Jim O'Connor, Jr. MVC Capital, Inc., CEC Co-Chair
Jim O'Connor, Jr.
Managing DirectorSend Email | LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. O’Connor is a senior investment professional with over a decade of private equity and venture capital experience. Prior to becoming a Managing Director of the Fund in 2008, Mr. O’Connor held senior management positions within Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT). Jim was Managing Director and Co-Founder of Motorola Ventures the venture capital investment arm for Motorola, where he led numerous global transactions. In his most recent role, Jim led Motorola’s Technology Acceleration Program where he worked closely with a global team of technologists, to prioritize technology programs, create value from intellectual property, and guide creative research from innovation through early-stage commercialization. In 2006, Jim was named to the American Ventures Magazine (AVM) “40 UNDER 40” list. Before Motorola, he worked for A.T. Kearney as a management consultant and the U.S. Treasury Department in the areas of Domestic and International Finance as a White House Fellow. Additionally, he held roles at Ariel Capital Management and Sidley & Austin. He is Co-Chair of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) and a Board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Urban League, the Big Shoulders Fund for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s inner-city school fund and serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Field Museum of National History.
He holds a BA (Government) and JD from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Northwestern University J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Bryant Keil Potbelly Sandwich Shop, CEC Co-Chair
Chairman of the BoardSend Email | LinkedIn | Visit Website
In 1996, fueled by a powerful combination of intense taste buds and the desire to spread the love of the growing Potbelly fans, proven entrepreneur, Bryant Keil, acquired Potbelly Sandwich Works, a unique and wonderful neighborhood sandwich joint located on Chicago's Lincoln Avenue. Since 1996, Bryant has grown Potbelly from the one store on Lincoln Avenue, to include over 200 stores in Chicagoland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dallas and the Washington, D.C. area.
While Potbelly stores are popping up everywhere, Bryant is dedicated to preserving the individuality of each store in an attempt to keep Potbelly from becoming just another fast food chain.
Although Bryant takes a low-key approach to building the business, the outside world has taken notice of the success of Potbelly. Bryant is the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient. He was named the 2003 Illinois Restaurateur of the Year by the Illinois Restaurant Association. Crain's Chicago Business tapped Keil as one of its "40 under 40" young business leaders, INC Magazine listed Potbelly as one of our nation's 500 fastest growing companies and Crain's listed Potbelly as the 8th fastest growing company in Chicago. Bryant was recently named a Henry Crown Fellow, a part of the Aspen Institute. Among his other accomplishments are his involvement in investment and entrepreneurial ventures, primarily focused in the hospitality industry.
Bryant is an active member in several community and volunteer organizations including the Economic Club of Chicago, The Young Presidents Organization, Kohl Children’s Museum, Best Buddies, and the 2016 Olympic Committee.
Hank Adams Sportvision, Inc.
CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Hank Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of Sportvision, Inc. Sportvision is the leading innovator of digital sports content and broadcast enhancements. The Company produces digital content and live TV enhancements on over 3,000 live events all over the world seen by more than 300 million people annually. Events Sportvision enhances include the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, Australian Rules Football, Korean baseball, Japanese League Football, and more.
Sportvision partners with leagues and media companies to create original and cutting-edge products across broadcast, wireless, online and gaming platforms. Sportvision has forever altered the sports landscape with its iconic broadcast products such as the "Yellow Line" for football, K-Zone™ and PITCHf/x™ for baseball, RACEf/x™ for NASCAR, and the "Glowing Puck" for the NHL. Similarly, the Company has created Emmy Award-winning and popular digital sports content such as PitCommand™ and RaceView™ products on NASCAR.com and is a major contributor to MLB's @Bat iPhone application and online Gameday applications.
In addition to building three successful companies, Hank was awarded Sports Business Journal’s Top Forty under Forty sports executives and Crain's Chicago Business, Forty Under Forty. Prior to running Sportvision, Adams was a co-founder and CEO of Real Fans Sports Network. Adams built Real Fans into a Top 5 Site on AOL in 1995 as the first social media sports site. In 1997, America Online bought Real Fans. Adams then spun Real Fans out from AOL in 1999 to form Ignite Sports Media, which he subsequently merged with Sportvision in 2002 and has been CEO of the combined company since.
Previously, Adams worked for Peterson Consulting in Chicago and London as a financial consultant. Adams earned an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a Colorado native that graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado with a BA in History and a BS in Finance. He is married with three sons and lives in Evanston, IL.
Laura Ferris Anderson JP Morgan
David Baker Illinois Institute of Technology
VP External Affairs| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Baker was named Vice President for External Affairs in March 1995. He is responsible for the University’s governmental relations, technology park development, and trustee relations. Over the past 8 years he has worked to create the University Technology Park at IIT of which he serves as Executive Director. He managed all university strategic plans from 1993 through 2009. He helped to create the Perspectives Charter Schools/IIT Math & Science Academy and serves on its Board of Directors. Prior to joining the University, Mr. Baker served as President of The Illinois Coalition, whose mission is to strengthen the Illinois economy through science and technology. From 1980 to 1989, Mr. Baker served as the Executive Vice President of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business advocacy organization. Mr. Baker serves on the board of the Association of University Research Parks and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. He is a member of the Mayor’s Council of Technology Advisors and the Economic Club of Chicago. Mr. Baker holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and an A.B. in History with a minor in Economics from Stanford University. He is married, has two children and lives in Chicago.
