Almost every LGBTQ entrepreneur has encountered unequal access to key resources needed to advance their business, including a lack of visible role models, difficulty locating mentors, or being denied access to capital. It was this context in 2009 that inspired Joe DiPasquale, Bryan Janeczko, Darren Spedale, and Lorenzo Thione to found StartOut, a nonprofit organization created to promote LGBTQ equality and combat discrimination in the business world.
Since then, StartOut has become a champion for America’s LGBTQ entrepreneurial community. StartOut offers over seventy events to a nationwide network of 15,000 members with programs including networking, education, research and access to capital. With our new online platform, our services go beyond our six chapter cities to entrepreneurs throughout the nation and beyond. StartOut empowers a new community of leaders with economic resources and personal support to strengthen not only the entire LGBTQ community, but also the local communities in which we live.
StartOut connects LGBTQ entrepreneurs to empower great leaders and businesses.
Learning, growing, sharing, and enriching your business is at the heart of StartOut’s mission. Our goal is to create jobs and prosperity for LGBTQ individuals and the local communities they contribute to, and to be recognized and respected for those efforts.
Our main programs are networking, access to capital, mentorship, and education. In our efforts, we are driven to inspire all LGBTQ entrepreneurs to achieve new heights.
StartOut is expanding our reach online to help ensure that every LGBTQ entrepreneur has a supportive environment to thrive in their industry and career. StartOut is significantly upgrading its tools and services to assist LGBTQ entrepreneurs in connecting directly with other like-minded professionals and service providers, in order to help their businesses succeed.
We count on you, our members, to spread the word, bring in other aspiring and successful entrepreneurs and their friends and allies, and engage with us. Numbers matter. And so will your engagement to create value for yourself and others.
Robert is currently the COO of Tina Brown Live Media, Women in the World Media, and the American Justice Summit – a collection of media companies which give a platform to global women on the front lines who have saved or enriched lives as well as the policy makers or practitioners championing US judicial reform, respectively. Robert joined Tina following his successful exit as COO of the startup Unigo Group, a media and edtech company focusing on the transition of students and their families from high school to college. Robert’s career in media and entertainment spans roles as CFO of PBS’s WNET, founder and CFO of his own publicly traded SPAC, Media & Entertainment Holdings, and lead strategy partner for Accenture’s Media & Entertainment practice.
Robert has a MBA from the University of Chicago, a BA from the University of Michigan, and has completed film studies at NYC’s SVA.
Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus
Lorenzo is the co-founder and CEO of The Social Edge, a tech startup and maker of Contempo, the leading content amplification and distribution platform based around social media communities and influencers. He is also a Tony-Nominated Broadway producer and the co-creator and producer of Allegiance, the 2015 Broadway musical starring George Takei, whose social-media footprint he helped create in developing Allegiance and which led to the creation of The Social Edge. He was a co-founder of Powerset (now Bing) and is an active investor, board member, and advisor for startups in the consumer and enterprise space.
As a co-founder and board chair emeritus of StartOut, Lorenzo is an outspoken LGBT advocate and figured in the Business Insider “ Most Influential LGBT People in Tech” in 2014.
Born and raised in Milan, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Science in Computer Engineering.
Named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She co-founded Socos, where machine learning and cognitive neuroscience combine to maximize students’ life outcomes. Vivienne is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, where she pursues her research in neuroprosthetics.
In her free time, Vivienne has developed a predictive model of diabetes to better manage the glucose levels of her diabetic son and systems to predict manic episodes in bipolar suffers. She sits on the boards of The Palm Center, Emozia, Engender, and Genderis Inc., and is a Chief Science Advisor to Cornerstone Capital, Platypus Institute, Shiftgig, and Bayes Impact. Dr. Ming also speaks frequently on issues of LGBT inclusion and gender in technology. Vivienne lives in Berkeley, CA, with her wife (and co-founder) and their two children.
