Leadership

Governing Board

Jason Best

Jason Best is a Partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors which provides advisory services to angel groups, venture capital and private equity funds, banks, professional services firms regarding how to profit in the Crowdfunding industry.  His areas of expertise are crowdfunding, crowdfund investing and effectively scaling SaaS Businesses.  He has been on the executive leadership team named to the Inc Magazine list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. 2 years in a row. As a successful entrepreneur during the credit crunch, Jason saw a need to update the ’33 and ’34 securities acts to allow the social Web to be used for capital formation, and did something about it—as a co-founding member of Startup Exemption, Jason co-authored the Crowdfunding Framework used in the JOBS Act that was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. Jason is a leader in the crowdfunding industry; he is the co-founder of the CrowdFunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) the self-regulating association for the crowdfunding industry currently working with the SEC and FINRA helping to establish and maintain crowdfunding rules and industry practices. He is also the Co-Chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA).  He is co-author of Crowdfund Investing for Dummies  Jason earned his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the world’s top international MBA program and holds a Bachelors degree from William Jewell College.

Sherwood Neiss

Sherwood Neiss is a co-founder of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA). He is an expert at building successful businesses, as a 3-time INC500 winner whose company won E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year. As a serial entrepreneur and investor during the credit crunch Sherwood saw a need for a change in outdated securities laws and did something about it—as a co-founding member of Startup Exemption, Sherwood co-authored the Crowdfunding Framework used in the JOBS Act that was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. Sherwood co-founded and sits on the board of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) & Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocated (CFIRA) where he leads the fight to ensure investors are protected while entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need to start and grow promising companies. An avid public speaker, Sherwood speaks at universities and seminars around the world discussing crowdfunding & is co-authoring Crowdfund Investing for Dummies. He holds an International MBA from Thunderbird and a BA from Tulane Univ.

Berkeley Geddes

With a proven track record at major brands such as Times Mirror Corporation and Novell, Berkeley has applied lessons learned from major national and multinational companies to the world of start-ups and seed investing. A serial entrepreneur, Berkeley has started over 24 for profit businesses, 17 of which reached the proven point and achieved market success and 7 of which did not and are now referred to as “ 7 marvelous life experiences.”

Prior to becoming Grow America Insight CEO and creating DooBizz.com, Berkeley co-founded Arizona’s largest Venus disease service organization — Vanishing Veins. Prior to that, he founded the Perinatal Women’s Center in Arizona, which he sold. Before entering the medical market, Berkeley founded “Gang of Four,” co-founded WhizBang Labs and launched FlipDog, an online recruiting website, which was sold to Monster.com.

Ruth Hedges

Ruth Hedges is the CEO of Unismart Capital Software Inc. Ms. Hedges has a proven executive managerial track record spanning over 27 years, driving sales, marketing, publicity and strategic alliance development. As the creator and key architect of the Funding Roadmap online licensable platform, Ms. Hedges has been responsible for pioneering a new and innovative virtual system for business planning and due diligence reporting on the cloud.

Brian Tsuchiya

Brian Tsuchiya dreamed up his first crowdfunding concept 8 years ago and has ever since supported the formation of legal crowdfunding. Brian is the visionary founder of Vim Inc a branded startup accelerator which launched Vim Funding in 2011 and Vim EDU in 2012. Vim Inc plans to launch a few new startups in the crowdfunding space over the next 12 months. He is a firm believer in the wisdom and power of crowds and is honored to play a key role in the growth of the industry. He lives in beautiful and entrepreneurial Boulder, CO.

Executive Board

 

Dara Albright

Dara Albright is the founder of NowStreet Media, a leader in financial markets’ reform. Dara is a thought provoker and frequent speaker on topics relating to the private markets and crowdfunding. She is the author of the NowStreet Journal, a primary provider of analysis and insight into the private company marketplace as well as the legislation and innovation currently fueling it. Based on her original hypothesis that directly correlates advancements in mass communications with stock market growth, NowStreet highlights the dynamic economic impact of a purely growth marketplace rising during the most ground-breaking period of mass media and regulatory reform. Symbolizing the capital markets of tomorrow and the hope for a more prosperous economic future, NowStreet is known in various financial circles for its commitment to repairing a damaged capital markets system with the inclusion of a private company marketplace that encourages long-term growth investing while facilitating capital formation, small business expansion, innovation and job creation.

Steve Cinelli

Steven has been engaged in the application of technology to capital formation for over a decade. He is founder and CEO of PRIMARQ Incorporated, a private capital market dedicated to bringing investor equity into the housing market, a segment of the economy which has relied on the excesses of debt. Earlier, he co-founded OffRoad Capital, the first private market system, enabling emerging private companies to raise up to $20 million in private equity/venture capital through a captive, yet global market of 10,000 accredited investors. He has been an active speaker and author on topics such as mortgage and housing finance reform, housing price stabilization, capital formation and crowdfunding. He was a founding panelist for Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford, a program sponsored by Oxford University to explore issues of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Luan Cox

Founder and CEO, Crowdnetic. Luan has over 15 years of experience in building and leading global companies in the web-based financial data and applications industry. Crowdnetic a provider of innovative technologies to the crowdfunding industry and also operates portals, HelpersUnite.com and GreenUnite.com.