Robert Blackwell, Jr. Electronic Knowledge Interchange
Robert Blackwell, Jr.
President| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Robert Blackwell, Jr. is the Founder and CEO of Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI), is a management, operations and technology consulting company. EKI help some of the largest public and private sector organizations gain measurable efficiency gains leveraging strategy and technology. EKI was a finalist for the Illinois Technology Association’s
Robert Blackwell, Jr. founded Killerspin L.L.C., the leading American table tennis retailer and top table tennis media producer in the world.
Robert’s professional career started at IBM in 1981 where he received an award of excellence for a system he developed that helped salesmen recognize new upgrade opportunities for IBM equipment.
He went on to found several Chicago based companies including Urban Fishing Development, a Real Estate development company that helped to facilitate the development of economically and technologically integrated communities in transitional Chicago neighborhoods.
In 1992 Robert co-founded Blackwell Consulting Services with Robert Blackwell Sr. who had been a senior executive at IBM. While at Blackwell Consulting Services, Robert Jr. established and managed key business practice areas and dealt with clients including Sanwa Bank, First Chicago, Mellon Bank, Abbott Labs and Sears. Robert Jr. and his team were responsible for the development of several customer applications that received numerous prestigious awards including the first Lotus Beacon award.
Robert founded Bytewise International, a technology company that specialized in the development of complex financial planning systems for large organizations and options pricing, trading and portfolio management systems for the OEX, S&P 500 and foreign currency markets.
Using his expertise, Robert has written several white papers on technical trending in the Stock and Options markets. Robert has been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Robert is the oldest son of Robert and Marjilee Blackwell, the husband of married to Celia Caram-Blackwell and the father of Ali-Yah Blackwell.
Matt Brown Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Partner| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Matthew S. Brown has a broad corporate law practice and concentrates in mergers and acquisitions, securities, compliance, and venture capital areas representing major corporations, entrepreneurs, and investors. He has extensive experience in counseling public and private companies in connection with their organization and operations, mergers and acquisitions, financings and securities offerings, and compliance matters. He regularly counsels directors and special committees on governance and in connection with special transactions and investigations. Mr. Brown has published numerous articles and frequently lectures on governance and compliance matters. Mr. Brown was appointed by Mayor Richard Daley to serve on the Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors and served for two years as co-chairman of the Access To Capital Working Group. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
Mr. Brown attended Eastbourne College and Connecticut College graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA. He received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and is a member of the American Bar Association's Law and Accounting Subcommittee of the Business Law Section. He is admitted to practice in Illinois.
Lon Chow Apex Venture Partners
Partner| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Lon Chow is a general partner with investment focus in software applications and technology-enabled services. Prior to joining Apex, Lon was a partner with Mercer Management Consulting (formerly Strategic Planning Associates), where he developed and implemented growth strategies for clients in computing, media, and telecommunications industries. He also held various operating management positions with Pacific Telesis. Lon received an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Davis.
Lon currently serves on the boards of Analyte Health, ALI Solutions, Appolicious, Current Analysis, Sittercity, TargetData, and Timelines. He is a board observer of Trunk Club. Lon's outside board membership includes Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Viewpoints Network
Lon's previous investments included ICON Solutions (acquired by AnswerThink), KnowledgeStorm (acquired by TechTarget), PlaceWare (acquired by Microsoft), Shoebuy.com (acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp), Thinque Systems (acquired by MEI), Tradex Technologies (acquired by Ariba) and WorldPrints (acquired by At Home).
Michael Cole Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC
Managing Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Michael Cole is a Managing Director on the MDP Telecom, Media & Technology Services team. Prior to joining MDP, Mr. Cole was with Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. in the investment banking division. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Sorenson Communications Holdings, LLC, The Topps Company, Inc., Univision Communications Inc., the Big Shoulders Fund, the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center, the Illinois Venture Capital Association, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago where he is a member of the Investment Committee. Mr. Cole is also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
Steve Collens The Pritzker Group
Senior Vice President| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Steven Collens leads strategic initiatives for The Pritzker Group, a private investment firm representing Pritzker family interests. He recently led the team that created 1871, Chicago’s new center for digital startups. Steven previously worked at Abbott in a variety of domestic and international functions, including product management, policy and public affairs. Prior to Abbott, Steven served as an education policy advisor to a U.S. Senator. He is also on the boards of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, and is a member of the executive committee of the Steppenwolf Theatre Auxiliary Council.
Linda Darragh Kellogg School of Management
Executive Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Ms. Darragh was recently named executive director of the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital at Kellogg. For Darragh, this marks a return to the school: She served as a member of Kellogg’s entrepreneurship team from 1999 to 2005 before joining the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as director of entrepreneurship programs. There, Darragh was instrumental in furthering the teaching and practice of entrepreneurship at the school, in Chicago and beyond.
Dean DeBiase Reboot Partners
Chairman & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
An expansion phase CEO with a track record of scaling emerging growth companies & startups, turning-around organizations and embedding entrepreneurial-grade talent into multi-national corporations. Built leading brands in media, social/local/mobile commerce, games, entertainment, retail, distribution, technology, consumer electronics, education, Cable TV and Internet services industries—and led global organizations through expansion, turnaround, roll-up, spin-out, M&A and IPO operating phases.
