Judges for Tech Cocktail’s SXSW Startup Celebration Announced

We are a cocktail of tech people for sure. There are 33 amazing startups that are part of our startup showcase on Saturday night at SXSW. And we are happy to announce a distinguished group of investors, entrepreneurs, writers and tech luminaries who will hear their pitches and select the best of the group. Check them out below.

Crista BaileyCrista Bailey – CEO, TextureMedia, Inc. Crista Bailey’s business experience includes working with startups, lifestyle offerings and CPG brands, among them IAC, CitySearch, TicketMaster, Nestle, Austin City Limits and since 2007, the Austin-based TextureMedia, Inc, formerly known as the NaturallyCurly Network. Crista worked in various marketing and business development roles in early internet days at CitySearch, helping to build brand awareness and community engagement beyond its existence as an Idealab startup to a key spoke in the IAC hub of companies that continues to exist today.  As TextureMedia’s CEO, Crista leads a growing social media company  that empowers and connects a community of people brought together by the bond of having curly, kinky or wavy hair, now engaging nearly 3 million monthly visits.  Though her locks are straight, she connects with and is inspired by the community’s message of embracing one’s true self.


Erica BergerErica Berger – Editorial and New Product Development,The Economist. Erica, aka GoodBerger, is a Brooklyn based writer and digital product manager who nerds out around international relations, resource management (natural and cultural), and on how technology is constantly changing our world. By day, she works at The Economist hustling new digital products and writing about tech and social entrepreneurship. By night, she edits NewBandDaily for her indie music fix, plays the drums and keys, and works on a web app that just might change the way we think about spending money for good.
Originally from Chicago, she loves California, writing, food, yoga, travel, music, languages, clean energy, and the outdoors too.
Sloane Berrent
Sloane Berrent – VP of Digital Marketing, Lippe Taylor and its sister agency ShopPR, both communications and public relations agencies in New York. Sloane has over ten years of experience in digital marketing across industries including nonprofits, early-stage startups and in the traditional agency capacity. She has been blogging since 2005, first as an editor for the largest city-based blog in Los Angeles, LAist.com and then for her own blog, The Causemopolitan. Prior to working at Lippe Taylor, she ran her own consultancy, Answer With Action, building and executing digital strategies for companies including PepsiCo, Microsoft, Samsung and Macy’s. She has launched many successful experiential marketing campaigns including NOLAlicious, CrisisCampNOLA, Gulf Coast Benefit, Cause It’s My Birthday and Help A Woman Out.

Courtney Boyd MyersCourtney Boyd Myers – Features Editor, TNW. Myers is the Features Editor of The Next Web and is based in New York City and London. She writes stories on innovation, entrepreneurs and startups for the blog as well as develops The Next Web’s new monthly iPad Magazine. When she’s not writing about tech, she’s practicing yoga, taking as many beach holidays as her schedule will allow and very likely drinking prosecco.





Christina Cacioppo

Christina Cacioppo – Union Square Ventures. Prior to Union Square Ventures, Christina was a design researcher at Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile in Berlin, Germany. She has also worked at Google in Mountain View and a newspaper in Kampala, Uganda. Christina graduated from Stanford with a BA in Economics and an MS in Management Science and Engineering, a combination of industrial engineering, human-computer interaction, and product design.




Greg CangialosiGreg Cangialosi is an entrepreneur, and investor based in Baltimore, MD. He has built a reputation as a pioneer in today’s online landscape as a marketer and new media evangelist. His most recent company, Blue Sky Factory, a leading email marketing service provider was acquired by WhatCounts in July of 2011. Greg is currently the managing director of the Baltimore Angel’s, and CEO of Nucleus Ventures. Greg is a seasoned lecturer on marketing & entrepreneurship, and is also the lead author of “The Business Podcasting Book,” a primer on new media for marketers. Greg holds a BA in English from UMBC, and sits on the board of WhatCounts & the Greater Baltimore Technology Council.



