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Michael Docherty - NextBig, Co-founder and Managing Partner

Michael Docherty brings unique perspectives to growth and innovation, having been an entrepreneur, senior corporate executive and venture capitalist. It might explain why he’s passionate about the intersection of corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the author of the recent book Collective Disruption: How Corporations and Startups Can Co-create Transformative New Businesses (Polarity Press 2015). The book provides established companies with a practical playbook for plugging into the startup ecosystem to fuel and incubate new businesses as entrepreneurial ventures.

Docherty is the founder and managing director of Next Big, a unique company that creates and
Docherty is also CEO of Venture2, a growth and innovation consulting firm that helps leading companies transform their innovation capabilities, build innovation
ecosystems and accelerate the commercialization of breakthrough new products, services and business models.

Docherty holds an MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School and BSME degree from Drexel University. He is a frequent speaker on innovation and corporate venturing and an active supporter of the entrepreneurial community. Twitter: @medocherty

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Blair Garrou - Mercury Fund, Managing Director

Since the late 90’s, Blair Garrou has focused on funding, operating and incubating startup software companies. Blair is a co-founder and Managing Director of Mercury Fund, a seed and startup venture capital firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. With over $100 million under management, Mercury invests in compelling and novel software and science-based start-up opportunities, focusing on entrepreneurs and innovation originating in the U.S. Midcontinent. Blair is also a co-founder of SURGE Accelerator, a Houston-based, mentor-driven seed accelerator focused on entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s energy problems using software. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he teaches acourse on venture capital. Prior to Mercury, Blair was the CEO of Intermat (NYSE: IHS), a leader in product information management software; a Principal with Genesis Park, a Houston-based private equity firm; helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center, where he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network; was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns; and began his career with Deloitte & Touche. Blair received a B.S. in Management from Washington & Lee University.

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Bob Gilbreath - Ahalogy, President & Co-Founder

Bob Gilbreath is Co-Founder and President of Ahalogy, a Pinterest & Content marketing company that works with companies such as P&G, Kraft and Abercrombie & Fitch. Previously, Bob was a partner at digital agency, Bridge Worldwide, which was acquired by WPP. Post-acquisition, Bob became Chief Strategy Officer of POSSIBLE. Bob is the author of The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with your Customers by Marketing with Meaning (McGraw-Hill). His career started in marketing at Procter & Gamble, where he launched Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and was named an Advertising Age Top 50 Marketer. Bob has an MBA in Marketing from NYU/Stern and a BA in Economics from Duke University.

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Tarek Kamil - Cerkl, Founder and President

Prior to Cerkl, Terek served as Executive Director of Online Strategies for InfoMotion Sports (IST). IST is the world’s pioneering leader for innovating sports products that quantify and digitize muscle-memory based athletic skills and for managing online communities.

Prior to IST, Terek served as a VP of Interactive Games for Los Angeles-based FOX Sports. He oversaw all facets of the online gaming operations for the FoxSports.com Interactive Unit, including WhatIfSports.com based in Cincinnati.

Terek founded WhatIfSports.com in February, 2000 and sold it to FOX Interactive Media in September, 2005. Prior to leading the Interactive Games unit for FOX Sports, he served as President/Founder of WhatIfSports.com, the Internet’s leader in sports simulation technology, games and content. In just 5 short years, he was able to grow WhatIfSports from an idea to over 500,000 members and orchestrated partnerships with some of the largest names in sports, including ESPN, Fox Sports, MLB, NBA and the NHL. In February of 2005, WhatIfSports was named Sports Site of the Year by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, beating out both ESPN.com and BBCSports.com.

Prior to launching WhatIfSports.com in 1997, he founded, and served as President of, Incigna Technology Solutions – a provider of custom developed software and Internet solutions. Incigna worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies including General Electric, Anthem Insurance, Omnicare and Western Southern Financial.

