Seed Fund Advisory Board
Seed Fund Advisory Board of Directors
The Seed Fund Investment Committee evaluates potential investment deals. They meet approximately 10 times a year to evaluate multiple prospective entrepreneurs at a time.
Two critical factors for the success of the Seed Fund are (1) a thorough pre-screening process and (2) fund credibility. Our Investment Committee members are an integral part of the fund’s credibility as they have established strategic partnerships and relationships with already existing and respected angel funds, experienced law firms and other business-related entities. This credibility further attracts new investors to fund our selected entrepreneurs’ initiatives.
Jan L. Davis
Jan Davis is a retired CEO and active board member for companies in drowning prevention, software, analytics, database and digital marketing and information. These enterprises sell products and services to a broad range of industries, including retail, real estate, financial services and insurance as well as
Davis served as CEO of ShopperTrak RCT Corporation, the global leader in pedestrian traffic counting, from 2004 to 2008. Before joining ShopperTrak, she was an executive vice president and business unit president at TransUnion LLC, the international credit reporting giant. Previously, Davis was a marketing consultant in Boston, MA and in Warsaw, Poland, working with a US database marketing agency, multi-nationals and a Polish enterprise. She co-founded SmartNames, a venture-backed database marketing information,
Davis holds a BA and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Senior Vice President, Carter
Dawn is Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development Lending with Carter Bank and Trust. Dawn’s role with the organization is to develop a company-wide community impact lending strategy and to originate loans meeting the impact mission. She works with small business owners, economic development and government officials, housing authorities, and real estate developers. Dawn has expertise in small business government guaranteed loan programs and in historic,
Dawn has worked in the banking/finance sector for over 30 years and has worked for several regional and national banks. Prior to joining Carter Bank in 2017, Dawn spent 10 ½ years as a commercial lender with Virginia Community Capital and 9 years as a lender with Business Finance Group, an SBA 504 lender. Dawn previously served on The Launch Place Seed Fund board for 3 ½ years representing Virginia Community Capital. She holds a Finance degree from Virginia Tech.
Robert J. Creeden
Managing Director, UVA Seed Fund & New Ventures
Bob Creeden joined the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group in September 2016 as its first Managing Director of the UVA Seed Fund & New Ventures. Bob's experience includes launching the Partners Innovation Fund at Partners HealthCare in Boston, one of the first academic medical center venture funds of its kind in the country. Bob is
President, Skyline Capital Strategies, LLC
Greg Feldmann, President of Skyline Capital Strategies, LLC, has been retained as the Senior Advisor to The Launch Place Seed and Pre-Seed Funds. Greg brings more than 30 years of experience serving in roles related to commercial banking, strategic advisory work, corporate financing, investment banking and executive/board leadership positions in both public and private companies. Greg is an acknowledged subject matter expert in strategic planning,
Greg received a B.A. in Classical Studies from Hampden-Sydney College, where he was a Baker Scholar and selected for inclusion in a variety of academic and leadership honorary fraternities including Phi Beta Kappa, ODK, Eta Sigma Phi, and Phi Alpha Theta. He has undertaken advanced studies in commercial banking through the University of Virginia’s banking programs, successfully passed the Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 securities exams and completed the NVCA’s venture capital certificate program.
In 1989 he was awarded a National Leadership Fellowship by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which he used to study privatization and the threats posed by development to the world’s rainforests.
Ken Ferris is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience which has included being on the founding team of three technology start-up companies, each of which was sold to a large, publicly traded company. The product technologies involved included fiber optic and DSL communications, wireless sensors and medical devices. He is currently President of
Ken, an engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, began his career with the Department of Defense in Dahlgren, Virginia. While working for DOD, he spent two years on a temporary assignment to the Pentagon and the Naval Electronic Systems Command in Arlington, Virginia.
Ken is past President and currently on the Board of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC). He has also served on the Board of the Science Museum of Western Virginia. In 2009 and 2010, he was a member of the Steering Committee for Botetourt County’s Comprehensive Plan Update.
Ken has had leadership roles in starting and growing a number of faith-based community service organizations and churches. He is involved in strategy coordination with the Center for Global Strategies of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Senior Vice President of Operations, Center for Innovative Technology
Bob Stolle is Senior Vice President of Operations at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon, Virginia, where he is responsible for program development and the execution of support programs and services. Previously he served as Vice President of CIT Regional Growth where he managed programs designed to maximize the growth of Virginia’s regional technology industries. Bob came to CIT after four years as Executive Vice President and COO of Richmond-based Core Consulting and 10 years as Executive Director of the Greater Richmond Technology Council.
Prior to that, he served in several key positions for the Commonwealth of Virginia during the Governor George Allen administration, including Secretary of Commerce and Trade where he was responsible for 15 state agencies and promoting economic and community development in the Commonwealth.
Bob’s private sector experience includes service as engineering director and executive management for the global leader in military and space simulation and training systems. He has served on the Commission on Information Technology and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission where he chaired the Intellectual Property Committee.
A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, Bob served on active duty and in the Reserves as a Navy pilot and retired with the rank of Commander.
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Danville Regional Foundation
Gary joined DRF in January 2013 as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, bringing with him over three decades of diversified experience. A resident of Danville since 1990, Gary has held senior financial positions with Dan River Inc., Alpha Natural Resources, and Pike Electric Corporation. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Kent State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Angel Resource Institute
Troy Knauss is Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute, a non-profit spinout of the Kauffman Foundation focused on education and research initiatives for early-stage investors. Troy is a partner in a number of Angel funds and networks that invest in high-growth and turnaround companies. Troy has over 20 years of experience in family, growth, and start-up businesses. In addition to his fund activities, Troy is an exited entrepreneur with start-up and growth management experience in food processing, brand building, software development, and eCommerce companies. Troy is an active investor in more than forty ventures.
Troy was named one of the Triad’s Impact Entrepreneurs by Business Leader magazine. He speaks frequently to investors and entrepreneurs on private investing through his efforts with the Angel Resource Institute. He is also a part-time professor at Wake Forest University, a former Board member of the Angel Capital Association, serves on a number of for-profit Boards, and volunteers on a number of non-profit entrepreneurial committees including Vice Chairman of the Greensboro Partnership, a local economic development initiative to attract, engage and help entrepreneurs start businesses. Troy holds degrees from Susquehanna University and Wake Forest University.