A Forbes 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital, Alexander Pessala joined Middleland Capital in 2012. Middleland is a DC based investment firm that focuses on early stage technology opportunities around the world. Since then he has invested in the likes of UrbanStems, Speek, and Fleksy. On this episode we discuss how Alexander got into the VC world, DC deal flow, and more.
Tien Wong is an serial entrepreneur, CEO, angel investor and founder of the Connectpreneur conference. Tien is currently CEO of Tech 2000 inc., Chairman of Lore Systems, and Chairman of Opus8, Inc. Tien founded CyberRep in 1991 and grew it into one of the largest private call center companies in North America before getting acquired by Affiliated Computer Services in 2003. Tien is an incredible connector of people and is regularly helping to promote collaboration between DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland ecosystems.
Zvi Band is the CEO and a Cofounder of Contactually, a relationship marketing platform which has raised over $11 million in venture funding to date. Zvi is a part of the lifeblood of the DC tech ecosystem having founded the DC Tech Meetup, Proudlymadeindc.com, and numerous successful technology companies in the area. On this episode, Zvi tells us the story of the DC technology scene rising back up into the national spotlight over the past 10 years.
Patrick Muhire is the cofounder of VugaPay. VugaPay is a payment gateway connecting mobile money telecoms online on one platform promoting a cashless economy across emerging markets. Patrick is a serial entrepreneur in Rwanda, having had previous success starting Rwanda TV, an Android app allowing anyone worldwide to stream Live Rwandan TV channels.
Stephan Morais is an Executive Board Member at Caixa Capital, the Private Equity and Venture Capital fund management company of Caixa Geral de Depósitos with 700 Million Euros under management, where he leads Venture Capital and co-leads Private Equity investments. With a diversified background as an investment banker, consultant, entrepreneur and CEO, he has lived in 8 countries and 4 continents over the last 18 years. He is a non-Executive Director and Advisor to numerous innovative companies and member of Investment Committees of several VC and PE funds. He is also the current Chairman of the European Venture Fund Investors Network, which gathers 24bn Euros from several major European fund managers, Council Member of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (VC Council), and Council Member of International Venture Network, that gathers over 50 European Venture Capital firms.
Vasco Pedro is the Founder and CEO of Unbabel. Unbabel develops state-of-the-art technology which has a direct impact in translation quality, selection of translators and predictive translation. Unbabel has received funding from numerous VC funds including Google Ventures, YC, and Caixa Capital.
Vasco comes on the show to talk about his experience in the early days founding his startup in Lisbon, the story of getting invited to join YC, and what we can expect from the Lisbon startup ecosystem over the next few years.
VentureSouth is an early stage investment firm that manages angel groups and funds across South Carolina and Western North Carolina. As one of the largest angel investment groups in the United States. Venture South develops and manages angel groups and funds comprised of more than 200 accredited investors across the Southeast. Charlie Banks is an experienced serial entrepreneur who has founded, run, and invested in multiple manufacturing, financial services, building science, and real estate companies in South Carolina. He was recently named to the "50 Most Influential People" and "20 under 40" lists in Columbia, SC.
Greg Hilton is an active entrepreneur and has launched and worked with over 100 early stage ventures. He recently cofounded SOCO, the region’s first coworking community and is a Chief Opportunity Wrangler at Period Three an industry leading web design shop. Hilton’s professional experience includes management roles for EngenuitySC, a public/private partnership formed to grow Columbia’s knowledge economy; and New Carolina, South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness. Greg was recognized in the State Newspaper’s “20 Under 40 2011” publication.
The USC/Columbia Technology Incubator is a partnership between the University of South Carolina and Columbia, SC to foster innovation in the capital city of South Carolina. The incubator provides space, education, mentors, and a meaningful networking to entrepreneurs. A former entrepreneur is the music industry, Jack Beasley is the current Managing Director of the Incubator. Jack directs strategic planning and management of programs and is currently focused on the Incubator's accelerator program, FiredUp.
Tia Williams is the Founder of the Midlands Anchor. The Anchor is a web-based publication showcasing South Carolina's Midlands talent, events, philanthropy and development. The mission of the Anchor is to connect vibrant Midlands communities, spur engagement, and promote a collective voice that will ignite and transform the region.
