Final Three Judges Named for ‘Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash,’ Hosted by the Kauffman Foundation

Two judges from Mexico, one from the U.S. round out judging panels for startup pitch competition

(This release has been updated as of October 20, 2014, to reflect changes in the judging panel.)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept. 2, 2014) — Three esteemed entrepreneurial leaders have been named to complete the judging panels for the "Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash" pitch competition, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation on Nov. 6-7. The panels feature high-profile representatives from Canada, Mexico and the United States who will select the continent's most-promising startup to then compete for the Get in the Ring world title during Global Entrepreneurship Week in the Netherlands.

The following business executives will complete the final and semifinal judging panels:

  • Hernán Fernández (Mexico), judging the North American finals on Nov. 7

Fernández is the director and cofounder of Angel Ventures Mexico, the first professionally managed angel investor network in the country. It is the leading angel investment network in Mexico with four chapters under operation in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana/San Diego, and Hermosillo, and expanding operations into Peru and Colombia. He also is a general partner for Angel Ventures Coinvestment Fund I with $20 million under management and institutional investment from the MIF and NAFIN. Previously, Fernández was an associate for Booz & Company; a corporate lawyer for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Mexico City and Paris; worked on the sustainable business initiative of the United Nations Development Program in New York and Paraguay; and was a consultant for Tecnonexo, an Endeavor company in Argentina.

  • Anita Newton (United States), judging the North American semifinals on Nov. 6

Newton leads marketing at multi-channel global digital marketing company Adknowledge and serves as a strategic marketing advisor for startups. Newton also provides marketing education to entrepreneurs through the Kauffman Founders School and STEM-based Robotics, and is a frequent columnist for outlets such as

  • César Pérez Barnés (Mexico), judging the North American semifinals on Nov. 6

Pérez Barnés is managing director of the Southern Cross Group, a Latin American private equity fund with more than $1.1 billion in assets under management. Formerly, he was a principal with Advent International in Mexico City and a principal in the energy practice at Booz & Co. In addition, Pérez Barnés spent five years between the Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Madrid offices of McKinsey, concentrating on projects in the energy, financial services, telecommunications, media and technology sectors; and was the director of investments for Netjuice Capital, where he led the investment in Kelkoo, which was later acquired by Yahoo for more than $500 million. In 2002, he was the founding managing director of Endeavor Mexico.

The previously announced judges for the North American finals on Nov. 7, to be held in Kansas City, Mo., are:

  • Devon Brooks (Canada), cofounder of Blo, North America's original blow dry bar
  • Mark Hasebroock (United States), serial entrepreneur and founder of Dundee Venture Capital
  • Leslie Jump (United States), founder and CEO of Startup Angels and a board member of UP Global
  • Paul Kedrosky (United States), cofounder and managing partner of SK Ventures and of Garibaldi Capital Advisors, entrepreneur, and writer

The day before the finals event, 15 North American semifinalists — 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 previously announced judges for the North American semifinals on Nov. 6 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 (United States), a presentation coach, trainer and speaker known as The Demo Coach
  • Toby Rush (United States), 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.

While the application process for competitions in Mexico and the United States has recently ended, Canadian entrepreneurs have until Sept. 17 to enter at

Sponsors for Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash are Sprint and Combat Brands;
media partners are Inc., Marketplace from American Public Media and Kansas City PBS station KCPT.