NICHELLE MCCALL, CEO AND FOUNDER
(If you are looking for Startup Strategy or Entrepreneurial Coaching, please go to www.nichellemccall.com.)
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder of BOLD Guidance, Nichelle created a software platform that simplifies the process of applying to college by using technology and automation to empower students, parents and counselors to view progress. BOLD Guidance was an award winner at the 2013 Digital Undivided FOCUS 100 technology conference in New York, and was recently selected as a finalist in COSE’s 2013 Business Pitch Competition and Mobileys’ 2013 National Mobile Competition.
Nichelle honed her entrepreneurial focus when she worked with The Cleveland Foundation’s Civic Innovation Lab and counseled more than 300 social entrepreneurs on how to strengthen and grow their companies. She also helped launch Minds Matter of Cleveland, Inc., a nonprofit focused on assisting students from low-income families in preparing for post secondary access and success. For two years, she served on the Minds Matter National Board of Directors and National Executive Committee, overseeing 11 chapters across the country.
She also served as a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation liaison on a $20 million dollar college completion project, and was a National Urban Fellow and selected to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Fellows Training program which aims to build diversity in the educational research and evaluation field.
Nichelle earned a Master of Public Administration from the City University of New York – Baruch and a Bachelor of Arts from Baldwin Wallace College. She currently sits on the Board of the YWCA Greater Cleveland. To learn more about Nichelle for speaking and coaching opportunities, go to www.nichellemccall.com.
JODI MARCHEWITZ, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
As CTO, Jodi is responsible for helping the company translate customer needs into a successful software development strategy. Her solution-oriented approach propels development forward and her out-of-the box thinking drives development solutions that maximize customer needs.
Jodi has been involved with software technology & with the internet since the mid-90's and considers herself an online expert. She has deep experience building and running a software company, iGuiders, that guides online users through purchase decision processes. The cornerstone of the business is applying decision logic to real-world situations and finding ways to use the software technology to enable a better user experience.
Jodi has over 20 years of experience in marketing, operations, sales and distribution of software technology products working for Fortune 500 companies like Eaton, Rockwell & Ingram Micro. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration.
Jodi thrives on a challenge, is determined, and very-solutions-oriented.She is strong at building great networks around businesses, engaging people to help move the company forward and building strong teams.
Jodi's specialties are innovation, strategic thinking, entrepreneurship, planning, operations & project management. She has extensive experience starting companies, raising Millions in capital and bringing software technology products to market.
JASMYN SHUMATE, INTERN
As a conscious spirit, creative narrator and grassroots activist Jasmyn Shumate finds it her social responsibility to spread both cultural and intellectual diversity. Feeding off of her favorite MC of all-time, Tupac Shakur, “I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
Jasmyn believes in order to achieve social progression we as a community must educate, feed and nurture the minds of our young, to ACTivate their spark of creativity illuminating inside of them and then we can advocate on their behalf to provide youth the platform to speak their universal truth(s). Knowing the most valuable possession one obtains is their cultural narrative Jasmyn looks to help others find their inner voice to artistically narrate the beauty and meaning behind their life experiences.
With this inspiration Jasmyn strives towards her life’s mission: to empower and uplift her peers transforming them into change-agents of their communities. Ase’.
CHARLES STACK, CO-FOUNDER, CEO
FLASHSTARTS ACCELERATOR FUND
Charles Stack has had a lengthy career as the startup CEO and angel investor of numerous ventures. In 1992, he launched the first online bookstore – Books.com. Charles pioneered most of the features we now take for granted in today’s Internet retailers. Books.com offered millions of books, comprehensive searching, collaborative recommendations (patented), shopping carts, price comparisons (patented), real-time credit card processing and affiliate programs. Charles introduced many other now standard internet retailing concepts, with the patents to prove it. Books.com was acquired by CUC in early 1996 and subsequently by Barnes & Noble in 1998. In 1999, Charles founded Flashline to address the new opportunity in software components and web services. After navigating Flashline through the technology meltdown of 2001-2003, Stack focused the company on the expanding web services management market and created the leading web services repository solution, with more patents to prove it. Flashline was acquired by BEA in 2006 for $50 million and then BEA by Oracle in 2008 for $8.5 Billion. The Flashline product was the fastest growing piece of BEA’s most important product line and remains today as the core of Oracle’s web services platform.
After Flashline, Stack focused on venture investing. He served as a board member of the Ohio Venture Association, invested in a wide range of startups, and worked with numerous startup organizations such as North Coast Angel Fund, Jumpstart, Launchtown, and NEOSA. During this time Charles first learned that he had a true passion and talent for helping other entrepreneurs grow into successful CEOs and that those skills were in much greater demand than cash. In 2010, Stack founded Sideways, Inc. a digital publishing company focused on new ways of storytelling in the age of the tablet. Sideways is a ‘pending success’. With FlashStarts, Stack is turning his many failures and successes into lesson plans for startup CEOs.
