BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jay Bockhaus is Executive Vice President, Strategy and Operations, Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media at NBCUniversal (“NBCU”). In his current role, Jay leads strategic development and operational initiatives across the division’s assets, which include Telemundo, Bravo, Oxygen, Style, iVillage, Daily Candy, Swirl, Fandango, as well as the partially owned networks Sprout, ExerciseTV and TVOne. Jay joined NBCU in 2004 as VP of Business Development and later became SVP, Corporate Strategy and Development. During his tenure in the Corporate Strategy and Development group, Jay was instrumental in NBCU’s acquisition of Oxygen Media, the sale of the Sundance Channel and the merger of NBCU’s interest in A&E Television Networks with Lifetime. Prior to joining NBCU, Jay was Vice President at Allen & Company LLC, a New York-based investment bank, where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions in the media and entertainment industry. Prior to joining Allen & Company, Jay worked at Gleacher & Co., a boutique investment bank. Jay attended Princeton University, where he received a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs and a certificate degree in East Asian Studies. Jay lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.
Cameron Breitner is a Senior Managing Director at CVC Capital Partners, a global private equity firm with over $45bn of capital under management, and Chairman of Venture for America’s Board of Directors. Cameron joined CVC in 2007 as an initial member of the firm’s U.S. investment team and is responsible for its investment activities in the consumer, retail, and energy sectors. Cameron currently serves on the Boards of Directors of BJ’s Wholesale Club and Leslie’s Pool Supplies on behalf of CVC and is a member of the firm’s Philanthropy Committee. Prior to CVC, Cameron spent nine years with Centre Partners, a mid-cap private equity firm, where he was a Managing Director and made investments across a variety of industries. Cameron served on nine Boards of Directors for Centre Partners, including Bumble Bee Seafoods, Firearms Training Systems, Quickie Manufacturing Corp., Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., Gray Energy Services, and Nexus Gas Partners. He began his career at Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., a boutique investment bank. Cameron is a graduate of Duke University, where he received a BA in Psychology, magna cum laude.
Eric Cantor is the Founder and Principal of Mobile Global, a firm that invests in and advises start-ups and early-stage companies. Eric has over fifteen years of experience managing startup Internet and technology companies, assisting non-governmental organizations in developing countries; and overseeing complex projects. In the mid-1990s, Eric founded an Internet Service Provider in the Washington, DC area called Internet Interstate, which was acquired by Verio, Inc., where he subsequently led regional marketing efforts and e-commerce product management. Eric later served as Vice President of Business Development at BuyDomains.com, a domain name marketplace acquired by Highland Ventures which later became namemedia.net. Eric served in a variety of positions at Acumen Fund, a social investment fund working in India and Africa, and established a technology program to enhance the automation of pro-poor businesses. More recently, he led the establishment of the Application Laboratory in Uganda aimed at leveraging the power of the mobile phone to reach underserved communities. This initiative won the 2010 Global Mobile Award at the GSM World Congress. He is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the boutique advisory firm Integrity Square. Eric holds a BA in International Relations from Emory University and an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University.
John Delbridge is the CEO and Co-founder of Mimeo, the leading online print-and-deliver on-demand company. Mimeo has been recognized for its excellence and growth by Inc. Magazine, Deloitte, and Red Herring. Investors in Mimeo include Hewlett Packard, DFJ, HarbourVest and Goldman Sachs. John has played a key leadership role in the company’s development, including raising financing of over $70 million. Prior to Mimeo, John served as a Vice President in Equity Research at Salomon Smith Barney covering the PC and Enterprise Software sectors. His previous experience at Salomon included serving on the staff of the Chief Administrative Officer for several years. John holds an MBA in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Peter Ezersky is a Managing Principal of Quadrangle Group LLC, which he co-founded in 2000. Since the firm’s inception, he has been actively involved in finding new investments, working with portfolio companies on their growth, financing and acquisition strategies and, ultimately, selling investments to realize value for Quadrangle’s investors. Mr. Ezersky currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Cequel, Cinemark, Dice Holdings, Get AS and Hargray Holdings. Prior to forming Quadrangle, Mr. Ezersky ran the Worldwide Media and Communications group at Lazard Frères & Co., which he joined after starting his investment banking career at First Boston. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, in political science from Amherst College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, he was a Law Clerk for Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Judicial Circuit.
Michael Kahan is the founder and Managing Partner of North Peak Capital, a private equity investment fund focused on the healthcare and educational industries. Michael led the firm’s investment in DentalCare Partners and currently sits on that company’s Board of Directors. Prior to North Peak, Michael was most recently a Director at Onex Corporation, a Canadian private equity firm with approximately $5 billion of capital under management. At Onex, he focused on healthcare investments, and was involved with investing nearly $500 million of equity capital. Prior to joining Onex, Michael was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Michael holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.
LeRoy Kim is a Managing Director at Allen & Company. Mr. Kim joined Allen & Company in 1995 and became a Managing Director in 2006. He started his career at Lehman Brothers in investment banking in 1993, where he was a top-rated analyst. Since joining Allen & Company, LeRoy has served as financial advisor to many well-known corporations in the field of media, entertainment, new media, consumer goods and healthcare services, including Samsung Electronics Corporation, Scripps Networks, drugstore.com, Associated Content, Rodale, GE / NBC, CNET, Comcast, IAC, Grupo Televisa, Microsoft, Capital Cities/ ABC, The Coca-Cola Company, FEMSA, Centene Corporation and others. LeRoy is on the Board of Directors of thingDaemon and Venture for America and was the President of the Board of Directors of The Door – A Center for Alternatives, a leading non-profit youth development agency serving approximately 9,000 New York City youth ages 12-21 from 2006-2010. He has also acted as sponsor of the Student Sponsorship Program of New York, and a mentor in the Minds Matter of NYC program. LeRoy graduated from Princeton University in 1993 with an A.B. in Economics. He was a member of the Princeton University Swimming and Diving Team, where he earned NCAA Division I All-American honors in 1990, 1992 and 1993 and was named team MVP. He is a former national champion and American, U.S. Open and NCAA record holder.
Charlie Kroll is the founder and CEO of Andera, an enterprise software firm serving the financial industry. Charlie was named 2006 New England Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration and was a finalist for the 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in New England. He is active in industry affairs and sits on the board of the Brown Entrepreneurship Program, the YMCA of Greater Providence, and the Brown University Community Council. Prior to founding Andera, Charlie worked for Morgan Stanley in their New York and London offices. Charlie received an A.B. from Brown University and a General Course Degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Darren MacDonald is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pronto Network where he maintains strategic and operational oversight of nine sites in four countries. Collectively, Darren has grown these properties into one of the largest collection of users on the web with more than 20M Unique Users per month. Prior to this, Darren served as the Chief Operating Officer of Pronto where he oversaw Search Engine Marketing, Sales, Business Development and Public Relations. During that period he helped guide Pronto to a year of record sales and profitability. Prior to Pronto, Darren led the Global Business Development efforts for Avery Dennison, a Fortune-500 consumer products company. At Avery, he created a number of successful online ventures and led partnership efforts with leading online and offline retail properties. Darren also co-founded EMN8, a software and hardware solution that allowed guests to place their own order at Quick Service Restaurants and Movie Theatre Chains. The award winning kiosk solution is installed in some of the largest brands in America including Burger King, Jack-in-the-box, Carl’s Jr., and Arby’s. To date, EMN8 raised over $30MM from Sequoia Capital, Global Retail Partners, and Steamboat Ventures. Darren graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Rhetoric and holds an MBA from the University of California Los Angeles.
Charles Penner is a Partner and Chief Legal Officer at JANA Partners LLC, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund founded in 2001 and located in New York. Prior to joining JANA, Charlie worked in Business Development for General Electric and as an attorney at Cravath Swaine & Moore and Schulte Roth & Zabel. Charlie has also worked as a communications aide for Senator Max Baucus, Senator Barbara Mikulski and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and prior to that served as a White House intern during the Clinton administration. Charlie has a BA in History and Political Science from Miami University and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Dan Porter is the former CEO of OMGPOP where he oversaw the design and release of Draw Something. Draw Something has been downloaded on Android and iPhone over 100 million times and is the 3rd most downloaded game ever. Porter has had three #1 apps on the iPhone. In 2012, he led the sale of OMGPOP to Zynga. Previously he was the SVP of Corporate Development for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in North America where he invested in and started new Virgin Companies. Previously Porter was on the early team of TicketWeb, the first online ticketing company and he led its sale to TicketMaster, a unit of IAC. Porter started as a public school teacher in Crown Heights Brooklyn, then was part of the founding team of Teach For America. He led the recruitment for Teach For America and eventually served as the President of Teach For America. Porter is the founder of Inside Startups, a resource for startups in NYC and on the board of Venture For America. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons.
Dan Rosenthal is an Investment Analyst and co-founding member of Valinor Management, an Institutional Investor with $2BN under management, where his responsibilities include investments in Technology, Media and Telecom companies. Prior to Valinor, Dan was a Principal at Mayfield fund, an early stage Venture Capital firm. Before joining Mayfield he was Vice President of Business Development at IPWireless, a wireless broadband technology company, and was on the founding team of IronPlanet, a leading online marketplace for used heavy equipment. Dan started his career at McKinsey & Company in New York. Dan received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University where he graduated with Honors and received his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with High Distinction as a Baker Scholar. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Marian Salzman, named one of the world’s top five trendspotters, has been inducted into PR News’ PR People Hall of Fame and will be inducted into Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in October 2014. She was recently included on the Holmes Report’s inaugural In2 Innovator 25 list, was named the 20th most powerful person in PR by Business Insider, and was PRWeek’s 2011 PR Professional of the Year, among many other top honors. Since Marian took over at the helm of Havas PR in 2009, the agency has seen rapid growth and is now one of the most awarded midsized PR agencies in the world. In addition to the VFA board, Marian serves on the board of directors of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the general management board of Havas Worldwide and is currently chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective. Marian graduated from Brown with top honors. She is the author or co-author of 15 books including Next Now and The Future of Men.
Bernie Sucher has lived and worked Russian capital markets since their beginnings. After two decades of building and leading businesses in Russia, Bernie is a trusted advisor to some of the region’s leading commercial and non-profit organizations. He is also an entrepreneur and has devoted his experience, energy and capital to creating new ventures, as well as supporting social and community initiatives, both in Russia and in his hometown of Detroit.
Today, Bernie is a non-executive director responsible for the strategic development of Aton, Russia’s oldest independent investment bank. He is also a member of the board of directors of both Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, one of Russia’s industrial icons, and UFG Asset Management, a leading international investor active in the country.
Bernie’s career in finance began in New York in 1984 with EF Hutton. He then took on various sales and management positions with specialist broker Cresvale and later Goldman Sachs, working in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. In 1993, inspired by the country’s overthrow of Communism, Bernie moved to Russia. He co-founded and then over nine years helped to build investment bank Troika Dialog, the domestic market leader acquired in 2012 by Sberbank. From 2002, Bernie oversaw the restructuring and re-launch of Alfa Capital, one of Russia’s original asset management firms. From 2007 to 2010, he led Merrill Lynch’s profitable re-entry into Russia, becoming Country Head following the firm’s acquisition by Bank of America.
Bernie has always applied his skills as an entrepreneur, activist and financier to contribute to the development of the communities of which he has been a part. The best known of his start-ups, the Starlite Diner, was founded in 1995, and has become a Moscow institution. Long dedicated to the causes of improved public and corporate governance, and tackling corruption, Bernie devoted many years to the boards of both the American Chamber of Commerce and the US-Russia Business Council, and remains deeply involved in the political and economic dialogue between the two countries. Since 2009, Bernie has served as a trustee and a member of the financial committee for the European University of St. Petersburg. In May 2011, he became the only foreign director of the board and a member of the financial committee of the Dynasty Foundation, the first family philanthropic foundation in post-Soviet Russia.
While Bernie continues to live in Russia, he has begun to commit energy and resources to entrepreneurship and public service initiatives in the US. Venture for America encourages high-performing university graduates to commit to two-year work fellowships in young enterprises in distressed urban areas. As a board member of this young non-profit, Bernie has been an important source of finance and lead organizer of the group’s launch efforts in Detroit. Drawing on lessons in community work in Russia as well as learning in social entrepreneurship as a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Bernie has become a supporter of Detroit’s Imagination Station, www.facethestation.com, and the angel financing its commercial technology partner, Loveland Technologies, www.whydontweownthis.com.
Bernie is an active investor in www.puresolo.com, an on-line music recording platform, and was also an early supporter of fast-growing www.nationbuilder.com, an internet- based organizational platform that increases substantially the punching power of grassroots political efforts.
Bernie holds a BA from the University of Michigan (1983) and is a graduate of Columbia University’s Senior Executive Program (2001). He and his wife of seventeen years, Fatima, have a son and daughter. The passage of time has not diminished Bernie’s enthusiasm for, among other things, Star Trek, the band Rush, and basketball.
Alisa Volkman is the Co-Founder of Babble, a leading website for parents and a platform for top women bloggers, which she launched with her husband, Rufus Griscom, in December 2006. Babble was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2011, where Alisa and Rufus are continuing to grow the property, expanding internationally and across Women’s Lifestyle. Alisa currently serves as Senior Director of Product and Sales Strategy for Disney Interactive’s Family Division, which consists of five digital properties and reaches over 17 million users per month. In her capacity as Senior Director, she oversees revenue strategy, influences product development, leads a team that creates and sells innovative content and social media executions for leading brands and develops cross-platform revenue opportunities with other divisions of TWDC including ABC, Marvel, Hyperion and ESPN.Before launching Babble, Alisa served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nerve.com, where she grew advertising into Nerve’s largest source of revenue.
Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places top college graduates in start-ups for 2 years in low-cost U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Andrew has worked in start-ups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test preparation company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software start-up. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall St. Journal, and many other media outlets. Andrew was named a Champion of Change by the White House for his work with Venture for America and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University. Andrew’s first book, “Smart People Should Build Things”, was published by Harper Business in early 2014 and can be ordered here.
