Insights into Pitching Start-up Investors | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Insights into Pitching Start-up Investors

Obtaining funding for an early-stage start up is a challenge, and a lot of what entrepreneurs think is best practice is actually ineffective with experienced financiers.

Join us, Thursday, March 16 in San Francisco at The Battery as Weatherhead School of Management Professor Scott Shane shares findings from recent experiments training founders how to pitch accredited investors. Following his talk, a panel of Case Western Reserve alumni will share their experience evaluating start-up pitches and discuss what works, and what does not work, when pitching investors.


6:00 – 6:15 p.m. Presentation
6:15 – 7:00 p.m. Panel Discussion
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Reception & Networking


Scott Shane Scott Shane, PhD (Presenter)
A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Professor of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management

Shane has written extensively about entrepreneurship and innovation. His book Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live by (Yale University Press, 2008) was one of the top ten business books of the year for His 2005 book Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Businesses won the 2006 Golden Book Award for best business book of the year and has been translated into eight languages.

The author of numerous scholarly articles and books about many aspects of entrepreneurship, Shane was the 2009 winner of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, the most prestigious award in this academic field. Shane has also written extensively for popular audiences, currently penning a regular column for the Entrepreneur small business website. He has appeared frequently on CNN and Fox Business, and has been a guest on dozens of radio talk shows across the globe.

After faculty stints at the University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Georgia Institute of Technology, Shane is currently the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University, a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and a Research Fellow at the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

Shane received his A.B. at Brown University and his PhD in applied economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is an active angel investor both individually and with the North Coast Angel Fund. He is also a limited partner in Right Side Capital Management’s micro VC fund.

Joe Mandato Joe Mandato, EDM '04 (Moderator)
Managing Director, De Novo Ventures

Joe Mandato has been an investor, executive and entrepreneur in the life sciences. He is a managing director of De Novo Ventures, a venture firm investment in the life sciences. He has led companies developing solutions to healthcare problems including Origin Medsystems, a developer of minimally invasive surgical devices acquired by Guidant, where he was a VP and member of the founding management committee; and Gynecare, where he was co-founder and CEO, a women’s health spin-out of Guidant. In his early career, Mandato served as CEO of Ioptex Research, a developer of intraocular lenses, and CEO of Cilco AG, in Zug, Switzerland, a unit of Rorer Group.

Mandato began his career in healthcare as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. He sits on the boards of Embrace and Save the Children. He was a 2012 Fellow in the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative. He is a Lecturer at Stanford University, where he co-teaches the class Medical Device Innovation. Mandato holds a Doctor of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees.

Tejas Maniar Tejas Maniar, MBA '09 (Panelist)
Vice President, Mayfield Fund

At Mayfield, Maniar spends time on both the investment and operating teams - he sources and evaluates investment opportunities focused in HR technology. In his operating role, Maniar advises portfolio companies on best practices and strategies for attracting, retaining and developing top talent. Key responsibilities include working with portfolio companies on organizational planning, hiring, compensation, benefits, leadership, employment brand and retention.

Maniar’s operational experience includes working for Google where he built and led teams in special projects, strategy/analytics, marketing and people operations. He has also worked as a strategy consultant and an executive search consultant. Early in his career Maniar helped lead a startup that was successfully sold.

Maniar holds an MBA in Finance and Strategy from Case Western Reserve's Weatherhead School of Management, and a BS in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Allan May Allan May, JD '72 (Panelist)
Founder and Chairman, Life Science Angels

May is a founder of Life Science Angels (LSA), the largest early-stage investment group focused solely on emerging biotech, medical device, diagnostic and mobile health companies. In 2014, LSA was named the Top Angel Investment Group in the United States by industry (analytical source: CB Insights). LSA has invested over $50 million in nearly 60 startups and has achieved 15 positive exits. May is a Managing Partner of Emergent Medical Partners I, focused on early stage medical device investing. Since 1995, May has been founder, chairman, CEO, or investor in over 65 medtech, biotech and diagnostic startups.

May was a co-founder and chairman of Nanostim, developer of a Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker, which was acquired by St. Jude Medical in 2013. He speaks frequently at universities, conferences and government programs on trends and developments affecting early stage biotech and medical device investing. In 2013, May led the Medical Device cohort in Steve Blank’s groundbreaking effort at University of California San Francisco to teach the Lean LaunchPad™ (LLP) startup methodology in the life sciences area. In 2014, he worked with Steve to bring LLP to the National Institutes of Health. LLP has also been adopted by the National Science Foundation as a core curriculum for entrepreneurs. May is a past member of the boards of directors of both the Kauffman Foundation’s Angel Capital Association and Angel Resource Institute, where he also served as chairman. He received his JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Eric Ver Ploeg Eric Ver Ploeg, BS EE '88 (Panelist)
Individual Venture Investor, Ver Ploeg Venture Syndicate

Ver Ploeg is currently an individual venture investor, syndicating interesting venture investment opportunities he sources and evaluates.

Formerly, he was co-founder of quantitative hedge fund Recursive Capital and managing director of VantagePoint Venture Partners. While at VantagePoint, Ver Ploeg led 11 venture capital investments in the mobile sector (39 separate financings), totaling $169 million, and produced top decile returns. Notable exits include Spatial Wireless, sold to Alcatel for $280 million and OZ Communications, sold to Nokia for $260 million.

Earlier, Ver Ploeg co-founded two venture backed companies and raised five rounds of venture capital. Over the course of his startup and venture career, he has sat on the board of directors of 20 separate venture-backed companies. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, both from Stanford University, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

 The Alumni Association        Case Alumni Association         Weatherhead School of Management

Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Battery
717 Battery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States
Sponsored by: the Weatherhead School of Management and the Case Alumni Association
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