Judges

2017 SEC Student Pitch Competition

Dr. Chelsey Simmons

UF Faculty, MAE Department

Dr. Simmons joined the faculty in Fall 2013 following a visiting research position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. She received her B.S. cum laude from Harvard University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Dr. Simmons’ entrepreneurial spirit was cultivated early, with her first patent issued on a novel baby bottle at age 13. She co-founded a laboratory tools company around her own technology, licensed from Stanford, in 2011 and is currently promoting her own line of all-natural skincare. At UF, Dr. Simmons’ research lab investigates the relationship between cell biology and tissue mechanics, and their projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and American Heart Association.


Dave Comeau

Venture Partner, KEEN Growth Capital

Comeau is a Venture Partner at KEEN Growth Capital. With more than 25 years of multinational food CPG experience, leadership in M&A, joint ventures and global brand expansion to a billion dollar scale, he is also the founding principle of DC50 Advisors LLC, a Miami based marketing and strategy consulting firm. Most recently, Mr. Comeau was the former President of the Asia Pacific region for Mondelēz International. Among Comeau’s current activities he has a non-executive board role at RetailApp, a Miami-based retail technology company, Snappper’s Resorts, a Key Largo, Florida-based restaurant marina and hotel concern, as well as an active member of London based Critical Eye, a leading global board mentoring firm. At Mondelez International, Comeau was responsible for all biscuit food operations in the Asia Pacific region with a $1.5 Billion portfolio including world famous brands Oreo and Ritz. Comeau has played a key role in rapidly scaling up operations in both India and China. Comeau began his career with Campbell Soup Co. and later joined the international division of Kraft Foods in the early 1990’s. He has seen a succession of leadership roles including Managing Director for Kraft-Marsa, a joint venture in Turkey, Senior Director of Strategy for Middle East and Africa in London, Managing Director, Brazil, VP of Marketing for Latin America and VP of Global Strategy for Mondelez Biscuits. A native of Boston, Comeau has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master of International Business Studies degree from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Comeau is active on several Boards and resides in Miami, Florida USA.


Ethan Fieldman

Founder and President, Study Edge

Fieldman is the founder and president of Study Edge, a leading education company based in Gainesville, Florida. Ethan attended the University of Florida on a National Merit Scholarship and achieved a 4.0 GPA while earning a BSBA in Finance with a minor in Economics. As an 18-year old sophomore, Ethan founded an in-person, group-tutoring business for college students. Following his graduation, Ethan merged the company with a similar firm and continued to bootstrap and grow for several years. After expansion to several other universities, Ethan completed a lucrative exit in 2011. Subsequently, he founded Study Edge, a true ‘edtech’ venture that explores new ways of online content delivery. The company successfully completed the leading business accelerator in the world (Y Combinator) in 2012 and went on to raise funding from some of the top venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. During his tenure at Study Edge, he has co-led projects totaling over $20M in state and federal grants and appropriations. Each year more than 500,000 middle school, high school, and college students enjoy higher academic achievement through Study Edge-powered online supplemental instruction. Along the way, Ethan founded and bootstrapped a software company that provided web- and mobile-based group-management tools to more than 100,000 Monthly Active Paid Users. The company achieved a very successful exit to a NYC-based private equity firm in 2017. An inventor (3 patents) and published educational researcher, Ethan also won the inaugural $50,000 Cade Prize for Innovation and was named to the White House’s Empact 100 in 2012 — the top 100 entrepreneurs in the United States, aged 30 and under. Ethan currently serves on the statewide board of Take Stock in Children, a non-profit mentoring organization that is the largest purchaser of Florida Prepaid college plans, and was appointed to be the 2017-2018 Board Chair of North-Central Florida’s workforce board by the Alachua County Commission. He is also an angel investor in several start-ups.


Dr. Jackson Streeter

Chief Executive Officer, Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research

Dr. Streeter is the CEO of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. The Institute is a diversified early stage fund for Florida based companies and has 72 portfolio companies to date. The fund has generated over $970M in economic impact and state funding has been matched 7:1 in private investment. Dr. Streeter previously served as the CEO of Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. from 2010 to 2016. As CEO of Banyan Biomarkers, the company received over $70M from the Dept. of Defense and NIH, and raised $11M in private investment for the development of a first-ever blood test for traumatic brain injury. Prior to joining Banyan Biomarkers, Dr. Streeter served as the Founder, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of PhotoThera, Inc. During his tenure at PhotoThera, Dr. Streeter raised over $120M of invested capital and was responsible for the design and management of five U.S. and international clinical trials. He was also the co-founder of American Veterinary Laser which was acquired in a private transaction. He is the inventor of over twenty patents and author on multiple scientific publications. He is the winner of the Zone ventures entrepreneur and Adaptive Business Leader awards. Dr. Streeter served as a member of the Governor’s Life Science Task Force for the State of Florida and FBI counterterrorism southeast working group. He currently serves on the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research Oversight Committee, Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator board, and Cade Museum board. Dr. Streeter earned his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Nevada Reno and his M.D. from the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Prior to becoming a medical industry executive, Dr. Streeter served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy, completing a general surgery internship at Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia and then primary Flight School at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. During his military service, Dr. Streeter was the first Naval Flight Surgeon selected as a TOPGUN staff instructor, served on several overseas deployments and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal (2) and the Navy Commendation Medal.


Julie Martin

Vice President of Product Development, Clickbooth

Martin is the VP of Product Development at Clickbooth, a Sarasota, Florida-based digital advertising leader powered by a proprietary platform technology.

