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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Houston Angel and VC Conference, sponsored by RMSC Law, Nos Caves Vin. This event was in Texas on Thursday, September 22, 2011.

    Photo of Joel Fontenot, Managing Partner, Trailblazer Capital Joel Fontenot
    Managing Partner
    Trailblazer Capital
    Read the full profile for Joel here!
    Trailblazer Capital
    Joel has brought to Trailblazer Capital unique insights built on his many years of banking, investing and early-stage technology company operating experience.

    Prior to joining Trailblazer Capital, Mr. Fontenot worked for Cisco Systems, Inc. He joined Cisco through the acquisition of Metreos Corporation in June 2006. Joel was a Director of Business Development in the Voice Technology Group and managed the partnerships and strategic alliances involving the Cisco Unified Application Environment and related application offerings from Cisco’s Voice Technology Group. His first role at Cisco was Director of Product Marketing for the IP Communications Business Unit, which resulted in the successful integration of the Metreos products into Cisco.

    In the fall of 2002, Joel assisted Metreos Corporation as a founder in establishing itself as the first enterprise voice over IP applications platform for the development and deployment of innovative, media-rich IP communications applications. Metreos enabled the enterprise to more effectively leverage and extend their investment in IP Telephony and allowed System Integrators, Independent Software Vendors, and Enterprise IT organizations to leverage a common environment for converged voice and data applications. From the fall of 2003 until the Company’s sale to Cisco Systems, Inc., Joel served as Metreos’ CEO and was instrumental in securing equity and debt funding, establishing strategic relationships, closing its first customers and the sale of the Company to Cisco.

    Previously, Joel co-founded Netrake Corporation in January 2000 and served as the Company’s President from founding through July 2002. He was responsible for all areas of the Company which created a unique, patented IP network processing system capable of recognizing, remembering and responding in real-time to network traffic on a session basis. Joel’s leadership from white board to working silicon played a critical role in Netrake’s sustainable competitive advantage – programmable network processors. These processors combine industry-leading pattern matching technology and learning state design to provide unmatched network intelligence and dynamic control. Joel’s strategic input brought the company from concept in January 2000 to successful beta trials in June 2002.

    Prior to founding Netrake, Joel incubated the Company through his activities as a Founding Partner and Managing Director of Arkoma Venture Partners. Beginning in 1997, Joel made and managed seed stage and early round investments in technology companies focused on telecommunications, Internet infrastructure, and enterprise software. Mr. Fontenot evaluated investment opportunities and worked closely with portfolio companies in the areas of business planning, financial strategy, and business development. Joel took an active role in seed funding companies, which included creating and refining new business models and strategies, initiating business activities, participating in executive management and serving as a director.

    Mr. Fontenot brought nearly ten years of commercial and corporate banking experience to Arkoma Venture Partners, which included lead, and co-lead roles in providing senior credit facilities to several leveraged buyout transactions sponsored by private equity groups based in Texas. These transactions included the leveraged buy-out of Purina Mills and the acquisition of The Dallas Cowboys.

    Mr. Fontenot is a member of the Executive Board of the Bobby Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Silver Creek Ventures and the School Board of Cistercian Preparatory School.

    Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin (1983) and a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University (1988).

    Photo of James Y. Lancaster, Research Valley Funds, LLC James Lancaster
    Research Valley Funds
    Read the full profile for James here!
    Research Valley Funds
    James founded Research Valley Funds, LLC, which has made investments in six companies since it was founded in 2009. Research Valley Funds is a family of funds located in the Research Valley, home to Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University System. The funds are primarily dedicated to making early stage angel investments in science and technology ventures in and around the Research Valley and is a partner in the Aggie Angel Network. The firm has invested in FloTime, Midnights Studios, DxUpClose, Shape Memory Therapeutics, Ecolyse, Global Biodiagnostics, all early stage ventures located in Texas.

    In addition to managing Research Valley Funds, James is currently CEO of Ecolyse, Inc. and is an ongoing volunteer and contributor the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. James currently serves on the boards of Ecolyse, Inc., PHT Technologies and the non-profit Lemonade Day BCS. He formerly served on the boards of TimeTag, Inc. (sold to Intuit) and Avalion (sold to Grant Thornton), among others. James previously founded companies in Dallas area before moving to College Station and was an active member of three angel networks, having angel invested in companies through and outside those networks.

    James was the founding General Manager of the Research Valley Innovation Center, a technology incubator located in the Research Valley. With an extensive background advising entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, James has co-founded three technology companies in addition to the Research Valley Funds, and has served as a board member or advisor to other start-up businesses. His experience includes bootstrapped, angel investor and venture capital-backed businesses, but previously worked with Fortune 500 clients such as Alcatel, Allied Signal, Ericsson, Bridgestone/Firestone, Haliburton, Herman Miller, Honeywell, Sonoco and Trinity Industries.

    James holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

    Photo of John Filla, Managing Partner, VES Partners John Filla
    Managing Partner
    VES Partners / Houston Angel Network
    Read the full profile for John here!
    VES Partners / Houston Angel Network
    Utilizing deep experience internationally in contracts, finance, sales and operations, John is able to arrange and/or deploy capital and human resources wisely in a variety of companies and industries. Strategic planning, governance issues and M&A are key areas of expertise.

    In the early-stage markets, he evaluates business plans and makes recommendations which will enable successful growth and significant exits within 4-6 years, to the ultimate benefit of the equity holders.

    John is on the Board of Directors at the Houston Angel Network, and also holds Board, officer, and/or equity positions in a number of the entities that he has invested in or consulted for through VES Partners.

    Via FundingPost events, John has both invested in and raised capital for deals in the past.
    "A great event, I know that I’ve invested in at least one deal associated with FundingPost events, and it’s a great networking opportunity with the founders and the VCs that are there. I’m looking forward to this one!"
    - John Filla, Angel Investor, Houston Angel Network

    Rob Tucci, Angel Investor, Houston Angel Network Rob Tucci, Angel Investor, Houston Angel Network

    Robert has been a general member of Houston Angel Network since 2005. He is involved with investment analyses, assessments and development. He has been an investor in multiple HAN-backed deals, frequently focused on science-based opportunities, and most recently, the lead for Heatgenie, LLC, convertible, preferred round. Robert is currently president of Yardley Group, LLC. He was a principle in Tucci Associates, Inc., a managing partner in PATI Partners, a director at Huntsman Corporation, a manager at Texaco Chemical Company, and a manager at Sabine Pipe Line Company and general manager at Neches Gas Distribution Co., both of which are subsidiaries of Texaco, Inc.

    Robert holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Ursinus College, and a Master of Business Administration from Tulane University. He and his wife, Dr. Linda Porter-Tucci, have two children.

    Angel Investors