President & CEO
Smart Business Network
Fred co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has built the company into a leading multimedia and content marketing business providing print and digital marketing services to a national client base.
Holland & Knight
Gigafund Management Company, LLC
Lem received his JD and MBA from Columbia University in 2010. He worked as a corporate associate for Proskauer Rose LLP from 2010 to 2013 where he focused on M&A and fund formation. Lem left the firm in 2013 to work with startups and angel investors and, in 2015, founded Anaejionu + Kuhr, PLLC, a boutique law firm, to provide quality legal services to Startups, Angel Investors, and Key Employees. Lem now serves as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Gigafund, a venture capital firm, that has $1+ billion assets under management.
Founder & CEO
The Bingham Group, LLC
A.J. is the founder of Bingham Group, LLC, a full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on business and policy matters in the Austin metro. He has over a decade of experience lobbying for clients at the municipal and state level in Texas.
Founder & CEO
From a successful exit to two years into his next venture, QuotaPath CEO and Co-Founder AJ Bruno has learned a lot about starting a sales-led company versus a product-led one. For starters, the former TrendKite President and Co-Founder created a competitor in an industry he was already familiar with. With QuotaPath, nothing quite like this exists and it’s being built from a pain point he has only experienced as a customer.
With the desire to build an organization that disrupts a new industry in a completely unique way, and applying lessons learned from TrendKite, AJ knows that QuotaPath is operating in a multi-billion dollar industry and they are launching their product to organizations this summer. Here’s a snapshot of some of the differentiators.
As an entrepreneur, business educator, space industry pioneer, experienced executive, and investor, co-founded the world’s longest running space business plan competition, and has taught, coached, and advised hundreds of space startups through their earliest stages – including some of the current generation of successful companies. Currently host of the “Mission Eve” podcast.
CHAIR & CEO
Jacobs Engineering Group
Chief Financial Officer
Eric Easton as CFO of Ampex Brands oversees an a portfolio of businesses and investments including restaurant operating companies, real estate investment and direct equity investments including partnerships with private equity and hedge funds. Ampex Brands owns and operates more than 500 restaurants and oversees a real estate portfolio in excess of $100 million. Over his career Eric has been active in M&A and Capital markets and has played senior roles in public and privately held companies. He is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business.
SaaS Factory LLC
Mike is the Managing Director of The SaaS Factory. The SaaS Factory grows SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses through acquisition, investment, and product management. We grow majority investments in the SaaS businesses that we own and/or partner in. The SaaS Factory team has deep experience growing and operating SaaS businesses by advising or augmenting our portfolio companies to scale faster and avoid the mistakes we've already made. From go-to-market strategy and product management through delivery our teams bring a practice and methodology to each, geared to improve product outcomes.
Dr. Anita Foster-Horne
Co-Founder & COO
Fostering Healthy Solutions, LLC
Dr. Anita Foster-Horne is the co-founder and chief operating officer of FHS. She has trained and consulted thousands of people over her career and uses her more than 30 years of leadership experience as a platform to relate to her audience and transform their professional lives to become more effective and efficient. Dr. Anita’s qualities are an asset that enhances professional achievement and compliments individual progress. A resume holding positions of administrator, director, owner, and operator of several organizations across industries, Dr. Anita can be defined as an overall professional in diversity leadership, management, and simply hands-on in employee oversight.
Kelly is a seasoned entrepreneur who has Co-founded four companies, including two that were sold to publicly traded companies. For her early entrepreneurial successes, the Wall Street Journal named her one of its “Faces of a New Generation of Leaders and Entrepreneurs.” She currently is Co-founder of Austin Cocktails. Austin Cocktails is a line of natural, bottled, craft cocktails developed on the belief the time had come for a beautiful, craft cocktail to be as easy as nice wine or premium beer. Kelly graduated from Stanford with degrees in Economics and Latin American Studies and later earned a Masters in Public Policy at Harvard.
Jay Goldberg is a founding partner of Mosaic, a Family Office dedicated to working with a select number of business owners and their families. These families have found that along with success comes complication and few things are more complicated than the myriad of tax, legal, business, financial, & family issues they confront daily. Mosaic’s purpose is to alleviate the burden associated with success by serving the diverse needs of successful entrepreneurs and their families.
