Joshua Baer helps people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs. In 2008 he founded Capital Factory, the largest startup incubator and co-working space in Austin, Texas. Josh founded his first startup in 1996 in his college dormitory at Carnegie Mellon University and now teaches a class at the University of Texas for student entrepreneurs. He is a Fellow at Return Path and is the most active email investor in the world. Josh was recently recognized as the 2013 Austin Community Leader of the Year, 2013 Tribeza Person of the Year, and a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuabaer.
Georgia, Capital Factory’s Managing Director, has been an active member in Austin’s entrepreneurial community for over fifteen years. Georgia helped launch The Acton School of Business in 2004 and grew the MBA for entrepreneurs from business plan to nationally ranked program in less than five years. She served as their Executive Director from 2005-2010. In addition, Georgia served as Executive Director for RISE (A Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs) the largest crowd-sourced event for entrepreneurs in the world.
A passionate fundraiser with over a decade of experience helping philanthropic organizations, Georgia has helped some of the largest nonprofits in the world develop key relationships and grow their donor bases, including The March of Dimes and Habitat for Humanity.
A devout foodie, Georgia can be found eating out practically every night of the week with her husband and two beautiful daughters in tow.
Over the past 15 years, Gordon has seen more than 1,500 startup pitches, given personal advice to more than 500 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. He spent the first ten years of his career in brand name companies like IBM and Compaq and then progressively gravitated towards early-stage and high growth companies. He spent eight years in the video conferencing industry, including four years as President of an Israeli-based company that grew from $5M to $36M in a short few years and went public on the Euronext stock market.
Gordon served in an executive capacity over most company functions, but with emphasis on marketing, sales, business development, and M&A. He ran corporate development and strategy for Austin-based NetQoS, who grew rapidly to more than $55M in revenue before being acquired by CA Technologies for $200M and he was a founding advisor for digital advertising pioneer MediaMind, who reached $65M in revenue and a NASDAQ IPO in 2010.
Through his advisory practice called Shockwave Innovations and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor. He is also a Managing Director at SoftMatch and a board member for Austin-based technology companies SwimTopia, Riskpulse, Chiron Health, and StoryFit.
Gordon is the producer and facilitator for Capital Factory’s quarterly Founders Academy lunch-and-learn boot camp. Registrations and more information can be found at FoundersAcademy.Eventbrite.com.
Gordon received his Computer Science degree from Baylor University and now having raised three daughters he enjoys competitive swimming and spending time with his wife at their Galveston Island beach house or some global destination they’ve never been before.
Andrew Busey is currently a Partner at Chaotic Moon, the leading mobile strategy and development partner for consumer brands. He focuses on corporate development and strategy. He is also CEO and co-founder of Team Chaos, the creators of Dragon Academy.
Most recently he was a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures focused on early stage web, mobile, and SaaS, opportunities. Prior to that Andrew was the founder and CEO of Challenge Games which was acquired by Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), where he was VP and GM of the Austin office managing a large team developing social games. Over the past 15 years, Andrew has pioneered some of the industry’s most important web technologies – including work on Mosaic, the first web browser (now part of Microsoft Internet Explorer); creating iChat, the first web based chat system and one of the first instant messaging applications; and building WebCenter, the first major web-based customer service technology (now part of Avaya).
Previously, Andrew co-founded Pluck (acquired by DemandMedia NYSE:DMD ), which enables social media on major sites such as TheStreet.com, USA Today, and Reuters. In the past, Andrew led, developed, and contributed to numerous “Multi-User Dungeon” or “Multi-User Domain” (MUDs) games, which were the early predecessors to Massively Multi-player Online Games ( MMOs) like World of Warcraft and Everquest. In 1994, he wrote Secrets of the MUD Wizards, the first major published book on the topic. Andrew is an inventor on seventeen technology patentsand has several others pending.
He is a graduate in computer science from Duke University and holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Michael Trafton (Mikey to his friends) is an entrepreneur from Austin, Texas. He currently leads technology initiatives at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, the coolest movie theater in the world.
A serial entrepreneur, Mikey is an expert in building high-performance teams with amazing cultures. Prior to joining the Alamo, Mikey ran technology companies in the IT Services, Real Estate, and Healthcare IT industries. He is most proud of Blue Fish Development Group, a software consulting firm providing custom software solutions to Fortune 500 companies like Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, and Bausch + Lomb. A few years ago, Mikey turned Blue Fish over to his amazing team, and they are still running it (and kicking ass) today.
Mikey has a passion for helping first-time entrepreneurs reach their goals through mentoring, coaching, and investing. He helps run Capital Factory, Texas’ premier startup accelerator, and is an investor, advisor, and board member to several local startups. He is a regular speaker on the topics of Entrepreneurship and Company Culture.
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
Mellie Price, a 25 year Austinite, is the inaugural Executive Director of Technology Innovation at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an experienced investor, executive, fund manager, technologist, and eight-time entrepreneur with a range of business experience from small private sector to a large publicly traded organization. She has created and managed both organic and explosive growth scenarios for variety of organizations, and is passionate about leveraging that experience to help transform healthcare.
Mellie is a co-founder and Managing Director of the nationally recognized startup accelerator program and entrepreneurial hub, Capital Factory, as well as a General Partner to its investment fund. She is also the co-founder of SoftMatch, a service company that connects Fortune 1000 enterprises with the highly fragmented global startup ecosystem. Ms. Price was also the Founder & CEO of Austin’s own Front Gate Solutions and Front Gate Tickets, one of the largest privately held ticketing companies in the US/Canada from 2002 to 2015 when it was sold to Live Nation.
A frequent presenter and keynote speaker, Ms. Price is an active member of the Texas entrepreneurship community and a winner of the prestigious Austin Business Journal’s 2015 Profiles in Power Award as well as the 2014 Tech Titan Award. She is a proud member of the Board of Directors for Leadership Austin and the Sustainable Food Center. She is also a founding Advisor to Texas Competes and currently serves on the Social Innovation Council and the Technology Advisory Committee for Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Director, International Affairs
Fred Schmidt is an Austin, Texas based entrepreneur and consultant in the technology and creative industries through his firm Bullseye Business Development and other ventures. He also serves as a Mentor and Director of International at Capital Factory (CF), the largest incubator-accelerator-investment facility in the State of Texas and one of the largest in the USA with over 300 SaaS-based companies in various stages of growth and development. At CF he leads the international initiative, Touchdown Austin, which functions as a full-service soft-landing facility for global tech companies seeking to expand into the U.S. market through Austin, Texas as home base. The program also better prepares CF companies for success abroad as they launch and grow their ventures.
He also serves as Austin-side Co-Chair of the Sister Cities partnership between Austin and the London (U.K.) Borough of Hackney, home of “Tech City,” and has co-founded and co-leads the Austin Chapter of Tech London Advocates. Fred has nurtured the Austin-London relationship from founding five years ago into one of the most active in the world with over 400 companies, organizations, universities and professionals engaged between the two cities and with the assistance of the City Of Austin’s Economic Development Department, The London Borough of Hackney’s Regeneration Services, and UK Trade & Investment. In 2016 he was recognized for this work by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who has awarded him the honor of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Fred’s recent and prior work in the technology field has been largely concentrated in the field of computer games where he has served as a C-level partner with MicroProse Software (ipo), ORIGIN Systems / Electronic Arts (m&a) and NCsoft North America & Europe (Seoul-based global expansion into North America and Europe). He is now a Co-Founder/Investor/Advisor (and was the founding CEO) at Portalarium, the venture backed ($7M Series A) and Kickstarter/crowdfunded ($10+M raise) games start up of Fred’s three-time business partner, Hall-of-Fame game designer and British-American cosmonaut-astronaut, Richard Garriott. He has overseen EU set up and expansions for all of these companies. Earlier in his career, Fred was a part of a consulting company that helped define and launch top cable satellite programming channels like HBO, MTV and CNN. He also worked as a marketing and operations executive with the cable television systems of Time Inc and others.
