John is the consummate early stage investor; a curious, diligent and experienced mentor to founders spanning industries from software and semiconductors to microelectronics and medical devices. His passion for investing in early-stage companies is what led him to co-found IDEA Fund Partners more than 12 years ago and what has driven him to continue through up and down cycles. John has used a deep understanding of technology commercialization and company formation, along with his experience managing intellectual property, licensing and contracts, to help grow technology companies throughout the Southeast. Working in the technology sector since 1994, John has held various operational roles and was involved in the spin-off of four companies from MCNC, including the formation and ultimate sale of Cronos Integrated Microsystems to JDS Uniphase for $665 million in 2000.
Lister is the quintessential engineer. He wants to know how things work at the deepest level and then how to optimize them. His fascination with optimization isn’t just technological as he also continues to refine his knowledge on human networks and marketplaces. Prior to IDEA Fund Partners, Lister was part of the corporate investment team at MCNC Ventures, a technology focused fund investing in early stage companies in North Carolina. In 2006, concurrent with his investment responsibilities, Lister led the design and implementation of the NC IDEA grants program. Under his leadership, NC IDEA awarded nearly $4 million to 90 companies. The NC IDEA Grants program is today a key source of seed funding and validation for new companies in the state of North Carolina.
Chris is a fanatic about technology and it’s impact on homes and the housing value chain. He spent the bulk of his career as an investor, strategist, adviser, and innovation executive across the housing sector from homebuilders to service companies and home product retail. Prior to IDEA Fund, Chris founded and led Lowe’s Ventures where he sourced and invested in some of the most transformative companies in the housing innovation sector. In addition, he has been a keynote speaker and panelist for major industry conferences and events. Chris leads the Charlotte office for IDEA Fund partners.
Joe has always been a builder – from childhood with toy trains, through founding hockey organizations and school clubs, and continuing on as a venture capitalist.The role of a VC as a trusted advisor to foster growth is deeply entrenched in him, as he is passionate about building great companies alongside incredible founders. Prior to IDEA Fund, he held positions at Lewis & Clark Ventures and Techstars. In addition, he spent over seven years in New York working in financial services, most recently at Roundtable Investment Partners, a multifamily office. He has an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and a BA from the College of the Holy Cross.
Ethan graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2018 with a B.S. in Business Administration and a concentration in Entrepreneurship. After graduating, he worked to tackle social and environmental challenges at a nonprofit before joining us in January 2019. He now works as an analyst at IDEA Fund Partners, where he assists with deal screening, due diligence, valuing investment opportunities, communicating with investors, marketing efforts, and operational processes.
Eric Boduch is chief evangelist and co-founder at Pendo, a product cloud that helps product teams deliver software customers love. Eric previously served as CEO of SMaSh, a mobile SMS technology company and VP of Marketing for Vitria Inc. He also held senior positions at Embarcadero Technologies, ProductSoft, and Cerebellum Software.
Eric has been recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for western Pennsylvania and was the recipient of the Carnegie Mellon University Entrepreneur of the Year award. A proud CMU alum, he holds a bachelors of science degree in electrical and computer engineering from The School of Computer Engineering and is a graduate of the Tepper Business School Executive Management Program.
Rob is employed as a Managing Director & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm that acquires or invests in middle-market businesses. As an MD at Falfurrias Capital, he provides management oversight and guidance to Falfurrias’ portfolio companies, as well as leads various strategic initiatives for the businesses. In addition, Rob also participates as a member of the deal team leading the technology and operations diligence for prospective investments at the firm.
During Rob’s tenure at Falfurrias Capital, he recognized a technology gap in the mergers & acquisitions (M&A) industry and co-founded DealCloud, a deal management software platform that is now in use at hundreds of firms participating in M&A transactions. Rob architected the DealCloud software platform and was instrumental in growing the business into a major Software-as-Service provider to the M&A industry. DealCloud raised over $10m in institutional VC funding and he later exited in August 2018 when Intapp acquired the business.
Rob is active in the early stage venture community serving as both an investor and advisor. He graduated from Virginia Tech and has an MBA from Seton Hall University.
