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Wednesday, October 18 • 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Launch Startup Showcase

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PLEASE NOTE: since this event will be held at One World Trade Center, large bags will not be permitted, and a photo ID is required for entry.

A showcase featuring the hottest tech startups in the NYC area. The evening will feature three panels focusing on different aspects of growing an early-stage company. 


5:00 PM | Doors Open 

5:30 PM | "Young Founders with Thiel Fellows" Panelists:
  • Jesse Leimgruber, Founder & CEO, NeoReach
  • Megan Grassell, Founder & CEO, Yellowberry
  • Lani Lazzari, Founder, President & CEO, Simple Sugars
  • Moderator: Allyson Dias, Program Manager, Thiel Foundation
6:00 PM | "Building a Sustainable Financial Base" Panelists:
  • David Mendlewicz, Co-Founder, Butterfly
  • Polly Rodriguez, Co-Founder & CEO, Unbound
  • Dennis Mortensen, Founder & CEO, x.ai
  • Moderator: Karen Griffith Gryga, Chief Investment Officer, Dreamit
6:30 PM | "Building From Your Mistakes" Panelists:
  • Christina Perla, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, makelab
  • Jade Huang, Co-Founder & CEO, StyleSage
  • Alejandro Dinsmore, CEO, EEVO
  • Moderator: Elizabeth “Beth” Perlak, Senior Compliance Associate, TriNet
7:00 PM | Open Networking
7:30 PM | Conclusion

avatar for Allyson Dias

Allyson Dias

Program Manager, Thiel Fellowship
Allyson Dias is the program manager for the Thiel Fellowship.
avatar for Karen Griffith Gryga

Karen Griffith Gryga

Chief Investment Officer, Dreamit
Karen Griffith Gryga is an experienced venture capitalist, investor and entrepreneur with over 20 years of startup and emerging growth company experience. Karen is Chief Investment Officer for DreamIt. Karen is also founder of the DreamIt Athena program which focuses on female... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth “Beth” Perlak

Elizabeth “Beth” Perlak

Senior Compliance Associate, TriNet
Elizabeth is a senior compliance associate at TriNet, which provides HR solutions for small and midsize businesses. Since 2006, Elizabeth has worked closely with TriNet clients to help them better understand the compliance aspects of the employment relationship. As part of the client services team, Elizabeth advises TriNet clients on human resources best practices--in particular hiring, terminations, employee relations and leave issues. Elizabeth holds a juris doctor from Washington University School of Law and a... Read More →

avatar for Alejandro Dinsmore

Alejandro Dinsmore

Alejandro has been working in VR for the past three years and is a co-founder of EEVO, a venture-backed, revenue generating VR startup. EEVO's mission is to democratize the creation and delivery of immersive experiences. Before working in VR, Alejandro studied neuroscience and philosophy at Vassar... Read More →
avatar for Megan Grassell

Megan Grassell

Founder & CEO, Yellowberry
avatar for Jade Huang

Jade Huang

Co-Founder & CEO, StyleSage
Jade Huang is the CEO and co-founder of StyleSage, a data analytics company that has developed "smart machines that see the world the way designers do" which helps retailers and brands with critical business decisions in assortment, pricing, promotion, and trends. An ex-fashion designer turned technologist, Jade has 10+ years of award-winning digital strategy, design, and technology experience. | | She is a frequent industry speaker, having presented at The Financial Times Innovate America Forum, Monaco Symposium of Luxury, International Retail Summit in Switzerland, INSEAD, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, MIT, and many more. Currently, she serves as a mentor at Techstars New York. | | Jade studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design, and has a Bachelors in International Trade from Fashion Institute of Technology. She has a MPA in International Economics from Columbia University, and a MBA from INSEAD where she was awarded the L'Oreal Scholarship for Creativity... Read More →
avatar for Lani Lazzari

Lani Lazzari

Founder, President & CEO, Simple Sugars
Lani ( Lay-nee) Lazzari ( La-ZAR-ee) is the 23 year old CEO and founder of the all-natural skincare company Simple Sugars and a 2017 Thiel Fellow. Simple Sugars manufactures and sells all-natural sugar scrubs especially formulated for sensitive skin. Lani founded Simple Sugars in December of 2005, when she was just 11 years old, in an effort to create natural skincare products that would be safe to use on her ultra-sensitive skin and relieve her eczema. What started in the basement of her... Read More →
avatar for Jesse Leimgruber

Jesse Leimgruber

Founder & CEO, NeoReach
avatar for David Mendlewicz

David Mendlewicz

CEO & Co-Founder, Butterfly
David Mendlewicz is CEO & Co-founder of Butterfly, a VC-backed employee intelligence and AI training platform designed to groom the next generation of organizational leadership. Teams at companies like Coca-Cola, GE, Citi and Jet.com leverage the platform to develop management sk... Read More →
avatar for Dennis Mortensen

Dennis Mortensen

CEO, x.ai
Dennis is the CEO and Founder of x.ai. He’s a pioneer and expert in leveraging Data and a serial entrepreneur who has successfully delivered a number of company exits on that theme. Dennis’s long term vision of killing the inbox triggered the formation of x.ai and the creation of an artificial intelligence personal assistant to schedule meetings... Read More →
avatar for Christina Perla

Christina Perla

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, makelab
Christina Perla, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Makelab, is passionate about seeing a concept turn into reality by bringing a model from paper to an object you can hold in your hand. As a driven designer and entrepreneur, she’s excited to be continuously involved in a growing tech community that aids in the speed and innovation of products... Read More →
avatar for Polly Rodriguez

Polly Rodriguez

Co-Founder & CEO, Unbound
As the CEO of Unbound, Polly Rodriguez has always been drawn to turning terrible experiences into great ones for customers. With a background in strategy consulting, she started her career at Deloitte specializing in customer experience. She went on to scale the YCombinator startup Grouper which focused on the worst experience of all: dating in New York City (and subsequently globally). But there was always one shopping experience that she found to be the worst - buying your first vibrator as a woman. Years later... Read More →

Wednesday October 18, 2017 5:00pm - 7:30pm
One World Trade Center - 64th Floor USE NORTH LOBBY - 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007