WPI Venture Forum - In the Entrepreneurs Corner: Pitch & Progress Networking Event

When: Tue December 11, 2012 6:30 pm

Organization: WPI Venture Forum

Location: WPI Campus Center, 3rd Floor (Odeum Room), 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA

Website: http://www.wpiventureforum.org/monthly121112.html

Our December program combines the best of both worlds: (1) interesting insights from both emerging and established entrepreneurial ventures in the MetroWest/ Worcester area and (2) engaging, productive networking – perfect for the holiday season! The program will consist of a brief pitch and lessons learned presentation by leading entrepreneurs followed by individual breakout groups for detailed discussions and review by attendees, concluding with extended networking with refreshments.

The program presenters and their companies span life-cycle stage and business sectors in their growth and development:

·        Apprendis : Interactive educational learning software system startup led by WPI professors

·        Redmica : Powerful personal money management tools for you and family using mobile platforms

·        ECI Biotech: Proprietary infection sensor diagnostic technology for medical and consumer products

·        Chitika: Premium user-targeted online local advertising networking service

And, with such a burgeoning entrepreneurial community in the MetroWest/Worcester area, we will also feature a brief spotlight overview of TechSandBox, an emerging accelerator dedicated to stimulate the local innovation economy for entrepreneurs, as provided by founder Barbara Finer. The guest presenters representing tonight's innovative companies are:

Michael Sao Pedro, CTO

Apprendis, Michael Sao Pedro, Ph.D., Chief Technical Officer, APPRENDIS 

Apprendis takes its name from the Latin root apprend, meaning to learn. When spoken, apprendis sounds very similar to apprentice. The apprentice learning model involves close observation, and immediate, individualized feedback, all important facets that apprendis embodies in its educational products.

Michael Sao Pedro is completing a Ph.D. in the Computer Science / Learning Sciences interdisciplinary program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Before joining the Learning Sciences program at WPI, he was employed as a Senior Software Engineer for BAE Systems, Advanced Information Technologies (AIT), formerly ALPHATECH, Inc. where he specialized in the design and development of intelligent automated and human-in-the loop planning and scheduling systems for the military. He returned to pursue his PhD in learning sciences due to return to his love and passion for education. Sao Pedro is an avid competitive classic video gamer and pinball player. He holds several world records on classic arcade and pinball titles as tracked by the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard.

Chanchal Samanta, President & CEO

Redmica, Chanchal Samanta, President & CEO

Redmica aims to deliver a mobile product that will not only help you track and manage your money, it will also offer a helping hand on financial matters when you might need one. Since some people need more help than others, we want to make the application smart about who you are and what help you need.

Chanchal Samanta is a 30 year veteran of the software industry, with a track record of helping to build successful companies.  In recent significant roles he has been the CTO at PlumChoice, SVP of R&D at Applix (acquired by Cognos in 2007), and VP of Product Development at Unica (IPO in 2005).  In previous roles he has served as an SVP at Genesys Labs, and a VP of Technology Solutions at Fidelity Investments.  Chanchal brought together the RedMica founding team in late 2011, and shares with them pride in building high performance teams, and a passion for delivering customer value through the use of technology.

Mitchell Sanders, Ph.D., President & CEO

ECI Biotech, Mitchell Sanders, Ph.D., President and CEO 

ECI Biotech, Inc. (ECI) is a premier developer and manufacturer of innovative, patented ExpressDetect® sensors for rapid infection determination at the point-of-care (PoC) for professional use, as well as consumer OTC markets. Our infection sensor diagnostics can be incorporated into any medical device or consumer product and will ultimately transform the way pathogens are detected in wound care, women's health, baby care and oral care.

Dr. Sanders founded ECI in 1998. Dr. Sanders is a leader in the field of protein engineering, purification and diagnostic sensor development. Dr. Sanders worked as a Senior Scientist II at Genome Therapeutics in the Pathogen Genetics Program. He holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and completed postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Sanders has dual assistant research professor appointments in the Bioengineering Institute and the Biology and Biotechnology Departments at WPI. He serves on numerous scientific and entrepreneurial boards at local universities. For ECI, Dr. Sanders secured an aggregate $20M in equity, corporate development funding, and SBIR grants.

Venkat Kolluri, CEO

Chitika, Venkat Kolluri, CEO

Chitika is an online ad network and data analytics firm with offices in the U.S. and India. Since its inception in 2003, Chitika has quickly become a leader in the Search, Local and Mobile sectors, catering a staggering 4 billion strategically targeted ads each month to a vast network of over 200,000 sites. Chitika ads are known in the industry for the ability to perform unlike any other by delivering the right ad to the right user at the right time - helping advertisers and publishers achieve the highest possible ROI.

As CEO of Chitika, Venkat oversees all of Chitika's operations and is responsible for setting the strategy and vision for the company, including product planning and corporate development.  Prior to opening the doors of Chitika, Venkat led the Partner Services group in the Database Marketing & Analytics division at Upromise as a Principle Analyst. Earlier in his career Venkat was a Research Scientist for WiseWire before taking on the role of Principle Technology Architect for Lycos where he led network-wide CRM and Marketing Automation programs. Venkat has been a featured speaker at industry conferences around the globe including: SMX, Red Herring, TieCon East, Affiliate Summit, AlwaysON, AdTech and SES, among others. Venkat is an active Charter Member of TiE Boston and was honored as TiE Star Award recipient at TiECon East 2011 where he received the Tie Crystal Award on behalf of Chitika. A native of Hyderabad, India, Venkat holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and also went on to earn a PhD in Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh.