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venVelo is the premier early-stage venture fund in Florida for innovative companies seeking capital and mentoring. venVelo was launched in 2012 and quickly established itself as one of the most active venture funds in central Florida. It was named the 2014 "Tech Investor of the Year." In addition to its investments, venVelo board members have been frequent speakers, panelists, and venture competition judges around the state. venVelo also has donated money to a variety of organizations working to develop the central Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Individuals, and the networks and relationships they have created over their lifetimes, are the foundation of venVelo's strategy for raising money, identifying growth companies, and mentoring those companies to increase the likelihood of their success. venVelo's Board of Directors has considerable venture experience and multiple exits. Based in Winter Park, Florida, but with relationships with like-minded funds in Gainesville, the Space Coast, and South Florida, venVelo fills in any gaps its portfolio companies may have including management, marketing, sales and distribution, software development, and/or the next round of funding.

The venVelo Approach

  1. BOARD MENTORSHIP

    The venVelo board consists of entrepreneurs with previous exits of over $200 million and executives with decades of experience in sales, marketing, HR, and finance. venVelo uses the skills and experience of its board to mentor the entrepreneurs it invests in.

  2. ACTIVITY

    venVelo is one of the the most active early stage funds in Central Florida. venVelo not only writes checks, but engages with the community through speaking engagements, donations, and networking as a leader in the Central Florida entrepreneurial community.

  3. CONNECTIONS

    The venVelo board has spent lifetimes doing business in Central Florida and has syndicated deals with the top Central Florida venture funds. venVelo leverages its connections to fuel the success of the companies it invests in and grow the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  4. SPEED

    The venVelo board prefers to act quickly. It knows entrepreneurs greatly benefit from quick investor feedback, as this impacts the decisions an entrepreneur must make.

  5. INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY

    venVelo prefers to work with early-stage pre or early revenue companies who can benefit from its mentorship. Coachability is one of the most important characteristics venVelo looks for when investing in an entrepreneur.

Portfolio Companies

To learn more about one of our portfolio companies and our relationship and history with them, please click on their company logo below. Press releases, company overview, videos, and status are available.

Meet the venVelo Board


N. Michael Wolsonovich, Jr.

Michael is the managing member of Wolsonovich SEF, an asset holding company that specializes in cash-flow generating real estate across the United States. He has over 15 years of experience investing in real estate, entrepreneurial ventures, and private equity deals. He also volunteers time on Holy Family Catholic School's Board in Orlando and serves on the Board of one of his family's charitable foundations. Michael holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Cleveland State University and an MBA from the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business.

Luke Widmer, Board Member

Luke is the CEO of Oakstone Holdings, an asset holding company located in Orlando that provides capital to start-up and early stage companies, either as equity or debt. Oakstone Holdings makes strategic investments that align its portfolio with the vision of its shareholders. Prior to Oakstone Holdings, Luke served as CEO of Associates in Dermatology, a growth-driven, multi-clinic medical practice located throughout Central Florida. Following a period of aggressive expansionary efforts and successful leadership, he spearheaded the successful sale of the business and transition to new management in early 2010. Luke is active throughout the local community, serving on the Board of two of his family's charitable foundations as well as the Board of Orlando, Inc. He holds a B.A. in Finance and an MBA.

Richard Licursi, CEO/President

Richard is a serial entrepreneur and has been part of or founded five early-stage companies. He has raised over $70 million from investors and has returned more than $600 million. He is currently co-founder and Executive Chairman of Spectrum Bridge, a venture backed company focused on making wireless bandwidth more readily available. He was Vice President and Director of Operations for the MeshNetworks Product Group at Motorola following its acquisition of MeshNetworks, also a venture backed company, which specialized in wireless, ad hoc, peer-to-peer mobile broadband communications. He was the co-founder of MeshNetworks and served as its President, CEO, and Board Chairman. Richard holds a B.S. in Mathematics from St. Peters College.

Allen H. Kupetz, COO/VP

Allen serves as co-chair of the Department of Business at Rollins College and teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in international business and entrepreneurship. Allen is also the president of Kpartnerz, a management consulting firm focused on international business development. He is a recognized thought leader on the present and future impact of technology on individuals and corporations and has spoken to and/or consulted with hundreds of companies on six continents. Allen holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas.

