Best Ideas Dinner
Sea Purity hosts a “Best Ideas Dinner” each quarter at our neighborhood clubhouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As a result of hosting these periodically during the past 20 years, I have strengthened my contact base significantly including some of my most valuable relationships, in addition to finding 2 portfolio companies which went from early-stage investment to over a $1Billion at time of exit. We pray to find a few more of these and I believe a few of the recent presenters certainly have that potential.
During the event 5-6 companies (who are currently raising capital) and 1 Non-Profit present their story for 15 minutes. Approximately 40-50 participants comprised of family offices, institutions, and C-level execs join.
The goals are to:
1) Meet new high-quality people and grow your network
2) Hear solid, actionable investment ideas
3) Add value to presenting companies and/or participants where possible
4) Start to incorporate or expand your social investing/charitable giving and
5) Have a great evening
Following is information on presenters for January 29, 2020 event. I would like to thank Sven Johnston and his team for hosting at their GigaSavvy venue in Irvine and for our sponsors www.bernstein.com. This event is dedicated to cancer, those who have it or will get it and those trying to eradicate and/or make it manageable. God Bless everyone who has to go through this tough, challenging, journey.
Please remember we are not providing any investment advice or recommendations. All decisions need to be made through diligence, including prudent legal/accounting advice.
Joan Walter, JD, PA
Senior Director of Program Operations, Samueli Integrative Health Programs H&S Ventures
Joan Walter, J.D., is an accomplished organizational leader and non-profit development executive. Her work for the past 25 years has focused on healthcare delivery and medical research, strategic planning, organizational change and team management, and partner and client management.
As Senior Project Officer for Samueli Integrative Health Program at H&S Ventures, Joan is responsible for development and management of innovative clinical medical and health research programs, through a unique investment model. In this role, she draws on her prior experience as a Senior Executive at Samueli Institute, in developing and executing integrative health research programs and studying the implementation of innovative healthcare practices.
Previously, at the Samueli Institute, Joan led a government-funded Military and Veterans’ Research portfolio with an aggregate value in excess of $30M. Through that research and the collaborations it generated, the Army added yoga and meditation to its post-deployment therapeutic program; the Military and Veterans’ Healthcare systems added an acupuncture training program for providers and now offers acupuncture as a first-line pain treatment; and the Army Surgeon General issued directives for Integrative Pain Management as the standard of care at all Army medical treatment facilities.
Joan previously worked in clinical practice as a Neurosurgical Physician’s Assistant at Yale University and in military medicine in the National Capital Region, in the specialty areas of neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury/neurology and pain management.
Les Kreis, Jr., Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Bios Partners Fund
Kreis has over 25 years of investment experience across many types of financial instruments in both global public and private equity markets. Currently, he is the Managing Principal at Steelhead Capital Management, which manages a portfolio of small business investments and start-up ventures. Mr. Kreis is also a founding member of Cowtown Angels, a Fort Worth-based angel investment network. Prior to this, Mr. Kreis was a Vice President at HBK Investments, a multi-strategy global hedge fund based in Dallas, TX. During his 11-year tenure with the firm, he managed a $3 billion global portfolio composed of stocks, bonds and derivatives products. He was one of two professionals responsible for launching HBK’s London office, and he traded in many financial markets including Japan, India, Europe, United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S. Mr. Kreis received a BBA in Finance from Texas Christian University in 1994.
Simon Arkell, CEO, Deep Lens
Simon is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of 7 venture-backed software companies which together have raised over $100 million in venture funding. He co-founded Deep Lens in 2018 with Dave Billiter and TJ Bowen to disrupt the clinical trial recruitment industry with unique technology and a unique approach. Prior to Deep Lens, Simon was the founding CEO of Predixion Software, a venture-backed predictive analytics company that raised over $40M from GE Ventures, EMC, Accenture, Software AG, DFJ Frontier, Miramar Ventures, and Palomar Ventures before its acquisition in 2016.
Simon has a BA (Econ) from Univ. of New Mexico, and an MBA from Cal Poly (SLO) where he also sits on the business school Dean's Advisory Council and the President’s Committee. He is the founder and MC of the Megan’s Wings Orange County Gala which has raised almost $1 million for the families of children diagnosed with cancer.
Simon is also a two-time Olympian (pole vault) and in 2015 was awarded Orange County, CA CEO of the year for mid-sized companies.
Cliff Boro, General Partner, Simplexity Holdings VC
Clifford Boro is a Managing Partner at Simplexity and he contributes to both Simplexity Ventures (a studio venture fund that invests and helps to cofound startups) and to Simplexity Services (dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs through accounting, administrative and advisory services). Cliff serves as the Chairman of Verse; he is a Board member of ClientPoint, and is the Co-CEO of Knowbility. Cliff has been a serial entrepreneur and was CEO and Cofounder of KidZui (sold to Saban Brands) and Infogate (sold to AOL Time Warner). He has helped numerous startups as Advisor or Board member including Chatmeter, 6Sense, Say Media and mSnap. For his work at KidZui, Cliff was honored by the Obama Administration as a White House Champion of Change. Cliff started his career on Wall Street and worked for both Michael Steinhardt and George Soros.
Cliff is an avid sailor and serves on the Boards of Temple Beth El in La Jolla, the San Diego Performing Arts League, and Unscripted Learning.
Christian Braemer, CEO & Founder, Benefunder
Benefunder is a platform that connects philanthropists with leading researchers and entrepreneurs across life sciences, tech, environment, education sectors to help bring new innovations to market. Benefunder has over 700 leading researchers under contract and profiled on the platform which integrates with major wealth management platforms and family office networks to provide a solution for rising client demand for impact.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Christian began his career as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley and later, Merrill Lynch. In 2006, he founded Joe Media, the first national free WiFi network which was later acquired by a leading digital out of home media company.
