TECH cocktail Startup Conference 2008: Speakers

TECH cocktail CONFERENCE speakers include:

Brad FeldBRAD FELDFoundry Group / Feld.com – Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies and later became a venture affiliate of the predecessor to Mobius Venture Capital. Brad currently serves on the board of directors of Gnip, Oblong, and Zynga Game Network for Foundry Group. Previously, Brad served as chief technology officer of AmeriData Technologies. AmeriData acquired Feld Technologies, a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications. Brad had grown Feld Technologies into one of Boston’s leading software consulting firms prior to the acquisition. He also directed the diversification into software consulting at AmeriData, a $1.5 billion publicly-traded company which was acquired by GE Capital in 1995.

In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chairman of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and co-chairman of the Colorado Governor’s Innovation Council. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes widely read and well respected blogs at www.feld.com and www.askthevc.com. Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed ten marathons as part of his mission to run a marathon in each of the fifty states.

Mike DomekMIKE DOMEKTicketsNow / Ticketmaster – From the Northwest suburb of Woodstock, Illinois, Mike Domek founded The VIP Tour Company in 1992 with $100 and an abundance of ambition. Armed with a strong work ethic, keen sales acumen, and a flair for finding and selling event tickets, Mike quickly transformed The VIP Tour Company into a professional, full-service ticketing agency. Mike Domek created TicketsNow, the world’s largest independent online marketplace for premium event tickets, and serves as Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. In his role, Mike works closely with TicketsNow President and CEO and the company’s executive team in managing the overall business operation, while creating and implementing corporate strategies that yield future growth. TicketsNow was acquired by IAC’s Ticketmaster in January 2008. More on Mike Domek.

Dick CostoloDICK COSTOLOFeedBurner / Google – Dick is the Co-founder and CEO of FeedBurner, a Chicago-based feed management company which was acquired by Google in June 2007. Previously, he cofounded and was CEO of Spyonit.com. Spyonit was sold to 724 Solutions in September 2000. Prior to Spyonit, Dick cofounded Burning Door Networked Media, a web design and development consulting company. Burning Door was acquired by Digital Knowledge Assets in October 1996. Prior to Burning Door, Dick was at Andersen Consulting for 8 years, where his roles included Senior Manager, Strategy, Application Products Group and Senior Manager, Application Infrastructure, Eagle Advanced Technology Group. More on Dick Costolo.

Jason FriedJASON FRIED37signals – Founder of Chicago-based 37signals, Jason Fried is an innovative thinker, designer, developer and entreprenuer. His work at 37signals includes creating Basecamp, a hosted project management tool that is extremely popular among its thousands of users, as well as a number of others. Jason often shares his experiences about what works and what doesn’t in web development and how the unconventional methodologies followed by 37signals give it an edge. From the advantages of working as a team with members in different continents to getting the word about your product out effectively, Jason covers it all and preaches “less is less” in design, work and life. Jason has also authored a book called Getting Real, about how to start a successful web-based business. Jason also contributes to the popular Signal vs. Noise blog.

Genevieve Thiers - Sittercity.comGENEVIEVE THIERSSittercity – Genevieve Thiers is the founder and CEO of Sittercity.com, America’s first and largest parent-sitter matchmaking website with over half a million users nationwide. A twin and the oldest of seven children, this babysitter-turned-entrepreneur is also the iVillage Babysitting Expert and has brought her babysitter expertise to the national media, including the Today Show, CBS Early Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Martha Stewart Living Radio and more.

Thiers is also an award-winning businesswoman, a professional opera singer, a speaker at hundreds of colleges and conventions, and has advised political figures including Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson on small business issues.

Gary VarynerchukGARY VAYNERCHUK – Wine Library TV – The star of Wine Library TV and the Director of Operations at Wine Library in Springfield, NJ, Gary’s career took a new turn with the advent of Wine Library TV. Broadcast daily between 4 and 6 pm EST, over a five year period from from 1998 to 2003, Wine Library grew from a $4 million dollar business to a $45 million business. With his wealth of knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit, Gary is a wine 2.0 expert who has reinvented the concept of wine tasting for a new generation. In addition to encouraging straightforward wine tasting, Gary educates viewers about the effects of regional factors (soil, sun, wind) on wine flavors, and how to buy wine. Debunking myths (red vs. white, big name brands vs. independent growers, the pitfalls of wine ratings, etc.) is another ongoing theme of the show. Former TECH cocktail demoer and sponsor. More details on Gary.

