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Venture Capital
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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out DC Pitching Workshop (Afternoon), sponsored by Grant Thornton, Kelley Drye. This event was in Vienna, VA on Thursday, April 21, 2005.

    Rusty Griffith, Principal, Walker Ventures (and Maryland Angels) Rusty Griffith, Principal, Walker Ventures (and Maryland Angels)

    In his role of Principal at Walker Ventures, Rusty plays a key role in the search for, and evaluation of, suitable portfolio investments. He is also responsible for analyzing, evaluating and forecasting the performance of the Walker funds, negotiating the structure and terms for investment deals, performing financial and operational due diligence reviewing and analyzing of economic trends and quarterly reporting of the funds. Additionally, our portfolio companies benefit from Rusty's experience as he assists them in developing advanced integrated business models and operating plans that incorporate business goals and strategies.Rusty is a member of the Board of Directors of several portfolio companies.

    Rusty brings more than 15 years of business management, finance, and accounting experience in the high tech industry. His four years as an IT consultant have provided him with invaluable insight into some of the unique operational, accounting, and financial challenges that may be experienced by our client companies. Rusty has held senior level finance and accounting positions with technology companies including Siemens-Nixdorf, Trusted Information Systems, Network Associates and Lockheed Martin IMS.

    Rusty holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Loyola College in Baltimore. He is also a licensed CPA in Maryland, a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), Mid Atlantic Venture Association's YAVA, and AICPA. Additionally, Rusty is helping to cultivate successful entrepreneurs at The Idea Lab located at University of Maryland Baltimore Campus.

    Will Thierbach, Senior Associate, The Grosvenor Funds Will Thierbach, Senior Associate, The Grosvenor Funds

    Prior to completing his M.B.A. and joining Grosvenor, Will was a senior information technology consultant for KPMG. Will’s interest and background in technology comes from the military where he served as a US Navy Lieutenant flying the F-14 Tomcat. During his last tour, he served as Project Manager for a Joint Service Test and Evaluation Team, which examined cutting-edge technologies for radar and acoustic sensors, data exchange and forwarding systems, and combat mission hardware and software. The team was responsible for improving combat identification and reducing the incidence of "friendly fire." Will completed two combat cruises to the Persian Gulf and is a graduate of the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, "Top Gun."

    Will received his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his M.B.A. from The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where he was a member of the regional championship and national final teams of the National Venture Capital Investment Competition.

    Will sits on the Board of Deltronic Crystal Industries. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the McDonough School of Business teaching entrepreneurship in the MBA program.

    Kim Cooke, Founder & Managing Director, Blue Water Capital Kim Cooke, Founder & Managing Director, Blue Water Capital

    Prior to the founding of Blue Water Capital, Mr. Cooke was an attorney with over 14 years of commercial and legal experience in domestic and international transactions and private equity financings. He has worked with credit, insurance and financial services companies in the United States, Europe and Latin America to create innovative solutions to finance and investment challenges for companies in all stages of the growth process. He was an original investor in and serves on the Board of Directors of Skyway Communications, Inc., of San Jose, California, a growing “bricks and clicks” retailer of wireless data communication products under the registered trade name “ephones.” Mr. Cooke received his Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law and LLM from the American University, Washington College of Law with highest honors. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. Mr. Cooke serves on the boards of Tech Enterprises, Inc. and ICC.

    Mr. Cooke is a Managing Director for Blue Water Strategic Fund I, L.L.C., Blue Water Venture Fund II, L.L.C., Blue Water Venture Fund III, L.L.C., and Blue Water Capital Prosperity Fund.

    Robert Rosenbaum, Partner, Nobska Ventures Robert Rosenbaum, Partner, Nobska Ventures

    Rob recently joined Nobska Group as a partner. He brings a focus on IT infrastructure, technology implementation and operations process design as key components to successful strategy and business execution. He is an accomplished operations and business development executive with a history of building and managing high performance teams and organizations, both entrepreneurial and corporate. Additionally, Rob has been involved in business turnaround; crisis management; domestic manufacturing; and off-shore manufacturing and sourcing.