Taylor DavidsonTaylor Davidson – Senior Associate, kbs+ Ventures, the thematic early-stage venture investment arm of the advertising agency kbs+. Taylor has ten years of experience in working with early-stage and late-stage companies as a manager, consultant, advisor and mentor on financial, business and product strategies. Over 6,000 entrepreneurs have downloaded one of his financial model templates for startups, and Taylor is currently an Advisory Board Member at Launch Pad Ignition, a New Orleans accelerator affiliated with the TechStars network. At kbs+ Ventures, he focuses on sourcing investments, working with our portfolio companies, and building out the collaboration structure to maximize investment and knowledge returns between kbs+ Ventures, portfolio companies, kbs+, clients, and employees.


Don Dodge

Don Dodge – Developer Advocate, Google. Dodge helps developers build new applications on Google platforms and technologies. Prior to joining Google, Don was a startup evangelist at Microsoft. Don is also a veteran of five startups including Forte Software, AltaVista, Napster, Bowstreet, and Groove Networks. Don has been in the software business for more than 25 years. He started his software career with Digital Equipment, aka DEC, in the database group. He was part of the leadership team of five software startups. Forte Software was the first multiplatform object oriented development environment. AltaVista was the first search engine on the web. Napster was the first P2P file sharing network. Bowstreet was the first web services development environment. Groove Networks was the first secure P2P collaboration platform.



Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop – Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld. Cindy Gallop’s background is brandbuilding, marketing and advertising – she started up the US office of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York in 1998 and in 2003 was named Advertising Woman of the Year.  She is the founder and CEO of www.IfWeRanTheWorld.com, a  web meets world platform that turns good intentions into action, one microaction at a time, to deliver Action Branding and build your Action Graph, which launched in beta with a demo at TED 2010, and of www.makelovenotporn.com, launched at TED 2009.  She acts as board advisor to a number of tech startups and consults for companies around the world, describing her consultancy approach as ‘I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.’  She will be launching http://makelovenotporn.tv in spring 2012. You can follow her on Twitter @cindygallop.


Aziz Gilani

Aziz Gilani – Director, DFJ Mercury.  Gilani has significant experience as an operator, consultant, and investor in technology companies, with a particular focus on software and internet companies. He currently focuses on Cgate Health, Gendai Games, Graphic.ly, Kabongo, Macheen, and ShareThis at DFJ Mercury. Prior to joining DFJ Mercury, Aziz was a Senior Engagement Leader at the newly formed Infosys Consulting subsidiary. Prior to Infosys Consulting, Aziz was a Director at the newly formed ABB Performance Services where he held a variety of roles including Manager of Global Operations Analytics, Global Quality Director and Global CMMS Director. Prior to ABB, Aziz was a Senior Consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.



Andrea HarrisonAndrea Harrison – Director of Digital Engagement, PepsiCo Beverages. Helping lead trademark Pepsi digital brand marketing including Paid, Owned and Social Media, Andrea’s specific emphasis is creating 360-degree experiences for consumers emphasizing the intersection of digital behavior and media consumption. This includes leading digital integration for sponsorships such as The X Factor, the Super Bowl and the Grammy’s.





Glen HellmanGlen Hellman – Driven Forward. Glen Hellman helps entrepreneurs figure out what to do and gets them to do it. He’s an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and has worked for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He’s a principal at Driven Forward, board member at The University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, a Vistage Chair, mentor at the Founder Institute and leads a working group on peer advisory boards for Startup America. He writes about entrepreneurship for Tech Cocktail.




Troy Henikoff

Troy Henikoff – CEO and Co-founder, Excelerate Labs. Troy is also a managing member of FireStarter Fund, on the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and a faculty advisor to Hyde Park Angels. He teaches Entrepreneurship as an adjunct at both Northwestern University and University of Chicago Booth School of Business.   His last 25 years have been spent starting, running, and advising early stage technology companies including SurePayroll, Jellyvision, Amacai and many more.





Deborah JacksonDeborah Buresh Jackson  – CEO and Founder, JumpThru and Co-Founder of Women Innovate Mobile accelerator. A former Investment Banker (21 years) Deborah started at Goldman Sachs and went on to found a boutique firm. Deborah launched new lines of business at Lazard Freres and Shattuck Hammond Partners (health care tech). She made her first angel investments as a member of New York New Media in 1998 and later as a member of Golden Seeds. She has served as a judge for various startup competitions including StartUp Weekend NY, Technovation, Columbia Odyssey MBA Competition 2012 and Vatortv.




