Martin is the Executive Director of Startup Secrets. Over the course of a 33-year career, Martin has obtained a breadth of experience that positions him uniquely for this effort. In the first half of his career, Martin worked in Corporate America for firms such as Fidelity Investments, MBNA America Bank, Prudential Home Mortgage and McDonnell-Douglas – all in IT, operations and finance roles. In the second half of his career, Martin has served as head of Operations in a tech startup that went public, as a franchisee/owner in the Planet Fitness system, as the founding partner of a private investment firm, as COO of a food start-up building a national brand, as an early-stage startup investor, and as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, a role in which he still serves. Today, Martin devotes his efforts to sharing his experience and “paying forward” the gifts he has received from many influential mentors and coaches over the years.
Larry Kramer – Chief Financial Officer
Larry Kramer brings nearly 30 years’ experience in various public and private organizations. He is currently a managing partner at Foundation Management Associates. He has held key senior financial roles in public companies such as GE and NewsEdge/Thomson, privately owned technology firms, Boston area top tier venture capital firm North Bridge, and Boston money management firm Pioneer Investments in leveraging his accounting, finance, and operations experiences. His GE Financial Management program experience, along with his Boston University MBA, followed his Rutgers University Economics and Finance education.
Jeff Barnett – CEO of Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Jeff Barnett is CEO of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, formerly Demandware. Previously at Demandware, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, a post he held since January 2013, and Executive Vice President of Field Operations, since joining the company in 2005. Prior to Demandware, he served as Vice President of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa of Siebel Systems Inc., and earlier, he was Managing Director, International Operations, and Vice President, International Sales and Marketing of eDocs Inc. Before joining eDocs, he held leadership positions at Kenan Systems Corp., and TRW Inc. Jeff holds a BS in Computer Information Systems from Colorado State University, and an MVA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has been on the Board of Directors of Apperian since 2012.
Dries Buytaert – Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Acquia
Dries Buytaert is an open source developer and technology executive. He is the original creator and project lead for Drupal, an open source platform for building websites and digital experiences. Buytaert is also co-founder and chief technology officer of Acquia, a venture-backed technology company. Acquia provides an open cloud platform to many large organizations, which helps them build, deliver, and optimize digital experiences. A Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, he holds a PhD in computer science and engineering from Ghent University and a Licentiate Computer Science (MsC) from the University of Antwerp. He was named CTO of the Year by Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, New England Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and a Young Innovator by MIT Technology Review. He blocks frequently on Drupal, open source, startups, business, and the future at dri.es.
John Pearce – Co-Founder and Partner of Underscore VC
John is a proven executive with more than 25 years of demonstrated success leading fast-growing technology companies as CFO and CEO with a unique blend of hands-on financial and operational leadership to drive success from initial strategy development all the way through tactical execution. He also oversees operations of Underscore VC.
Most recently John was instrumental in the early revenue stage of Actifio, a startup building a new category with a revolutionary way to manage data backup, by helping refine the pricing, packaging, and business model for both enterprise license and SaaS delivery. Prior to that, John led Demandware (now a Salesforce company) as President and CEO through stages of high growth. He joined Demandware from AppIQ where he was CFO; AppIQ was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. He co-founded SilverStream Software and held roles of CFO, Vice President of International Operations and Senior Vice President of WorldWide Sales. Prior to SilverStream, he co-founded Watermark Software and served as its CFO and Vice President of International Business until the company was acquired by FileNet Corporation.
John holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
Katie Rae – CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine
Katie is the CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine. Previously, Katie was a founder and Managing Director at Project 11, Ventures and Managing Director of Techstars Boston. Katie spent her early career building significant Internet businesses as the Head of Product for Microsoft Startup Labs and SVP of Product of Eons. She learned the ropes of product and business development at AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2, and Mirror Worlds. Katie currently serves as Chairman of Startup Institute where she is also a founder. She holds an MBA from Yale University and a BA in Biology from Oberlin College.
Michael J. Skok – Co-Founder and Partner of Underscore VC
Michael started his first software business as a teenager, spent 21 years as an entrepreneur and then the past 15 years as a venture investor. During this time, he has founded, worked with, and invested in startups, and created thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of value. Along the way he also mentored and taught for 4 years at Harvard University, and created the Startup Secrets series.
As an entrepreneur and investor, Michael has focused on breakthrough technologies and disruptive business models including Open Source, Cloud, IoT, and emerging domains such as Blockchain, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. He has served on or is active on many private and public boards such as Acquia, Demandware (now a Salesforce company), Mautic, Salsify, and Zaius. He has also participated in leadership roles in many industry groups such as the Software Publishers Association where he was Chairman for many years in Europe.