Startup Weekend West Palm Beach 2015 | Judging Panel

Introducing SWWPB Judging Panel


  Leone’s successful corporate social responsibility program reflects the company’s deeply embedded values, focusing on his employees’ quality of life, community service and environmental sustainability; his vision always for continuous enhancement.

Sheila G. Mains, CEO & Founder, Brownie Brittle

Sheila G. Mains is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. In 1992, she left a career in finance fortified with one family recipe and a passion for baking. Two years later, her brownies were best sellers at Disney theme parks, hotels and restaurants nationwide.

Sheila then created Brownie BrittleTM––an innovative new snack that combines the rich chocolate taste of her signature brownies with everyone’s favorite part of the brownie: the crispy edges.  Today there are over 25 million bags of Brownie Brittle on store shelves.

In 2014, Sheila was named among the Top Women in Grocery by Progressive Grocer magazine, and singled out as one of South Florida’s 25 Most Influential Business Women.

Sheila serves as an advisor to numerous women-led businesses and has also partnered with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.  Other beneficiaries include Canine Companions for Independence, Palm Beach County Food Bank, and Kids’ Community Closet.

Alex Furmansky, CEO & Founder of Budsies

Alex is the founder of Budsies, the company that turns any artwork or photo into a custom plush animal, and Sparkology, the invite-only dating site for young professionals. Budsies has been featured in NY Times, Mashable, CBS and dozens of other media publications and the company has grown into a tech-driven brand leader within the gifts and collectibles arena. Sparkology, also no stranger to media spotlight, has grown to be NYC’s pre-eminent singles community with over 17,000 members. Previously, Mr. Furmansky was Director of Business Development at OpenPeak and a financial analyst at Evercore Investment Bank’s M&A advisory group. Past experience also includes UBS, Lockheed Martin, and consulting for a handful of web and iOS startups. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and the Wharton School of Business and currently serves on the boards of both the Penn and Wharton clubs of South Florida.

Damien Barr, CEO of KangaRealty

Originally heralding from Australia, CEO/COO Damien Barr began his career as a carpenter’s apprentice, which in turn led to a long and successful career in real estate and development. International travel as a professional rugby player sparked his interest in real estate abroad, eventually landing him in Aspen, Colorado. There, he became a licensed General Contractor, building high-end luxury homes for celebrities and well-known royal families. In Florida, Damien expanded his construction and management company to tackle projects like the proposed Riviera Beach 450 acre Redevelopment, and managed multiple resort development projects throughout the world in places such as Costa Rica, Greece and the United Arab Emirates. Now happily settled in Palm Beach, Damien, a licensed Realtor® and real estate broker, founded Kanga Real Estate Group, and then Kanga Property Management, to provide comprehensive services to the growing rental market.

Mike Gonzalez, CEO and Founder of Perfect

Mike Gonzalez is an American Businessman, UX Strategist, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Thought Leader.  He is the Founder and CEO of Perfect, a global design and technology firm, a council member and startup ambassador for Palm Beach Technology Association and a trusted advisor to many startups, SMBs and Fortune 500 companies.

Mike began his career early, at the age of 16, as part of the UX design community and was one of the first designers of skeuomorphic icons.  In 2004, he founded a full service creative agency, Enhanced Labs, in West Palm Beach, Florida which grew to a staff of 16 and later became Perfect.

This is Mike’s second year being part of Startup Weekend West Palm Beach – volunteering last year as a Business Coach.

What You Need to Know about the 2015 Judging Criteria

Your teams will be judged on:

1. Business Model
Can this idea make money? Is there positive customer growth or revenue? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic? Is the idea/team ready for capital and execution? Would you invest in this company at this point?
2. Customer Validation
Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What channels of communication are used? Product/Market fit?
3. Technical – Execution
Is there a functional product ( the case of an app, did they build one)? Were architecture diagrams and API signatures included? Which services did they integrate with? How much of the product is running on a real server with non-sample data?
4. Design – Execution
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?