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Venture Capital
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  • SoCal Startup Day, Feb 26 2020

  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Summer NYC VC & Angel Conference, sponsored by WeiserMazars, Greenberg Traurig, Nolcha, SocialRadius, Pura Vida Tequila, TriNet, Defiant Whisky, Bellaforma Wine. This event was in La Marina on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

    Photo of Moderator: Kevin Pianko, WeiserMazars Kevin Pianko
    Read the full profile for Kevin here!
    Kevin is an audit partner and performs audits of public and private companies and assists them with the financial and operational aspects of their business.

    He helps clients obtain sources of capital and provides M&A and strategic alliance analysis. Kevin has industry experience in numerous sectors including technology, private equity and venture capital, life sciences, manufacturing and distribution, professional services, and financial services. He has extensive experience with 33 Act and 34 Exchange Act filings, including initial public offerings.

    Kevin has extensive experience in working with private equity and venture capital entities at the fund level and the portfolio company level. He brings practical experience in working with earlier stage companies to assist them in dealing with issues they face as they progress along their development timeline. He is actively involved in many technology focused organizations. He is an angel investor in the Angel Round Capital Fund located in New York City, where he serves on the Executive Committee and also chairs the Audit Committee.

    Kevin has been quoted in numerous business publications such as Crain's New York Business, Fortune Small Business, Commerce magazine and NJBIZ. He has also been a speaker at the New York State Bar Association and the New Jersey Bar Association. Kevin has appeared on Bloomberg Radio, CNBC and NBC.

    Kevin's career also includes 10 years of professional experience with two of the Big 4 and national accounting firms.

    J. Skyler Fernandes, Managing Director, Simon Venture Group J. Skyler Fernandes, Managing Director, Simon Venture Group

    J. Skyler Fernandes is the founding Managing Director of Simon Venture Group (SVG), the venture capital arm of Simon, investing in the future innovation of retail, including in-store and online/mobile shopping technology, logistics, internet of things, and data analytics. SVG makes investments between $250K-$5M+ in early stage to high growth companies (Seed through Series C+ rounds) that are both directly and indirectly strategic to Simon. Simon is an S&P 100 company and the largest retail real estate company in the US.

    Mr. Fernandes gave the first TED Talk on Venture Capital: Innovating the Financing of Innovation (Watch TED Talk:, and has developed key entrepreneur resources, such as The “Best” Startup Pitch Deck (viewed and downloaded over 100,000 times) and The Top 10 Lies Entrepreneurs Tell Investors.

    Previously, Mr. Fernandes was a Partner at Centripetal Capital Partners, a multi-stage venture capital fund, focused on consumer internet, online services / marketplaces, enterprise SaaS, and commercializable high-tech. Mr. Fernandes is also an active angel investor and has a blog, One Match Ventures, where he shares key insights and entrepreneur resources.

    Mr. Fernandes graduated college a year early, summa cum laude, due to his studies at Harvard University in Quantum Physics.

    In addition, Mr. Fernandes has taught lectures and courses on venture capital at Harvard Business School, Bard's MBA, and NYU.

    Mr. Fernandes leads the Missing Middle Initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, focused on creating funds that invest $100K-$3M.

    Ali Hamed, Managing Partner, CoVenture Ali Hamed, Managing Partner, CoVenture

    Ali is a managing partner and co-founder of CoVenture. Ali has led investment deals for the firm, and helped portfolio companies raise over $5M in financing and do close to $10M in revenue in less than 2 years. Ali also serves as a mentor to Startup Labs and, and is an advisor to multiple non-profits.

    Before CoVenture, Ali had done consulting for governments, international companies and domestic firms, and is a co-founder of the POPSHOP, a co-working space located just off Cornell University's campus.

    Scott Wolfgang, Partner, Quotidian Ventures Scott Wolfgang, Partner, Quotidian Ventures

    Scott has worked in the media and technology sectors for the last 15 years. Prior to joining Quotidian, he spent 6 years at Hearst Corporation leading a number of its technology investments and acquisitions. Most notably, he led Hearst's Series A investments into HootSuite and Savored, which sold to Groupon.

    Prior to Hearst, Scott was a research associate at Thomas Weisel Partners where he helped launch the company’s Internet Services coverage. Scott began his career in the agent training program at International Creative Management (ICM). He holds a BA in economics from Haverford College and an MBA, with a concentration in finance, from Columbia Business School.