Speaker, author & media guest, co-author of the best-seller, The Big Moo, and cofounder of the top crowd-sourced platform Innovation Excellence. Member of the National Speakers Association and the Global Speakers Federation, a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors and a Senior KIN Fellow at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Dean has been the Chairman & CEO of private and public corporations and Fortune 500 subsidiaries, including Entertainment Promotions, which he expanded into digital commerce; TNS Media, a roll-up acquired by WPP; Autoweb, which he took public; and Imagination Network, acquired by AOL. Through Reboot Partners, Dean helps organizations tackle their most challenging issues and seize emerging market opportunities, and serves in board roles including Akoo, Amway, Donlen acquired by Hertz, and Excelligence Learning acquired by Thoma Bravo, and has served in interim CEO roles including Fathom Online acquired by GI; Free Drive acquired by AOL, and CatchTV acquired by Liberty Media.
Previously, Dean was CMO of LG/Zenith, and head of their Network Systems Division credited for introducing cable modems; CMO and President of two Anixter operating units awarded NCTA’s Vanguard Innovation Award; and as one of the youngest Managing Directors at FedEx operated two units and helped pioneer the company’s efforts into digital services.
Jim Dugan OCA Ventures / O'Connor Partners
CEO, Co-Founder & Managing Partner| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Jim Dugan is the Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of OCA Ventures. Prior to co-founding OCA Ventures in 2001, Jim oversaw the OCA Ventures Pledge Fund which made direct venture capital investments for the O’Connor Partners Investment Office. Jim has board responsibilities for EdMap, Cleversafe, TDJM, Javlin Capital, SumRidge Partners, Campus Explorer, Apparel Media Group, Automated Insights, BodyShopBids, and Heard Capital.
Jim has over 17 years of corporate finance, capital markets, and venture capital investment experience. Prior to forming OCA Ventures, Jim traded derivatives at the Chicago Board of Trade and worked in corporate finance with Continental Bank. While at Continental Bank, Jim participated in the structured financing of companies ranging in capital size from $10 million to several billion dollars and in the formation of a $150 million subsidiary to fund mezzanine debt and equity financings.
Jim received a BA in Economics from the University of Rochester and earned his MBA (MM) from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management. In addition to his responsibilities at OCA Ventures, Jim is a founding member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA), where he formerly served five years as Treasurer, Director and member of the Executive Committee. Prior to serving as Treasurer, Jim was the Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the IVCA, in which capacity he helped establish HB 3212 as Illinois law.
Jim is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Chicago Booth GSB. Jim is also a board member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), NU Wave, AVAC Fund, and a charter member of Tie Network Chicago. Jim is Co-Founder and Treasurer of www.SmartBet.org.
Chris Gladwin Cleversafe
President & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Chris Gladwin founded Cleversafe in 2004, bringing to the company the same innovative and entrepreneurial approach that has signified his executive leadership throughout his career. Chris, who was previously the creator of the first workgroup storage server at Zenith Data Systems and was a Manager of Corporate Storage Standards at Lockheed Martin, also created and managed a number of successful new technology start-ups, including MusicNow, which was acquired by Circuit City. Chris has been the creative force behind the development of the first Dispersed Storage system to solve the growing global problem of Big Data storage.
Years ahead of the market, Chris understood the growing issues surrounding unstructured data and the inability of traditional technology solutions to accommodate the explosive growth of digital assets such as audio, video and imaging. Using advances in dispersed information technology, he applied that to storage to create a reliable, cost effective, secure solution with a limitless ability to scale.
Chris Gladwin has created over 300 issued and pending patents related to Dispersed Storage technology. Cleversafe, inspired by Chris, continues to be one of the most patenting U.S. companies per employee.
Chris Gladwin holds a degree in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sam Guren Guren Capital Management, LLC
Mr. Guren started in the venture capital/private equity business in 1975, with Continental Illinois Venture Corporation (CIVC), a subsidiary of Continental Bank (Chicago). During his tenure with CIVC, the firm’s investments ranged from Apple Computer to Yoplait to Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts. KKR took the firm into the buyout investment business.
In 1981, Mr. Guren was recruited by William Blair to co-found and manage William Blair Venture Partners (WBVP). He grew the business to six professionals during three funds. Investments ranged from the founding of The Sports Authority to the buyout of Sanford Corporation to investments in various technology, healthcare and cable television companies.
Robert Baird recruited Mr. Guren in 1996 to manage the Baird Capital funds. While there, BCP grew from two to five professionals with a focus on outsourcing and temporary staffing.
Mr. Guren joined Allied Capital in 1999, and stayed through 2002. He managed the Chicago office, and was on their Investment and Operating Committees. Mr. Guren was Managing Director for the Hyde Park Angels.
Mr. Guren is a recipient of the Stanley C. Golder Medal which “acknowledges individuals who have made profound and lasting contributions to the private equity industry in Illinois”. He is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin, and received an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School.
Troy Henikoff TechStars Chicago
Co-Founder & Managing Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Troy Henikoff is the Managing Director of TechStars Chicago.
Troy was the CEO and Co-founder of Excelerate which became TechStars Chicago in 2013. Additionally he helps manage the FireStarter Fund, teaches Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University, is a Faculty Coach for University of Chicago / Booth’s New Venture Challenge, is on the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and an advisor to Hyde Park Angels. His last 25 years have been spent starting, running and advising early stage technology companies including SurePayroll, OneWed, Amacai and Jellyvision.
