Trent Christensen is the President & CEO of VentureCapital.org, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering first-time entrepreneurs—and in particular women and minorities—to create successful companies in Utah and throughout the country. Previously, Trent served as the Vice President of CommunityDevelopment for Zions Bank, overseeing a $1.3 million budget for foster-ing entrepreneurship throughout the state. Before that, Trent was the Director of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation and oversaw all administrative and fundraising operations, including the establishment of the Hatch Center for Legislative and Public Policy Studies.
Trent began working in development in 2007. He has built relationships all across the country while raising significant capital for a number of diverse nonprofit and philanthropic efforts—ranging from individual clients to media startups to conservative think tanks and advocacy groups.
Most notably, Trent raised just over $90 million through major donor fundraising as Regional Finance Director for the 2012 Romney for President campaign. He recruited and oversaw a vast volunteer network of Finance Boards in twenty-nine states, consisting of prominent business and community leaders, elected officials, and high net-worth individuals.
Trent graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from Brigham Young University.
Matt Warnock is a recovering attorney from Silicon Valley. After graduating from BYU School of Law in 1985, he was admitted to practice in both Utah and California, where he served on the Board of Trustees of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the Santa Clara County Council of the Boy Scouts of America. After moving back to Utah in 1998 to do M&A work, he joined the VCO mentor network, where he has volunteered for over 20 years, and now serves as Chairman of VCOʼs Board of Trustees. In 2001 he joined RidgeCrest Herbals as COO, became President in 2005, and sole shareholder in 2016. He holds two patents in herbal medicine, invests with SLC Angels, and serves as a Scoutmaster in his spare time.
P. Christian Anderson, Durham, Jones & Pinegar, is a Shareholder in the Firmʼs Salt Lake City and Lehi offices. His practice focuses on M&A, Business and Finance, Private Equity, Securities, International, Life Sciences, and other technologies. Mr. Anderson has worked for many years in the venture capital arena, representing both investors and their portfolio companies. He enjoys representing high-growth companies throughout their life-cycle, with respect to both financing transactions and the myriad business transactions they deal with.
Bradley B. Bertoch recently retired as President and co-founder of VentureCapital.org from 1984 to Oct. 2019 – a 35 year old nonprofit, nationally recognized, entrepreneurship/technology commercialization organization. VC.org does two things very well: 1) Picks potential winners, and 2) turn them into winners through a venture community-based mentoring program. Studies show that 70% of VC.org Alumni raise capital, and 80% are still in business after 10 years. Since 2009, Utah companies participating in a VC.org venture program have gone on to raise over $1.3 billion in Angel/venture capital transactions, over $14 billion in exits, and account for over 30,000 jobs. He is an angel investor and was a venture partner with Hamilton Bio-Ventures Fund II, until 2019 he ran a $7 million venture debt fund for Salt Lake County.
Phillip H. Grimm is a leader and mentor with more than 30 years of success guiding both large and growth-oriented companies including Motorola, Bowmar Instrument Corporation, DOD Electronics Corp., Group Bull Information Systems, US Currency Protection Corp, GeoTrax, DxNA and others. While his traditional education, obtained at Brigham Young University was in accounting, economics and finance he recognized early in his career that his technological, tactical and strategic thinking provided him the tools to guide organizations at the CEO level. Today he focuses on developing early stage or growth oriented businesses through the delicate challenges associated with gaining product recognition and acceptance, building industry leading management teams, organizing financial instruments to support business growth and negotiating key relationships and contracts. He also remains actively engaged in the angel investing community, as the Executive Director for SLC Angels, a Trustee on the Board of the Wayne Brown Institute and serving in various Board related capacities.
Mr. Henley joined Sorenson in May 2011 and, through his well-established networks, focuses on the firmʼs sourcing efforts. Prior to joining Sorenson Capital, he was Associate Director with the Office of the President at Brigham Young University where he worked very closely with the business community. Mr. Henleyʼs background includes 17 years in Corporate Account Manager positions with Amgen Biotech and Integrated Health Systems. He began his career with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Jerry has focused his Sorenson Capital efforts in the Idaho, Utah and Arizona areas.