Michael Borofsky is a Senior Vice President at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. Prior to joining MacAndrews & Forbes in 2003, Mr. Borofsky was with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he specialized in mergers & acquisitions, and was an analyst in the treasury group of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Cariann Chan is the Director of Business Operations and Business Development of D. E. Shaw Research, an independent research group that is pursuing an ambitious, long-term strategy aimed at fundamentally transforming the process of drug discovery. Among the group’s efforts is the design and construction of special-purpose supercomputers capable of simulating biological phenomena orders of magnitude faster than was previously possible, and the use of these simulations to investigate mechanisms and structural changes of biomolecular systems relevant to the understanding and potential treatment of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Prior to joining D. E. Shaw Research, Cariann worked at Dean & Company, a boutique strategy consulting firm, and traded energy for DC Energy. She has conducted research at the Yale Child Health Research Center and the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University. Cariann graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.
Gary Chou works at Union Square Ventures, a NYC-based venture capital firm that invests in large networks of engaged users. Over the past decade he has held product development and design positions at Trilogy, Tribe.net, and Cisco, building web applications for both consumers and enterprise customers. Gary is also Executive Producer of SURROGATE VALENTINE and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS, two independent films by Dave Boyle featuring Goh Nakamura that premiered at SXSW in 2011 and 2012.He has taught at the School of Visual Arts MFA in Interaction Design Program, and is an advisor at Austin Center for Design, which teaches Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship.Gary has a bachelors degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University where he also studied Computer Science and Photography.
Mathew Farkash is a Founding Partner of Blueprint Health, a TechStars affiliated seed accelerator that helps startups innovate in the healthcare services industry, and the Founder of the Blueprint Initiative, a membership-based community focused on new models of social impact and philanthropy. Mathew also helps start-ups across a variety industries with business development, sales and fundraising strategies. Previously, Mathew was an Associate Director in the Global Consumer Products and Retail Group at UBS Investment Bank and worked in business development. Mathew graduated from Brown University and received an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Sachi Gahan most recently was a Managing Director at a sixty person search firm focused primarily on the alternative asset industry. Sachi was head of the venture capital and private equity practice, and served on the firm’s management and operating committees. She personally partnered with several leading venture capital (“VC”) partnerships and VC-backed startups to place the best and brightest young talent, who were often working or had previously worked at leading investment banks and strategy consulting firms. Representative clients included Accel Partners, Dropbox, Kleiner Perkins, and New Enterprise Associates. Before building a business recruiting venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, Sachi was an investment principal at VC firms in San Francisco and in Austin, Texas. Prior to Sachi’s career in the VC and startup ecosystem, she worked as a strategy consultant, in the Office of the Chairman at Dell, Inc., and as an NCAA Division I Head Coach. Sachi holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an AB from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.
Samer Hamadeh is currently founder & CEO of Zeel.com, a free online service for finding and booking appointments with top health & wellness practitioners. Samer is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Prior to Zeel and Lightspeed, Samer Hamadeh was co-founder and CEO of Vault.com, the most trusted name in career information, which was sold in October, 2007 to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a New York-based media-and-communications private-equity firm. Before co-founding Vault, Samer was an associate at the Los Angeles management consulting firm LEK Consulting, where he focused on corporate and business strategy. Prior to that, Samer co-founded and managed a customized-textbook printing company, worked at the Chevron Corporation, and co-authored The Internship Bible and America’s Top Internships (Random House/Princeton Review). Samer sits on the board of the non-profit PeaceWorks Foundation and is a board observer, angel investor, and/or advisor in two dozen early-stage companies, including GrubHub, SalesCrunch, Insidr.com, Splurgy, and PublicStuff. Samer is also a mentor at several accelerators, including Blueprint Health, NYCSeedStart, and First Growth Venture Network as well as a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Georgetown McDonough School’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. A David Rockefeller Fellow, Samer holds a BS in chemistry and an MS in chemical engineering from Stanford University.
Gary I. Horowitz is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in the Firm’s Corporate Department and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He concentrates on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate finance matters. He represents private equity firms as well as public and private companies. He regularly advises public corporations and appears before their boards of directors with respect to general corporate, disclosure and governance matters. His areas of specialty include asset management, insurance, media and pharmaceuticals. Mr. Horowitz joined Simpson Thacher in 1982 and became a Partner in 1989. He was Co-Administrative Partner of the Firm from 2004 to 2007 and Chairman of the Firm’s Personnel Committee from 2000 to 2003. He received his B.S. from Cornell University in 1978, where he graduated first in his class at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1981, where he was an editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Mr. Horowitz clerked for The Honorable Edward N. Cahn in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1981 to 1982. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Horowitz was President of Miracle House, which is a non-profit organization that provides temporary housing for people coming to New York City to care for family members with life threatening illnesses.
Anne Hubert is a Senior Vice President at Viacom Media Networks, where she leads the consulting practice of Scratch, a creative swat team that drives innovation. She joined MTV in 2008, building the capabilities now called Scratch. Previously, she spent time in management consulting at BCG, in strategy and business development in other media companies and in the U.S. Senate, where she served as a policy advisor to Jon Corzine. Anne holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a JD from Harvard Law School and a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford. She serves on the executive board of Venture for America and lives in Manhattan.
Sanjay Kalavar is a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s. He is a leads the firm’s operational risk management work and does most of his work in oil and gas and private equity. Sanjay has a BA in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He lives in Houston, TX with his wife and 3 kids.
Dan Kelley draws on over 28 years of business experience across multiple industries, including 18 years in the packaged goods industry (P&G and The Coca-Cola Company), 3 years at The Beanstalk Group, a leading trademark licensing agency and 7 years at Heidrick & Struggles, a premier retained executive search firm. From 1991 to 2003, Dan lived and worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Today, Dan is building talent acquisition capability at IAC /InterActiveCorp to support the talent needs of over 50 internet brands and businesses including Match.com, CityGrid Media, Mindspark, ServiceMagic, Ask.com and Newsweek / DailyBeast. Dan is a frequent speaker and panelist at H.R. and Recruiting conferences on the subject of talent acquisition strategy. Prior to joining IAC as Vice President, Talent Acquisition in January 2012, Dan was a Partner in the Consumer Markets Practice at Heidrick & Struggles. He also served as Managing Partner, Northeast U.S. with oversight responsibility for the New York, Philadelphia and Boston offices. From 2001 – 2004, Dan was Senior Vice President, International Operations for The Beanstalk Group. Based in London, Dan directed the management of international brand licensing programs that covered a wide range of consumer product and service categories. Prior to Beanstalk, Dan had a long and distinguished career at The Coca-Cola Company where he ran sales and marketing organizations at country and region level in many international markets including Indonesia, China, United Kingdom, Africa and the Middle East. Prior to joining Coca-Cola in 1985, Dan began his career in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble. Dan earned his B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1984. He is married, has five children, lives in New York City and sits on the Board of his West Village Co-op.
Alison Lindland is the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Kohort, a new venture backed group management platform. She previously worked in Business Development at American Express OPEN working with companies like Facebook and AdReady to help small business owners market their companies online. She also lead product management and marketing for the first Amex iPhone App and lead the strategy project for the first Amex Twitter handle (@AskAmex). Outside of work, Alison is a founding organizer of Columbia Venture Community and serves on the Board of the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society and Misnomer Dance. She graduated from Columbia Business School and Vassar College.
Blair Miller is the Vice President of the MDG Health Alliance, a start-up coalition of leading businessmen/philanthropists focused on using private sector solutions to address global health challenges. Previous to MDG Health Alliance, Blair spent five years at Acumen Fund, a $90M non-profit venture capital fund that invests in enterprises that serve the poor in India, Pakistan, and West and East Africa. Her past experience includes working at Ashoka where she structured a deal between a micro finance bank and a health insurance company to deliver micro health insurance in India and supporting the development of a fund to invest in small and medium size enterprises for Care in Central America. Blair is on the Executive Board of Venture for America, on the Board of Alumni at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and an advisor to the Community Investment Management Fund focused on peer to peer lending. She holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia where she was a varsity volleyball player.
Brandon Pollak is a Policy Advisor in Bryan Cave’s Public Policy and Government Affairs practice group in Washington, D.C. He represents leading companies and trade associations in the education, technology, and telecommunications sectors before the U.S. Congress. Brandon has been a political consultant and campaign operative on Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and Gubernatorial campaigns. As a political campaign strategist, he developed national fundraising strategies for Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Mark Warner (D-VA). For nearly two years, Brandon served in multiple capacities on Senator John Kerry’s Presidential campaign. Brandon is on the Advisory Board of The Artists & Athletes Alliance, which operates as the nexus between the entertainment community and Washington, D.C. He received a Master’s Degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/Pre-Law from Michigan State University.
Warfield Price is an Executive Director in the Restructuring Group of JP Morgan’s Investment Bank. Warfield has been involved in several large restructurings including Adelphia, Chrysler LLC, Chrysler Financial, Delphi, Conseco, GMAC, MCI/Worldcom, Mirant, Northwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Prior to joining Restructuring, Warfield worked in JPMorgan’s Financial Institutions Group and focused principally on merger & acquisition transactions. He is a Board member of the Alumni Association of Trinity School and is actively involved in the New York non-profit community. Warfield graduated from Duke University Magna Cum Laude with a BA in History and is a CFA Charterholder.
Christopher Sealey is the Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a global research and education foundation providing real-world solutions to society’s most critical economic and social challenges. Previously, Sealey was a Director at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, where he helped to build mass social movements around fiscal and economic issues. Prior to working at the Peterson Foundation, Sealey served as the first-ever Creative Director for the New York State Senate, leading television, design, multimedia, and Internet initiatives for all 62 state senators and helping to manage various election campaigns. Sealey also was Vice President of Housing Works, where he created the communications, marketing, and website departments for the largest community-based HIV/AIDS organization — and one of the largest social enterprise ventures — in the United States. Before focusing on issues-based projects, Sealey worked at a variety of marketing and entertainment companies, helping to launch brands for Fortune 500 companies and major recording artists such as Pepsi, General Motors, Sony, the National Football League, and Jay-Z. Sealey is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he was named a Remembrance Scholar for distinguished academic achievement and public service.
Guillermo Silberman is a Vice President in the investment department of W.P. Carey, a real estate investment firm. He has spent his career investing in and helping operate late stage businesses and real estate, in the U.S., Latin America and Asia. Prior to W.P. Carey, he was based in Beijing, China where he worked on the restructuring and sale of auto parts manufacturer ASIMCO, as well as on the structuring of sale leaseback transactions in mainland China. Guillermo also worked at MidMark Capital, a private equity firm, and in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. A summa cum laude graduate from Columbia University, Mr. Silberman earned a B.A. in Economics and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jason Van Itallie is currently Managing Director at Barclays, and previously spent 7 years at Lehman Brothers. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2001 with a degree in Economics.
William White is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Citigroup, where he focuses on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining Citigroup, Bill was a Vice President in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Goldman Sachs, based in both New York and London. Previously, he was also an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell and a law clerk to the Honorable Kimba M. Wood, Chief Judge of the US District Courts for the Southern District of New York. A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton, he holds a master’s degree in international trade & finance from Harvard and a law degree from Columbia Law School.
Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places top college graduates in start-ups for 2 years in low-cost U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Andrew has worked in start-ups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test preparation company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software start-up. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall St. Journal, and many other media outlets. Andrew was named a Champion of Change by the White House for his work with Venture for America and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University. Andrew’s first book, “Smart People Should Build Things”, was published by Harper Business in early 2014 and can be ordered here.
Eileen Lee, COO. Eileen was most recently a Senior Consultant at Accenture, where she specialized in managing technology integration projects for large industrial clients. Eileen’s clients at Accenture included Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cargill, and Pepsico. Eileen graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics.
Mike Tarullo, VP of Corporate Development. Prior to joining VFA, Mike was previously Director of Client Services and a founding team member at venture-backed NYC staffing startup Solvate, which helped creative and digital freelancers find work. There he led efforts in sales, marketing, and business development at various junctures. Prior to that, he was a marketing consultant at the boutique Greenwich Marketing Group, developing positioning strategy for clients including JP Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, and Bausch & Lomb. Before that, he co-founded a content aggregation startup and worked on the Obama campaign. Mike received his B.A. in Psychology from Duke University.
Megan Hurlburt, Communications and Marketing Manager. Megan is a graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she majored in Communication with a concentration in Media Studies. During her time in Charleston, Megan completed events, development and media internships with Spoleto Festival USA, Ronald McDonald House and CHARLIE Magazine, an online publication celebrating progressive culture.
Elisabeth Deogracias, Corporate Development Manager. Elisabeth graduated from New York University with a degree in Environmental Studies and concentration in Urban Development. She has worked with a social enterprise that provides entrepreneurial training for youth, led operations at a startup artisanal company, and interned with an environmental non-profit.
Lauren Gill, Senior Talent Manager. Prior to joining VFA, Lauren was a Teach for America corps member. In her two years teaching 6th grade science in Washington, D.C., she organized a videoconference between students and astronauts aboard the International Space Station and earned the position of Cross-Curricular Team Leader. Lauren graduated from Lehigh University in 2010 with a major in Psychology and minors in Business and Spanish. Her internship experiences include time with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay in Special Events and with Boston Early Intervention as a Resource Specialist.
Jason Tarre, Startup Partnerships Manager. Prior to joining VFA, Jason worked at Wildfire Interactive, a social media marketing company that was acquired by Google in the summer of 2012. Previously, he was a founding member and Vice Chairman of the St. Louis City Charter School called Preclarus Mastery Academy. Jason received his B.A. in Economics at Washington University in St. Louis.
Seon-Hye Moon, Director of Operations. Prior to joining VFA, Seon-Hye worked at Reservoir Capital Group where she was responsible for streamlining the research and operations for both internal and seeded managers. Previously, she was a part of the Small Cap Growth research team at Lord Abbett & Co., LLC, involved with various aspects of portfolio maintenance and management. Seon-Hye graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English Literature.
Jackie Miller, Senior Manager of Development. Prior to joining VFA, Jackie managed fundraising and events for international organizations such as Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee. Her nonprofit experience includes coordinating benefit galas, donor briefings, and women’s rights conferences as well as managing a board of young professionals. She received a B.A. in French and a B.A. in Religious Studies from University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!).
Amy Nelson, Director of External Affairs. Prior to joining VFA, Amy held senior business development roles with high-growth nonprofit organizations, including at B Lab, Cambodian Children’s Fund and Relief International. She has volunteered extensively with Step Up Women’s Network and the Middle School Public Debate Program, organizations that teach young people the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from NYU Stern.
Leandra Elberger, Admin & Development Associate. Prior to joining VFA, Leandra worked in Client Services at Standard & Poor’s and as an Account Manager at New York Blood Center. During her time at Tufts University, Leandra interned at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (formerly the HIV/AIDS Initiative). She graduated from Tufts University with a double major in International Relations and Community Health.
Joe Guy, Community Marketing Manager. Prior to joining VFA, Joe worked as a digital marketing strategist at BlackRock. During his time at the University of Dayton, Joe started two businesses and served as CEO of Flyer Enterprises, one of the largest and fastest growing student-run companies in America. Joe also founded the Flyer Enterprises Alumni Association and continues to serve as its President. He sits on the national board of Epsilon Nu Tau, the nation’s first entrepreneurship fraternity, and is the youngest member of the University of Dayton’s Business Advisory Council. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Operations Management.
Eric Caballero, VP of Programs. Prior to VFA, Eric ran business development, marketing, and sales for Manhattan Prep, an elite test prep division of Kaplan. There, Eric drove over $20MM in revenues for the GMAT, LSAT, and GRE brands while reducing marketing spend, contributing to a four-fold increase in operating margins. Additionally, Eric and his team launched a venture in the high-touch SAT preparation space as well as developed adaptive online learning platforms. Eric served as a curriculum developer, faculty trainer, and MBA applicant mentor, and he maintains a senior instructor role today, teaching GMAT courses at Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, and Google. Prior to Manhattan Prep, Eric co-founded a software marketing agency that he grew to $5MM by landing clients such as SAP, Oracle, and Boeing. His startup experience also includes developing digital signal processing algorithms at Shutterfly.com under the leadership of Netscape co-founder Jim Clark. Eric has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and M.S. & B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from UCLA.
Jessica Serre, Events Manager. Prior to joining VFA, Jessica worked as the corporate events and operations manager at Manhattan Prep, an elite test prep division of Kaplan. She also previously worked as an event coordinator for Rehage Entertainment, a festival production company who recently merged with Live Nation. Jessie sits on the associate board for Gilda’s Club NYC, a free cancer support community. She graduated from the University of Florida with an M.S. in Tourism & Recreation and a B.S. in Event Management (Go Gators!).
Cathlin Olszewski, Senior Programs Manager. Prior to joining VFA, Cathlin spent six years at Google on the Global Business team in Ann Arbor and New York City. She was most recently an Account Executive, focused on sales and business development. She also held a leadership role in training and development across the New York City office. Cathlin is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and Psychology.
Isa Ballard, Operations Associate. Prior to joining VFA, Isa worked as a campus organizer for CALPIRG, where she recruited and trained college students to work on public interest issues. As an organizer, she ran campaigns to increase youth voter turnout and promote clean energy, and ran a civic engagement internship program. Isa received her B.A. in Politics from Pomona College.
Laila Selim, Recruitment Associate. Prior to joining VFA, Laila co-founded a concert promotions company in Cairo, Egypt. In addition to bringing artists from the West to Egypt, Laila organized and ran a nation-wide competition for budding female vocalists. She has also worked as a paralegal at an entertainment law firm, as well as an advocate for Iraqi refugees in Egypt and disenfranchised populations in Massachusetts. Laila graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in International Relations.
Zeve Sanderson, Recruitment Ambassador. Zeve is a student at Brown University working towards a degree in Politics with a minor in Creative Writing. He transferred from NYU, where he played point guard on the NYU Basketball Team, tutored in the Writing Center, and interned at the ACLU.
Katherine Farley is a Senior Managing Director at Tishman Speyer, responsible for the Brazil and China business, as well as Global Corporate Marketing. At Tishman Speyer, Ms. Farley is Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Management, Investment, and Executive committees. Ms. Farley received her BA from Brown University and MFA in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.Ms. Farley serves as Chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, after serving as Chair-designate from 2009-2010. She has been involved at Lincoln Center since 1999, having served on the New York Philharmonic Orchestra Board from 1999 to 2005 and on the Lincoln Center Theater Board from 2002 to 2005. In 2003, Ms. Farley joined the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Board and Executive Committee, and, from 2006-2010, also served as the Chair of the Lincoln Center Redevelopment Project. In addition to her Lincoln Center activities, Ms. Farley is a trustee of the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation and a member of The Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council. She served on the Board of Trustees of Brown University from 2004-2010 and on the Board of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2001-2010. Ms. Farley was vice president of the Board of Directors of the Brearley School in New York City from 1999 to 2007 and is Chair Emerita of Women In Need. She served on the board of the International Rescue Committee from 1998-2009, and currently serves on the International Rescue Committee’s Board of Overseers.
Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest and most powerful network of professionals. Under his leadership, LinkedIn has rapidly expanded its global platform to seventeen languages and more than 20 offices around the world, grown its membership base from 33 million to 150 million members, and increased its revenue more than sixfold to $522 million in 2011. Before joining LinkedIn in 2008, Jeff was an executive in residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, where he advised the firm’s consumer technology portfolio companies and evaluated new investment opportunities. Previously, Jeff served as executive vice president of Yahoo!’s Network Division, a business that generated $3 billion in annual revenue with more than 3,000 employees and responsibility for many of the company’s consumer-facing and industry-leading products. Prior to joining Yahoo! in 2001, Jeff spent more than six years at Warner Bros., where he helped oversee the company’s online efforts and developed the initial business plan for Warner Bros. Online in 1994. In addition to LinkedIn, Jeff serves on the board of directors for DonorsChoose.org and Malaria No More. He holds a B.S. degree in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Chan Suh is CEO of Broome Crosby Ltd., a new company created in 2009 at the intersection of business, technology, and social responsibility. He currently works with a small number of commercial and non-profit organizations to develop the next generation digital business and social innovations. The company’s first project was the creation of the Samsung Digital Innovation Team. Chan created an integrated team of client staff, agency personnel, technology vendors, and freelance talent to radically improve Samsung’s digital communications and expertise. The team completed its mission launching a number of digital innovations for Samsung including its very first TV App Store and a new global web platform. Prior to Broome Crosby, Chan Suh co-founded Agency.com in 1995 with $80 and the recognition that it was time to take the Internet seriously for cultural, commercial, social, and business purposes. Agency.com pioneered the idea of an agency specializing in interactive communications and technology. As CEO, Chan grew the company to 1,800 people and profitable annual revenues of $200 million with 14 offices in US, Europe and Asia helping clients such as 3M, American Express, Apple, British Airways, British Telecom, CIT, Discovery Channel, Dun & Bradstreet, Ebay, Energizer, HP, Ikea, LG, Motorola, Nike, Sun, Snickers, Skittles. In 1999, Chan led Agency.com through an IPO on NASDAQ then, privatization and subsequent sale to the Omnicom Group.
George Baker is the President of VCharge. Before joining the company, he spent three years spearheading community wind power projects on the islands of Maine, developing the 4.5 MW Fox Islands Wind Power Project, the largest community-owned wind project on the East Coast. He was formerly the Vice President for Community Wind at the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine and holds a part-time appointment on the Harvard Business School faculty, where he was until recently the Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984, and a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard in 1986.
Brian Balasia is Founder and President of Digerati. Brian has devoted his career to helping businesses and communities achieve better outcomes through the implementation of process improvement methodology. As Founder and President of both Digerati and The MORE Program, he has developed initiatives that foster collaboration among major organizations including national foundations and government bodies including the United States Small Business Association and the United States Department of Commerce. Balasia’s efforts have produced technologies and resources to help increase Michigan’s intellectual capital and give its entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners the tools they need for success. Brian was selected as one of Crain’s Detroit Business 20 in their 20’s in 2008 and in 2010 he was named a Marshall Memorial Fellow as one of the emerging leaders in the United States. He is a special advisor to the New Economy Initiative and has held appointments on the Board of Governors at the University of Michigan, the United States Department of Labor’s WIRED Board for SE Michigan and served as a board member for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Balasia received a BSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Randy Brandoff is the founder of Eleven James, an annual private membership program that reimagines how luxury timepieces are consumed and enjoyed. Previously, Randy was the Chief Marketing Officer of NetJets Inc, a Berkshire Hathaway company and the worldwide leader in private aviation. He joined Marquis Jet in 2001 as the Company’s founding employee and was active in every aspect of start-up and growth phases until NetJets acquisition of Marquis Jet in 2010. Randy is also a Co-Founder and Principal of Tequila Avión, an award winning ultra-premium and iconic tequila. Additionally, Randy is a Co-Founder of Blueprint Initiative, a membership-based community focused on new models of social impact and philanthropy. Earlier, he was an Associate at The Argentum Group, a New York-based venture capital firm and a Business Analyst with Deloitte Consulting LLC. Randy is on the Advisory Council for Entrepreneurship@Cornell and an active angel investor and advisor/mentor to numerous early-stage ventures and accelerators. He is on the board of Young at Heart, benefiting the Babies Heart Fund at Children’s Hospital at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Randy has a BS in Finance and Marketing from Cornell University and resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and daughter.
Barrett Bready, M.D. is President, CEO and Director at NABsys. Dr. Bready has served as CEO of NABsys since 2005. He led the acquisition of GeneSpectrum as well as the execution of the licensing deal with Brown University. Since joining NABsys, Barrett has been named one of the top “30 under 30″ in New England by Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology and one of “25 movers and shakers” in the state of Rhode Island by the magazine Rhode Island Monthly. Barrett teaches “Biotechnology Management” at Brown University where he holds the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biotechnology. Dr. Bready received his M.D. from Brown Medical School and his Sc.B. in Physics from Brown University, both as part of Brown’s eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education. He co-chairs BioGroup, Rhode Island’s biotechnology industry organization. Dr. Bready serves on the Board of Directors of the Brown Medical Alumni Association and is a Trustee of the Providence Preservation Society and WaterFire.
Manu Capoor is the founder and CEO of MMF Systems, a health care informatics company based in New York. MMF has over 30 hospital clients utilizing its technology, including Johns Hopkins, Columbia Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical Center. Before founding MMF, Manu was an investment banker at Credit Suisse specializing in the healthcare industry. Manu has a B.S. in chemistry from NYU and completed his medical training at SUNY Albany and Yale University Medical School. Manu is also presently a visiting scholar at Rockefeller University.
Danielle Chang is founder of LUCKYRICE, an integrated media and marketing company with a big appetite for Asian-style cuisine and culture. Danielle is an award-winning media entrepreneur. Prior to launching LUCKYRICE, she was the CEO of Vivienne Tam, a fashion company. She was previously the founder and publisher of Simplycity Magazine and Simplycity.com as well as the managing director for Assouline, a creative advertising agency. Danielle has also worked for Goldman Sachs, The New York Times and as a professor of contemporary art history. A graduate of Columbia University with a masters degree in Critical Theory, Danielle created LUCKYRICE to capture her life-long enthusiasm for Asian food and integrated lifestyle business brands.
Rachael Chong is the Founder and CEO of Catchafire, the world’s largest online pro bono talent provider. Catchafire was named #1 in Huffington Post’s Innovators Series and has been featured in New York Times, Mashable, NPR, FOX Business, CNN Money, Crain’s, Forbes, Fast Company, TechCrunch, Daily Candy, and Change.org among others. A previous investment banker, prior to starting Catchafire, Rachael helped start-up BRAC USA, the US affiliate of BRAC, the largest nonprofit organization in the world. There, Rachael created a strategy to effectively mobilize a dozen skills-based volunteers that freed up her and the President & CEO’s time to raise $40 million in less than nine months. Fresh off her success with BRAC USA, Rachael founded Catchafire, a New York City-based social mission business and a certified B-Corporation, with the vision to make it easy for every professional to use their skills for good, and to make it easy for every nonprofit and social enterprise to access and effectively use pro bono as a way to build capacity within their organization. Rachael has a Masters of Public Policy Degree from Duke University and graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University. Born in Australia, Rachael grew up all over Asia. She writes for the Huffington Post. In 2012, Rachael received the prestigious NYC Venture Fellows award and the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award.
Patrick Comer is CEO and founder of Federated Sample, a firm dedicated to bringing efficiency and automation to the market research sampling industry. Patrick has ten years of experience with start-ups as a founder, investor, and executive with seven years experience in the market research industry. In 2005, he joined OTX Research to improve sample acquisition and routing technology adding $1-2MM in EBITDA annually. In 2006, he started the Sample Services group at OTX which grew to $4MM in revenue in 2007. In 2008, he merged the group with the programming and hosting unit, RSX, and doubled the combined revenues to $15MM (25% of total OTX revenue). Ipsos announced its acquisition of OTX in January, 2010 for $71MM. Previously, Patrick was the founder and Vice President for Operations of Sample Czar, an online sample broker, where he built the core technology and established the initial sales pipeline. In 2003, Patrick joined IFILM and founded the surveys group, doubling their revenue and creating new vendor relationships. Patrick got his entrepreneurial start in the halcyon days of dot-com. He was Chief of Staff of govWorks, an e-government startup, which raised $65MM in the US. govWorks is also known for the documentary of its rise and fall, “Start-up.com,” in which Patrick has a few key scenes. Patrick has his MBA from Columbia Business School and his BA from Sewanee: The University of the South.
