PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association today announced the 2017 honorees for the association's annual awards luncheon, scheduled for May 11th at the Duquesne Club, downtown. The awards were created in 1994 to recognize business leaders who are making outstanding contributions to the region's entrepreneurial and economic vitality. Four influential entrepreneurs will be recognized at the high-profile event.
Ashok Trivedi & Sunil Wadhwani, co-founders of the iGATE Corporation will share the Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization's most prestigious award. The entrepreneurs launched the company in 1986 and guided iGATE from a start-up to a global IT services giant with over 34,000 employees. In 2015, the company was sold to France-based Capgemini for more than $4 billion. But their impact reached far beyond the success of iGATE. Throughout the years, the partners personally invested in more than 50 start-ups and now also invest in early-stage venture capital firms.
"Sunil and Ashok are quintessential technology entrepreneurs having started from humble beginnings to over the next 20 plus years building multi-billion dollar businesses across multiple companies and countries," stated Ned Renzi, Founding Partner of Birchmere Ventures. "In the best sense of Silicon Valley ethos, they are also prolific angel investors and mentors to the next generation of entrepreneurs."
Jason Wolfe, founder of GiftCards.com, will be presented with the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award. Mr. Wolfe founded the e-commerce company in 2003 and grew it to over 100 employees. Today, the company is the top online gift card site in the world and sells gift cards for thousands of large corporate retailers including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Sephora and Coach. Wolfe sold GiftCards.com to industry leader Blackhawk Network (HAWK) in early 2016. A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, Mr. Wolfe also built and sold Direct Response Technologies in 2006 to another public company Digital River (DRIV), and started the first coupon site in 1995 called MyCoupons. He is currently building Gift Card Granny as his next venture, which employs 40 in Greentree, PA.
"Jason's journey from growing up in an orphanage to founding several successful companies is truly inspirational. He is the epitome of an entrepreneur and absolutely deserving of the Entrepreneur of the Year award," said Mark Opitz, Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Finally, the PVCA will present Catherine Mott, founder of Blue Tree Venture Fund and Blue Tree Allied Angels with the Impact Award, the newest category that was added in 2016.
After spending 17 years in corporate banking management, Ms. Mott founded BlueTree Allied Angels in 2003, now the leading angel network in Western Pennsylvania. She serves as the firm's Managing Director. In 2014, Ms. Mott launched the BlueTree Venture Fund, a regionally focused venture capital firm that targets early institutional investments in medical technologies, software and high-tech instrumentation companies. She has been named one of Pennsylvania's Best 50 Women in Business and currently serves on the Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies.
"When I think of Catherine Mott, I think of her in the line of entrepreneurs who originated and developed world class industries, or state of the art health care, or centers of excellence in Pittsburgh. Catherine developed and grew BlueTree Allied Angels with reach not only in Pittsburgh, but in Washington DC in front of the SEC, across the nation as Chairwoman for the Board of the Angel Capital Association, and now she is teaching the angel trade to many international groups. All of her efforts were to make Pittsburgh shine brighter. And she has succeeded!" said Larry Miller, Executive-In-Residence, Innovation Works.
The Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association was founded in 1982 to serve as a catalyst for venture capital and entrepreneurship in western Pennsylvania.