Matt McCall - DFJ PortageMATT MCCALLDFJ Portage – Matthew McCall is a co-founder and Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Portage Venture Partners and Portage Venture Partners. McCall is responsible for managing the firm¹s investments in EverDream, Feedburner, Imago Scientific, Lefthand Networks, Siimpel and TicketsNow.

McCall has served on the advisory board to the Mayor’s Council of Technology Advisors in Chicago as well as on numerous other regional high technology advisory boards. McCall is a board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He serves on the Kellogg Alumni Advisory Board, Northwestern McCormick MMM Advisory Board and ITEC-UIC (Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation), a University of Illinois sponsored state funded incubator. He has been honored by Crain’s Chicago Business on its annual “40 under 40” list of leading Chicagoans under age 40. He has also been named as one of top 100 most prominent members of Chicago’s technology community. He has keynoted or been a panelist at over 50 area conferences and events nationwide. He is a founder & trustee of the McCall Family Foundation, focused on improving early childhood development in Chicago¹s disadvantaged communities as well as encouraging entrepreneurship in our youth. Read more on Matt here.

Harper ReedHARPER REEDThreadless.com / skinnyCorp – Harper Reed is the amazing CTO for the awesome Threadless.com. He is responsible (along with a cadre of amazing engineers) for bringing Threadless.com from the mean streets of startupville to the streets paved in gold of enterprise city. He is waiting for the singlularity. When not causing problems with technology, Harper can be found yoyoing, juggling and hacking random internet appliances. You can read his blog at nata2.org.

Jen ConsalvoJEN CONSALVOAOL – Jen is Director of Product Management for Social Platforms at AOL. During the past year her team conceptualized, built and launched the personalization suite at AOL.com, including the new myAOL, Favorites and Mgnet products. Much of her current role has been identifying and working with startups who bring new opportunities to the group, such as Sphere and Goowy, and working through new product strategies for a brand in transition. In her 13 years in the industry, she’s worked in product marketing, management and programming, focusing on community, digital imaging and personalization. Jen holds a BA in Visual Communications and MBA from American University in Washington, D.C. She blogs at calmwater. More on Jen Consalvo.

Nick FeraNICK FERAParlano / Microsoft – Nick Fera was responsible for the strategic and financial success of Parlano (acquired by Microsoft in October 2007) as it cultivated a rich new environment for business communication called persistent group messaging. PGM for the first time gives organizations the persistence of e-mail – its ability to preserve content – combined with instant messaging’s real-time communication power. It also embodies the Web 2.0 ideal of conforming to users’ needs vs. imposing its form on users. Fera led Parlano since 2003 when a group of former divine inc. employees persuaded investors to spin the company’s collaboration assets into a standalone company. He grew Parlano to more than 50 employees, established an intercontinental presence, raised $11 million in capital, more than doubled the customer base, and made Microsoft a truly strategic partner. Parlano was one of only 26 organizations featured in Microsoft’s recent book “Innovation Starts Here,” published in September 2006 by Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team (EBT). Parlano was Microsoft’s only partner for PGM. Fera is a polished and compelling speaker, having presented more than 100 times on finance issues like valuation of companies to the American Management Association and at universities such as Northwestern, UCLA and Stanford.

Blagica BittiglieroBLAGICA BOTTIGLIEROBsolutions – Blagica (blah-gee-tsa) Bottigliero (boh-til-ee-yero) a consultant, blogger and entrepreneur. Blagica worked in some of Chicago’s most established interactive companies. She started her career at Giant Step (now ARC Worldwide), where she assisted Maytag and Purina with their initial Internet strategies. Blagica moved to the marketing side of the Internet when she joined Orbitz. At Orbitz, Blagica negotiated and managed multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, in addition to launching the Orbitz Affiliate Program. Her latest ventures include CondoPerks, a loyalty program for condominium associations, and Gals’ Guide, a how-to guide for women living in the city. Blagica holds a BBA degree from Western Michigan University, sits on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association and is a member of the NBC5 Street Team.

Matt ShobeMATT SHOBEFeedBurner / Google – Matt was a co-founder of FeedBurner and led user experience design efforts with this popular service for blog publishers, podcasters, and major commercial producers of syndicated content. (He also designed the logo and was also entrusted to order pad thai in bulk for all board meetings.) Prior to the feeds, Matt worked with Dick Costolo and the other co-founders on two startups (Spyonit and DKA), and learned the ground rules in usability research roles with Accenture and Microsoft. Matt is an avid distance runner, private pilot, and skier (at least when he can sneak away for the weekend).