Formerly the Finance Wales Technology Seed Fund manager, James Henderson was named as the fund manager of new investment consortium InspireWales in 2016. Inspire Wales consists of of 20 of Wales’ leading business people with the goal of backing ambitious start-ups and growth firms with growth finance through both equity and mentoring. James spent a large part of his career at Finance Wales, sourcing and executing a range of investments into Welsh businesses, and managing their £7.5m Technology Seed Fund. Finance Wales invests from £1,000 to £3 million at a time in SMEs based throughout Wales from a number of investment funds and can invest up to a total of £5 million in one SME.
Steve Dimmick is CEO and founder of Doopoll, a decision making platform that enables action from consensus. So far in 2016, Doopool has been named the Sir Michael Moritz Tech Startup of the Year, the highest honor given to a startup in Wales and was featured in Product Hunt. Steve joins the show talk about the Welsh Startup Community and his experience building a rapidly growing tech company in Cardiff.
Mark Kaplan, CEO of Alpha Loft has three decades of executive, venture capital, financial, and investment industry experience. He led the creation of the current Alpha Loft organization in New Hampshire through the combination of three separate entities. Alpha Loft works collaboratively with a strong NH startup network to support and provide resources to entrepreneurs launching and scaling innovation-based businesses. Mark is a strong supporter of the startup ecosystem in NH and serves on the Advisory Council of the NH Live Free & Start initiative, aimed at making the state an even better place to start and grow companies. As a member of the council he chairs the capital access subcommittee. Prior to moving to NH, Mark spent more than fifteen years working in entrepreneurial endeavors in the state of Maine. This included venture capital as a partner with CEI Ventures and as Chair of the Maine Venture Fund board. He’s been active in the roles of board member, advisor, mentor, investor, and executive.
Mike Decelle is the Dean for the University of New Hampshire. Previously, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of CrossFiber, Inc. Mike comes on to talk about his perspective, as both dean of the university and a season entrepreneur, on opportunities for entrepreneurs in New Hampshire. We also discuss lessons learned from 30 years serving as CEO of multiple industry leading companies.
Kyle York is the Chief Strategy Officer at Dyn where he has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Prior to joining Dyn, Kyle spent nearly six years at SaaS company, WhippleHill Communications, Inc., acquired by Blackbaud Inc. In addition to his efforts at Dyn, Kyle is an entrepreneur, startup advisor and angel investor who has played a major role in the establishment of New Hampshire and greater Boston as a vibrant technology ecosystem. Raised in a family business, Kyle is also a strong supporter and promoter of family business as co-founder and board member for 3rd generation, YORK Athletics Mfg. He is chairman of Alpha Loft, New Hampshire’s most powerful and influential non-profit for entrepreneurship and an advisory board member for The Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire (EFNH). Kyle is also a board member, advisor and investor in several fast growth startups looking to scale like CloudApp, Datanyze, Fastly, and more.
Tak Lo was previously Director at Techstars, where he grew the Techstars London program from inception. After leaving London for Hong Kong, Tak helped start Zeroth.ai, Asia's first startup accelerator program for AI and Machine learning startups. In addition to Zeroth, Tak is also an angel investor in numerous startups and loves getting involved in early-stage team building.
Raymond Yip has lived in both Hong Kong, New York, and Silicon Valley throughout his career. Raymond's last startup Shoreline, was a 500 backed startup focused on the Asian market. Currently Raymond is CEO and founder of Designjar. Their platform is introducing a new approach that allows them to submit requests for custom graphics, uses data to match their job with an appropriate designer and automating the entire process up to the delivery of the final asset. All without the management headaches that typically comes with dealing with freelancers. More about it at www.designjar.com
Richard Licursi is Managing Partner and co-founder of venVelo, a fully committed early stage venture fund located in Winter Park, Florida. Richard is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Arsenal Venture Partners. He has co-founded 5 companies in the wireless telecommunications industry. For most of his 35-year career, he has worked with early stage companies, raising nearly $74M in venture capital and has provided investors with more than 8 times the return on their investments. He has successfully exited 4 Companies, 3 of which he co-founded and 4 of which he was president and CEO. His most recent exit as Co-founder and CEO, was MeshNetworks which was sold to Motorola. This transaction was also one of the more successful deals concluded from the MILCOM Fund. In addition, Richard is a Managing Partner at venVelo, a seed stage angel venture fund making early stage investments in coachable management teams with a creative vision and the skills to effectively scale that vision into a profitable business. He has a Math degree from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ. He currently serves on the Boards of 6 early stage companies.