She is also a proud Board member of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) and is a founding Council Member of the Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards (CAPS).

David Drake

David Drake, founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital in New York City and founder of The Soho Loft Capital Creation Event Series (“TSL”) covering the Private Company Marketplace, co-founding executive committee member of Crowd Funding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (“CFIRA”) and the Crowd Funding Professional Association (“CFPA”), has been involved in technology media and telecom (TMT), traditional and renewable energy, realty and clean tech for over 20 years.

Mr. Drake speaks 6 languages and holds Bachelor’s Degrees in both Chemistry and Marketing from the American University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Drake holds an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Law and Economics from George Washington University where he was awarded the Wallenberg Scholarship for academic merit.

Carl Esposti

Carl Esposti is the CEO of massolution, a research, advisory and implementation firm that specializes in helping organizations explore, design and implement crowdsourcing and crowdfunding business models. He is also the Founder of the industry website Crowdsourcing.org, the leading international website on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Carl recently led two separate research initiatives to establish the first fact-base on the size, composition and growth of the crowdsourcing industry, and crowdfunding industries. Carl also led the initiative Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards program (CAPS), is a founding member of the Executive Board of CFIRA, the organization created to advocate for a workable regulatory framework for US Securities based crowdfunding, and is a founding member of the Executive Board of CfPA (Crowdfunding Professional Association), the global trade association for the crowdfunding industry. Carl’s focus is to work across industry supporting the development of insights and data that will drive the adoption of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding business models and the establishment of best practices and standards.

Ryan Feit

Ryan is the CEO and co-founder of SeedInvest, a revolutionary funding platform for startups and small businesses. On the entrepreneurial side, Ryan previously founded multiple startups. On the investor side, Ryan worked at Carlson Capital, Wellspring Capital Management and Lehman Brothers in New York City where he invested in, financed and managed dozens of private and public businesses. As the Co-chair of the Education & Training Committee of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, Ryan is focused on ensuring that entrepreneurs, investors, platforms and everyone else understand how to best utilize equity crowdfunding in order to dramatically improve funding options for startups and small businesses. Ryan received an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Berkeley Geddes

With a proven track record at major brands such as Times Mirror Corporation and Novell, Berkeley has applied lessons learned from major national and multinational companies to the world of start-ups and seed investing. A serial entrepreneur, Berkeley has started over 24 for profit businesses, 17 of which reached the proven point and achieved market success and 7 of which did not and are now referred to as “ 7 marvelous life experiences.”

Prior to becoming Grow America Insight CEO and creating DooBizz.com, Berkeley co-founded Arizona’s largest Venus disease service organization — Vanishing Veins. Prior to that, he founded the Perinatal Women’s Center in Arizona, which he sold. Before entering the medical market, Berkeley founded “Gang of Four,” co-founded WhizBang Labs and launched FlipDog, an online recruiting website, which was sold to Monster.com.

Ruth Hedges

Ruth Hedges is the CEO of Unismart Capital Software Inc. Ms. Hedges has a proven executive managerial track record spanning over 27 years, driving sales, marketing, publicity and strategic alliance development. As the creator and key architect of the Funding Roadmap online licensable platform, Ms. Hedges has been responsible for pioneering a new and innovative virtual system for business planning and due diligence reporting on the cloud.

 

 

Candace Klien

Candace Klein is the founder and CEO of two successful startup companies: Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend. Bad Girl Ventures (bgv.bz) is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating and investing in woman-owned startup companies. In its first year of operations, BGV has received over 400 applicants, has educated over 250 businesses, has financed 26 women with $700,000, and has created 156 jobs across Ohio. SoMoLend (somolend.com) is new technology platform that connects business borrowers seeking loans with lenders looking to make a return on investment. SoMoLend is now live and has partnered with KeyBank who has at least $50 million to lend. Candace has six years of lobbying experience, with the Northern Kentucky Chamber and United Way and four years of legal experience. Candace continues to practice as an attorney with Ulmer & Berne LLP with a focus on corporate matters, business advocacy and government relations for startup companies and small business clients. Candace led the Communities Practice at Property Advisors, with the title of “Maven” and the job description, “run and think.” She is actively committed to her neighborhood, Over the Rhine, where she lives and has based both of her businesses. Candace is a 2008 graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law where she earned her J.D. She also received her bachelor degrees from Northern Kentucky University.