MICAH BALDWINMICAH BALDWINLijit – Micah Baldwin is currently runs Business Development for Lijit Networks, a trust-based network search application. Prior to Lijit, Micah founded Current Wisdom, a multi-million dollar search marketing agency, which he sold in 2007. Micah started Current Wisdom after leading the search engine marketing effort at ServiceMagic. Considered an leader in the search engine marketing field, Micah has helped write three books on the subject, including Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, SEO in an Hour a Day, and the SEO Bible. He is a frequent speaker at industry trade shows, such as Search Engine Strategies. Now with Lijit, Micah is focused on bringing an search engine alternative to publishers and blogging about his philosophy of success through failure. Micah blogs about his life learnings at Learn To Duck.

Nick O’NeillNICK O’NEILLSocial Times / AllFacebook.com – Nick O’Neill is the creator of AllFacebook.com and the newly launched Social Times. A serial entrepreneur at heart, Nick has spent the past 8 years developing creative solutions for individuals on the web. Working from within agencies and startups, he has gained significant experience working with clients and overcoming extreme challenges. Being highly active in the web and entrepreneurial communities, locally and nationally, Nick helped to bring the first TECH cocktail to Washington, D.C. With the opening of the Facebook platform, Nick saw a huge opportunity and has become fully dedicated to covering the social networking phenomenon and developing creative applications for clients looking to gain exposure.

Since the launch of the platform Nick has been featured on NPR and in numerous national publications including Fast Company, New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, The Washington Post and Practical Ecommerce. He has also spoken at multiple conferences around the country, has interviewed the executives and leading thought leaders in the industry and has hosted various private events for industry leaders and participants.

Danielle WileyDANIELLE WILEYEdelman – Danielle Wiley is VP Social Media/Food & Nutrition for Edelman. In this capacity, she advises Edelman’s food clients on all aspects of social media, including blogging and social networks. Her clients include Kraft, Brita, Burger King and Butterball.

With a background encompassing copywriting, information architecture and social media strategy, Danielle’s experience is both varied and deep. Prior to joining Edelman, Danielle was Associate Director of Content Strategy at Hanson Inc., an interactive agency located in Toledo, Ohio. There, she was the lead content developer for multiple award-winning sites including merillat.com, the winner of the 2006 WebAward for Best Consumer Goods Website. Prior to Hanson, Danielle was a Senior Media Strategist at Fry Multimedia, working on consumer goods sites such as Nestle and large-scale ecommerce sites such as Illuminations.com and Crate and Barrel.

Danielle was one of the earliest members of the Food Network staff in NY, and was instrumental in the creation of their first online store. She was also a contributing editor to their monthly newsletter and trained their television ad staff on the ins and outs of early online advertising. In addition to her work at Edelman, Danielle also maintains a food blog at Foodmomiac.com. She is a graduate of Vassar College and lives in the Roscoe Village neighborhood with her husband and two young children.

Allan CoxALLAN COX – Author of YOUR INNER CEO – Allan Cox, CEO Coach and founder of Allan Cox & Associates, Inc., has recently published a new book, YOUR INNER CEO. Cox has authored seven previous books, including the best-sellers Confessions of a Corporate Headhunter (the first book ever written about the executive search profession), The Cox Report on the American Corporation, The Making of the Achiever, and Straight Talk for Monday Morning.

He has advised CEOs and top management teams of many corporations and not-for-profit organizations, including USG, Motorola, Consolidated Communications, Columbus McKinnon, Kraft, Pillsbury, the Minnesota Vikings, Child Welfare League of America, and The Christian Century magazine. He served for five years as Chairman of the Board of Chicago’s Center for Ethics and Corporate Policy. You can find Allan leading the Facebook Group, Your Inner CEO/The Book for Business.

David ArmanoDAVID ARMANOCritical Mass – As VP-Creative for the Chicago office of Critical Mass, David Armano leads a 40-plus person team across a variety of disciplines and clients, ranging from P&G to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. A thought leader in the areas of digital marketing and experience design, he writes the popular Logic + Emotion blog, currently ranked in the top 30 media and marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. He’s been a creative lead at firms such as Digitas and Agency.com and earned his interactive stripes with the Chicago Tribune prior to the first internet boom. David currently resides in a near-northern suburb of Chicago, not far from Lake Michigan and, when he’s not working, surfing the net, or riding his motorbike, he can be found spending quality time with his wife and two boys.

