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.
Steve Chang Partner, Clearlake Capital Group
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.
Steve Johnson CEO, Choicestream
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.
Sunil Gunderia SVP Strategy, Age of Learning (ABCmouse.com)
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.
Susan Kim CEO, Plum District
Backed by Kleiner Perkins, General Catalyst, and Comcast Ventures, Plum District is the leading daily deals site for moms. Susan was recently recruited by the Board to accelerate growth and position the company for long-term success. She oversees all areas of the business, including Engineering, Product, Sales, Merchandising, Marketing and Business Development. Prior to Plum District, Susan was the VP of Operations & Finance at Minted.com, which is a social commerce company that crowd-sources graphic designs and content from a global design community and sells those as printed paper products. She helped scale the operations from 10 people to over 400 people. At Google, Susan was Head of Operations at Google Commerce where she led a team of 200 people responsible for extracting customer insights to support 500,000+ merchants and hundreds of millions of end-users across Google Product Search, Google Wallet, and Google Offers. At eBay, Susan held various leadership roles such as being the Chief of Staff for the GM of eBay Marketplaces, Group Product Manager for Consumer Electronics, and a Senior Manager for Buyer Product Marketing. For iHome.com (sold to retailer Linens ‘N Things in 2000), she was Director of Marketing and Business Development. Susan began her career at Booz Allen Hamilton. Susan received her BA from Harvard University and her MBA from Harvard Business School.
Susan Paley Former GM & EVP Product Development, Beats by Dre
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.
Thomas McInerney Angel Investor
Thomas McInerney is currently focused on angel investing and advising early stage companies. Tom has a computer science background and began his career as an Engineer / Scientist at Apple’s World Wide Research and Development Group in Cupertino California. Tom later worked for Sony Information Technologies of America, helping to build and design the VAIO line of computers when that group was created. Tom left Sony to become an entrepreneur, starting a search engine for Usenet, and later one of the first user generated video sharing sites, ShareYourWorld. Tom was an advisor to MochiMedia and is currently an advisor to Klout and a mentor at i/oVentures in San Francisco. He is a member of the National Council for the WorldWildlifeFund and splits his time between Santa Monica and San Francisco.
Thomas Swalla President, StudyMode
Thomas is currently the President of StudyMode. StudyMode is building the world’s largest study group by enabling a community of students to share and collaborate around high quality study materials. Tom was previously the COO of LA-based Savings.com. Prior to Savings.com he was with Lagovent Ventures in Los Angeles where he evaluated consumer internet businesses as an EIR. Prior to Lagovent Ventures, Swalla was the President at Knowledge Adventure, the leading venture-backed developer and publisher of children's gaming content, where he was responsible for launching and managing all online business initiatives for the company. He was also the VP of Business Development and Strategy for RazorGator.
Todd Gitlin Managing Partner & Founder, Safire Partners
Todd Gitlin is the Managing Partner & Founder of Safire Partners, the most active executive search firm in Southern California focused on emerging growth companies. Safire was founded in 2006 and takes on 75 searches annually. Todd has been a recognized leader in executive search since 1999 completing over 700 assignments. Todd is a founding member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Council on Industry and Innovation (LAMCII), which has been rebranded to inLA (www.inla.org) with LAEDC. He is also a mentor at local accelerators: MuckerLab, AmplifyLA, Science Inc and LaunchpadLA; and serves on a number of advisory boards. Todd worked at two other executive search firms between 1999 and 2006. In 1995, Todd founded CareerCreations.com, a failed venture-backed software company focused on matching companies and college students. Todd has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from California State University, Chico.
Todd Rosenberg VP, Maker Network, The Walt Disney Company
Combining an entrepreneurial approach with business development and operational expertise, Todd has a 20+ year track record of developing and leading successful ventures within entertainment, technology and advertising companies. Todd has grown revenue, audience and brand visibility through partnerships with the world’s largest corporations, agencies and brands including Walmart, IAC, Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers, YouTube, ESPN, BBC, Pixar and Facebook. As a digital thought leader and executive at The Walt Disney Company, Todd pioneered the company’s content claiming business, creating a multimillion-dollar profit center spanning all Disney’s content divisions. He was promoted in 2016 to oversee the entire Maker Studios Network including partnerships, audience development, platform management and operations. Prior to Disney, Todd spearheaded the development of OpenX’s programmatic advertising exchange. During his time with OpenX, net revenue increased by more than 60x to exceed $100 million, and he transitioned from an operational to a strategic role informing product, sales, legal and marketing. Todd is also active in the Los Angeles start-up community, working with prominent venture funds, accelerators and advising early stage companies. His career began in the music industry as a creative executive for the world’s foremost record labels, discovering and fostering talent, curating film soundtracks and compilations, and licensing music. He is a native Angeleno, with a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an MBA from USC Marshall School of Business.