    Rob leverages these skills to reduce costs and increase margins. Specifically, Rob helped companies reduce time to market in manufacturing by up to 25%, guided warehousing companies through the reduction of infrastructure costs by more than 20% and has led many labor process redesigns resulting in reductions of variable costs of up to 60%.

    Rob’s roles have included Chief Operating Officer of Versient, Vice President of Operations of Agora Publishing, Director, Information Technology of The Stride Rite Corporation, and Practice Manager, Technical Consulting and Integration Services of Eventra, an electronic commerce/EDI software company. Rob began his career in the apparel industry and has served as Vice President, Manufacturing of one company and as President of another prior to engineering its sale to a larger company.

    Rob has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned his MBA from Columbia University. He serves as a mentor and coach for startup ventures through the MIT Enterprise Forum, a local not-for-profit organization.

    Sandy Roskes, Investment Mgr, Portview Communications Partners Sandy Roskes, Investment Mgr, Portview Communications Partners

    10 years of experience in engineering, consulting, and venture capital. He is based in Washington, DC, where he provides US support for Portview and its portfolio companies.

    Since joining the group in 1998, he has evaluated investment opportunities, analyzed rapidly changing industries such as communications software, optical networking, and wireless data, and assisted senior executives with strategy and business development issues.

    Previously, Mr. Roskes co-founded a consulting firm that provided marketing and financial advisory services to Israeli high-tech companies. He also served as business development representative in Israel for three American engineering and consulting firms.

    Eric Janszen, Entrepreneur in Residence, Trident Capital Eric Janszen, Entrepreneur in Residence, Trident Capital

    Eric Janszen has more than twenty years experience in executive management roles in product marketing, product management, sales and venture capital in the high tech industry. Most recently as President & CEO of Bluesocket, Inc., a WLAN Security and Management appliance company ( from 2001 to 2004, he delivered on overall corporate direction, strategic marketing and sales planning. Under his leadership, the company raised $28 million and grew from pre-product stage to a company independently assessed in first place in its market with respect to revenue, customer and channel development, with thousands of units in production and hundreds of customers and channel partners.

    Before Bluesocket, he was Managing Director of Osborn Capital LLC where he managed a portfolio of 20 technology startups. The fund participated in seven profitable liquidity events between 1998 and 2003, including two company sales to Cisco, Microsoft, EMC and Nortel. Two portfolio companies, Arrowpoint and Interliant, conducted IPOs. Prior to his role at Osborn Capital, Janszen held management positions at Massachusetts technology companies including Cayman Systems, CenterLine Software, Media 100 and Stratus Computer. Eric is a Massachusetts Telecommunications Council board member, and writes for several online publications, including the AlwaysOn Network and

    Tony Ricciardella, Partner, Grant Thornton Tony Ricciardella, Partner, Grant Thornton

    Tony is an Assurance Partner in Grant Thornton’s Technology Industry Practice. He is located in the Vienna, Virginia office and services clients throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. Tony has over twelve years experience in public accounting and two years experience as assistant director of finance for a $50 million professional services firm. He has extensive experience in audits of both public and privately held commercial clients, including numerous audits of technology companies.

    Tony is an active provider of value-added assurance and business advisory services, primarily to information technology, professional and technical service, commercial, and government contracting firms. In this regard, Tony has assisted his clients with merger and acquisition due diligence, finance, public registrations, and general business advice. As Assurance Partner, he is responsible for coordinating all assurance services delivered to his clients, providing technical advice on complex accounting issues and reviewing public filings.

    Tony is an active member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and Tech Council of Maryland and serves as an advisor to the Reston Chamber of Commerce Incubator Program. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and earned a BS in Business Administration/Accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

    Moderator: Jay Schifferli, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

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