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Marc Ecko, Others to Judge U.S. Finals of 'Get in the Ring'

Three high-profile leaders in the entrepreneurship community have been confirmed to judge the GEW showcase event, ‘Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash’. The event marks the first ever US entry into the international startup pitch competition and will be hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

The judges include:

  • Marc Ecko, an American serial entrepreneur. Ecko is the founder and chief creative officer of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a full-scale global fashion and lifestyle company with multiple high-profile brands and clothing lines. Ecko also is the founder of Artists & Instigators, a venture innovation company, and is a partner at SeventySix Capital, a top-performing early stage venture capital fund.
  • Matthew Rubel, a turnaround CEO and leader who currently is a private investor and senior adviser to TPG Capital, the world’s largest private equity firm. Rubel has built multiple retail and trend-related consumer brands throughout his career. Among the most notable are Payless Shoe Source, which he reinvigorated and built into Collective Brands with 5,000 stores in 92 countries, as well as executive roles with Cole Haan, Revlon, JCrew, and Tommy Hilfiger.
  • Denmark West, a former broadcast media executive and current operations specialist at K1 Investment Management, which invests in high-growth private companies across North America. West is an adviser to multiple startups and a frequent speaker on digital media. He previously was an executive at Viacom Media Networks, most recently as president of digital media at BET Networks.

The competition will consist of a series of contestant-to-contestant pitches or ‘clashes’ given by the eight startups. The esteemed panel will judge their pitches and the winner of the final round will immediately be flown to Rotterdam, The Netherlands to go head to head with seven other international finalists. The grand prize is chance to secure angel investments of more than $1 million.

Online applications for Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash are being accepted through Sept. 3 at

What is GEW

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

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