Tom Andrus Internet Executive
Tom Andrus is a creative internet leader with a history of marrying innovative technology and consumer behavior to create profitable new businesses. Tom is currently on the board of Rhapsody International Inc, and is advising a handful of small companies. Tom has experience building products and business across a wide number of internet niches, including voice and text communication, hosting, commerce, mobile, social networking, content, classifieds, utilities and music. As an executive at both EarthLink and Fox’s MySpace, Tom identified and created new business opportunities and oversaw the creation and launches of over 100 new products. At MySpace Tom was the Head of Product. He was responsible for the product organization, the mobile business unit, and managed a 9-figure revenue-generating partnership. His group launched new products on a near monthly basis ranging from small changes such as unifying the design to large platform-changing products used by tens of millions of users, including MySpace Music, MySpace Mail, MySpace developer platform, MySpace Local, and many flavors of MySpace Mobile. Prior to joining MySpace, Tom spent eight years at EarthLink where he created the company’s product management team, led business development, and created new products and business units including wireless, cable and value-added services. Previously, he led the Norton Utilities product team at Symantec and was one of the founders of Fitnesoft, a health management software company. He is a graduate of Yale University where he played football and ran track. Perhaps his most unique experience was a yearlong sabbatical backpacking around the world with his wife and four children. Together they explored 31 different countries, volunteered with children in Asia and Europe, bonded with each other, and unexpectedly found themselves guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show
Tom Austin Founder, AND 1
As a kid, Tom Austin dreamed of a job where he could wear shorts and play for a living. He didn't make the NBA, but is currently an aspiring screenwriter and the happy, T-shirt wearing founder and managing partner at Sumo Ant( www.sumoant.com; password 'footprints'). By referral only, Sumo Ant helps a handful of (mostly) consumer products companies with branding, product design, sourcing, licensing, sales and visual storytelling. Tom was previously cofounder of the global 'niche' basketball-only brand, AND 1. In his ten years at AND 1, he was instrumental in building the brand, talking trash around the office, setting up sourcing and supplier relationships, managing the design of a host of products and crafting a number of successful market penetration strategies. For instance - in his final five years at AND 1, he led the global footwear business launch from inception to over $220 million in annual sales. Tom has a finance degree from the Wharton school of the University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude), an MA in development psychology (also from UPENN) and an MFA from the University of Southern California (directing and writing).
Tom Weedon Board Member, Hypomania Content
Tom Weedon brings a wealth of account management, customer success, and business development experience from time spent with established organizations (Adobe; Microsoft; The Boston Consulting Group) as well as with successful pioneering digital media organizations (Overture Services - the creator of paid search advertising later purchased by Yahoo! in 2003; the Rubicon Project - innovator in yield optimization and the automation of the buying & selling of digital advertising). Tom's specialty is building & managing high performing Account Management and Customer Success organizations that are focused on the growth and retention of profitable relationships with customers and/or strategic partners, particularly large global media companies (i.e. Viacom, Comcast/ NBCU, Hearst, Redo Globo). Recognized by colleagues for his leadership and results oriented approach that is based on the development of "true partnerships" with customers.
Tomer Kagan Founder & CEO, Quixey
Tomer is a co-founder and the CEO of Quixey, a company dedicated to helping users find and use apps in their everyday lives. Quixey developed a new kind of search, Functional Search, specifically for app discovery. He is also an advisor for Particle Code, GeoTrio and the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Prior to Quixey, Tomer was the founder and CEO of Your Logo Here, a branding solutions provider for companies such as Google and Slide. A lifelong entrepreneur, Tomer founded a custom apparel printing business in college to pay his own tuition while studying Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at UC Santa Cruz. In his spare time, Tomer advises a chapter of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, a leadership organization for Jewish teens.
Tony Uphoff CEO, Business.com
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.
