I really enjoyed my friend, Blake Patton, dropping by Booth 61 earlier this week at the Atlanta CEO Council event. I first met Blake about 8 or 9 years ago during one of his earlier entrepreneurial ventures. Today, Blake is the Managing Partner of Tech Square Ventures, Atlanta’s newest and very exciting early stage venture fund. Blake was most recently the General Manager & Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the ATDC, one of the oldest and one of the premier technology incubators in the country. Blake knows how to spot an early stage company that has the greatest chance of success. I believe Blake will be very successful and his investors delighted with the results of Tech Square Ventures. Listen to Blake’s interview and you will understand why I and many, many other people are bullish on the Atlanta technology scene.
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Sunday February 16th, 2014
On this Sunday’s Business RadioX Week In Review on biz1190AM, Host Dana Barrett featured clips from the following Business RadioX shows:
From Business Leaders of Today: Tess Turrin and Angel Nowlin interview Michael Chapin with the Greater Gwinnett Championship about how their annual PGA golf event can help businesses.
From Atlanta Business Radio: Katie Elizabeth from TiE Atlanta and Rachel Zick from ATDC announce their new partnership and explain what stage your company (or idea) needs to be in to benefit from each organization individually.
Other topics covered:
- Facebook’s customizable gender description and what Fox News thinks of it.
- Georgia may be getting rid of the electric car tax credit.
- Spanx CEO stepping down – and maybe Sarah Blakely is ready to revolutionize women’s shoes?
- And… why is your company spending so much money on logo wear? Is it really doing anything for employee morale, OR marketing?
Gordon Rogers with Edevate, Kevin Green with Midtown Alliance, Karen Kelly with The Childrens Museum of Atlanta and Cherie Fuzzell with Parkmobile USA
Gordon is a 25 year veteran of start-ups in the field of digital education and learning management, having founded an e-learning software company (Meliora Systems) in 1988. He took the start-up from the bootstrapped stage to an IPO in 1998, through a merger with Paul Allen’s company, Asymetrix Learning, now part of SumTotal Systems, a leading LMS provider. He has spent the last decade working with early stage ventures in the ed-tech sector, including both K-12 and higher-ed markets, as well as start-ups developing innovative offerings in the digital publishing, virtual worlds/MMO games for kids, and mobile learning areas.
He is co-founder and President of Edevate, which creates and operates innovative platforms that facilitate the origination, curation, promotion and credentialing of highly effective outcome-based online education and training programs.
He also mentors at Georgia Tech’s ATDC and Flashpoint programs as well as Managing Director of Vernon Bridge Ventures, an early stage capital/advisory firm. He serves on the advisory boards of Excelegrade, Evirx, and Rapid LD. He is also Past President of Atlanta Technology Angels. He sits on the selection committees for Venture Atlanta and TAG Top 40. He also serves as a guest lecturer and business plan competition judge at Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Emory and University of Georgia business schools.
He has extensive experience as a non-profit board member (YMCA of Greater Atlanta, Interfaith Outreach Home, Teacher Support Network, The Lionheart School).
Gordon has a BA in Economics, and an MSc in Engineering Economics from the University of New Brunswick, and an MBA in International Finance from the University of British Columbia.
Kevin Green joined Midtown Alliance in July 2011. Kevin has been a resident of the City of Atlanta for 25 years and has been working for much of that time to advance livability and economic opportunity in the Atlanta region.
Kevin was previously Executive Director of The Clean Air Campaign, a Georgia non-profit working in partnership with transportation management associations and more than 2,000 public and private employers, schools and universities to implement programs to improve air quality and reduce traffic. Prior to that, Kevin was Vice President of Environmental Affairs with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where he worked to implement initiatives to improve water resource stewardship, air quality, transportation and land use and development. During his tenure with the Chamber, Kevin managed public-private initiatives that resulted in the creation of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District – now managing water resources for a region of more than 5 million, and the Livable Communities Coalition – where more than 50 organizations work collaboratively to advance smart growth in metro Atlanta. Kevin also practiced law in Atlanta for 10 years, most recently as a partner with Andre, Blaustein & Green, LLP. His litigation experience includes state and federal trial and appellate courts across the Southeast.
