fast Pitch, MedTech Innovator, BioTools Innovator, the Bear Challenge, and the UCSF Digital Health Hub Awards at HLTH.
She is a member and investor at Citrine Angels and an Advisor for New Enterprise Ventures and Health Innovation Pitch. Sumedha joined Citrine Angels to support female founders in their journey and to advocate for women in investing. She sources Deal Flow and performs due diligence for health tech investments at Citrine Angels. She uses her expertise and experience with early-stage startups, payers, and large academic hospitals to advise investors on healthcare opportunities at New Enterprise Ventures and Health Innovation Pitch.
Sumedha has a B.A. in Biology from Bryn Mawr College and a Medical Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She recently completed her MBA with Healthcare Leadership from the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business. Sumedha is also committed to serving her community through a number of nonprofit organizations. She is a Board Member of Volunteer Fairfax and sits on the March of Dimes Executive Leadership Team to support the Heroines of Washington event.
Angel Investor/Venture Capital
Rick is a resident of Austin, Texas and is heavily involved in the Austin start-up community. He is the former Board Chairman (six years) and member of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), one of the most active angel networks in the country. He has personally invested in 49 start-up companies since 2009 and has assisted many entrepreneurs with insight and recommendations through mentoring and formal participation on Boards, accelerators, and incubators. Rick is also one of the two partners in Mid-City Development, a development and construction business in Austin which specializes in the development of mixed-use apartment/condo/townhome communities in Austin neighborhoods. Mid-City currently has nine projects in various stages of development.
He brings with him 35 years of experience in financial management and strategic guidance from two Fortune 50 technology companies, Rick served as Vice President, Corporate Controller and Assistant CFO of finance at networking technology leader Cisco Systems from 1995 to 2007. There he was instrumental in developing and implementing an e-culture of financial reporting across all of Cisco’s worldwide operations. When he arrived in 1995 it took Cisco 21 days to close its monthly reporting books. Under his leadership that task was reduced to less than 1 day worldwide.
Prior to Cisco, Rick served as Vice President of finance for Motorola for 23 years. He had worldwide financial responsibility for the MOS Semiconductor Group for several years. He also was also the CFO for Motorola Japan living in Tokyo for 6 years and assisted in helping to develop Motorola’s cellular and semiconductor operations in Japan, which experienced high growth from $200 million to over $2.5 billion.
In addition to his operational experience, Rick has also worked with numerous top tier venture firms from across the country, including as Venture Partner at G51 in Austin.
Rick is currently a Board member in five companies/organizations: one public and one private and three non-profits. Rick previously served on four other public company Boards and six private company Boards. Rick holds a B.S. degree in accounting and finance from the University of Arizona, an M.B.A. degree from St. Edward’s University, and was previously a Certified Public Accountant.
Prior to Monumental, he ran New Ventures, MCI's venture capital unit, until the company's acquisition in 1998, where investment exits were made in both Cisco and Alcatel. Marco also worked for Booz Allen & Hamilton, where he served as a project leader for clients in the energy, telecommunications, and information technology industries. Clients included names such as Mobil Oil and NASA. He began his career as an engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center, where he trained and certified astronauts and flight controllers to operate spacecraft. He holds an MBA from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Member; Corporate & Business Transactions and Emerging Growth & Venture Capital practice groups, Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC; The Launch Place’s legal counsel
Autumn is a member of the Corporate & Business Transactions and Emerging Growth & Venture Capital practice groups at Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black (WRVB). She also serves as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors.
She concentrates on venture and seed capital financing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and contract drafting and negotiation. Autumn also works on real estate issues, government contracts, and licensing.
Prior to WRVB, Autumn spent five years in-house as Corporate Counsel for a global consumer products manufacturing company headquartered in the United States with offices in Australia, Canada, France, and South Africa. In this role, Autumn managed the legal functions for seven diverse business lines and was the key contact for all outside counsel.
Autumn is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Public Relations and a minor in journalism. She earned her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, Calif., where she worked on the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges and was a founding member of the Legal Waves. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Women Attorneys Association and the National LGBT Bar Association. Autumn has been recognized as a Legal Elite attorney and received a 2023 Women in Leadership Award from Virginia Business magazine.
Register for The 11th Annual Big Launch Challenge on October 5th at the North Carolina Biotech Center in Durham, North Carolina!
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