Bud has extensive experience in intellectual property law and the monetization and licensing of intellectual property. He was a Patent Attorney for the Atlanta, GA based intellectual property law firm Jones & Askew, with broad experience in patent prosecution, licensing and trademark/copyright litigation. Bud also served as Senior Licensing and Litigation Counsel for the semiconductor sector of Harris Corporation, where he was responsible for all patent litigation and a licensing program that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties. In 1997, Bud joined ATLC, Ltd., a patent licensing firm, as a Partner. ATLC has generated over $2 billion in royalties for its clients, including entities such as AT&T, Stanford University, Harris Corporation, Kodak and Cypress Semiconductor. He is an active board member, investor and advisor to start-ups including Audigence, Sarda, Small Demons, Tasting Room, TireVan, ZippSlip, Matt’s Cabash and others. Bud received his BSEE with honors from the University of Florida and his JD with high honors from Emory University.
With over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure management, Rami has a unique blend of technical expertise and entrepreneurial drive. Rami was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Distil Networks, the global leader in bot detection and mitigation. With hundreds of enterprise customers and 5 global offices, Forrester named Distil Networks as a leader in the Forrester New Wave: Bot Management in 2018. Distil was acquired in 2019 by Imperva, a leader in the application security segment. An alumnus of TechStars, Rami now serves as a mentor for current participants, advising the next generation of entrepreneurs and coaching them on how to scale their businesses while continuing to provide innovative and boundary-pushing products and services.
Louis Foreman is founder and Chief Executive of Enventys (www.enventys.com), an integrated product design and engineering firm, and Edison Nation (www.EdisonNation.com.) His interest in starting businesses and developing innovative products began while a sophomore with his first company founded in his fraternity room. Over the past 34 years Louis has created 10 successful startups and has been directly responsible for the creation of over 20 others. A prolific inventor, he is the inventor of 10 registered US Patents, and his firm is responsible for the development and filing of well over 700 more. The recipient of numerous awards for entrepreneurial achievement, his passion for small business extends beyond his own companies. Louis is an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at Queens University. He received the Instructor Achievement Award for his teaching at Central Piedmont Community College and was recognized by the National Museum of Education for his Distinguished Contributions to Education. Louis is an adjunct professor and the Entrepreneur in Residence at The McColl School of Business and was the 2013 Distinguished Visiting Professor at Johnson & Wales University, where he continues to teach. He also teaches IP for Entrepreneurs at Central Michigan University. He is a frequent lecturer and radio / TV guest on the topics of small business creation and innovation and is frequently invited by universities and national trade associations to be a featured speaker on the topic of entrepreneurship and innovation.
In addition to being an inventor, Louis is also committed to inspiring others to be innovative. Louis was the creator of the Emmy® Award winning PBS TV show, Everyday Edisons, and served as the Executive Producer and lead judge. The show won 2 Emmys in 4 seasons and appeared nationally on PBS. In 2007, Louis became the publisher of Inventors Digest, a 35- year-old publication devoted to the topic of American Innovation. In 2009, his first book, The Independent Inventor’s Handbook, was published by Workman Publishing. In 2015, Louis was awarded the IP Champion Award by the US Chamber of Commerce. Louis currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the James Dyson Foundation, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), New Dominion Bank, and the Intellectual Property Owners Educational Foundation (IPOEF). In 2013, Louis was appointed by SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, to serve a three-year term on the National SBDC Advisory Board and was asked to serve as Chairman for another three-year term until the end of 2020. In 2008, Louis was appointed by United States Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez to serve for a three-year term on the nine-person Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2011, he was appointed by Secretary Gary Locke to serve an additional three-year term. The Committee was created by Congress in 1999 to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on matters relating to the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent operation. In 2013 he was asked to serve as Chairman of PPAC until the end of his term in December 2014. In 2011 Louis was called upon, multiple times, to brief the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on legislation related to the US Patent System and its impact on independent inventors. On September 16, 2011, Louis joined the President on-stage for the signing of the America Invents Act into law. This bi-partisan effort represented the most comprehensive overhaul to the US Patent System in Louis graduated from The University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. over 60 years.
Richard Fox has thirty years of experience in the creation of new companies from defense and aerospace technology. He is a Venture Partner in the IDEA Fund, and is active in the formation and growth of innovative companies in Central Florida.
Richard and two partners took an operation of Westinghouse private. In that company, Richard led a team to develop one of the first machine vision systems, and sold that business to Gould Modicon. Richard repeated that cycle as the President of the Central Florida Innovation Corporation, where he guided the launch of several companies in the image processing and telecommunications industries. Lockheed Martin was the source of technology, and a partner in the launch of three of these companies.
