Judging Panel

Matthew Brown, Co-Founder, Emergent Properties Inc.
Brett Dovman, Founder, Panelfly Inc.
Rumit Mehta, Founder, Immersion Journeys
Sara Shikhman, President, BedroomFurnitureDiscounts.com


Matthew Brown - Co-Founder, Emergent Properties Inc.

  [Matthew Brown]

Matthew Brown is Co-Founder of Emergent Properties Inc. and developer of LogCheck, the mobile app that fixes dysfunctional building maintenance. Previously, Matthew served as a Performance Assurance Engineer at Johnson Controls where he measured the savings in Energy Performance Contracts and provided efficiency consultation to over 100 buildings. He also currently teaches energy efficiency to building operators at the Local 32BJ Union.

His past work experience includes GE Energy and Goodrich Aerospace, where he worked on gas turbines and turbine powertrains, respectively. In graduate school, he co-taught a year-long capstone course in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. His graduate research focused on optimizing the design of small wind turbines to maximize energy production. He later worked for startup Warner Energy, where he managed the product development of a 2.5 kW small wind turbine system.

Matthew received both his BS in Aeronautical Engineering and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. He pursued an MBA in Entrepreneurial Studies at Pace University and shortly thereafter was inspired to work full-time on his current venture.

Brett Dovman - Founder, Panelfly Inc.

  [Brett Dovman]

Brett is an innovative and highly talented digital media entrepreneur with experience in mobile software and entertainment. He is the Founder and Head of Operations of Panelfly Inc., a company he started in 2008 with two friends while studying for his MBA at Pace University. Panelfly is a leader in creating the ultimate digital fan experience. Dubbed SuperMedia, our unique transmedia storytelling approach, coupled with deep content discovery and social interactivity, Panelfly takes traditional on-screen experiences to a whole new level. Beyond the Internet, we are driven to deliver the world’s most immersive, interactive digital fanfest, whether at home or on the go.

Prior to starting Panelfly, Brett spent time with Telemetry Investments, where he focused on distressed mortgage assets. Brett received an MBA from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University.

Rumit Mehta - Founder, Immersion Journeys

  [Rumit Mehta]

Born in Kenya of Indian descent & raised in Tanzania, Rumit Mehta has a love for Africa that is unmatched. Despite living in the urban jungle of New York City, he still manages to return to Africa and India both for family visits and by request from many of his clients. Rumit grew up leading safaris for friends and colleagues where he refined his keen wildlife spotting skills in the bush.

Trained as an architect with a degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design, Rumit worked in the design and construction industry for 13 years. After moving to New York, he obtained his MBA in International Business (Lubin '03) and re-entered the architectural design and construction industry. This included several years administering a multi-million dollar capital improvement program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium etc). By then he was dabbling in travel planning for select luxury clients to Africa and India. Very soon, the travel bug caught on and after much deliberation he decided to do it on a full time basis as it was more exciting than visiting muddy construction sites.

An avid thrill seeker, Rumit plays a pivotal role in developing custom itineraries for luxury and academic clients including Pace University, Harvard Business School, Babson College, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern Law School and Columbia Business School. Immersion Journeys leverages a wealth of knowledge and professional networks in both Africa and South Asia to design complex itineraries. With his deep knowledge of the hospitality industry, he is frequently invited as a guest speaker at trade trade and academic forums. Rumit is also Vice President of the Association of the Promotion of Tourism in Africa (APTA) - Northeast Chapter.

Immersion Journeys is also the 2010 & 2011 Tanzania Tour Operator of the Year awarded by the Tanzania Tourist Board.

Sara Shikhman - President, BedroomFurnitureDiscounts.com

  [Sara Shikhman]

Sara Shikhman is the President of BedroomFurnitureDiscounts.com, a leading online retailer of home furnishings in New York. Under Sara's leadership Bedroom Furniture Discounts was able to turn a $20,000 investment into nearly $10 million in revenue despite being 576th to market. Sara earned her B.B.A. in Finance from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and her law degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to Bedroom Furniture Discounts Sara taught Business Law at Pace University, was a portfolio manager at Deutsche Asset Management and practiced corporate law at a top law firm in New York. In her spare time, Sara enjoys traveling, tennis and writing. Sara is a board member of the University of Pennsylvania Law School alumni board and the Lubin School of Business Alumni Board.