The Mucker Network consists of more than 200 of the best, brightest, and most generous entrepreneurs, executives, and investors from Southern California and Silicon Valley. They have all graciously volunteered to mentor and advise Mucker entrepreneurs by offering their time, experience, and networks. In addition to spending time one-on-one with founders, they also hold office hours, roundtable discussions, and instructional sessions at Mucker’s office in Santa Monica.
Raulee Marcus Former CMO, Green Dot
Raulee Marcus is an successful entrepreneur and marketing expert specialized in helping companies with more cost effective programs. She has proven ability to help early stage companies position themselves to raise capital and to provide later stage companies with opportunities enhancement and execution. She is currently the specialist at Pinnacle Management, and was previously the CMO of Green Dot. Prior to Green Dot, she held various executive positions, including CEO of Spongeables, CEO and President of Obagi Medical Products, and Group Vice President of Jafra Cosmetics. Raulee holds an MBA in Marketing from Thunderbird School of Global Management and an AMP in Business from Harvard Business School.
Risto Lähdesmäki Founder & CEO, Idean
Risto Lähdesmäki is a Founder and CEO of Idean Inc., one of the leading UX design companies in the world. His passion is to create world-changing user experiences and make design driven business impact for his clients. Since 1999 Risto has been working with a huge number of UX projects around the world for major leading consumer and b-to-b brands - from mobile to ubiquitous screens. He has a special talent for identifying business opportunities for his client companies - and he is somewhat water-resistant for a phrase: "this is not possible to do". Luckily he is surrounded by a group of other similar mindsets at Idean. Currently Risto is growing Idean business in the US and as a Chairman of the company he oversees global business development. Risto is an designer and entrepreneur by heart and has worked with Start-ups all his professional career.
Ro Choy Chief Business Officer, Luxe Valet
Ro is currently the Chief Business Officer at Luxe Valet. He was previously the VP of Business Development, Marketing and Ad Sales at BitTorrent. He was also formerly the COO of Formspring. Choy is a veteran Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and father of two. Prior to joining Formspring, he was the CEO of PeerPong, a site that identifies the best people on the Web to answer any question, using its “PeerRank Index”. Formerly, he was Director of Parts & Accessories at eBay and Chief Revenue Officer at RockYou.
Rob Chesney COO, Trunk Club
Rob is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Trunk Club. He was previously an EIR in Greylock Partners’ Silicon Valley office. Prior to joining Greylock Rob was a Vice President at eBay, having worked at the leading ecommerce company for eight years. Most recently he ran the Company’s Buyer Experience team where he oversaw the Company’s largest business verticals including fashion, technology, media, collectibles and home. These verticals represent more than half of eBay’s $2 billion North America business. Prior to running eBay’s Buyer Experience team Rob was VP and GM of eBay Motors, which he joined shortly after it launched in 2001. Rob graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and earned his bachelor’s in economics at McGill University. Rob was born and raised in Toronto.
Rob Feinstein VP Product, OutboundEngine
Rob Feinstein is a longtime Product and General Management executive with a diverse background in online marketing and advertising, SaaS and Web-based services. He currently serves as VP Product at OutboundEngine.
Prior to OutboundEngine, Rob was VP Software at ReachLocal. He led global product management and product marketing for ReachEdge, a SaaS marketing automation and lead management solution for SMBs. Previously at ReachLocal, Rob was VP Media and Web Presence Products, where he led global product management for online marketing solutions including Search & Display Advertising, Websites, SEO and Social Media.
Before ReachLocal, Rob was VP and General Manager of Business.com, an online business-to-business directory and pay-per-click advertising network. While there, Rob was named to B-to-B magazine’s Who’s Who list of the nation’s top 100 business-to-business marketing “thought leaders and movers and shakers” for three consecutive years (2008-2010).
Rob was VP and General Manager of MonsterTRAK, the college recruiting specialty division of Monster.com. He has also held senior management positions at EarthLink, CareerPath, GeoCities, and the Los Angeles Times.
Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Brown University, a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University, and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
Rob Go Co-Founder & Partner, NextView Ventures
Rob is a co-founder of NextView Ventures and has dedicated his career as an investor and operator to internet-enabled innovation. He tries to spend as much time as possible working with entrepreneurs and investing in startups that solve important problems for everyday people. Previously, Rob was a venture capitalist at Spark Capital, a leading venture firm focused on the intersection of media, technology, and entertainment. In this role, he was deeply involved in launching and coordinating Start@Spark, a seed stage investment program targeted at early- stage companies in the New York and Boston areas. Before joining Spark Capital, Rob held product roles at Ebay, and was the North America Business Unit owner for "Finding". In this role, he helped to launch over 20 products that significantly enhanced Ebay's search, browse, and merchandising capabilities. Rob began his career at The Parthenon Group, a boutique strategy consulting firm. He was a member of the firm's Private Equity practice, and focused on the consumer and retail industries. Additionally, he has held product management roles at Fidelity Investments, BzzAgent, and helped to found Letslink.jp, one of the first social networking sites outside of the United States. Rob holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University. He is also a founding member of Highrock Church in Brookline, MA and serves on the organization’s board. He lives in Arlington, MA with his wife and daughter.
Rob Hayes Managing Partner, First Round Capital
Rob has been a partner at First Round Capital since 2006. There he has led investments in companies such as Uber, Mint.com (acquired by Intuit), Planet Labs, Eero, TaskRabbit, and Square. Rob came to First Round Capital from Omidyar Network where he was their first venture investor. He led most of Omidyar Network's initial venture capital deals and later built and ran the technology investing group. Prior to joining Omidyar Network in 2004, Rob was at Palm where he started up their corporate venture fund. While in that role he also managed the strategy effort around Palm OS that led to the spinout of PalmSource. Rob started at Palm as product manager for the initial device-independent releases of Palm OS. During this time, Rob was responsible for the versions of Palm OS on dozens of devices including the initial Treo products. Rob previously spearheaded complex, system-level product development efforts at companies such as Geoworks and Go Corp where he focused on building products for the Japanese market. He began his career with the Japan External Trade Organization, studying international trade issues and building relationships between US and Japanese businesses, at a time when trade friction between the two countries was at its peak.
Rob Lissner Partner, IROCKE
Rob is currently a Partner at IROCKE, the #1 source for live streaming music. Previously he joined Facebook in February of 2006 as its first Los Angeles-based salesperson. His focus was to develop studio partnerships, evangelize the value of social and demonstrate how the Facebook platform can be leveraged to drive efficiency, box office, and ratings. After spending two years at Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters, Rob returned to Los Angeles in April of 2009 to help build and manage Facebook’s Southwest sales team. For the next two years, he developed a first-class team working with the region’s top 50 partners including Paramount, Sony, Toyota, and Nestle. In July of 2011, Rob resigned from Facebook to explore other opportunities and is currently working with a number of startup companies as an investor and advisor. Prior to Facebook, Rob worked in the sales organization at Yahoo! from 1998-2006 in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles markets.
Robyn Siers Founder and CEO, Shift52, LLC
Robyn Siers has over sixteen years of legal, marketing and business development experience with a proven track record in start-up law, high tech solution marketing and partnership development. She is currently the founder and CEO of Shift52, LLC, and was previously an associate at Cooley LLP for the past 7 years. Prior to Cooley, she was the director of usability at Marsh & McLennan, and was the director of marketing at insuranceOrder.com before that. Robyn is a UC Berkeley graduate.
Ron D. Nydam Sr. Partnership Manager, Apple App Store
Ron D. Nydam is a seasoned veteran of the global entertainment technology industry. He is currently the Senior Partnership Manager of Media Entertainment at Apple, Inc., where he guides product roadmaps, strategies, and technical requirements in the entertainment category for iOS based applications, and previously held the position as the Senior Partnership Manager of Photo and Video. Before Apple, he was a marketing consultant at PSDI, and was the product manager of Premiere Pro prior to that. Ron holds a BS degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University, Keller Business School.