Jalak JobanputraJalak Jobanputra – Managing Director, RTP Ventures. Jalak focuses on consumer internet, mobile, payments, e-commerce and social enterprise deals. She has twenty years experience in media, technology and venture capital. She was most recently the Director of Emerging Market Mobile Investments at Omidyar Network, a fund started by Pierre Omidyar, co-founder of eBay. She was previously Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund where she managed the fund’s technology and digital media venture investments, including TxVia and Outside.in (acquired by AOL). While there, Jalak spearheaded the formation NYCSeed in 2008, a seed fund dedicated to funding early stage tech entrepreneurs in NYC. Prior to NYCIF, she was a Principal at New Venture Partners, a $300 million early stage venture fund which commercialized technology out of corporate labs. At NVP, she incubated a range of technologies, including online video, speech recognition/NLP, 3D displays, 4G wireless broadband and music recommendation software.


Scott JohnsonScott Johnson – Co-founder and managing partner, New Atlantic Ventures. Scott focuses on advertising technology and online commerce. He currently serves on the board of directors at Pontiflex, Solve Media, Fashion Playtes, and Truveris. Scott was an early investor in EnerNOC (Nasdaq ENOC), Massive (acquired by Microsoft) and Image Space Media (acquired by Vibrant Media last month). Prior to co-founding NAV and its predecessor, DFJ New England, Scott was the East Coast partner of the Cambridge Technology Capital Fund, cited by Venture Economics as one of the top performing post-IPO funds of 1999, where he oversaw investments in E.piphany, Silknet, Digital Think, and WebLogic. Before that, he co-founded InterSense, Inc., a 3D visualization technology company. Scott began his career as a software engineer and early employee of Cambridge Technology Partners, a global systems integration and consulting company. He received his BS in operations research from Cornell University and his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah Kessler Sarah Kessler – Writer, Mashable. Her work has also appeared in Sierra Magazine, Inc. Magazine, CNN.com and WBEZ Chicago. She loves meeting new people with new ideas.






Franck Nouryrigat (@peignoir) is a co-founder of Startup Weekend (startupweekend.org). Originally from France, he has a M.S. in Computer Science from Ecole Centrale d’electronique, and a specialized M.S. in Management from École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris (HEC). Prior to Startup Weekend, Franck has worn various hats in many industries including open source, computer hacking, and consulting for FT500 (with a tie!). Over the last 7 years, Franck has backpacked all over the globe and has helped thousands of startups grow. Franck’s motto is to have fun doing what you love, while helping as many people as possible. Franck’s favorite song is “Eye of the Tiger”.



Ben Parr

Ben Parr – Tech Journalist and Commentator. Previously the Editor-at-Large of Mashable, Parr is also a web entrepreneur and aspiring world changer. Ben is also a startup advisor (NerdsUnite ProductionsTracks.by, Code Academy, Women 2.0and more) and is currently working on a yet-to-be-announced project. He also recently completed his first sci-fi thriller novel, Desel. His previous experience includes project management for Facebook applications and content management in the web health space.




Peter PhamPeter Pham – Partner, Science. Peter is a passionate entrepreneur and advisor. Having success in building companies ranging from solid state storage to SAS businesses Peter then focused his time in the consumer internet space, moving to Silicon Valley in 2005 building companies like Photobucket. At Photobucket he was the fifth employee and was responsible for driving growth to 61M users and leading its $300M acquisition in 2007 to Fox Interactive Media. Peter then turned his energy in helping people save money as CEO of BillShrink from inception to their first million users in a little over a year. Peter was the Co-Founder & President of Color, exploring the future of mobile and social interactions through proximity.


Paul SinghPaul Singh – Partner, 500 Startups. Paul has mastered the art of the hustle and has the extraordinary ability to extract a business model from a rock. Also from startups. Prior to 500, he was the founder of a handful of his own startups and spent some time at PBworks, AOL and Symantec.