Patrick Grosso is the former CTO of a social media company that, through multiple brands, including several internally funded startups, serves over 10 million members in more than 70 countries worldwide.
His career began at a successful Internet startup where, as their Senior Project Manager and a member of the core team, he was responsible for building the company’s infrastructure, managing its high profile clients, and leading companywide strategy initiatives.
Patrick is an alumnus of Columbia University and has a background in computer engineering, accounting and economics. He is passionate about technology startups and is active in the New York and Boston startup scenes, as well as the LGBT philanthropic and empowerment communities.
Secretary & Chairman Emeritus
Chris is an Internet and philanthropic trailblazer. In 1994, at Cisco Systems, he pioneered the B2B Internet with cisco.com identifying, articulating and helping create a new business paradigm, the Global Networked Business. In 2000, as an early driver of digital philanthropy, he saw that as the Internet changed the way business was done, it had could change the way people helped each other.
Using the power of the Internet for good, Chris Co-Founded NetAid innovating with online volunteering and the first mobile app for donations on the Palm VII. Chris was a founding board member of the ePhilanthropy Foundation, founded Cisco’s ePhilanthropy office, and was Co-Founder and Founding President & CEO of Network for Good raising $1B for nonprofits.
He’s served on boards with local nonprofits, Internet startups, and produced a documentary. While Board Chair at StartOut he helped professionalize and scale the organization to 12,000 members, opening chapters in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Joe is a co-founder and Director of StartOut and founder and CEO of Regroup. In 2006, Joe founded Regroup, the leading mass messaging solution for large organizations. Regroup provides mass messaging for cities, companies, and schools, such as San Francisco, Hitachi, and Stanford.
Previously, he worked in Strategy Consulting for Bain, IBM, and McKinsey, and in investment banking at Deutsche Bank. He has a passion for media and technology, and was a member of the pre-launch team at Logo TV.
Joe completed his BA at Harvard and MBA at Stanford. He grew up in Connecticut and Alabama, and worked in Amsterdam, Berlin, and New York City before moving to Silicon Valley. He now splits his time between SF and NYC. In a former life, Joe was a competitive figure skater and official for US Figure Skating.
Alex Capecelatro is the Co-Founder & CEO of JStar, a voice-activated home automation company. Previously, he founded Yeti and At The Pool, social discovery apps with members in more than 120 countries. Alex grew up in New York and received his engineering degree from UCLA in 2010. Prior to launching his own ventures, Alex ran sustainability initiatives at Fisker Automotive and consulted for firms including the X Prize Foundation, the Naval Research Lab, and Aerogel Technologies. Alex splits his time between Denver and Los Angeles. In his spare time Alex is on the Board of Directors for StartOut and the UCLA Engineering Alumni Association. He’s an avid hiker, skier, and skydiver, and lives with his partner Brian.
After more than 20 years in business development and sales, and eight years of toiling on the weekends for a winery in Sonoma, Carla took her experience to the wine industry. In 2012, she created Crushed, an app that powers social sharing of wine. Crushed became the major content and lifestyle platform for the wine industry and was acquired by a wine company in early 2016. Currently Carla is developing and launching, To Go Bike, a new line of bike accessories to power commuters and bike share riders in a safer, sleeker and smarter way.
Carla is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone School of Wine and a Certified Sommelier. She splits her time between San Francisco and New York City. As an avid triathlete and cyclist, you might catch sight of Carla toting wine on her bike to clients and friends throughout the Bay Area.
Charles is a media & entertainment-industry professional currently working in corporate affairs at Warner Music Group in New York City. Prior to joining WMG, he handled business affairs for MTV Networks and was instrumental in launching several networks, including Logo. Charles also provides strategic consulting for various local startups and small businesses in the NYC area and is a contributing writer to PolicyMic, a news & analysis platform for Millennials.
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he studied at the University of Wisconsin there for his Bachelors in Business Administration and Hunter College for Russian studies. Charles volunteers and supports several organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Center, and AFER.