Rosabel Tao Senior Strategist, SeriesC
Rosabel Tao is an accomplished corporate communications strategist with two decades of experience. Drawing from her diverse background, Rosabel is an expert in creating integrated, multi-disciplinary communications programs and building communications organizations from the ground up. Top-level executives rely on her advice to position their company’s brand, build their reputation, launch companies and products, as well as manage the full range of public relations programs. Rosabel has held numerous senior communications positions in-house, on the agency-side as well as a consultant, working with a broad portfolio of companies in a full range of growth stages – from global brands to start-ups. These include CBS Interactive, POPSUGAR, MySpace, eHarmony, Science, MuckerLab, uSamp, Bank of America, Microsoft, HP, Levi Strauss, Safeway and Spot Runner. She has also worked for several of the world’s largest public relations agencies, including Weber Shandwick, Fleishman-Hillard and GolinHarris. This combination of experiences has given her the capability to quickly assess a company’s needs, determine how it can achieve its short- and long-term communications goals and develop a realistic plan that takes into account its assets, resources and budget. Rosabel has established a strong reputation as a critical resource and advocate to businesses, delivering counsel that is forward-thinking, strategic, insightful, honest and direct. She has the ability to guide executives through business decisions that may impact the brand and its stakeholders, highlight both the benefits and consequences of various actions, and recommend the most advantageous plan. She then translates the strategy into an effective tactical plan and executes it seamlessly, swiftly and efficiently. One CEO said, “Rosabel helps companies undergoing change, propelling them to emerge more closely aligned with where they want to be and then showing them how to get there.”
Roshanna has been an ecommerce and digital strategy professional for over 10 years. With experience in gaming, music, sports, and fashion/apparel, Roshanna has created and executed strategies that maximize brand and business for brands. She has worked on content initiatives at Yahoo! and Fox Digital Media properties before moving into the commerce space, where she co-led partnership marketing and retention for Gilt Groupe. Ecommerce consulting came next, for brands such as American Express, Splendid, Ella Moss, and J Brand, where she focused primarily on CRM and retention strategies to diversify and increase revenue. Most recently, she ran eCommerce and Digital Strategy for J Brand Jeans, focusing on all parts of the business, including demand driving, business operations, technology and innovation, and fulfillment. She holds a B.S. from Georgetown University in Foreign Language Study, and a J.D./M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University’s Fully Employed Program.
Roy Laughlin Former GM Clear Channel Los Angeles
Roy Laughlin is most known as the GM of KIIS FM for a decade+ in his 30s under Gannet, then Jacor & Clear Channel. Laughlin lead KIIS FM to the #1 billing radio station in the US for 9 years and as Market Manager of the CCLA 8 stations, delivered record billing of $300mill annually. Laughlin optimized Rick Dees for a decade as well as hired Ryan Seacrest to team with his wife Ellen K to re-launch KIIS FM in February '04. KIIS FM returned to #1 in the Spring of 2005 as Laughlin excited to pursue station ownership.
Laughlin and his brother launched GAP Broadcasting in 2006 which purchased 52 stations from Clear Channel in Texas for $139M (GAP later merged into TownSquare Media). Laughlin continues as an equity partner in Rincon Broadcasting which he co-founded with Sr. Partner John Hearne through the purchase of the Santa Barbara Clear Channel Cluster in 2006. Laughlin also re-launched the Steve Harvey Radio Show in LA Radio while upgrading the signal at 93.5 KDAY / 93.5 KDAI. Laughlin brokered the sale of move-in Riverside signal 96.1 KWIE to Liberman Broadcasting in 2009 for $25M. Hearne and Laughlin later teamed again to purchase an additional FM move-in to the Riverside/San Bernardino market in 2010.