Ant CreedANT CREEDIntuitAnt Creed recently became the Chief Architect, Experience Design, for Intuit’s Small Business Division in Mountain View, CA. Prior to that, he founded and led the iTeam within Intuit’s Consumer Tax Group, which created future concepts for business growth and provided coaching on the principles and practices of creativity, innovation and invention.

Before joining Intuit, Ant worked in a variety of product design and development environments, for companies such as Sony Electronics in San Diego, CA; Kodak ImaginationWorks and IDEO in Palo Alto, CA; and Philips Design in the Netherlands. He keeps meaning to start a blog, but lacks the discipline, quite honestly.

Mike MacadaanMIKE MACADAANAOL – Based in Silicon Valley, Mike has worked with a wide range of tech and media companies including TechTV, GO.com, Intuit and most recently as Vice President of User Experience Design at AOL. He currently oversees user experience design teams in Mountain View, Beverly Hills and Dulles. While his main focus is centered on delivering web products, he also has a knack for innovation within the context of small to large companies.

In addition to his day job, Mike also started Twiistup, which has become the premier tech event in Southern California.

Alex BardALEX BARDGoowy Media / AOL – Currently Alex works inside of the product group at AOL helping guide the vision and strategy for AOL’s social syndication and analytics initiatives. Prior to AOL, Alex was the Chairman and CEO of goowy media, (recently acquired by AOL) where he was responsible for the corporate vision, product strategy, and marketing / business development initiatives. Goowy Media offers a leading widget platform, called yourminis, which supercharges the development, syndication, analytics and monetization of widgets. the platform is being used by top media, entertainment and start up companies to engage users with their brand and content. Prior to goowy media, Alex was part of the founding team of two other internet communication companies including eAssist Global Solutions and eShare Technologies. During his tenure he held various senior level management positions including Vice President Sales and Marketing, and Vice President of Sales Engineering.

Brian WilliamsBRIAN WILLIAMSViget Labs – Brian is co-founder and CEO of Viget Labs, a web consulting firm based just outside of Washington, DC. Originally founded in 1999 to provide full-service teams to web start-ups, Viget’s services reflect the spectrum of needs of any online venture: strategic planning, user experience and interface design, custom application development, and online marketing.

Both web-based and primarily offline businesses now benefit from Viget’s expertise. Clients include innovative web start-ups like Odeo, Loladex, and Seth Godin’s Squidoo, as well as established market leaders like National Geographic, Choice Hotels, and Discovery Communications. Viget now supports a staff of more than 30 with a remote office in Durham, NC. Brian maintains an active role in all major client engagements, where he leverages his background in software development, user experience design, and online marketing, as well as his more than ten years of experience in web consulting, to advise clients and develop innovative web strategies.

Geoff LivingstonGEOFF LIVINGSTON – Author of Now Is Gone / Livingston Communications – Geoff has worked as a marketing strategist in the Washington, DC region for 15 years. Dubbed a “local blogging guru” by the Washington Post, Geoff’s Buzz Bin blog is nationally recognized, and is the top ranked independent PR blog in the Washington, DC region. He successfully launched FortiusOne’s GeoCommons using an aggressive social media strategy, and marketed Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna’s bio using a diversified My Space and blogosphere campaign. Geoff’s book on new media “Now is Gone” was released last autumn by Bartleby Press.

He creates marketing strategy, media relations, branding and Internet marketing campaigns for public and private organizations. Some of his experiences include work for AT&T, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bartleby Books, BEA Systems, General Dynamics IT, Hughes Network Systems, ManTech, the Washington Nationals, Intelsat, Verizon Wireless and many others.