Throughout his career, he has always volunteered with various non-profits in both a board and executive capacity. Christian currently serves as an entrepreneur in residence with CONNECT and is a past speaker at TEDMED and MIT Enterprise Forum.
Christian completed military service as sergeant/section commander in the 1st light infantry division in the royal Danish army, where he was also elected vice national spokesman for enlisted personnel. He has a degree in international business from Copenhagen Business School.
Please click here to view a video clip from TEDMED explaining the vision and founding story for Benefunder. The video relates to cancer and philanthropy in wealth management.
Michael Cullen, MD, MBA, Sun BioPharma
Dr. Cullen has served as Executive Chairman of the board and as a director of our Company since September 2015. He resumed responsibilities as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company in October 2018. Dr. Cullen brings 30 years of pharmaceutical experience to our Company, including expertise in working with development-stage companies in planning, designing and advancing drug candidates from preclinical through clinical development.
Dr. Cullen co-founded SBR in November 2011 and had continuously served as Chairman of its board of directors since that date. He previously served as its Chief Executive Officer and President of SBR from November 2011 to June 2015. Dr. Cullen assumed responsibility as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company on October 31, 2018. Dr. Cullen provided due diligence consulting to the pharmaceutical industry from 2009 to 2011, after one year in transition consulting to Eisai Co., Ltd. He developed several oncology drugs as Chief Medical Officer for MGI Pharma Inc. from 2000 to 2008, and previously at G.D. Searle, SunPharm Corporation, and as Vice President for Clinical Consulting at IBAH Inc., the world’s fifth-largest contract research organization, where he provided consulting services on business strategy, creating development plans, regulatory matters and designing clinical trials for several development stage companies in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Cullen was also a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of IDD Medical, a pharmaceutical start-up company. Dr. Cullen joined 3M Pharmaceuticals in 1988 and contributed to the development of cardiovascular, rheumatology, pulmonary and immune-response modification drugs. Over the course of his career Dr. Cullen has been instrumental in obtaining the approval of ten drugs, including three (3) since 2004: Aloxi®, Dacogen® and Lusedra®.
Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Dr. Cullen practiced from 1977 to 1988 at Owatonna Clinic, Owatonna, MN, where he served as president. Dr. Cullen earned his MD and BS degrees from the University of Minnesota and his MBA from the University of St. Thomas and completed his residency and Board certification in Internal Medicine through the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Wilmington, NC.
Dan Engel is a stage 4 melanoma survivor who collectively has endured ten surgeries, radiation therapy, gamma knife surgery on a brain tumor, six clinical trials (including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, vaccines, and combinations) and seven years of a maintenance clinical trial. During the two years of his most intensive battles, he formed and launched the Miracle League of San Diego, a baseball league for children with special needs. The special rubberized field for the league opened two weeks after he received his first clean scans in two years.
In January 2018, Dan launched www.PatientTrueTalk.com, to solve one of the pressing issues patients and their caregivers face in the cancer world - a means to connect to other patients, especially when considering and deliberating over treatment options. PatientTrueTalk.com is the only pure patient-to-patient registry where patients and/or their caregivers can search for others with their same diagnosis or who have followed treatment protocols being recommended to them.
Dan lives in Los Angeles with his wife Robin and their dog Dexter. He spends many Saturdays coaching two teams at the Miracle League which he affectionately and proudly calls the happiest place in San Diego.
Amir Jafri, CEO, Immunicom
Amir Jafri is the founder of Immunicom and has served as its President and Chief Executive Officer since the company’s inception in 2013. Amir has over 25 years of experience in healthcare technology and devices. As a senior executive in Fortune 50 companies and his own startups, he has managed multibillion-dollar products on a global basis and is highly experienced with global regulatory environments. He was COO at West Health Institute; VP/CTO, VP R&D and VP Operations at Cardinal Health managing products with $1B in annual revenue (NYSE: CAH); VP/General Manager Healthcare Division at Manpower Group, responsible for the healthcare practice nationwide across 35 locations (NYSE: MAN). Prior to joining Manpower, Amir founded various healthcare startups that were subsequently acquired. He has successfully managed global businesses and has a track record of success in every business he has led. Amir serves on the Board of various healthcare technology startup companies and non-profit organizations.
Amir received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Houston Baptist University with a double major in Chemistry and Biology and a minor in History. He attended medical school at the University of Texas but pursued an entrepreneurial and corporate path.
Christopher L. Pitzak, Managing Director, Bernstein
Mr. Pitzak is a Managing Director at Bernstein with responsibility across California, Utah, and Nevada. He is focused on the development of bespoke investment strategy advice with a particular focus on pre-liquidity planning, complex capital markets solutions, private investments, and family engagement. In collaboration with Bernstein’s Growth Stage Capital and Private Credit teams Mr. Pitzak has a specific focus working with entrepreneurs, venture capital and private equity managers.
Prior to joining Bernstein, Mr. Pitzak was the Founder and CEO of Downplay, Inc., a venture-backed mobile media and application provider which he grew and successfully sold to publicly traded Uangel Corp (072130:Korea SE). Previously, Mr. Pitzak served as the CEO of Dyad Security Corp, a private equity-backed network security and penetration consulting boutique which he grew and successfully sold (acquired by Outpost24 AB).
Mr. Pitzak is an NCAA National Champion, All-American and former professional athlete in the sport of volleyball. He is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, a 5-time Ironman and 2013 Ironman All-World Athlete (top 10% globally). Mr. Pitzak holds a BS in social psychology from Brigham Young University and an MBA in quantitative finance from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.
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Andre' De Rosa, CEO
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