Log in

Five-Minute Pitch Contest

  • Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  • 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Rubin Campus Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 3rd Floor, Odeum


  • Advance registration please.
    College/University ID required at check-in.
  • Advance registration please.
    College/University ID required at check-in.

Registration is closed

Five Minute Pitch Contest

The Pitch Contest has become an integral part of The Venture Forum’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and the growth of technology-based businesses, and is designed to generate investment interest for participating entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs contemplating, starting, running or operating early-stage ventures were invited to apply. A poster session with all entrants begins at 4:30 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception. The Five Minute Pitch Contest begins promptly at 6 p.m. 

See the WPI Campus Map.

2014 Pitch Contest Gold Sponsor

2014 Pitch Contest Bronze Sponsors



Finalists Presenting March 11



Energy Harvesters LLC


Ionsense, Inc.


NuVascular Technologies

Riparian Pharmaceuticals

Sano, LLC

Trilio Data

In the event that any of the finalists are unable to present, O'Neill Power Systems and Maine Micro Furnace will present.


Paul Horn is an independent consultant and college instructor specializing in business communication skillsundefinedfor rocket pitches, business plan presentations, media presentations, interviews and other events.  He works with managers and executives at companies in a variety of industriesundefinednational or international companies like TJ Max, Johnson and Johnson, Fidelity, and Parsons Brinckerhoff among them. He also devotes pro bono time to a number of small non-profit organizations helping individuals and teams develop more skill and confidence with speeches and other presentations.   As a college instructor, Paul works with both undergraduate and MBA students at Babson College and has been a guest lecturer or adjunct instructor at Brandeis University, Boston University, Northeastern University and Pine Manor College.  For the past 8 years, Paul has also coached the finalists in the annual business plan competition at B.U.’s Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC). In all this work Paul draws on his background as a professional actor and narrator (in film, television, radio and corporate media productions) as well as his earlier career in government and community development. Paul serves on both the local and national boards of SAG-AFTRA, the recently merged union of broadcasters and performance artists, and is an active member of the Massachusetts Production Coalition and the Trainers Roundtable.

2014 Esteemed Judging Team

Every year an esteemed panel of judges are hand selected to score the five-minute presentations. This year's panel includes: Graham Brooks of .406 Ventures; Peter Caruso of Boynton Angels; Nancy Cremins of Gesmer Updegrove; Yuly Fuentes of Descience; Mike Pomianek of Wolf Greenfield; and Sheryl R. Schultz, of Golden Seeds.


Graham Brooks, Principal at .406 Ventures

As a recovering engineer (license to code was revoked in 2008, currently under appeal), Graham Brooks loves to geek out with techie founders.  He joined .406 Ventures in 2007, after nine years of technology-oriented operating, investing and start-up experience.  At .406 he focuses on early-stage investments in #BigData, #Healthcare, #DigitalVideo and #AdTech.  Graham also runs the firm’s university outreach initiatives including the .406 #StudentFellows program


Peter Caruso  is an active member of the Boynton Angels, an angels investment group. He also has over 21 years of experience working in the wealth management industry. He earned a B.S. in Business Management from Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts. Peter serves on the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts Board of Directors as well as the Red Cross of Massachusetts Regional Board. He is also a Member of the Nichols College Board of Advisors and a Member of the Worcester Economic Club and the Professional Advisors Network of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. One of Peter’s favorite hobbies is being a private wine maker for over 25 years. He lives with his wife Lilly and two children, Stephen and Ava, in West Boylston, Massachusetts.


Nancy Cremins of Gesmer Updegrove

Nancy Cremins is partner at Gesmer Updegrove, LLP in Boston, handling dispute resolution, employment matters, and a range of other issues encountered by entrepreneurs.  She was a member of the inaugural Boston class of the Pipeline Fellows, which trains women to become angel investors. Nancy is also a founding board member of Prosperity Catalyst, an organization that educates, trains, and supports women in distressed parts of the world to become entrepreneurs.  She is also a Past President (2011-12) and board member of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, an organization committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society.  She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Boston College and a law degree from Northeastern. Nancy also serves on the Northeastern School of Law Alumni Board and co-chairs the Website and Technology Working Group on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. She is also the mom of 2 children, ages 5 & 3.


Yuly Fuentes is a catalyzer of creative ideas. She believes that the understanding of the science to society connection is critical to open opportunities for people and organizations.  She is currently the Executive Director of DeScience a project that is using science to inspire fashion innovation. Yuly was a Postdoctoral Associate at the MIT Sloan School studying funding for life sciences Innovation and graduated with a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA. Yuly is energetically involved in fostering the life sciences ecosystem as an intern for Propel Careers. She is an active member of women entrepreneurs in science and technology (WEST) and received a volunteer giving back award. During her time as a Ph.D. student, she pioneered the co-organization of the International workshop called “Small Brains Big Ideas”, held in Santiago, Chile. This initiative successfully trained so far, sixty Latin-American students. Trained as a biochemist at University of Concepcion in her native Chile, she is constantly in the search of opportunity to support young talent.


Mike Pomianek is a Shareholder and Chair of the Cleantech Group at Wolf Greenfield. He focuses his practice on patent prosecution, opinion work, due diligence, IP portfolio development, and IP counseling. Prior to joining the firm, Mike held industrial chemical engineering positions with Rohm & Haas, Dow Chemical, and General Electric. His doctoral research involved the design, construction, and testing of a novel immunoaffinity membrane-based device for selective blood cell separation. His work was conducted in collaboration with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. 