Chris is a serial entrepreneur and 15-year veteran of the digital video advertising space. He is currently a general partner at Revel Partners. Chris is also a partner at Wider Wake LLC, an angel investment firm and digital consulting practice. Chris serves on the board of directors of Collective, Vidible and Believe Entertainment.
In 2013, as CEO, Chris sold the Digital Broadcasting Group (DBG) to Alloy Digital. DBG produced the web series, The Confession, starring Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt, debuting on Hulu in 2011 and later on Netflix. The mission was to prove that A-list talent, script and production values could work digitally and not just in the traditional TV model. DBG won a 2012 Webby Award for the project and Forbes ranked DBG #3 on its list of America’s Most Promising Companies.
Chris holds a BS in Business from Skidmore College and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
James Bain is currently Chief Operating Officer for Parking Panda, the leader in online parking reservations. Parking Panda allows drivers to find and reserve parking online, ahead of time through web and mobile applications and enables garages and lots to market their inventory through an online channel. In 2015 he was named one of the “40 under 40 in Parking” by the National Parking Association. He has yet to form GIP: Gays in Parking.
After earning his MBA from Chicago Booth in 2011, James joined Groupon as a City Manager, in charge sales and operations of all daily deals in such high profile cities as Detroit, Minneapolis and Toledo. In addition, James worked as a Senior Manager in Sales Operations, the merchant research and lead management departments—optimizing efficiencies and shortening the sales cycle for 800 sales representatives across the US.
James is the primary Board contact for the Chicago chapter.
Marie Trexler is an experienced venture investor with a passion to assist entrepreneurs. She is the Director of Entrepreneur Services at Astia, a non-profit focused on helping women-led, high growth ventures succeed. Previously, Marie started and led investments for Good Capital’s Social Enterprise Expansion Fund, a double bottom line venture fund, where she remains on the Board of Advisors. She also sits on the boards of Galefore Capital (a venture philanthropy fund supporting LGBT social enterprises) and Emerge California (a non-profit that trains Democratic women to run for public office).
At Intel, Marie ran business development for Intel Corp’s Digital Enterprise Group and lead investment teams in the US and Europe with Intel Capital. Marie was also responsible for starting up Intel Capital’s investment program in Eastern Europe where she identified and consummated Intel’s first equity investment, as well as first acquisition, in Russia. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned an MBA from the University of Virginia.
Mary Shea is a Principal Analyst serving Forrester’s B2B Marketing Professionals. Her research looks at how go-to-market organizations can prioritize and maximize their sales enablement investments. Mary is also an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the Booth School of Business.
As a senior executive with general management, commercial leadership, marketing and direct selling experience, Mary has led global sales and marketing organizations at companies ranging from high-growth startups to publicly traded firms. She has an exciting track record of building, and leading teams and driving significant growth across domestic and international markets.
An accomplished public speaker, Mary speaks regularly on a variety of business topics. She is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where she teaches a course she designed called Building Effective Go-to-Market Organizations.
Mary has a PhD in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from Kent State University.
Michael is a proven business leader with over a decade of experience in product development, business development, and sales strategy. Michael joined Uber in early 2014 as one of the first team members on Uber for Business. As part of Business Development, Michael is currently building out Uber’s first sales team.
Prior to 2014, Michael founded a critically acclaimed food business, Kyotofu, which received numerous awards including American Express’s “Top 10 U.S. Small Businesses”. Kyotofu’s clients included Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca, Williams Sonoma, and Virgin America. Michael led partnerships with Chefs Thomas Keller and Mario Batali, and expanded the business to international franchises. Michael started his career at JPMorgan and attended both Georgetown University and The London School of Economics.
Michael Witbrock is founder and CEO of Curious Cat Company, the maker of Curious Cat, a mobile social guide and companion based on strong AI, and is a founder of NZ.COM, one of the very first web-based travel advice sites. He has also acted as CTO of Envigence d.o.o, a Slovenian Green Infrastructure firm, as VP for Research for Cycorp, one of the world’s leading AI research companies, and as principal scientist at Lycos. To encourage the positive use of AI technology, Michael acts as an advisor and is a frequent speaker at European agencies working in the area of eGovt. Michael has a PhD in computer science from Carnege Mellon University, and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Otago, in his home country of New Zealand.
