QØ Demo Day Judges

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The Catapult Incubator culminates in Demo Day when teams pitch their company to a panel of judges. Each year, the judges panel is comprised of a mix of top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, and industry specialists.

This Year’s Judges

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Alexander Rafael

Climb Credit


As Climb Credit’s first CEO, Zander Rafael founded and scaled it to be the largest specialty finance company focussed on financing vocational education. Climb is partnered with over 130 schools and universities, supporting tens of thousands of students in their financial and educational goals, and has funded $100MM plus of student debt, with an origination run-rate of ~$70MM a year. Climb Credit is backed by Goldman Sachs, Learn Capital, and others.
Since stepping down as Climb Credit's CEO, Zander is sourcing angel investments and syndicating them to a group of high net worth individuals and family offices.
Prior to starting Climb Credit, Zander was a partner at One Zero Capital, a fund focussed on specialty finance companies. He began his career at the Boston Consulting Group and Bridgewater Associates, the global macro hedge fund, where he developed currency and bond trading strategies.

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Bryce Bjork

Founder, Hire a Student

Bryce is an experienced entrepreneur, investor, consultant, and developer. In high school, he started hireastudent.org connecting students with local community members for task completion, which he continues to operate and scale. Bryce also serves as an executive board member at the Yale Student Investment Group, where he led the Small Cap investment team which returned over 60%. Bryce is a life-long coder and full-stack developer, and he co-founded an organization which teaches and promotes technical entrepreneurship at Yale (sandboxatyale.com).

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Lauren Horn

Chief of Staff, The Resolution Project

Lauren Horn is the Chief of Staff of The Resolution Project, a nonprofit developing socially-responsible young leaders and empowering them to make a positive impact today. Lauren oversees Resolution's operations, while supporting the organization’s growth by establishing strong processes and strategies. Lauren spent the last six years building and expanding Resolution's programming for Fellows and volunteers. She led the development and expansion of volunteer mentorship at Resolution, creating systems for volunteer recruiting, onboarding, training, and support. She holds a MS in Nonprofit Management and a BA in Journalism, both from Northeastern University.

 
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Richard Fishman

Angel Investor & Senior Counselor, Ashoka

Richard is a Senior Counselor to Ashoka and an active angel investor in early-stage technology companies.His career started as a civil rights and legal services lawyer where he created the first housing and economic development law program in the Southern U.S. He subsequently headed the American Bar Association’s National Housing Law Program and its National Advisory Commission on Housing and Urban Growth. Mr. Fishman left the law to become President of Thinking Machines Corporation, which used massively parallel processing to build the world’s fastest supercomputers at the time. He is a member of the President's Council of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

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Thomas Rush

Head of Platform, ConsenSys

Thomas Rush is Head of Platform for ConsenSys Labs, which is home to a portfolio of 88 early-stage blockchain startups. In that role, he partners with founders as they build their ventures - providing them with access to human networks, talent, and high-leverage services.
He is also founder of BootStrapp.co, co-founder of the Propeller Social Innovation Incubator, an alumnus of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, and has served as an advisor to numerous early-stage companies.
He currently lives in Brooklyn with his partner and 30+ houseplants where he designs impractical 3D products in his spare time.

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Anand Raghuraman

Executive Managing Director, Riveron

Anand has over 23 years of experience working in both advisory and corporate positions. He has counseled global, C-level industry leaders and collaborated with a wide range of management teams across industry sectors to help create and execute strategies that have added $100’s of millions in incremental revenue with improved margin.
He has a deep global market perspective from leading strategic initiatives in Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America. Anand is fluent in English, Dutch and Tamil and has a basic working knowledge of German. For the past several years, he has been an in-demand keynote speaker at a number of high profile global events, and is an avid vlogger on industry trends and dynamics.

