Pitch Sessions

Ryan Armbrust is a Managing Director at ff Venture Capital. In this role he focuses on investment opportunities across a range of emerging industries, including UAVs, machine learning, and broader consumer technologies. Ryan has experience providing targeted growth guidance to ffVC investments including Plated, GoSkip, Wade & Wendy, Adcade, and Top Flight Technologies. Prior to joining ffVC, Ryan spent seven years at Columbia Technology Ventures, where he commercialized the early-stage technology developed within the research labs of Columbia University. Ryan continues to broaden his relationships with the communities of Columbia University and greater New York City, having served on the board of the Columbia Venture Community. Ryan holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University.
Donald Butts is a strategic technology leader with 10+ years of experience in the energy, aerospace/defense, automotive and consumer electronics industries developing new innovative technologies and products. Presently, Donald is the Sr. Manager of Open Innovation and Corporate R&D Program Manager at HARMAN International. In this position, Donald is in charge of driving new innovation through strategic partnerships, targeted crowd-sourcing, co-development, and co-creation with leading technology companies, small businesses, startups and research partners to complement the traditional R&D within HARMAN. Additionally, he manages R&D development projects that are adjacent to the current business or have the potential to be transformational products / business. Prior to joining HARMAN, Donald worked at Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies, for over 8 years. He received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, a M.Eng in Acoustics from The Pennsylvania State University, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.
Sean Middleton is the Chief Operating Officer of Cognizant’s Emerging Business Accelerator (EBA).  He has global leadership responsibility for the Emerging Technology practices of Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC), the Business Accelerator – Cognizant’s internal venture incubator, the Managed Innovation Services practice, and the Global Innovation Ecosystem of VCs, startups, and universities. Prior to Cognizant, Sean was a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Atul Prashar is founding partner of KMH Investment Group: a boutique investment and consulting group, which offers strategy, business development and investment solutions for early to mid-stage companies. One of the bi-products of this group is the website Sava360.com: catering to South Asian Innovators and Business Leaders to share ideas, source deals, and achieve great things. Prior to this, Atul produced music for urban recording artists Angie Stone and THC (previously Sony/J Records) and several hit TV shows. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from Fordham University.