Jonathan Cropper is the founder of Futurlogic, a next generation, online education company. Jon began his career at MTV where he authored the business plans for MTV’s expansion into Asia and Latin America and South Africa. He also served as Director of Project Development of Quincy Jones Entertainment / Time Warner where he reported directly to Mr. Jones on all traditional and new media business development. Jon was then a VP of Marketing at iCast, (a CMGi funding company that was the precursor to YouTube). Later, as Senior Manager of Youth and Urban Communications at Nissan North America, (an internal group that he founded), Jon was responsible for all youth, multicultural marketing and strategic alliances for the Nissan and Infiniti brands. He was acknowledged by industry trade publication, Brandweek, as the best marketer under 40 in America. Jon was also the Chief Marketing Officer for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ collection of companies, and as an Executive Creative Director / Senior Vice President at Young & Rubicam Brands, led an advanced, communications think tank around mobile and social media. Jon is a co-owner of the best model car maker in the world, a UK-based firm called Amalgam Fine Model Cars. He received his BA in International Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mark Davis is currently the CEO & Co-Founder of Kohort. Before jumping into his latest venture, he was an IT-focused Venture Capitalist at DFJ Gotham Ventures. Mark is the author of a blog (mpd.me) that addresses industry topics and offers guidance to entrepreneurs on how to raise venture capital. Mark is also an occasional contributor to a number of industry news services, including PE Hub, Mashable, Inc.com, OPENForum and Business Insider and is frequently cited in the Wall Street Journal. Mark is also dedicated to building community for entrepreneurs. He started the Columbia Venture Community, a group that serves Columbia University’s student and alumni entrepreneurs, founded the New York Venture Community and advises the NYU Venture Community and the University of Pennsylvania Venture Association. He’s also a mentor for TechStars, ER Accelerator and Founder Labs. In the past, he was an adviser to Duke University’s Global Entrepreneurship Network and a member of the NY Tech Meetup’s Community Committee. Some of the companies that Mark has been involved with include: ADstruc, Drop.io (sold to Facebook), Medialets, Panvidea, SailThru, Seamless Receipts, STELLAservice, Warby Parker, ViVOtech and Yipit. Before joining DFJ Gotham, Mark was an active entrepreneur and advisor. He was the Founder and CEO Zotspot, an internet search destination, and an advisor to numerous startups. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Mark consulted to Fortune 1000 and private equity clients on the strategic and financial attractiveness of acquisition targets at both Bain & Company and KPMG. Mark earned his B.A. in Economics, cum laude, at Duke University and his M.B.A. at Columbia Business School, where he was the Early Stage President of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club and an InSITE Fellow.
Anu Duggal, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded Exclusively.In, a private sale e-commerce site focused on bringing the best of South Asian fashion, jewelry, and home decor to the global audience. In May 2011, the company raised $16M in venture funding from Tiger Capital, Accel Partners and Helion. Anu was involved with all aspects of the business – pitched to major VC’s in India, helped secure early angel investment, and managed an eight person buy team, along with creating business development initiatives for major strategic partners in India. After moving back to New York City in March 2011, Anu has become involved with the Obama re-election campaign, focused on raising $2M through an Obama event in March 2012. In addition, she has ventured into the space of angel investing to support female entrepreneurs, both in the U.S. and India. Prior to Exclusively.In, Anu co-founded The Tasting Room, India’s first luxury wine bar, in 2005 with Rajeev Samant, CEO of Sula Wines. Anu graduated from Vassar College, speaks fluent French, and also has a passion for the restaurant world, especially after working for Chef Floyd Cardoz at NYC’s highly-ranked Tabla restaurant.
David Gilboa is the founder of Warby Parker, a transformative eyewear brand sold exclusively online for a fraction of the price of comparable glasses. For every pair of glasses sold, one pair is donated to someone in need. Prior to Warby Parker, David was an Associate at Allen & Company, a merchant bank, where he invested in seed-stage and venture-stage healthcare and digital media companies, and advised M&A transactions exceeding $20B. Previously, David worked at Bain & Company, where he formulated and implemented business strategies for some of the world’s leading retail and technology companies, including overseeing the launch of a new consumer product and brand for a leading fitness company. David was also Special Assistant to the Founder and CEO of The TriZetto Group, and has held strategy and business development roles at Genomic Health and Crescendo Bioscience. David has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, and helped found the first West Coast branch of Inspire, a non-profit consulting firm focused on improving children’s education. He graduated with a BS in Bioengineering with Honors from UC Berkeley and has an MBA from Wharton Business School, where he was a recipient of the Kaiser Family Foundation Grant.
Rufus Griscom is the CEO and co-founder of Babble Media, as well as the Chairman of Nerve.com. Babble Media’s website, Babble.com, is one of the leading parenting websites and was named one of the 50 coolest websites by Time in 2010. Investors in Babble include iNovia Capital, Greycroft Partners, and Village Ventures. Prior to Babble, Rufus co-founded Nerve Media in 1997, and served as the website’s first editor and CEO. In the decade that followed, Rufus grew Nerve Media into a profitable website and online dating business, in the process spinning off Spring Street Networks, an online dating technology company, which was acquired in 2005. Rufus is active in the New York entrepreneurial community and serves as an advisor to several New York-based internet companies. Rufus graduated from Brown University and has three sons, Rye, Declan and Grey, with his wife, Alisa.
Liz Hamburg is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience as an entrepreneur, angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She is the founder and President of Upstart Ventures, where she has consulted to and incubated many start-ups including her latest venture, ApplyWise, an online college admissions counseling company. Liz was Chairman and Founder of Hypnotic, a broadband content and branded entertainment company and was one of the founding managers and Director of the Board of Vimpel Communications (NYSE:VIP), the leading cellular company in Russia. She has launched new products for Reuters Tokyo and Fujisankei Communications, one of Japan’s largest media conglomerates, where she worked on the first international television home shopping show and played a leading role in the introduction of Fuji’s Nintendo game software into the U.S. Liz is the co-host on WOR radio (WOR 710AM) of “New York Uncovered” and “Launchpad”, a weekly radio segment focusing on entrepreneurs and small business. She also blogs about small business for the Huffington Post. She is New York’s 2009 SBA Small Business Journalist of the Year. Liz received an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. from Brown University. In 2010, Liz attended the Executive Education program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford Business School. She is Chairman of the NY Board of the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment; Member of the Advisory Boards of the Brown University Entrepreneurs Program and the New York board of Astia; and a member of the Advisory Panel of the Columbia Business School’s Eugene Lang Entrepreneur Initiative Fund. She is a frequent lecturer on topics concerning entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses.
Robert Hatta is the COO at Tackk, a startup bringing simple back to the web. Tackk overcomes complicated technical challenges so users don’t have to. He is also a partner at Hatch, an organization that provides coaching, connections and capital to entrepreneurs who are starting or stuck. Prior to joining Hatch, Robert served as the Vice President of Entrepreneurial Talent at JumpStart, an organization that assists and invests in tech startups in Northeast Ohio. At JumpStart, he advised portfolio companies on their talent strategies while providing direct support recruiting board members, executive leaders and staff. Prior to JumpStart, Robert was the Director of Strategic Development at Findaway World, recognized as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies for 2008. Before returning home to Ohio, he held senior marketing positions at Apple, Netflix and Virgin Mobile USA, as well as several other web startups. He graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in Economics.
Will Hauser , a social entrepreneur from San Francisco, is the co-founder of Two Degrees, a food company dedicated to fighting childhood hunger around the world. For every food bar sold, Two Degrees gives a meal to a hungry child. Will graduated from Harvard in 2008 with a degree in economics and psychology. While in school, Will led the largest student-run corporation in the world, Harvard Student Agencies, overseeing 500 student employees and $6 million in annual revenue. After graduation, Will joined Goldman Sachs in New York in its investment banking division, leaving after one year to found Two Degrees. Will’s outside passions include health & fitness, basketball, and politics. He eats a Two Degrees bar every morning before working out.
Ross Hinkle is founder + chief fan @liveset, entrepreneur, amateur guitarist, music lover, and passionate new orleanian. Prior to founding liveset, he spent his hours toiling away as a media-focused private equity investor.
Chieh Huang was the CEO of Astro Ape, a venture-backed social gaming company focused purely on mobile, prior to being acquired and becoming the Director of Zynga Mobile New York. Upon release, each of Astro Ape’s titles was independently featured by Apple. The company’s successes were chronicled by MSNBC, Forbes, PC World, The New York Post, The Guardian (UK) and TechCrunch. In another life, Chieh was an attorney at a large international law firm, representing major sports leagues and private equity funds.
Tina Imm is currently the General Manager of Time Inc’s lifestyle group, which includes InStyle magazine and other flagship properties. In her most recent position at MTV Networks she served as VH1 Digital’s Senior Vice President and General Manager. Imm managed the full scope of VH1′s digital business from 2004 – 2009, during which time VH1 properties (websites, mobile, podcasts and games) set new records for engagement and overall traffic. Prior to joining VH1, Imm served as Chief Operating Officer for Complex Media, a media company that develops creative for youth culture through various outlets. While there, she oversaw the 2002 launches and businesses of two magazines: Complex Magazine, an urban lifestyle publication for young men, and Bullseye, a custom publication for Target Corporation mixing editorial with products sold at Target stores. Prior to Complex, Imm co-founded the youth culture portal Platform Network (Platform.net) in 1996, which aggregated over 40 top urban brands such as Ecko Unlimited, Triple 5 Soul, Vice Magazine, and Trace Magazine. As Platform Network’s Chief Operating Officer, she attracted investors including Sony, Warburg Pincus, and Chase Capital to support the portal’s dynamic combination of a robust e-commerce system with original editorial. Imm graduated from Brown University with a double concentration in Art: Semiotics and Applied Mathematics.
Mark Jacobstein is VP of Product Management at Qualcomm iSkoot, Inc. Mark was CEO of iSkoot prior to its acquisition by Qualcomm. iSkoot brings leading web services like Facebook, Twitter and Skype to mobile handsets around the world, delivering rich consumer experiences with minimal impact on operator networks. Prior to that, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Charles River Ventures. He also served as the EVP at Silicon Valley-based loopt, Inc., a ground-breaking social mapping startup backed by Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Before joining loopt, Jacobstein was the founding President for Digital Chocolate, one of the world’s largest publishers of mobile games, which raised more than $20M in venture capital from Sequoia Capital, KPCB, and Sutter Hill. He was also the CEO and founder of Small World Sports, the world’s first online fantasy sports business, where he raised more than $20M from Flatiron Ventures, SCP, CCP and NBC before selling the business to Paul Allen’s The Sporting News. In addition, Jacobstein co-founded Small World Software, an Internet technology consultancy, which he sold to iXL in 1998. He then served as the SVP of sales and business development for iXL’s New York office before its 1999 IPO. Jacobstein studied Computer Science at Harvard University, is on the board of Full Circle Fund and began his career as a software developer at Bloomberg L.P.
Darren Jer is the co-founder and COO of MarketFactory, a financial technology company that develops trading platforms for the OTC Market. Previously, he was director of new business sales in the Americas for ICAP Electronic Broking, and established EBS’s algorithmic trading and market data business amongst hedge funds and other prime brokered customers. Before EBS, Darren was a sales executive in IBM’s Banking, Finance and Securities practice, responsible for key Wall Street accounts. Darren began his career in financial technology as a consultant at Price Waterhouse developing e-commerce systems. Following Price Waterhouse he worked at Internet consultancy Viant, as well as his own digital media firm which developed an online marketplace for streaming video content and rich media advertising. Darren graduated from Duke University with a BA in English and Political Science.
Michael Karnjanaprakorn is the CEO/co-founder of Skillshare, a global community where you can learn real-world skills from incredible teachers. Previously, Michael developed products and services that organized the creative world at Behance (acquired by Adobe), led the product team at Hot Potato (acquired by Facebook), and was a Venture Advisor for Collaborative Fund. Michael is a 2012 TED Fellow and listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. He’s a graduate of the University of Virginia and VCU Brandcenter.
Princess Khaliya is an active philanthropist and non-profit consultant. Her recent work has centered on health issues with the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of development agencies with a broad set of mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalization of historic cities. Previously, Princess Khaliya served as a professional public health consultant, conducting field research in countries in South and East Asia, North America, and Eastern Europe. Her work has entailed developing responses to issues in community health, urbanism, education and economic development. Princess Khaliya began her international development career as a member of the Peace Corps in Bulgaria. She received her Masters degree in Public Health at Columbia University and her Bachelors in European Studies and International Affairs from New York University.
Gary Klein is Founder and CEO of GKlein&associates, based in New York. Klein has an extensive background in executive search with a focus on global media, entertainment and new media/digital. Over the past 20 years, Gary has conducted well over 500 searches for CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s and the functional heads for the full range of line operating and staff positions. His searches have been for clients in the U.S., Europe, the Pacific Rim, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia. Prior to forming GKlein&associates, Gary was a Partner in the Technology, Media & Telecom Practice of CTPartners. Earlier, Klein was Vice President and Managing Director of Cook Associates, where he directed their Global Media, Entertainment and Communications Practice and oversaw the New York office operations. Previously, Klein was Managing Director at A.T. Kearney. In addition to his extensive search experience, Klein served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at John Blair and Company (a Television, Radio, Hispanic Broadcasting, Syndication and Publishing company) and as Vice President of Human Resources for Teleprompter Corporation whose divisions included Cable Television, Muzak, Showtime and Filmation Associates. Gary is a graduate of American University with a B.S. in Business Administration and a concentration in Human Resources.