Fred is also very involved in the creative industries. Concurrently with his work in tech, he is Co-Founder/CEO of Austin Iconic Brands, a carefully curated collection of unique brick-and-mortar retail stores in the heart of Downtown Austin for over 20 years. The group includes: Wild About Music, a music-themed lifestyle store. Austin Rocks Texas, a fashion boutique. And Toy Joy, a nostalgic and niche toy store for all ages named one of the 10 Best Toy Stores In The World by USA Today in 2014.
He has served as a Board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance and the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, as vice chair of 6ixth Street Austin which oversees activities in the city’s National Register 6th Street Historic & Entertainment District, and on the advisory board of the School of Management & Business at St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Fred emigrated to the U.S. as a Cold War political refugee from Poland as a child. He grew up in Detroit where he worked his way out of factories and into a career in music, radio, television and market research. He graduated with high distinction from Wayne State University.
Director, Health Tech
Wendy Smith is a seasoned Healthcare Executive with over 25 years leading insurance plans, physician practice management and population health. Wendy has worked for several large payers including Aetna and UnitedHealthcare. Currently she is the Executive Director of Seton Health Plan overseeing the Commercial insurance, Medicaid, Employee Plan, and Indigent populations. Wendy has a passion for healthcare technology and became a Capital Factory investor in January 2014.
Director, Government Affairs
Eugene Sepulveda is the CEO of the Entrepreneurs Foundation, a director & partner of Capital Factory, and a senior advisor to Austin Mayor Steve Adler. He has played at the intersection of business, government and nonprofits for over 33 years – previously as Austin’s first tech banker, the CFO for a semiconductor startup, and a lecturer at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. He founded Culturati Summit, an annual gathering of leaders from across the country who prioritize culture building for organizational success.
Eugene has recently also served as the President & CEO of Marfa Public Radio, co-chair of President Obama’s LGBT Leadership Council, and vice chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as a board member for the KDK-Harman Foundation, the Bazaarvoice Foundation, the Entrepreneurs Foundation, the Texas Tribune, the McDonald Observatory, and as the chairman emeritus for People Fund.
He’s been recognized by the Austin Business Journal as a Heavy Hitter in Finance, as an Austin Under 40 winner, Best Professor (UT McCombs School Undergrads), Outstanding Elective Professor (nominee, UT MBA), and the City of Austin proclaimed Eugene Sepulveda Days for his civic contributions in 1994 and again in 2015. Eugene is one of the most networked persons in Austin, though he would say he just has a lot of friends.
Director of Military & Veteran Affairs
Craig Cummings, General Partner, Moonshots Capital, Austin, TX. Craig actively invests in and advises technology start-ups, many of which are founded by military veteran entrepreneurs, through his company, Moonshots Capital, which he co-founded with Kelly Perdew. Craig is the Co-Founder (along with Joseph Kopser) and former Chief Operating Officer of RideScout, a mobile app that shows users how to get from point A to point B by providing real-time ground transportation information. RideScout was acquired by Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) in September 2014 and recently merged with GlobeSherpa to form moovel N. America.
Craig is also a Co-Founder of MILLIE, providing military families with information and on the ground support to ease the stress of frequent relocations, and Co-Founder of Upskill, developing augmented reality software for smart glasses to enable the hands-free industrial and commerce workforce.
Before he became an entrepreneur, Craig spent 17 years in the Army, most of that time as an Intelligence Officer serving in support of the National Security Agency (NSA). Craig deployed to Afghanistan with the Joint Special Operations Command where he earned the Bronze Star. He also served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, NY. Craig received a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was their first Truman Scholar, and he received a Ph.D. in Political Science (minor: Econometrics) from Columbia University. In 2015, Craig was selected by HillVets as one of the 100 most influential and impactful veterans in the United States and, in 2016, Inc. Magazine named him as one of the Top 20 Military Veteran Entrepreneurs in the US. Craig was recently selected as a member of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute. Craig is married to Lawton Cummings, an attorney with Jackson Walker. They have two children, Addison (14) and Cooper (12), and reside in Austin, TX.
Executive Assistant to Joshua Baer