Pitch Competition Judges

Jide Famuagun, Founder & CEO, Alpha Capital Partners – Alpha Capital Partners is a private equity firm that acquires real estate and income-producing “small balance” properties in the emerging secondary and tertiary markets, with capital raised through private placements under Rule 506(c) of Regulation D (general solicitation). Alpha Capital was launched in 2016, and has acquired projects having an aggregate value in excess of $100,000,000 to date. Jide was an early team member and senior executive with Rice Energy. Prior to Rice Energy, Jide launched, operated and sold Oasis Supply & Trade, Inc., a global metals trading company and an INC 500 Company.

Gina Kallick, Entrepreneur & Angel Investor, Next Act Fund – Next Act Fund (“NAF”) is a Pittsburgh-based fund that focuses on early-stage, women-owned companies. Gina is a founding member of Next Act Fund and serves on the Investment Committee. She is active in the due diligence process, both leading and participating in teams. Outside of her work with NAF, Gina is a successful, driven and resourceful entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience. She focuses on her work as a customer-centric leader, while demonstrating a track record of achieving financial goals with a consistent record of growth, which ultimately led to the exit of her company in 2013 to an international conglomerate. Gina was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2008. 

Jay Katarincic, Managing Director, Draper Triangle – Draper Triangle is a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm. In addition to being the Managing Director of Draper Triangle Ventures, Jay is also a Director at Amplifinity, Thread, Acrobatiq, and StimDia. Previously, Jay was a Director at CardioInsight, Carnegie Learning, BodyMedia, BitArmor, and DirectWorks. Prior to that, Jay was a corporate lawyer with Skadden Arps in New York and V.P. of Corporate Development for a large privately-held diversified holding company. Jay serves on the boards of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, 3RiversConnect and The Children’s Institute, and served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association and Shady Side Academy.

Don Morrison, Chairman of Deal Flow, BlueTree Allied Angel Investors – BlueTree Allied Angels is a regional group of accredited investors who invest in regional early-stage companies. In addition to his work as Chairman of Deal Flow at BlueTree Allied Angels, Don is actively involved in coaching numerous start-up and early-stage companies in the region through Alpha Lab, Alpha Lab Gear, Ascender and the eCenter at Linden Pointe. Don has deep business experience in the retail, restaurant, franchising, manufacturing, catalog and e-commerce sectors. He has also been involved in the significant growth of several businesses, including American Eagle Outfitters (President/CEO), Sundance Catalog Company (Executive Director), and Bear Creek Corporation (Senior VP of Sales and Marketing).

Eliza Swann, Senior Associate Counsel & Vice President, UPMC Enterprises – UPMC Enterprises is the innovation and commercialization arm of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, focusing on creating health care innovations that will impact the lives of patients in meaningful, lasting ways. Prior to her position at UPMC Enterprises, Eliza was a partner with Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York, focusing on mergers and acquisitions and working on some of the highest-profile transactions in the world, including Liberty Global’s $23.3 billion acquisition of Virgin Media.

Pitch Competition Prizes

Leech Tishman Launch Package – The LaunchPad Package is a specialized selection of legal services that enable start-ups to build their initial infrastructure while accommodating their unique needs. The winner will receive a free Launch Package, and all contestants will receive a 10% discount on a Launch Package.

Marketing Package from 321Blink – The 321Blink marketing package is a $2500 value and is ideal for start-up companies. 321Blink is an award-winning marketing agency specializing in video production, digital marketing, graphic and web design, media strategy, social media marketing, and marketing communications planning.

One-Hour Custom Consultation with HBK CPAs and Consultants – HBK specializes in tax, accounting, assurance and business consulting services for individuals, small businesses, and multi-million dollar corporations. The HBK Custom Consultation will provide your start-up with the financial insights it needs to plan for the future.

One Hour Meeting with Draper Triangle Fund Investors– Draper Triangle is a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in transformative technologies, including Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, IoT, Augmented Reality, and Healthcare IT.

One Hour of Business Development and Funding Strategy Coaching – The second-place winner will meet with Don Morrison of Blue Tree Allied Angels for a one hour coaching session, focusing on business development and funding strategy.

Two Opportunities to Pitch to Investment Companies – The woman with the best score in the Pitch Competition will have the opportunity to pitch to the Next Act Fund, a woman-focused angel fund that helps women grow their personal wealth by investing in early-stage, women-owned/led companies. The winner of the Pitch Competition will have the opportunity to pitch to BlueTree Allied Angels, a group of accredited investors who invest in regional early-stage companies.

$50 Cash Prize – The winner of the Audience Choice Award will receive a $50 Cash Prize, sponsored by Craig-Goodworth & Associates at Merrill Lynch.