Ryan Spoon Senior Vice President of Product Development, ESPN
Ryan Spoon was named Senior Vice President, Product Development in July 2012. In this role, he is responsible for digital product development across all screens, including ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile, WatchESPN, ESPN3, Fantasy, and Social Media. Prior to ESPN, Spoon was a venture capitalist at Polaris Venture Partners and specialized in early-stage consumer internet, social media and e-commerce investments. At Polaris, Spoon was a director or observer at companies like WordPress, ShoeDazzle, LOLapps, ReadyForZero, Wantful, Formspring, Offline Labs, and Movity (acquired by Trulia). Additionally, Spoon was responsible for leading Dogpatch Labs, an early-stage incubator that was home to companies like Instagram, TaskRabbit, TurnTable.fm, LOLapps, Recurly and Shareaholic. Previously, Spoon served as Vice President, Marketing and Business Development for Widgetbox (now Flite) – a platform for brands and publishers to create dynamic, shareable ad units. Prior to that, Spoon spent 2003-2007 at eBay Inc focused on internet marketing, user acquisition and social products – most recently, he launched and managed eBay’s US Classifieds business. As a collegiate swimmer for Duke University, Spoon founded beRecruited, an online recruiting platform for high school student-athletes and colleges coaches and universities. beRecruited was acquired in 2007 by RVS Ventures.
Ryan Steelberg President & Co-Founder, Veritone, Inc.
Ryan Steelberg brings nearly 20 years of executive management experience in technology, marketing, business development and sales. He is considered one of the foremost experts in digital and online advertising. Since 1996, he and his brother Chad have raised more than $180 million in equity financing, managed 400+ employees and created in excess of $3.0 billion in shareholder value, through the successful founding, management, and liquidation of three industry impactful companies. In 2002, the Steelbergs founded dMarc Broadcasting, growing to service more than 4,600 US radio stations, bridging and integrating online and broadcast advertising systems. dMarc Broadcasting was acquired by Google, Inc. in February of 2006 for $1.238 billion in cash and performance incentives. Prior to dMarc, the Steelbergs co-founded AdForce in 1995, formerly the world's largest centralized, independent ad-serving and management solution, and 2CAN Media (AdSmart), which grew to become the third largest Internet advertising sales organization. As the primary competitor to DoubleClick, AdForce (formerly traded on NASDAQ as ADFC) controlled more than 50% of the online ad-management market in the US, through such clients as Netscape, GeoCities, AOL and Goto.com, the precursor to Overture Services (later purchased by Yahoo!). AdForce was acquired by CMGi in 1999 for more than $500 million. 2CAN was sold to CMGi in 1999 for over $50 million. Named by the Orange County Business Journal as two of the county's "50 Most Influential Businesspeople," Ryan and Chad were finalists for Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2000. In 2006, Ryan and Chad Steelberg were named two of the "50 Most Powerful People in Radio," by Radio Ink Magazine. Most recently, Ryan was named a recipient of the 2009 Sports Business Journal's Forty under 40 Awards.
Saar Gur General Partner, Charles River Ventures
Saar is a General Partner at Charles River Ventures (CRV) and has been named one of the top 8 up and coming Venture Capitalists by Forbes, and a top 10 VC under the age of thirty-six by Venture Capital Journal. Saar loves products that consumers and customers LOVE (over the moon LOVE), and is passionate about helping his companies succeed. Saar has been involved in over 20 acquisitions in the past few years by firms such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Disney, Warner Bros., Rakuten and Intuit. Prior to CRV, Saar was a co-founder of BrightRoll, a leading video ad platform acquired by Yahoo for $640m in cash. He has a Stanford MBA, a biochem degree from University of Wisconsin and loves to kitesurf.
Sam Wick Executive Vice President & GM Enterprise, Maker Studios
Sam has over 20 years of experience in marketing, business development, and relationship management in the traditional media, technology, and publishing industries. He is a highly effective, executive-level professional whose accomplishments include building and growing start-up companies and assisting established corporations in bridging traditional and new media business opportunities. Sam’s professional accomplishments include high-level contributions in creative development, trend forecasting, strategic alliances, product development, project management, market research, and business development. He has proven ability to develop, extend, and leverage a brand both online and offline; to identify, sign, and market talent from inception to platinum level; and to successfully develop a broad range of products from inception to release. In addition, his experience includes traditional and non-traditional marketing methods, content aggregation and delivery, niche data collection and profiling, customer and client profiling, and viral campaign implementation strategy. He also has strong relationships with major, independent record companies and major technology companies at executive levels.