Apar Kothari is currently VP and Head of New Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Rue La La, where she is responsible for identifying game-changing opportunities for the company. Prior to Rue La La, Apar was CEO and co-founder of MyNines, the first and only aggregator of sample sales sites. Apar started her career in IBM’s Corporate Development group, focusing on Venture Capital and later Mergers & Acquisitions. She then moved to Rustic Canyon Partners, a $1 billion early- stage venture capital firm in LA. Apar was most recently a Manager in the Corporate Strategy group at Fox Interactive Media, responsible for helping shape the strategy of FIM’s portfolio of media and entertainment sites, which included MySpace, IGN, Photobucket, Rotten Tomatoes and others. As an avid fashionista, Apar loves shopping on sample sales sites like the Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, and soon discovered that she was missing out on amazing deals because she couldn’t keep track of all the flash sales sites out there. She was getting a bazillion emails a day and discovering new sample sales sites each week… And so came the vision for MyNines. With the launch of MyNines, Apar blended her passion for fashion and shopping with entrepreneurship to allow shoppers to find all sample sales on one site. Apar received her B.S. from NYU’s Stern School of Business, and her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, where she was Associate Editor for the Harbus and COO of the VC/PE Club. Apar is also an MBA application consultant, is fluent in Gujrati and loves to ski, travel, shop on Melrose Avenue, and cheer for her New England Patriots.
Miles Lasater is Founder and COO of Higher One. Miles has provided leadership to take Higher One from an idea among a few college students to a publically traded company serving over 5 million students. At Higher One he is responsible for delivering on customer, client, employee and shareholder expectations – the doing and getting it done part. Along the way to a 2010 IPO, Higher One was recognized as one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine and Entrepreneur magazine. Prior to founding Higher One, Miles was a member of the invention team at Walker Digital, where he worked on intellectual property for companies such as Priceline and Retail DNA. (They actually called him something like an “inventor intern” and paid him to read about stuff he was interested in anyway.) Previously, he worked in Silicon Valley as a computer consultant (a fancy way of saying he worked with computer servers and spent a lot of time on ladders or hands/knees installing wiring). During college, he was Rookie of the Year at Flying Colors Painting where he managed a residential painting franchise. Active in the New Haven community, Miles is on the board of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and has served as a member of the Port Authority of New Haven and Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. Recipient of the Elm-Ivy Award, Miles was recognized by the Mayor of New Haven and the President of Yale for strengthening partnerships among the New Haven and Yale communities. As an extension of his interest in civic life, social entrepreneurship and technology, he co-founded SeeClickFix, a Government 2.0 start-up which is growing quickly. He has served as volunteer tax preparer and is the creator of Cluefest, an annual city-wide scavenger hunt. (Yes, it’s silly, but fun! He invites you to join in some time.) While at Yale, Miles founded the Yale Entrepreneurial Society and launched Yale’s annual business plan competition. Over the years, Miles has stayed involved with YES, and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute which he also helped start. Miles enjoys swapping yarns with other entrepreneurs and occasionally will make angel investments. He often tells his wife this is a less expensive hobby than say sailing. (We’ll see.) He was named 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for New England. Miles has appeared in numerous media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, University Business, CNBC and books like UpStarts and Next Generation Democracy. He was born in Texas, grew up in San Francisco and attended high school at Phillips Academy Andover. Miles has a BA in computer science from Yale. Miles is passionate about reading, learning, family and helping people achieve their goals.
Roger Lee is the co-founder and president of PaperG, a local advertising company whose online ad technology is used by over 20,000 local advertisers and 100 media companies. PaperG has been featured in the New York Times and TechCrunch and was recently named to Forbes’ list of Top 100 Most Promising Companies. Prior to PaperG, Roger co-founded the SubProfile Network, a group of highly popular teen-oriented websites that included 3 of the top 10 most visited websites by teenagers, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Roger holds a B.A. from Harvard University.
Christopher Leidigh is co-founder of Alektrona. He has been working with embedded systems and communications engineering for over twenty years and has been involved in a wide variety of networking technologies and products ranging from SCADA control networks to distributed TCP/IP appliance systems and low power wireless. As a co-founder of Alektrona, he has been focusing on guiding the company’s product development and business strategy in the emerging smart grid energy management market. Christopher represents Alektrona in the ZigBee Alliance and also significantly contributed to the ZigBee Smart Energy 1.0 Profile specification development. Prior to Alektrona, Christopher was the Director of the Embedded Communications Business Unit at American Power Conversion. In that role he was the principle technical and business lead that drove the hardware and firmware development of four generations of Internet appliance platforms, one of APC’s core technologies. His involvement ranged from both key sales support for Fortune companies, business unit director and acquisitions technology research. Prior to APC he also was part of a startup, Circuit Development, in New York that developed several products in the communications and video lab equipment areas. He also worked part time for several years during college in neurophysiology research at the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory. Christopher taught TCP/IP and other communications courses at The Embedded Systems Conferences for ten years and is the author of numerous articles on embedded design, debugging and Internet communications in publications such as EETimes, Embedded Systems Programming and Communications Systems Design. Christopher has traveled extensively and been involved in various aspects of the international business development and is fluent in Spanish from living abroad and has a working knowledge in Greek and Portuguese. He received his B.Sc. in Bio-Electrical Engineering from Brown University.
David Lelong is the founder and principal of Accelerated Online, a marketing agency that specializes in helping companies acquire more customers using inbound marketing processes to enhance their online presence. He has over ten years of experience creating and launching Internet-related products and services for businesses and consumers. Formerly the Director of Web Site Products at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, David was responsible for providing small law firms with web site solutions to market their practices effectively online and develop new client relationships. Prior to this role, David led product management and product marketing teams at Avature, iCrossing, Yahoo!, and HotJobs.com where he successfully launched various online technology and service offerings to drive revenue and growth. David holds a dual-degree in Management & Technology from The Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lauren Leto is co-founder of Texts From Last Night. While in law school in Detroit, Lauren conceived of and co-founded Texts From Last Night, a site that chronicles humorous user-submitted text messages that were sent the night before. Texts From Last Night has since spawned a book (published by Gotham) and a television show is in the works. She also founded Bnter, a conversation sharing service, in 2010. She is also writing Judging A Book By Its Lover, a Harper Perennial book coming out in 2011.
Josh London was most recently COO of SX2 Media Labs, where he transformed Computer Shopper magazine from a print-only publication to a 100% digital property, which was then acquired by Ziff Davis and Great Hill Partners. Josh is a proven leader with broad experience in general management, marketing, product, strategy, M&A, and business development. London has held roles at a variety of leading media and technology companies, including CNET, ZDNet, Thomas Publishing Company and PSINet. Josh has helped startups and established companies build their digital businesses, with a focus on commerce and content strategies and serves as an advisor to several Internet startups.
Dave Maestri is co-founder of Metamoki, Inc., an online social gaming company based in San Francisco. Dave is personally recognized as a pioneer in social gaming, having created “Mob Wars” in 2008, on what was then a new, untested platform for games: Facebook Mob Wars became a phenomenon, and within several months attracted more than 3 million monthly players from all over the world, demonstrating the potential of casual social games to draw huge audiences and giving rise to a new multi-billion dollar online industry. Dave continues to be driven to build highly engaging social games to this day, and strongly believes that there are not enough young people pursuing entrepreneurship as a career.
Brent McCrossen is the CEO of Audiosocket – a music licensing and technology company that helps all types of artist place their music into films, TV shows, commercials, video games and digital media. Brent is responsible for the company’s business development. Working with his business partner, investors, employees and customers Mr. McCrossen crafts a vision and strategy that benefits not only the company but also the musicians and media producers it has set out to assist. He first made his mark as Co-Founder of Interface Booking and Management. Interface was a Seattle based booking and talent agency in charge of the talent buying for three Seattle music venues: High Dive, Nectar Lounge and Tost. The company managed such artist as KJ Sawka, Emilia Sosa, DJ Motion Potion and Chrisopher Blue. Having booked their artist roster on national tours, they leveraged those successes and secured appearances at nationally acclaimed festivals like Bonnaroo, Vegoose, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Bumbershoot. Ten plus years in the music business gives Brent a unique perspective on the industry and the changes it’s facing. Being born and raised in New Orleans, Brent has a deep passion for all things food, music and culture. He has made that passion a career.
Jennifer Medbery is founder and CEO of Kickboard by Drop the Chalk, is a software developer who spent three years in the classroom as a high school math teacher. After receiving her degree in Computer Science from Columbia University, Jen joined Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta and then served as a founding teacher at a high-performing charter school in New Orleans. There, Jen developed the idea for Kickboard. She needed a way to make better instructional decisions based on data that showed which skills students knew, which they had yet to master, and how student behavior impacted academic achievement. Jen left the classroom to build the tools she wished she had in the classroom, and Kickboard was born. The teacher-friendly software is now used by schools in 12 states.
Jessica Millar is CEO of VCharge. Jessica Millar founded VCharge to create a sustainable future by introducing transactive, market-based demand response and storage. With a PhD from MIT in mathematics, she spent her early career focused on mathematical logic, later moving towards computational complexity. She taught mathematics at Harvard, the University of British Columbia, and Brown. Leaving academics, she ran an incubator commodities trading fund for several years. A supporter of renewable energy, Jessica helped start Project Get Ready Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to the rapid expansion of electric cars.
Jerry Paffendorf is the co-founder of LOVELAND technologies, an innovative social mapping and fund-raising application designed to spur urban renewal in Detroit. He is also the co-founder of the nonprofit Imagination Station, an in-development creative campus combining technology, art, sustainable design, and community programming. Previously, Jerry was the co-founder of Wello Horld, a venture-financed social internet software company in Brooklyn and San Francisco. Jerry has also worked at a Washington D.C.-based start-up designing 3D virtual experiences and at the non-profit Acceleration Studies Foundation in Los Angeles as a futurist and creative. After earning his BFA in his homestate of New Jersey, Jerry began his career as an artist in Portland before returning to school for a Masters of Science in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Cecilia Pagkalinawan is the CEO and co-founder of Styletrek, a fashion community and e-commerce company that supports emerging designers. As an executive, Cecilia has launched and marketed successful e-commerce businesses for such leading luxury and fashion brands as Nine West, Burberry, Frette, and La Perla. Cecilia was previously CEO of Boutique Y3K, an ecommerce consulting firm, and played a senior role at several internet start-ups, including K2, RichFX, and Abilon. Cecilia was recognized in 1999 by Silicon Alley Reporter among the “Top 100 Internet Executives in NY.” She was named the National Association of Women Business Owner’s “New York Businesswoman of the Year” in 2000. Cecilia is among 96 executives featured in the book “Distinguished Asian- American Business People” published in 2004. She has been featured in WSJ, Asia WSJ, VOGUE, Asiaweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur, Advertising Age, E-commerce Times and was on CNN’s “Entrepreneurs Only.” She is a frequent speaker at conferences on E-commerce, Multi-channel Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
Chris Paik currently works at Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm based in New York. Previously, he co-founded a social media consultancy, worked for an economist, and was an analyst at a fashion consulting firm. Chris has always been passionate about creating value through volunteering and entrepreneurship, having been a founding member of a Silicon Valley startup during college. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics and a secondary degree in Psychology, with special interest in Behavioral Economics, an intersection of the two subjects.
Mary Park is the co-founder of Crisp Wireless, a rich media mobile advertising company based in New York funded by institutional investors including Intel Capital. Clients include major media companies such as Time Interactive, Hearst Magazines, and Viacom. Prior to co-founding Crisp, Mary was an investment banker at a boutique firm in New York. Mary has a BS in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and an MA in Public Policy from Columbia University.
Zak Pashak is the founder of Detroit Bikes, a manufacturing company in Detroit that produces the country’s only high-quality, affordable American-made bicycles. After years as a campus radio DJ supporting the local music scene in Calgary, in 2003 Pashak opened Broken City- a live music venue that became an award-winning cultural institution. In 2007, Zak founded the Sled Island music festival which features hundreds of local and international artists, film makers and musical acts in 25+ venues throughout the city every summer. Sled Island was named one of the top 10 festivals in Canada by the CBC. In 2008 Pashak opened the Biltmore Cabaret, a similar, but larger, music venue in Vancouver. After a close Calgary city council election in 2010 where Zak received over 40% of the vote against an incumbent who outspent him 5-1, Pashak decided that he would further his understanding of business, and the world, by moving to Detroit, MI. On the campaign trail Zak had become aware of the importance of public transit and other alternatives to cars, like cycling, in building healthy urban environments. Convinced of the need in the market, Zak founded Detroit Bikes in 2012.
Christopher Reade founded Carrollton Technology Partners in New York City in 1995 as Avalon Internetworking Corporation. Mr. Reade moved the growing company to New Orleans in 2000. At Carrollton Tech he is the chief technology architect, concentrating on bridging the gap between technical and business divisions within client companies. He is an expert at translating business needs into workable technical projects. Trained originally as a C programmer, Mr. Reade has created, installed, and run systems for companies ranging from five employees to several thousand. He has designed and implemented internal information systems for industries as varied as healthcare and mortgage banking. During his career, Mr. Reade has overseen mass upgrades of entire systems as well as migrations from legacy systems. He is Microsoft and Novell certified and holds certifications and appellations from various other vendors.
Jason Rosenthal is currently Executive Vice President of Products at Glam Media and General Manager of Ning. Rosenthal joined Glam Media after the company’s acquisition of Ning and is responsible for leading Glam’s social platform strategy and the Ning business unit. As the CEO of Ning, Rosenthal led a highly successful transition to a subscription-based business model that increased Ning’s paying customers from 17,000 to more than 100,000 in just over a year. Prior to Ning, Rosenthal was Vice President of Hewlett Packard Software’s Business Service Automation product line, the fastest growing business within HP, through its $1.65 billion acquisition of Opsware, which he joined as the first employee in 1999. As Senior Vice President and General Manager of Opsware’s Server Automation Products, Rosenthal led all aspects of product development, marketing and engineering for the company’s flagship product line that generated $150 million in annual revenue. Before Opsware and Loudcloud (Opsware’s predecessor company), Rosenthal served as Director of Product Management for America Online’s E-commerce Platform Division through AOL’s $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape. Rosenthal holds a B.A. in history from Pomona College where he also serves on the Board of Trustees and received his M.B.A. from Stanford Business School.