Warren Holtsberg MVC Capital, Inc.
Co-Head of Portfolio Management| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Holtsberg is Co-Head of Portfolio Management of the Fund and is a member of the Board of Directors of MVC Capital (NYSE:MVC). Mr. Holtsberg, who joined TTGA in 2007, is a senior investment professional with almost 20 years of lending and investment experience. In his role at TTGA, he sources and executes new investments and helps manage the Fund’s global portfolio of private equity, venture, and small- and mid-cap debt and equity investments across a broad range of industries including technology, consumer/retail, energy and finance. He also heads the Chicago Office of TTGA. Previously, Mr. Holtsberg founded Motorola Ventures, the venture capital and private equity investment arm for Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) where he led the worldwide fund for eight years. Mr. Holtsberg was also a member of the Motorola Corporate Credit Committee. Before Motorola, Mr. Holtsberg spent two decades with the U.S. Government where he held a number of senior executive positions in the Aviation, Defense and Intelligence communities. Mr. Holtsberg serves on the Advisory Board of Arcapita Ventures, the private equity and venture capital arm of Arcapita Bank. Mr. Holtsberg is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Center, the Big Shoulders Fund for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s inner-city school fund, and Illinois Ventures, a University of Illinois focused venture capital seed fund and high technology incubator, and he is a Director of a related private equity follow-on investment fund. Mr. Holtsberg is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Kellogg Management Institute at Northwestern University J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Gregg Kaplan Coinstar, Inc.
President & COO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Gregg Kaplan has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of Coinstar Inc. since August 2012. Mr. Kaplan is the Founder of Redbox Automated Retail, LLC and served as its Interim President until August 27, 2012. He has run Redbox Automated Retail, LLC since its infancy in 2002 when it was a venture within McDonald's Corporation, and has served as Redbox's chief executive officer since 2005, when Redbox became a separate company. Over the six-plus years of running Redbox, he drove the rapid expansion of Redbox from just a few kiosks to a network of more than 14 000. He had been responsible for building the entire management team and growing the employee base from five people to over 1,200 employees. He worked in the Strategy and Business Development group of McDonald's Corporation, where he helped McDonald's create and build new businesses. Other experience includes serving as a partner at divine interVentures, a B2B internet incubator; strategic positions at Streamline.com; and an investment banker at Furman Selz, focusing on corporate transactions of media and entertainment companies. Mr. Kaplan served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Coinstar. He serves as a Member of Advisory Board of KioskCom, LLC. He earned a Master's in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.
Talia Mashiach Eved
Founder & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Talia Mashiach is the CEO and Founder of Eved. Talia began her entrepreneurial career shortly after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University School of Business. Her first company, an online computer sales platform, sparked her interest in technology.
Talia saw the opportunity to revolutionize the event and hospitality industry through innovative technology. In 2004, she founded, an event services and destination management company which began in small hotels around Chicago, and after four months the company had offices in the Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton. By providing in-house services, utilizing event expertise and the latest technology, the company grew quickly.
Talia’s knowledge and experience led her to create proprietary software to automate the industry in a new way. She launched Eved in 2010 to lead the transformation of the $263B meeting and event industry from a manual, highly fragmented and traditional services sector into a comprehensive online marketplace where all stakeholders in the industry’s supply chain can source, market and transact commerce on a global scale.
Talia is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Executives’ Club of Chicago, a board member for the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and a board member of the Illinois Holocaust Museum. In 2009 Talia was inducted into the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and named one of The Winning Women by Ernst and Young. Recently Talia was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 under 40, Class of 2010.
Bret Maxwell MK Capital
Managing General Partner| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Bret is a Managing General Partner at MK Capital. He is also the Managing General Partner on three of the Productivity Funds totaling $200 million in committed capital. Bret has been a decision-making partner in six other fully invested funds, representing over $300 million in committed capital. Prior to founding MK Capital, he was the co-Founder of First Analysis' venture capital practice in 1985. Bret's areas of expertise include outsourced business services, telecom and internet infrastructure, and energy and power infrastructure. Bret is a graduate of The McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University and Kellogg's Graduate School of Management. He has served as the Chairman of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, and is a director on the board of Mount Sinai Hospital and on the finance committee of the Jewish United Fund. He is also Certified Financial Analyst.
Matt McCall DFJ Portage Venture Partners
Managing Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Matthew McCall is a co-founder and Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Portage Venture Partners and Portage Venture Partners. McCall is responsible for managing the firm¹s investments in EverDream, Feedburner, Imago Scientific, Lefthand Networks, Siimpel and TicketsNow.
McCall has served on the advisory board to the Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors in Chicago as well as on numerous other regional high technology advisory boards. McCall is a board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He serves on the Kellogg Alumni Advisory Board, Northwestern McCormick MMM Advisory Board and ITEC-UIC (Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation), a University of Illinois sponsored state funded incubator. He has been honored by Crain's Chicago Business on its annual "40 under 40" list of leading Chicagoans under age 40. He has also been named as one of top 100 most prominent members of Chicago's technology community. He has keynoted or been a panelist at over 50 area conferences and events nationwide. He is a founder & trustee of the McCall Family Foundation, focused on improving early childhood development in Chicago's disadvantaged communities as well as encouraging entrepreneurship in our youth.
