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New and Improved Piranha Pond 2019

  • 13 Nov 2019
  • 5:30 PM
  • UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE)


  • Note: you should only choose this option if you want to be considered by the Committee to pitch in front of the investor panels. Within 24 hours of registering you will receive the application via email.
    Applicants will be notified if they have been selected by November 1st.
    All applicants must be available for pitch practice in Fall River on November 6, 2019.
  • If you are affiliated with BEN, 128 ICG, Cape Cod Technology Council, MDG, The EntreTech Forum, and the Venture Forum, then you are qualified for this ticket type.
  • This ticket requires you to show a valid UMass Dartmouth ID at the registration desk on event date.


November 13, 2019


Piranha Pond, modeled after the popular television show “Shark Tank”, is a pitch contest for early stage companies.  This year, for the first time, the best pitch will win over $10,000 in cash and in-kind services.  Entrepreneurs will pitch for 5 minutes, and a panel of angel investors will determine the most compelling pitch.  There will also be an audience favorite award. 

The ideal company will be technology oriented, beyond the idea stage, have the potential to be a scale company, and will have raised funds from friends/family or grants such as SBIR’s or state agencies.

Judges Include:

Paul Edelman: Angel Investor

Seasoned organization development consultant, executive coach, and facilitator; 18 years’ angel investing experience. Has also been a start-up executive, board chair, and advisory-board member. Rapid-growth experience includes helping scale a new AT&T subsidiary from planning team to 2,400 employees, and a VC-backed startup from seven to 75 employees and $6M in revenue prior to acquisition for $55M. 

Bert Lederer: Executive Director: Cherrystone Angel Group

Prior to joining Cherrystone, Bert was Executive Vice President at Teknor Apex, a privately held global company in the chemical and plastics businesses.Bert has degrees in Chemical Engineering and business administration, he has been a director of both private companies and community organizations.   

Edward Melia: Managing Director: Evolution Global Growth Partners

Edward Melia has more than 25 years experience spanning global business management, strategy consulting, entrepreneurship, venture capital, private equity and mergers & acquisitions. In his career, Edward has focused on disruptive innovation with specific sector proficiency in life sciences and technology. Edward currently serves as Managing Director of Evolution Global Growth Partners. He and his associates provide advisory services to improve the health, growth and profitability of private and public life science companies. The Evolution team helps client companies expand revenues, increase profit, and enhance enterprise value via new product development and launch, expansion into new global markets, and strategic mergers and acquisitions.

Gregory Murdoch: Saunders Murdoch

Gregory Murdock is a partner in Saunders Murdock Associates, a super angel partnership that invests in early stage technology and life science companies. In this role, Greg is actively involved in many of our portfolio companies where he works with CEO’s on strategy, fundraising and communications . Portfolio companies include Bioscale, a proteomics platform company; Apellis, an immunology drug discovery play; NX Pharmagen, a molecular diagnostics company; Carrot Medical, a systems integrator in interventional cardiology; Summit Biosciences, a drug delivery platform technology: and Vivorte, an orthopedic company. Greg is a cofounder of Boardroom Events, an organizer of hosted events, and ART LLC, a natural resource company. Greg lives in Boston where he has an active network and multiple portfolio companies.

Katherine Putnam: Angel investor, Golden Seeds

Kate Putnam is a Managing Director at Golden Seeds, an angel group that invests in team with diverse founders. She is also a mentor at MIT, MassChallenge, Valley Venture Mentors and Vineyard Mentors among others. She has judged pitches all over New England. She sits on the advisory boards of Pixm and UMass College of Information and Computer Science and the board of the Connecticut River Conservancy. She spent 11 years on the board of a major healthcare delivery system. Her past experience includes money center corporate banking, consulting and 20 years running a custom machinery manufacturer. She has lived in metropolitan New York, western MA and now southeastern MA.

Thorne Sparkman: Managing Director, Slater Technology Fund

He is currently the managing director of the Slater Technology Fund, Thorne focuses on the earliest stage of company creation, often working with university-based teams commercializing research. He serves as board member for Voltserver, Datarista, Advanced Image Enhancement, and Tizra Software, and as a board observer at Squadlocker, Drive Time Metrics, eNow, Aquanis, Location, Inc., and RxVantage. He was previously involved with VCharge, Mofuse, Andera, MTI Film and MTI Machine vision, GeneSpectrum, Swyx, Tazz Networks, ModEnergy, and others. 

Thorne is a member of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and the Investor Steering Committee at the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC). He enjoys working with young entrepreneurs as a guest lecturer at Brown University and URI, a judge at business plan competitions such as MassChallenge, and a mentor at B-Lab, a program in entrepreneurial innovation at Brown University. He is a frequent panelist at national and local conferences, and his articles on entrepreneurship have appeared in publications including The Providence JournalMass High Tech, and American VentureThorne holds a B.A. from Harvard and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

UMass Dartmouth

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

151 Martine St, Fall River, MA 02723

Contact us at
Office: +1 (508) 999-8056

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