Nicole Dogwill, a Partner in Joseph & Cohen’s San Francisco office, is a skilled litigator with experience in advising and defending leading, established and emerging companies, as well as their directors and officers, on matters involving fiduciary duty, corporate governance, securities, fraud, antitrust/unfair business practices, and related business claims. She has significant experience handling derivative and direct litigation involving shareholders, directors and officers. Ms. Dogwill also advises and litigates fiduciary duty and related claims arising in trust and estate matters.
Nicole is a 1998 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, and a 1994 graduate of the University of Michigan. She is committed to giving back to the community through civic involvement. Nicole lives in San Francisco with her partner and their children.
General Partner at Xfund
Patrick is founding partner of Xfund. Prior to joining Xfund full-time, Patrick was a partner at NEA and led the firm’s consumer and seed investment practices. He is a director of 23andMe, MeCommerce, Philo, and Ravel Law, and is actively involved with CrowdMed, Curalate, Euclid, Guideline, IFTTT, Landit, Rock Health, Upworthy, and Zumper. Past investments include Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), Loopt (acquired by Green Dot), GoodGuide (acquired by Underwriters Laboratories), Xfire (acquired by Viacom), and Xoom (NASDAQ: XOOM). Prior to joining NEA, Patrick helped to grow ZEFER, an Internet services firm (acquired by NEC) to more than $100 million in annual revenues and more than 700 people across six global offices.
Patrick received a joint JD-MBA degree at Harvard, where he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was also a Commonwealth Scholar at Oxford University, earning a Master of Science. Patrick earned his A.B. degree at Harvard College in Environmental Science. He is a member of the New York and Massachusetts bars, an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association, and a member of the Committee to Visit Harvard College.
Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Airbnb
The founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Chip Conley at age 26 took an inner city motel and turned it into the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in the world. The author of four books, including PEAK and The New York Times bestseller, EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS, he shares his theories on transformation and meaning with audiences around the world. Chip joined Airbnb as Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy in 2013, where he’s been instrumental in turning it into the world’s largest hospitality company – teaching his award-winning methods to hundreds of thousands of hosts in nearly 200 countries. Chip founded Fest300 in 2013 to share his passion for travel and the world’s best festivals.
He received his BA and MBA from Stanford University, and holds an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Esalen Institute, Burning Man Project and NeueHouse. www.chipconley.com
Managing Partner of Blumberg Capital
David is the founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund based in San Francisco. David is an authority on early stage investing with more than 25 years of experience. He founded Blumberg Capital in the early 1990s and launched its first venture-backed fund in 2001. Prior to Blumberg Capital, David managed international investments with the Bronfman Family Office, Adler & Co, APAX Partners and at T. Rowe Price. He also launched business development for Check Point Software Technologies as one of its top four executives.
David serves on the boards of CaseStack, Credorax, Deep Instinct, DoubleVerify, EarnUp, FeeX, Firmitas, Fortscale, Kreditech, Trulioo and Wunder. He also serves on the board of The Lincoln Club of Northern California and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.
David earned his A.B. in government, cum laude, from Harvard College and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and INSEAD. David speaks French and is proficient in Hebrew and Spanish.
Chair, Board of Advisors
Partner at Orrick
Mike Sullivan is a partner and head of the San Francisco corporate group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a leading firm representing emerging companies. Mike has handled hundreds of angel and venture capital financings and over 50 public offerings, including an IPO for PlanetOut (Nasdaq symbol: LGBT). His clients have included eBay, Planet Labs Inc., Matterport, Roostify, Octopart, Mayfield Robotics, BoomBotix, FirstREX, St. George Spirits/Hangar One, and Urchin Software (now Google Analytics). He also represents a number of venture capital firms, including Blumberg Capital, IDG Ventures, Walden Venture Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, Illuminate Ventures and The Roda Group. Mike is a graduate of Williams College and Michigan Law School. His outside interests skew green – the second edition of his book, the Trees of San Francisco, was published in 2013, and he has served on the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission.