    Photo of Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, Future Perfect Ventures Jalak Jobanputra
    Founding Partner
    FuturePerfect Ventures
    Read the full profile for Jalak here!
    FuturePerfect Ventures
    Jalak Jobanputra is Founding Partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund in NYC. Previously, she was the Director of Mobile Investments at Omidyar Network, a philanthrocapitalist fund started by Pierre Omidyar, co-founder of eBay. While there, she created a mobile investment strategy, invested in an East African mobile tech incubator, invested in an Indian mobile classifieds site, and closed Omidyar's largest for profit investment ($5M) to date in Latin America. She has 20 years experience in venture capital, impact investing, media and technology. She was previously Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), a private economic development fund, where she managed the fund's technology and digital media venture investments. While there, Jobanputra spearheaded the formation NYCSeed in 2008, a seed fund dedicated to funding early stage tech entrepreneurs in NYC, in response to a market gap in seed funding at the time. She was also on the selection committee and served as a mentor and speaker for NYCSeedStart, NYC's first summer accelerator program, and helped launch the FinTech Innovation Lab, which has since been replicated in London. Jobanputra worked closely with the Bloomberg administration and NYCEDC to implement initiatives to help diversify the NYC economy through NYC's growing tech/digital sectors and served on Governor Paterson's Small Business Taskforce. Her portfolio at NYCIF included (acquired by AOL), Thumbplay (acquired by Clear Channel), Schoolnet (acquired by Pearson) and TXVia (acquired by Google), in addition a debt instrument to Grameen America, and seed investments in Magnetic, Ticketfly, Enterproid and SeatGeek.

    Prior to NYCIF, she was a Principal at New Venture Partners, a $300 million early stage venture fund that commercialized technology out of corporate labs. At NVP, she founded and served as interim CEO of Real Time Content (spun out of British Telecom) in 2005, a personalized video ad platform, and was a Director of Procelerate Technologies, a SaaS workflow management tool for the aerospace industry. She also incubated a range of other technologies, including speech recognition/NLP, 3D displays, video surveillance, 4G wireless broadband and music recommendation software. From 1999-2003, Jobanputra was at Intel Capital in Silicon Valley, where she invested in enterprise software, internet and digital media startups, including Demantra (sold to Oracle), Extricity (sold to Peregrine), Viacore (sold to IBM), R Systems (IPO), Financial Engines (IPO), Yodlee and Zinio. In 1997 in NYC, in the early days of Silicon Alley, she launched and managed product development for online financial information startup Horsesmouth. She began her career in media, telecom and tech investment banking at Lehman Brothers and Broadview in NYC and London.

    Jobanputra is also active in supporting education reform and social entrepreneurship and served as a Trustee of Achievement First Bushwick Charter Schools (Brooklyn) and sits on the Executive Committee of the Social Investment Council of Echoing Green. She is on the Board of Directors for the Center for an Urban Future, Advisory Board of Loreal's Women in Digital Initiative, and Access to Capital Subcommittee member of the US Secretary of State Women’s Leadership Council.

    Jobanputra serves on the NYC Downtown Alliance "LM" Leadership Committee, announced by Mayor Bloomberg on Sept. 12, 2013, and recently joined the Advisory Board of The Daily News Innovation Lab. She served as a 2010 Mentor for the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, a summer accelerator for social entrepreneurs worldwide. In 2003, she took a yearlong sabbatical from VC to consult on replication strategy for Gates Foundation funded charter schools, including the Big Picture Company. Jobanputra spent four months setting up microfinance programs and training women entrepreneurs in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after receiving her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in 1999. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communications from the Annenberg School and a BSE in Finance from the Wharton School.

    In 2013, Jobanputra was selected as a “40 Woman to Watch Over 40”. Jobanputra was selected as an Outstanding 50 Asian American in Business in 2010 by the Asian American Development Center. In November 2012 she participated in an Aspen Institute delegation to Amman, Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II, Mideast entrepreneurs and investors. She was selected as a US State Department Delegate to Indonesia in the summer of 2011, where she met with entrepreneurs, angel investors and business leaders to promote tech entrepreneurship. Jobanputra is a Techstars NYC Mentor, Member of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) and Advisory Board Member of Astia NYC, and is a frequent speaker and judge at entrepreneur and venture conferences, including Mobile World Congress, CTIA, TechCrunch Disrupt, Bloomberg, Internet Week and Social Media Week. She is a regular contributor on BloombergTV and has been interviewed by MarketPlace Radio, Forbes, SeekingAlpha and other national publications. Jobanputra has been asked to speak on entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems by the Obama White House and throughout the US and is currently playing a leadership role in the tech community to help pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. She can be found at @jalak or on her blog (recently named a top 10 investor blog.)

