Speakers


  • Joe Rubin Joe Rubin

    Topic: Entrepreneurship

    Bio: Joe Rubin is a Director and Co-Founder of FundingPost.com. FundingPost has been introducing entrepreneurs to investors nationwide for over 10 years through its Online Venture Exchange, Dealflow Magazine and organizes Venture Capital and Angel Investor Conferences in 20 cities nationwide.

    Joe has also invested in 11 seed deals over the past 5 years, including Sticky, Inc. (acquired by DeviceVM), Senscient, Revstor, Flycast, Mission Research, Virtus Sensors, CIMA Systems, GotChef, and is on the advisory board of Offermobi. Joe is responsible for the FundingPost.com's operations, and runs the largest online annual business plan competition, Pitching Across America. He spends much of his time coaching and helping early-stage companies, and speaks at events such as the NYC Economic Development Corporation's Jumpstart and Fast trac Program's, Early-Stage-East, and Connecticut's CTech event, and is a speaker at and sponsor of the UCLA Private Equity Club. Joe is also a Founding Member of ARC Angel Fund, a seed technology fund based in NYC which has invested in Hashable, Upnext, Medivo, Pogby, Careerminds and Offermobi. Prior to FundingPost, Joe was instrumental in helping to raise $2.5 Million in angel and venture capital for his dot.com start-up producing a family-friendly network and over 100 flash-based video games which were playable online and sold as a compilation in stores like Comp USA. Joe was also the Webmaster at Knight Securities (NASD: NITE), where he helped to design its online trading platform and website. Prior to working Online, Joe worked in television and graphic design for companies such as NBC and MTV, in addition to doing freelance commercial production. Joe began working in television production, graphic design and 3D animation professionally when he was 15, and graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor's in Communications. He now lives in Connecticut with his wife and 5-year-old son.


  • Todd Tidgewell Todd Tidgewell

    Topic: What are the legal issues faced by most startups?

    Bio: Todd Tidgewell is a partner in the firm’s Global Business & Transactions Group. His practice is focused on corporate transactions, including the formation and financing of business enterprises, mergers, acquisitions, capital financing and private equity fund formation.

    In addition, Todd serves as corporate counsel to a number of emerging technology companies and privately held businesses, and as counsel to private equity, venture capital, and angel investors in connection with their portfolio investments. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Todd was Assistant General Counsel and Vice President of Fund Development at Village Ventures, Inc., the nation’s largest network of early-stage venture capital funds. While with Village Ventures, Inc., Todd led fund development efforts in Upstate New York as well as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Todd is a regular panelist and frequent speaker at events focused on M&A, venture capital and emerging technology, and has written on the subject of deal structuring and private finance for several publications. He served as a member of the drafting committee of the National Venture Capital Association’s Standard Forms Project, which released its first set of industry-standard venture capital deal documents in 2004. Todd is a member of the Board of Directors of Albany Medical Center and an active member of the Upstate Venture Association of New York.


  • Tobi Saulnier Tobi Saulnier

    Topic: Starting a software / gaming company Starting a

    Bio: As Founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions, Tobi Saulnier leads a game development studio that has created such hit games such as Club Penguin for the Nintendo DS, Ben 10 DS, Disney Princess DS, and a number of other games designed for very specific demographics.

    The studio is also known for innovative gameplay, including networked features, downloadable content, and integration of real and virtual worlds. The studio also creates games for education and social change, including retail and research titles. Prior to founding 1st Playable, she spent five years overseeing product development at Vicarious Visions, a role in which she was responsible for delivering over 60 game titles ranging from Blues Clues GBC to Doom III Xbox, including launch titles for the GBA, DS and PSP. Before joining the game industry, Tobi managed R&D in embedded and distributed systems at General Electric Research and Development, where she also led initiatives in new product development, software quality, business strategy, and outsourcing. She earned her BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


  • Kevin O`Leary Kevin O`Leary

    Topic: Startup Accounting Issues

    Bio: EXPERIENCE More than ten years experience in providing accounting, auditing and tax services to various not-for-profit organizations as well as personal and corporate tax. Kevin currently oversees the Firm’s tax-exempt tax department. Also works very closely with privately owned businesses on providing review or compiled financial statements for bank covenants and other requirements. Promoted to Director on October 1st, 2010, Kevin also oversees the firm’s business development and marketing initiative, which includes budgeting, marketing goals and scheduling of events and participation.


  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz

    Topic: Traits of a successful entrepreneur

    Bio: Robert W. Schwartz founded the firm in 1985 and is a Managing Director. Mr. Schwartz specializes in corporate planning, finance and development.