Samit Varma Partner, Anthem Venture Partners
Samit Varma is a Partner at Anthem Venture Partners. He started with Anthem as an Associate in 2003. Prior to this, he worked at Anthem Portfolio company, Audyssey Labs in conjunction with the first round of funding and worked there for over three years as the Vice President of Operations. He also managed finance and coordinated three rounds of venture and debt financing. He was instrumental in making Audyssey Labs, a leading supplier of audio technologies to consumer electronic, automotive, and professional sound companies. He worked directly with the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturers in Japan, Korea, and the United States and managed complex off shore manufacturing in China and Taiwan. He serves as Director of Audyssey, Viewdle, Beachmint, and AdventureLink. Mr. Varma serves as a Board Observer at Siperian, Cynvenio and Wavestream Corporation. He serves as Director of Janrain, Inc. Previously, he spent seven years as a Nuclear Submarine Officer. He completed five successful patrols on the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739). While on submarine, he led various divisions including Engineering, Weapons, Sonar, and Navigation. After his sea duty, he taught Leadership and Management and Systems Engineering in the ROTC program at USC. He was awarded the Junior Officer of the Year in 2003. He holds an M.B.A. from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where he concentrated on Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Commercialization. Samit completed an one year Naval Nuclear Power Training Program at Charleston. He also received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Sandy Grushow CEO, Phase 2 Media
Sandy Grushow is one of a rare breed of senior entertainment executives who has successfully married his vast experience in traditional media with the explosive world of digital media and technology. Grushow achieved creative, financial, and strategic leadership success as chairman of Fox’s broadcast network and television studio, where his tenure saw the debut of the “American Idol” juggernaut along with major hits such as “24,” ”House,” ”Malcolm in the Middle,” and “The OC.”
Today, Grushow is the CEO of Phase 2 Media, a company comprised of both a strategic advisory practice and a television and digital production division. As CEO, Grushow applies his 25 years of experience running two entertainment businesses with revenues in excess of a billion dollars to guide Phase 2 Media in serving its clients’ strategic business needs, as well as in developing world-class entertainment programming.
Phase 2 Media’s advisory practice works primarily with early stage companies in the digital media and technology spaces, including OTT content providers, data and analytics platforms,mobile and PC-based videogames, e-commerce, ad tech, and digital content production. Companies currently engaged with Phase 2 Media’s advisory practice include Shareability,FanBread,BoxFish,DramaFever, Qello, 3BlackDot, Nix Hydra Games, Tradesy, Cinema6, Vertical Mass, Pathmatics,GoWatchit, Yottio, Two Bit Circus, Card.com, ProductionBeast, Cupcake Digital, SongLily and Tubi-TV. Phase 2 Media’s television and digital production division, which taps Grushow’s keen understanding of content creation and storytelling, has a number of series in active development.
Grushow currently serves as a board member for The Weather Company, the parent company of The Weather Channel and Weather.com.
Sanjay Sharma President & COO, All Def Digital
Sanjay is currently the President and Chief Operating Officer of All Def Digital. Previously he oversaw strategy, business development, legal affairs, and PR/corporate communications for Machinima, Inc., the world's largest online video brand for gamers, with over 90m unique monthly viewers. A seasoned internet/media executive, Sharma came to Machinima from TV advertising technology startup, Spot Runner, where he was an early employee and the first senior member of the company's Business Development and Revenue teams. Prior to Spot Runner, Sharma was an attorney in business and legal affairs at Warner Bros. Pictures. He began his career clerking on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then practicing IP, technology, and antitrust law with the international law firm Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe. Sharma graduated from Columbia University, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in History and a focus in Film. He earned his JD with distinction from Stanford Law School.