HX Venture Fund
Aleece is a Venture Partner leading the activation efforts at HX Venture Fund in Houston, Texas. She is responsible for connecting VCs, Houston startups, and the firm’s Limited Partners in ways that benefit Houston’s startup ecosystem. Aleece comes to HX Venture Fund with a background in the VC fund-of-funds industry, serving as the Investor Relations Manager at Weathergage Capital, a venture capital fund-of-funds managing approximately $1 billion in venture partnership commitments. She also has over 10 years of business strategy and development experience with an extensive involvement in event planning, relationship building, and strategic communication. Prior to Aleece’s venture fund-of-fund experience, she was a consultant at Hollinden | marketers + strategists and a Program Coordinator at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Aleece holds an MBA from Texas Woman’s University and a BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University. She is currently serving as the Director of Special Events Marketing for AMA Houston.
Founder & Managing Partner
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
SilverBox Capital, LLC
Steve is the Chief Executive Officer of Boxwood Capital, a private equity firm he founded in 2018. Since July 2019, he has served as Chairman of Centerline Logistics Corp, a leading marine oil transportation services firm and ship assist company. Mr. Kadenacy served as Chairman and CEO of Boxwood Merger Corp until its business combination. Between May 2008 and July 2017, Mr. Kadenacy served in a number of senior leadership roles at AECOM, a large engineering and technical services business, including as President and Chief Operating Officer from September 2015 to July 2017, President and Chief Financial Officer from 2014 to 2015 and Chief Financial Officer from 2011 to 2014. Previously, Mr. Kadenacy was a Partner at KPMG in Economic Consulting and was a member of the board of directors of ABM Industries, a provider of facility management services, from 2013 to 2014.
Audit & Transaction Advisory Partner
Briggs & Veselka Co.
Kerry brings more than 20 years of experience in public accounting, serving multinational and middle market clients in a variety of industries. His tenure includes public and private clients, including significant experience managing audit engagements involving mid-cap SEC reporting, IPOs, business combinations, and other complex transactions, most of which require significant technical accounting insights.
Kerry has experience working closely with private equity backed mergers and acquisitions and is one of the audit leaders in the firm’s transaction advisory services niche, with a focus on buy and sell side due diligence and quality of earnings engagements. He has been involved in the initial public offering process for two entities in the past 3 years as well as others previously. In addition, Kerry has extensive experience working with multi-national companies, including direct exposure to companies with foreign operations.
Grant is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of NCK Capital (“NCK”). He is a seasoned investment professional with decades of investment and operating experience. He has helped build NCK into a unique private equity firm that generates world-class returns through the individual attention of its partners.
Before NCK, Grant was the Florida Development Partner for The Lane Company, a large multifamily management and development company in the Southeast that acquired/developed $1B and $2B of assets per year. Grant also founded several companies and was profiled on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. He was also the Director of Business Development at Isadra, an enterprise software company acquired by VertcialNet (NASDAQ: VERT). He began his career as an Associate at Sterling Partners, a private equity firm with over $4B AUM.
Grant has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance from Georgetown University and is a member of the Lone Star Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
Lee M. Koury
Smart Business Network Inc.
Lee is managing partner of Smart Business Network Inc., a national events, media and marketing company founded in 1989, primarily responsible for expanding the company’s Aspire deal-making conference throughout the U.S. He plays a key role in establishing corporate policies and developing long-term strategy and growth plans. Previously, he founded and chaired the Growth Group at national law firm Arter & Hadden LLP (now Tucker, Ellis & West), which focused on working with middle-market and high-growth technology companies.
Seacoast Capital Partners
Director of Strategy and Business Development
Adam is the Director of Strategy and Business Development at Shipshape, a smart home predictive maintenance start-up based in Austin, TX. Prior to Shipshape, Adam was a Director at Trumont Group, a privately held investment firm focused on real estate development and construction. Adam attended Miami University (Ohio) and started his career at PwC. In the community, Adam works closely with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Beyond the Ball and Social Venture Partners.
Serial Entrepreneur and CEO Since 1989. Top Expert in Entrepreneurship & Scaling. Generated billions in investor profits with 4 exits, disrupted four industries. CEO Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker. Independent Director.