Tom Ryan is the CEO of Threadless, a community-based design and e-commerce company with an ongoing open-call for design submissions from visual artists worldwide. As designs are submitted, the Threadless community of over 1.5 million members cast votes that determine which designs become Threadless products. Threadless is a poster child of “crowdsourcing” and was named by Inc. Magazine as “the most innovative small company in America.” Tom also serves on the board of directors of Smule, a social music company that develops top sellingiPhone applications, and Trunk Club, a clothing service for men. Before Threadless, Tom spent a decade as an entrepreneur and executive in the digital music business. He ran global digital strategy and business development at EMI Music and held roles at Virgin Mobile USA, eMusic, and Cductive (a pioneering digital music retailer that he founded and sold to eMusic). Tom lives in Chicago with his wife Anjannette and French bulldogs Lola and Sergio. Aside from the intersection of the arts and technology, Tom’s interests include DJing, electronic music, languages, and craft beer. Tom holds an AB from Dartmouth College and an MBA from INSEAD in France.
Stuart Schultz is the co-founder of BeautyRx Skincare, a comprehensive skincare collection proven through over 10 years of study, in a leading Park Avenue Dermatologist’s office, to make your skin healthier, more radiant and younger looking. Prior to BeautyRx, Stuart was the founder of Gradspot.com, an organization that helps soon-to-be and recent college graduates transition to the real world, where he published his first book, “Gradspot.com’s Guide to Life After College.” Previously, Stuart worked at Allen & Company, a merchant bank catering to the new and traditional media spaces, where he advised venture, mid-sized and large multi-national corporations on equity raises and M&A transactions. He graduated from Emory University with a BBA from the Goizueta Business School, where he received the John E. Robson Award, and a second major in Film Studies.
Eric Schwamberger is a pioneer in the world of digital marketing. Eric offers a wealth of expertise in interactive and social strategy, process management, relationship marketing, website personalization and e-Commerce. He began his career in 1993 at the first interactive marketing agency—Einstein and Sandom—where he produced much of the early branded content and services on the Internet. Eric was soon running strategy and production teams at agency powerhouses like Grey and Ogilvy, as well as leading interactive agencies such as Eagle River/Agency.com, i33 and IDSociety. Eric is currently one of a handful of Partners at Tenthwave, a full-service digital agency specializing in social marketing, website design and development, SEO and promotions. Eric personally ensures that clients including PayPal, eBay, Zynga, Pepperidge Farm, Bird’s Eye, VSP, Time Inc., CBS and VISA succeed in their digital efforts by bringing a personable, hands-on approach and innovative strategic thinking to every project. Tenthwave is the result of a merger of three companies including Zezza Network, the agency Eric started in 2005 and built into an award-winning practice sought after by top brands for strategic insight, social media strategy and precise technical development.
Jeremy Shinewald is the Founder and President of mbaMission, an elite MBA admissions consulting firm that has served thousands of applicants from more than 40 countries on six continents. Prior to founding mbaMission, Jeremy was the sole speechwriter for the Ambassador of Israel to the United States, for whom he wrote more than 70 policy addresses, and worked in the investment banking department of RBC Capital Markets. Jeremy is a graduate of University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, where he wrote a Business Ethics case and was chosen by his peers to be Class Graduation Speaker.
Matt Singer is the co-founder of TalkMarket, a provider of online video content solutions for consumer brands. Matt was a TV and music producer who began selling media products on QVC at age 24. He went on to sell over 500,000 products through the TV shopping channel. Matt has produced national TV and music projects with George Clooney, James Earl Jones, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, The New York Philharmonic, and others. Matt graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale.
Prabhdeep Singh is the co-founder of a financial media space start-up that will launch in Summer 2012. Prior, he served as an investment professional at the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), a private $115 million venture capital firm that does a combination of traditional early-stage investing and economic development investing in NYC. At NYCIF, he covered Media and IT investments, and co-founded and co-managed the FinTech Innovation Lab, an incubator for early stage Fintech Startups. Before NYCIF, Prabhdeep worked as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley where he focused on large financial sponsorship and strategic company transactions with technology companies and large private equity firms. Prabhdeep started two businesses before joining Morgan Stanley: breeding and selling rare Japanese fish (koi) and selling bulk lots of baseball cards online. He was a 2011 Fellow in the Startup Leadership Program and serves as a board advisor for Parent Media Group. Prabhdeep graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Political Science & Philosophy.
Peter Stuart is the founder of PCS Holdings where he focuses on advising early stage companies and making real estate investments. Currently Peter has active real estate development projects in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD and serves as an advisor to Gryphn Mobile Security, MyNewMD, ECORE Ventures, Foster.ly and several other early and growth stage companies. In 2010, Peter co-founded DC Entrepreneurship Week to help cultivate and celebrate Washington, DC’s entrepreneurial community. In 2012, Peter was elected to serve as the interim Chief Executive Officer of Progress Through Business a national non-profit focused on sustaining and enhancing underserved communities through initiatives, research, networking, and strategic partnerships to empower people, and improve social and economic conditions within those communities. Progress Through Business is based out of the Center on Business and Poverty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Puelicher Business School.
Benjamin Sun is a co-founder and partner of LaunchTime LLC, an incubator focused on digital media and e-commerce. Previously, Mr. Sun was President and CEO of Community Connect Inc., an online social network provider which he co-founded in 1996. Community Connect’s flagship community sites collectively generated over 500 million page views each month, making the network one of the Top 50 highest trafficked sites on the Internet. Ben and Community Connect raised over $20 million from notable investors including Comcast and Sandler Capital. In April 2008, Community Connect Inc. was acquired by Radio One, Inc. the fifth largest radio company in the U.S. Ben is actively involved in the New York venture community and has been profiled by Crain’s New York Business as one of the top under-40 executives to watch. Prior to launching Community Connect, Ben worked in Merrill Lynch’s Technology Investment Banking Group where he was involved in numerous corporate finance and merger and acquisition transactions in the technology industry. He executed over $500 million in equity financing transactions for Internet, enterprise software, and wire and cable industry companies. Ben holds a BA degree in Economics from the University of Michigan.
Doug Ulman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of LIVESTRONG, a leading non-profit in the fight against cancer. Doug Ulman is a three-time cancer survivor and nationally recognized cancer advocate. After overcoming chondrosarcoma and malignant melanoma twice during his sophomore year in college, Doug and his family founded the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a non-profit organization to provide support, education, and resources to young adults, their families and friends who are affected by cancer. He served as Executive Director of the Ulman Cancer Fund for four years before joining LIVESTRONG as director of survivorship in 2001. Doug has received numerous awards for his leadership and community service. In 2002, Doug was selected from more than 20,000 individuals to appear on more than 15 million boxes of Wheaties Energy Crunch as an American Everyday Hero. In 2003, Doug was selected as the Austin Under-40 award winner in the healthcare category. In 2005, Doug was honored by both the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and the Association of Oncology Social Workers. Most recently Doug was named to the Non-Profit Times Power and Influence Top 50 for 2009, an honor bestowed to the top 50 Non-profit executives. A frequent guest and contributor on national and local media programs, Doug has been featured on CNN, ABC News, NBC Nightly News, and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post among many other outlets. Doug also speaks frequently to corporations, civic organizations, schools and universities covering topics including cancer, philanthropy, grassroots movements, social change, and social media. Doug currently holds numerous civic and charitable board positions across the country and he just completed serving a four-year term as the Chairman of the National Cancer Institute Director’s Consumer Liaison Group. He also sits on the executive board of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, and is a founder of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance among many other board and advisory roles. Following his three cancer diagnoses, Doug returned to the soccer field and helped Brown University to three Ivy League Championships in four years. He has participated in many marathons, including a 100-mile marathon in the Himalayan Mountains, the New York City and Boston marathons.
Zeke Vanderhoek is the founder and principal of The Equity Project Charter School, a nationally renowned charter school located in Washington Heights, New York City. TEP has entered the national discourse on teacher compensation by paying teachers $125,000 on the same operating budget as a public school, primarily through lower administrative costs. TEP has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, and Education Week among many other media outlets. Prior to TEP, Zeke was the founder of Manhattan GMAT, a national test prep company that was acquired by Kaplan/the Washington Post in 2009. Zeke began his career as a Teach for America corps member in New York City. He has a B.A. from Yale University and a Masters in Philosophy & Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Jack Welde is the founder and CEO of Smartling, a venture-backed website translation and localization start-up based in New York. Jack has over 20 years of entrepreneurial and technology experience, having served as CEO, COO, CTO and Director of numerous successful technology companies. Highlights include co-founding Trio Development, sold to Apple Computer, and serving as COO and Director of Run Time Technologies. Jack is also a combat-decorated Air Force officer and pilot, having flown or led 80 combat missions in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Kuwait. As an officer, Jack trained over 60 pilots, was named USAFE Aviator of the Year, and was ranked 2nd out of 740 graduates of the Air Force’s officer leadership school. Jack graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Computer Science Engineering and holds an MBA from Cameron University.
Max Winograd is President and Co-Founder of NuLabel Technologies, Inc., an adhesive and printer hardware technology company in Providence, RI. NuLabel’s technology helps companies cut costs and reduce waste by eliminating the back of the label that end-users peel away and throw away. NuLabel was founded in June 2009 by Max and two co-founders, Ben Lux and Michael Woods. NuLabel participated in the Betaspring startup accelerator in its inaugural program. Max was named the 2010 Rising Star Innovator by Providence Business News and currently sits on the board of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Max is a Rhode Island Commodore, a group of over 300 business leaders promoting economic development in Rhode Island. Prior to founding NuLabel, Max attended Brown University, where he graduated in 2009 with a degree in Political Science. Max grew up in John’s Creek, Georgia.
Meg Wirth is the founder of Maternova and a S.E.VEN fellow. She has worked on women’s health throughout her career in areas as diverse as starting a home visiting program for teen mothers in Appalachia to monitoring and evaluating a major Safe Motherhood initiative -funded by USAID and implemented by John Snow International’s Mothercare project- in Jakarta and South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Meg has also worked as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Equity team and co-edited a major volume called Challenging Inequities in Health: From Ethics to Action. She was a co-author of the UN Millennium Project’s final report on child and maternal health. An innovator at heart, over the last several years she co-developed the strategy for the first global health social venture capital fund with a focus on women’s health in low-income countries. She has a BA from Harvard University and an MPA in international development from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.
Matt Wisdom is the co-founder of TurboSquid, one of the web’s first digital marketplaces for user-generated content. The company is now the world’s leading seller of 3D models used to create imagery in feature films, computer games, architecture, defense and a variety of other industries. Previously, Matt served as the company’s CIO until 2006, when he assumed the role of CEO. During his senior year at Brown, Matt co-founded Chimera Digital Imaging, a visual effects and 3D animation firm that became part of TurboSquid in 2000. At Chimera, Matt contributed 3D visual effects for hundreds of television commercials, and created the Brimstone plugin software for Discreet Logic products. Matt is a director for TurboSquid, serves on the boards and executive committees of GNO, Inc and Idea Village, and is a trustee for the RosaMary and Mary Freeman Wisdom philanthropic foundations. Matt has has received several honors, including being named “Technology Leader of the Year” for the State of Louisiana Governor’s Technology Awards.
Jeffrey Zurofsky is the President and CEO of ’wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farms. Jeffrey Zurofsky has followed his passion for entrepreneurship and the culinary arts throughout his career creating the perfect blend as President and CEO of ’wichcraft. In 2003, Jeffrey partnered with chefs Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortúzar to co-found ’wichcraft as a sandwich shop where the ingredients and cooking techniques are rooted in fine dining but served in a casual and welcoming environment. Since then Jeffrey has overseen all aspects of the business at ’wichcraft, spearheading its expansion to fifteen stores including locations in San Francisco and Las Vegas and employing over four-hundred team members. More recently, the original partnership opened Riverpark, a fine dining restaurant that was recently awarded 2-stars by the New York Times, as well as the innovative Riverpark Farm, New York’s most urban farm, located adjacent to the restaurant. Prior to the founding of ’wichcraft, Jeffrey worked in some of Manhattan’s most prestigious kitchens including a stage at Lespinasse, Savoy, Union Square Café, and as opening sous chef at Restaurant AZ. With desire to leave the stove and feed his entrepreneurial passion, Jeffrey took an offer at a tech startup, Bank Pass as Director of Business Development where he developed his interest in business growth. After honing his business acumen, Jeffrey found his way back to his passion at Payard where was Director of Operations and CFO at Francois Payard Patisserie and Bistro. Jeffrey’s passion as an entrepreneur and love for food started at the age of eight, attempting to replicate in his family’s New Jersey kitchen what he saw master chefs create on classic PBS cooking shows. His mother, a small business owner, encouraged his budding interest in everything culinary and Jeffrey put his self-taught skills to work in professional kitchens while studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He paid his way through school in the area’s best restaurants, and eventually became sous chef at the Mobil 4-star La Residence. In addition to Jeffrey’s many professional accomplishments, he was recently awarded Outstanding Alumni from The International Culinary Center in 2011. He continues to be committed to numerous civic and philanthropic institutions, including as a Board Member of GrowNYC, and has passionately supported entrepreneurial ventures throughout his career.
Rashaad Bajwa is the President/CEO of Domain Computer Services, Inc., one of the largest managed IT service providers serving the SMB market in the NY metro area. Under Rashaad’s direction, Domain has designed, implemented and supported the technology infrastructure for over 500 businesses ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. Prior to his role with Domain Computer Services Rashaad held positions at Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and American Cyanamid Corporation (later sold to American Home Products then Pfizer/Wyeth). Rashaad has been an active investor and board member of a variety of startups over the years. His focus has been centered on high-tech ventures and more recently, green-tech. Rashaad is also the Chairman of NJ Clean Drive, a NJ non-profit corporation supporting the advancement of alternative fuel vehicles. Other recent non-profit endeavors include a project to install data cabling in low income public housing in Newark, NJ in order to provide connectivity and teach local young adults data cabling by wiring their own buildings. Rashaad graduated from Rutgers University magna cum laude with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. Rashaad currently lives with his wife Michelle and 2 daughters Ava and Zoe in Monroe Twp. NJ.
