Judges

WHO ARE THE JUDGES?

We have an impressive line-up of judges. Win or lose, each team will get great feedback from our judges during their Q&A session, not to mention a chance to network with them and all the other great LaunchSpot Rapid Pitch participants after their pitch.

Here’s the Judging line-up:

Allan Kaplan
Managing Partner
KG Investments, LLC

Allan Kaplan has extensive experience building and investing in companies focused on next-generation data communications, Internet infrastructure, services, and software. Mr. Kaplan most recently was co-founder and Chairman of Limelight Networks one of the world’s leading content distribution networks. Prior to co-founding Limelight, Mr Kaplan was a co-founder of Entera, Inc. and served on its board of directors. Entera was acquired by Cachelfow in 2000. In 1993 Mr. Kaplan co-founded and served as Vice President and Director of Primenet Services for the Internet which later merged with GlobalCenter, Inc. where he served as Senior Vice President and and Director. GlobalCenter was acquired in 1997 by Frontier Communications, Inc. where he served as Vice President of Network Service until 1998. He currently serves as a managing member of Cocoon Capital, LLC a private venture fund, Director of Unicorn Media, Director of IQzone, and a Venture Partner at Greenhill SAVP.


Steven G. Mihaylo
CEO
Crexendo

Steve was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in 2008. He is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Inter-Tel, Incorporated, which he founded in 1969. Steve led the Inter-Tel evolution from providing business telephone systems to offering complete managed services and software that help businesses facilitate communication and increase customer service and productivity. Before selling Inter-Tel to Mitel for $720 million in 2007, Steve grew the business to nearly $500 million in annual sales.

Steve earned an honorary PhD from California State University – Fullerton and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in Accounting & Finance from the university in 1969. He has served on boards of numerous community organizations including the Arizona Heart Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Arizona Museum of Science and Technology and the Arizona State University College of Business Dean’s Council of 100. Committed to education, Steve is involved with the Karl Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and has served on the advisory board of Junior Achievement of Central Arizona for over 25 years, as a member of the board of directors of the Big Bear High School Education Foundation and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of CSU-Fullerton.


Jeffrey Pruitt
Partner & CEO
Tallwave

Jeff Pruitt is founding partner and CEO of Tallwave, a company formed in 2009 as a venture accelerator to develop, support and grow digital marketing enterprises, among them SyCara. At Tallwave, Pruitt leads the overall direction and growth of the company with a focus on discovering next generation, digital marketing entrepreneurs and concepts, and enabling the development of these ideas and companies via Tallwave’s business model. Pruitt and his team are often asked by journalists for insight on trends in digital marketing. They have been covered in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, MediaPost publications, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and B2B Magazine, among other media.

From 2002-2006, Pruitt served as President of iCrossing, where he drove the development and growth of the industry’s largest independent search and interactive agency. During his tenure at iCrossing, revenues grew from $2M to $100M. He joined iCrossing in 2000 as Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business Development. Pruitt previously worked in the Audit and Finance Divisions at Arthur Andersen. He has an undergraduate accounting degree from Arizona State University and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Pruitt serves as chair of SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) and has helped drive the trade group’s initiatives in industry research and best practices education. In 2010, B2B Magazine named him one of the top ten most influential persons in search marketing. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences including Ad:tech, SES, OMMA, and Baidu World in Shanghai and Moscow. Pruitt has sat on the advisory councils of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.


Dr. Matt Kim
Founder & President
QuanTera

Dr. Matt Kim is the Founder and President of QuantTera. QuantTera specializes in developing nano-engineered quantum based devices for photonic applications. Our company focus is to develop manufacturable lasers, detectors, driver amplifiers and photonic integrated circuits.  Dr. Kim is the chairman of board of the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster a non-profit organization for advancing nanotechnology issues in Arizona.  In 2000 Dr. Kim co-founded MicroLink Devices, Inc., a leading manufacturer of transistors for cellular communications in Niles, IL. At MicroLink he was Vice President of Operations and supervised the transistor manufacturing program which ultimately resulted vendor qualification at major telecommunications companies. From 1994 to 2000, Dr. Kim served as Principal staff scientist at Motorola’s corporate research laboratory, demonstrating transistors with very high gain, which were used in Motorola cell phone technology.  At the 2006 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation he received the Chairman’s Award for contributions to Arizona’s High Tech Industry.  Dr. Kim holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University

Luke Smith
Mentor & Investor

Luke Smith entered business after serving five years as an Army officer. In succession he led engineering organizations, manufacturing organizations and product divisions in public companies. The organizations were as large as 5,000 employees, had budgets in the $100’s of millions, and earned revenues in the $100’s of millions. He had the good fortune to participate in the development of products and technologies that form the base of much of today’s technology. In 1995, seeking new challenges, he entered the word of startups. His has been VP of Operations, COO and CEO. In 2005 he joined with two friends to form company in Southern California. The company raised $100 million and has a reputation for solid execution and revenue growth. At present, he consults, mentors and serves as a director.