Blaine is the founder of StudyMode, a self-funded and internationalized content-sharing platform for students that has millions of daily active users from around the world. Over a sixteen year period, he built StudyMode from a dorm room project to a 70-person team based in Los Angeles and Bangalore, India. He handed over the CEO role in December 2015, and is now focused on investing in and mentoring kind and ambitious founders. He’s also the chairman of Liberty in North Korea, a nonprofit that helps rescue and resettle North Korean refugees.
At the start of his career Vince Thompson wrote screenplays in Hollywood where he optioned work and wrote for studios including Warner Brothers. Frustrated with the pace of feature film development, he left for a career in television where we quickly rose to lead local sales for the ABC TV station in Santa Barbara. In his sales management role he also helped launch a Fox affiliate in that market.
Fascinated with the Internet, he began coursework on Internet technology in 1995 at UCSB, worked on some startup teams and then joined ThirdAge Media in San Francisco in 1998. Later that year he year he joined AOL, pre-Netscape and Time Warner, to lead ad sales in the West. Vince spent 7 years at AOL where he helped launch AOL’s first sales training and leadership organization as AOL’s Vice President of Capability. He finished his AOL career as Regional Vice President of AOL Media Networks where he built AOL’s Los Angeles office into a marketing powerhouse creating advertising and branded entertainment solutions for Automakers, Entertainment Companies and other National Marketers.
In the fall of 2005 Vince joined Facebook when the company had less that 25 employees to launch their national sales organization. It was there that Middleshift’s mission began to gain clarity. In the spring of 2006 Middleshift was born with Napster and Break.com as the company’s first clients. The firm has since grown and become a recognized force in the startup market, expanding into consulting and training for major media companies and representing world-class original content.
Vince holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business.
Tyler Goldman is the North American CEO of Deezer and is responsible for the strategic growth and direction of Deezer in the US. He has more than 20 years of experience launching and leading innovative entertainment and technology companies.
Prior to Deezer, Tyler was the founder and chief executive of Buzz Media, the largest digital publisher of pop culture content in the U.S., overseeing websites such as Buzznet, Celebuzz, Go Fug Yourself and KimKardashian.com.
Tyler also founded Movielink—a joint venture owned by Warner Bros. Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM for the digital distribution of video content before it was sold to Blockbuster. Prior to that he founded Broadband Sports Inc., an Internet sports site considered a pioneer in the digital sports space.
A fifth-generation San Franciscan, Tyler went to Dartmouth College, Kellogg Business School at Northwestern and Northwestern Law School, eventually working as a lawyer in London, Brussels and Palo Alto.
Tracy Randall is currently a business advisor providing help for technology start ups. She was previously a consultant at Target, and was the CEO and co-founder of Cooking.com prior to that. Tracy is skilled in E-commerce, strategic partnerships, and Business Development. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from university of illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Tony Uphoff is CEO and Director of Business.com Media, Inc. Mr. Uphoff, a leader in the business information and media industry for over 20 years, was most recently CEO of UBM TechWeb, a provider of digital media, live event and marketing services.
He was also previously the founding CEO of Beliefnet.com, President of VNU Media’s Entertainment Group, and Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter and InformationWeek. Mr. Uphoff was named “Folio Forty C-Level Visionary” by Folio Magazine, a Top 100 business media exec by B2B Magazine and a “Top Media Innovator” by Mins B2B in 2009.
Susan Paley is a 15+ year veteran in consumer technology and the driving force behind some of the most innovative consumer products and embedded solutions in the audio/digital audio space. In her most recent role Susan was the first employee and CEO of Beats By Dre, chartered with building the business from the ground up. She successfully guided all aspects of the company’s unparalleled growth from both a strategic and operational aspect, making it the #1 headphone globally and the fastest growing brand in CE. She created “Beats Audio”, a proprietary audio enhancement technology now deployed in millions of mobile phones, automobiles and PCs through licensing partnerships with HTC, Chrysler/Fiat, VW, Hyundai and HP respectively. Susan led the investment deal team that resulted in a 300M+ investment by HTC. She then moved into a General Manager/EVP Product Development role where she was responsible for building and leading engineering and product management teams to create, manage and execute the Beats product portfolio. Paley joined Beats Electronics from Harman International Group where she was responsible for identifying and developing new markets for the global brands across the Harman portfolio. For JBL, she created a new line of lifestyle products linked to a strategic partnership with Quiksilver Inc., one of the largest global youth lifestyle brands driving $40M of annualized growth. Paley was responsible for all aspects of the business from inception through launch including the business plan, product portfolio development, manufacturing, channel distribution strategy, marketing and PR.