John ZeraskyJOHN ZERATSKYFeedBurner / Google – John Zeratsky is a designer and web developer at Google in Chicago. From 2005 through 2007, he was a designer, web developer, ad hoc product manager, writer, technical support rep, and wearer of many hats at FeedBurner. Google acquired FeedBurner in June 2007, and hired John into their Ads UX group. In addition to working on the web, John is an lifelong sailor, with 15 years experience racing sailboats and teaching sailors of all ages. He holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, which explains all those late nights working at the Badger Herald in Madison. John can be found on the Web at JohnZeratsky.com

Rob SchultzROB SCHULTZIllinoisVENTURES – Rob Schultz is a Senior Director with IllinoisVENTURES where he is responsible for managing the Champaign, Illinois office. In his role, he evaluates investment opportunities and works with early stage companies on all strategic, operating, financial and business development activities. Prior to joining IllinoisVENTURES, Rob was the founder and former CEO of DigitalWork, Inc., a small business internet services company where he led the company from start-up through the IPO process. Prior to DigitalWork, Rob was the founder and President of Nequity, a subsidiary of Signet Bank that was acquired in 1997. Prior to Nequity, Rob was a consultant with McKinsey and Company and Deloitte and Touche where he worked with senior management of corporate clients with an emphasis on information technology. In 2000, Rob was a Year 2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. He was named as one of the “100 most important executives, decision-makers, financiers and idea people in the Chicago Internet community” by Crain’s Chicago Business and one of the “top 100 people who put the ‘new’ in Chicago’s new economy” by i-Street Reporter. Rob has been a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business since 1994, is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. Rob received an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University.

Corey Brown - SquidooCOREY BROWNSquidoo – Corey Brown is COO and one of the founding members of Squidoo.com, the popular recommendation engine and publishing platform started by Seth Godin in 2005. Corey is Squidoo’s go-to guy for everything from CSS and jQuery, wireframes and wikis, and more strategy and biz dev than you can shake a stick at.

Before joining Squidoo, Corey was the founder and CEO of Solutions Factory, a web strategy, custom content, design and development firm based in the Washington, DC metro area. Corey advised companies such as Raytheon Corporation, Time Warner Cable and Columbia Energy Group on a wide range of web-based initiatives.

During the go-nuts-now, make-money-later 90’s, he still managed to run the highly profitable web division of Another Universe, where he designed and led development on a contextual commerce platform. He also led business development on e-commerce partnerships with The Sci-Fi Channel, Marvel Entertainment, and Sony Pictures. Corey has been staring at code for hours on end since the 1980s. To keep his eyes from crossing, he spends time goofing off with his wife and daughters, playing bass and running a school of rock for middle schoolers. Corey on Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/corey

Kirk WolfeKIRK WOLFEMK Capital – Kirk is a Principal at MK Capital, a $150 million venture capital fund with headquarters in Chicago and an office in Los Angeles. MK Capital invests in emerging companies that fall into the categories of digital media, application software, data center automation, technology enabled business services, and education technology. Kirk focuses specifically within the digital media sector on investments in online video infrastructure and content companies. He currently sits on the boards of Multicast Media, HealthiNation, and Kontiki. Prior to joining MK Capital, Kirk spent considerable time in management roles for leading technology companies. He most recently served as a regional executive at Ariba, Inc. – a global provider of Enterprise Spend Management solutions. As an early stage Ariba employee, Kirk was responsible for establishing and growing the field operations group. Before joining Ariba, Kirk led the construction of the first business-to-consumer online store at Motorola, Inc. Earlier in his career, Kirk worked at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) serving clients in the telecommunications sector. Kirk received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Stanford University.

Bruce N. BarronBRUCE N. BARRONOrigin Ventures – Bruce Barron is a principal and co-founder of Origin Ventures. He serves on the Boards of Directors of ifbyphone, Experiencia and ClaimForce. Since 1985, Bruce has been involved in the management of several start-up medical technology companies. From 1995 – 2007 he had served as a member of the board of directors of Applied NeuroSolutions, Inc., (OTC BB: APNS) a biotechnology company developing a diagnostic to detect, and therapeutics to treat, Alzheimer’s disease. He also served as CEO of APNS from 1995-2004, and as Chairman of the Board from 1999-2006. From 1988 to 2001 Bruce also served on the board of directors of Trimedyne Inc., a public company, which is a leading manufacturer of surgical lasers used to treat diseases and other medical conditions. He has served as President/Chairman CEO and/or CFO, from time to time, of the following companies: Gynex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (sold to what is now known as Savient Pharmaceuticals in 1993), Pharmatec Inc. (merged with Pharmos Corp. in 1992) and Xtramedics, Inc. (merged with Athena Medical Corp. in 1994). Bruce assisted in guiding these entrepreneurial, public companies through their early stages to their ultimate sales or mergers with larger companies. Bruce received a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977. He earned his C.P.A. certificate and worked as an accountant in the Chicago office of Touche Ross (the predecessor of Deloitte & Touche) and other medium-size public accounting firms. He left the practice of public accounting in 1985 to begin his entrepreneurial career.

