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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Chicago VC and Angel Conference, sponsored by Perkins Coie LLP. This event was in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, September 14, 2010.

    Photo of Michael Gruber, Founder, Cornerstone Angels Michael Gruber
    Founder
    Cornerstone Angels
    Read the full profile for Michael here!
    Cornerstone Angels
    Michael Gruber founded Cornerstone Angels and was the Founder and President of Keiretsu Forum Chicago/Midwest, an angel investment group that launched in Chicago in February 2004. Michael has been active as a trusted advisor, executive, entrepreneur, and investor with early stage companies, including a significant number in Silicon Valley. Michael is particularly interested in media & entertainment, financial services and related technologies, healthcare services & medical devices, and food & beverage opportunities. Michael is a Partner in SCIUS Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on early stage companies with offices in Chicago and New York. Previously, Michael was a Director at Taproot Ventures, a seed stage venture capital firm and affiliate of Harbour Group, a private equity and operating holding company. In addition, Michael served as a VP at InsWeb (NASDAQ: INSW), where he was part of the senior management team that brought the company public and prior to that, Gruber was Product Marketing Manager at Intuit Corp (NASDAQ: INTU) where he led the Quicken product line's online financial services, and an Investments and Strategic Alliances Manager at Motorola (NYSE: MOT). Mr. Gruber also has significant experience with Japanese companies having both worked and studied in Japan.

    Mr. Gruber holds a B.A degree from University of Pennsylvania, a Certificate in Japanese studies from Nanzan University in Japan, and an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Michael is an avid outdoor enthusiast and competitive sports player.

    Photo of Meredith L. Schwarz, Managing Director, General Mills Ventures Meredith Schwarz
    Manager
    General Mills Ventures
    Read the full profile for Meredith here!
    General Mills Ventures
    Meredith Schwarz leads General Mills Ventures, the company's corporate venture capital fund. She is charged with setting the direction of the fund, managing the portfolio of existing investments and developing the pipeline for new investment opportunities. Prior to her engagement with the venture fund she worked within General Mills' M&A group on a variety of transactions. She began her career in New York working with JPMorgan Chase in a number of roles including asset management, mergers and acquisitions and investor relations. She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in English and Economics.

    Photo of Jim Schultz, Partner, Open Prairie Ventures Jim Schultz
    Managing Partner
    Open Prairie Ventures
    Read the full profile for Jim here!
    Open Prairie Ventures
    In 1999, Jim founded Open Prairie Ventures I as a $40 million fund focused on Midwest seed and early stage technology opportunities. Jim has a diverse background in start-up companies, investment banking, and entrepreneurial ventures. He has been an active investor in a wide variety of industries, including: medical services and medical device technologies, semiconductor, software development, e-commerce, construction, financial services, and information technology.

    Jim remains active on the boards of Epiworks and Venomix. He has served as Chairman of the Board/CEO of Telemind Capital Corporation, a Midwest-based merchant banking group, and has served as Chairman of the Board of Prime Banc Corporation, a Central Illinois multi-bank holding company. In addition, he has served on the board of numerous Midwest-based technology corporations.

    Photo of Andrew S. Whitman, Managing Partner, 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners Andy Whitman
    Managing Partner
    2x Consumer Products Growth Partners
    Read the full profile for Andy here!
    2x Consumer Products Growth Partners
    Andy Whitman is a successful consumer products executive and investor who melds the experience of a Fortune 100 leader with the passion and resourcefulness of an entrepreneur. After a successful career with General Foods and Kraft Foods and recognizing that nurturing smaller businesses to achieve rapid growth was his passion, he focused on investing in and helping to operate small consumer products companies. For example, he successfully partnered with management and co- investor Catterton Partners to assist Wellness pet food and Old Mother Hubbard pet treats to be one of the largest CPG exits in the last decade.

    Andy began his career managing icons like Kool-Aid and Tang. After years of delivering results on big brands, he jumped at the opportunity to run small, autonomous businesses within Kraft in a shirtsleeves environment. Taking charge of brands as small as $10 million that Kraft had been unable to grow or run profitably, Andy's entrepreneurial leadership produced outstanding results. His ability to grow businesses comes from his proven general management experience built upon a diverse breadth of prior functional assignments, including marketing, sales, operations planning and corporate development.

    He currently or previously assisted pro bono by serving as a board member for the Jewish United Federation Foods & Hospitality Trade Sector, Marketing Executives Network Group (MENG), Venture Board of the Women's Self-Employment Project and White Plains Child Day Care Association, a Head Start agency.

    Andy received a B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He is an outdoor adventure traveler, an active skier, an avid college basketball fan, a Culinary Institute of America-trained cooking enthusiast and a devoted Parrothead as a result of traveling early in his career with singer Jimmy Buffett.

    Photo of Mathew Ingle, Associate, Best Buy Capital Mathew Ingle
    Principal
    Best Buy Capital
    Read the full profile for Mathew here!
    Best Buy Capital
    Mathew Ingle is a founding member of Best Buy Capital, the company's corporate venture capital group. Mathew is focused on developing the group's investment strategy, deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio management. Prior to working for Best Buy Capital, he worked with Craig-Hallum Capital in the investment banking group focused on M&A and equity raising for small-cap public technology companies. He started his career doing institutional investment consulting with Jeffrey Slocum & Associates after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Finance and Accounting.

    Moderator: Ted Wern, Partner, Perkins Coie LLP

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