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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Mike Hadgis - Vox Media, VP of Sales & Partnerships

Mike Hadgis is Vice President of Sales & Partnerships at Vox Media, one of largest and fastest growing online publisher. Vox Media builds smart media brands (SB Nation, The Verge, Eater, Vox, Curbed, Racked, and Polygon) for smart audiences.

Prior to joining Vox Media, Mike worked at Meebo (acquired by Google) and News Corp’s MySpace, where he was part the inaugural Chicago team for both companies. While at MySpace and Meebo, Mike built strategic partnerships with Unilever, Motorola, Sprint, Ford, and more. Before his career in digital advertising, Mike worked for MatchPoint Marketing, an advertising agency in Cincinnati, OH, that focused on CPG in-store, print, and event marketing for Sunny Delight. Mike received a B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University with a focus on marketing.

Mike currently serves as the President of Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA), which is a dedicated group of digital and interactive marketing professionals working to provide the Chicago interactive marketing community with opportunities to network, learn, and share expertise. CIMA is one of the oldest and largest IMAs in the country.

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Mark Hasebroock - Dundee Venture Capital, Founder

Mark Hasebroock, President and Founder of Dundee Venture Capital, has several years of experience in the start-up, survival and success of a variety of e-commerce ventures, as well as a background in investment and commercial banking. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Mark began building his entrepreneurial skill set in college with his first start-up called Bored Feet which sold colorful moccasins to sororities. After graduation Mark worked as a commercial loan analyst and then a commercial lender at First National Bank of Omaha while getting his MBA from Creighton University at night. He then made the natural transition from banking to selling ready-to-eat popcorn as a franchisee and wholesaler of gourmet popcorn. After selling this business, Mark worked as an investment banker at McCarthy & Co for 15 years helping privately owned companies raise capital as well as sell their businesses. In 1998, Mark met Doug Nielsen and Julie Mahloch who were starting and joined them during the early wild-west days of e-commerce growing it to $75 million in revenue. The team left in 2002 and founded, an e-commerce niche retailer of hard to find goods for the home. Today, Hayneedle has 300+ niche stores and $400 million in revenue. These niche stores sell everything from Hammocks to Birdbaths to ToiletSeats. In 2011, Mark started Dundee Venture Capital with the vision to help fund startup e-commerce and internet service businesses get out of the ground and moving down the right path. To date they have invested $3 million in 5 companies in Omaha, Boulder and Austin. Dundee Venture Capital Fund II is closing July 1 with $15 million in new capital earmarked for more investment in startup e-commerce, Internet service and digital media businesses. Mark has served on the Board of Directors of Ballantyne Strong (Amex: BTN) since 2003. BTN designs, develops, manufactures, services, and distributes theatre and lighting systems worldwide. He is also on the Board of Directors of Creighton Prep High School and was the founder and board member of the Nebraska High School Hockey League.

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Rob Heimann - River Cities Capital, Director

Rob is a Director at River Cities Capital. He joined River Cities with operation and investment experience in venture-funded technology companies with particular expertise in M&A transactions, channel development and corporate strategy. Rob’s investment focus is on the IT sector, with a particular focus on Software-as-a-Service.Prior to joining River Cities, Rob was VP of Corporate Development at IntelliSeek, Inc., a marketing services company backed by River Cities, which was successfully sold to Nielsen. Rob managed several acquisitions, the Company’s Series B financing and helped establish several strategic OEM and reseller partnerships. Prior to that, he worked with Arthur Andersen & Co. consulting with new ventures on financing, M&A transactions and other accounting and tax issues.Rob is a member of the Board of Directors of Trax Technologies, Ifbyphone, Perfectserve, MedPlast and PetSuites. He is formerly an observer on the boards of Invivodata and MX Logic. He also serves as a Mentor at The Brandery and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association.Rob holds an MBS from the J.L. Kellog School of Business at Northwestern University, where he graduated with distinction. He holds a BS from the University of Virginia and is a CPA. Rob is also Director Emeritus for Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati, and is a member of the University of Virginia’s regional selection committee for the Jefferson Scholarship Program.