Previous to 1995, McCall worked in the Boston Consulting Group¹s Chicago office, where he managed consulting and client teams on projects in the telecommunications, health-care and financial services industries. During and after college, McCall worked for Bankers Trust in Merchant Banking as well as at Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust.
McCall holds a B.A. in Economics and History from Williams College and an MBA with honors from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He also holds a Masters in Manufacturing Management from Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering.
RJ Melman Hub 51
Managing Partner| Visit Website
RJ Melman is managing partner of HUB 51, adjoining nightclub SUB 51, Paris Club, indoor/outdoor nightclub Studio Paris, RPM Italian, Bub City and Three Dots and a Dash – all located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood –and M Street Kitchen and Stella Rossa in Santa Monica, Calif.
With an interest in restaurants dating back to his teenage years, RJ began bussing tables and running food at age 13 at the former Bub City in Chicago. By high school, he was cooking at various Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) restaurants where he further developed his understanding and passion for the restaurant business.
In 2001, RJ received his degree from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication Studies. Upon graduation, he immediately embarked the next phase of his career – restaurant management. In the past decade, RJ has helped open more than ten LEYE restaurants and has served as the general manager of LEYE’s iconic first restaurant, R.J. Grunts. He has also served as a consultant to a variety of restaurant projects outside of the company.
With his strong background and varied expertise in the restaurant business, RJ, along with his brother Jerrod, opened HUB 51 and lower-level club SUB 51 in June 2008, offering Chicago’s most coveted neighborhood a unique mixture of dining, nightlife and entertainment. In February 2011, with the goal of reintroducing French cuisine to a new generation of diners, the duo teamed up with internationally-acclaimed Chef Joho to create Paris Club – a casual French restaurant and bar - located two doors down from HUB 51. Four months later, the duo opened Studio Paris – an exclusive indoor/outdoor nightclub and lounge above the restaurant. In February 2012, RJ, Jerrod, and their sister Molly, partnered with celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic and acclaimed chef Doug Psaltis to open RPM Italian, presenting a menu that is Italian in spirit and modern in style.
In December 2012, RJ and his siblings, in partnership with chef Psaltis, acclaimed mixologist Paul McGee and Joe’s Bar founders Ed Warm and Tom DiSanto, opened country bar and restaurant, Bub City. In early 2013, RJ, Jerrod and Molly, alongside Paul McGee, will open tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash.
Residing in Chicago, RJ is active within the Chicago philanthropic and business community and serves on a number of boards and committees.
Maura O'Hara Illinois Venture Capital Association
Executive Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Maura O'Hara has been Executive Director at the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) since January, 2004. The IVCA is a 130 member-firm trade association that represents the interests of the venture capital and private equity community with over 500 individual members. IVCA members collectively invest $100 billion in assets under management. IVCA works to promote the venture capital/private equity industry in Illinois by:
Encouraging institutional investments in Midwest based venture capital and private equity firms
Supporting deal flow for Midwest based venture capital and private equity firms
Creating opportunities for early-stage equity investors to interact with growing companies
Advocating a pro-investment climate in Illinois
Maura has 25 years' marketing, strategy and consulting experience and has worked in diverse industries including: retail, home services, consumer packaged goods and professional services. Immediately prior to joining the IVCA, Maura had an eight year career with Sears, Roebuck and Co holding positions in Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. When she left Sears in 2002 Maura was Vice President of Customer Strategies and Consumer Research.
Maura has operational planning experience working at Helene Curtis' manufacturing facility in Chicago for four years. Maura also has five years experience in mergers and acquisitions at Stevenson & Company representing both buyers and sellers in the sale of closely-held companies.
Eric Reeves Duchossois
Vice President & General Counsel| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Eric A. Reeves is Vice President and General Counsel of The Duchossois Group ("TDG") as well as General Counsel for Travers Trust Company. In addition, Eric also serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for The Chamberlain Group, TDG's largest operating business.
Prior to joining TDG, Eric was a partner in the Corporate Department of McDermott Will & Emery, counseling and advising corporate clients on a variety of transactional and general corporate governance matters. Eric began his career as an attorney in Jones Day Chicago's Corporate Department. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J. D. from The Ohio State University.
Eric serves on the Board of Directors of the Rush University Medical Center and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. In 2009, Eric was named a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Executives' Club of Chicago.
Danny Rosenberg Sterling Partners
Managing Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Daniel W. Rosenberg, Danny, is a Managing Director at Sterling Partners. He joined the firm in 1999 and is based in Chicago, Illinois office. Mr. Rosenberg leads the company's investments in health care services and business services. From his 20 years of experience investing in alternative assets, Mr. Rosenberg has gained insights into the needs of Sterling’s portfolio company managers and Limited Partners as well as a service-focused and customer-first approach to communicating and working with them. Prior to this, he worked as an Investment Banker at Vector Securities International at Lehman Brothers in their Merchant Banking Group. As a member of the corporate finance team, Mr. Rosenberg worked on mergers and acquisitions transactions and public offerings. He also served as the Vice-President of Acquisitions at Heitman Financial, where his responsibilities included identifying, underwriting, and managing investments in large commercial real estate projects. Mr. Rosenberg was involved in investments totaling more than $300 million of institutional capital. With more than 18 years of professional experience, he has spent the majority of his professional career investing in alternative assets on behalf of large institutional investors. Mr. Rosenberg is a Board Member at Cognitive Concepts, ecredit, Argent Trading, SterilMed, The SAVO Group, and Centerre Healthcare and was a Board Member of DDM and Meritas. He has also served as the Vice Chairman and Member of Executive Committee of the Illinois Venture Capital Association. Additionally, Mr. Rosenberg frequently speaks at venture capital and private equity conferences, as well as industry and small business conferences. He also speaks at the Kellogg School of Management, The University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. Mr. Rosenberg holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. from Duke University.
