Founder, Chairman, and CEO
After graduating from the University of California at Davis, Payam Zamani co-founded Autoweb.com (the first online car buying service) in 1994. He raised $12M from VCs and helped grow the company from concept to over $20M in annual revenue. He helped take the company public on March 23, 1999. The stock was priced at $14, opened at $28, and closed the first ... moreday at $40. Ultimately, the company's market cap reached $1.2B.
In late 1999, Zamani started PurpleTie. His goal was to create a national brand for dry cleaning by connecting an online storefront to thousands of neighborhoods around the country through a spoke-and-hub delivery system. The brand represented quality and focused on environmentally-friendly practices. The service launched in the San Francisco Bay Area during the summer of 2000. However, as the financing for Internet-based startups dried up in 2001, he shut down the business.
A few months later, Zamani learned that CarClub.com and iMotors.com had gone out of business. These businesses combined had raised about $500M in capital and he saw significant value in their brands. Zamani purchased their remaining assets for about $100K and formed Reply! Inc.. Zamani sees a multi-billion-dollar opportunity in offering a marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted online traffic on a cost-per-Enhanced Click™ or cost-per-lead basis. Zamani is a frequent speaker at industry events and graduate schools of business at University of California at Berkeley as well as Davis. Zamani also serves on boards of directors or advisors at LesConcierges, SoulPancake and Mona Foundation. less
Managing Director, Scale Venture Partners
Sharon invests in mobile, internet, and enterprise software companies at Scale Venture Partners, which she joined in 2001. Sharon sits on the boards of Bellamax, Biz360, Facetime Communications, Glu Mobile, Merchant Circle, and Reply.com... more.
Prior to Scale Venture Partners, Sharon spent 15 years at Critical Path, Amplitude Software, Adobe Systems and Bain & Company. Among her varied responsibilities, she directed marketing strategies and operations, integrated product and service businesses following acquisitions, managed the application of technology to Pacific Rim and European markets, and negotiated complex intellectual property licenses.
Sharon holds a BA and MA in Engineering from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Sharon also serves on the board of the non-profit Myelin Repair Foundation. less
Jordan M. Spiegel
Managing Partner, Spiegel Partners
Jordan M. Spiegel is Managing Partner of Spiegel Partners, a Dana Point, California-based private equity firm. Prior to the founding of Spiegel Partners, Mr. Spiegel was a founding partner of GESD Capital Partners... more, a San Francisco-based private equity firm. Prior to this, he was Executive Vice President of Laffer Associates, a San Diego-based economic research and corporate finance advisory firm. Mr. Spiegel began his career as a securities analyst following special situation small-cap stocks with Crowell, Weedon & Co, a Los Angeles-based regional brokerage firm. In addition to Reply!, Mr. Spiegel sits on the Board of Directors of Personalcare Physicians, and is the non-executive Chairman of Wallace Bajjali. Mr. Spiegel also serves on the Orange County Board of Gen Next, a nonprofit organization, and previously served on the boards of both Bankserv, a payments business, and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp, a San Francisco based non-profit organization. Mr. Spiegel graduated from USC, participated in USC’s Thematic Option general education honors program, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. less
Managing Partner, SmartForest Ventures
Debi Coleman, Managing Partner of SmartForest Ventures , is one of the most recognized female executives in technology management. Debi stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Merix Corp. (NASDAQ: MERX) in September 2001, having served as Chair since... more October 1999, and serving as both CEO/Chair since its spin-out from Tektronix, Inc. in March 1994 (IPO: May, 1994). Prior to that she was Vice President Materials/Operations for Tektronix. She is perhaps best known for her career achievements with Apple Computer, Inc. where she held the positions of Vice President of Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and Vice President Information Systems and Technology.
Coleman serves as an advisor to three venture funds: PacRim Partners (CA); Utah Ventures; and Alexander Hutton Ventures (Seattle). She has been an active angel investor since 1995 and is a founding member of the Portland Angel Network.
Coleman graduated from Brown University with a BA in English Literature in 1974 and received her MBA from Stanford University in 1978. She also received an honorary Ph.D in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1987. Coleman was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute in 1997.
Coleman devotes time and energy to several organizations including the Committee of 200 and International Women’s Forum. She currently serves on the boards of Applied Materials Inc.; Synopsys, Inc.; Kryptiq; Neopad; Teja; and Phoseon. less
John Truchard brings more than ten years' experience in building online marketplaces. A veteran of three automotive services, Truchard was the first sales executive at Autoweb.com in 1996. Working with the founders, Truchard helped build the dealer network... moreto more than 3,500 automobile dealers. He was also instrumental in building monthly Autoweb revenues to more than $1 million.
In 1998, Truchard was co-founder and president of OpenAuto, a software company focused on vehicle configuration and inventory management. During his tenure, OpenAuto raised $7 million in capital and launched its software product prior to selling the technology to Modulant Solutions. Immediately prior to joining Reply!, Truchard served as Vice President of Automotive at Modulant Solutions. There he was responsible for the successful licensing of the OpenAuto technology to several partners in the online automotive space.
Truchard, also one of the co-founders of Reply!, studied Economics at the University of California at Davis. less
Managing Director of Mergers & Acquisitions, IAC
Rich Nelson is the Managing Director of Mergers & Acquisitions for IAC (NASDAQ: IACI). In this role he oversees the IAC M&A department and is responsible for identifying, evaluating and executing strategic opportunities for the company, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships, investments and divestitures. Mr. Nelson also has a strategic focus on... moreIAC's local businesses, which includes CityGrid Media and ServiceMagic.
Before joining IAC, Mr. Nelson held several positions with The Nielsen Company (NYSE: NLSN), most recently as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategic Planning, in addition to serving as Nielsen's SVP Investor Relations through its initial public offering and as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development for Nielsen's online business.
Prior to joining Nielsen, Mr. Nelson was President of Trendum USA (n/k/a BuzzMetrics), a social media mining business where Mr. Nelson was the first US employee. Mr. Nelson was instrumental in building the Trendum business, raising capital, acquiring affiliated businesses and ultimately selling the business to The Nielsen Company.
Mr. Nelson also served as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at RSL COM USA, Inc., a telecommunications company founded by Ronald Lauder, as well as Chief Executive Officer of RSL COM PrimeCall. Mr. Nelson began his career as an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions department at the law firm of Skadden Arps LLC. He graduated Cum Laude with a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law and earned a Bachelor's in Business Administration with High Distinction from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration. less