TheBizDen Business Summit 2012: The Future of Entrepreneurship, Finance and Tech

What is TheBizDen?

One Evening. One Conversation.


TheBizDen Business Summit is the celebration of sound business leadership, entrepreneurial endeavors, finance and technology. With a distinguished panel of CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs and investors, get ready to learn about how they got started and what they see as the future of business. What are the current trends in business, entrepreneurship, finance, technology and education? Join us to find out!

Our Panel of Speakers

Peter Shankman, CEO and Founder at The Geek Factory, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Speaker, Blogger and Author

Peter Shankman Peter Shankman is an accomplished entrepreneur, author, angel investor, speaker and mentor. He is most notably known for founding Help a Reporter Out (HARO) which was acquired by Vocus Inc. in June of 2010. Peter is now Vice President and Small Business Evangelist for Vocus.

Peter is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a social media/marketing and pr strategy firm in New York City, with clients worldwide. Peter is also the author of two books, “Can We Do That? Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them” (Wiley and Sons 2006) and “Customer Service: New Rules for a Social-Enabled World” (Que/Pearson, 2010). As a frequent speaker and workshop presenter, Peter travels the world to attend conferences and tradeshows in addition to sitting on the board of several companies (including ScotteVest and Pixability).

You can see Peter on many national and international news channels including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC as well as in major media and trade publications as The New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, The Associated Press, Reuters and USA Today.

Samantha Smith, Entrepreneur and Student at NYU

Samantha Smith Samantha Smith is a third-year student at New York University where she is designing a self-directed major in entrepreneurship, government, and human nature. In addition to being a community developer for entrepreneurship at NYU, Sam is the NYC Ambassador for MassChallenge and a student Ambassador to the NCIIA. Sam previously served as the Director of Global Development at the Kairos Society, launching the organization in Spain, Singapore, and the UAE. She is currently the Co-President of NYU Stern’s Entrepreneurial Exchange Group, Producer and Founder of the webseries Do > Think, and is building a new strategy firm to assist countries in developing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Sam has worked across the public, private and non-profit sectors for a variety of organizations including DoSomething, KIND Healthy Snacks, and the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. On the side she works with startups on business development and marketing strategy. Long term Samantha aims to continue to support and grow entrepreneurship globally and work to make government more efficient and effective in the U.S.

Mike Yavonditte, Founder and CEO at Hashable, Venture Partner at ff Venture Capital

Mike Yavonditte

Michael Yavonditte is Founder and CEO of Hashable, a New York-based startup backed by ff Venture Capital and a number of other leading VCs. He is currently also a Venture Partner, at ff Venture Capital, since 2011. Previously, he was CEO of Quigo Technologies, a contextual ad network, which he sold to AOL for a reported $340m+. Prior to joining Quigo, Mr. Yavonditte served as Vice President of sales for USA Networks Electronic Commerce Solutions Group in New York. Previously, he was Managing Director of the strategic alliances group at AltaVista. There, he quickly negotiated and closed several large, multi-year, multi-million dollar agreements for the company.

In 1997, Mr. Yavonditte joined Juno Online Services, Inc. as a Director in their business development group. Mr. Yavonditte started his career at Ziff-Davis Publishing in New York where he held various sales and management roles. In 1996, he quickly negotiated and closed several large, multi-year, multi-million dollar agreements for the company.

Mr. Yavonditte has a degree in Business and Political Science from Pace University in New York.

Stephen Messer, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman at Collective[i]™

Steve Messer

Mr. Stephen Messer is Co-founder and Vice Chairman of Collective[i]™. Collective[i]™ is a cloud-based marketing analytics platform that automates the work associated with analyzing data and socializes knowledge throughout the organization. Mr. Messer is Chairman of the Council for Accountable Advertising, an industry association for best-of-breed advertising technologies, and is Co-Founder and President of World Evolved, a platform for global investment and expansion. Prior to these ventures, Mr. Messer, along with his sister, Ms. Heidi Messer, founded, built and managed Linkshare Corporation until its sale in 2005 to Rakuten for $425m. Mr. Messer is recognized as an authority on entrepreneurship and online marketing. He is frequently cited in industry publications, has appeared on numerous national business programs and regularly speaks at industry events.

Mr. Messer holds a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and a B.A. from Lafayette University.

Tom “TK” Kuegler, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Wasabi Ventures

Tom Kuegler

Tom “TK” Kuegler is the co-founder and general partner of Wasabi Ventures. Wasabi Ventures is an venture capital, incubator, and consulting firm that specializes in building and advising early stage technology companies. In the last 10 years, Wasabi Ventures has built, financed, and advised some wildly successful ventures like PBworks, Ustream, and Etherpad (acquired by Google).

TK started his first company at 15, within the lawn landscaping space, and continued his passion for building companies into college. In the early to mid 90s, TK founded SpinBox and Skyline Network Technologies which were both acquired soon after.

Prior to starting Wasabi Ventures, TK led the sales efforts at MedAptus (a handheld healthcare charge capture solution) and at Amicore (an EMR company founded by Microsoft, Pfizer, and IBM) where he was instrumental in formulating and creating the sales processes. He has also held senior positions at ClickRebates (an online advertising software company) and RightNow Technologies, a Web-based CRM company.

TK is the author of all three editions of the highly acclaimed book Web Advertising and Marketing. He has authored dozens of articles about the Internet and been published in leading publications like and ClickZ. TK spends a great deal of time lecturing at colleges, seminars, companies, and conferences about the corporate benefits of utilizing interactive technologies. He currently sits on the Board of Sponsors of Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland. He has presented at hundreds of events on a wide array of topics about economics, entrepreneurism, technology, and management.

For Press

If you are interested in covering the event on April 4, please email with “Press” in the subject line to receive a Press Pass. Thanks so much!


Agenda for the Evening

  • Welcome/Networking Opportunity: 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Start of Panel Discussion: 6:00 PM
  • End of Panel Discussion/Questions and Answers: 7:00 PM
  • Networking Opportunity: 7:30 PM
  • Closing of Event: 8:00 PM

54 Second LIVE Elevator Pitch

Got an interesting idea but need some feedback? Well, at the event we will be utilizing our elevator just for that! Sign up as soon as you arrive for your chance to pitch your idea to an investor or another entrepreneur. Remember, you have 54 seconds to get your idea across…this is your chance! See you soon! :)

Time and Location

Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
NYIT Auditorium on Broadway
1871 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Our Seed Level Sponsor

Our Supporters

Our Mentors and Advisors

TheBizDen Newsletter