Terry Cross currently serves as a Director of Monarch Antenna, a Delphi Corp. spinout, as Chairman of MIST Innovations, Inc. of Detroit, MI., and as an advisor to ArdentCause L3C., eCyren LLC, NextCAT of Detroit, MI, as Interim CFO and advisor to InfoReady Corp. and NextGen Metabolomics of Ann Arbor, and AutoHarvest as Senior Director, among others. He was a founding investor of three companies resulting from MIT’s Technology Transfer Department: Intellitec, Axiomatics, and LNL Technologies. He has served as a financial advisor to several companies and his past board memberships include G2 Networks, Inc. of Los Gatos, CA, Safari Technology Inc. of Lawton, Michigan, GCB Technologies of San Jose, CA, InGenius Technologies of Kalamazoo, MI., Wordenglass Inc. of Kalamazoo, MI., Machine Vision International of Ann Arbor, MI, Inivest of Detroit, MI, and Triumph Resources of New York City, and Pure Entropy Solutions of Lake Orion, MI[as Chairman]. Mr. Cross began his career in the securities business and worked for Kidder Peabody & Company, which was acquired by PaineWebber in 1995, for over 20 years rising to serve as Senior Vice President and Shareholder. In February 2000, Mr. Cross co-founded Sonoma Photonics, Inc in Santa Rosa, CA where he served as CEO and Chairman until he resigned to return to Michigan in August 2002. During his tenure, Mr. Cross spearheaded the development of the business plan and raised $ 10.7 million in venture funding from domestic and European investors. Sonoma Photonics was sold to Lockheed-Martin in 2008 for a significant return. In August 2002, Mr. Cross returned to Michigan and founded Windward Associates, a private investment partnership, where he focuses on capital formation advisory. Among various other stints in the industry, Mr. Cross has remained engaged in his alma mater, Wayne State University, where he graduated with an MBA in Finance. He was named The Distinguished Alumni in 2005 by The School of Business Administration, is the first Executive in Residence-Entrepreneurship, and has served on the Business School’s Board of Visitors and on The Critiquing Committee for their Entrepreneur Course. He is a past Board member of Great Lakes Angels, a founding member of Michigan Venture Capital Association, a Board member of Automation Alley’s Entrepreneurial Initiative of Southeast Michigan, a Board Member of Ann Arbor Angels as well as an Arch Angel, a former Trustee of Mariners’ Church of Detroit, and a former trustee of The Professional Children’s School of New York City and Chairman of The Executive Board of Michigan-Emerging, an event focusing on the emerging sectors in Michigan’s economic recovery. Since 2002, he has mentored over 50 company founders in Southeast Michigan and has been instrumental in helping entrepreneurs raise in excess of $100 million of capital funding.
Adam Stern is the President of Advance, the nation’s leading provider of integrated funding and services to the contingent workforce industry. With nearly 300 small and mid-size clients, Advance is a Cleveland-based business providing working capital, technology and process outsourcing, and strategic support to staffing entrepreneurs all over the country. Prior to joining Advance, Adam was the Vice President of Corporate Development for CRS, Inc. (now SIRVA), a leading nationwide provider of employee relocation and real estate services. Adam was instrumental in growing both of these founder-owned, entrepreneurial firms to market leadership positions in their industry. Adam started his career in New York, as an investment banking analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston. Adam is also on the Board of Directors for The Gather Place, a unique non-profit organization supporting, educating, and empowering those touched by cancer. Adam received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from The University of Texas at Austin.
Regional Fellow Advisors
Eric Bahn is the Founder of Beat The GMAT, an MBA applicant social network that serves 2 million people each year. In 2005, Eric began Beat The GMAT as a hobby test prep blog from his college dorm room. Since then, his hobby has evolved into an enormous MBA admissions community featuring hundreds of experts, a 100,000+ member discussion community, and one of the world’s largest GMAT scholarship programs. Eric has been featured in numerous press outlets including the New York Times, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, and BusinessWeek. He is a Detroit native and holds a BA and MA from Stanford University.
Ted Serbinski is a Partner at Detroit Venture Partners, where he leads investments in early stage software companies. Recently, he relocated from San Francisco to Metropolitan Detroit with his newlywed wife to help form and found a blossoming startup ecosystem through his roles as seed-stage investor and mentor. Currently, he sits on the boards of Are You a Human, Detroit Labs, Marxent Labs, Sociocast, UpTo, Chalkfly, and TechTown and is an advisor to the Brandery and the Frankel Commercialization Fund at University of Michigan.
Before coming to the Midwest, he founded Stanson Ventures, a successful seed stage investment fund. Top startups include GraphScience,CrowdMob, MomTrusted and RentMethod. Prior to his investment career, Ted was a serial entrepreneur, most recently as co-founder and CTO of ParentsClick, which was acquired by Lifetime Entertainment in 2008. ParentsClick was the 4th largest social network for parenting and mom bloggers in the country at the time of acquisition. Ted joined Lifetime as Director of Technology and stayed on in this role during Lifetime’s merger with A&E Television in 2010. While at Lifetime/A&E, he extended the community platform he architected for ParentsClick to host 8 Lifetime TV websites, serving a majority of Lifetime’s total traffic of 3.5MM monthly uniques and 90MM monthly pageviews. Before ParentsClick, Ted was the first engineer and part of the founding team at Lullabot, one of the world’s leading Drupal web strategy, development, and training companies. While there, Ted was the lead architect of numerous Fortune 500 websites, including Sony Music, MTV UK, Lifetime, the Seattle Times, This Week in Tech, and many more.
Prior to Lullabot, Ted was a top developer and early contributing pioneer to the Drupal framework for more than eight years. He contributedmore than 1,000 code patches and drove the framework through its most fundamental releases before mainstream adoption. Today, Drupal powers more than two-percent of all websites online. An Ivy League trailblazer, Ted created his own degree at Cornell Universityto better understand information technology and how it relates to entrepreneurship. He graduated with a B.S. in Engineering, with a declared major of Information Science, Systems & Technology and a minor in Computer & Electrical Engineering. Ted is also a 3rd degree Knight of Columbus and a silver palmed Eagle Scout.
Robin Chan is the Founder and CEO of Time Machine Ventures. Previously, Robin was the General Manager of Asia Business Operations for Zynga, the largest social gaming company in the world. He was also the Founder and CEO of XPD Media Inc., one of the largest international social game publishers in China. In 2010, Forbes named Robin as one of the “Nine Young Chinese Entrepreneurs to Watch.” Zynga acquired XPD Media in May 2010. He is also an active angel investor, with early investments in Twitter, Foursquare, and Square. Robin has over 10 years of founding management high-tech startup experience, pioneering first generation products in areas such as location-based services, mobile internet, mobile gaming, and mobile video. These startups were backed by KPCB, DFJ, Bessemer, and General Catalyst, among others. Robin holds a bachelor degree in economics from Columbia University.
Matt Cohen is a Principal of City Light Capital. He is currently an Observer to the Board of both LicenseStream and City Light Carbon. Matt brings a blend of financial services and operating/start-up experience to City Light. Prior to joining City Light, Matt was an investment banker in the Global Industrials groups of Citigroup and Bear Stearns where he advised companies in a broad range of sectors on corporate strategy objectives, financing matters, recapitalizations, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to his career in investment banking, Matt worked in asset management capacities at Bear Stearns and O’Shaughnessy Capital and was a founding member and Vice President of Business Development for Netfolio, Inc., a financial services start-up where he helped raise $40 million in funding, develop and implement the business plan and establish key partnerships. In 2005, Matt created The Future Stars Partnership, an annual multi-day program that immerses inner-city high school students in college campus life in an effort to inspire them to stay in school and ultimately pursue higher education. Matt has an MBA from Cornell University, where he was a Park Fellow, receiving a full-tuition scholarship for demonstrated leadership and commitment to community service and socially responsible business and a BA from the University of Connecticut where he double majored in Economics and Spanish.
Chip Hazard is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners whose investment interests and experience broadly cover companies and technologies in the information technology sector. He currently represents the firm on the boards of 10gen, First Best Systems, Goby, Infobright, Nasuni, Placemark and Sciformix and was previously a director at Bowstreet (acquired by IBM), Jingle Networks (acquired by Marchex), mValent (acquired by Oracle), Reveal Imaging (acquired by SAIC) and SupplyScape (acquired by TraceLink. Before joining the firm in May 2002, Chip was a General Partner with Greylock Partners, a leading venture capital firm he joined in 1994. While at Greylock, Chip led or participated in numerous successful investments in the enterprise information technology field including Narrative Communications (acquired by @Home), Idiom Technologies (acquired by SDL), iPhrase Technologies (acquired by IBM), IBA (acquired by ServiceSoft/Kana), Storage Networks (IPO), Totality (acquired by MCI) and the Vincam Group (IPO in 1996, acquired by ADP). Prior to Greylock, he was with Company Assistance Limited, an investment and consulting firm in Warsaw Poland; and Bain and Company, an international management consulting firm. Chip received a BA with honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar and a Ford Scholar.
Mike Katz is VP at Battery Ventures. After spending eight years in New York City as an entrepreneur and investor, Mike joined Battery Ventures in 2011 and focuses on investments in digital media and internet applications. Prior to Battery, he was Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at Conductor, Inc. where he ran the early development of what is now the company’s core product. Conductor is a portfolio company of FirstMark Capital (previously known as Pequot Ventures) where Mike worked as an Associate. Mike was also an Analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. in the Global Markets & Investment Banking division, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Project Enterprise, a microfinance nonprofit based in Harlem. He has a BS from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Mike blogs at www.mikekatz.com.
Charles Kemper is Managing Director at Revel Partners, an early-expansion stage venture firm focused on digital media & advertising infrastructure companies. Until recently, he was a Principal with Steelpoint Capital Partners, a multi-stage venture capital firm with offices in San Diego CA and New York NY. From 2004 to 2009, Steelpoint made various investments ranging from $3 to $30 million in leading venture-stage and growth-oriented companies with a focus on digital media, software, communications, and consumer products. Charles was actively involved in the firm’s investments in AdSpace Networks, Atempo, Boingo Wireless, The Chart Group, Imaginova, Internet Marketing Center, Jitterbug, PacStar Communications, PrivaSys, Promptu, SeaMobile, Snow Phipps Group, Tasti D-Lite, Topica, Women’s Marketing Inc, and WorkShare. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of Atempo, Internet Marketing Center, PacStar Communications, Promptu, and WMI Media Solutions, and a Board Observer at AdSpace Networks, Boingo Wireless, Genesis Today, Imaginova, Jitterbug, PrivaSys, SeaMobile, and Topica. Previously, Charles worked with Darby Overseas Investments, a global private equity firm with over $1 billion in capital under management led by Nicholas Brady, former US Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of Dillon Read & Co., to develop a plan to launch a new technology-focused investment vehicle. He also assisted in sourcing, evaluating, and executing new investment opportunities in the areas of digital media, communications services, enterprise software, and information technology. Earlier, Charles was a co-founder of a Chicago-based digital media agency focused on web design and e-commerce systems. Charles holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.
Zeev Klein is part of the founding team of Landmark Ventures and responsible for business development, investment banking and venture capital investments working with a portfolio of early-stage technology companies. Zeev gained experience working in the VC & Strategic Investment division of Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan), where he helped analyze and evaluate technology providers. He was the co-founder of a successful Chicago-based technology services company during the late 1990′s, and has consulted for a number of enterprise software and network infrastructure firms on strategic development, financial and operational issues. Zeev founded and is actively involved with Landmark’s corporate philanthropy program called Doing IT for Good, that connects senior executives at Fortune 500 companies with outstanding nonprofit organizations such as Year Up and NPower. He graduated with a BA in Economics from Northwestern University and received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.
Josh Kopelman has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – and took it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1996. Josh founded Half.com in July of 1999, and led it to become one of the largest sellers of used books, movies and music in the world. Half.com was acquired by eBay in July 2000 — and Josh remained with eBay for three years, running the Half.com business unit and growing eBay’s Media marketplace to almost half a billion dollars in annual gross merchandise sales. In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world’s first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later. Josh founded First Round Capital in 2004 to reinvent seed-stage investing. And since that time the firm has invested in over 200 emerging technology startups – becoming one of the most active venture capital firms in the country. Josh was ranked sixth on Forbes 2012 “Midas List” of the top 100 tech investors. Josh has been named as one of the top ten ‘angel investors’ in the United States by Newsweek magazine, one of “Tech’s New Kingmakers” by Business 2.0 magazineand a “Rising VC Star” by Fortune magazine. Josh also is the proud winner of a second place ribbon in the 2011 Nantucket Watermelon Eating competition. Josh is an inventor on thirteen U.S. Patents for his work in Internet technology. In June 2000, he was awarded Ernst and Young’s prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for the Greater Philadelphia region. Josh earned a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Sarah Kunst is an investor, philanthropist and startup executive who now invests with Mohr Davidow Ventures on the Web and Mobile Investment team. Sarah previously ran business development for Inporia.com and their mobile app, Kaleidoscope, and has also worked with Guest of a Guest, Chanel, Red Bull and Apple along with several other media companies. She’s been named one of Business Insider’s 30 most important women under 30 in tech, is a judge for Time Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and writes a column for The Daily Beast. She graduated from Michigan State University and now splits her time between New York City and San Francisco.