Richard frequently is a coach to new high-growth companies. He served on the Florida Seed Capital Board and has been a member of several task forces for the State of Florida on venture capital and seed capital investing. He was an executive member of the board of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, and is an active reviewer of SBIR proposals for the National Science Foundation. Richard has been quoted in Nature magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, and the New York Times in the past few years.
Richard earned his B.S. degree in physics from M.I.T. and holds 14 patents on the application of computers to industrial processes, and on medical devices.
Chris is an experienced and successful technology executive and entrepreneur. In addition to serving IDEA Fund Partners as an Operating Partner, he serves as an advisor to several startups and runs Charlotte Regional Technology Executives, a networking and educational forum for tech execs in the Queen City.
Chris co-founded OtherScreen with Jigsaw co-founder Garth Moulton in 2011. Prior to OtherScreen, Chris served as CEO for a publicly traded gaming firm, co-founded Kieden (which was acquired by Salesforce in 2006) and ran North America for WebMethods. Chris spent the 90’s working for Dell during which time he was Salesman of the Year and eventually had responsibility for over $2B in online revenues.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Arizona and he and his family live in Charlotte, NC.
Dale has a proven executive management track recorded over 30 years of experience in creating enterprise value in technology and industrial B2B markets. Dale served as EVP at Sensus, a Private Equity owned business, and was key in their $1.7b exit to Xylem. Prior to Sensus he led the Sales and Marketing teams at Kinetek, also a Private Equity firm that was successfully sold to Nidec. Ability to leverage broad technology, operational, sales, marketing and M&A functional experience in both software and hardware environments provides him unique ability to provide guidance to businesses. Leadership in blue chip company experience at General Electric and ITT Aerospace provided foundational experience. Dale has an MBA from Indiana University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Indiana Institute of Technology.
Keith Luedeman’s business experience began with IBM. He spent the first 7 years after college working for the industry leader in a variety of Technical and Sales positions, gaining the experience of starting the IBM Consulting Services Groups in North and South Carolina.
Duplicating the growth he had witnessed at IBM within a small company, Keith became instrumental in the growth of a Retail Services Technical Consulting Group from 20 to 100 and the launch of a new product. After this growing organization and his e-commerce consulting division were both acquired, Keith became Director of Software Marketing for JBA as they were being acquired by Avnet, a Fortune 100 $7B Hardware, Software & Services firm.
In 1999, seeing a large opportunity in the e-mortgage market, Keith left Avnet to found goodmortgage.com. The company received the Online Lender of the Year Industry Award at the Mortgage Bankers Association National meeting and was subsequently purchased by a PIMCO backed entity in 2016.
Keith is currently functioning as an active venture investor in the Charlotte Region, a mentor to startups, is serving as Executive Director of Innovate Charlotte, and Board Chair of the Queens University Entrepreneurial Leadership Circle Advisory Board.
Katherine Manuel is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience leading transformation initiatives. Her specialty is bridging the language gap between technologists and the C-suite and leading small teams to accomplish big things. She currently leads the Boom Advisory, a strategic consulting firm, and serves as an operating partner of IDEA Fund Partners, a venture capital firm in North Carolina’s Tech Triangle. She is also a guest lecturer at Duke University on innovation and strategy.
Katherine spent the last decade at Thomson Reuters building a new organization focused on shifting the company from acquisition- to organic-oriented growth. This encompassed defining the vision, developing the team and creating international programs that reached employees, customers and partners. Under her guidance, the innovation fund she ran invested in over 100 ideas and experienced over 300% ROI within three years of launch.
Katherine has been featured on Cheddar TV, in the Financial Times roundtable series, Forbes Woman and Innovation Leader. She has also delivered presentations for the Dallas Business Journal’s Tech Awards and the DFW Alliance of Technology & Women. Katherine holds an MBA from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College.
Rafe is a serial entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience leading organizations that achieved great success in digital marketing, retail convenience, contract security and healthcare consulting. Rafe believes that an MBA is optional, BUT a GSD (Getting Stuff Done) approach is required, and that success is best achieved by focusing on strategy, people, and financial management. Prior to his business career, Rafe played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and was a member of the 1987 Super Bowl Team.