Daliah SaperDALIAH SAPERSaper Law Offices, LLC – Daliah Saper is the principal attorney at Saper Law and has served as counsel to many Tech Cocktail exhibitors and attendees. She is a member of the Illinois Bar and both the General Bar and Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. As a litigator she handles cases involving trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, online defamation, and commercial disputes. As a transactional lawyer she helps clients choose the right business entity, drafts bylaws and operating agreements, negotiates contracts and licenses, and provides comprehensive trademark and copyright counseling. She is a frequent lecturer for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, SCORE business counselors, and various design schools in the city.

JARED GORALNICKJARED GORALNICKAwayFind – Jared Goralnick is the founder of Washington DC based SET Consulting and is a productivity evangelist and highly sought-after speaker for business and technology events. Recently he launched AwayFind, a web application that helps people to check their email less often by allowing urgent messages to get through.

Prior to starting SET in 2002, Jared worked as a software engineer at numerous startups, some of which still exist. Jared is passionate about making technology deliver on its promise to improve the quality of our lives—you can read more on his productivity focused blog, Technotheory.

Scott VanDenPlasSCOTT VAN DEN PLASThreadless.com / skinnyCorp – Scott VanDenPlas is part of the cadre of amazing engineers responsible for Threadless, and is currently working on systems and network architecture. Scott has previously worked in IT management with the Field Museum of Natural History and in the mortgage banking industry as an IT executive. His current fist bump to handshake ratio stands at 18 to 1. You can read his blog at morefishthanman.com.

Keith SchachtKEITH SCHACHT42 Friends – Keith Schacht is the founder of Chicago-based 42 Friends LLC, the company behind leading Facebook applications such as Growing Gifts and Hatching Eggs. Prior to 42 Friends, Schacht co-founded and sold two technology companies. In 2005, BusinessWeek named him one of the top 20 entrepreneurs under 25. He has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Business 2.0 and served the world’s top consumer product companies including Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Motorola, BMW, Kraft, and many others. Schacht attended University of Illinois where he studied computer science and psychology.

Jason Rexilius of HostedLABSJASON REXILIUSHostedLABS – Jason Rexilius is a technology entrepreneur with a broad base of skills and experience. He is founder and CEO of HostedLABS, a global web computing platform for LAMP-based applications. He specializes in web technologies and using new computer science concepts to solve diverse architectural problems. He is passionate about technology and ideas and he brings that enthusiasm to all the projects he is involved in.

Evan BrownEVAN BROWNHinshaw & Culbertson LLP – Evan Brown is an attorney in the Chicago office Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, practicing in the areas of intellectual property and technology law. He is a frequent public speaker on issues relating to law and technology, and writes the Internet Cases blog, tracking legal developments involving the Internet and new technologies. Evan is licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Colorado, and handles both transactional and litigation matters, advising individuals, startups and established enterprises on issues relating to the distribution of content over the Internet, with special emphasis on technology licensing and acquisition, website development, prepublication review, domain name issues and compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). He is the incoming Chairman of the Chicago Bar Association’s Cyberlaw and Data Privacy Committee.

Gary BarronGARY BARRONFrost, Ruttenberg & Rothblatt, P.C. – Gary is the founding member of the Tax Department at Frost, Ruttenberg & Rothblatt, P.C. He devotes much of his time to tax consulting with closely held businesses and their owners. Gary also provides tax litigation and support services to both clients and attorneys in the Chicago area. These services include the drafting of Tax Protest Letters, Tax Court Petitions and Requests for Rulings from the IRS in Washington, D.C. He also had the opportunity to consult with the Joint Committee on Taxation in Washington. Gary has turned his writing capabilities into a marketing tool for his firm, having had articles published in Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Tribune and other local publications. These articles provide a humorous look at the Internal Revenue Code and the practice of public accounting.

Nate WestheimerNATE WESTHEIMERBricaBox – Nate is a startup entrepreneur, community organizer, and new media consultant based in New York City.