Peter McAlindon, Ph.D., Chief Community Relations Officer/VP

Pete is the founder and CEO of Blue Orb, Inc., a company that designs and develops technology products for persons with disabilities. In mid-2011, Blue Orb received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a program to help persons with disabilities become entrepreneurs. Pete holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida, an MAS with highest distinction from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a BBA in Finance from the University of Michigan. Pete is also a member of the Board of Directors of Orlando, Inc. and Entrepreneur in Residence at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business where he serves as a faculty advisor to the Entrepreneurial Scholar of Distinction program.

Jorge Morales, Board Member

Jorge founded Information & Computing Services (ICS) in 1982 and now, 33 years later, ICS has 125 employees, is a worldwide leader in logistics software products for Oracle, NetSuite, and Microsoft, and has customers in over 30 countries. He is now Chairman after naming his son, Michael, CEO. Jorge is a member of the South Jacksonville Rotary Club, past chairman of the Blood Alliance and past board member of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Foundation. Anative of Cuba, Jorge is very grateful to the United States for providing the opportunity to realize the American Dream. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army reserves.

Tom Gawronski, Board Member

Tom has served as a senior operating executive in numerous wireless companies. Most recently he was the Vice President and General Manager for Metro PCS. Tom served in similar capacities for Nextel and Clearwire, where he was responsible for building and commercially launching numerous markets. He was also a member of the executive team that launched Movilnet, a wireless company in Venezuela. Prior to breaking into general management, Tom held numerous positions as a financial executive. Tom holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business and an MBA from Duke.

John Caron, Board Member

John most recently was President of Olive Garden and a member of Darden Restaurants' Executive and Operating Teams. He also served as Darden's first Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to Darden John was with Unilever in a number of senior marketing roles in both North America and Europe including VP and General Manager - Beverages (Lipton) North America. John currently serves on the boards of Tijuana Flats, IZEA and Thrive Frozen Nutrition.

In addition, John is active in the Central Florida community having been appointed by the Mayor of Winter Park to the Economic Development Advisory Board (Chairman) and the City's Visioning Steering Committee. He is a member of Entrepreneurs in Action – an initiative of the Central Florida Foundation; an Advisory Board member for the Rollins College Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship; an Advisory Board member for the Rosen College of Hospitality Management (University of Central Florida); and serves as President of the Winter Park Racquet Club.

John received a MBA in Marketing from New York University's Stern School of Business as well as a Master's degree in American Politics from New York University's School of Politics. He earned a BA in Political Science from Colorado College.

Alex Groenendyk, Board Member

Alex has 25 years of experience as a leader in providing complex, multimillion-dollar information technology to top financial institutions around the world. Over the course of his career he lived in Asia, Europe, and the United States, conducting business in over 50 countries. Alex has worked in billion-dollar organizations such as Fiserv, where he served as President of CBS. He holds two degrees from the United Kingdom, a B.A. in Economics from the University of Portsmouth and an MBA from Lancaster University. Alex is also a speaker and the author of "This Is Who We Hire" an Amazon best seller.

Tom Huber, Board Member

Tom has served as CEO/President of enterprise-wide software/service solutions for divisions of large publicly-traded companies including Sungard, Fiserv, and Citicorp. He was responsible for building innovative cloud services and premise-based solutions for the public safety, higher education, and financial software markets. In addition to large company experience, Tom managed shareholder relations with boards of directors, venture capitalists, and private equity groups for typical business units with less than $200 million in annual revenue. He has created over $1 billion in shareholder value over the years through growth and liquidity events. Tom holds a B.A. degree from Loras College, an MBA from Northern Illinois University, and has his CPA certification.

Daniel M. Lyons, Board Member

Dan Lyons most recently was Chief Human Resource Officer for Darden Restaurants, capping a 35-year track record of executive HR positions for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Darden, Dan spent 18 years with The Quaker Oats Company (now part of Pepsico), serving as Vice President of HR. Dan served many years as a board member of Take Stock in Children, a Florida non-profit providing mentors, scholarships, and hope for Florida's low-income and deserving students. Dan holds a BBA and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.

