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2023 VentureFuel Visionary and Venture of the Year

On Thursday, February 8th, we honored the 2023 Visionary and Venture of the Year Winners.

Congratulations to Visionary of the Year, Marty Guay, VP of business development at Stanley Black & Decker, and Venture of the Year, Inworld AI, represented by Co-founder and CTO Michael Ermolenko!

Nominated and selected by their peers, these are the change-agents embracing new opportunities to drive outsized results.They are blazing new paths, discovering inventive solutions, and powering the future.

In case you missed it: watch the full event and discussion spanning corporate innovation, corporate-startup partnership, and predictions on the future of AI here.

Meet this year's honorees:

2023 Visionary of the Year Marty Guay

With over three decades experience as a corporate innovator, Marty Guay has spent the past six years working with startups, academia, venture capital and global corporations to create business value opportunities for Stanley Black & Decker, a worldwide leader in Tools and Outdoor.

At Stanley Black & Decker, Guay is responsible for the inception of the company’s accelerator program where he successfully connects startups with technological and commercial relationships inside the organization and throughout global ecosystems. Guay sits on the advisory boards of multiple startups and serves as a board member of the state of Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council and as a liaison to the Business Roundtable. In addition to these roles, Guay also oversees the company’s global philanthropy program that is focused on closing the skilled trades gap through its Grow the Trades program.

2023 Venture of the Year: Inworld

Inworld AI, led by a team of conversational AI pioneers and experts, uses advanced AI to build interactive characters whose personalities, thoughts, memories, and behaviors are designed to emulate social human interaction. Founded in 2021, Inworld is a recent graduate of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Generative AI Accelerator run in partnership with VentureFuel. Last month, Inworld announced a multi-year partnership with Microsoft to develop AI toolsets to assist and empower creators in dialogue, story, and quest design.

Hosted By:

Fred Schonenberg-1

Founder. Innovator. Connector. Corporate Problem Solver. Speaker. Thought Leader. Angel.

Fred has helped over 100 companies, from General Mills to Beam Suntory to Netflix, discover and implement new technologies and innovations to deliver breakthrough results (18.7% sales lift, $10m+ savings, 5x purchase intent, etc.). 

As Founder of VentureFuel, he has created a repeatable innovation framework, that bridges his deep relationships with the VC, Angel and Startup ecosystem with his C-suite corporate relationships to deliver first-to-market, tangible solutions that drive growth for all involved. 

He is a frequent speaker at industry events such as SXSW, Ad Tech, Advertising Week, IAB, OMMA, etc. and an industry thought-leader published in The Huffington Post, Media Post, The Drum,, Creator Magazine, Adweek, Event Marketer, etc.



Founded in 2014, VentureFuel is an independent innovation advisory firm based out of New York City.  We build and accelerate innovation programs for industry leaders by unlocking the power of what we call "external innovation" via startup collaborations.  Our programs focus on changing the behaviors and beliefs necessary to unlock new sources of growth.