Tom is a serial entrepreneur and financial executive with more than 20 years of success building technology companies. He is the founder and managing director of Burke Venture Group, a consulting firm focused on serving the financial and strategic needs of emerging companies. Over the past decade, Tom has worked with numerous entrepreneurial companies in executive, board and investor roles. Previously, Tom was the co-founder and chairman of Calimetrics, Inc., an intellectual property company in the consumer entertainment industry, which was acquired by LSI Logic Corp (NYSE: LSI). Over a decade at Calimetrics, Tom served as its first CEO and then CFO and VP of strategic business development. Tom holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA (with honors) from Yale University. He lives in San Francisco with his partner Axel Brunger, a scientist on the faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Bryan Janeczko, StartOut CoFounder, is a successful entrepreneur committed to helping launch the next generation of innovative ideas that have purpose and meaning. Specializing in the Food+Tech sector, Bryan managed the Founder Institute in New York City, incubating 24 early-stage technology based companies.
Bryan co-founded, commercialized and sold NuKitchen, an online, direct-to-consumer wellness solution in a multi-million dollar exit. He leveraged online sales and direct marketing strategies, and used a proprietary order management system. Using venture capital, Bryan built a scalable food based business model.
Darren Spedale conceived of StartOut in early 2009 and became the Founding Chairman of its Board of Directors, a position he held until 2012. He is currently the Founder and CEO of FamilyByDesign, a social netw ork which provides a new parenting option for millions of adults in the form of “parenting partnerships”. Mr. Spedale has been researching non-traditional families since college and spent two years on a Fulbright Fellowship to Scandinavia analyzing how European countries were legally recognizing “modern families”. As a subset of this research, he published a book on same-sex marriage with Oxford University Press.
Previously, Mr. Spedale was a Co-Founder of A-List Global Media LLC, an Investment Banker at Lehman Brothers,and a Corporate Attorney at White & Case LLP. He holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a law degree from Stanford Law School, and a Bachelor’ s degree from Duke University.
Alex is one of the Founders of Excursionist, a travel startup that offers private journeys, led by experts and locals and tailored to their customers passions. He also heads up their new brand, American Excursionist, a luxury destination management company offering unique special access experiences in the U.S. and Caribbean. Before entering the world of tech and travel, Alex worked in the fields of international economics and international development for 12 years. He passionately believes that building avibrant private sector in developing countries – through engines of growth such as tourism – is the way to increase economic prosperity, reduce poverty, and achieve an overall enhanced quality of life. His passions lie in philanthropy, theatre, travel and classical music.
A New York native, Amy earned an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in liberal arts from the University of Connecticut. She is a fanatical UConn Huskies fan where she was a student athlete. She and her partner live in San Francisco with their daughter, Madison Reed.
Amy’s career has spanned the investment, consumer goods, and nonprofit humanitarian worlds, including leadership roles as General Partner at venture capital firm Maveron, Chief Asset Gathering Officer at E*Trade, and chair of the board of Glide. Among Amy’s citations is the Israel Fellows Award, presented by the San Francisco–based Jewish Community Federation and an active member of YPO. She is currently the founder & CEO of Madison Reed, a fast growing hair color brand known for superior expert service, leading technologies, and luxurious hair color and hair care formulas free from Ammonia, PPD, resorcinol, parabens, and gluten.
Anne Dorman has served as a Consulting CFO for venture capital backed start-up companies in Silicon Valley (and beyond) for the past 25 years. Currently, she is working with game changing companies such as Automattic, Bandcamp, Coraid, Kii, RelayRides, and SuVolta. Prior to launching her own business, Anne spent nine years withArthur Young & Company, where she was a founding member of the firm’s Entrepreneurial Services Group. Prior to Arthur Young, Anne was a co-founder of three diverse enterprises including a nonprofit educational enterprise, a 220 acre farm, and a mobile auto body frame shop.
