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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out DC VC and Angel Event, sponsored by Bingham McCutchen, SocialRadius, The Soho Loft. This event was in Washington, DC on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

    Photo of Craig Asher, Principal, Vital Financial Craig Asher
    Vital Venture Capital
    Read the full profile for Craig here!
    Vital Venture Capital
    Craig Asher has had a successful track record of developing software companies. Over the past ten years he has been a key team member in three successful software startups: Commerce One; Trigo Technologies; and the internal IBM startup for InfoSphere Traceability Server. He has guided major software implementations at over 50 customers in markets including retail, medical products, pharmaceuticals, and general distribution.

    Craig was acting Chief Technology Officer in 2008-2010 of one of Vital Financial's portfolio companies, CR Certification Corporation, a company provides the patented CardioReady® certification program for cardiac emergency readiness utilizing automated external defibrillators. He successfully deployed a new enterprise system for the firm.

    At Trigo Technologies Craig's position was director of product management. He played a broad role as company strategist for marketing, sales, product development, and professional services, and he also drove implementation of much of the strategy. During Craig's tenure at Trigo, annual revenue grew from under $1 million to nearly $40 million and the firm attained profitability. Trigo was successfully sold to IBM for over $140 million in April, 2004, thereby generating significant profits for venture capital and individual investors.

    Following Trigo's sale to IBM, Craig formed a new startup group within IBM to build a new product for information management software for sensor data. Craig's role in the new venture was the product strategist, product manager, and implementation manager. In 2005 the venture signed its first customer, Glaxo Smith Kline, and Craig led the delivery to that customer in 2006. He Co-chaired the international EPCglobal EPCIS standard which was the core for the broad adoption of similar information management software, and attained ratification of the standard in 2007. Craig significantly helped sign and implement 7 additional customers until his departure from IBM to join Vital Financial. In 2008 the IBM product's customer base grew to 15 customers, annual sales were approximately $9 million and gross margin was approximately $6 million.

    Craig has enjoyed co-chairing several working groups in international standards bodies. He has one issued US patent - 7,866,543. He also has extensive experience in marketing strategy, product management, product development, services delivery, business development, and technical sales for growing software companies.

    Before moving into software startups, Craig was a consultant with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in the supply chain strategy practice, and helped drive the turnaround of a distressed packaging manufacturer. Craig did his undergraduate work at Stanford University, and completed his MBA and Masters in Industrial Engineering at Northwestern University.

    Photo of Robert Rosenbaum, President, Maryland TEDCO Robert Rosenbaum
    President and Executive Director
    Maryland TEDCO
    Read the full profile for Robert here!
    Maryland TEDCO
    Mr. Rosenbaum is an accomplished strategy, finance and operations executive with a 30 year history of building and managing high performance teams and organizations, both entrepreneurial and corporate.

    As President and Executive Director, Rob is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership to ensure TEDCO’s position as a national leader in technology transfer from academic and federal research labs, as a seed and early-stage investor and as a provider of entrepreneurial business assistance. Additionally, Rob is charged with leading TEDCO’s efforts to expand its corporate partnerships, strengthen its ties with later-stage investors and to position it to make follow-on investments in its portfolio companies.

    Prior to coming to TEDCO, Mr. Rosenbaum joined Nobska Group, a strategy consulting firm, in 2003 as a Partner and was a founder and Managing Director of the General Partner of Nobska Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund focused on technology and medical devices.

    Immediately prior to joining Nobska Group, as Vice President of Operations of $115+mm Agora Publishing, Mr. Rosenbaum orchestrated the redesign and subsequent implementation of a new customer service organization while at the same time generating new "up-sales" from existing customers. As Chief Operating Officer of Versient, a third party warehousing company, he guided the organization through the reduction of infrastructure costs by more than 20% and led many labor process redesigns resulting in reductions of variable costs of up to 60%.

    Previously, Mr. Rosenbaum led many technical projects from conceptual design through delivery and integration. As Director, Information Technology, of The Stride Rite Corporation he led a large scale application development project (two years, 125 people). As Manager, Technical Consulting and Integration Services of Eventra, an electronic commerce/EDI software company, he led many strategic and tactical e-business design, development and implementation efforts.

    Mr. Rosenbaum started his career in apparel manufacturing with privately held Jay-ArrSlimwear, Inc. Over a ten-year period he worked his way from an entry-level position to that of President. Some of his accomplishments along the way were reducing time to market for new products by up to 25% and finding and managing off-shore manufacturing partners. While having full responsibility for all IT operations, he designed an industry-specific order and inventory management system and ultimately led the sale of the company to a strategic buyer.

