The Galant Challenge

The Galant Challenge

Have a compelling seed- or early-stage-venture? Seeking investors to take it to the next level?

The Galant Challenge connects ventures from the UVA community with potential investors. This exciting event has successfully funded ventures with more than $1.5 million in capital, in just the past few years alone.

The 2018 Galant Challenge will take place April 26, 2018, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the McIntire School of Commerce, Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 120, on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. You must be able to be in Charlottesville April 26 to participate.

How to Apply
  • The Challenge is open to ventures founded by any UVA graduate or individual affiliated with UVA. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., March 26, 2018, EST. Submit your entry here
  • Each entry should include a descriptive 10-slide PowerPoint presentation (a proven format is Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 approach) and a one-minute “elevator pitch” video clip (cellphone footage works well).
  • Submissions should include information about the team, the opportunity, the market, the product/service and what is compelling about it, the progress to date, the next steps, and “the ask” (i.e., the capital that the venture is hoping to raise at this point in time, and what would be done with that capital). Garage Technology Venture’s Resources for Entrepreneurs can be a helpful source for additional insights about how to get started.
How to Advance in the Challenge
  • If our advisory team decides your venture is a fit for investor consideration, you will be selected to present on stage to the panel of judges and investors at the April 26 event. Finalists will be notified by Friday, April 6, 2018.
  • Chosen ventures will meet with the judges/investors before the event at a mutually convenient time to explain their concepts—without the 10-minute constraints of the on-stage event.
  • At the event, each venture will give a 10-minute pitch presentation, followed immediately by a Q&A session with the judges/investors.

PLEASE NOTE: As with similar events (e.g., the television show “Shark Tank”), any interest voiced during the event will be followed by and conditioned upon due diligence, and more detailed discussions between the ventures and the investors.

Make your submission by 11:59 p.m., March 26, 2018, EST here

2018 Galant Challenge Showcase Judges and Investors

Jim ChengJim Cheng (Darden '87, Georgetown University Law Center '02) is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and successfully exited an IT services firm that he grew from five people to 550 people in nine years, and has started and led additional ventures since. He served as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia for four years, contributing significantly to economic development, job creation, tourism, film, industry regulation and safety, housing, and a number of other commerce-related fields. He is currently of counsel at the law firm of Lee and Hayes and is working with several private equity and angel investment firms. He also teaches at the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science and is Co-Chairman of the Board of CAV Angels.


Rich DiemerRich Diemer (McIntire '80) is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record of working within leadership teams that have created significant shareholder value. He has served as the CFO at three public global materials companies (Albemarle, PolyOne Corporation, and Trinseo LLC). During his tenure, Diemer has played a key role in creating over $7 billion of shareholder value. After 17 years in public accounting at KPMG, Diemer joined Allied-Signal Inc. He was VP-Corporate Controller during the merger with Honeywell, then became CFO of Honeywell's Specialty Materials segment. In addition, Diemer spent four years at Honeywell Capital Management, overseeing equity managers and managing a $500MM+ equity portfolio. Diemer currently serves as a Senior Director at Seale & Associates, a Northern Virginia-based global boutique investment banking and consultancy firm, and as Co-Chairman of the Board of CAV Angels. Diemer graduated from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce and is a member of the McIntire Advisory Board.


Mark GalantMark Galant (McIntire '80), with a 35-year career on Wall Street, is the Founder of GAIN Capital Group/, an industry-leading online trading firm. He served as CEO at GAIN from its beginning in 1999 until 2007. Galant continued as Chairman until December 2010, when the firm went public on the New York Stock Exchange. He followed GAIN with the founding of Tydall Trading, a high-frequency algorithmic trading firm, trading over $10 billion a day. He currently is CEO of Tydall Holdings, a currency trading, real estate development, and start-up investment firm.


Brian RogersBrian M. Rogers (McIntire '84), for more than three decades, has brought creativity and professional management to companies to help them achieve their growth and profit objectives. Over the last 18 years, he has become an expert in certain aspects of the insurance industry, including supplemental gap insurance, loss pool management, and third-party administration. In addition, he has spent the majority of his career with executive financial and operational responsibilities for companies that he has owned and served. In March 2017, Rogers closed on the sale of ArmadaGlobal, a business he co-founded with long-time business partner, Keith Sullivan, in 2005. The insurance and health care services business creates and distributes specialty employee benefits products and services. It focuses on bringing new innovations to market that result in product differentiation for businesses, associations, insurance carriers, and other clients. Rogers served as Managing Partner of ArmadaGlobal prior to its sale and currently serves on the board. Rogers is interested in assisting high-potential young entrepreneurs in reaching their potential. He is also pursuing methods to apply greater leverage to philanthropic opportunities. Rogers began his career with Ernst & Young, serving privately owned and emerging businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He went on to serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for three prominent mid-market Maryland-based companies: PERFORMAX, Fusion Sales Partners, and O’Conor Piper & Flynn. Rogers graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, where he played lacrosse. He also earned an M.B.A. from Loyola University in Baltimore.

*A complete list of judges and investors is to come.