Dr. Steven H. Selznick, DO, FAAFP, CMD, Board Member

Steve is the founder and managing partner of CFP Physicians Group, which provides primary care services in an outpatient facility and serves over 1,500 geriatric lives in 40 nursing and assisted living facilities in Seminole and Orange County. Steve has over 30 years of clinical experience as well as being a medical expert witness in malpractice and negligence cases involving nursing homes, ALFs, hospitals, and physicians. He is also an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UCF College of Medicine and Assistant Clinical Professor at the St. Matthews University School of Medicine. Steve holds a B.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University prior to entering medical school.

William F. Spivey Jr., Board Member

Bill is the VP, Capital Programs for Enterprise Florida, Inc., the economic development arm of the State of Florida. He is also the Executive Director of the Florida Development Finance Corporation, the state-wide conduit issuer of tax-exempt bonds. He is responsible for activities involving finance and assistance programs including minority business development, loan participations and guarantees, bond financing, venture capital. and grants for the SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Program. Bill has previous experience as a city planner, investment banker, and with local government investment pools. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Clay M. Biddinger, Board Member

Clay is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Sun Financial, Kenyon Energy and Bay4 Energy Services. He also serves as Chairman/Managing Partner of the Biddinger Family Foundation and his family partnership Tomstemark, LP. Previously he founded and led Sun Financial Group and Bay4 Capital. With more than 35 years of experience, Clay brings his strategic and financial background to the helm of Bay4 Energy Services. In addition to leading our vision for the future of renewable energy, Clay develops and maintains many of the close working relationships that we value. Clay earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

Thomas C. Biddinger, Board Member

Thomas is currently a Vice President with Bay4 Energy Services and Board Member at CleanCapital. Prior to joining Bay4 Energy, Thomas worked as a Vice President at Southeast Venture Holdings where his primary responsibilities included sourcing and analyzing investment opportunities, participating in deal structuring, conducting investment due diligence and supporting portfolio companies across all sectors. Prior to joining Seven Holdings, Thomas worked as an associate in Nomura's Securitized Products Group based in NYC where he covered mortgage originators and asset managers mainly in the agency structured products space.

Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Rollins College with a B.A. in international business and earned an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins with dual concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship. In addition to his studies, Thomas was also a member of the Rollins Men's Soccer team where he captained the team to the 2010 NCAA Finals and earned First Team All-American honors. Thomas is a Florida-native and avid sportsman who enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and friends.

Cari H. Coats, Board Member

Cari is a business advisor, leadership strategist, certified executive coach and speaker. Coats is co-founder & managing partner of Accendo Leadership Advisory Group. Accendo is a leadership strategy firm offering advisory services for the full spectrum of strategic leadership development specifically focused on executive coaching, leadership strategy and high performance team development.

Coats is also president of C2 Advisors, Inc., providing advisory services that leverage Coats' extensive professional network, C-suite leadership experience and knowledge of strategy, marketing, entrepreneurship, family enterprise, social innovation and the capital markets. Coats is a key advisor to CEOs of numerous high-potential, growth-oriented companies and entrepreneurial ventures, regarding growth, market strategy, leadership and access to capital.

Jonathan Molayem, Board Member

Jon is founder and president of ACQUIVEST, an M&A sell-side advisory and business valuations firm serving the southeastern United States. He has 15 years of experience developing and executing exit strategies for businesses with annual revenue of $5-75 million. Jon also owns and oversees a portfolio of over 100,000 sqft of commercial real estate. He is active in the community supporting the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and the Downtown Orlando Breakfast Rotary Club. Jon holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

How to get started with venVelo

The first thing to do is really understand your company's needs and how they fit our investment strategy and goals. A self-evaluation based on your needs as well as the stage of your business is imperative to your success and must match our investment philosophy. Once you complete your assessment, this pitch criteria document will help you build your presentation. These are general guidelines so please do not let them inhibit your creativity.

When you've completed your pitch document and company overview, please email them to us at pitch@venvelo.com. After we review your information, we'll let you know if there is an interest in having you come in to pitch the board. It usually takes us a week or so to get word back to you. If you are invited to pitch the board, there is no guarantee of funding. The Start-up Resources below may be of use to you in creating your pitch to venVelo.

Start-up Resources

Here is an assortment of books, documents, and other resources to help you on your journey as an entrepreneur. We update this library often so check back from time to time.

Community Involvement

A big part of what we do at venVelo is get involved. We believe to be successful, we all need to work together to develop, foster, and support our entrepreneurial community.

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venVelo © 2016