By day, Julie is the intermediary between the Business and Technology sides of the company and is responsible for the planning and execution of all new platform features.
By night, she is a foodie, a wife, a dog-mom and an avid traveler. Oh, and she’s a Gator.


Lindsey Tropf

Co-founder and CEO, Immersed Games

Tropf was a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida in School Psychology, with a specialization in Program Evaluation and statistics. While working on her dissertation in game-based learning, she founded Immersed Games. Their mission is to use video games to create a next-generation learning platform where students can learn anything as they play a single World of Warcraft-like video game. The company completed a successful Kickstarter in 2014, raised its first angel investment in 2015, launched their game and participated in the Intel Education Accelerator in 2016, and is now scaling up their content and users as they enter schools with Tyto Online.


Nick Davis

President, CEO, and CMO, Momma G’s, Inc.

Davis is President, CEO, CMO and majority shareholder of Momma G’s, Inc., the franchisor of Momma Goldberg’s Delis. He is also President, CEO and sole shareholder of The Progressive Companies, headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, which includes Progressive Restaurants, Inc., PRI-Miami, LLC, PRIC, LLC, and MG Holdings. The Progressive Companies owned and operated 32 Taco Bell Restaurants throughout the state of Florida until the sale of the restaurant business in 2010 – the company retained the real estate on 22 parcels with a triple net 20-year lease. Nick is President, CEO and primary shareholder of Vision Restaurants, Inc. which operates six Taco Bell Restaurants in South Georgia and the panhandle of Florida. Nick is also the President, CEO and primary shareholder of Davista Holdings, LLC which owns and manages a number of real estate holdings in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia as well as Paradise Lake Properties which owns real estate holdings in Alabama. Nick formed ML Restaurants, Inc. in 2009 which purchased two Momma Goldberg’s Delis and had grown to a total of five in the state of Alabama before selling 4 of the delis back to the franchisor in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Auburn University (1984).
Upon graduation, Nick joined Taco Bell Corporation as a Manager Trainee serving for seven years in positions of increasing responsibility including operational and financial turnarounds of critical markets including Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, MS and Charleston, SC. In 1991, Nick joined WenSouth Corporation, a 46 restaurant Wendy’s franchisee as a Regional Director. His responsibilities included Marketing, Capital Spending and Employee Motivation for the entire Corporation.
Nick founded Progressive Restaurants, Inc. on October 1, 1997 and purchased the first 14 Taco Bell restaurants. In July 2007 Nick formed PRI-Miami, LLC which purchased seven restaurants in the greater Miami area. The Companies continued to grow in new construction and acquisitions growing to 32 Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Express and Kentucky Fried Chicken before the sale in 2010
Nick has also been active in the communities in which he has lived including serving on the Board of Directors for the Greater Tallahassee Advertising Federation, President of the Tallahassee Auburn Club, as a Board Member of the National Auburn University Alumni Association Board of Directors. Nick also served on the Auburn University Harbert College of Business Dean’s Executive Advisory Committee after serving a three-year term on the Advisory Board and is currently an emeritus member of that Board. He is a member of Auburn University Athletics’ Tigers Unlimited. Nick was recognized as one of the top forty graduates by the Auburn University Harbert College of Business on the fortieth anniversary of the college.


Wendi L Chapman

President, Chapman Capital Development

As president of Chapman Capital Development, Wendi provides legal and business operations support to small businesses. One of her key roles is Executive Director of BRIDGE Angel Investors in Sarasota, FL where she manages a team of CEO members investing in and mentoring early-stage companies in Southwest Florida. She also serves as General Counsel and Director of Operations for The Brenn Foundation, where she manages a 600-acre historic estate hosting conferences, events, and weddings. Previously, Wendi held the position of Vice President of The San Francisco Marathon, a 25,000 participant event for which she managed a team of fifteen and launched the Worth The Hurt and Berkeley Half Marathon spin-off events and brands; the latter earned her a proclamation from the Mayor of Berkeley for bringing significant economic impact to the city. In this role, Wendi managed sales and sponsorships, led creative direction and new business development across all affiliated brands, and served as primary liaison to the Mayor’s Office, City Council and national and international race partners. Prior to Wendi’s move to the west coast, she lived in Washington, DC and held the position of General Counsel for Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, a Nobel-peace prize winning non-profit responsible for founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.


Todd Chase

Vice President of Revenue, Admiral

Chase has spent thirty years as a leader in military, business and government organizations and was an early member of the Gainesville Innovation Economy. A retired Navy pilot with 28 years of service, Chase attained his MBA from the Harvard Business School and has immersed himself in the startup world as a founder, C-level officer, venture capitalist and mentor for the last 20 years. He led the formation and funding of numerous companies spun out of research at the University of Florida and held senior level positions at Digi-Net Technologies and Grooveshark, where he was one of the company’s first investors and close advisor to its founders.

Most recently, Chase served as Vice President of Revenue for venture-backed early stage company Admiral. From 2011-2017 he served two terms on the Gainesville City Commission while continuing to work full-time in the growing technology industry. Todd is well versed in startup formation, funding, management, and growth, and has established himself as a mentor and advisor to many of the region’s cutting-edge companies. He attributes much of his passion for entrepreneurship to meeting and hearing a young entrepreneur named Jeff Bezos present his newly launched online book business to a small group of students while in business school at the very nascent stages of the Internet.