Anne has also contributed time and energy back to the community. She has been a board member of Boojum Institute, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Metropolitan Community Church, Resourceful Women, and was Chair of the Board of Prescott College through the leadership transition of three Presidents. Additionally, she has provided volunteer consulting to many Bay Area nonprofit enterprises.
Bruce is a Financial Advisor with a leading Wealth Management Firm in San Francisco. He currently focuses on LGBTQ clients in the Community. Bruce and his team are actively involved in successfully raising funds for LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations including StartOut and the Horizons Foundation. Besides serving on the Board of Governors of StartOut, Bruce is an active member of the Horizons Foundation Leadership Circle, and actively supports the National AIDS Memorial Grove and Open House.
Bruce is a graduate of the UC Berkeley and has studied at the International Christian University in Tokyo. He currently holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and the Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor designations from the College for Financial Planning.
Chris Davidson is Head of Private Investments for Trog Hawley Capital LLC, a private investment company. In his role, Chris directs the real estate, venture capital and private equity strategies on behalf of the company and its clients.
Prior to founding Trog Hawley Capital, Chris worked as a Head of Marketing for AC Investment Management, acommodity investment firm. Chris was responsible for overseeing all of the firm’s real estate related investments as well as raising capital. Previously, Chris served at Managing Director for Williamson McAree Investment Partners, a hedge fund. Chris came to Williamson McAree from Molasky Pacific LLC where he served as a Vice President and developed both multi-family and condominium projects in California. Chris has also worked for Lehman Brothers and TriMont Real Estate Advisors.
Chris holds a BA in Economics from Emory University and a MS of Real Estate Development from Columbia University.
Chris Fraley recently started evolve, a real estate investment company focused on capturing the premium associated with the evolution of mixed-use environments. Prior to starting evolve, Mr. Fraley was a Partner and national Head of Research for Rockwood Capital, where he worked for over 13 years. From 1999 through 2011, he was responsible for acquisitions and asset management on the East Coast, including sourcing transactions and negotiating joint venture partnerships.
Chris graduated from New York University and received a MBA from Yale. He currently serves of the Board of Directors of the Westside Urban Forum and is Secretary of the Board of Directors for GLAAD. Chris is also one of the co-founders of the Lesbian and Gay Real Estate Group (LGREG) and lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Victor Self and their two daughters Coco and Kiki.
Conor Madigan is co-founder and CEO of Kateeva, a developer of high performance manufacturing equipment for the emerging organic light emitting diode (OLED) flat panel display industry. Conor led the effort to spin Kateeva out of MIT in 2008, leveraging core technologies he invented with two colleagues as part of his Ph.D studies. Before Kateeva he was a post-doctoral research scientist at MIT and has worked on organic electronic device technology for more than a decade. In 2010, Technology Review Magazine names Conor to TR35, a list of top young innovators in technology. Conor is also a member of the Princeton University Department of Electrical Engineering Advisory Board and serves on the Board of Directors of edventureMore, a non-profit developing and running science and technology education enrichment programs in the Bay area. Conor holds a BA from Princeton and a Ph.D. from MIT in electrical engineering.
David is President/CEO of Upper Diamond a media communications company specializing in branding, learning or cultural change initiatives and media production. Based in San Francisco and Los Angeles UpperDiamond.com’s client list includes many fortune 500 companies as well growing startups in emerging technologies. David and Upper Diamond enjoy working directly with start-ups and venture firms helping them design a cohesive marketing or launch strategy and then executing on the creative to get their story out.