    Photo of Brian Cohen, Chairman, New York Angels Brian Cohen
    New York Angels
    Read the full profile for Brian here!
    New York Angels
    Brian Cohen is the Chairman, Board of Directors of NY Angels. He created iFluence PR a strategic behavioral-based communications consultancy for the new earned influence/social media community. Its focus is on understanding determinant business success factors and using qualitative customer research matched with highly aggressive guerrilla communications techniques to achieve client marketing objectives while providing the greatest financial value possible.

    Developed Good Cause Communications, the first full-service not-for-profit PR firm designed to meet the needs of struggling non-profits. Its planned newswire, will be the first free newswire for struggling non-profits and will be the first social responsibility volunteer program for public relations professionals. Founded GlobalComm/TSI (Technology Solutions, 1983. TSI was the first science and technology strategic marketing and public relations agency in New York and one of the first such specialists in the United States. In 1996, TSI was recognized as the #1 fastest growing public relations agency in the United States. Nearing 200 employees with 5 offices, he sold the company to The McCann Erickson World Group, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies in 1997. As a hallmark of TSI's collaborative work with nearly 1,000 companies during its 17-year tenure, they began a 14-year partnership with Sony Corporation of America in 1986. During that time, TSI provided strategic communications counsel to all Sony's computer, business professional, and consumer products divisions and introduced more than 100 "bleeding-edge" products. In that same year, TSI began an alliance with the IBM Corporation that grew to represent more than 50 IBM divisions providing all levels strategic communications/media relations counsel. Brian specifically media trained hundreds of IBM management on how to talk to and work with the media and analyst communities. As a testament to the success of this relationship, TSI received the Gold CIPRA award (#1 Public Relations program) in 1998 for the IBM Deep Blue/Gary Kasparov Chess Match concept development and public relations program.

    Brian created and instituted the RPM (Rapid Publicity Marketing) model of strategic communications. This tightly integrated approach to publicity gave clients a quick market edge and was designed to discover and leverage a company's key strengths as well as mitigate their destructive weaknesses. TSI's client list read like an entrepreneurial who's who list of leading technology companies in computing, communication, software, education, and entertainment all supported by an integrated matrix of professionals in research, strategic planning, media placement, video production and event management.

    Additionally, Brian started Focus Technology, a Focus Group company that provided qualitative research and beta site utilization services. Brian provided all development and moderating support.

    Before launching TSI, Brian was a founding publisher of Computer Systems News and InformationWeek magazine at CMP Publications. While in graduate school, he was involved with pioneering computer trade publications including Personal Computing Magazine and Minicomputer News from Benwill Publishing. Brian received two Honor B.S. degrees from Syracuse University in Biology and Speech Communications. He also received a Masters Degree in Science Communications from Boston University's School of Public Communications in 1978 and currently serves on the Dean's Advisory Board of Directors.

    Photo of Brad Kayton, FP Angels & Investors Colaborative Brad Kayton
    Angel Investor
    Investors Colaborative
    Read the full profile for Brad here!
    Investors Colaborative
    Brad Kayton is a serial entrepreneur turned parallel, having made a number of investments in start-ups over the past few years as well as acting as an advisor or consultant to a number of start-ups. Brad is a member of Launchpad Venture Group. Brad has started five companies operationally, a few others as the first funder, and he adds the most value in the early years of a company's life-cycle. Brad has been a CEO four times, a board member often, came up through the ranks operationally on the product manager-marketing side, and began his career as a software programmer. Brad has an MBA and a Masters in Communications Technology and lives in the Boston metro area.

    Photo of Moderator: David Gitlin, Shareholder, GreenbergTraurig David Gitlin
    Corporate & Securities
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    Read the full profile for David here!
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    David Gitlin focuses his practice on corporate and securities, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, technology development and corporate finance. For more than 30 years, David has counseled foreign clients doing business in the United States and U.S. clients doing business abroad. He has structured more than 200 M&A deals, over half of which have been cross-border transactions involving leading businesses in Finland, India, Israel and Sweden, among others. His representation of U.S. clients has included the purchase or sale of businesses in more than 15 countries. David represents both U.S. and foreign venture capital funds, and has handled numerous technology development transactions, particularly in the life sciences area. These include drug development, licensing and joint venture agreements involving biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as well as collaborations between industry and academia. David received his law degree from Tel Aviv University Law School and received his LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New York and Israel. David is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading M&A attorney and is nationally ranked as a leading Venture Capital attorney. In 2005, he was recognized by the mayors of Philadelphia and Tel Aviv for exceptional accomplishments in developing business opportunities for Israeli companies in the United States. Prior to joining the firm, David was partner in the corporate practice of a large, multidisciplinary law firm. He also practiced at a Philadelphia-based law firm, where he chaired the corporate/securities practice group and was a member of the firm’s executive committee.

