I love to help founders & build cool stuff.
First & foremost, I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve started and exited multiple companies and raised millions in venture capital over my 20 (yikes) years in the startup world. Not everything I’ve done has been a success, but anyone who tells you that they haven’t failed is lying.
Mentor & Advisor
Recently, I’ve shelved my founder hat for a bit to take some time to help other entrepreneurs get going and stay moving. I LOVE mentoring founders and working with companies to take it to the next level. If you haven’t started a company, you’ll never know the pain.
I devote much of my time to boosting the Northeast Ohio startup community by leading StartInCLE, the areas biggest grassroots initiative to make founder lives easier. I also advise companies and organizations on how to work with & for entrepreneurs.
Building SaaS products before it was cool.
In 1999, software as a service (or, “The Cloud”) was brand new. Salesforce.com was just getting started, the first Blackberry was hitting the market, and the initial Bluetooth standard was just being released. I was just getting started as well, designing websites and graphics, mastering Photoshop version 5.5, and about to enter my 20’s.
Little did I expect that taking my first real job would lead to a long career in the SaaS space and lifetime of helping businesses and business people improve their lives.
In 2000, I had the opportunity to join SamePage, a six person startup building CRM software for businesses that amounted to Access databases hosted via Citrix. As a youngster, I started out as a customer service person, answering the phone and chatting with users who had issues with the product.
Over the first few years, I grew with the company, moving from customer service to the development team to managing the MS SQL Servers to eventually running the company’s marketing efforts. At some point, we knew that our business model of customizing our software for every client would never work and we decided to pivot to an offering that was truly multi-tenant.
ExpenseWire was the result. We built a world-class expense management product for which I had the pleasure of leading the product team. I managed the design and development efforts from concept ideation to acquisition by Foster City-based Rearden Commerce (now called DEEM).
Once acquired by Rearden, ExpenseWire’s ~50 person team became part of a 500 person Silicon Valley company who had raised hundreds of millions in capital. I spent much of my time traveling back and forth between Ohio and California, and had a great opportunity to get to know a culture much different than my own. I got a chance to work with world class industry veterans the likes of which had built incredible products at Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. and who were happy to share their methodologies and experiences with a young product manager like myself.
Helping small businesses manage their finances.
In 2009, I parted ways with Rearden to start my first company as a true founder. Coming from a family filled with small business owners, I understood the pain that entrepreneurs feel when trying to run their companies. My time with ExpenseWire had provided an education around accounting and cashflow that helped formulate an idea - an easy way to forecast financials for small businesses.
After months of development and initial customer testing, we launched 60mo (short for sixty months) at TechCrunch Disrupt in the San Francisco in 2010 to some acclaim. We had hundreds of companies sign up within the first week and had a myriad of meetings with venture firms that eventually led to closing a Series A with Chicago based Lightbank, whose partners were two of the investors behind Groupon.
I moved to Chicago and worked from the Groupon offices, getting to know the Chicago startup scene and another take on the culture of entrepreneurship that was becoming part of my way of life. 60mo grew to a team of ten and our product truly began to revolutionize cashflow forecasting. But eventually we realized that the only way to properly address the market we were trying to serve was to partner with a company in the accounting software space.
In 2012, 60mo was acquired by FreeAgent, the UK's largest web-based accounting provider. Our team became FreeAgent's US product team and was focused on bringing their incredible freelancer accounting and invoicing tools to America's 23m+ contractors and consultants.
Again, I was thrust into a new culture and a different startup scene that, this time, was wholly foreign to me. The way of thinking amongst the Scottish team was something I had never encountered before. Definitively a different way to think about starting companies.
In 2013, it was time to start something new. I had an idea for bringing actual automation to a market I knew very well, expense management. But not just the "faux" automation that the market had seemed to accept to date, but real machine learning driven by big data gathered from credit cards, calendars, email, and more.
After developing a core expense reporting product, ExpenseBot was accepted into the Techstars Boulder program. This afforded an opportunity to get to know the Denver/Boulder startup scene and meet dozens of smart founders and investors.
We were lucky enough to assemble a great team of investors and grow the team throughout 2016. We continue to be the most innovative player in the expense tracking space.
Mentoring & Advocacy
I greatly enjoy working with other entrepreneurs to refine their ideas and develop their products. I've been lucky enough to help numerous companies in Cleveland and elsewhere, including companies attending Techstars, 500 Startups, Bizdom, and LaunchHouse accelerators.
Additionally, I manage a non-profit founder advocacy group for Cleveland startups called StartInCLE.
StartInCLE is a grassroots organization of Northeast Ohio startup founders working to advance our startup culture, concentrate density of founders, and connect talent to early stage businesses in our region. StartInCLE provides events, platforms, tools, and resources to build a stronger community from the ground up, and make the local startup ecosystem more successful.
Since getting started in August of 2017, we have supported local founders by hosting more than forty events and taken on initiatives engaging more than 600 members of our region’s startup community. Here are just a few of the events and initiatives most active:
Bounce Innovation Hub
I also recently led Bounce's accelerator program assisting Northeast Ohio early stage startups with a software component in developing an MVP. I built the curriculum and led the first program for 5 startups in 2019. Mentoring and assisting the portfolio companies across their various stages of product and customer development was a fund and rewarding challenge!
Does your startup need help?
Let’s work together to take your company to the next level!