Southern New England Entrepreneurs Forum

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Wednesday, March 14th 2018, 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

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

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.


If you want to pitch, please follow the below instructions:

Step 1. Read the Entrepreneurs Guidelines on how to pitch and other rules. Note the important timelines.

Step 2. Go to the registration site and pay a $50 application fee (otherwise, your application won't be reviewed). 



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

investors panel

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.

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.

Kenneth C. Kirsch

General Partner, Cherrystone Angel Group

Kenneth C. Kirsch is President and CEO of Kirsch Triangle Associates, LLC, a management consulting firm that works with companies on strategic planning, business development and operational issues. Kirsch has more than 30 years of diversified international business and general management experience.

At GTECH Corporation (now IGT) for more than a decade, Kirsch was a member of the senior management team that grew GTECH from a $30M privately-held entrepreneurial company to the world-wide market leader in the lottery industry and a $1B NYSE-listed company.

As Vice President and General Manager of Emmeci USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a leading Italian packaging machinery manufacturer, Kirsch expanded the company’s North American footprint and helped position the company to be acquired by a European-based private equity firm. 

Kirsch is a General Partner in the Cherrystone Angel Group, has invested in more than a dozen early-stage companies and has led numerous “due diligence” efforts. Since 2009, he has served on the Board of Directors of Gripnail Corporation, a privately-held employee stock owned company which manufactures specialized nails, fasteners and related equipment and has helped the company more than double its enterprise value.

Kirsch is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island where he teaches courses in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and Organizational Behavior. Kirsch holds three degrees from Northwestern University: a B.A.; an M.S.; and a Ph.D. (Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences). He is a member of the Advisory Council of Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and is a regional director of Northwestern’s Alumni Admission Council.

Glenn Champagne

Director Emeritus of LaunchPad Venture Group

Glenn Champagne is an active angel investor and Director Emeritus of Launchpad Venture Group. Glenn has sourced, lead the successful due diligence on several portfolio companies, and has participated in over 20 investment rounds. Launchpad Venture Group is the largest angel group in New England and one of the most active angel groups in the US.

Glenn brings more than 20 years of experience in the software industry focusing in sales and consulting at the likes of pre-IPO companies ORACLE and Business Objects. He has held technical, sales, management, and executive roles at Eprise, IBM, and InBoxer.

Glenn has been an advisor and judge at numerous startups and organizations such as MassChallenge, The Capital Network, Northeastern University IDEA Venture Accelerator, The Enterprise Center at Salem State University, and IBM Smart Camp.

For seven years running, Glenn was a volunteer at Children’s Hospital Boston playing games with children battling various cancers. For four years running, he volunteered one week each year at a Children’s Hospital Boston affiliated camp in southern California for children battling cancer.

Glenn currently serves as NER Vice President of Administration of the Porsche Club of America.

Glenn is a graduate of the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.


100 Ledgewood Place, Suite 102

Rockland, MA 02370

Phone: (781) 421-6157

Diamond Business Credit, LLC provides asset-based loans to companies that cannot secure bank financing. The company offers accounts receivable credit lines, inventory loans, equipment loans, and other collateral products. It serves young and start-up, reorganizations in or out of bankruptcy, and debtor-in-possession financing companies; and companies that have experienced losses. The company was founded in 2006 and is based in Rockland, Massachusetts.

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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