Crystal Ball 20172017-07-19T15:29:27+00:00

Thank You for Attending: Crystal Ball 2017

January 25, 2017

7920 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, Virginia, 22102


Join us as we launch 2017 with insights from our region’s active investors as they look into “the Crystal Ball” to identify key trends in the industry sectors that they follow and invest in. Through this fast-paced, insight-rich format, MAVA brings together company-builders and investors across all stages to discuss and predict the hottest trends for the year ahead.

This event is an excellent opportunity for innovative company builders to hear candid and invaluable perspectives from industry-leading investors as they consider opportunities for extraordinary growth in the New Year.

Launched in 2014, the CEO-CFO Summit Series is specifically designed to support the C-Suite leadership of high growth companies with top caliber content focused on successful growth, best practices and planning for successful exits. For more than 25 years, MAVA (the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association) has been showcasing and supporting the most innovative high-growth companies born in the Mid-Atlantic. The member investors and advisors of MAVA have supported the growth and success of companies such as UUNET, CVENT, Sourcefire,, Opower, Blackboard, 2U, and many more through their investment of financial and professional resources.

Recent Year’s Program include Insights from:

ABS Capital
Columbia Capital
Edison Partners
Enlightenment Capital
H.I.G. BioVentures
Paladin Capital
RedOwl Analytics
River Cities Capital Funds
SWaN & Legend Venture Partners
TDF Ventures
Updata Partners

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Speakers Include

Mike Avon

Venture Partner
ABS Capital

Mike is a Venture Partner at ABS Capital Partners with a focus on software, digital media and technology businesses.  Mike is a seasoned operating executive and investor with extensive experience in rapidly growing technology businesses.  With his combination of deep operational and investing experience, Mike spends a portion of his time working with current ABS portfolio companies while also helping to identify opportunities for new investments.

Prior to ABS, Mike was the CFO and Executive Vice President at Millennial Media, a leading mobile advertising technology and data company.  Mike helped launch Millennial Media as a venture capitalist and later joined the company to lead its successful growth phase and IPO (NYSE:MM). Prior to Millennial Media, Mike was a Principal at Columbia Capital where he led numerous digital media, software and communications technology investments and assisted in the launching of several companies out of the fund.  Earlier in his career, Mike held various operating roles in early and growth stage technology businesses and was a corporate attorney representing venture funds and early and growth stage technology companies across the country.  Along with his role as a Venture Partner at ABS Capital, Mike is also currently the Founder and CEO of ICX Media, a digital media software and data analytics company based in Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Britt

General Partner
Route 66 Ventures

Seven years as a naval officer and nuclear engineer, and serving aboard the USS Pennsylvania, taught Ben how to operate and lead people in a complex, high-stakes environment. It crystalized for him the importance of a great team—that the contribution of each member working together magnifies the sum of its parts—which translates remarkably well to the business world. His business acumen picks up right where his naval career left off.

At Route 66, Ben works hard for our portfolio companies bringing his unique blend of leadership, strategy, and engineering skills along with deep knowledge of the FinServ and FinTech markets. His focus is on investments in private equity (PE), venture capital (VC), and project finance. Ben joined R66 in 2012.

Sean Dowling

Vice President
Osage Venture Partners
Sean Dowling joined Osage full time as an Associate in 2011, after interning with Osage as a Summer Associate in 2010 while pursuing his MBA. Prior to business school, Sean spent five years at the Monitor Group in London, UK and Boston, MA where he served as a senior case team leader and member of Monitor’s marketing strategy group, m2c. At Monitor, Sean focused on integrating marketing strategy and organizational design to enable Fortune 500 multinational companies to achieve sustainable growth, primarily in the consumer packaged goods and life sciences industries. Sean completed his MBA, with honors, from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Economics. Sean serves as a board member of Brazen, ExecOnline, and RedIQ. He is also an observer of Canvas, CMC, Galactic Fog, Noodle Partners, Pneuron, Phone2Action, RackWare, Sidecar, and Wylei.

Ulhas Jagdale

Ulhas joined NEA in 2016 as an Associate and focuses on enterprise and consumer technology investments. Prior to joining NEA, Ulhas was a member of Morgan Stanley’s Global Technology Investment Banking group in Menlo Park, California. While at Morgan Stanley, Ulhas worked on a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions as well as corporate advisory engagements for companies across the consumer internet, enterprise software, hardware, and clean technology sectors such as Airbnb, Dell, Facebook, and Uber, among others. Ulhas’s previous work experiences also span roles in quantitative finance and software development.

Ulhas graduated with honors from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science from Penn Engineering.

Rurik “Rik” Vandevenne

Managing Director
River Cities Capital Funds

Rik joined River Cities in 2004 to focus on information technology and healthcare investment opportunities. He brings to River Cities a strong background in strategy and business management at high-growth companies. Rik is responsible for sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities and working with executives in portfolio companies on marketing, sales execution, product development and strategy.

Prior to his private equity career, Rik gained experience working with venture backed companies in the strategy group of Scient, a global eBusiness consulting firm. Before Scient, Rik worked for four years at Accenture, first in the healthcare services group and then at the Internet Center of Excellence where he helped launch several venture-backed companies as well as worked on the team that developed the online music platform for BestBuy.

Rik serves on the boards of Netsertive, Advanced Practice Strategies, Continuity Control, ABT Molecular Imaging, EndoChoice, Univa and as an observer on the board of Veran Medical Technologies. He was previously an observer on the board of Pioneer Surgical, which sold to RTI Surgical (Nasdaq: RTIX) in 2013; and on the board of Fullscope (sold to Edgewater (Nasdaq: EDGW) in 2009).

Rik graduated from Vanderbilt University where he received his BE in Mechanical Engineering, and he received an MBA from Duke University.

Rik is chairman of the Governance Group for the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), one of the largest entrepreneurial organizations in the country, and is a frequent guest lecturer at Duke University on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Rik is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA), which supports and promotes medical device companies in the Southeast.

Mourad Yesayan

Paladin Capital Group

Mourad Yesayan is a Principal at Paladin Capital Group, focused on the firm’s technology and renewable energy investments. Prior to joining Paladin in 2009, Mourad was Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis at Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq: PEIX), a leading marketer and producer of renewable fuels. At Pacific Ethanol, Mourad was part of the founding management team, leading the company’s financial planning and risk management functions while revenue grew from $80 to $700 million. He also played a key role in structuring over $500 million of equity and debt growth capital. Mourad received his MBA and BS degrees from California State University, Fresno.

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