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.
Paul Sri VP of Engineering at ZestFinance
Paul Sri is the head of engineering at ZestFinance, a financial technology company that uses machine learning and data science to help companies make more accurate financial decisions. Paul leads the software engineering, test engineering, DevOps, and IT teams. With more than 18 years of technology industry experience, Paul is responsible for managing and directing all engineering programs, product design and quality assurance at ZestFinance.
Before Zest, Paul held various engineering management positions at Overture Services, Yahoo! Search Marketing, YP Holdings (formerly AT&T Interactive) and Chegg, building platforms ranging from distributed data stores for ad serving to machine learning and graph database-backed recommendation platforms. Paul received his B.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Pete Distad VP Product Marketing, Apple
Pete Distad is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Apple. Previously he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Distribution for Hulu, LLC. He was responsible for leading Hulu's efforts in customer acquisition and retention, distribution and marketing partnerships, and content and brand marketing. Prior to joining Hulu, he was a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company where he specialized in sales and channel management, go-to-market, online media strategy, marketing effectiveness and partnership/alliance development. Before McKinsey & Company, he was Vice President of consulting services for Calence (now Insight). Prior to Calence, he was a consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) where he focused on helping clients improve their business processes using technology solutions. Mr. Distad graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin where he earned his bachelor of business administration, in management information systems with a minor in computer science.
Peter Cowen Sutton Capital
Peter Cowen is a technology investment banker and a mentor and angel investor in tech-enabled outsourced companies. Peter is the founder of Sutton Capital, a Los-Angeles based technology investment bank that advises on mergers, acquisitions and large capital raises. He has led dozens of deals totaling over $500 million in value. Peter has been an angel in over 50 early stage deals and an LP in a half dozen seed VC funds. His investments include MindBody (NSDQ: MB), Style Haul (sold to Bertelsmann), Cognition (sold to Nuance NSDQ: NUAN), Pulse Biosciences (NSDQ: PLSE), Winc, ESalon, and Joany. He also currently serves on the board of 3 venture-backed firms: Leaseville, 17Hats and ShipHawk. Peter founded the largest annual SoCal tech conference focused on educating entrepreneurs in understanding deep customer engagement called the Recurring Revenue Conference, with over 600 attendees in 2018. He has also been on the UCLA Anderson faculty for the past 10 years teaching the fully-employed and executive MBAs. Previously, Peter co-founded three companies that were sold to public companies or a strategic partner: one in computer networks, one in biometrics and one in logistics optimization. Peter has an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Peter Lee Managing Partner, Baroda Ventures
Peter Lee is a Managing Partner at Baroda Ventures, a Los Angeles based venture capital firm focused on seed investments (recent investments include Fab.com, Steelhouse, and GraphEffect). Peter was previously an investor at Clearstone Ventures and Prism Ventures. Peter worked in product management and engineering development at two venture backed startups, Goldpocket and Virtual Ink - both of which were acquired. Earlier, Peter was a manager with McKinsey, where he focused on the digital media, consumer electronics, and internet industries. Peter earned his BS and MS in engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Peter Werner Partner, Cooley
Peter is a partner at the law firm Cooley LLP. Peter's practice primarily focuses on the representation of technology companies and investors. He regularly assists clients with financings and mergers and acquisitions, in addition to entity formation, organization and governance matters, securities transactions, and SEC and stock exchange compliance and reporting. Peter's representative clients include AngelList, Brand.net, Bringify, CareInnovations, Flotype, ImagineH20, Ingenuity Systems, InsideTrack, Micromidas, Opera Software, Plate, salesforce.com, SeamlessReceipts, ShopSanity, Skyrockit, Syndero, TriNet, Yelp! and Zynga. Investors Peter has recently represented include Anthos Capital, Bain Ventures, El Dorado Ventures, Founders Fund, General Catalyst Partners, Nanodimension, NEA, Oxantium Ventures, Serious Change, Sverica International and Sutter Hill Ventures. Peter received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Law and Economics Fellow, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. Peter serves on the board of directors of the Full Circle Fund, a non-profit engaged philanthropy organization.
Phil Ressler President & CEO, Big Stage Entertainment
Phil Ressler is a growth-oriented executive leader for technology & media, with over 30 years working with entrepreneurial founders to build and scale their companies. Phil’s experience has been accumulated across a broad array of sectors, including consumer electronics, advertising, enterprise software, internet, venture capital, manufacturing and digital media. As a CEO, strategic, or operating advisor, Phil draws on his prior career as a visionary marketing professional able to spike dramatic, sustainable growth applying creative market-making, product and corporate strategies, with disciplined and imaginative execution in private and public companies. Having started his career before tablets, social networks and smartphones; before the internet was a public utility and before cell phones or PCs; before FAX machines were common and when offices still had typewriters, Phil has participated in the full arc of digital technology innovation markets that led to today’s always-connected, always-collaborative, always-on world. His operating career in marketing, venture capital and executive management has resulted in cumulative new products demand totaling nearly $1B in addition to growth of established product sales in raw startups, scaling entrepreneurial companies, as well as substantial private and public firms, ranging from pre-revenue to $1B annual sales.
Randy Adams Founder, Funny or Die / BoD Yahoo
Randy Adams is an American serial entrepreneur funded by Sequoia Capital in Menlo Park, California in the Silicon Valley, and a founder of eleven venture capital backed companies including Will Ferrell's popular comedy site, Funny or Die, and Marlon Wayans' comedy site What The Funny, where he is currently CEO. His former positions include software architect at NeXT Inc., CEO, Emerald City Software, Director of Engineering at Adobe Systems, CEO of Appsoft, Inc., CEO of the Internet Shopping Network, CEO of Navitel, Inc., CEO of NewsNet, CEO of AuctionDrop, Inc., CEO of Searchme, and member of the board of directors at Yahoo. Randy is an MIT graduate with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering.
Ranjith Kumaran Founder and (former) CEO, Hightail and PunchTab
Ranjith is a founder and CEO who has started two venture-backed SaaS companies focused on building great product experiences with long-lasting appeal.
He co-founded Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt), a simple way to send large files for enterprises and prosumers. The service grew into a service used by over 45 million people and 150,000 companies worldwide. In 2014 Ranjith rejoined the company as CEO to launch Hightail Spaces, a collaboration suite for marketers and creative professionals. Hightail was acquired by OpenText in 2018 and forms the core of the company's SaaS file-sharing and collaboration offerings.
Ranjith also founded and was CEO of PunchTab, an omni-channel consumer engagement platform for retailers and CPG brands. PunchTab powered online and in-store loyalty programs and engagement campaigns for brands including Nestle, Panera Bread, and The Yankee Candle Company. PunchTab was acquired by Walmart Labs in 2015.
Ranjith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from McGill University. He is also a frequent adviser and board member of other scrappy Silicon Valley-based technology companies going after exciting markets.
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.
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.