Karen Kelly/The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Karen Kelly discusses The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and its feature exhibit, Moneyville. Chelsea Peterson from PNC Financial Services Group and Robert Parker from Ford Motor Company discuss their role as official presenters for the exhibit, and explain why they support The Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s mission to spark imagination and inspire discovery and learning for all children through the power of play.
Karen has been at The Children’s Museum for six years. She launched the Connected Learning, Connected Communities Outreach Programming and organized a major exhibition, Under the Big Top: You’re the Ringmaster! Serving as the team leader for all exhibition, educational and artistic programming at The Museum, Karen works with advisory committees to enhance and strategize the museum’s programming with an emphasis on literacy.
Karen has served as the chair and founder of the Georgia Museum Educators and the chair for the Southeastern Education Committee. She has also served on the national board of the Education Committee for the American Association of Museums and the programming committee for the Southeastern Museums Conference. In 2000, she was awarded Georgia Museum Professional of the Year. She was also a part-time instructor in the graduate history program at Georgia State University from 2001-2011.
She currently serves on several community advisory groups as well as the Atlanta Partners for Education Board. She is also an active volunteer, both through her church, through her children’s schools and through her neighborhood association. She is married to an attorney and has two children, Claire (aged 14) and Adam (aged 12).
Chelsea Peterson/PNC Financial Services Group
Chelsea oversees grants and sponsorships for PNC in Georgia. She is also the local charitable financial manager. Her team leads the brand alignment during the conversion of RBC and Flagstar to PNC in this market, and she was also the lead on PNC “Grow Up Great” launch in Greater Atlanta; A $1.2MM early education initiative. Chelsea was a key member in transitioning the National City conversion to PNC in Detroit in 2010.
She has a degree from Western Michigan University in Finance and Commercial Law, and she currently resides in West Midtown with her husband, Kent Peterson (and triplet boys on the way!).
Robert Parker/Ford Motor Company
Robert Parker is currently the general manager, southeast market area Ford Motor Company. Named to this position in December 2011, Parker oversees the sales and marketing teams responsible for selling and servicing the Ford and Lincoln brands in the Southeast Market Area.
Prior to joining Ford, Parker earned a bachelor degree from the Northern Arizona University. He started his career with Ford in 1989 and held a variety of positions in the Ford Customer Service Division before joining the Product Marketing group in Germany as the Mondeo Product Marketing Manager in 1998. After launching the Mondeo in 2000, Parker moved to the U.S. where he spent three years in Advanced Product Strategy followed by a year as the large car product marketing manager. In 2006 Parker assumed the role of car marketing manager responsible for collaborating with the Ford North American team to market Ford cars and crossovers. During his tenure, Parker worked on the launch teams of products like the Ford Fusion, Mustang Shelby GT, Shelby GT500 and Shelby GT500KR. In 2008 Parker was named the director of product communications where he was responsible for launching new products and technology for the Ford and Lincoln brands to the media. In 2010 he became group marketing manager leading the consumer and product marketing teams on the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Escape product lines.
Parker is a life-long car enthusiast who enjoys buying and selling classic Ford products from the 60’s and 70’s. He has owned and restored several Mustangs and Broncos and devotes his spare time to tracking down new projects. Robert is a member of the board of World Missionary Press and Northern Arizona University’s Franke School of Business. Robert and his wife Terri have three children and live in Milton, Georgia.
Parkmobile is the leading global provider of seamlessly integrated end-to-end solutions for mobile payments, parking guidance using business analytics and parking. Its offerings include mobile payments for on and off-street parking, digital parking permits, real-time enforcement and a seamless transit experience. Their services are used in 500 cities around the world by millions of registered users. Parkmobile USA was founded in Atlanta, Georgia and its call center, engineering team and corporate headquarters are located in the U.S. Parkmobile’s investors include BCD Holdings and Fontinalis Partners. With annual global revenues of $22.8 billion, BCD Holdings is an international market leader in the corporate and online travel, and off-airport and mobile parking industry. Fontinalis Partners invests in and partners with innovative technology companies that modernize and improve transportation. Fontinalis is led by Bill Ford, a lifelong environmentalist and the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company.
