Angela M. Alban
President & CEO, SIMETRI, Inc
Angela M. Alban is president and chief executive officer of SIMETRI, Inc., an Orlando-based firm that provides innovative solutions for training through art and science. SIMETRI designs, develops, and fields creative technologies and capabilities for training military personnel, physicians, nurses and first responders. Angela founded her company in 2009, putting into action years of industry experience, technical expertise, and a firm sense of personal responsibility to her customers and employees. Its multifaceted team of field experts are deeply committed to adapting to challenges and breaking new ground from the design phase, through the manufacturing process, all the way to a reliable finished product. Just as her company nurtures innovative ideas from concept to implementation, it also nurtures careers — Alban actively hires interns and integrates them directly with the SIMETRI team to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Founder & Business Attorney, Alexander Abramson PLLC
As the founder of Alexander Abramson, PLLC (formerly Entrepreneurship Law Firm), in Orlando, Florida, Ed has represented closely held businesses and professionals in corporate, business, and commercial law, securities, technology and intellectual property licensing, and corporate finance. Since becoming a lawyer in 1993, he has been primary counsel to clients for business acquisitions and sales, financing transactions, technology licensing and intellectual property assets, creation of partnership agreements, LLC operating agreements, shareholder agreements, employment agreements, and stock-option plans. He is admitted to practice law in both Florida and New York.
Ed is the author of two books: The Guide to Selling Your Florida Law Practice (2018), 10 Common and Costly Business Killing Legal Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: A Business Law Bible for Entrepreneurs (2010). Ed is also a Florida licensed business broker and a shareholder of Fitzgibbon Alexander, Inc., a Central Florida consulting, business valuation, and business brokerage firm.Prior to attending law school, Ed held technical and business positions with technology companies, including with a pacemaker manufacturer, custom integrated circuit manufacturer and laser bar code manufacturer. He has been part of teams that coded software and designed hardware for the first generation of defibrillator pacemakers, as well as custom analog and digital integrated circuits used in, among other applications, automobiles and hearing aids.
In 1995, Ed was awarded U.S. Patent, No. 5,468,952, for his 1992 invention of a combined miniature high-speed scanner and portable handheld computer. Ed is the 2018 Chair of the Small Business Resource Network of the University of Central Florida Small Business Development Center, has taught New Venture Finance as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Central Florida (School of Business), and was 2007 Chairman of the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce. He volunteers with the Orange County Legal Aid Society as a guardian ad-litem for abused and neglected children. In 2014, Ed was awarded the Orange County Legal Aid Society Distinguished Service Award for his long term dedicated services to the Central Florida community and contribution of time and professional skills. Ed’s passions include mountain and road biking, kayaking, and backpacking.
Managing Partner, DeepWork Capital
Prior to founding DeepWork Capital, Kathy was the COO of an angel network. She was previously a venture capitalist at Denver-based iSherpa Capital, research analyst at Boston economics consulting firm Cornerstone Research, led business development, strategy, and product management at Level (3) Communications, Lefthand Networks, Compaq Computers. She served on boards of various companies, including portfolio companies including HCW Biologics and others such as Florida-headquartered retailer Bealls Inc. She has also held technical roles at Tektronix, MIT Media Lab, and Superconducting Supercollider Lab.
Kathy has a BSEE and MSEE from MIT and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She speaks fluent Chinese and Taiwanese.
If she were a superhero, Kathy would have the “I” insignia, standing for Improv. She would destroy bad guys with insufferable jokes as she frequently does in the evenings when she stars in Improv comedy shows. She has also authored a comedic novel about improvisors called ENDOWED.
Builder, Creator, & Founder, UniKey Technologies
An Engineer by degree, and entrepreneur by practice, Phil Dumas has played key roles in several startup and large companies. Most recently, Phil founded UniKey Technologies, a phone-as-a-key company focused on enabling people to move freely and securely through the world’s doors, with ultimate control, convenience, and peace-of-mind. Phil has a passion for, and has been working on, alternative access control solutions for over a decade. With extensive product development, large customer management, turn-around, and M&A experience, Phil has been able to wear the multiple hats required to disrupt the access control space. Phil is also known for his successful appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, becoming the first company to get an offer from all five sharks.
Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP (foley.com) has over 1,100 lawyers in 24 offices across the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia, Foley approaches client service by first understanding our clients’ priorities, objectives, and challenges. Michael (Mike) A. Okaty is a partner and business lawyer who focuses on a wide variety of corporate transactions, governance, and counseling. Mike has experience in a wide variety of corporate law matters, including corporate formation, corporate operations and governance, contract drafting, review and negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising and finance transactions for both public and private companies and lenders.
Principal, Arsenal Venture Partners (Investment)
William is a Principal at Arsenal Venture Partners. He is responsible for sourcing, qualifying, and executing deals, in addition to portfolio management throughout an array of industries. He has been involved in nearly 40 venture transactions in excess of $600M in aggregate financing. Previously, William spent time in the telecom and financial services markets with Ntera Holdings and American General Financial Services, respectively. William graduated from Florida International University with a BA degree in Philosophy and earned an MBA degree from the University of Central Florida.
Dr. Dennis Pape
Member and CEO, SeedFundersOrlando
For over 30 years, Dennis has been starting and advising new technology ventures. He is focused on providing startups and early-stage technology businesses with the tools they need to get noticed and funded.
Dennis is cofounder and CEO of SeedFundersOrlando, a seed capital firm in Orlando investing in pre-revenue technology startups. For over 30 years Dennis has been involved with starting and advising new technology ventures. He founded and scaled a VC-backed optical information processing firm, Photonic Systems, in Melbourne before joining a VC-backed corporate technology commercialization firm, Milcom Technologies, in Maitland. He founded and managed a coworking space in downtown Orlando, Catalyst Spaces, and currently edits two online news publications, Florida Venture Sourcing and Orlando Venture Sourcing. He is on the Board of Advisors of the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship as well as a member of the Orlando Technology Council. Dennis has an A. B. in Physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Duke University.
CPA, Withum (Accounting)
Josh Ray brings more than eight years of experience in public accounting to Withum, a forward-thinking, technology-driven advisory and accounting firm with a focus on founders and tech executives. He is a CPA and has bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Accounting and a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Central Florida. Josh provides tax compliance and consulting services to a wide range of clients including technology and consumer product companies at various levels from startup, to growth, to maturity and exit. He also leads Withum’s efforts in a mentorship program at an Orlando Sports Tech Startup incubator.
President and Founder, RINI Technologies
For Dan Rini, president and founder of RINI Technologies, the thought of working for someone else never sat well with him. He grew up with parents that owned their own businesses and was very entrepreneurial inclined himself. As a young kid, growing up in Canada, Rini would sell firewood in the winter, bait in the summer and pumpkins in the fall. As far back as Rini can remember, dining room table talks always centered on business. Rini’s entrepreneurial path was solidified while studying Mechanical Engineering at The University of Central Florida. “As a grad student doing funded research, you’re basically operating a small business,” he said. “You have your idea that you designed, you’re writing proposals to get contracts for research programs and you’re managing your project. Another thing that always pointed me in the direction of starting my own company was the fact that as an international student, with a student visa, I wasn’t able to work for some of the local companies like Lockheed Martin or Siemens. That was a path a lot of my classmates took. They’d get an internship and then go on to work for that company. As an international student, I didn’t have that option.”
The transition from the work Rini was doing as a PHD student in the fields of thermodynamics and fluid-mechanics to the founding of his company in the spring of 2000 was pretty seamless. RINI Technologies was initially focused on designing advanced cooling solutions for laser weapons, something Rini had already been working on. He generated some intellectual properties around that, and continues to have some revenue flowing in as a result, but most of their work in the early years was dictated by the contracts they secured. What advice does Rini have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Don’t quit your day job right away,” he said. “There’s a lot you can get done while still at your job. People too often make the leap too soon. When you do take that leap, you better have some lily pads in sight before you jump. It’s important to have a business plan, but, on day one, it doesn’t need to be more than a one page document. Make sure the focus is on how you’re going to make money. Most new businesses burn through way too much cash at the start. Don’t let this happen to you.”