Ellen Rudnick Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Executive Director and Clinical Professor| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Ellen A. Rudnick spent 25 years in business management and entrepreneurial activities, primarily in the health care and information services industries, prior to joining the Chicago Booth faculty. During this time, she was president and CEO of Healthcare Knowledge Resources, president of HCIA, chairman of Pacific Biometrics, and corporate vice president of Baxter Healthcare Corporation.
She works with the many start-ups that emerge from Chicago Booth’s entrepreneurship programs. Both her governance activities and start-up interests help her to bridge the gap in the classroom between the theoretical and the real world.
Rudnick has been the recipient of a number of honors, including Today's Chicago Woman 20th Anniversary Hall of Fame and the YWCA Leadership Award. She serves or has served on numerous corporate boards including Liberty Mutual, First Midwest Bank, HMS Holdings, Patterson Companies, Oxford Health Plans and Northshore University Healthcare Research Institute. She also serves as an advisor to Ceres Venture Fund.
After earning a bachelor's degree from Vassar College in 1972, Rudnick enrolled at the University of Chicago, where she graduated with an MBA the following year.
Patrick Ryan, Jr. Incisent Technologies
Patrick Ryan, Jr.
Founder & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Patrick Ryan, Jr., Pat serves as the Chief Executive Officer of First Look, LLC. Mr. Ryan co-founded Incisent Technologies LLC in 2001 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Ryan Enterprises Group, a growth equity investment firm based in Chicago. Mr. Ryan serves as a Director of Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and World Business Chicago. He served as a Teacher on Chicago's West Side. While working as a Teacher, he founded the Inner-City Teaching Corps (ICTC), an urban teaching program similar to the Peace Corps and serves as its Chairman. He also founded ICTC's independent public school on Chicago's West Side. He serves as a Trustee of Northwestern University and a Member of its Executive Committee as well as past Chairman of the Advisory Board of Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy. He is a Member of the Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors and a Trustee of the Field Museum. In addition to his work leading the ICTC, Mr. Ryan is involved in other civic organizations. He is a Member of the Young President' Organization (YPO), Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the Economic Club of Chicago. He has been a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and was named one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Ryan graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. After completed his work in law enforcement, he returned to graduate school earning a Master of Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Law.
Andy Skoglund Credit Suisse
Juergen Stark Turtle Beach
CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Juergen Stark has been the Chief Executive Officer of Voyetra Turtle Beach, Inc. since September 5, 2012. Mr. Stark serves as Chief Executive Officer of Turtle Beach at Lygo International Ltd. He serves as Corporate Vice President of Productivity Mobile Devices at Motorola Solutions, Inc. He serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Mobile Devices and Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices at Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. Mr. Stark is responsible for driving cross-functional operations and continuous execution improvements within the Mobile Devices business. He directly oversees business operations, program management, post-sales service, quality, test and compliance and business transformation organizations within Mobile Devices. He serves as Corporate Vice President of Productivity Mobile Devices at Motorola Inc. and served as its Corporate Vice President of Enterprise of Government & Enterprise Mobility Solutions. Prior to joining Mobile Devices, Mr. Stark served as General Manager of Motorola's Enterprise Business, responsible both for growing the existing private radio systems and rugged mobile computing devices business, as well as expanding Motorola's presence in new enterprise markets. Mr. Stark joined Motorola Inc. in July 2003 as General Manager of the Integrated Solutions business, which was comprised of three distinct software businesses, Biometric, Public Safety and Public Service applications. In addition to his responsibilities as General Manager, Mr. Stark led Strategy & Business Development until 2004. He was also given a major role in shaping Motorola's initial Enterprise strategy. He had merger & acquisition responsibilities as well, which included the acquisition and integration of CRISNET and MeshNetworks. Prior to Motorola, he served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Centerpost Corporation. He co-founded West Notifications Group Inc., (formerly, Centerpost Communications, Inc.) in 1999 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Centerpost Corporation, Mr. Stark served as a Principal at McKinsey & Company, Inc., for 10 years, where he served on the leadership team of the North American Telecom practice. In this capacity, he focused on technology businesses, including information technology, mergers & acquisitions, product management and strategy. Mr. Stark founded Advanced Micro Systems, Inc., where he provided consulting and custom-software design services to a variety of clients, including large manufacturing companies. He served as Corporate Vice President of Enterprise - Government and Enterprise mobility services at Motorola Solutions, Inc. He serves as the Chairman of West Notifications Group. He serves as a Director of Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Access Spectrum, LLC. He serves as a Member of the Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors and a Board Member of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship Center. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Hadley School for the Blind. Mr. Stark holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School in Boston, Mass.