Cherie Fuzzell has over 17 years of executive experience in the payments and healthcare industries as well as 7 years of mergers & acquisitions experience with the international law firm Jones Day. Cherie was most recently President and CEO of FirstView and has held senior positions with USBancorp, NOVA Information Systems, Inc. (now Elavon) and Magellan Health Services. Cherie earned a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a juris doctorate from the Vanderbilt University School of Law where she served as Associate Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. She is a member of the Bar Associations of the States of Texas, Ohio and Georgia.
Jeff McConnell, CEO of Whisper Communications & Mentor to Atlanta Technology Start Up Entrepreneurs June 5th, 2013
One of the many blessings of being in our Atlanta Technology Community is I have the privilege of meeting a lot of very interesting people. Some become friends over the years and some become family. Jeff McConnell is a person who has become family to me. Jeff has gone out of his way time after time to help me, encourage me, and introduce me into his network.
Jeff McConnell is one of Atlanta’s leading advocates for the technology start-up community. Jeff is involved in mentoring, judging presentations, and coaching young entrepreneurs as they launch their companies. Although Jeff is a die hard Florida Gator, he shares his passion for Georgia Tech and all of the great innovation that come from the ATDC and other Georgia Tech programs. In addition, Jeff has been a senior executive in the payments space for many years.
I first began spending quality time with Jeff at his home where he hosts a once a month wine tasting. Jeff hosts the event, cooks all the food, and his wonderful family drop in to say hello to the guests. Jeff does this at no cost to anyone other than Jeff. He is a giver and a creator of opportunities for others. In this informal gathering people have found new jobs, business has been transacted, introductions to capital or talent have occurred and great friendships have developed.
You will learn a great deal by listening to this interview. If you ever have the opportunity to meet or hear Jeff speak, drop what you are doing and go to that event. I promise it will be worth every minute of your time.
Thank you for being such a great friend to me and to our technology start-up community, Jeff!
Stephen Fleming, Vice President, Georgia Tech Visits Booth 61
May 13th, 2013 the Atlanta CEO Council held it’s most recent gathering. Another All Star crowd of Atlanta and beyond technology superstars visited the Ritz Carlton Buckhead for the best Lamb Chops on Planet Earth. For almost 15 years the Atlanta CEO Council has created an environment where new relationships are created and deals get done. Over 150 technology entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, professional services providers, and other VIP’s gather to do business.
This month’s program began with a presentation by Russ Clark and Matt Sanders from Georgia Tech about the project/research/commercial viability of Magic Window. After the informative presentation, everyone moved into the reception where Booth 61 was able to interview a handful of the guests. There was a lot of energy in the room and I personally wish I could have interviewed twenty more of these fine folks.
Always a pleasure and a privilege to spend time with my friend, Stephen Fleming. I met Stephen in the last 1990’s when he was a Venture Capitalist and I was a starving entrepreneur. Stephen did not invest with me but he always treated me with respect and dignity unlike many of the venture community. Stephen’s impact on our community has been huge both as an investor and as the Vice President of Georgia Tech. One of the nations top incubators is the ATDC and Stephen is expanding the operation across the state.
Atlanta CEO Council
The Atlanta CEO Council is an organization of executives invited to exclusive events for the purpose of developing relationships, promoting entrepreneurship and investing in the community.
Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan is co-founder of Virima the world’s first IT Business Operations Automation (IT-BOATM) software that provides a single solution to integrate all aspects of an IT organization. Prior to starting up Virima, Mr. Rajan was the cofounder, President and CEO of Vigilar, Inc, a leading network security technology firm. A highly versatile entrepreneur, he has cofounded several ventures, including eLaunchpad, an early stage venture capital firm/incubator focusing on Internet infrastructure and network security technologies; Emerald Systems, a boutique technology consulting firm; and ResourcIS, an IT recruiting firm. Another earlier success, VerticalOne, a financial aggregator, was sold to S1 in 1999 in a deal valued at $166M. Mr. Rajan serves on the Board of Directors of the above companies and on the advisory boards of several early stage technology firms nationwide.
Mr. Rajan is also involved in several professional and community-related organizations. He was instrumental in establishing the Atlanta CEO Council, and currently serves as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Rajan cofounded and serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), a national mentoring organization for technology entrepreneurs. He serves on the Board of Councilors for The Carter Center (President Jimmy Carter’s nonprofit initiative), a leadership advisory group promoting understanding of, and support for, The Carter Center and its activities among Georgia’s private-sector opinion leaders. Mr. Rajan was also selected to Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40′′ Rising Stars in 2000.
Mr. Rajan is also committed to a variety of charitable organizations focused on providing support and education. Beneficiaries include Raksha, (meaning protection in several South Asian languages) a Georgia nonprofit support network for South Asians in distress, and CRY (Child Relief and You), a US-based group helping deprived children.
Mr. Rajan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Florida Institute of Technology. Mr. Rajan was born in Coimbatore, India and raised in Bangalore, India.
Glenn McGonnigle is a General Partner at TechOperators. Prior to launching TechOperators, Glenn was most recently Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based VistaScape Security Systems, a leading provider of enterprise intelligent video surveillance software where he was recruited by the company’s board to raise capital and grow the business. He subsequently oversaw the successful sale of the company to Siemens Building Technologies. An authority on IT and physical security convergence and a frequent contributor and expert speaker for numerous industry publications and events, Glenn helped shape President Bush’s 2005 National Strategy for Maritime Security.
Previously, Glenn was a co-founder and top executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business. For 7 years, he led the business development team in developing sales channels and entering the managed security services market. During his tenure, the company grew from startup to revenues of over $225 million and was recently acquired by IBM for $1.5 billion.
Prior to ISS, he was President and co-founder of Data Integrity Services Corporation, an early-stage provider of WAN-based data management services. Throughout his 24 year career, Glenn has remained focused on emerging technologies and has held a variety of sales and marketing executive positions during the high growth stages of EMC, Epoch Systems, Borland, and Wang Laboratories.
He is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and sits on the board of the Venture Atlanta Conference. In addition, he has served as Entrepreneur in Residence and CapVenture coach supporting Georgia’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). McGonnigle holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia.
Glenn oversees the fund’s investments in Immunet, JouleX, and Endgame Systems.
Peter Baron/Carabiner Communications
Peter Baron is principal of Carabiner Communications, where he acts as a senior-level consultant, offering advice to clients on product positioning and how to leverage the latest market trends. Through more than two decades of high-tech PR experience, Peter has the skills to recognize new opportunities in the marketplace and help clients prepare strategies accordingly. He has worked with entrepreneurs spanning the technology ecosystem including telecommunications, networking, healthcare technology and enterprise software solutions. Peter received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and PR from the University of Utah.
Greg Harley/Burr & Forman
Greg is a partner in the Burr & Forman’s Commercial Litigation group with a concentration on business litigation, class action defense and employment matters. Greg has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation and has handled disputes on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants on a broad range of issues including breach of contract, fraud, bad faith, trade secrets, defamation and unfair business practices claims. While Greg’s practice is centered in Georgia and Alabama, he has represented clients in matters across the United States.
Greg’s clients include national banking institutions, insurers and one of Georgia’s largest residential contracting companies. Greg also currently serves as national litigation counsel for a diversified telecommunications company.
Kurt Ronn with HRworks
Kurt Ronn founded HRworks as a national recruitment firm in 1998, developed the company’s proprietary process and revolutionized large-scale recruiting and executive search. The company supports mission-critical strategic talent acquisition initiatives across all industries. Clients include General Electric, The Home Depot, Starbucks, FedEx, Burberry, Victoria’s Secret, Cerberus Capital, Hewlett-Packard, The Coca-Cola Company and many other world-class organizations and venture-backed startups.
