Get Started OC 2018

Meet, Connect and Be Inspired at One of OC’s Best Startup Events of 2018 

Cox Business is bringing Get Started OC (#GetStartedOC) back to Orange County, California on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018.

Get Started OC will feature entrepreneurs who will pitch their business to a distinguished panel of experts for a chance to win $20,000 in cash, a $5,000 Cox Business technology package, and a one-year mentoring package to MasterMinds OC Startup Accelerator. (Pitch submissions have closed – finalist selections will be announced soon)

Please join us for this free event for networking and learning opportunities from accomplished leaders in early-stage investment, digital marketing, and business growth strategy.

The evening will include:

  • A pitch competition with expert feedback from our distinguished panel of judges
  • Appetizers, desserts. drink and networking
  • Complimentary Self-Parking up to 4 hours in the Garden Walk parking garage. Validation tickets are good for up to 4 hours of parking in self-parking only. Additional time above four hours will be charged to the individual driver at $3/hour, paid directly to the garage attendant upon exit.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm


House of Blues
400 W. Disney Way St. 337
Anaheim, CA 92802

Register to Attend


Meet The Get Started OC Moderator

Kirsten Mangers
Managing Director, ChickLabs

Inc. 500, Red Herring Technology 100, TechAmerica, and Deloitte’s Fast 50 have recognized Kirsten’s companies. Kirsten was a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and named Female Technology Leader of the Year by TechAmerica and American Women in Technology.

A serial entrepreneur, Ms. Mangers is the Managing Director of Chicklabs, an incubator & consulting practice for entrepreneurs. The Lab specializes in early to later stage growth companies in the sectors of SaaS, adTech, Edutech, Consumer Product Goods, Life Sciences & Med Device.

Kirsten is a Board Director for Chapman University’s Leatherby School for Ethics & Entrepreneurship and Chair Emeritus of the Board for the Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County. She also serves on the Executive Committee of TiE South Coast and is a Director on several private company Boards. She has been frequently recognized by the media as among a prestigious list of “women innovating technology”. She was recognized by OC Metro Magazine as “20 Women to Watch,” received the Pearl Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the US Global Entrepreneur’s Association and was named an Entrepreneur of the Year by the British American Business Council.


Meet The Get Started OC Panelists

Peter Polydor – CEO and Founder of  ERGO Capital and the startup accelerator Ergo Accel
Peter has built successful companies in web services and real estate and has spent the last several years working in venture capital. Currently, he is the CEO and Founder of ERGO Capital and the startup accelerator Ergo Accel. In 2014, he founded the Eureka Building, a three-acre startup and tech community-based in Irvine, California, designed to foster innovation and house entrepreneurs. The site is home to over 30 companies ranging from startup to large public company.
Peter sits on the Boards as well as Advisory Boards of a number of portfolio companies and startups. Further to his work at ERGO, Peter is a Professor of Practice at the university of Wales, is the President of Ergo Holdings, advised the Oxford Seed Fund, is a Charter Member of the Canadian C100, recipient of the Greek 40 Under 40 award and the Power 30 Under 30 award.
He received his BA from Occidental College and his MBA from the University of Oxford, Said Business School.


Carolyn Stephens – Associate Director and Chief of Staff, UCI Applied Innovation
Prior to joining UCI Applied Innovation in January of 2015, Dr. Stephens was Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor at The George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics and Assistant Director at the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics at Chapman University. Prior to that, she was Associate Professor and Department Chair, Business & Management, at Vanguard University.

Dr. Stephens’ business experience includes executive marketing and general management positions in multiple publicly traded high-tech firms, as well as the founder of a high tech start-up.

Dr. Stephens has also been highly active throughout her career in industry and community activities, including serving as the Vice Chairman of the Orange County Council and National Board member of the American Electronics Association, now TechAmerica; participating on the University of California at Irvine School of the Arts Deans Advisory Council in the area of Digital Arts; and as a Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Orange County Board member. Additionally, Dr. Stephens was nominated for the Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award; was a mentor in the Women Unlimited Leadership Development program, and a founding Board member of the Fibre Channel Association, a nonprofit industry organization.


Kim Kovacs – Finance, Startup and Business Leader
Most recently, Ms. Kovacs was the founder and CEO of OptionEase, a leading equity compliance SaaS company which was purchased by Solium Capital in November 2012 and has had a distinguished career in executive leadership and finance spanning over 20 years with dozens of successful startup ventures. In addition to raising over $100M in equity capital, she secured over $50M in funding from HUD to preserve low-income housing as Chairman of Alpha Project in San Diego.