Sam started his career in 1986 with the investment firm Smith Barney Harris Upham. In 1994, he joined the downtown Houston office of PaineWebber as a branch sales manager/branch manager trainee and, two years later, was given his first and only assignment as a branch manager in Austin, Texas. In 2000, Sam was awarded the firm’s “Branch Manager of the Year" award. In continuing recognition of his managerial excellence, Sam has received a place on the firm’s prestigious Leadership Council nine times since taking the management position in Austin in 1996.
Founder & CEO
Partner-in-Charge, Transaction Advisory Services
Weaver and Tidwell, LLP
Brian has more than 20 years of diversified transaction advisory experience including acquisition due diligence and valuation services. He has worked with both private equity and corporate clients in a number of industries including manufacturing, retail, distribution, technology, and energy for transactions with revenues ranging from $1 million to over $500 million.
Brian is an active member of the TXCPA and the AICPA. He is a frequent author of articles for professional and business publications, providing valuable industry insights. Brian earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from Tulane University.
OFS Energy Fund
Scotty is a co-founding employee and Managing Director of OFS Energy Fund where he identifies, evaluates and executes new investments and supports portfolio company initiatives. Prior to OFS, Scotty was a co-founding employee and Associate at Dorado Energy Partners, a $46.5 million private equity fund formed in 2008 to invest in lower middle market energy service companies. Before Dorado, Scotty was an Associate at PPHB where he focused on mergers and acquisitions and private-equity transactions for the energy service industry. Prior to PPHB, he was an Associate at Alvarez & Marsal where he was involved in economic damage evaluations, business interruption insurance claims and logistical planning and execution. Scotty serves on the Advisory Board of the Alley Theatre and is a member of the Houston Private Equity Association. He earned a B.B.A. in Finance from The University of Texas.
Founder & CEO
CEO, General Partner & Managing Director
Mr. Sheldon is the CEO, General Partner & Managing Director/Founder of the HIP 360 family of healthcare venture capital funds and CitareTx, a medical device venture capital fund; Managing Director of CitareTx Management LLC, the venture fund management, incubator & operating company; Chairman & CEO/Founder of three CitareTx portfolio companies: EMIT Corporation, Houston Medical Robotics, Inc., and Coagulex, Inc.; and President & CEO of Yguana Entertainment, Inc. Mr. Sheldon also serves as a member of the University of Minnesota Discovery Capital Strategic Advisory Board; member of the University of Texas Medical Branch Health Technology Seed Fund Investment Review Committee; member of the University of Houston Cougar Venture Fund Board of Advisors; member of the Medical Bridges Advisory Counsel; and was a Houston Technology Center Board Director until it merged with Houston Exponential. Mr. Sheldon was also the Founder/Chairman & CEO of IDev Technologies, Inc. sold to Abbott in August 2013 for $310 Million; Founder/Chairman & CEO of Nittany Polymedics, Inc; Director of Technology Development at MD Anderson Cancer Center; founder of the Technology Management Office at The University of Texas Medical Branch; and held various leadership positions at Rockwell International/Rockwell Space Operations Company. Mr. Sheldon holds a B.S. Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics, with distinction, from the University of Minnesota and a M.B.A. from the University of Houston - Clear Lake.
President & General Counsel
Cherry Bekaert, LLP
Chad Wiley is a tax partner in the Austin, TX office of Cherry Bekaert. He specializes in advising clients with complex private equity transactions. Chad also provides tax advisory and compliance services to closely-held businesses and their owners, as well as high-net-worth individuals. Chad guides clients in the areas of partnership taxation, corporate taxation, estate, trust and gift planning.
BDO USA, LLP
Brent has move than 15 years of crisis management, corporate restructuring, M&A and digital finance transformation experience, with a focus on creating and preserving value for companies throughout all phases of the corporate life cycle. Prior to BDO, Brent was a leader within Deloitte’s Finance & Enterprise Performance practice (formerly Strategy & Operations) and FTI’s Corporate Restructuring practice. He has led numerous debtor-side, creditor-side and interim management engagements for public, private and PE-sponsored companies throughout his career.
His industry experience spans the energy, technology, automotive, healthcare, real estate gaming & casino and defense contracting sectors. For the past several years, Brent has transformed all aspects of the CFO’s organization for companies through a combination of strategic and operational initiatives across people, process, data and technology solutions aimed at driving long-term shareholder value and sustainable growth.