Tony Wootton SVP/Chief Revenue Officer, Verifi Inc. and CAMS LLC
Mr. Wootton joined Verifi in May 2010 as Chief Revenue Officer responsible for Sales, Marketing and Business Development and brings 11 years of digital distribution and alternative payments expertise to the company. Prior to joining Verifi, Mr. Wootton was Senior Vice President of Business Development at RentPayment.com, the largest payment processor for the real estate and utilities industries where he launched and managed two strategic business units, forged distribution partnerships with leading software providers and managed the company’s inside sales team. Previous to this experience, Mr. Wootton was General Manager and Vice President of Payment Solutions and Business Development for Green Dot Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of prepaid debit cards. At Green Dot, Mr. Wootton developed debit card and payment programs with leading brands such as AT&T, DirecTV and Visa. Previous experience includes management positions at Fox Sports Net, NASCAR and Moviso, a mobile ringtone and game company where Mr. Wootton was responsible for launching the first ever retail prepaid mobile content product in the U.S. with partners 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Mr. Wootton earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a BA in Philosophy from UC Santa Barbara.
Tracy Randall Business Advisor, Technology Start Ups
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.
Tyler Goldman CEO North America, Deezer
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.
Vikram Gupta Co-founder, Stealth
Vik has 17 years of experience advising and financing growth businesses as a venture lender, venture capitalist, and board member of privately-held technology businesses. Vik is a currently a co-founder of a company targeting the healthcare vertical. In addition, he is a mentor at MuckerLab, an LA-based incubator/seed fund, and an angel investor in, and/or advisor to, a number of start-ups, including NeuroSave (medical devices for traumatic brain injury), Scripped (online marketplace for freelance written content), Wallaby Financial (financial technology) and Victrio (fraud detection software; acquired by Verint). Vik was previously a venture debt investor with Wellington Financial and Western Technology Investment (WTI); a venture capitalist with JPMorgan Partners, JPMorgan Chase & Co's private equity and venture capital group; and an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston's Leveraged Finance Group. Vik's prior investments and/or board seats have included Aristos Logic (acquired by Adaptec), Catena Networks (acquired by Ciena), Health Guru Media (acquired by Kitara Media), Ikanos (IPO: IKAN), Maranti (acquired by EMC), Scripted (private), Sierra Logic (acquired by Emulex), Symphony Health Solutions (private), Tacit Networks (acquired by Packeteer), Victrio (acquired by Verint), and Wallaby Financial (acquired by Bankrate). Vik received a B.A. with Distinction in Quantitative Economics from The University of California, Berkeley.Vik has 17 years of experience advising and financing growth businesses as a venture lender, venture capitalist, and board member of privately-held technology businesses.Vik is a currently a co-founder of a company targeting the healthcare vertical. In addition, he is a mentor at MuckerLab, an LA-based incubator/seed fund, and an angel investor in, and/or advisor to, a number of start-ups, including NeuroSave (medical devices for traumatic brain injury), Scripped (online marketplace for freelance written content), Wallaby Financial (financial technology) and Victrio (fraud detection software; acquired by Verint). Vik was previously a venture debt investor with Wellington Financial and Western Technology Investment (WTI); a venture capitalist with JPMorgan Partners, JPMorgan Chase & Co's private equity and venture capital group; and an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston's Leveraged Finance Group. Vik's prior investments and/or board seats have included Aristos Logic (acquired by Adaptec), Catena Networks (acquired by Ciena), Health Guru Media (acquired by Kitara Media), Ikanos (IPO: IKAN), Maranti (acquired by EMC), Scripted (private), Sierra Logic (acquired by Emulex), Symphony Health Solutions (private), Tacit Networks (acquired by Packeteer), Victrio (acquired by Verint), and Wallaby Financial (acquired by Bankrate).Vik received a B.A. with Distinction in Quantitative Economics from The University of California, Berkeley.
Vince Thompson Middleshift Marketing; Former VP Sales at Facebook
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.
Warren Woo Partner, Breakaway Capital
Warren Woo is a Founder and Managing General Partner of Breakaway Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment fund founded in 2014 focused on direct lending and structured equity investments in the lower middle market. Warren was a Founding Partner and Managing Director of Moelis and Company. Prior to Moelis, he was at UBS Investment Bank where he was a Vice Chairman, member of the Board of Directors, member of the Global Management Committee and member of the U.S. Executive Committee as well as the Global Head of Financial Sponsors, Hedge Funds and Leverage Finance. Prior to UBS, Warren was a Managing Director and Head of West Coast Leverage Finance at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette and a Vice President at Drexel Burnham Lambert from 1986 through 1990. Warren graduated from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA. Warren is an owner of the Nashville Predators, a National Hockey League franchise. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Carlthorp School, an independent elementary school in Santa Monica, CA and a member of the Board of Directors of the West Valley Wolves, a Southern California-based youth hockey travel club. Warren is currently on the Advisory Board of Park Lane, a sports investment bank and a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national organization focused on developing “Better Athletes, Better People”.