Venture Fest ' 19 held on October 17, 2019 was the largest ever gathering of the HV entrepreneur ecosystem with over 280 attending.


Based on feedback during and after the event, we achieved our three stated objectives below:

  • Bring the entire HV entrepreneur ecosystem together to connect and collaborate 
  • Increase energy and excitement about the HV entrepreneur ecosystem
  • Establish Venture Fest as a signature annual event for the ecosystem

One comment from our anonymous attendee feedback, “I think it was an amazing event - especially for a first-time event. There was tremendous "buzz" and great energy.”

See below for the Venture Fest '19 program that we experienced. 


Venture Fest ‘19 on October 17 at SUNY New Paltz


12:30 - 1:00  Registration, Networking, Light Lunch 

1:00 - 1:45    

  • Welcome: Kristin Backhaus, Dean, SUNY New Paltz School of Business
  • Keynote Speaker: Kenneth Pasternak, Executive Chairman, KABR, Pasternak Family Foundation
  • Sponsor Message: Noa Simons, Executive Director, Upstate Capital
  • Sponsor Message: David Dell, Managing Director, Schwartz Heslin Group.


Entrepreneur Panel - Crossing the Chasm to High Growth

Hear insights from HV entrepreneurs who have moved from pre-seed to seed to Series A funding and beyond, and lessons learned along the way to rapid growth including board management, growing the team, scaling operations, strategic partnerships, and customer/revenue growth 

1:45 - 2:30      Startup Founder panelists 


Breakout Sessions (2:30-4:30) 

Tech Topics

Business topics

  • Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs: Jana La Sorte, Founder/Creative Director, Ambassadora
  • Professionalizing Your Team: Andi Gray, President, Strategy Leaders, and Eddie Monroy, Director of Consulting, Strategy Leaders 
  • Meet the Mentors: opportunity for HV entrepreneurs to meet a number of HV mentors 
    • Leon Greene, HV Startup Fund, Fund Manager / Investor
    • Wayne Miller, HV Startup Fund, Investor
    • Luke Stangel, HV Startup Fund, Key Influencer
    • Jeff Werner, HV Startup Fund, Investor
    • Johnny LeHane, HV Startup Fund, Fund Manager / Investor
    • Sandy Wollman, Westchester Angels, Manager / Investor
    • Ajax Green, Coherence Collaborative, Founder / Principal
    • Scott Tillitt, BEAHIVE, Founder
    • Cynthia Marsh-Croll, WEDC, Program Director (MHV)
    • Lauree Ostrofsky, Simply Leap, Author / Coach / Founder
    • Rita Capek, Amplify Westchester / 37 Angels, Founder / Principle / Investor
    • Rose Rubin, SCORE, Mentor / Ulster County Chair
    • Richard Joyce, SCORE, Mentor
    • Gerald Habib, SCORE, Mentor
    • Donald Urmston, SUNY Orange, Associate Professor of Business Management
    • Chris Napolitano, SUNY New Paltz, Lecturer, School of Business
    • Don Delaney, Second Wind Ventures, Founder & CEO
    • Noa Simons, Upstate Capital, Executive Director
    • Mike Caslin, GCSEN Foundation, Founder and CEO
    • Danny Potocki, Accel7, Founder and CEO

Investor topic - The Angel Investing Experience

A panel of HV and NYS angel investors discussing why they invest in startups, their investment criteria, challenges faced, and even how they let some big winners getaway


Pitch Fest

Sponsor Message: Mike Caslin, GCSEN Regional Resilience Accelerator

4:30 - 5:15 Pitch Fest: HV pre-seed and early seed round entrepreneurs with 2-minute pitches to investors with awards for the top three (1st $2000, 2nd $1000, 3rd $500)

  • SportsHi (home of High School Sports), Founder: Alexander Miles
  • Izana (empowering women with innovative clothing), Founder: Isabel Castillo 
  • Cahoots (renting seasonal wardrobes for children), Co-founders: Eliza Edge, Stephanie Erwin
  • Lessonbee (an awesome health education experience), Founder: Reva McPollom
  • United Aircraft Technologies (the future of wire maintenance using sensing technology), Founders: Evaguel Rhysing, Daryian Rhysing
  • FabForeDev (mobile experiences for discerning players), Founder: Marty Rottman
  • BioSand Bag Filter (portable water treatment device), Founder: Donald Kerr
  • Velotooler (bicycle mechanic service to your doorstep), Founder: Terence Fin


5:15 - 6:30 Grand Finale

Oktoberfest Networking

German food: Schnitzel, German Cucumber Salad, and Potato Salad, Bavarian Soft Pretzel, Grilled Bratwurst, Red Cabbage with Apples, Potato Pancakes, Apple Strudel and more!

Local (and German) beer, local wine, cider, soft drinks

Music by Alpine Squeeze

HV Food & Beverage Startup Showcase - HV food & beverage startups showcasing their products 

Screamin' Onionz - an amazingly versatile condiment that's Kinda Like Onionz In Hot Sauce

HV Harvest - helping to bring our customers the best food from the Hudson Valley


Raw Amour - the only certified organic, certified low glycemic chocolate in the marketplace

Toma Bloody Mary Mixers - elevate your brunch with Toma, award-winning Bloody Mary mix

Stoutridge Vineyard - a premium estate winery and distillery situated in Marlboro NY, a mere 70 miles from the heart of Manhattan



 Thank you to our Venture Fest Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor: The Pasternak Family Foundation


Annual Sponsors

Venture Fest ’19 Sponsors

GCSEN Foundation


Schwartz Heslin Group, Inc.

HV Current

HV Startup Fund

CR Properties

Upstate Capital

Fala Technologies 


The Field Group


If you would like to sponsor Venture Fest ‘19 please contact Tony DiMarco at dimarcoa@newpaltz.edu