    Prior to starting the firm, he was a founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of a venture-funded high tech telecommunications company. In addition, he was the President and Chief Operating Officer of an American Stock Exchange-listed company that he took public in 1979. He was also the Chief Financial Officer of a major manufacturer of outdoor power equipment. His earlier experience was with KPMG as a management consultant and with IBM. Since starting SHG, he has worked with over 350 businesses utilizing his experience in finance and general management to achieve their objectives. Mr. Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and has done graduate work at The University at Albany. He has served as a Director of a number of public, private and non-profit organizations; he currently serves on the boards of five corporations. He has been a frequent guest lecturer at local universities and professional organizations and teaches a graduate course in entrepreneurship at The University at Albany and Union Graduate University. In addition, he chairs the University at Albany Foundation's Council on Economic Outreach.


  • David Miranda David Miranda

    Topic: What IP issues do startups face?

    Bio: David P. Miranda, a Partner with the intellectual property law firm of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. of Albany, New York, is an experienced trial attorney whose intellectual property law practice includes trademark, copyright, trade secret, false advertising, and patent infringement, as well as licensing, and internet related issues.

    He has litigated cases in federal district courts, state courts, the International Trade Commission, and the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board. In 2006 he obtained a $7.8 million jury verdict in a copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation case in U.S. district court. He has successfully argued before the Federal Circuit, Second Circuit, and New York Court of Appeals. Mr. Miranda serves as mediator, arbitrator and early neutral evaluator for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. He has served as an arbitrator of intellectual property law disputes with the American Arbitration Association, and National Arbitration Forum and has rendered decisions regarding disputes involving such famous trademarks as McDonald’s, Amazon.com, Bausch & Lomb, Target, 3M, US News, Citigroup, and ChevronTexaco. Mr. Miranda commenced some of the first domain name dispute proceedings before the World Intellectual Property Organization and was counsel in one of the first New York cases determining the enforceability of online agreements. In 2009, Mr. Miranda was appointed to the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Third Judicial District of the State of New York. In 2002, Mr. Miranda was appointed by Hon. Judith Kaye, Chief Judge of New York’s Court of Appeals, to the statewide “Commission on Public Access to Court Records.” He served as Editor-in-chief and contributing author of The Internet Guide for New York Lawyers, in 1999 and 2005, and is the author of Defamation in Cyberspace: Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., published by the Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, in 1996. He has served as President of the Albany County Bar Association, Secretary of the New York State Bar Association, and in the House of Delegates for the ABA and NYSBA. He is a recipient of the Capital District Business Review’s “40 Under Forty” award for community service and professional achievement. Mr. Miranda received his Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School and Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is admitted to practice in New York State, U.S. District Courts for New York’s Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts, Massachusetts, the Federal Circuit, Second Circuit, and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. is the largest law firm in upstate New York dedicated exclusively to the protection and commercialization of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, trade dress, and related litigation and trials. Its professionals have expertise in numerous technical disciplines including physics, electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, business methods and biotechnology. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 five of the firm’s partners, including Mr. Miranda, were selected as “Super Lawyers” by the publication Law & Politics.


  • Karthik Bala Karthik Bala

    Topic: Starting a successful game company

    Bio: Karthik Bala, along with his brother Guha, founded Vicarious Visions in 1991 while both were in high school. Over the past two decades Vicarious Visions has grown from a few friends working in their parent's basement to a leading developer of video game software helping to shape popular culture around the world.

    During this time, VV has accounted for over 2.5 billion dollars in retail sales and over 40 million units of its software have been sold worldwide. Hit video game titles from VV include Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk, Spider-Man, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance for various platforms. Vicarious Visions is housed in a forty thousand square foot state-of-the-art studio located in Albany, NY. Today the company employs over 150 highly creative programmers, artists and designers. In 2005 Vicarious Visions became part of Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI), a leading worldwide publisher of entertainment software. Karthik Bala is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer and also serves as the primary spokesperson for the studio. He holds degrees in Computer Science and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Karthik is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of WMHT, a Public Broadcast radio and television affiliate and is also a Director on the Board of ReQuest Multimedia, a whole house audio and media server company. Both brothers have volunteered their time to mentor local entrepreneurs and business students. They are active participants in entertainment software professional community and have been speakers and panelists at numerous industry conferences such as Games Developers Conference and Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).


  • Martin Babinec Martin Babinec

    Topic: The Upstate EcoSystem

    Bio: Founded TriNet in 1988. Raised angel, corporate and venture capital; aborted IPO (post roadshow) in 2000. Active in entrepreneur community as a speaker, writer and volunteer to selected non profits.

    Business goals include continued expansion to international markets. Specialties TriNet provides online and in person outsourced services supporting companies in payroll, benefits and human resources. About 8000 customers, servicing employees throughout the U.S. and Canada. Small company product to serve companies up to several hundred employees, plus middle market companies up to 5,000 employees. Oracle based enterprise platform enables totally paperless HR through both manager and employee self service. Experience Founder/Chairman Upstate Venture Connect Nonprofit; 1-10 employees; Venture Capital & Private Equity industry January 2010 – Present (2 years 2 months) Founded Upstate Venture Connect (UVC), a non-profit organization, to catalyze the creation of thousands of high-tech, high-growth, private capital backed companies in Upstate New York.