IdeaFest Judges 2024

Patrick Gouhin

Patrick Gouhin, CAE

CEO, Angel Capital Association

Patrick Gouhin is presently serving in his fourth year as the CEO of the Angel Capital Association. ACA is a professional society for accredited angel investors, North America's most prolific early-stage investment class. ACA represents 15,000+ member accredited angel investors, 250 angel groups, accredited platforms and family offices and more than 30,000 entrepreneurial companies that are in ACA member investment portfolios. Before joining ACA, Mr. Gouhin spent 12 years as the Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and then 15 years with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). During his tenure at ISA he provided leadership toward the creation of many new initiatives and companies. At AIAA, Mr. Gouhin served as the Chief Operating Officer whereby his leadership contributions resulted in significant revenue growth and the successful management of 300+ project teams through development and delivery of multiple products and services.

Mr. Gouhin also served as the first Vice President of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) at Langley Research Center. This was a start-up resulting from $69 million government contract award to build a world-class research and education institute. Mr. Gouhin has experience in corporate divestitures and acquisitions, business construction and relocation, strategic standardization management, business planning, project management, process mapping and reengineering, and serving as a company wide change agent. He has served on the board of directors of multiple non-profits including the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) where he is a past president.

He has a bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University and a master’s in engineering management from George Washington University. He has also completed the executive development program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the advanced management college of Stanford University. Mr. Gouhin is a Certified Association Executive or CAE.


Evans McMillion

Evans McMillion

Principal, Talkeetna; Former Founding Executive Director, 757 Accelerate, Inc. 

Evans McMillion is a humble hustler who is passionate about solving problems through innovation and collaboration.  With over 25 years of experience as an attorney and executive, Evans is a builder of companies, boards, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and communities.  She has helped companies grow from idea to IPO and supported founders throughout their journey.  Most of Evans’ opportunities have materialized because she was willing to say “yes” and then get to work finding solutions. 

Currently, Evans is building an executive consultancy delivering fractional C-suite leadership and advisory services for venture-backed & early-stage businesses operating in the technology, climate/energy, and healthcare industries.  From 2017-2023, she was the founding Executive Director of 757 Accelerate, Inc., a selective accelerator program in Virginia that helped 32 companies raise over $72M in capital and helped build a network of over 200 high-value mentors to support 757 Accelerate founders. 

Prior to becoming the Executive Director of 757 Accelerate, Evans worked as attorney counseling companies from formation through IPO in large law firms and serving as Corporate Counsel.  Evans attended Dartmouth College and Duke University School of Law before clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Vermont Supreme Court.


Paul Nolde

Paul Nolde

Managing Director, 757 Collab; Executive Director, 757 Angels; Member, The Launch Place Seed Fund Advisory Board

Paul Nolde has over two decades of experience in the banking, finance, and venture capital sectors, serving in multiple business development and management roles. As the Managing Director of 757 Collab and the Executive Director of 757 Angels powered by VentureSouth, Paul sets the strategic vision for both organizations and oversees day-to-day operations in accelerating and funding venture capital-appropriate startups from idea to seed stage. 757 Collab includes 757 Startup Studios (the “front door” incubator to Hampton Roads’ entrepreneurial ecosystem), 757 Accelerate (a nationally recognized venture accelerator), 757 Angels (one of the nation’s most active angel investment groups), and 757 Innovation Partnerships (innovation programming for organizations and companies). Prior to this he served as the Executive Managing Director of Lighthouse Labs, another nationally recognized venture accelerator based in Richmond, VA, and before that he was the Fund Manager and Managing Director of Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed stage, healthcare-focused venture capital fund. Prior to Riverflow he served as a director at NRV, also an early-stage venture capital firm, having previously managed the angel investment portfolio of a family office. Earlier in his career he held various sales and strategy positions at multiple national and community banks.

He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local and regional organizations, including the Activation Council, CAV Angels (immediate past president), Innovate Hampton Roads, the Norfolk Innovation Corridor, Hampton Roads’ Regional Organization Presidents’ Council, and The Launch Place Seed Fund (former chair). Additionally, Paul sits on various advisory and governing boards at the University of Virginia, where he also serves as an adjunct professor of impact investing in its Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Paul graduated from UVA with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complemented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute.


Autumn Visser

Autumn Visser

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.


Tobias Walter

Tobi Walter

Tech Venture Capitalist, Cofounders Capital; Co-founder, Shoeboxed; Technology Entrepreneur; Former Investment Banker

Tobi is a former investment banker and serially successful tech entrepreneur. Originally from Germany, Tobi has now called Raleigh-Durham his home for the last fifteen years.  Tobi started his career with an MBA from Germany’s WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, before working in investment banking with Societe Generale in Paris, and Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt and London.

In 2006, Tobi joined his first startup, studiVZ, widely known as "the FaceBook of Germany". studiVZ grew to become one of Germany’s most visited websites and exited to a large German media conglomerate.

Tobi then moved to the Triangle to co-found Shoeboxed, a SaaS fintech startup that empowered business owners to manage receipts, invoices and automate bookkeeping. After successfully exiting Shoeboxed in 2018, Tobi brought his finance and marketing skills to the team at Cofounders Capital.


Haven't yet registered for IdeaFest? Click below!


Special Thanks to Our 9th Annual IdeaFest Sponsors