Meet the judges: Community Track


Susan Amat is the founder of Venture Hive, an downtown Miami accelerator and incubator for technology entrepreneurs from around the world. She co-founded The Launch Pad, an entrepreneurial career center at the University of Miami. A serial entrepreneur, she started and ran a successful record label and developed a television show and the first CD-Rom magazine. She chairs the STEM Board for Miami-Dade County Schools.

Daniel Echavarria is CEO of Ganolian Investments (previously El Paso Advisors), a family office. He serves on the boards of Organización Corona and Homecenter Sodimac Corona. Previously, he co-founded, the leading pay-per-click search engine advertising network in Latin America. Echavarria is actively involved with the Ashoka Support Network, is co-chair of Endeavor Miami and serves on the boards of Lumni, Banca de Inversión Social, Mela Artisans, The LAB Miami and .CO Internet .

Annette Franqui is a founding partner of Forrestal Capital, a business and financial advisor for the selling shareholders of Panamco, a Coca Cola bottler operating in Latin America. She was chief financial officer for Panamco at the time of its sale. Franqui has 26 years’ experience in the financial industry, having worked at J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs in London and New York in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and equity research. She is a board member of Arcos Dorados, Medina Medical and Wireless Werx.

Richard Ginsburg is managing director at G3 Capital Partners, an early-stage investment company in South Florida, and expert advisor to private equity firms regarding service companies. He has raised over a billion dollars in debt and equity for the two publicly traded security companies he served as CEO and successfully sold, Protection One and Guardian International. Ginsburg has completed and integrated over 30 acquisitions at his respective companies.

John Hall is executive director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at Miami Dade College, a new program focused on helping companies scale. He has served as the managing partner, president and/or CEO of five businesses, including the successful turn-around of three troubled companies. He served on the strategic acquisitions team for successful mergers and acquisitions valued at over $300 million.

Ernest Hartner joined Sabadell United Bank in 2010, first as VP of strategic planning and later was promoted to senior vice president of commercial planning and product development. Previously, he worked for Boston Consulting Group in its Miami office, working with businesses in financial services, airlines and energy in New England and the Southeastern U.S., South America and the Middle East. Before that he helped his family’s Italian bakery business grow to supply restaurants and grocery stores in three states.

Melissa Krinzman is founder and managing director of Venture Architects, a leading business planning firm that positions private companies for success in the capital-raising process. Since 1998, Venture Architects has worked with almost 900 companies that have raised over $1 billion in investment capital. Recently, Melissa co-founded Krillion Ventures, a venture capital fund that provides Seed and Series A stage funding to tech-enabled companies based in Miami, New York City and San Francisco. She is on the boards for The Miami Foundation, Ransom Everglades School and Locust Projects.

Rob Strandberg is president and CEO of Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida (EDC), a public-private partnership that assists emerging science and technology companies. He oversees the EDC’s mentor program, a number of incubators, EDC conferences, administration of the New World Angels and other programs. He has been a CEO of technology companies Xytrans, PSC and DATAMAX and a director of Sawtek/Triquint, Merix/Via Systems and Quipp/ITW.

Mike Tomás is president and CEO of BioHeart, a biotech company focused on developing and commercializing stem cell therapies. Previously he spent nearly 20 years driving the evolution of telecommunications technology in the U.S. and Mexico in executive roles. An active investor, Tomás sits on the boards of Avisena, Silver Sky, Rokk3r Labs, Easy Solutions Total Fraud Protection and Bioheart. He serves on Workforce Florida's Board of Directors, appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and is chairman of FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center.

Marjorie Weber is chair of SCORE Miami-Dade, and also serves as a technical advisor for small-business clients seeking funding and a mentor. The chapter, one of the nation’s largest, has 93 counselors and helps more than 2,000 businesses through low-cost workshops and free one-on-one counseling. She is also president of Florida Fidelity Group, which addresses needs of small-business entrepreneurs.

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