We are fortunate to have such a high caliber panel of judges for the Venture Challenge Final. 

Prem Bodagala | , 2022

Prem Bodagala is Director at Michigan Rise, the early-stage investment fund backed by the State of Michigan and administered by the Michigan State University Foundation. He also serves as Director at Red Cedar Ventures, the early-stage investment arm and wholly owned subsidiary of MSU Foundation. Prem has been an active, sector-agnostic investor in Michigan’s tech startup scene for over ten years, first at Michigan Accelerator Fund I, then Invest Michigan and now at Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise. He has had the privilege of backing over a hundred disruptive and high growth companies which have gone on to syndicate over $1B in venture capital. Prem also served a stint at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he oversaw a portfolio of investments by the Michigan Strategic Fund in several venture funds as well as technology startups. He is passionate about working with tech entrepreneurs and believes tech entrepreneurship has great potential to be the driver of positive disruptive change in society and harbinger of economic prosperity.

Prem has a Masters in Information from the University of Michigan where he studied Health Informatics and Human Computer Interaction.  He also has a Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University respectively.

Stefon Crawford | , 2022

Stefon Crawford is the Sr. Associate for General Motors venture capital fund. His track record includes 80+ VC transactions with a total investment over $150M in early-stage companies. He is also serving on a Board Observer for a fintech startup.  Stefon graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2010.  This is his 5th year serving as an EMU Executive Mentor at the University.

Martin Dober | , 2022

Martin Dober is Senior VP at Invest Detroit and Managing Director of their venture capital arm, ID Ventures. His career includes more than 20 years of experience in early-stage technology ventures and in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and investment roles. His primary responsibility is to provide investment capital and support to seed stage startups in the region.



Bill Mayer | , 2022

Bill Mayer has founded and exited multiple start-ups in the technology and finance sectors. His areas of expertise are in finance, securities and quantitative analysis. He has founded and worked with numerous businesses covering a broad range of industry sectors, ranging from start-up ventures through Fortune 500 companies.

Client engagements have covered a broad range of services including market strategy, portfolio structure, and the IPO process. Bill has managed over $125 million in client assets. Areas of specialty are financial modeling, pricing strategies, the process of private and public equity securitization, management of business assets, and fundraising. He has extensive experience in creating financial models, business valuations, and capitalization tables, as well as navigating advanced business tax issues and the complex issues surrounding securitization. This allows Bill to effectively position clients from an investor’s viewpoint in order to maximize a venture’s ability to receive funding.