Donna Mackenzie is the Executive Director for FireSpring Fund and Starter Studios. FireSpring directly addresses the critical gap in seed funding which is the largest barrier faced by Central Florida’s technology entrepreneurs. FireSpring Fund is available to any Central Florida technology company, but extra emphasis will be placed on applicants that have completed the Starter Studio Accelerator or UCF I-Corps program. Starter Studio provides education, mentorship, legal and financial resources, networking opportunities, and the right culture to help innovative solutions grow. Donna comes on the show to talk about the resources startups in Orlando have at their disposal and the role FireSpring and Start Studios have played in helping evolve Orlando's startup ecosystem.
Sal is a cofounder of Fattmerchant. Fattmerchant offers credit card processing services for small businesses and eliminates costly markups and hidden fees by charging a flat monthly membership. Sal has cofounded multiple businesses over the course of his career and recently returned to Orlando to start Fattmerchant.
Ramphis Castro, as an investor, focuses on early stage science investing (AI, robotics, synBio, medtech, diagnostics, etc), syndicating most of his closing deals through www.sciencevest.com/weekly_deal. Ramphis is also a Kauffman Fellow and Co-Chair the NYC chapter. As a Fellow, he researchs the funding gaps for radical science companies in the U.S. To close this gap, he co-founded ScienceVest, a YC-backed investor marketplace for science-tech and life science companies, and Impact Science Angels, an angel group focused on investing in companies that can impact 1MM+ lives. He is a founding partner of Mindchemy, a full-stack startup ecosystem acceleration & support organization that deploys programs facilitating experiential education to all stakeholders in a country. Most recently, I executed the first Startup Weekend in Cuba. In 2016, upon invitation of the White House, Ramphis was part of the US delegation with President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba. As a long time Global Facilitator for UP Global/Techstars, a global organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities, Ramphis has helped train hundreds of academics and lean startup instructors around the world on the principles and practices used for the Lean Launch Pad and iCorp programs. He serves as Adjunct for the New York City Regional Innovation Node's I-Corp Program.
Norman Ortiz is a serial entrepreneur and CEO/Founder of iGenApps, a tool for businesses and creatives to create mobile apps straight from their smartphone devices without coding. Norman founded iGenApps in 2012 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In this episode, Norman discusses the San Juan startup scene and how it has evolved over the years while Norman has been building iGen. iGen has won numerous awards including 1st place in the International CTIA Big Idea Contest, the Cloudmob iOS Mobile Platform Challenge and 1st place at the UNE Patent Competition. iGenApps was also chosen in the 2012 DEMO, 12th Founder Showcase event, the Distilled Intelligence 2.0 held in Washington D.C., and recently at the ReleaseIT startup competition at SXSW.
Sandra Glasgow is the Founder and Managing Director of BizTactics Limited, a consulting company dedicated to mentoring growth-aspiring firms and promoting best-in-class corporate governance in the Caribbean. She is a Founding Member of Jamaica’s first Angel Investor Network, FirstAngelsJA and a Mentor to business enablers on the Accelerate Caribbean project. A graduate of the University of the West Indies, she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Masters Degree in Business Administration, with a specialization in the Management of Technology. Mrs. Glasgow was Jamaica’s Eisenhower Fellow in 2000. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited, Jamaica’s largest bank; a young technology company, eMedia Interactive Limited, two companies listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange: Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited and Medical Disposables & Supplies Limited, two not-for-profit organizations: Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE), Dress for Success Jamaica and Hillel Academy. She is also a Trustee of three Pension Funds and Mentor to several SMEs.
Winston is CEO and Founder of Startup Robot, a technology startup working out of the Startup Jamaica Incubator making it incredibly simply to set up and maintain a compliant business in Jamaica. Winston talks about his story building Startup Robot and his thoughts on the future of the Jamaican startup scene.
Marc Nager is the Chief Community Officer for Techstars where he manages all Techstars community programs including Startup Weekend, Startup Week, Startup Next, and Startup Digest. Marc was previously CEO of UP Global, the parent brand of Startup Weekend, before being acquired into the Techstars ecosystem. Marc takes us behind the scenes of Startup Weekend's growth and gives us his perspective on startups and entrepreneurship around the world.