As the founder and CEO of BricaBox, LLC, he was also the chief product architect of the company’s innovative publishing and collaboration platform. Additionally, he has been an active member in the local startup community, facilitating meetings among the “Alley’s” economic development, political, financial, and entrepreneurial leaders.
Outside of running a company and evangelizing the local tech community, Nate advises top brands, such as National Public Media, and also blogs about technology on his personal blog and as a contributing writer for the Silicon Alley Insider.

Fraser KeltonFRASER KELTONAdaptiveBlue – Fraser has spent his entire career commercializing emerging technologies. Currently, as the Director of Business Development for AdaptiveBlue, he’s helping to deliver the promise of the Semantic Web to the consumer market via a pragmatic, user-centric, approach.

Previously to joining AdaptiveBlue, Fraser was a Director at Trivaris, a Canadian seed-stage investment firm specializing in bringing new technology to market. Through their collaboration with national governments, a diverse group of government agencies including DARPA and the US National Laboratories network, as well as leading research Universities, Trivaris has become a respected leader in the commercialization of emerging technology.

Sean AmmiratiSEAN AMMIRATImSpoke / ReadWriteWeb – Sean is the VP of Business Development & Product Management at mSpoke, Inc. Sean also regularly contributes to the influential Read/WriteWeb blog and hosts the weekly podcast Read/WriteTalk. Once an aspiring programmer, Sean has found his niche as a new technology evangelist. Currently, this manifests itself in his passion for helping publishers revitalize their online content with mSpoke’s adaptive personalization solutions. Prior to co-founding mSpoke, Sean was a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Industry Center and served on the Editorial Advisory Board and as a columnist for Information Week. He holds a B. S. in Computer Information Systems from Grove City College. Sean also can be found in the blogosphere on his personal blog Profitable Signals.

Troy HenikoffTROY HENIKOFFChicagoland Entrepreneurial Center – Troy Henikoff is an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University. He is also piloting the “Entrepreneur in Residence” program at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. He spent most of the last two years as the President of Amacai, a consumer and business data to company, that is known in the industry as the premier source of telephone intelligence.

Previously, Troy co-founded SurePayroll.com, an Internet based payroll service bureau focusing on companies with under 100 employees. Prior to SurePayroll, Troy was at Jellyvision, Inc., recruited specifically to build a software development capability from scratch. Before Jellyvision, Troy founded Specialized Systems and Software, which focused on creating custom database applications. In addition to his “day job,” Troy serves as a board member at Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago.

Shawn BolanSHAWN BOLANMyWire – A native Chicagoan based in Silicon Valley, Shawn Bolan is Director of Product Management for MyWire, an early-stage media service connecting users to reputable publishers online. Shawn chose to return to startup life this year after working for Yahoo, where she was in charge of the Yahoo! Local user community and web front-end, leading a cross-functional team in Agile development. Last year, she oversaw relaunch of the service with an Ajax-enhanced user experience, which substantially increased user-generated content and engagement on the site.

Shawn is well-versed in information architecture and designing for optimal user experience while also being technically astute as a former software engineer. She received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from M.I.T. and started her career at Autodesk as a C++ and Java software developer. As her career progressed, she found her true calling in project and product management and making products that are compelling and intuitive for users. She blogs about new media and the Silicon Valley tech scene at GoGoGetter.

Frank GruberFRANK GRUBERTECH cocktail / SOMEWHAT FRANK / AOL – Frank is a principal product manager for AOL in the social networking & platforms group, Frank is responsible for the recently launched myAOL suite. Frank’s expert analysis on Web 2.0, social media and emerging technologies have been featured in TechCrunch, iMediaConnection and on SOMEWHAT FRANK. Frank also produces a video podcast called SOMEWHAT FRANK TV. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, Mr. Gruber received his Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Northwestern University, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Purdue University. Frank Gruber co-founded TECH cocktail in May 2006. He can be found in the blogosphere at SOMEWHAT FRANK.

Eric OlsonERIC OLSONTECH cocktail / DFJ Portage Venture – Eric is a Massachusetts native and Bentley College alumnus (B.S. Finance w/ IT Minor – Magna Cum Laude – 2004) who now resides in Chicago. Eric is currently working as an Associate at DFJ Portage while also advising a couple of Midwest-based startups. Prior to DFJ Portage Eric was VP of Business Development at BuzzFeed. He also worked in Partner Development at Google and in Business Development for Chicago-based startup FeedBurner which was acquired by Google in June 2007. Eric Olson co-founded TECH cocktail in May 2006. He can be found in the blogosphere at Olson’s Observations.

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