Meet the 2024 Planning Committee

When CEO and Founder Micheal Kiel set out to create the first AI-powered platform to connect boaters with local marine professionals who maintain, fix, and clean boats he knew getting in the right rooms with the right people would be key.

Aaliyah Aramjoo

Analyst at KCRise Fund

While Aaliyah is an Analyst at KCRise Fund, she is concurrently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Rockhurst University with concentrations in Finance, Economics, and Accounting. She discovered her passion for venture capital and entrepreneurship during an internship with Community America Credit Union as an Innovation Intern. There, she developed and pitched a startup aimed at maintaining reading proficiency and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aaliyah is also an intern with University Venture Fund Crossroads (UVFC) where she performs diligence on pre-Seed and Seed stage companies, conducts market analyses, and engages promising high-growth startups. Born and raised in Kansas City, Aaliyah has an innate passion and enthusiasm for the region’s startup ecosystem and is thrilled to be part of the planning and organization of InvestMidwest.

Connie Bowen

Co-Founder/General Partner at Farmhand Ventures

Connie is an agrifoodtech investor, currently building and backing companies creating the future of work in specialty crop agriculture at Farmhand Ventures. She got her start in agtech in St. Louis investing with The Yield Lab and leading The Yield Lab Institute, and has continued her exploration of the space through farmland investment at Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners, operations at Farmacopia F`arms, and farmer-centric investment and innovation at AgLaunch. She’s also a Venture for America alumn, and Venture Partner at Republic, and active thought-leader in agtech, contributing to Forbes, AgFunder, and others.

Daniel Kennedy

Vice President at BioNexus KC

Daniel Kennedy is responsible for establishing and expanding the medical and animal health research infrastructure within the Kansas City region. To do this, Daniel facilitates collaborations between scientists and life science funding agencies. Another important focus is to ensure availability of a trained, capable workforce to meet the needs of the area.

Prior to joining BioNexus KC, Daniel was the Research and Development Director at Novation iQ, a private research facility in Lenexa, KS. There he spearheaded creation of the Innovation Technology Evaluation process that identified notable applications and business opportunities for emerging products in medicine. He also curated a network capable of financially supporting the lab’s varied research initiatives. Daniel’s systems established a proven track record at Novation iQ of translating research concepts into packaged, profitable assets across a multitude of medical fields.

Daniel has worked at several research labs on a number of multi-disciplinary projects. At the start of his career, he worked in neuropharmacology to aid cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques for stroke and cerebral palsy patients. Based on this work, Daniel quickly transitioned into tissue engineering and histology studies resulting in groundbreaking research around targeted muscle reinnervation to generate “feeling” in a prosthetic limb. He further supplemented his skillsets with bioinformatic studies and custom software constructs for some of the earliest analyses of gene-therapy off-target/on-target causatums. From robotics to neurochemistry, Daniel’s multifaceted background provides him a unique viewpoint on complex scientific issues.

Daniel joined the BioNexus KC team in 2022. In the community, he is a frequent supporter of Folds of Honor, Big Brothers Big Sisters KC, TWKC and others. He tutors children with developmental disorders to help his community cope with virtual learning. Daniel most looks forward to serving his community on a larger scale by working with the many creative organizations throughout the KC area.

Alfred Jackson

Director of Portfolio at Arch Grants

Alfred Jackson is an adviser and operator. He's built a career around building leverageable corporate, venture capital, and talent relationships for early-stage startups.  He's led entrepreneur support and investor connections at Arch Grants, was an investor at Atento Capital and Lightship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and most recently led sales and operations for an early-stage workforce marketplace startup. He's also an angel investor through Concrete Rose Capital's Super Angels Program. Alfred has had the opportunity to build his career and adult life in St. Louis, and now that he's moved back, he wants to help bridge the gap between culture and innovation in our community.

David Moon

Principal at Cultivation Capital

David Moon is Principal at Cultivation Capital focusing on B2B software investments. Prior to joining Cultivation Capital, David worked as an operator at vinvinvin inc., founded by Doin Kim (previously Cofounder & Global President of MBX, YC W14 – Series D).
David trained as an analyst at IMM Investment, a leading multi-asset alternative investment firm in Asia, focusing on venture capital, growth equity and infrastructure, and worked as an associate at Ascend Venture Capital focusing on early-stage startups, investing in companies such as Utopia Labs, Oxio and Producer’s Trust.
BSBA, Washington University in St. Louis, double major in Finance and Computer Science.

Tammy Platt, Ph.D.

Manager of Innovation & Strategy at Néstle Purina PetCare Global

Dr. Platt manages strategic alliances with start-up companies, universities, and suppliers, providing strategic oversight to collaborative research in support of the Global R&D and Innovation platforms within Nestle Purina. Previously, Tammy served as section leader for the Nutrition Trial Management team at the Nestle Purina Product Technology Center, Missouri.

Prior to joining Nestle Purina, Tammy spent two years with the Innovation Stockyard as a Science Officer helping animal health start-up companies commercialize their ideas. She spent 5 years as an Assistant Professor of Animal and Equine Sciences at Morehead State University and has more than 30 years experience with the equine industry.

Bijoy Shah

Investor at Fulcrum Global Capital

Bijoy is an investor at Fulcrum Global Capital, an early-stage venture fund focused on boosting global food production through investments in AgTech, Animal Health, and Supply Chain. A graduate of Boston College with a background in finance, entrepreneurship, and social impact, Bijoy co-founded the first student-led venture capital firm at Boston College in partnership with SSC Venture Partners. He is a 2022 Venture for America fellow, a two-year program that places recent graduates in entrepreneurship ecosystems across 13 US cities. He serves as the Kansas City fellow lead, co-lead for Antha Prerna (South Asian affinity group), and co-lead for VFAsians.