New Venture Finance: If You Build It, They Will Come — Early and mid-stage startups sometimes can struggle with a seeming lack of interest from venture-capital firms, even despite the Boulder Valley and the rest of the Front Range increasingly attracting the attention of VC firms. If the idea is capital will always find good deals and good ideas, then the question is: how do startups build the bridges to capital that is often found locally, nationally and globally?
Jason E. Searfoss, Chief Financial Officier & Partner, Boomtown Accelerator
Jason Searfoss is the Chief Financial Officer and a partner of the Boomtown Accelerator. He serves as the Fund Manager for Boomtown’s investment funds, and is an active investor in and advisor to numerous startup and growth-stage technology companies.
Before joining Boomtown, Jason was the Chief Financial Officer, a General Partner, and member of the Investment Committee of Longford Capital, a private equity fund providing capital and other financing solutions to companies involved with complex event-driven situations. Jason was responsible for building the firm’s financial and accounting infrastructure and functionality, including management and oversight of third-party service providers, and helped grow a zero-asset concept into one of the world’s largest and most successful special situations funds.
Prior to his tenure at Longford Capital, Jason served in various leadership roles at The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, a leading U.K. bank holding company, most recently as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Technology Infrastructure Services in the Americas. Earlier in his career, Jason held positions of increasing responsibility at GE Capital, AEGON, Samsung, and JPMorgan Chase.
Jason received an MBA with concentrations in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Kenyon College, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. After completing his undergraduate studies at Kenyon, Jason was one of 40 people selected worldwide to receive a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and spent fifteen months in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, and Nepal during the fellowship. He is a recipient of The National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award for superior academic and athletic performance, leadership, and community service.
Jason is a competitive ultramarathon runner, having completed races of up to 122 miles and self-supported adventure runs of up to 175 miles in distance. He and his family live in Boulder, Colorado.
Zoe Welz, Founder and CEO, Uzio Technology
Zoe Welz is an engineer, environmentalist, and entrepreneur. She has worked in a number of different industries including education, machining, construction, engineering consulting, disaster research, and social entrepreneurship. Her life goal is to use business and education to build measurable social & environmental impact around the world and ultimately empower others. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of Uzio Technology, a Boulder based agriculture technology company creating the world’s first smart electric fence. In a triple bottom line approach their product saves livestock farmers time, provides added protection to livestock, and encourages more sustainable grazing practices.
Gina Cornelio, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Gina counsels clients on all legal issues related to patents, including procuring patents, asserting patents to stop infringement and counterfeiting, and defending against patent infringement accusations. Gina helps clients build strong patent portfolios by outlining filing strategies that consider U.S. and foreign rights, taking into account various types of protection options, such as utility and design rights, leading invention harvesting sessions, and considering creative solutions for IP protection.
As a former Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Gina uses her inside knowledge to help clients effectively compress the prosecution process and reduce costs.
Gina’s practice involves a broad range of technologies including all types of consumer product devices, electrical circuits, mechanical devices, semiconductor devices, computer graphics, software applications, and electrical devices such as image sensors, haptic feedback devices, data transmission structures, displays, and batteries. With a general engineering undergraduate degree with a specialty in electrical engineering from Colorado School of Mines, Gina understands the technical aspects of each component of a system, from the gearing and linkage, to the operating system, graphical user interface, and processing elements running the system.
Gina also assists clients in business decisions associated with third-party patents, including inter partes review at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, opinions of non-infringement and validity, portfolio analysis, landscape analysis, and due diligence. Gina works closely with our China practice to detect and shut down third party infringers and knock-off products.
Jared Crain, Partner, Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti
Jared Crain is a corporate attorney and trusted outside counselor to a diverse array of businesses. His practice focuses on general corporate and business matters for clients ranging from startups and early stage growth companies to private equity and venture capital investors and their portfolio companies.
Jared has extensive experience in a broad variety of transactions, include mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings, minority investments, follow-on investments, divestitures, debt and equity financings, leveraged buy-outs and corporate restructurings. He also advises clients with respect to general corporate matters, including entity selection and formation, corporate governance, operating and partnership agreements, employment agreements, equity incentive plans, intellectual property and technology licensing, and drafting and negotiating various types of commercial contracts.
He has handled transactions ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to billions of dollars in transaction value, across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, oil & gas, mining, construction, technology, media and entertainment, marketing services, healthcare, food & beverage, consumer packaged goods and marine transportation.
Jared began his legal career with the international law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP where he spent seven years focusing his practice on private equity and venture capital transactions before moving to VMware, Inc. where he provided legal counsel to the company’s cloud, channels, and services businesses focusing on complex licensing and professional services transactions and acquisition integration.
Jared earned his law degree from the University of Colorado, with an emphasis in Taxation, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Cornell College.