Tim Stojka Agentis Energy
CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Tim Stojka (CS Advisory Board Member, IIT Trustee) is chief executive officer of Chicago-based Agentis Energy, an energy technology company delivering wireless energy-management systems for commercial and industrial applications. In addition to Agentis Energy, Stojka has served as the CEO of Fast Heat, a designer and manufacturer of heating elements, sensors, and controls. Prior to his position at Fast Heat, he served as co-founder /chairman and CEO of Commerx. A pioneer in the development of Internet eCommerce systems, Stojka is responsible for helping to direct and communicate the vision and growth strategies of Commerx. Stojka has been featured in a variety of top business publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Crain's Chicago Business, and Business 2.0, and is a frequent guest speaker at tech industry conferences. In early 2000, he was named one of 25 "E-Champions" by BtoB magazine and was a top 10 finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He has a B.S. in industrial engineering from Northwestern University and has attended the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Scott Swanson PNC Bank
President| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Scott C. Swanson is President, Charter One and RBS Citizens, Illinois and Michigan. Charter One and RBS Citizens are divisions of RBS Citizens, N.A., which is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. He also is a member of RBSCFG’s Executive Leadership Group, the company’s senior leadership team.
Swanson joined Charter One in 2007 following 17 years at JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors, including American National Bank. He spent 16 years in Chase’s Commercial Bank and most recently was senior vice president and national executive of Chase’s Business Banking operation, focusing primarily on companies with annual revenues between $3 million and $25 million. In this position, he managed approximately 1,000 employees in 125 cities across 17 states.
Swanson is chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the executive committees of the Adler Planetarium and LISC Chicago, and on the boards of directors of After School Matters, the Big Shoulders Fund, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, the Eleanor Foundation (immediate past chair) and the Executives’ Club of Chicago. Swanson is an active member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is a trustee of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
Swanson has twice served as corporate chair of the Adler Planetarium’s annual gala and also served as corporate chair of the Chinese American Service League’s annual corporate dinner. In addition, he has co-chaired the National Latino Education Institute’s annual corporate gala on multiple occasions.
Swanson received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors. He is also a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he received a bachelor of science in finance.
Swanson resides in Chicago with his family.
Randall Tavierne Ernst & Young LLP
Mark Tebbe Lake Capital
Operating Executive| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mark Tebbe brings more than 25 years of successful entrepreneurial experience including the founding of two NASDAQ-listed corporations as well as direct involvement in numerous start-up and high-growth companies. In his capacity at Lake Capital, Mark is involved in guiding and aiding numerous portfolio companies with strategy development, operational refinement, execution monitoring, as well as investment evaluation, structuring and negotiation.
Prior to his association with Lake Capital, Mark was the founder and chairman of Techra Networks, a consulting firm that assists companies in better leveraging technology to enhance their business results. Mark is also a founder and the vice chairman of Answers Corporation (NASDAQ:ANSW), which owns and operates advertising-supported public websites.
Mark was the founder and chairman of Lante Corporation, which he grew from a two-person firm in 1984 to an 1100-employee NASDAQ-listed international corporation that was acquired by SBI Group in 2002. Mark has been a consultant to executive management of many leading companies including American Express, Dell and Microsoft as well as non-profit organizations such as National Park Service, United Nations and World Economic Forum.
Mark is a recognized and published industry expert on emerging technologies whose insights have appeared in leading national publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Mark is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, focusing on fostering values-based leadership and open-minded dialogue. In light to his service to the University of Illinois, the alma mater of his B.S. in Computer Science/ Engineering degree, Mark was honored with the Chicago Illini of the Year Award as well as the national Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service. He also supports numerous children-oriented, educational and environmental causes.
Genevieve Thiers Sittercity.com
Founder| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Genevieve Thiers is an entrepreneur in the Chicago area. Her first company, Sittercity.com, is America’s first company to take caregiving services online. Sittercity.com now has millions of users nationwide, and serves clients like the U.S. Department of Defense, Avon, Mastercard, Monster WW and many others. With new locations in the UK and Canada, it is an international success.
Genevieve was recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006, her companies have won over 18 major awards, including the CEC Momentum Award, the WBDC Rising Start Award, a CNN Young Heroes feature, the UPS Out of the Box Award, the INC 500 list, and more. Genevieve has been featured thousands of times in the press for her work, by the TODAY show, Ellen, the View, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Live & Style, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Redbook, Parents, Parenting, Marie Clare, TIME, Better Homes and Gardens, Working Mother and more. She has lectured or spoken at the CEO Conference, Microsoft, Harvard business school, Kellogg, Columbia, Babson, Boston College, U Chicago and for hundreds of other entrepreneurial groups around the country.
Tom Thompson WP Global Partners, Inc.
Managing Director| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Thompson has both a broad business background and a formal legal background, with over 30 years of experience in the investment industry, as well as in mergers and acquisitions and operating experience. Before he joined WP Global, he was a Director with WestAM where he was responsible for international investments, special situations and real estate investments and was a member of WestAM’s executive and investment committees. Prior to WestAM, Mr. Thompson was a Director of the Private Markets Group of FLI. Previously, he provided investment consulting services to both institutional investors and investment management companies. Mr. Thompson has direct private equity and real estate investment transaction experience, including workout situations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Earlier in his career, Mr. Thompson was responsible for the acquisitions and management of a $1 billion real estate portfolio for the Ameritech pension trust. He has a J.D. degree from Indiana University Law School and a B.A. in government from Bowdoin College.