Currently, Paley is pioneering a health and wellness product in the wearable space with IdeaLab. Additionally, she operates as a business strategist for early stage ventures and global brands that are focused on building entirely new businesses or creating new opportunities within existing businesses.
Sunil spent 11 years at The Walt Disney Company, most recently as GM Mobile and VP Digital Distribution, overseeing mobile activities globally. During his Disney career, Sunil managed internal and external studios and led the creation of dozens of products. He began his career as a management consultant at Ernst & Young. He has a B.A. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Accounting from the University of Georgia, and an M.B.A. from University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Prior to founding ChoiceStream, Steve Johnson was Vice President of America Online’s Software and Technology Development division. While at AOL, Mr. Johnson led the development of AOL 4.0, You’ve Got Pictures™, as well as all telephony and broadcast products. At AOL, he was also responsible for media technology research, development, and acquisition. In this role, he served as principal technology negotiator in AOL’s 1998 acquisition of Netscape and was the technology lead on the transition team of Netscape into AOL and the formation of the Sun-AOL iPlanet strategic alliance. In 1991, Steve was the founder and co-CEO of Johnson-Grace Company, a company specializing in image, sound and video compression technology, which was purchased by America Online, Inc. in 1996. He holds a US patent, issued in 1999, for the image compression technology currently used on the America Online service. Steve graduated from the University of Southern California in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and received a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1985, and continued in Harvard’s doctoral program in Economics and Philosophy until 1990.
Steven Chang co-founded Clearlake Capital Group in 2006. Prior to co-founding Clearlake, He was a Partner and member of the investment committee at Tennenbaum Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on distressed and other special situations investments. Previously, He was a Principal at Barnard & Co., a private equity investment group focused in the communications, consumer, healthcare and technology sectors. Before joining Barnard, he worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he was an investment analyst in proprietary special situations investing and an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Healthcare Groups. Steve currently serves as a director of CompuDyne Corporation, Entelos, and Solutionary. He has previously served as a director of public and private companies, including most recently Lawson Software, Inc., Purple Communications, Celerity, Inc., Intentia International AB, ITC^Deltacom, Inc., Dialogic Corporation, Enterasys Networks, Inc. and Online Resources Corporation. Steve received both a B.S. and an M.S. in Biological Sciences and an A.B. with Distinction in Quantitative Economics from Stanford University.
Stephanie Grossman is a leader at the intersection of media and technology. She is a senior operating executive with a unique blend of experience, leadership skills and ability driving strategic initiatives, growth and revenue across platforms. Knowledgeable and experienced in digital media – mobile, social, video, advertising technology & TV, Stephanie currently serves as Senior Vice President at Pathmatics; her previous roles include Vice President, Global Revenue & Strategic Partnerships for Demand Media, Founder & CEO of Sidebar and executive positions Scripps Networks Interactive and Warner Bros. She holds a degree in Political Science from the University California, Los Angeles.
Stephanie Arnold is currently the User Experience Designer at Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest health plans that serves more than 10 million members. In 2012 she co-founded Little Bean Sprout, and is currently serving as its CPO. She was the VP of Product at Tapatalk from 2013 to 2014, and has previously served at AT&T Interactive for five years, holding various roles such as Senior Usability Engineer, Human Factors Director, and Executive Director of User Experience Design. Stephanie graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and lateR obtained her MA in Human Factors Psychology from California State University-Northridge.