Mr. Henley graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in marketing.
Prof. Keene is currently both a member of the Dept. of Management faculty and the Director of the MBA in Technology Commercialization Program in the Bill & Vieve Gore School of Business at Westminster College. Dr. Keene holds a B.A. in Biochemistry from Princeton University, an MBA and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University, and over the last 35 years he has conducted and managed programs in fields ranging from environmental remediation to fuel cells and cystic fibrosis. Although widely published during his research career, he soon left academia for industry, and was one of the four founding scientists of IDT (Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc., the worldʼs largest supplier of specialty oligonucleotides to the global biotechnology industry). He has since been an executive, founder or board member for a number of other technology-based firms, including Ceramatec, Inc. here in Utah. Prior to joining Westminster, he was appointed to serve as both the State Science Advisor and Director of the Utah Centers of Excellence Program under Governors Leavitt and Walker. A co-founder of the Utah Life Science Association (now BioUtah), he remains an active consultant, company mentor, and external reviewer for both the University of Utahʼs Technology Commercialization Office and the State of Utahʼs Technology Commercialization & Implementation Program.
Marcia Nelson is a Managing Director of Alberleen Family Office Solutions where she focuses her time and energy on building and maintaining her network of family offices and private investors. Ms. Nelson has a 20 year track record of working with family offices and their advisors, having developed a strong network of investors seeking direct and co-investment opportunities, collaborating with other families and creating thought leadership around impact investing and philanthropic giving. She started her family-office career working for an ultra-high-net-worth philanthropic family, and subsequently managed business development and relationship management in the areas of estate planning, finance and accounting. Ms. Nelson currently serves as the Executive VP of the board of ACG-NY and is a member of the Family Office Committee. Ms. Nelson is passionate about supporting women and is a former board member of Women in the Boardroom, and was the founder and CEO of Deals & Divas – an organization that brought together women entrepreneurs, advisors and investors. Ms. Nelson completed her undergraduate work at Southern Utah State College and her MBA at Fordham University in NYC.
Mr. Orr is responsible for the origination and underwriting for Stonehengeʼs New Markets Tax Credit Federal program, as well as assisting with deployment of state allocations in Florida, Oregon, and Utah. Mr. Orr has led or assisted with deploying over $172MM of Federal NMTC allocation in 20 transactions and $187MM of various state NMTC allocations in 24 transactions. Prior to joining Stonehenge, Mr. Orr served as a resident advisor for the Evans Scholarship Foundation overseeing 76 Evans Scholars and managed the group living facility on The Ohio State Universityʼs off campus. His background also includes experience as a financial analyst with Procter & Gamble. Mr. Orr, who is an Evans Scholar, earned his BS in Finance from The Ohio State University.
Kimmy is founder and Managing Partner of Beta Boom, a pre-seed firm investing in founders in rising tech hubs with an emphasis on those that have been overlooked due to gender, race and background. She is strong advocate for impact investing, women, and diversity and inclusion efforts in the tech space. Prior to Beta Boom, Kimmy founded a Silicon Valley innovation firm which she ran for over a decade. She also developed and led the whitespace gaming division for LeapFrog Inc. and served as Director of Digital Marketing for a 3D printing toy startup with locations across the MidWest. Kimmy has a B.A. in Computer Science from Dartmouth College and MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Kathy Ricci is a Business Advisor with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Salt Lake Community College. She is the former CEO/Executive Director of the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund (UMLF). This non-profit organization provides financing and management support to entrepreneurs in start-up and existing firms that do not have access to traditional funding sources. While there, she led the organization in lending over $15 million to over 900 businesses resulting in the creation/retention of over 1,600 jobs. Kathy received the South Salt Lake Chamber 2016 Business Person of the Year Award, 2015 Salt Lake Chamber Women & Business Pathfinder Award, 2015 Business Woman of the Year for the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was included in the Utah Business Magazine 2011 “30 Women to Watch”.