David Tolmie Edgewater Funds
Partner| Visit Website
Mr. David M. Tolmie, Dave, is a Partner at The Edgewater Funds. He was a Managing Director of Bolder Capital, LLC. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and President at Yesmail.com Inc. He led Yesmail to a highly successful IPO and subsequent sale for $720 million. Prior to Yesmail, he served as the Chief Executive Officer in Residence at Platinum Ventures Partners, leading and participating in its e-Commerce and Internet marketing services venture investments. Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President of Operations at Bally Total Fitness Corp., overseeing the company’s $650 million annual revenue and its 13,000-person sales and operations workforce. He joined Bally after building and selling a regional health club company to Bally in 1990 for $90 million. He began his career with a concentration in consumer products and services, first as a Product Manager of General Mills, Inc. and as a Consultant of McKinsey & Company's consumer marketing practice in New York. He serves as a Director of Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Opportunity International. He serves as a Director of The Illinois Venture Capital Association, Chicago Chamber of Commerce, AMF Bowling Worldwide, Inc., and Field Museum Of Natural History. He is the Chairman of The Faraja Fund Association. He served as a Director of Ignite Sports Media Inc. and CultureWorx. He served as a Director of Yesmail.com Inc. since May 1999. He is active with the Young President's Organization, the Chicago Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors and has received recognition as one of Chicago's top 100 Internet and Technology Executives and as finalist in the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Program. He is active in civic and business leadership positions.Mr. Tolmie holds a B.A. degree from the University of Virginia, with distinction in 1977 and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School, Harvard University in 1980.
Jason Tyler Northern Trust
Senior VP| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Mr. Jason J. Tyler has been Head of Corporate Strategy & Market Development at Northern Trust Corporation since September 06, 2011 and serves as Senior Vice President. Mr. Tyler served as Senior Vice President and Director of Research Operations at Ariel Investments, LLC. Mr. Tyler joined the Ariel Capital Management in June 2003. He specializes in the financial services and infrastructure industries. He also serves as an Investment group’s liaison with institutional clients and manages the department’s broker and vendor relationships. Previously, Mr. Tyler worked at Bank One/American National Bank for ten years, most recently as a Finance Manager in the Planning and Analysis group. He serves as a Director of First Chicago Bank & Trust and Board Member for the Emergency Fund for Needy People, After School All Stars, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Chicago Alliance to end homelessness, and Easter Seals. In addition, Mr. Tyler serves as a Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Joffrey Ballet. In 2009, he was named a Business Leader of Color by Chicago United for his professional achievements and commitment to public service. Mr. Tyler holds and an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago.
Kevin Willer Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center
President & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Kevin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. The CEC works with high-potential entrepreneurs to build the next generation of high growth companies in the Chicago area. He works across the entrepreneurial eco-system with start-ups, investors, government, and industry organizations to accelerate the pace of innovation and rate of success for local entrepreneurs. The CEC will also be managing, operating and programming 1871, a new startup co-working center for 400 entrepreneurs located at The Merchandise Mart.
Previously, Kevin co-founded the Google Chicago office in late 2000. In his over 10 years with Google, Kevin helped grow this office to more than 400 professionals. He led the Telecom Industry practice where his teams managed the Google marketing partnerships with several of the largest telecommunications corporations including AT&T, Sprint, and Motorola.
In his additional Head of Office role, Kevin led the civic development efforts for Google’s Chicago office. Before Google, Kevin held business development positions at CMGI, an early internet incubator, and USRobotics, the pioneer in modem technology.
Kevin is actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations. He was recently named to Crain’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list. He is a Director of The Economic Club of Chicago and is a Trustee of his alma mater, Loyola Academy, as well as a Regent at Loyola University in Chicago. He is a member of the 2010 Class of Emerging Leaders at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and was named to Governor Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council. He serves on the boards of Children’s Memorial Hospital, WHITIA, World Sport Chicago, Urban Students Empowered, the Illinois Technology Association, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Kevin earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he serves on the Advisory Board for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and studied at the London School of Economics. Kevin, his wife Victoria, and their children, Jacqueline, Max and Lizzie, reside in Chicago.
Sam Yagan TechStars Chicago / Match.com / OkCupid
Executive Director / CEO / Co-Founder & CEO| LinkedIn | Visit Website
Sam Yagan is a Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Humor Rainbow, Inc. (OkCupid.com). Mr. Yagan Co-Founded Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago). He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Match, Inc. since October 23, 2012. Mr. Yagan is a Member of FireStarter Fund. He is also the Venture Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners. Mr. Yagan has spent six years as an entrepreneur. His other entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include eDonkey, Inc. founded in 2002 and SparkNotes founded in 1999. He was the Chief Executive Officer at TheSpark.com (SparkNotes), Inc. After selling SparkNotes to Barnes & Noble, he served as its Vice-President and Publisher and oversaw the publication of over 200 titles. Mr. Yagan served also the President at MetaMachine, Inc. He has also served as Vice-President and General Manager at Delias, Corp. He is also a Member of Advisory Board of Sandbox Industries Inc. Mr. Yagan serves as a Member of Investment and Advisory Committee of Great Oaks Venture Capital LLC. He has been a Director of TapMe, Inc. since March 12, 2012. He was named to Billboard Magazine’s list of “Top 30 Executives Under 30” in the entertainment industry. Mr. Yagan holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he graduated first in his class, earning the Henry Ford II, Arjay Miller, and Siebel Scholarships and a B.A. with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College.