Mike is a member of the American Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, the American Chemical Society, the Boston Patent Law Association, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Mike received the Daniel J. Fern Award for graduating first in his class at Suffolk University Law School. Mike has been a judge for the MIT 100k competition (2009 and 2010) and served as a judge for the 2010 FIRST Robotics Boston Regional competition.


Sheryl R. Schultz, of Golden Seeds

Sheryl is an expert in startup company dynamics, with a deep understanding of the marketing and organizational challenges faced by growing businesses. She has spent over 30 years working with a range of technology companies as a marketer, board advisor, mentor, and investor. 

Sheryl is a member of two of the country’s most active angel networks: Golden Seeds, a network of angels that provides early stage and growth capital to women led businesses, and Launchpad Venture Group, Boston’s largest angel investment group, focused on early-stage technology-driven startup companies. She served for two years (2009-2011) as Golden Seeds’ Boston Forum Co-Leader. Prior to her work at Golden Seeds, Sheryl spent over 20 years as President of SRS Associates, a firm she founded to provide communications and market strategy consulting to telecommunications startups. In that capacity, Sheryl launched dozens of companies, 20 of whom engaged her from inception through successful exit by IPO or acquisition.  During that period, Sheryl designed and orchestrated the launch of some of the most successful companies in Massachusetts including Acme Packet, ArrowPoint Communications, Sonus Networks and Wellfleet Communications.

Sheryl is a Board Director at The Capital Network, and a Board Advisor/Advisor to Crowdly, Hubster, Playrific, QStream, Philo (formerly Tivli), ViralGains and Connect2Communications.  She is also a founder of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Council (WEC), a “super” organization created to align the many groups that support women entrepreneurs, and provide a powerful ecosystem for entrepreneurial women.  In addition, Sheryl was a Pipeline Fellowship Mentor for the Pipeline Fellowship’s inaugural Boston class, providing guidance to women philanthropists working to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice.

Sheryl regularly speaks to groups throughout New England about Angel Funding, Startup Marketing, and Marketing for Exits.


'Thank you' to our First Round judges:
Lori Jones, New Venture Evolution
Jerrold Shapiro, Fem-Medical LLC
Mitch Sanders, ECI Biotech
Ed Leary, BlumShapiro
George Burdick, Merrill Lynch

And 'thank you' to our Mentors:
Anderson Duff, Wolf Greenfield
Cristina Brennan, Wolf Greenfield
Kate Miller, Wolf Greenfield
Emily Gardel, Wolf Greenfield
Kuangshin Tai, Wolf Greenfield
Lori Jones, New Venture Evolution
Jerrold Shapiro, Fem-Medical LLC
Ed Leary, BlumShapiro
Bill Contente, Gesmer Updegrove
George Burdick, Merrill Lynch
William Hilton, Gesmer Updegrove
Jonathan Draluck, Gesmer Updegrove
Lynne Riquelme, Gesmer Updegrove


Contest Timeline




Entry Deadline

Noon, February 12, 2014

Technology entrepreneurs

First Round Screening

February 12-14, 2014

All entrants

Finals Notification

February 18, 2014

Selected finalists


Feb 18 - March 11, 2014


Pitch Contest

March 11, 2014

Open to public

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Process / Guidelines

The Pitch Contest consists of two rounds of selection.  In the first round, applications are evaluated anonymously by a group of area business leaders.  Ten finalists will be selected from among the applicants and invited to compete at the Venture Forum’s final meeting of the season, scheduled for 5:30 on March 11, 2014. 

In the final round, each company will be given five minutes to pitch their business to a panel of expert judges and the Forum’s audience who will evaluate the entrepreneur’s presentation skills and overall performance. Each presentation will be followed by a two minute open discussion between the judges and the entrepreneur.  The judges will then rate each business and the audience will do the same.  Once all the pitches are complete, the judges will select the winner of the top prize in a brief and closed deliberation.  An audience prize will be awarded based on the voting results.

In both rounds of the Pitch Contest, companies will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Business model: How the business generates revenue and profit.
  • Innovation: How innovation is applied in the business (e.g., the technology associated with the product/service, how a product/service is marketed).
  • Market opportunity: The size of the market, the ability of the company to capture market share and generate profit out of the market share.
  • Competitive advantage: What allows the company to compete successfully in the market place (e.g., Value Proposition, IP strategy). 
  • Leadership Team: The quality, breadth and experience of the team (management, advisory board, etc.).

Important Notice to Applicants and Competitors.  The Venture Forum cautions each applicant to make certain that they are familiar with the laws, rules and restrictions regarding soliciting funds, in particular, new Rule 506(c) of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.  The Venture Forum will make efforts using various media and advertising channels to invite members of the general public to the Pitch Contest, and the audience of the Pitch Contest will NOT be restricted to “accredited investors” only.  Applicants and competitors thus are advised that their pitch and presentation materials should not mention anything about their company’s fundraising plans.  In particular, competitors should not include in their pitch deck or pitch:

  • any mention that the company is fundraising;
  • any discussion of financial projections or results; or
  • any offering terms (i.e., convertible note or preferred stock terms, company valuation).

Applicants and competitors are advised to consult with their attorneys to ensure compliance with the securities laws, rules and regulations.


We encourage you to view past competition videos to see the winning pitches.  


The Venture Forum -- 306 Main Street, #400 -- Worcester, MA 01608 innovation@theventureforum.org

Interested in having your logo here?

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software