Brian SolisBrian Solis – Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group and Author. Solis has studied and influenced the effects of social media and disruptive technology on business, marketing, entertainment, and culture. Brian works with enterprise organizations to research market trends, disruptive technology, and emerging business opportunities. He also works with executive management and social media leadership to develop new strategies and align teams around initiatives that enable business objectives and priorities. Over the years, Brian has also led new media business and marketing efforts for Web 2.0 startups and celebrities.




Kerry Rupp Kerry Rupp – Managing Partner, DreamIt Ventures. She is the Founder of Holiday Golightly, an online travel service specializing in girlfriend getaway trips. She also provides marketing and strategy consulting to senior executives at companies such as AllRecipes.com, ReadersDigest, LexisNexis, Payscale, and Taleo. She has 17 years of executive strategy and operations experience, much of it at startup companies including Jobster, MarketSpan and CourtLink (before their acquisition by LexisNexis) and at Automated Catalogue Services (before its acquisition by Sterling Commerce). She has also served as Vice President of Business Development at Classmates.com, Managing Director & Vice President of Market Planning at LexisNexis, and Consultant at both McKinsey & Company and Andersen Consulting. Kerry was the editor of the book “CRAVE Austin: The Urban Girls’ Manifesto” (2009), and the co-publisher/editor of “The Parisian Cowboy’s Guide to the Round Top Experience” (2010). Kerry holds a BA in Biology from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Laurel Touby – Investor. Founder, Mediabistro.com. Since 1994, Touby has been building a community of media professionals. That community evolved into an online-offline business called mediabistro.com. After selling the company in July 2007 to Jupitermedia, Touby is still running Mediabistro.com as its Senior Vice President.





Phil TorontoPhil Toronto – Phil began his journey as a collegiate scholar in 2005 at The College of New Jersey. 4 years and 20 plus pounds (of knowledge) later, Phil graduated with a degree in teaching. Between the screaming teenagers and the lack of recess in middle school, Phil realized that teaching wasn’t for him and that he’d leave the classroom for Mr. Feeny. After spending 18 months as Gary Vaynerchuk’s assistant, Phil moved on up like the Jeffersons to become the Manager of Emerging Technology at VaynerMedia.




Mike TrotzkeMike Trotzke – Co-founder and managing member of SproutBox, a new kind of venture capital firm that invests talent in technology startups. He also serves as the CEO of one of SproutBox’s initial companies, Squad, a web based code editor. Prior to founding SproutBox, Mike was a co-founder and CTO of Resite Information Technology, a software as a service provider for the multifamily industry and co-founder of media consulting firm WorldView Multimedia. Mike specializes in entrepreneurship, product design, and open source development and is a sought after speaker on topics related to web based technology and startup culture.




AJ VaynerchukAJ Vaynerchuk – Co-founder, VaynerMedia, a full-service social media agency with a passion for community management and emerging technology.  AJ runs day-to-day operations at VaynerMedia while also serving as the key contact for many VaynerMedia clients.






Ellie WheelerEllie Wheeler – (@ellwheeler) VC, Greycroft Partners, a digital media venture capital firm. Her responsibilities include evaluating investment opportunities, sourcing new deals, and working with existing portfolio companies. She is currently working with or has worked with numerous companies including M5 Networks, Daily Secret, irrive, windeln.de, and xobni. Prior to joining Greycroft, Ellie worked in a similar role during business school evaluating investment opportunities at Lowercase Capital with investor Chris Sacca. Prior to that, Ellie worked at Cisco in Corporate Development doing acquisitions, investments, and strategy within the communications, collaboration, and video verticals. While at Cisco, she was involved in numerous investments as well as the acquisitions of Tandberg, PostPath, Jabber, and Securent. Ellie’s past experience also includes working briefly at the London-based venture capital firm DN Capital, focused on early stage ecommerce companies. She began her career with several years in growth capital private equity at Summit Partners in Boston.

We will be adding a few more judges and sharing the prize details very soon, so stay tuned.

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Written by:
Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.
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