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Venture Capital
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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Miami VC and Angel Event, sponsored by The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, Ameritech Media. This event was in Florida on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

    Photo of Daymond John, CEO and Co-Founder, FUBU Daymond  John
    Co-Founder and CEO
    ABC's Shark Tank & Shark Branding
    Read the full profile for Daymond here!
    ABC's Shark Tank & Shark Branding
    A success story, an industry leader, a young entrepreneur, a man who has reached and surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success - just a fraction of classifications used to describe Daymond John. Over the last 18 years, Daymond has evolved into one of the most successful fashion icons in business today. Known as the "Godfather of Urban Fashion," Daymond is also regarded one of the most sought after branding experts and motivational speakers in the country.

    Daymond John's creative vision helped revolutionize the sportswear industry in the 1990s. As founder, president and chief executive officer of FUBU -- "For Us, By Us" -- Daymond created distinctive and fashionable sportswear and a host of other related gear. FUBU’s phenomenal success made mainstream apparel companies realize the potential for fashionable sportswear that appeals not just to trendsetting urban youth but to mainstream teens as well.

    Daymond John was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn but spent his childhood in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens during the 1970s. An only child, he grew up in a single-parent household headed by his mother who was a flight attendant for American Airlines but often held more than one job.

    His first foray into the apparel market came when he wanted a tie-top hat and was put off by the price. Daymond began making the distinctive tie-top hats in the morning and then selling them on the streets of Queens in the evening hours.

    One day in 1992, he and his friend sold $800 worth of hats and realized their ideas had definite potential. They created a distinctive logo and began sewing the FUBU logo on hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and t-shirts. Daymond lured some longtime friends into the business and asked his old neighborhood friend, L.L. Cool J., to wear a t-shirt in a photograph for a FUBU promotional campaign in 1993. Daymond and his mother mortgaged the home they collectively owned for $100,000 in start-up capital. Soon, the home was turned into a makeshift factory and office space.

    FUBU officially launched in 1994 when Daymond and his partners traveled to an industry trade show in Las Vegas. Buyers liked the distinctively cut, vibrantly-colored sportswear; Daymond and his partners returned to Queens with $300,000 worth of orders. FUBU soon had a contract with the New York City-based department store chain Macy's, and they began expanding their line to include jeans and outerwear. A distribution deal with Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung allowed their designs to be manufactured and delivered on a massive scale.

    Photo of Jonathan Cole, Angel Investor, New World Angels Jonathan Cole
    Angel Investor
    New World Angels
    Read the full profile for Jonathan here!
    New World Angels
    Jon has 37 years of experience with venture capital, leveraged acquisitions, and emerging technology companies, particularly in optical and wireless networks, software, biotech and life sciences and information technology. He is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences on entrepreneurial venture finance, the venture capital industry and the life sciences capital markets and related transaction structures, strategic alliances and mergers and acquisitions.

    Jon is a "lifer" at the Firm, having joined the Providence office immediately after his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1971. He has been deeply involved in the Firm's strategy and expansion over the past 37 years, serving nearly 20 years on the Firm's management committee, founding the Firm's Palm Beach office in 1981 and the Ft. Lauderdale office in 2001 and organizing and leading the Firm's Private Equity Practice Group for over a decade until 2002.

    Jon has been active in a number of charitable and civic organizations over the years. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Town of Palm Beach United Way (where he has served as Vice Chair, Treasurer and Campaign Chair). He is also a Director and Founder of New World Angels, Inc. When not enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and their grandchildren, Jon devotes his energy to tennis, Asian/Latin fusion cooking and fly-fishing. He has also raised a French Brittany puppy, Lily, to be a first-class upland bird dog.

