Southern New England Entrepreneurs Forum

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Piranha Pond is a "pitch party" where a select group of entrepreneurs has up to 5 minutes to convince a panel of investors to meet with them to further discuss their ventures. Using a format similar to the popular television show Shark Tank, our investors provide feedback to the entrepreneurs about their presentations and companies, and information to all about why they decide to be "In" or "Out." If they are "In" they will meet with the Entrepreneur at a later time to discuss their company. If they are "Out" there is no interest at this time. Again, the investor lets us know why s/he will not move forward with the presenter.

For this event, we seek companies beyond the idea stage. The ideal company will have raised funds from friends, family, and/or grants such as SBIR's. If the company's product is a software or SAAS product, it should be in beta testing or later.


A selection committee will choose the top 8 applicants to present. The successful applicants will be deemed to have companies most likely to interest the investment panel. In the past, the successful companies have been beyond the idea stage, with a finished product and/or revenue or significant progress toward commercialization if a pharma, equipment or medical device company.

Please note: There is a $50 application fee required in order to be considered.

Apply here if you want to pitch in front of investors panel.


This is a public event. If you are not planning on pitching or investing, please sign up for tickets here.

Pricing structure:

$30 for general public

$25 for SNEEF alliance organizations

FREE for UMass Dartmouth students & staffs (need to show valid UMass ID and ticket at the door)

FREE for active SNEEF members (need to log in to buy tickets)


The investors who have participated at the Piranha Pond events give generously of their time and counsel. They are primarily Angel Investors or early stage Venture Capitalists. They help our entrepreneurs and our audience understand what they are seeking in a company before writing a check.

Apply here if you want to be on the investors panel.

 investors panel

Charlie Hipwood

Vice President in High-Tech Investments at MassVentures

Charlie joined MassVentures in 2017 and is a vice president focused on early-stage and seed investment in Massachusetts high-technology companies.  

Charlie is a founder and executive with 20+ years of experience in financial services and technology start-ups (founded Fluent Fintech, STAG Capital Partners and AI Exchange) and established corporations (JP Morgan and Level 3 Communications).  As an entrepreneur, Charlie has deep experience in establishing and managing operations, executing investments, developing products and markets, managing the sales pipeline, raising capital, leading teams, growing revenue, and executing strategy to achieve desired outcomes. 

Charlie earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a BA from Boston College. 

In his free time, Charlie enjoys coaching youth sports, community service, and cooking. 

Jennifer Rousseau

Executive Director of Cherrystone Angel Group

At Cherrystone, Jennifer manages the angel group's operations as well as serves on the Steering, Screening and Due Diligence Committees. She has experience in screening deals, determining valuation models and conducting market research for several verticals including pharmaceutical, medical devices, software, hardware and internet/mobile applications. She advises portfolio companies on fundraising strategies, term sheet negotiations and works with the CEOs to keep investors updated. 

Jenn serves as a representative of Cherrystone in the Boston and New York markets at various fundraising and networking events as well as serves on several boards including UMASS Dartmouth's Center for Innovation, the RI Business Plan Competition, the Chamber's Innovation Providence, TechCollective, the Global Investor Forum and The Capital Network.

 Jenn graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bryant University with a B.S. in Finance and a minor in Legal Studies. She received the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key, awarded to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative academic average, as well as the Jack H. Rubens Leadership in Finance Award.

David Fogel

Managing Director at Swifton CFOs LLC.

David Fogel is Managing Director of Swifton CFOs LLC, an outsourced CFO firm that provides emerging businesses with strategic and cost-effective financial leadership.

David's expertise lies in constructing a reliable financial framework to attract funding, which has been a valuable guide for his clients' continued growth.

As a contributor to the ongoing development of greater Boston's entrepreneurial ecosystem, he has been an active presenter and panelist with TechStars, MassChallenge, CleanTech Open, The Venture Forum, McCarter English Series on Entrepreneurship, Greentown Labs, Harvard Entrepreneurship Conference, MIT Enterprise Forum Smart Start Program, Startup Leadership, The Capital Network and the MIT Entrepreneurial Teams (MIT e-Teams).  He had also presented at entrepreneurial classes at Tufts University, Brandeis University and Brown University.

He is also an active member of the screening and due diligence committees of Beacon Angels, TiE Angels and Mass Medical Angels.

David is Adjunct Instructor of Finance and Accounting in the MBA program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  David is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). David has a BS from Miami University (Ohio), and a MBA from the University of Cincinnati.