    Mr. Rosenbaum earned a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his MBA from Columbia University. His volunteer activities include serving as a mentor and coach for startup ventures through the MIT Enterprise Forum; he is the Vice Chairman of The Maryland-Israel Development Center, a public-private partnership whose mission is to aid the efforts of Israeli technology companies attempting to move into the US market; and is a Trustee at Oldfields School, an all girls boarding and day high school.

    Photo of Jeff Weiss, ASAP Ventures Jeff Weiss
    Managing Director
    ASAP Ventures
    Read the full profile for Jeff here!
    ASAP Ventures
    Jeff Weiss co-founded Distributed Sun ( in 2009, where he is Managing Director. He leads capital formation activities and plays an active role in management and governance. Since 2000, he has run ASAP Ventures to help high-potential, growth-stage companies get to market faster and smarter. He has led companies active in renewable energy, cyber and physical security, intelligence and corporate fraud mitigation, mission preparedness and training, software development, and transformational management.

    An early e-business and on-line media entrepreneur, Jeff helped found two firms which deliver information and services to businesses online; Picture Network International was sold to Kodak in 1997, and CDx (Certificate of Deposit Exchange). He co-founded Trust Strategy Group, a $10MM strategic intelligence firm. He was Chief Marketing Officer of Vista Information Technologies, a $100mm network services firm. He has advised dozens of companies through significant changes, as a board member, an investor, an investment banking advisor, and as a strategy consultant, and has raised substantial funding in the corporate, venture, and capital markets. As a result, he has broad understanding of how companies grow and create value, how to create and communicate business and marketing plans, in managing operations, as well as in evaluating partners and closing capital transactions.

    Jeff graduated from Cornell University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. At Cornell, he is President of the Cornell class of 1979, on the Board of Cornell Hillel, on the Industry Advisory Group of Cornell Center for Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (CCTEC), and a past Trustee Council member. He, is on the Executive Committee of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, is Director of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, is Washington Leadership Chairman of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), and is past Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute's Socrates Society.

    Photo of Rhett Weiss, BR Venture Fund Rhett Weiss
    Executive Director
    BR Venture Fund
    Read the full profile for Rhett here!
    BR Venture Fund
    Rhett is the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. In addition, he serves on the faculty, teaching or advising graduate students in the entrepreneurship, private equity, and venture capital areas.

    Before joining Cornell in July 2011, Rhett had over 25 years of successful leadership and management roles. Rhett is an experienced executive, entrepreneur, consultant, and attorney who has led domestic and foreign strategic transactions totaling over $30 billion. Throughout his career, he has been involved in dozens of entrepreneurial ventures and innovation initiatives. Rhett also has held board chairman and other leadership positions at professional, educational, civic, and other non-profit organizations.

    A Virginia native, he was a partner of a Virginia law firm early in his career. When his firm was disbanding because two of his partners became judges, a bank client recruited Rhett to lead a turnaround effort as COO. Once the bank returned to profitability and was positioned for sale, he reentered the practice of law with a major international law firm. There, he resumed his practice in the corporate, finance, real estate, and economic development areas. As a result of some seminal deals on which Rhett was lead counsel, a Big 4 accounting firm, which was law firm client, recruited Rhett to build and direct a consulting practice in strategic corporate expansion. He also served on the practice’s national management team at that Big 4 firm. In 1999, Rhett founded DEALTEK, Ltd., a management consulting and decision support software firm. He invented and holds the patent on web-based DEALS® software, marketed by DEALTEK and used worldwide in over 35 countries to model and optimize location-sensitive corporate capital investments. Besides successfully launching DEALS, as CEO Rhett led consulting engagements with domestic and foreign companies to develop, grow, or consolidate their markets, operations, and facilities. Rhett continues to serve as DEALTEK’s Chairman.

    Google Inc. brought Rhett’s expertise in-house to help build out its global infrastructure. From 2005 to 2010, Rhett served as Senior Team Leader – Strategic Development, based in Mountain View, California, and Vienna, Austria. He was chief designer and negotiator of several large strategic acquisition and development projects for Google’s global infrastructure, typically involving its legendary data centers. He headed key initiatives and relationships with businesses, utilities, governments, economic development agencies, landowners, and other stakeholders in North America and overseas. These responsibilities included leading location and site selection, managing professional teams, and closing numerous deals. Rhett also created and conducted negotiation training workshops in Google’s offices globally. While at Google, Rhett co-founded the “Juicy Ideas” collegiate entrepreneurship and innovation competition, with 300 universities participating in most recent round. After leaving Google, Rhett became involved again in various technology sector startups.

    Business and technology news articles often mention Rhett’s award-winning projects. He also frequently has presented, authored, or co-authored works in the fields of negotiations, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

    Rhett holds a BS in Management with Honors (finance major) from Tulane University, a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the College of William & Mary, and an MBA-level Executive Certificate in International Business from Georgetown University.