 
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Benjamin Sharf

Entrepreneur and Business Development Analyst, Jushi Holdings

Ben Sharf works as a business development analyst at Jushi Holdings, a publicly traded cannabis company. Previously, he worked as a Venture Analyst at Loeb Enterprises, a startup studio and Venture Capital firm in Manhattan. He worked with the executive teams of portfolio companies, AllTheRooms and 3x3 Insights, to raise funding and build out new business verticals. Ben has also founded two ventures of his own: Everchek, a SaaS company that optimizes customer experience through paperless item management and Raider Rentals, a franchise of the country’s largest college furniture rental service.

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Cassie Collier

Co-Founder & CEO, Bundle

Cassie Collier is the Co-Founder & CEO of Bundle, a company that creates custom board games for families, friends, and more. Prior to starting her company, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, and a valuation analyst at Deutsche Bank. Cassie holds a Bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University and a Master’s degree from Harvard University, where she wrote her thesis on the human rights records of Fortune 500 companies. She grew up in Central Pennsylvania, and has been living in NYC for the past 4 years. Fun fact, Cassie was Quarter Zero’s first intern back in 2014.

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Christopher Crittenden

Founder & CEO, Creighton Harris

Chris is a lifelong learner, contrarian, and builder. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Chris started his career with stints in real estate investment banking, but soon embraced the nonlinear life of an entrepreneur. Since then he has invested in or worked on projects in several verticals, including real estate technology, e-commerce, fintech, film production, and hospitality. Constantly drawing on his wide experience set, Chris loves working on complex problems, making products that bring joy, and making the world more efficient. Currently Chris is the founder of Creighton Harris, a premium men’s grooming company based out of NYC.

 
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Edward Bush

VP Finance, Dataiku

Edward Bush is VP Finance at Dataiku, a global data science software company. He oversees the company's finance, accounting, and legal functions, and is a member of the company's executive team. Prior to Dataiku, Ed was VP Finance at VTS, a commercial real estate software startup, and held various positions at WeWork, including Head of Business Intelligence. Before venturing into the startup world, Ed worked as an investment banker with Credit Suisse, a hedge fund investor with Blackstone, and a management consultant with Willis Towers Watson. He received his MBA from Yale and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Joanna Benadrete

Accelerator Specialist, Big Idea Ventures

Joanna Benadrete is the Accelerator Program Specialist at Big Idea Ventures. She assists in operations, deal flow management, and marketing. Joanna previously worked for Loeb Enterprises' NYC incubator, working directly with portfolio startups on strategic growth. During her time at Loeb, Joanna was the Head of Growth at AllTheRooms as well as the Head of Client Success at Thnks. Joanna graduated from Babson College magna cum laude, with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.

 
 

Featured Past Judges

Slava Rubin

Co-Founder, Indiegogo

Slava is the co-founder and former CEO of Indiegogo, a company dedicated to empowering people from all over the world to make their ideas a reality. Slava is responsible for continuing to establish Indiegogo as the go-to funding platform by building innovative products, creating exciting partnerships, and exploring a variety of new initiatives. Slava represented the crowdfunding industry at the White House during the signing of the JOBS Act and has played a crucial role in working with the White House and the SEC to finalize the rules and regulations for equity crowdfunding.

Elizabeth Lipscomb

Vice President, Discovery Communications

Elizabeth is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Discovery Education, a global leader in digital education and a division of Discovery Communications, the #1 nonfiction media company in the world. Her team works to deliver free educational resources in traditionally under-funded areas such as STEM education, financial literacy, workforce readiness, environmental stewardship, youth safety and more. Elizabeth currently sits on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Advisory Board and the Social Innovation Summit Leadership Council.

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Richard Fishman

Angel Investor & Senior Counselor, Ashoka

Richard is a Senior Counselor to Ashoka and an active angel investor in early-stage technology companies.His career started as a civil rights and legal services lawyer where he created the first housing and economic development law program in the Southern U.S. He subsequently headed the American Bar Association’s National Housing Law Program and its National Advisory Commission on Housing and Urban Growth. Mr. Fishman left the law to become President of Thinking Machines Corporation, which used massively parallel processing to build the world’s fastest supercomputers at the time. He is a member of the President's Council of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

 
 
 

Meet all of the 2018 Judges and Advisors here.