International Panel of High-Profile Judges Assembled for ‘Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash,’ Hosted by the Kauffman Foundation

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Application Deadlines Nearing for Canada, Mexico and U.S. Competitions; Inc., Marketplace and Kansas City Public Television Secured as Media Partners

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Two knock-out panels of international entrepreneurs and business leaders are taking shape to judge the final rounds of “Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash.” The first-ever North American pitch competition will bring together country winners from Canada, Mexico and the United States to vie for the continent’s championship title and go on to compete against winners from six other global regions as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week event.

While judges from Mexico will be announced soon, the notable American and Canadian representatives who will serve as judges of the North American finals to be held in Kansas City, MO on Nov. 7, 2014 are:

  •     Devon Brooks (Canada), cofounder of Blo, North America’s original blow dry bar
  •     Brad Keywell (America), cofounder of Groupon and managing director of Lightbank
  •     Mark Hasebroock (America), serial entrepreneur and founder of Dundee Venture Capital
  •     Leslie Jump (America), founder and CEO of Startup Angels and a board member of UP Global

The day before the finals event, 15 North American semi-finalists — comprised of the five national winners from Canada, Mexico and the United States — will compete before a different panel of judges, who will pare the competitors down to eight finalists. The semi-final judges, pending additions from Mexico, are:

  •     Chris Carder (Canada), cofounder of North American Design and Technology Lab and the entrepreneur in residence at Schulich School of Business at York University
  •     Nathan Gold (America), a presentation coach, trainer and speaker known as The Demo Coach
  •     Toby Rush (America), founder and CEO of EyeVerify and the 2013 Get in the Ring global champion

The North American champion will travel expense-paid to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for the global finals. Winners from seven global regions (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Europe) will compete for a chance at prizes, exposure and the opportunity for angel funding.

Application deadlines for competitions in Canada, Mexico and the United States are fast approaching.

The Kauffman Foundation also announced today its slate of media partners for the event, which will provide a range of coverage before and after the competition: Inc., Marketplace from American Public Media and Kansas City PBS station KCPT.

Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash event sponsors are Sprint and Combat Brands.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, MO, and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and

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Neil Neumeyer
Kauffman Foundation
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Goldin Solutions
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