David Lee is the Managing Member of SV Angel. Prior to SV Angel, he was at Google, where he led new business development efforts in video, media and content/data partnerships. After Google, he led all business development-related efforts for StumbleUpon. Recently he was a partner at Baseline Ventures, a leading seed-stage investment firm. He was also an attorney at Morrison and Foerster representing high-tech companies in commercial transactions. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, NYU (JD) and Stanford (MSEE), where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate fellow. He is an individual investor in Square, WePay, Chomp and EQAL; an adviser at SocialDeck (acquired by Google), ScanScout and Rupture (acq. by EA); and was on the board of directors of BookFresh.
Andrew Parker is a principal at Spark Capital. He joined the investment team in June of 2010. By training Andrew approaches early investing from an engineering and user design perspective. Andrew is an avid user of web services and loves being an alpha tester for new products. In consumer-facing web services, a clear value proposition for the end-user through good product design is essential for success, and Andrew’s combination of professional and academic background is geared towards helping startups create value for their early users. Andrew is a board observer on Spark’s investment in Kik. Andrew was a member of the investment team at Union Square Ventures for four years, first as an analyst and later as an associate. During that tenure, Andrew supported the partners as they developed their portfolio from 7 to 30 names, and sourced the investment opportunities in Heyzap and Foursquare. Prior to Union Square Ventures, Andrew was a Producer at Homestead Technologies where he designed web interfaces, managed the realization of the designs through the dev-cycle, and conducted user experience testing. Prior to Homestead, he worked for Groupspace.org as a Developer on a web service for asynchronous online deliberation, built on the LAMP stack. A graduate from Stanford, Andrew received his B.S. in Symbolic Systems, which is a hybrid of Computer Science and Cognitive Psychology.
Andy Sack is the Executive Director of Techstars Seattle and Managing Partner of Founder’s Co-Op, a seed-stage investment fund and entrepreneur community based in Seattle. Andy has over 15 years experience running and investing in high tech businesses, most recently as co-founder and CEO of Judy’s Book, a local search social network. Prior to founding Judy’s Book in 2004, Andy co-founded three successful Internet technology companies: Kefta (acquired in 2007 by Axciom), a leading provider of real time customer interaction solutions; Abuzz, (acquired by New York Times Digital in 1999), an enterprises knowledge management solution named number one in the Internet software category by Red Herring Magazine and the top company to work for by Boston Magazine; and Firefly Network, an Internet company that pioneered internet personalization technologies (acquired by Microsoft). Andy also spent time as an entrepreneur in residence for SOFTBANK Venture Capital (now Mobius VC) where he founded and served on the board of three companies: BodyShop Digital, Quova, and Kefta. Andy currently serves on the board of and advises a number of companies including: zango, Cooler Planet, and Orange Line Media. Andy was also a founder and board member of Students for Responsible Business, and is a regular lecturer at the University of Washington Business School. Andy received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, and his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
Steve Schlafman is a Principal at Lerer Ventures. Steve was previously VP of Business Development at Stickybits Inc. / Turntable.fm and Director of Venture Investments at The Kraft Group, a diversified holding company focused on sports & entertainment, paper & packaging, real estate development, and private equity. Prior to The Kraft Group, Steve worked at Massive Inc. and Microsoft in a variety of Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Finance roles. Steve graduated with highest honors from Northeastern University.
Chris Schultz is a tech entrepreneur living in New Orleans, LA. He has launched several Internet companies and blogs about entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem at ChrisSchultz.net. Chris is a co-founder of Launch Pad, a collaborative workspace in downtown New Orleans that is home to more than 60 startups. He created Launch Pad Ignition, the first seed accelerator on the gulf coast, and part of the Techstars Network and the Startup America initiative. He also co-founded TribeCon, a conference about leveraging online communities to create offline change. He makes angel investments through Voodoo Ventures and was lead investor in a market research technology firm, Jackson Square Group. Chris actively mentors young entrepreneurs in the community in addition to building his own companies. He also is a passionate member of the grassroots tech community and organized the first BarCamp in New Orleans and in Russia with his partners in Flatsourcing. He regularly speaks at technology conferences and “unconferences” including SXSW and WordCamp. Chris is passionate about serving the community and is on the board of Jackson Square Group, Datagraph and the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. In 2009, Chris was honored as a Junior Achievement Rising Star. He won a New Orleans CityBusiness Innovator of the Year award in 2006, 2007, & 2009 for the launch of Huckabuck, meta-search engine, siteMighty, a web publishing tool, and Launch Pad respectively. Huckabuck was acquired in 2006. Prior to Voodoo Ventures, Chris founded Destination VIP, Inc. a Las Vegas-based internet travel company which was acquired in 2003 by VegasHotSpots. He received his MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California in 2002, and his Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1996. Chris loves riding his 1976 BMW motorcycle around New Orleans, wakeboarding in Pass Christian and taking “business trips” to exotic locations.
Jonathan Teo is Managing Director of General Catalyst Partners, investing in both new and existing technology businesses. His areas of special interest include: enterprise software/infrastructure and social media. Before joining General Catalyst Partners, Jonathan was a Principal at Benchmark Capital in Menlo Park, CA for three years, where he played key roles in investments including Twitter, Eucalyptus Systems and Instagram. Prior to Benchmark he managed several engineering teams at Google and was an early member of its Strategy and Business Operations group focusing on international expansion of research and development. Jonathan is a graduate of Stanford University, earning a MS and Sydney University where he received a BS in Electrical Engineering.
Jonathon Triest is Managing Partner at Ludlow Ventures. Jonathon was previously creative director for New Yorks Discovery Productions. In 2005 he launched Triest Group, a mid-level advertising firm. Jonathon sits on the Board of Tinder, Trico Foundation, and the Board of Investors for Venture for America. He is currently Managing Partner of Ludlow Ventures.
David Tisch is the Managing Director of TechStars in New York City. He is also the Managing Member of Box Group, a New York City based seed-stage angel capital firm. As an investor, advisor or mentor, David has worked with over 40 startups including Boxee, Flavors.me, GroupMe, Goodsie, adStruc, Ignighter, Profitably, CrowdTwist, Singly, StatSheet, OnSwipe, ThinkNear and TroopSwap. Prior to joining TechStars, David served as Executive Vice President of Interactive Strategies at kgb, a diversified global information services company. While at kgb, David founded and lead Knowmore.com, a social aggregation startup within kgb. David has a B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Medha Vedaprakash is a principal of Rho Ventures. Medha joined Rho in 2007 after several years of operating experience at Siemens Communications, where she was responsible for designing and leading the development of multiple products including the company’s voice over cable solution. She joined Siemens through the company’s acquisition of Unisphere Networks, where she developed Unisphere’s first voice over IP product. She has also worked as an investment professional at Charles River Ventures, where she focused on emerging mobile technologies. Medha received an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bangalore University and also holds two technology patents in the voice over IP space.
Andrew Weissman is partner at Union Square Ventures.
Martin Halbfinger is a Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor at UBS Financial Services, Inc. Marty’s 30 years of wealth management advisory experience have made him a sought-after Advisor and speaker in the areas of investment planning and strategy within UBS and at Barron’s conferences around the nation. He is a long-standing member of UBS’s Chairman’s Council. Marty was named to Barron’s list of “Top 100 Financial Advisors in America,” again in 2013, which recognizes the most distinguished advisors in the country. He has been selected for this list every year since its inception in 2004. He has been profiled in a number of publications, most recently on October 29, 2012 in Barron’s magazine, and is the subject of a chapter in the book The Winner’s Circle V by R.J. Shook. Marty is on the executive committee of the board of the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School. He has served as a member of the finance, domestic affairs & personal recruitment committees and as prior chairman of the Leadership Development Division of UJA Federation. He is also active in the Park Avenue Synagogue, serving as an honorary trustee, and is a board member of JASA (Jewish Association for Services to the Aged), chairing its investment committee. Marty earned a B.A. from Yeshiva University. He resides in New York City with his wife, Lynn, and their two daughters, Bonnie and Caroline.
Sy Jacobs is the Founding and Managing Partner of Jacobs Asset Management, LLC and JAM Managers, LLC the Management Company and General Partner of JAM Partners, LP and a series of related private equity funds. Prior to founding JAM in 1995, Mr. Jacobs spent 12 years as a research analyst covering specialty financial services and bank stocks at Alex Brown and Sons, Mabon Nugent, L.F. Rothschild and Co., and Salomon Brothers, Inc. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Michigan and his MBA at New York University.
Andy Parker is a Managing Director and Chief Portfolio Strategist of Lazard Wealth Management. Mr. Parker has responsibility for portfolio construction, quantitative analytics, and risk management and is a member of the Investment Committee responsible for overseeing client portfolios. Prior to joining Lazard, Mr. Parker was Managing Director and Head of Quantitative Strategies for Bessemer Trust. He joined Bessemer in May 2001, as Head of Equity Risk Management, overseeing all client portfolio hedging and monetization strategies. Mr. Parker was a member of Bessemer’s Investment Policy and Strategy Committee and as such had an active role in asset allocation decisions. He was also responsible for all analytics developed for both the investment department as well as for client applications. Before joining Bessemer, Mr. Parker was a portfolio manager in the Derivatives Group of Credit Suisse Asset Management where, among other things was responsible for launching CSAM’s collateralized bond effort. Prior to Credit Suisse, Mr. Parker headed Japanese Warrant Sales for Morgan Stanley in London. He began his career at Salomon Brothers in New York in 1980, where he was a member of the equity derivatives group. Mr. Parker is currently a member of the Investment Committee for Trust and Estates Magazine. Mr. Parker earned a BA in Economics and Physics from Gettysburg College, where he also serves as a Trustee.
ACADEMIC ADVISORY BOARD
Professor Murray Low is the founder and Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School. Professor Low is one of the leading academics on Entrepreneurship, and runs Columbia’s annual business plan competition, which includes active investments. Professor Low has an MBA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and has been a professor of entrepreneurship for over 20 years.
Dr. Jack McGourty is the Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School at Columbia University and teaches graduate courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation, and technology management. Dr. McGourty, former Vice Dean at Columbia Engineering, joined Columbia University in 1998 as an associate dean in the engineering school charged with developing innovative undergraduate education programs. Dr. McGourty founded the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Community Engagement, an organization that provided a platform for students and faculty to work on real, global challenges. Through CTICE, Dr. McGourty fostered several academic and community based programs for the University including the recently instituted, federally funded regional Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Dr. McGourty established the undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and developed and taught the core course, managing technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Currently, Dr. McGourty is the creator and driving force behind a new major global initiative at the Business School, In-V-Ent-Ed™, a training and development program for aspiring entrepreneurs around the world. Dr. McGourty received his Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from Stevens Institute of Technology with a focus on the management of technology and innovation. Prior to coming to Columbia in 1998, Dr. McGourty was a senior executive and board member of a large publicly traded company. During his tenure, Jack held several senior positions including vice president of human resources, executive vice president of operations, division president, and company president & chief operating officer. He was also the managing principal of Assessment Alternatives Inc., a consulting firm providing programs and services to medium and large technology companies on innovation and product realization best practices.
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
Ann Arbor SPARK – Ann Arbor SPARK is a public-private partnership whose mission is to advance innovation-based economic development in the greater Ann Arbor region. Its stakeholders represent the area’s university, business, government, entrepreneurial, and community leaders, including Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, the President of the University of Michigan, and Rick Snyder, the governor-elect of Michigan.
Betaspring – Betaspring is a start-up accelerator in Providence that provides mentorship, seed capital, office space, legal counsel, and other resources to select technology and design entrepreneurs. Betaspring operates a 12-week bootcamp for start-ups chosen via competitive application process that culminates in presentations to investors for follow-on capital. Betaspring’s mission is to foster innovation and economic development in the Rhode Island region.
Bizdom U – Founded in 2007 by Dan Gilbert, the CEO of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bizdom U (www.bizdom.com) is one of the leading start-up incubators in Detroit. Bizdom U’s mission is to create successful businesses, jobs, growth and wealth in large urban cities. The non-profit boot camp trains, mentors and finances young entrepreneurs and their start-up businesses in the city of Detroit, and is expanding to Cleveland in 2011. Current graduates of Bizdom U include www.wedit.com, Dermanaut, and Launch Learning Group.
The Center for Entrepreneuship – CFE is a Michigan Engineering venture that empowers students, faculty and staff to pursue entrepreneurial achievements that improve people’s lives, drive the economy and help innovators bridge the gap between inventor and the business that is enabled by these breakthroughs.
Detroit Venture Partners – Detroit Venture Partners is a seed and early stage venture capital firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build and grow meaningful companies. DVP is focused on companies in the Detroit metro area. Partners include Josh Linkner (ePrize), Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans, Cleveland Cavaliers), and Brian Hermelin (Rockbridge Growth Equity).
The Downtown Project, founded by Zappos.com CEO and author of Delivering Happiness Tony Hsieh, is a $350 million project to rebuild downtown Las Vegas. They plan to invest $100 million in real estate, $100 million in residential development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in education, and $50 million in tech startups through the VegasTech Fund. Hsieh and his team have committed to transforming Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core. Focus areas will include Arts, Music & Culture, Community & Coworking, Education, Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Urban Development.
New Economy Initiative – The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) was launched in 2008 as a unique philanthropic initiative aimed at helping to restore southeast Michigan to a position of leadership in the new global economy. NEI is committed to increasing prosperity and expanding opportunity for all residents and communities in the region. Ten national and local foundations have committed $100 million to this eight-year initiative to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy.
The RI Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (RI-CIE) – RI-CIE is a collaborative, statewide venture to help RI-based entrepreneurs, researchers, and existing companies advance information and the commercialization of ideas. RI-CIE launched in April 2009 to answer calls for more collaborative efforts to boost “knowledge economy” business growth in Rhode Island. RI-CIE is meant to dovetail with city and state efforts underway to strengthening entrepreneurial connectivity and enhance services and offerings to spur innovation and new venture creation in Rhode Island.
Brown University in Providence, RI - Brown University has agreed to host Venture for America’s five-week Venture Fellow Institute in Summer 2012. Brown is donating use of its classrooms, dormitories, and dining hall facilities for all Venture for America Fellows.