JENNIFER NEUNDORFER, CO-FOUNDER, CFO/COO
FLASHSTARTS ACCELERATOR FUND
Jennifer holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is passionate about leveraging technology to disrupt or evolve traditional industries.
Most recently, Jennifer was Director of New Business Development for Fox Networks Group, where she was responsible for identifying and implementing new and transformative businesses. In that role, in 2012 she launched Dyle Mobile TV, a mobile broadcast network that leverages the broadcast spectrum to deliver a truly scalable mobile video network. PC Magazine described Dyle as a “promising” technology with “great potential”, and CNN included Dyle as one of its 5 gadgets to watch at CES. In addition to establishing partnerships with major content owners (NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS) to secure video content, Jennifer worked with software and hardware partners to develop the product and deploy enabled devices.
Before joining Fox, Jennifer worked at YouTube/Google developing their new monetization strategy and launching the Promoted Video ad product (i.e., AdWords for YouTube), which has since grown to represent a majority of YouTube’s estimated $3.5B+ in ad revenue. Prior to YouTube, Jennifer was a consultant and Team Leader at Michael Porter’s Monitor Group, where she helped build their new media and technology practice and advised companies on how to leverage technology as a strategic advantage.
RACHEL COSTANZO, FOUNDER - THE ACUITY GROUP
Rachel Costanzo is an enterprising and highly accomplished top executive with a proven track record of achievement in human resource management, financial analysis & reporting, risk management, asset management, regulatory compliance, project management, merger integration, and technology development. Rachel founded The Acuity Group in 2009 to support the improvement of business operations and processes of small businesses and non-profits -- assessing capacity, creating business plans, supporting start-ups, and coaching leaders.
With nearly twenty years of experience in the Cleveland financial services industry and the non-profit sector, Rachel continually executes innovative initiatives in order to ensure smooth operations throughout an organization. With commitment to excellence and emotional intelligence, Rachel supports leaders to build strong teams and ensure the completion of strategic objectives, facilitating long-term success.
SAMUEL P. GERACE, CEO VERTIX
Sam Gerace, a successful three-time entrepreneur, is the creator of innovative Flash Seats® paperless ticketing. He has grown the company from a prototype to selling over $1 billion in tickets through our platform. Gerace was also the founder of Be Free (Nasdaq:BFRE), a comprehensive Internet marketing information services company processing over $2 billion in annual commerce transactions for leading retail and consumer businesses. He founded the company in 1996, and was CEO, CTO and a Director, heading the company's Operations, Development and Product Strategy. In 2002 the company merged with ValueClick, Inc. (Nasdaq:VCLK), an advertising and marketing information service company for leading retail and consumer businesses, where he served as Executive Vice President, CTO and on the Board of Directors.
Prior to Be Free, Gerace founded PCX Consulting, Inc., which offered marketing information systems for industry and retail business, and PCX Information Systems, Inc., which offered direct marketing software for the public-utility industry.
Gerace served as Entrepreneur in Residence with Jumpstart, Inc., an Ohio corporation whose mission is to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies. In that capacity he worked with a portfolio of early-stage companies, assisting them through the seed and growth stages.
Gerace earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Harvard University, and an MBA in Executive Management from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
JOHN BLAIR, VENTURE PARTNER - JUMPSTART, INC.
John participates in the due diligence evaluation and consultation of high growth firms interested in JumpStart investment. He also advises JumpStart portfolio companies, with a focus on organizational development, business strategy, sales/marketing and fundraising.
John has more than 25 years of experience in tech startups, banking, international finance, systems development, and executive management. His industry expertise spans internet and e-commerce, SaaS/cloud-based software companies, CRM, managed service providers, nanotechnology, medical devices, hosted solution providers, banking, and service-oriented companies. John is a serial entrepreneur who has started several companies from scratch, raised venture capital and built successful management teams around them. Beyond his startup experience, he has also held a variety of executive positions at Fortune 5 companies.
Prior to joining JumpStart, John was CEO of Executive Strategies, where he led companies through hands-on management, strategic planning, business development, product development, customer service and operations process improvement/re-engineering. In this role, John was involved in more than $11 billion in merger and acquisition activities, guided companies through the initial public offering process and consulted on customer service/operations improvement. Prior to that, John was Vice President-Operations & Internet Services for Digital Generation Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: DGIT), a Silicon Valley high tech startup with a 1996 initial public offering. He also served in senior executive positions for more than 15 years in financial institutions including Citibank, Ameritrust and Crocker Bank, and has additional experience in the manufacturing, computing and engineering sectors.
John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.