Shark Tank-Style Competition and More to Watch For at the IMPACT Conference

Welcome to the "Lion's Den."

Attendees at last year's IMPACT Conference.

Attendees at last year’s IMPACT Conference.

A select group of startup companies will get their chance to pitch to investors live in the “Lion’s Den” — with real money on the line. It’s part of the 2015 IMPACT Conference held at the Ritz-Carlton and Crystal Tea Room on November 3 and 4.

If it sounds a lot like ABC’s Shark Tank, it should. Conference Co-Chairs Michael Heller and Ira Gubernick designed the contest with the TV show in mind. After receiving 200 applications, 40 early-stage, health care and technology companies will hold presentations throughout the day. The best three or four will be invited to present directly to investors in the “Lion’s Den.” If interested, investors will offer convertible-note deals. 

“Philadelphia has a terrific entrepreneurial community. It’s a town that should continue to prosper,” said Heller, president and CEO of Cozen O’ Connor. “But what it’s potentially lacking is significant investment dollars for early-stage companies. There’s a lot of mid-stage and later-stage capital but we need to develop more funds on the early-stage side. That will spawn new companies and keep companies here.”

The lions are:

  • Michael Hagan, former CEO of NutriSystem.
  • Jonathan Brassington, CEO and co-founder of LiquidHub.
  • Walter (Buck) Buckley, co-founder, CEO and chairman of Actua.
  • Dr. Robert Corrato, co-founder and managing partner of Devon Hill Capital Partners.
  • Michael Wells, managing director of Princeton Biopharma Capital Partners.

The IMPACT Conference is expected to attract roughly 1,000 attendees. Here are a few other sessions that seem particularly interesting. Check out the full agenda for more details.

  • Investors like David Bookspan (founding partner of DreamIT Ventures) and Richard Vague (managing partner of Gabriel Investments) will discuss their thoughts on what the next generation of the Philadelphia investment community will look like.
  • A panel discussion on HR tips entrepreneurs should know when they start hiring, featuring experts like Amy Kelly, employee benefits and executive compensation partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, and Alan Rihm, CEO of CoreDial.
  • A talk on the next generation of Philly entrepreneurs with experts like Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO of Monetate and Robert J. Moore, co-founder and CEO of RJMetrics.