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Josh Hernandez

As the Co-Founder of Tap.Me, Josh Hernandez represents an extraordinary fusion of creativity and passion for community development and interaction. A seasoned leader, designer and developer, Josh has formal training in the video game development pipeline from Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, IL. and has transitioned years of experience to become a strong producer of talent.In 1999 Joshua founded a peer-to-peer musicians community branded the “Original Electronic Music Underground” where musicians would swap music projects with each other, collaborate and review iterations. Over time the quality of the community spawned SectionZ Records and helped launch the careers of some very well known electronic musicians including Deadmau5. In 2006 Joshua launched a PlayStation 3 and Wii gamer ID card service called TripleTags which at it’s peek catered custom gamer cards to over 2.5M gamers around the world.His previous experience includes 10+ years working in the advertising and marketing industry serving clients like @properties, Bayer, Caterpillar, Radio Flyer, True Value and more. Joshua also attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Daniel Incandela - Return Path, Vice President, Brand & Digital Marketing

Daniel Incandela serves as Senior Director of Global Digital Marketing at ExactTarget, where he drives digital marketing strategy for the company across five continents. He recently led the relaunch of seven regionalized versions of, complete with a new CMS.

Daniel formerly worked as Director of Online Strategies at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series, leading strategy for online marketing, social media, content creation, and online community development. Prior to that, Daniel spent five years as Director of New Media at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where he established the new media team, renowned for museum technology innovation, brand development, and digital content delivery.

Among his accomplishments, Daniel counts the launch of, a forum to showcase high-quality video art content. He was honored to be the keynote speaker at the National Digital Forum in New Zealand, included in the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty under 40, and named a British American Project Fellow. In 2011, he contributed a chapter to The Digital Innovation Playbook: Creating a Transformative Customer Experience.

Daniel holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. He believes, as best phrased by Thea Alexander, that great things are only possible with outrageous requests.

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Sonny Jandial - Dragonfly Technology

Sonny has 12 years of experience with Procter & Gamble and is currently a Brand Manager within P&G FutureWorks, the business unit that works across many of P&G’s businesses to develop and incubate new corporate growth ventures. Sonny has most recently focused on vetting, developing, and implementing new business models and external partnerships within Futureworks ranging from health care to new mobile/digital business models being tested for P&G. Sonny recently moved to Silicon Valley to work on a Venture Capital backed start-up within the mobile space as part of P&G Futureworks innovation portfolio. Sonny is the single point of contact between P&G and the Venture Capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Sonny has worked across multiple functions within P&G including manufacturing, sales, and marketing and multiple categories from home care and coffee to health care services to his most recent work focused on innovating within the mobile space. Sonny has led innovations both in marketing with the launch of Swiffer Dusters and new business model ventures within health care. Sonny has managed external partnerships with major retailers like Safeway while also leading relationships with renowned health care thought leading organizations.

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Bryan Jowers - AppDirect, Product Manager

Bryan has been founding, building, and hacking web products for more than half of his life. Currently, he is focusing on enterprise solutions at AppDirect, a growth-stage startup based in San Francisco that is the leading provider of cloud service marketplaces. Prior to AppDirect, Bryan co-founded Giftiki, a consumer social and payment startup. While there, he worked on both the business and technical side of company, coding the majority of front-end engineering, overseeing product, securing funding, hiring and managing the technical team, and more. His background also includes leading product and engineering teams at multiple companies, helping to scale several of these business to reach up to $1 billion in revenue. Over the course of his career, Bryan has seen both the wins and challenges of startup life, giving him valuable experience that has helped him advise numerous startups on product / market fit, product development, building engineering teams, establishing company culture, fundraising, and building early best practices.

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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 Interactive Unit, including based in Cincinnati.

Terek founded 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, 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 and

Prior to launching 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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