Seeking venture capital investment for your tech startup or deal flow opportunities for your fund? Join us for our VC Panel event featuring a distinguished panel of VCs as they discuss investment, deal flow, portfolio management, opportunities, and more. After the panel, we will see pitches from 4-5 high-growth tech startups. Attending startups and VCs will have the opportunity to connect with each other post the event through our double opt-in matchmaking process.
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM ET
Brian Zwerner is a Co-Founder of Beyond The Game and heads up the Investment Committee for the network. Beyond The Game has made 14 investments in entertainment and fitness startups including game developers Artie, Cerberus Interactive, and DanceFight and esports team F2K. He guided two startups previously – Sportal in the high school sports sector and a FinTech lender Aquina Health. Zwerner spent over 20 years in investment banking, with senior roles at three of the largest global banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan.
Joe is a high-energy, decisive senior executive with 15+ years of progressive leadership experience driving market penetration and business growth. He drives customer engagement by designing digital marketing programs to connect with current and prospective fans. As an analytical leader, he possesses success in building high performance teams from the ground up and pioneering award-winning marketing programs for sports teams, such as Washington Capitals by researching consumer interests, cultivating strategic partnerships, and shaping compelling messages. He takes pride in himself on increasing team efficiencies by implementing automated systems, such as Salesforce.com. He is also known as a detail-oriented and articulate communicator utilizing my engineering background and strategic relationship building talents to optimize marketing operations.
John Cerasani has built a business by filling Chicago bars with attractive yuppies and hip twentysomethings who don't mind shelling out $11 for a martini.
A former tight end for Northwestern University, Mr. Cerasani began Star69Events Inc. in 1997, his junior year. It is now one of the area's longest-running nightclub promotion businesses. His invitations are e-mailed to about 18,000 of Chicago's young and hip each week, and on a good night he can pack 500 people into Joe's on Weed Street or the Leg Room on Division Street -- making him a valuable resource for nightclub owners.
The crowd that John brings in is a great-looking crowd,"" says Tim Borden, vice-president of corporate development at Ala Carte Entertainment Inc., which operates more than 20 bars and clubs in Chicago, including Excalibur in the River North neighborhood and the Apartment in Lincoln Park. ""And you want people willing to drop some money, have some drinks and have some food. John's crowd is not a cheap crowd.
Mr. Cerasani started Star69Events at the time when college students began using e-mail and the Internet to organize social gatherings. Bypassing more costly fliers and mailings gave him the ability to invite thousands of people to events inexpensively.
Stephan has more than 10 years experience in managing and investing in companies. His focus is on the strategic and financial side of the business. He has managed small and midsized companies and took part in investments from early stage startups to blue chip stock companies.
Stephan is particularly interested in new business ideas, companies, industries and marketplaces, his passion being the development and implementation of innovations as well as the strategic development of companies in their respective environment.
Every day without sports is a lost day.
Garrett Klugh is the COO of Falk Ventures, the venture arm of sports agent, David Falk. He is an internationally recognized Olympian and frequent guest speaker, lecturer and panelist in the sports-tech industry. Garrett earned his undergraduate degree at San Diego State University and his MBA from George Washington University. At SDSU, Garrett served as the President of the men’s rowing team. He went on to represent the U.S. on six National Teams and one Olympic Team (Athens 2004). Garrett won the World Rowing Championship in 1999 and was honored to be being selected by his peers as the Athlete Representative on the Board of Directors for USRowing. After retiring from rowing in 2004, Garrett served his community as a police officer with the San Diego Police Department, where he was given multiple commendations for his work. He then worked for the United States Olympic Committee as one of two Olympians selected for a management development program. Garrett worked at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, Vancouver, and London, adding meaningful value in operations, management, strategy, and protocol. In 2010, Garrett joined 776 Original Marketing, where he built and managed the athlete representation business unit. Concurrently, Garrett accepted a teaching position at the University of Colorado as adjunct faculty. He held that position for two years while completing his MBA degree. Garrett now focuses on running the venture activity for David Falk where he manages a portfolio of companies while also sourcing and vetting new opportunities. When he isn’t running operations at Falk Ventures, he provides outsourced business development services to early-to-mid-stage start-ups at Huddle Sports Partners, an organization he co-founded. Deeply embedded in the start-up community, Garrett also acts as an advisor and mentor to several companies and accelerators.
An experienced investor and advisor in the SportsTech industry, Sam has over 10 years of experience in the traditional sports industry, having served as Vice President at the NBA and Head of International Business Strategy for Sina Sports. Sam's personal investment and advisory portfolio includes over forty sports tech startups, including several material exits. Areas of interest include fan engagement, broadcast technology, esports, crypto/NFT, betting, and health and fitness.