Texas Startups Roadshow at Global Entrepreneurship Week Texas Startups Roadshow at Global Entrepreneurship Week


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Breakout Session - Disrupted by DTC and E-commerce


Omair Tariq is an experienced executive in eCommerce, retail, and data science. He is currently COO ofthe largest Home Depot eCommerce subsidiary, Blinds.com. Omair joined Blinds.com as employee #36 in 2010, where he helped them scale rapidly, raise strategic capital, and ultimately exit to The Home Depot in 2014. He has also served Blinds.com as CFO and Head of BI & Data Science.

In addition to his current role at Blinds.com, Omair also sits on the Board of Advisors for small to mid-size companies in the retail and technology space. He is passionate about the use of machine learning and AI in solving complex business problems. Omair has also built and exited a startup in the women’s retail space, is an active mentor with Capital Factory and Ion/Station Houston, and is an opportunistic angel investor.

Omair received his MBA from Rice University and BA in Applied Mathematics and Physics fromUniversity of Cambridge.

Bryan DeLuca is a consummate entrepreneur. He’s the Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Engagement at Bioworld, the leading licensed pop-culture apparel and accessories manufacturer, where he oversees a suite of ecommerce brands. He’s also the former CEO and proud papa of Foot Cardigan, the world’s leading sock subscription company. He’s been on Shark Tank, featured in Forbes, nominated for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and grows a wicked beard. Bryan’s background is in digital marketing and brand building, and is a Belmont University alum (although he claims OU during football season).

Jay B Sauceda is CEO of the eCommerce 3PL known as Sauceda Industries. Founded in Austin, Texas to support his brand, Texas Humor, it now services 50+ merchants such as Howler Brothers, William Murray Golf, Pepper Bras, and the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

Jay B was born in La Porte, Texas and moved to Austin in 2003. He uses his background in commercial advertising to consult and partner with eCommerce brands who give a damn about their customer experience.

He believes there are no beans in chili, porch beers cure most issues, and that Bob Wills is still the king.

Breakout Session - Rise of CPG and Retail Innovation in Texas


Kirstin Ross is the Managing Director of SKU, a world-class program that accelerates emerging CPG brands through a thriving community of serial entrepreneurs & industry experts. SKU's 12-week intensive program provides emerging companies with access to industry leaders, key retailers, and the tools necessary to accelerate smarter, faster growth. In her role as Managing Director, Kirstin oversees the selection of the 6-8 participating companies, curates the 40-person mentor group of leading CPG experts, and manages 30+ advisory mentors that are part of the extensive SKU network.
Currently, SKU operates in 4 cities - Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis and New York City.

Prior to joining SKU, Kirstin was a broker at Wortham Insurance, which was acquired in August 2018 by Marsh. A resident of Tarrytown, Kirstin is an active parent at Good Shepherd Episcopal School and is on the steering committee of Invest to Elect, a women-run political group in Austin.

Anna Jarman is a senior program manager for Walmart Technology's Innovation Ecosystem based out of Austin, Texas. NexTech is the engineering, data and design arm of Walmart and where associates power the future of retail. Anna looks for ways to enhance internal product development through external collaboration.  Prior to joining Walmart, Anna was in investment associate for Shell Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell.  Her focus was investments of $5M-$20M in software, analytics, mobility, and new energies companies.  She was board observer on several portfolio companies, including Innowatts, a platform transforming how energy providers understand and serve their customers. Anna has a MS in Analytics and a BA from Rice University.

Breakout Session - Robotics on the Rise

Featuring the following speakers:

Andrea Thomaz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Diligent Robotics and a renowned social robotics expert. Her accolades include being recognized by the National Academy of Science as a Kavli Fellow, the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Tech, MIT Technology Review on its Next Generation of 35 Innovators Under 35 list, Popular Science on its Brilliant 10 list, TEDx as a featured keynote speaker on social robotics and Texas Monthly on its Most Powerful Texans of 2018 list.

Andrea’s robots have been featured in the New York Times and on the covers of MIT Technology Review and Popular Science. Her passion for social robotics began during her work at the MIT Media Lab, where she focused on using AI to develop machines that address everyday human needs. Andrea co-founded Diligent Robotics to pursue her vision of creating socially intelligent robot assistants that collaborate with humans by doing their chores so humans can have more time for the work they care most about.

Jeff Cardenas is a co-founder of Apptronik. He specializes in new product development and go-to-market strategy. He received his Master’s of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked in the Global Commercialization Group at the IC2 Institute at UT Austin, working with innovators from around the globe to take innovations out of the research lab and to the market. He holds an undergraduate Business degree from UT Austin, and worked in the Technology practice of Deloitte Consulting. He previously founded several start-ups and a non-profit, and has a passion for using technology to solve difficult social problems.

Craig Nekhorn will be representing Guinn Partners, which is the greatest concentration of breadth and depth of expertise in the nascent drone, robotics, and applied technology markets that is available to startups or established companies looking for a strategy and execution partner.

Breakout Session - Diversity in Texas


Jess Gaffney is the CEO & Executive Director of [email protected], where she steers the organization's mission to advance and empower women entrepreneurs. She is an entrepreneur herself, having co-founded Pro Mama, a community and resource for moms to help them find flexible work. In addition, she has over 15 years of experience in development and marketing in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Previously, she served as Development Director for Sustainable Food Center and on the Austin - Travis County Food Policy Board, helping people access fresh food in Central Texas. Jess received her BA in Marketing and Small Business Management from Georgetown University. Now, she lives with her husband, 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son in Austin, Texas.

VC Reverse Pitch

 TX Investors pitch to Beyond-TX Investors