Judging Committee

Terry Hsiao
Chief Executive Officer | Hooks Mobile

Terry Hsiao is an entrepreneur, advisor and investor with extensive experiences in mobile messaging, payment and cloud infrastructure. Mr. Hsiao has founded multiple companies and serve currently as Head of Strategy at Kaleyra, a cloud communications platform company. Terry served two terms on the board of Center of Innovation and Technology, a state funded economic development and investment agency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry is the current President of Monte Jade DC, a non-profit organization representing Asian American business leaders and entrepreneurs for 25 years, and the Executive Director of the MIT Alums Angel Group in DC. Mr. Hsiao also served on the Board of Governors at MIT Sloan, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Management of Technology; and Board of Advisors at College of Engineering at Rutgers University, where he received a BSEE Honors degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Mr. Hsiao have been awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Asian American chamber of commerce in 2016, and Excellence award by US Pan Asian America Chamber of Commerce in 2019. 

Shelton Mercer

Serial  Entrepreneur  | Fortune  100-advisor  | Philanthropist

Chief Innovation Officer | 1776

Founder and Chairman of The Mercer Advisory Group, Shelton Mercer is an award-winning entrepreneur, innovation leader and philanthropist. Shelton is CoFounder of media/entertainment tech startup AuDigent. Shelton advises the launch and growth of innovation hubs, such as Pennovation Center, 16Tech and Greencourt Innovation Center and is Principal and Advisor of startup incubation network 1776. Shelton is CoFounder and former CEO of celebrity-fueled, social impact pioneer TwitCHANGE and regularly speaks to audiences, worldwide, on leadership, innovation and organizational and life success. Shelton started his career with enterprise tech giant Lucent Technologies and has advised executives at dozens of global market leaders, including Disney, NBC, Warner Bros, GE, KPMG and Johnson & Johnson. A deep passion for people and the planet has fueled Shelton to mobilize thousands to donate, volunteer and advocate, lead multiple service missions to crisis points and developing nations, connect corporations, brands and governments with social impact initiatives and hold significant NGO executive and board posts. Shelton and his companies have received numerous honors, including, a Mashable Award, Top 50 Social Good Leaders You Must Follow on Social Media by The Huffington Post, Hero and Humanitarian Award from the Pennsylvania Senate and Champion for Haiti from the Haitian Professionals of America.

Brian Park
Director | Startup Grind DC

Brian is a startup evangelist, advisor, and angel investor. He is the director for Startup Grind DC and Managing Partner at the SparkLabs Cyber+Blockchain (formerly Fishbowl Labs), which is the premiere startup accelerator in the Washington DC area. He is also the Director of Technology for Curator Solutions, which is an edtech startup that creates video business cases for the classroom. He was also formerly the global COO of Startup Grind, which is one of the largest hi-tech startup communities in the world with over 2,000,000 startup entrepreneurs in 600 cities. Prior to Startup Grind, he has over 18 years professional experience in web/online/mobile product development. He has experience in developing innovative consumer and enterprise products and services. Brian has started three previous startups – Logistics Information Technology, VA Care ($20M in Revenues), and Securva. He has previously worked at AOL as a senior software developer and Merrill Lynch as a software developer for hi speed trading platforms. He has been featured in Forbes as “17 Top Business Gurus to Follow”, DCInno 50 on Fire for 2017 and 2018 and other publications such as TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Politico, and Washington Business Journal. He has a BS in Information Systems/Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Grace Y. Toh
Chief Executive Officer | Abbington Investment Group, LLC

Grace Y. Toh is the CEO of Abbington Investment Group, a boutique independent investment management firm.  She has over 30 years of experience in private banking and wealth management, concentrating on building and managing long-term relationships with high net worth and institutional clients. Previously, she was a Senior Vice President at HSBC Private Bank and The Private Bank at Bank of America. She is a graduate of Wellesley College with a B.A. in Economics and Chinese Studies. She studied Management Information Systems and Accounting at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and earned her MBA in Finance from the Jones School of Management at Rice University. She has served on a number of not-for-profit boards and is a member of Wellesley College’s Board of Trustees. 

Dr. Elizabeth Cho-Fertikh, PhD
Co-Founder & Managing Director | Media Angels

Elizabeth Cho-Fertikh, PhD is a Co-Founder & Managing Director of MEDA Angels, a healthcare-focused angel investor group, based in WSH, DC, Philadelphia, PA and San Francisco, CA.  Her 25+ year multidisciplinary career in life sciences has spanned across academia, industry, startup & angel investing sectors.  She is a trained cancer biologist with dozens of research manuscripts published in the highest impact journals, including Nature, Nature Cell Biology  & PNAS.  She served as a Scientific Review Officer administering multi-million dollar oncology and neurotrauma grant portfolios for the Dept of Defense, the Cancer Prevention Institute of TX and switched to the ‘other side’ by developing Request for Proposal grants at the NIH focused on genomics and other high throughput technologies to better understand childhood diseases. In industry, she worked in Regulatory Affairs at Macrogenics and RegenXbio supporting therapeutic FDA IND, Fast Track and related preclinical and clinical phase submissions for cancer immunotherapeutics and gene therapies.  Elizabeth established ECF Biosolutions, an advisory practice, based on her prior collective experiences, supporting early stage ventures thru pharmaceutical companies, focusing on scientific & regulatory affairs, funding, and investment due diligence.  Clients have included Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gore Medical, Becton Dickinson, Macrogenics, dozens of start-ups and angel investors. Dr. Cho-Fertikh enjoys mentoring start-up entrepreneurs and can be seen around town at incubators including Halcyon House, Johns Hopkins FastForward, and the Korea Innovation Center.  She received her BA from Johns Hopkins, MS from Georgetown, PhD from Thomas Jefferson Medical School, and completed her postdoctoral fellowships at the NIH and Harvard Medical School.

Sarah Xu
CEO | FMX New Media Inc.

Sarah has 17 years’ experience in international trading, merchandise license, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and e-commerce. She is co-founder and CEO of AY Entertainment Group Inc., co-founder of FMX new media Inc., co-founder of the future VR/AR laboratory, first CEO and co-founder of global 3d media co. She is also a winner of the “new product award” granted by the international advanced imaging society. Sarah served as a board member of several international groups and she is a long-term member of EO, Entrepreneur Organization.

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