In addition to leading the company, Ronn is a regular contributor to national media including, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, APM Marketplace and speaks on employment and entrepreneurship. He is a nationally recognized expert in strategic talent acquisition, recruitment process, veteran/wounded-warrior transition, diversity, governance, merger/acquisition integration and entrepreneurship.
Prior to founding HRworks, Ronn has held many interesting roles including designing dress and women’s lingerie for Federated Department Stores/Macy’s. He was a principle with one of the East Coast’s largest website development companies and is an avid cyclist, reluctant triathlete, enthusiastic, but untalented racecar driver and a pretty good metal sculptor.
Ronn is on the boards of local and national industry, arts, corporations and charitable organizations. He currently holds a leadership role with Technical College System of Georgia, is an active member of Atlanta Technology Angels, proud to be an Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) mentor at Georgia Tech and supports causes through the CHARITYworks Foundation.
Ronn holds a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Bowling Green State University and is married to his college sweetheart, Christine Nazar. They have three children, four dogs and reside in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a life-long bow tie enthusiast and his personal ramblings can be followed on twitter @kronn.
Mike Slawson with Lumense
Mike Slawson co-founded Lumense in 2011 and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Mike has been instrumental in setting company strategy, securing intellectual property rights, raising capital, and building strategic partnerships.
Prior to Lumense, Mike was a co-founder of Qualtre, Inc., an ATDC company commercializing MEMS inertial sensors, where he served as CEO for almost three years. Since 1998 until 2010, Mike was also a partner at Alliance Technology Ventures, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm developing early-stage companies in information technology and life sciences. For much of his time at ATV, Mike was responsible for the information technology investment strategy. Mike either managed or assisted with the management of the firm’s successful investments in several companies, including SecureWorks, Novera, Telaxis, SyChip, Digital Furnace, Mindlever, and OmniGuide. Prior to joining ATV, Mike was a Kauffman Fellow at Chicago-based ARCH Venture Partners.
Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt, an MSEE from North Carolina State University, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Mike also held engineering and engineering management positions with Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, and Alcatel. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and children.
Today’s show is brought to you by Minerva Planning Group.
Ashish Mistry with BLH Venture Partners and Heath Hyneman with Hypepotamus
Ashish Mistry/BLH Venture Partners
Ashish Mistry is Managing Partner with BLH Venture Partners. Ashish functions as an investor and adviser to young companies. His experience includes leadership roles with high-growth companies in the technology-enabled services, enterprise IT, e-commerce, and consumer markets.
Ashish spent two tours as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), working with start-ups across Georgia. He is active in non-profit organizations that foster entrepreneurship, including board positions with Venture Atlanta and the Atlanta CEO Council, as well as serving on committees with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ashish is a graduate of Emory University and resides with his wife and children in Atlanta.
HeathHyneman is a search marketer who provides his organizations roadmaps to product viability through agile product development practices. Heath has spent the past decade on enterprise-level ecommerce marketing technologies, with a focus on D2C commodity SKU search traffic generation and conversion optimization. He covered responsibilities for leading HM Wallace’s marketing and CMS efforts and setting the strategic direction of NationalBuilderSupply.com and its network of properties. He has recently opened up Hypepotamus, a co-working space in Midtown Atlanta focused on enabling consumer oriented digital startups within the Atlanta community. Prior to founding HM Wallace, he co-founded Celecast, broadcaster of live NCAA event audio through mobile devices.
Heath is an active member of a number of Atlanta’s professional communities including AiMA, SEMPO and Shop.org as well as offering his time to help local start-ups decipher and define their Search + Social Marketing strategies and development cycles.
Heath started off at Georgia Tech, duly transferred, and completed undergraduate studies at Samford University followed by an MBA from Georgia State University.
Today’s show is brought to you by Minerva Planning Group.