Dan Conley

Managing Director at NJAngels

Dan Conley leads DealScreening, DealScrubbing, Due Diligence and Investments for over a dozen early-stage life sciences companies – three in New England.  Dan backs “Best of the Best CEOs” who lead Fundable Teams in a variety of sectors, niches, and US time zones.   Dan has been the Lead Angel for two Companies, helping raise millions of dollars for Companies he backs, mostly in “wet” (vs. digital or “dry”) products: e.g. Vaccines for food allergies, Robots that grow stem cells, Molecular and Genomic Diagnostics, Chemistry kits that Drug Discovery Scientists love, treatments for Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration, protecting & equipping Wounded Warriors and First Responders, protecting the Food Supply, Farms and Farmers, and re-purposing the Maine Woods, among others.

Dan and other NJAngels have invested in the following companies, as well as a handful of others:

  • ThriveBio's robotics & automation help Researchers grow stem cells & other cultures - much better
  • LumiThera's low-level LED laser light instrument non-invasively treats Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Nuclear Receptor chemistry kit co., helps Drug Discovery Scientists fail faster & smarter, saves money
  • Ultra-sensitive reagent chemistry kit co. detects, diagnoses tiniest samples for cancer researchers.
  • DNA Vaccine platform co. works in allergies, plus has immuno-oncology applications
  • PluroGel's a protective material for Wound & Burn Patients, delivers drugs, accelerates healing.

Dan graduated from UMass Lowell and the School of Hard Knocks after serving honorably in the US Marines, and had his epiphany while a Correspondent with the Lancet Medical Journal, early in his business career.

Jules Fried

Angel Investor / Serial Entrepreneur

Jules Fried is a highly accomplished Senior Executive, C-Suite Officer, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Attorney, Venture Advisor, and Board Member with success across technology, life sciences, healthcare, medical devices, finance, banking, capital equipment, manufacturing and legal businesses. 

Fried has held leadership positions at Bionik Laboratories Corporation; First Commons Bank (Co-Founder/Director); Interactive Motion Technologies (CEO); Atlantic VIC LLC; Lappin Company; Strictly Personal (Co-Founder/Principal); Roll Systems (Co-Founder/SVP, 17 years); and U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. 

Leveraging extensive experience in business analysis and strategic planning, he is a valuable asset for companies looking for comprehensive problem-solving and growth. His broad expertise includes early-stage technology; sales and marketing; operations; corporate communications; legal counsel; capital raising; process optimization; product development; situation management; IP; strategic partnerships; talent acquisition; and international business.

He co-founded, built, and led a 2X Inc. 500 manufacturer recognized as a global industry leader, raising multiple rounds of capital, and achieving 70% market share and $47M annual revenue, with eventual sale to >$1B European multi-national.

Scott Sargis

Partner at Monitor Group

Scott Sargis comes from the Monitor Group, a global consultancy that was acquired by Deloitte. He served in a variety of capacities there, including as the leader of the firm’s Middle East practice, based in Dubai and Riyadh. Earlier in his career, Scott was with Strategic Pricing Group, a boutique pricing strategy consulting firm where he led the development and management of one of the firm’s largest clients as well as the firm’s Western Region practice.

Scott has spent significant parts of his career with several engineering and environmental consulting organizations, as well as alternative and mainstream energy companies, including the Chevron Corporation.

Scott is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In addition, he holds a JD degree from Suffolk University Law School and is licensed to practice in Massachusetts.

Stephen Pytka

Angel Investor / 7-time CEO

Steve Pytka is a 7 time CEO with over 25 years experience in entrepreneurial and corporate ventures. His high-tech and managerial background includes creating, developing and mentoring solid business organizations, as well as building high performance, world- wide marketing and sales teams. 

An Angel Investor for 20+ years, he has been on the Boards of Directors of over a dozen companies and has been a member of Common Angels, Hub Angels and Launchpad. Pytka is also a frequent investor panelist at the 128 Innovation Capital Group, Piranha Pond and a principal at The Pytka, Group LLC, where he focuses on Angel and Venture fundraising, C-level management coaching and strategic and business planning. Between these opportunities, Pytka consults worldwide with select clients, such as Lenovo, if the fit is right.

At Vigix, he was CEO and founding team member who built the corporate infrastructure, raised two financing rounds and effected the acquisition by Zoom Systems. At Universal Mind, a two time Inc. 500 winner, Pytka was the Chairman and COO.

Steve holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He is an avid surfer, traveler and reader and is an active member of the Board of Trustees of the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Andover, MA.

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

UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship 151 Martine St, Fall River, MA 02723

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