David was also was co-founder of EntertainNet an Idealabs! incubated start-up whose funders included Steven Speilberg and was on the senior management team of The Ninth House Network the leading provider of e-learning business solutions. He has won multiple awards for his innovative work in the marketing, and e-learning space including Invision Best in Show, Cine Golden Eagle, and Cindy Gold. He received a BA from Vassar College, and studied at UCLA’ s Film and TV graduate school.
Gabe Zichermann is the chair of GSummit (SF, April 16-18, 2013) where top gamification experts across industries gather to share knowledge and insight about customer & employee engagement and loyalty. He is also an author, highly rated public speaker and entrepreneur whose next book, The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013) looks at how leaders are leveraging gamification strategy to crush the competition. His previous books, Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010) have helped define the industry’ s standards and frameworks, and continue to be key reference materials today. Gabe resides in New York City, where he is co-director of startup accelerator The Founder Institute, and a board member of StartOut.org.
James is an investor and senior advisor to early-stage companies. Working with start-ups and investors on diverse topics such as deal evaluation, strategic planning, digital sales, product development and transformation. He also has partnered with funding accelerators, incubators, angel groups and venture capital firms in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. James served as a Partner + Senior Leader with McKinsey & Company, IRI and A.T. Kearney with expertise in the global Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods sectors, delivering significant value creation for Fortune 500 clients and Private Equity firms across traditional and emerging functions, including deep capital markets and corporate finance experience.
James holds a MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and received his AB in Economics with honors from the University of Chicago.
Jared is an Associate at the Credit Suisse NEXT Fund, a venture capital / growth equity fund focused on identifying growth investment opportunities by leveraging the sourcing channels and domain expertise of the broader Credit Suisse organization. He is responsible for portfolio management, deal diligence and investment sourcing initiatives at NEXT, which invests primarily in fintech/services, enterprise software, market structure and financial products/data opportunities.
Prior to joining the NEXT Fund, Jared specialized in the Technology, Media & Telecom sectors in the Credit Suisse Equity Capital Markets (ECM) division. He pitched, marketed and executed over 50 equity offerings for a variety of clients. He was also appointed as the primary CS Tech ECM contact for the early-stage VC/accelerator/start-up community in New York.
In addition to studying at the Cass School of Business in London, Jared Delaney-Smith received his dual B.B.A in Finance, Investments & Banking and Management & Human Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jim Sherman is Founder and Chairman of ShermansTravel Media, a leading online publisher of hand-picked traveldeals. ShermansTravel.com curates the best travel deals from hundreds of providers. It also publishes expert advice on hotels, money saving tips, and special interest travel. Jim got into the travel lifestyle business because of his personal life-long passion in exploring foreign cultures.
He is also an occasional investor and is currently incubating Hamptons Lane, an e-commerce venture focused on helping consumers “find their taste” in specialty coffee by artisanal producers. In 1998, Jim founded WestEnd New Media, an internet strategy consultancy, with a focus on helping publishing and media companies craft and launch online businesses. It grew to be one of the largest media-focused Internet strategy-consulting firms, and clients included AOL, Martha Stewart Living, Sony, Marvel Comics, and more. Jim holds a Stanford University, B.A.; Stanford University, M.A. (international affairs), and the Harvard Business School, MBA.
Leonard Lanzi is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association. Len graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in psychology. Len is active with Rotarians for Fighting AIDS and serves on the board for Meals on Wheels West. Leonard served as the Treasurer of the LA County Republican Party and is a California State Republican Party delegate. Len and his domestic partner Russell Nelson live in Topanga Canyon, CA.
Mark Lacy is founder and CEO of Benchmark Research providing a network of quality investigative research sites throughout the United States. For the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, Mark has been the Chair of the Site Manager’s Forum, Chair of the Finance Committee, elected to the Board of Trustees, and recipient of the 2005 Meritorious Service Award. Mr. Lacy also serves on the Board of Advisors for The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation.
In 2010, Entrepreneur Magazine named Mark one of the top four “Established Entrepreneurs” for his success in growing Benchmark Research. He was recognized in 2011 by PharmaVoice as one of the 100 most Inspiring People.