Terek Kamil was named as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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Jon Kiehnau - Struts & Springs, Founder

Jon was an early investor in social media, helping launch and build Houseparty.com as the first “people-powered” brand-activation network. He founded Meitimedia in 2003 to provide strategic insight on agile commerce platforms. Not long ago, Jon was VP of strategy and innovation at American Express. He acted as entrepreneur-in-residence for Enterprise Growth, the elite unit responsible for bringing new types of experiences to digital platforms to add value to buyers and sellers through online, offline, social, mobile and location-based services. He is a veteran of Time Warner, serving as president Emphasis, a business focused on monetizing content, business insights and customer behavior data. He held leadership positions in sales, marketing, business development and strategic planning and was honored with the President’s Award, “the company’s highest honor recognizing innovative problem solving and extraordinary performance.” @explore360

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Logan LaHive - Techstars Chicago, Managing Director

Logan LaHive joined Lightbank in May 2011 as a Founder in Residence. Resulting in his time as a Founder-In-Residence at Lightbank, Logan founded Belly – a digital loyalty solution for SMBs. He is currently working to grow Belly as its CEO. Previously, Logan was the Director of New Business at Redbox, where he was tasked with sourcing, testing, and launching new businesses for the company. He was promoted to the position after successfully leading the company’s initiative to test and rollout video game rentals, forecasted to be a $100+ million business annually. Logan has spent the last 6-7 years in startups, focusing on launching (features, marketing plans, new product lines, seed businesses, etc), with a strong background is in project management, marketing, strategy/analytics, and product launch. @loganlahive

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Joe Medved - Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Partner of SB Capital

Joe Medved is Partner of SB Capital at Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Previously, he was a Partner at SoftBank Capital, where he focused on early stage digital media investments for a decade. Prior to SoftBank, Joe was an investor at Constellation Ventures and an investment banker with JPMorgan’s Tech, Media & Telecom Group. He is Chairman Emeritus of the New England Venture Network and was selected for Boston Business Journal’s 2011 40 Under 40 class.

Joe received a Bachelor of Science, with honors, from Boston College’s Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, and completed The General Course at the London School of Economics.

You can follow Joe on his blog (www.joemedved.com) and on twitter @joevc.

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Walter Solomon - Ashland, VP & Chief Growth Officer

Walter Solomon has learned a lot about growing businesses through 30 years in both Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 business environments. He currently serves as VP/Chief Growth Officer for Ashland Inc, where he and his team architected Ashland’s transformation from an 87 year old Kentucky oil refiner into an $8 billion global specialty chemicals company. Walter spent the first decade of his career in brand management with Procter & Gamble, ultimately as a Marketing Director in P&G’s hair care and juice drink businesses. As brand manager, he led Pantene’s initial growth, from a $4 million boutique business into a $100 million brand, en route to becoming one of P&G’s billion dollar global brands. He spent the next decade leading multiple start-ups in health care and software, including an Inc. 500 Company, and another sold to a publicly-held competitor. Walter served as the first President of Over-the-Rhine technology incubator Main Street Ventures, and currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of BBYO, Inc., which trains over 30,000 Jewish teens globally in leadership, social action and community service.

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Michael Stich - Rockfish Interactive, Chief Innovation Officer

Michael Stich is Chief Innovation Officer at Rockfish Interactive. Michael’s specializations include e-commerce, analytics / measurement, mobile, digital retail, social media, relationship marketing, product development and organizational consulting. Prior to Rockfish, he served as group director of strategic planning at WPP agency Bridge Worldwide. While at Bridge, Michael and his team served market leaders in CPG, retail, healthcare, technology and financial services. Previously, he served in venture capital, marketing and strategy roles for Texas Instruments, McKinsey & Company, and Dell. Michael holds a B.S. in computer engineering from Tufts University and an M.B.A. with a marketing focus from the MIT Sloan School of Management. @mstich

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Mike Venerable - CincyTech, Managing Director

Mike Venerable is the Managing Director of Digital Investments at CincyTech. He evaluates investment opportunities, advises startup companies and helps them prepare to receive venture capital. Venerable has more than 20 years of experience as a software industry entrepreneur and executive. He was co-founder and CEO of Talus, a leading data warehouse consultancy, from 1993-1998. Talus was then acquired by Sagent Technology, where he led the company’s services organization through the company’s successful IPO in 1999. Prior to joining CincyTech he was a managing director of Scius Capital, a NY-based boutique investment bank focused on early-stage capitalization and liquidity strategies for intellectual-property owners in biosciences, information technology and industrial technology. At Scius he assisted in raising capital for companies in the life sciences, software and advanced manufacturing markets.

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