StartEngine Announces Creation of Advisory Board and $15 Million Investment
LOS ANGELES – (December 6, 2011) – Start Engine (www.StartEngine.com), a rapid accelerator focused on helping Los Angeles-based technology startups build a solid foundation for success in 90 days, today announced the formation of an advisory board which will provide thought leadership and counsel for the company and its growing portfolio of startups. Joining Start Engine co-founders, Howard Marks and Paul Kessler, on the board are Governor Gray Davis, Hayward D. Fisk, John Maatta, General Merrill A. McPeak, and Greg Suess. In addition, co-founder Paul Kessler will lead efforts to structure investments and launch a $15 million investment fund for Start Engine companies.
“Being able to leverage the tremendous experience of a former governor, a United States Air Force General and three extremely successful corporate executives is a huge advantage for our company and our startups,” said Howard Marks, co-founder of Start Engine. “The creation of an advisory board and Paul’s investment are two more examples of our commitment to growing the Los Angeles tech community and contributing to it at the level it deserves.”
Start Engine’s advisory board will assist the company in helping find new mentors and new entrepreneurs, as well as connect them with top officials at local universities and local government. The founding members of the board include:
- Governor Gray Davis (Ret.) – Davis served as California’s 37th Governor from 1999-2003 is currently of counsel in the Los Angeles office of Loeb & Loeb, where he provides strategic advice to clients on numerous matters. He is also a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and regularly speaks before various academic and civic groups. Prior to serving as Governor, Davis served as Chief of Staff to Governor Jerry Brown (1975–1981), California State Assemblyman (1983–1987), California State Controller (1987–1995), and the 44th Lieutenant Governor of California (1995–1999).
- Hayward D. Fisk – For nearly 20 years, Fisk served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), a Fortune 150 company, with responsibility for its legal activities. Previously, he was Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Sprint Corporation, where he held various legal and executive positions for more than 20 years. Fisk has also written and spoken extensively in legal journals and before professional groups on the subjects of law department management, managing inside/outside counsel relationships, controlling litigation costs, the use of technology in the courtroom, advanced trade secrets in business transactions, insurance strategies, the attorney/client privilege and corporate governance.
- John Maatta – Maatta is the chief operating officer of the CW, overseeing the network’s business operations, including sales, business affairs, network distribution, legal, finance, and human resources. The CW represents the second network Maatta has been involved with from the early stages. He earned the distinction of being the WB’s very first employee, and made many of its initial distribution deals. He also sits on the board of Rochester Television Ventures, LLC and is the former Chairman of the Board and current board member of the Trader Vic’s Restaurant Corporation. Maatta has been published in respected scholarly law journals on subjects of Hollywood and entertainment.
- General Merrill A. McPeak (USAF, Ret. Four Star) – McPeak is currently the chairman of the EthicsPoint board of directors and is a director of DGT Holdings, Miller Energy Resources and Derycz Scientific. A career fighter pilot, he commanded NATO’s 20th Fighter Wing and was the fourteenth chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1990 until his retirement from active military service in 1994. General McPeak also serves as chairman of the American Battlefield Monuments Commission (ABMC), the guardian of America’s overseas cemeteries and memorials honoring the service, achievements and sacrifice of United States Armed Forces.
- Greg Suess – Suess currently serves as a founding partner of ROAR, a Beverly Hills-based management and consulting company. At ROAR, Suess advises clients in a wide range of areas including content strategies, seed and growth capital, strategic alliances, licensing agreements, and marketing and distribution agreements. Suess is also Of Counsel to Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen & Shapiro, LLP, with an industry focus on general corporate law, media and entertainment. He is a member of the Milken Young Leader’s Circle and serves on the board of CampSouthernGround.org, Derycz Scientific, Inc. and Wizard World, Inc.
In addition to the advisory board, Start Engine’s startups will have access to mentors who are among the most proven entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, having created more than $40 billion in value for the Los Angeles economy. A few of Start Engine’s mentors are Josh Berman (co-founder of Myspace and CEO of Beachmint), Vince Broady (founder and CEO of thisMoment), Jay Herratti (CEO of CityGrid Media), David Hughes (CEO of Search Agency), Fred Krueger (CEO of Shoe Privee), and Ken Ramberg (founder of JOBTRAK and co-founder and president of GoodSearch). Start Engine is committed to ensuring that its startups are guided by the right people by offering a team of mentors who have proven themselves as successful entrepreneurs.
Start Engine hopes to attract startup founders who are not just talented, but also passionate, hungry and motivated to conquer the world – or at least their small part of it. Startups will have the opportunity to join Start Engine’s 90-day program during four different cycles per year (Winter Spring, Summer and Fall). Early-stage companies in the web, games, mobile and ecommerce space are encouraged to submit their applications for the program. To apply, please visit http://www.startengine.com/apply-now/.
About Start Engine
Start Engine (www.StartEngine.com) is a rapid accelerator focused on helping Los Angeles-based technology startups build a solid foundation for success in 90 days. Created by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Paul Kessler, one of the most prolific investors in Los Angeles, Start Engine will provide local startups with the essential resources and counsel they need to become successful, self-directed businesses. Start Engine offers a team of mentors who have proven themselves as successful entrepreneurs – not professional investors – ensuring that its startups are guided by the right people for the right reasons. Early-stage companies in the web, mobile and ecommerce space are encouraged to apply for the program which completes four cycles per year, culminating in Demo Days that are attended by the region’s top angel investors and VCs. For more information, please visit www.StartEngine.com.