Mr. Lacy earned a B.A. from UT at Austin and held several prominent positions in state and national politics, including service under a Presidential Administration.
Mike Schultz is a business law associate in the Boston office of Foley & Lardner LLP. In his practice, Mike counsels both start-up and established businesses on a wide range of day-to-day legal and business issues, including corporate formation, angel and venture capital financings, private placements of securities, and initial public offerings. He also counsels clients in connection with various strategic transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, business unit divestitures and subsidiary dispositions. Mike is a member of Foley’s Private Equity, Venture Capital and Transactional Securities practice group. He is also a member of the firm’s Emerging Technology industry team. Mike is a graduate of Michigan Law School, with a Masters in Accounting and Bachelors degree in Business Administration, both from the Ross School of Business at the Universit y of Michigan.
Scott Thacker is the CEO of Ivory Consulting Corporation, the leading equipment finance modeling and pricing software and consulting firm serving the equipment finance industry. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation.
Scott is a member of Sand Hill Angels and an advisor to multiple start-up and early-stage businesses. Scott was previously the COO of Interfolio, Inc. where he executed a successful turn-around of the company. In 2005, he re-joined Accenture as a partner responsible for co-creating the North American asset finance industry management consulting practice. Previously, he held leadership positions with Oracle where he was instrumental in creating and rolling out Oracle Lease and Finance Management, a software application.
Scott received an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Accounting from the Wake Forest University School of Business.
Nixon Peabody partner Thomas Gaynor heads Corporate in California. Tom represents industry diverse clients in complex international corporate and finance transactions. Tom also provides strategic legal and business counsel to his clients worldwide, focusing on Australia, Europe, Italy and France. Thomas handles public and private international company mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, corporate governance, venture and private equity debt and equity financings, LLC and corporate formations and joint ventures, and domestic/offshore investment fund creation. Tom’s wide spectrum of clients include digital media and technology start-ups, manufacturing, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, life sciences, real estate, financial services, durable consumer goods, retail appliance and electronics products, wireless and remote technology solutions and clean-tech energy and solar companies. He has also worked with real estate fund portfolios, cross-border finance and various other general business and commercial services. Tom has spoken at a variety of technology conferences and university and incubator programs.
In line with StartOut’s mission, Andres has been keenly focused on the LGBT entrepreneurs’ needs and accomplishments. He brings nearly two decades of successful start-up experience to StartOut, as a co-founder, executive, angel investor, advisor, and board member. As an active participant in StartOut events since 2010 and Governor a year later, he has built many strong relationships within the organization.
Andres has a background as a clean tech entrepreneur with a proven track record of two decades in corporate and business development, predominantly with early stage technology firms. As LumaStream’s CFO, he built the financial and organizational infrastructure to scale the company to success. As co-founder of smart grid firm BPL Global that grew to 120 people, he managed all commercial activities and investor relations.
Andres has raised equity and debt financing from first tier VCs, investment banks, strategic investors, and economic development partners. He secured government funds to augment private capital and completed acquisitions in the US, Europe, and Latin. Andres also co-founded an angel group that invested in and exited tech firms with cross-border strategies, Andres earned an MBA from Stanford and a JD equivalent (lic.iur.) from the University of Zurich’s law school.
Social Media & Marketing Manager
Darren Arquero is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Philip Brett LGBT Studies Fellowship. He is also a Research Fellow at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS) and an Associate Curator at the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco. Most recently, Darren was an Online Communications Consultant with the Arcus Foundation in New York, developing their social media platforms and building an archive of grantee publications that accounts for 65% of the foundation’s total online assets.
Operations and Member Manager
Beth is an experienced nonprofit professional, having worked for organizations focused on underserved youth, peace and conflict, sport promotion, and international development. She specializes in helping nonprofits develop systems to enhance efficiency and professionalism. Beth has lived in five countries, including five years in Korea, as a professor of English and economics. She holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MPP from Duke University.