Another noted accomplishment was as co-founder and CFO of ORXYE Energy she, along with leaders of the EPA and major oil testified in Congress that ultimately resulted in Ms. Hillary Clinton’s involvement and adoption of the Clean Energy laws in the U.S that brought in new conservation and renewable fuel standards.

Ms. Kovacs was elected as the first woman to the prestigious board of directors for OCTANE, a startup accelerator in Orange County dedicated to connecting people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology growth and create jobs. She is also on the board of the Los Angeles Ventures Association and an advisor, mentor and adjunct professor for the Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics at Chapman University. In addition, she is active in many industry organizations such as the FEI and FENG as well as the Women Presidents Organization (WPO) and the Association of Women in Technology (AWT) to promote female executive leadership and capital raising.


Don DiCostanzo – Co-Founder and CEO, Pedego Electric Bicycles
When Don DiCostanzo first meets people, he often asks, “Are you looking for fun, or are you looking for trouble?” If the answer is “trouble,” he replies, “We’re all out of that, but we have plenty of fun!” This one exchange sums up a lot about Don’s fun-loving personality. While he’s an experienced and savvy businessman, he is also a happy family man whose lifelong friendship with partner Terry Sherry led to the creation of Pedego — where the motto is, “Hello, Fun!”

After 30 years in the automotive world, Don started an electric bicycle shop in Newport Beach, California. This was a labor of love. Over time, he developed an interest in electric cycling and tried to find quality electric bikes for his bicycle shop. His frustration with existing suppliers led him to contact his friend and future Pedego partner Terry Sherry and make plans for Pedego. In 2008, the two men co-founded Pedego Electric Bikes, where quality, innovation and customer service are among the top core values of the company.

Don has built several of his own successful companies. Starting in 2002, he acquired Zak Products along with a financial partner. The company owned and operated 40 car washes and distributed chemicals and automotive service equipment to franchised car dealerships from Florida to California. During that time, he also co-founded Prism Automotive, a very successful trade magazine publishing company and is the first angel investor in TicketSocket. Most recently, he co-founded Bringpro, an on-demand delivery service startup.

Timothy Howe – Senior Director Strategy and Corporate Development, Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Timothy Howe is a Senior Director in Cox Enterprises’ Strategy and Corporate Development group, where he leads Cox Enterprises’ Healthcare Strategy and leads Cox’s efforts to further develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta.

Prior to joining Cox in 2016, Tim was an executive at the General Electric Company focused on business operations and corporate development. Half of his 15-year career with GE was spent outside of the US. More recently Tim led the business integration and process simplification globally as the Process Excellence Leader for GE’s Distributed Power, which generated more than $5 billion in revenues annually. Tim spent three years as Managing Director and Integration Leader for GE’s Global Growth and Operations in China, responsible for joint venture portfolio management, strategy, and M&A. Before moving to China, Tim was the Global Strategy and Channel Partner Development Leader for GE Healthcare’s eHealth Solutions start-up.

Tim started his career as a software developer then became a technology and social entrepreneur before joining GE.

Tim serves as a virtual business advisor in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative with Babson College, in an effort designed to help small business owners create jobs through better access to education, capital, and business support services.

Get Started Sponsors and Partners



You can enter the Contest by visiting the official registration page at  (the “Website”) and completing all of the required information and following all posted instructions. The contest is open only to legal residents of California who: (1) are at least 18 years of age; (2) are the owner, principal, or general manager of a business that is physically located within a Cox Business serviceable area. Entry Period begins March 5th, 2018. BY ENTERING THE CONTEST, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT (1) YOUR MATERIALS ARE NOT CONFIDENTIAL AND NO CONFIDENTIAL OR FIDUCIARY RELATIONSHIP IS INTENDED OR CREATED BY ENTERING THE CONTEST; AND (2) THE CONTEST ENTITIES MAY POSSESS OR COME TO POSSESS INFORMATION THAT IS SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL TO YOUR MATERIALS, AND YOU HEREBY AGREE THAT THE CONTEST ENTITIES MAY USE SUCH SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL INFORMATION WITHOUT LIMITATION, COMPENSATION, OR CREDIT TO YOU. Void where prohibited. Contest subject to Complete Official Rules. To obtain a copy of Official rules click here.  To obtain a copy of the winner’s list, send your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to “Cox Business Get Started” Winners List, Marketing Department, Cox Communications, Inc., 6205-B Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30328. Sponsor: Cox Communications, Inc., d/b/a Cox Business, 6305 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30328. (c) 2017 Cox Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


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