    Photo of Sridhar Chityala, Founder & General Partner, Vedas Sridhar Chityala
    Elevate Innovation Partners & Vedas Group
    Read the full profile for Sridhar here!
    Elevate Innovation Partners & Vedas Group
    Sridhar Chityala is a board member and advisor to fintech firms that focus on product innovation, and also to private equity, venture capital and asset management firms making strategic investments in emerging technologies and financial services businesses.

    He is a global leader in the financial services industry having held senior executive leadership roles at JP Morgan Chase, Citi Bank, Wachovia / Wells Fargo, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank Australia.

    Sridhar is presently a Founding Partner of Elevate; Founding Partner of Vedas Group; Executive Committee of ARC Angel Fund; Senior Advisor to IDEA Fund Partners and Senior Advisor to SVX Group. He also serves on the advisory boards of Fin tech start ups in the Valley.

    He is a Co-founder of the Global Payments Council, World e-money council, a board member of various payment networks and industry bodies and is recognized as an industry expert on retail distribution, payments and digital & mobile commerce through published articles and appearances at industry conferences.

    Photo of David Freschman, ARC Angel Fund 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.

    Aaron Pollock, Swan and Legend Ventures Aaron Pollock, Swan and Legend Ventures

    Aaron Pollock joined SWaN & Legend in 2013 and is a Senior Analyst at the firm. He focuses primarily on investment opportunities in sports and entertainment, consumer goods and retail, education, and social media. Prior to joining SWaN & Legend, Aaron was an analyst at Grace Matthews, a middle market investment bank based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Mr. Pollock received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance along with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science and Rhetoric from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

    Photo of Welcome Address: Darrell Prisnell, Trinet Darrell Prinsell
    Senior Regional Sales Consultant
    Read the full profile for Darrell here!
    Darrell Prinsell is a senior regional sales consultant with TriNet. He works with many startups helping them grow by attracting and retaining top talent, increasing their efficiencies by alleviating some of the transactional components of HR, control their costs around medical premiums while keeping them compliant pertaining to Labor and Benefit issues.

    Prior to joining TriNet Darrell started several businesses including an Investment Bank called Evergreen Business Consultants, Inc. At Evergreen, he focused on capital raises for private startup companies within the technology, bio tech and renewable energy sectors. The other business was Personal Transit, Inc., a transportation company which Darrell formed after college. This produced a successful exit with a private equity based role up within the sector.

    Photo of David Drake, Founder, The Soho Loft David Drake
    The Soho Loft
    Read the full profile for David here!
    The Soho Loft
    David Drake is a leading equity expert based in New York. He is the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a private equity advisory firm, and of The Soho Loft, an event-driven global financial media company.

    Born in Sweden and fluent in six languages, Mr. Drake is a strong advocate of innovative investing in early-stage equity and the US JOBS Act, for which he lobbied both Congress and the EU Commission. Because of his leading work in this space, he was a US Commerce Department delegate to the EU Commission in Brussels and Rome, and was invited in May 2013 to the White House Champions of Change ceremony in Washington, D.C.

    His investment, The Soho Loft, produces and sponsors 150+ global events a year. One such was produced in April 2013 for the institutional media leader Thomson Reuters, with speakers from Nasdaq, NYSE, KKR and Carlyle Group. He continues to advance innovative investing through his work as an international speaker and regular writer for major publications like Forbes and Thomson Reuters. He has co-authored the book Planet Entrepreneur: The World Entrepreneurship Forum’s Guide to Business Success Around the World and is the author of Crowd Fund Economics.

    His focus today is to take on board advisory positions at companies, angel networks and venture funds, and to guide them on such topics as international regulations, corporate strategy and fund structures, with emphasis on the growing trend of online investment automation for retail and angel investors.

    Privately, Mr. Drake has hosted the Harvard Business Club of NY at his home, produced Carnegie Hall concerts and raised funds for the charities Trail Blazers and Best Buddies Carnegie Hall for many years. Today he is a board director of the UBS Charity of the Year, London-based Archive International, and is co-chair of the Tree Kangaroo Foundation in New York.

    Mr. Drake has an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Law and Economics from George Washington University, where he was awarded the Wallenberg Scholarship for academic merit.

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