christine landon

Christine Landon

Christine Landon, CfPA Executive Committee.  Founder of WebFinancial.com, Providence, Rhode Island.  Patented inventor and Six Sigma certified.  An expert in financial service and insurance business and product development, having successfully implemented next generation product and business consulting with businesses ranging in size from small businesses and Fortune 10 companies, including General Electric, Swiss Re, and Liberty Mutual. An accomplished educator and lecturer. Until the SEC allows further,  Ms. Landon currently advises financial services organizations on the practical implementation of crowdfunding.  She is also working with international groups, universities and business leaders, focusing on women and minority forward initiatives.  A summer resident of Greensboro, Vermont, and a graduate of the University of Vermont School of Business, she is also an advisor to a Burlington, Vermont, accelerator focusing on sustainability and progressive change, among other things.

 

Vince Molinari

As founder and chief executive officer of GATE Technologies, Vince Molinari has been the driving force behind GATE’s mission to create new market infrastructure that brings transparency, efficiency, and liquidity to the unstructured global alternative asset markets. He is responsible for GATE’s strategic planning and business initiatives, including corporate alliances and strategic partnerships. His vision is based on a core belief that “actionable knowledge” drives investments, and that technology can close the gap between traditional and emerging alternative markets. Vince believes opening the private market for investment can spearhead economic growth and job creation. The company’s initiatives in Impact Investing reflect Vince’s commitment to bringing positive change through financial innovation.

Michael Norman

Mike Norman is the cofounder and president of the crowd investing platform Wefunder.com. Wefunder allows everyone to invest in startups and get involved to help those companies succeed. Mike helped craft the crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act and watched Obama sign it into law at the White House. Prior to Wefunder Mike founded SoChange, a web and mobile platform where consumers use their spending to convince companies to improve their social or environmental performance. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan where he also completed all course requirements for a masters in city planning.

DJ Paul

D.J. Paul, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, crowdfunder. D.J. began his professional career as a sovereign and high-yield bond portfolio manager at Banque Paribas in London and CenTrust Bank in Miami. He then moved to New York City working for Cowan & Co. as a Mortgage-Backed Securities salesman. Prior to joining the crowdfunder team, D.J. was an award winning film and television producer, having produced over a dozen independent films and television shows. D.J. is an Executive Board Member of CfIRA (Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates).D.J. earned his BA in Philosophy from Brown University. He is a Certified Crisis Counselor and Wilderness First Responder. He currently resides in Los Angeles and New York City, where he was born and raised.

Raeser

Steve is the CEO of Vim Funding, a company dedicated to helping small businesses successfully navigate the often confusing world of fundraising — including our own crowdfunding. An active angel investor and advisor, Steve helps fund 3-6 startups per year. Serial entrepreneur and seed-stage investor who has recently moved west to join the Boulder startup community. Prior to Vim Funding Steve was a co-founder and executive at WebAssign, an educational technology company (online homework) based in Raleigh, NC. Steve helped grow the company profitably from 6 to 140 employees and over one million users. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Paul Spinrad

Paul Spinrad was the first person to propose a crowdfunding exemption to securities laws. He soon collaborated with the Sustainable Economies Law Center to crowdfund and write their July 2010 petition to the SEC, which catalyzed the equity crowdfunding movement, and he has covered and contributed to its progress ever since, mainly through his blog Change Crowdfunding Law. Paul co-wrote (with Woodie Neiss) a brief on exemption proposals for the White House in 2011, and saw the dream realized there at the JOBS Act signing in April 2012. Paul has 10 years of experience as an editor for MAKE and Wired magazines, he co-founded the pioneering web development company Infobahn, and he has written much commercial and research software, two books and numerous articles. He lives with his wife and two young children in San Francisco.

Richard Swart

As the Executive Vice-President of Grow America, Richard works to help build the US economy through innovative programs designed to train and mentor entrepreneurs through web based programs, and through bringing together major stakeholders to develop an ecosystem to support and mentor entrepreneurs and start-ups. Active with investor networks and working to match start-ups with funding sources, mostly outside of Utah. Richard leads the nation’s fastest growing entrepreneur meetup and is actively expanding networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Board member or advisor to several start-up firms, mostly in social media and web application space. He is an international award winning PhD in Information Systems who left academia to help entrepreneurs and pursue startups.

Brad Thatcher

Brian Tsuchiya

Brian Tsuchiya dreamed up his first crowdfunding concept 8 years ago and has ever since supported the formation of legal crowdfunding. Brian is the visionary founder of Vim Inc a branded startup accelerator which launched Vim Funding in 2011 and Vim EDU in 2012. Vim Inc plans to launch a few new startups in the crowdfunding space over the next 12 months. He is a firm believer in the wisdom and power of crowds and is honored to play a key role in the growth of the industry. He lives in beautiful and entrepreneurial Boulder, CO.