Chief Executive Officer - iSpeech
Heath Ahrens is the founder and CEO of iSpeech, a cloud-based TTS and ASR provider. In 2009, Ahrens pioneered a new solution to distracted driving with the launch of DriveSafe.ly®, an award winning mobile app used by over 12 million. DriveSafe.ly® reads text messages and emails aloud in real time and allows voice response, hands-free. In addition to winning the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show app competition, DriveSafe.ly® won the 2010 Mashable Award for Best Mobile App. The leading distracted driving application has been written about in Consumer Reports, Wall Street Journal, major tech blogs such as TechCrunch and VentureBeat and featured on CNN, CNET, ABC, and FOX. To date, iSpeech apps have received over 25 million downloads.
In 2010, Heath was named to NJBIZ’s “40 under 40”. Ahrens has spoken about speech technology and distracted driving at SpeechTEK 2011, CTIA 2010, Mobile Voice Conference 2010 and at several MBA seminars at New Jersey Institute of Technology to name a few. He looks forward to serving as Keynote Speaker at the 2011 Regional Commercialization Conference. Ahrens continues to grow iSpeech®, delivering human quality speech and recognition to developers and businesses through simple APIs and SDKs. The iSpeech Cloud has been used over a billion times. Bringing speech everywhere through partnerships with developers and Fortune companies, iSpeech’s mission remains: “Speech-enable the Web and the world.”
Interim President - New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Bloom was a teacher and a school administrator in New York City Public Schools. He was a director of research and instructor at Teacher's College, Columbia University. He has managed state and federally funded curriculum development and training centers, the Educational Improvement Center --Northeast and directed the Regional Curriculum Service Unit, RCSU --North.
Since joining NJIT in July 1990, Dr. Bloom has been promoted to vice president for academic and student services. He is responsible for eight divisions of the university, including pre-college programs, enrollment management, continuing professional education, career development services, dean of students services, freshman studies, educational opportunity programs, physical education and athletics.
In 1998, Dr. Bloom was appointed as the first dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College in addition to his vice president responsibilities. The Honors College currently enrolls over 500 students who come from 15 states and several foreign countries. The combined average SAT score is over 1300 and the majority of the freshman class are typically in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. The Honors College students maintain a grade point average higher than 3.5.
Dr. Bloom is presently chair of the Greater Newark Consortium Board for Pre-College Education, and vice chair of the State Board for Communities and Schools. Dr. Bloom serves as a member of: the Board of the National Technical University, State College Bound Advisory Board, Board of the Philadelphia Alliance for Minority Participation, and the Board of the New Jersey Association of Partners in Education. Dr. Bloom has been the recipient of national and state education awards, as well as federal, foundation and corporate grant awards. He has published journal articles and presented papers on school improvement, curriculum development, college transition and student assessment.
Assistant Professor of Finance - New Jersey Institute of Technology
Michael Ehrlich, PhD, had an international business career before joining NJIT’s School of Management as assistant professor of finance. Ehrlich spent his last Wall Street years at Bear Stearns as senior managing director of the emerging markets fixed income business. Earlier stints included positions of increasing responsibility at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb and Salomon Brothers, where he worked in the Government Arbitrage group with John Meriwether. Upon leaving Wall Street, Ehrlich started FineStar Imaging LLC, a small technology company that specialized in document production and management. He sold FineStar in 2007.
Today, along with teaching, Ehrlich participates in NJIT’s small business incubator program, the Enterprise Development Center (EDC). Ehrlich, who belongs to the New York Angels, works with start-up companies.
Bischoff is one of the three designers and developers of Quotebook, an iOS app for storing and sharing quotations. Along with Andrew Harrison and Brian Capps, the team created Lickability, a company that continues to work on Quotebook and other iOS projects. Matthew was also the world's first teen to start a podcast, helped cofound PodcastPeople.com, and currently works as a Mobile Software Engineer at The New York Times.
Co-founder of ConnectYard
Mr. Doane co-founded ConnectYard in 2007 and currently serves as the Company's CEO. He is directly responsible for overseeing ConnectYard's overall corporate strategy and vision. Mr. Doane has been developing business solutions for enterpriseWeb systems since the mid-90’s and was one of the early visionaries to recognize the need for organizations to quickly adapt to the "open", or unlimited, demand of the Internet. In 2000, Mr. Doane founded OpenDemand Systems, Inc., which has helped many of the nation’s largest universities successfully deploy large-scaleWeb systems to tens of thousands of student, faculty and administrative users. Prior to OpenDemand, Mr. Doane held various senior-level and key management positions in early stage technology ventures, including Icon CMT Corporation, Ovid Technologies and Interworld Technology Ventures, and has provided consulting services to large enterprise accounts such as UBS, CBS, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, US Clearing Corporation, and PR Newswire. Mr. Doane has been featured in a number of industry publications for his technology insights and innovations, even appearing on the cover of VARBusiness Magazine, and was selected by IBM to represent their nationwide marketing campaign after having received the highly prestigious IBM Beacon Award on four separate occasions. Mr. Doane currently serves on the IBM ParterWorld Industry Networks Advisory Council, where he helps to shape the channel programs IBM deploys for over 10,000 Business Partners.
Member at New York Angels, Inc
Hanstveit has spent the last 23 years of his career on Wall street, first on the Buyside as analyst and PM for CREF and later switched to the Sellside and was a founding partner in ABG Sundal Collier,Inc, an investment banking boutique focusing on Nordic securities to US institutional investors. He retired in November 2010.
Over the last 15 years Hanstveit has devoted an increasing amount of time and money to angel investing. For the most part he has tended to make concentrated investments, meaning limited numbers, but fairly large amounts and participating in numerous rounds of financing as the companies grow. He has also gotten actively involved with some of the companies as a board member. An example of which is Energy Recovery (ERII), where he put in his first seed investment in 1993 and they IPOed the company on NASDAQ in 2008. Hanstveit is still a board member of ERI. He currently has four investments in this category, where he’s been invested for 5 – 12 years and some are approaching exits. MAZoil (a fuel additive), SynchroNet ( logistics solutions for the global container industry), Kezzler (track and trace solutions). The common tread here is efficiency. They all provide vastly smarter solutions at low cost, are global in scope and low capital intensity.
Hanstveit joined the NY Angels a couple of years ago to get more exposure to the local angel environment. His investments with the NYA have been of a different nature, more of a portfolio approach. Smaller amounts, $ 30-60,000, and little active involvement with the companies. NYA investments tend to focus on new media, tech, software and internet and he has put money into four deals. The NYA is a great network for contacts, investment opportunities and professional development.
Hanstveit’s investment preference is the focused, long term involved approach, rather than the portfolio approach. To this end Hanstveit has been working on establishing a “super angel” fund with an old colleague. The focus would be clean tech, water, new energy and logistics. Over the years, he has built a substantial network of global contacts in these fields through the companies they’ve have been involved in and they hope to launch mid-year 2012.
Donald H. Sebastian
Senior Vice-President for Research & Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology
Sebastian is responsible for the academic research enterprise as well as for developing partnerships with industry, for managing governmental affairs, intellectual property management, commercialization and contract projects across the technology spectrum. Under his leadership, the university sponsored research has grown to over $100M.
He has created a number of statewide entities including the NJ Healthcare Information Technology Extension Center, NJ Homeland Security Technology Systems Center, NJ Nanotechnology Consortium and the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program.
Prior to joining NJIT in 1995, Professor Sebastian was a member of the Chemical Engineering faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology where he also graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1974, followed by Masters of Engineering in 1975, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1977.