    Photo of Michael Kelley, Founding Partner, ARC Angel Fund Michael Kelley
    Founding Member
    ARC Angel Fund
    Read the full profile for Michael here!
    ARC Angel Fund
    For more than 13 years, Michael Kelley has been executing and managing principal investments in venture capital and real estate. He is the founder and principal of Formation Capital, Inc. (“Formation”), which currently manages in excess of $50 million in equity invested in 30 investments. Formation’s venture portfolio includes Foxfire Printing and Packaging, iProcess Online and Performance Systems Development. Formation also manages investments in multi-family developments utilizing the Low-income Housing Tax Credit. At Formation he personally developed an online fund management system that allows all stakeholders to collaborate, upload or access information based on permissions. Prior to Formation, Mr. Kelley was a principal with HK Special Situations Group, where he provided advisory services to the US Small Business Administration regarding a troubled Small Business Investment Company. He was also a principal with GSA Management and with Intrust USA. At Intrust he was responsible for raising and investing 4 real estate tax credit funds and one venture capital fund. In addition to serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Delaware Innovation Fund, Mr. Kelley sits on the boards of Foxfire Printing, Early Stage East, and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. Mr. Kelley received his BA degree in History magna cum laude from the University of Delaware.

    Photo of Sean Glass, Venture Partner, Novak Biddle Sean Glass
    Venture Partner
    Novak Biddle Venture Partners
    Read the full profile for Sean here!
    Novak Biddle Venture Partners
    Prior to joining Novak Biddle, Sean was the founder and Chairman of Pikum Holdings, which was backed by Virgin and First Round Capital, and which was acquired by The Football Pools.

    Prior to Pikum, Sean was the founding President and then Chief Marketing Officer at Higher One (NYSE: ONE), where he led the marketing and positioning strategy that helped the firm reach profitability while becoming recognized as one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. by INC. and Fast Company. Higher One went public in June 2010 in an offering led by Goldman Sachs.

    Sean co-founded Higher One while a student at Yale where he earned a B.S. in Engineering Sciences. He also has an M.A. in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

    While at Yale, Sean founded the Yale Entrepreneurial Society and launched Yale's business plan competition. Sean serves on the board of the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute which he also helped found.

    Sean is an active angel investor and currently serves on the board of PaperG.

    Photo of Vlad Vukicevic, Co-Founder, Rockethub Vladimir Vukicevic
    Read the full profile for Vladimir here!
    Vlad Vukicevic is an entrepreneur and established thought leader in the world of social media and innovation. He has taught Fortune 500 companies how to apply innovative technology, combined pop culture with management theory on his blog, and is the Co-Founder and CTO of RocketHub, one of the world’s largest online crowdfunding platforms. Vladimir is the co-author of The Crowdfunding Manifesto, a popular foundational resource for artists and entrepreneurs. Vlad and the RocketHub team share a bold vision: that crowdfunding is the new path to creative, entrepreneurial, and academic empowerment. RocketHub has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Economist, and SXSW – and is the fastest growing crowdfunding community.

    Photo of Alex Budak, Co-Founder, StartSomeGood Alex Budak
    Read the full profile for Alex here!
    Alex Budak received a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Geography from UCLA where he didn’t miss a single home basketball game. He's spoken on social entrepreneurship at the White House, World Bank and leading Universities, and is a member of the Sandbox Network, a YouthActionNet fellow and a StartingBloc fellow.

    Photo of Sara Hanks, CEO, CrowdCheck Sara Hanks
    Read the full profile for Sara here!
    Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with 30 years of experience working in the corporate and securities field. She recently stepped down as the General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was chaired by Professor Elizabeth Warren. Sara brings a wealth of legal expertise in securities and start-ups to the emerging crowdfunding marketplace. Her new company, CrowdCheck, is designed to protect against fraud by performing due diligence checks on entrepreneurs.

    At the TARP oversight panel, Sara spent 18 months on Capitol Hill investigating the implementation and consequences of the TARP in depth. She examined the government’s intervention in the automotive companies, the execution of the banking “stress tests,” the rescue of AIG, and the international aspects of the financial crisis.

    Sara has worked with the London law firm Norton Rose, as well as the D.C. office of Rogers & Wells. She later joined the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting the regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process and the way in which non-U.S. companies accessed the U.S. capital markets.

    In 1990, Sara rejoined Rogers and Wells, which later became part of Clifford Chance, and in 2002, was elected to the first of three terms on the firm’s Partnership Council. During two of those terms, she served on the firm’s Audit Committee. While at Clifford Chance, she advised on capital markets transactions and corporate matters for companies in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

    Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. When not working on corporate and securities matters, Sara is an aunt, Army wife, skier, cyclist, gardener and animal lover.

    Moderator: Andy Ray, Partner, Bingham McCutchen

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