Kathy has served on the Board of the Pete Suazo Business Center, South Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the UMLF, she was the Associate State Director of the Utah Small Business Development Center in which she assisted in the management of a statewide program providing small business counseling and training. Kathy has a B.S. degree in Finance and Management and a MBA from the University of Utah.
Tara is the Managing Director of Xceed Consulting, working with some of Utahʼs leading technology companies on strategic initiatives and upscaling process, communication and performance through transitional phases of the company. Additionally, she works with early stage companies on developing funding strategies. Tara sits on the board of VentureCapital.Org and the executive board of the Women Tech Council.
Prior to Xceed, Tara was the Chief Operating Officer for 3DplusMe, a personalized merchandising platform for 3D printing. We built the leading customization software platform for 3D printed merchandise, partnering with major brands such as Disney, Marvel, Hasbro, NFL, Target and others. 3DplusMe was acquired by Whiteclouds in December of 2015.
Tara spent the bulk of her career in Private Equity as the Director of Operations at Mercato Partners, a growth capital investor with over $300 million under management. Previously, Tara managed Gazelle Investments, an angel investment fund as well as helped found and direct the Junto Partners program, a training program for entrepreneurs taught by Greg Warnock.
A true Ute, Tara has her B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business. Tara is an audible addict, enjoys exploring the outdoors here and abroad with her family and hitting slopes on powder days.
Michael Sears graduated from the University of Utah, magna cum laude, with degrees in history and economics. He earned his Juris Doctor from Boston University. While in law school, he founded two software companies. After returning to Utah, Michael began volunteering at VentureCapital.org and later started working for the Salt Lake City Angels. Today, Michael splits his time between Palo Alto, California, where he works as an attorney for Stoel Rives, LLP, advising early stage companies and investors, and Salt Lake City, Utah, where he continues to work as General Manager of the Salt Lake City Angels.
Adam Smith is a veteran in M&A, corporate development, founder partnerships, direct investing, and governance. An expert in all private company matters, Adam has had a successful 25 year career in investment banking, M&A, family offices, and alternative investments, and has backed numerous founders, entrepreneurs, and operating partners in fourteen private investments involving almost a billion in total capitalization.
Experienced on board of directors, Adam has served on twelve investor-backed for-profit private companies since 1998, chairman of several, and also on several non-profit boards, including in a founder role.
Adam is an active philanthropist, involved in academic, music, and other causes, including a leading oncology non-profit, Leukemia Fighters, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, of which he was a co-founder. A veteran in private capital, entrepreneurship, and board governance, Adam is a frequent speaker or panelist, including recently with Columbia Business School, Buyouts Insider, ACG, YJP, iGlobal Forum, Marcus Evans. Adam is happily married with three children in the NYC area.
As the founder of three management firms, Adam is most active as a partner at Family Office Private Advisors LLC, a bespoke buy-side investment counseling company for single family offices.
Tara Spalding is the president and founder of Hen House Ventures. Hen House creates, implements and validates successful go-to-market programs for technology companies that need to rapidly scale new products when entering massive emerging technology markets. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Hen House Ventures has been instrumental in raising over $17M in seed and Series A funding for for more than 30 startups throughout the US.
Tara began her high-tech career in Silicon Valley when she taught herself to code software and became the first employee, and eventually VP of Marketing at industry leader, SugarCRM. Her Silicon Valley experience included roles as CMO at GroundWork Open Source and co-founder and CPO at BenchPick. Available to guide startups and corporations in the US and abroad, Hen House Ventures’ innovative, impactful programs are tailored to meet each clients’ specific development and funding needs. Clients include Applitools, ApolloGraphQL, Commtrex, eTeam Sponsor, Sequent Software, Inc., Ten Digit Communications and X2CRM.
Jerry Vance has provided CFO consulting services for over 250 businesses in various industries over the last 11 years. He specializes in management consulting, acquisition, fundraising, forecasting, valuation, equity, debt and other accounting services, and Jerry has been instrumental in securing and accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars of debt and or equity transactions. Prior to providing consulting services, Jerry served multiple public and private companies as a CFO and/or controller, some with international subsidiaries. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.