    Susan Amat, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Launch Pad Susan Amat, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Launch Pad

    Susan (BLA '01, MBA '04, Ph.D. '08) is the Executive Director of The Launch Pad at Toppel. Susan ventured into the music business as a concert promoter at age 15. A serial entrepreneur, she started and ran a successful record label, developing a television show which aired on the E! Network and the first CD-Rom magazine, and was a consultant to media outlets, record labels, and retail stores on marketing and strategy issues. Susan then moved on to the health care sector, creating products focusing on health monitoring and preventing childhood obesity. Susan has consulted extensively on brand development and management, strategic planning, and marketing in industries including high-tech, retail, health care, and non-profits. She currently serves as a lecturer in the Department of Management at the School of Business Administration, teaching courses in strategy, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior.

    Photo of David Freschman, Managing Principal, Innovation Ventures David J. Freschman
    Managing Principal
    Innovation Ventures
    Read the full profile for David J. here!
    Innovation Ventures
    Mr. Freschman is a Managing Principal of Innovation Capital Advisors, LLC (ICA). ICA serves as the management company of Innovation Ventures, L.P. (IV), and the Delaware Innovation Fund (DIF). He has served as the President and CEO of the DIF since its establishment in 1995. The DIF is a seed- and early-stage venture capital fund that focuses on entrepreneurial ventures in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Freschman has been responsible for all aspects of IV’s and the DIF’s management since its inception, including the business strategy, fiscal and operational management, raising investment capital, and evaluating all investment opportunities and portfolio company management.

    Mr. Freschman is active in the venture and entrepreneurial communities. He is one of the organizers and initial investors in the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, where he served on the angel fund's Executive and Investment Committees. He sits on a number of Boards, and has been a lecturer on venture capital, entrepreneurship and angel investing at The White House Conference on Small Business, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the University of Delaware, Goldey-Beacom College, and Loyola College in Baltimore. He is the creator and founder of Early Stage East – the premier early-stage venture capital event on the East Coast. In 2001, Mr. Freschman was appointed by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to chair the venture capital study of Delaware’s Strategic Economic Council. Mr. Freschman was appointed and served a three-year term representing New Castle County, Delaware, on the Small Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia through 2002.

    Prior to establishing the DIF, Mr. Freschman was responsible for the formation of the corporate finance advisory division of McBride Shopa & Company, one of the largest certified public accounting and consulting firms in Delaware. Mr. Freschman began his career with the Enterprise Group of the Philadelphia office of Arthur Andersen, LLP, from 1984 through 1989. He graduated with honors with an MBA from Loyola College of Maryland and cum laude from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in accounting, where he was a John B. Lynch Scholar. He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma – the National Honor Society.

    Photo of Gil Hermon, Managing Partner, The Florida Value Fund Gil Hermon
    Managing Director
    The Florida Value Fund
    Read the full profile for Gil here!
    The Florida Value Fund
    Between 1996 and 1998, Mr. Hermon was a Senior Associate with the investment banking department of Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York where he advised Fortune 500 clients in a broad range of industries. Between 1998 and 2001, Mr. Hermon was a partner with the investment partnership Shaykin & Co. in New York. Between 2001 and 2003, Mr. Hermon served as partner at the Challenge Funds which manage over $250 million of capital and have investments in over eighty portfolio companies. Mr. Hermon earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Labor Relations from Tel-Aviv University in 1993 and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Boston University in 1996.

    Kyle Schroeder, Sr Associate, Skyway Capital Partners Kyle Schroeder, Sr Associate, Skyway Capital Partners

    Kyle Schroeder is a Senior Associate at Skyway Capital Partners where he focuses on their advisory practice as well as early stage principal investment opportunities. Prior to joining Skyway in 2009, Mr. Schroeder was a Mergers & Acquisitions Associate at Citigroup in New York where he advised on transactions aggregating over $15 billion. Before Citigroup, Mr. Schroeder was an Operations Associate at EnerNOC, Inc. where he helped build the company's non-network communications platform. Then a twelve person early stage company, EnerNOC has grown to over 250 employees worldwide, IPO'd on the NASDAQ in 2007, and maintains a market capitalization of nearly $700 million.

    Mr. Schroeder holds a MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College where he was Captain of the varsity football team. Mr. Schroeder also played Defensive End for the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL, is an Eagle Scout, and is married with a 2 year old daughter, Ava.

    Angel Investors