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.

Paul Nolde

Paul Nolde

Managing Director, Riverflow Growth Fund; Board Chair, The Launch Place Seed Fund

Paul Nolde has over a decade of experience in the banking, finance, and venture capital sectors, serving in multiple business development and management roles. As one of the managing directors of Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed fund in Richmond, VA, Paul is responsible for all aspects of fund management and investment-related processes. Specifically, he leads their business development strategies and their discernment process around new investment opportunities, as well as supporting several portfolio companies through board service and general strategic guidance. Prior to this, he served as a director at NRV, an early-stage venture capital firm also based in Richmond, VA, and before that as the Small Business Capital Strategist for Virginia Community Capital, Virginia’s largest community development financial institution. In this capacity, Paul was responsible for building the firm’s venture debt portfolio focusing on growth companies, social enterprises, and healthy foods, as well as architecting their overall small business lending platform. Prior to VCC he was managing director of a family office in Richmond, VA, preceded by sales and strategy positions at Wells Fargo, Union First Market Bank, Bank of America, and Wachovia.

He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local and regional organizations, including the Activation Council, Venture Forum RVA, CAV Angels, The Launch Place Seed Fund, and SCORE. Additionally, Paul sits on various boards at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, where he also serves as an adjunct professor in its Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

He graduated from UVA in 2001 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complimented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute. 

Bob Creeden

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 an senior entrepreneurial executive with extensive experience commercializing new technologies, as well as more than 25 years experience as an early-stage venture capitalist.

Proven expertise developing and implementing vision, strategy, and tactics to create, operate, and fund new ventures across multiple industries. Collaborative leader and advisor, with excellent communication, presentation, and relationship-building skills. Frequent speaker, panelist, and lecturer on issues related to starting and funding a business. Prior to joining UVA, Bob most recently served as the founding executive director of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in the North Carolina Research Triangle. His efforts helped strengthen the area’s business environment, resulting in early-stage and seed investment of more than $60 million. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Holy Cross College and a master's of business administration from Suffolk University.

Robbie Hardy

Robbie Hardy

Founder and Chair of xElle Ventures

Robbie Hardy, founder and Chair of xElle Ventures, has worn many different hats during a career that has stretched from the vineyards of Napa Valley to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies. She’s driven a school bus, worked in both the public and non-profit sectors, served as CEO of several IT companies and founded angel funds.

For more than a decade Robbie has focused on aiding entrepreneurs, especially women trying to get a company started. Her experience founding, growing, guiding and exiting successful startups herself makes her an “entrepreneurologist” by trade, a term she coined to describe both her experience and her passion.
Today, Hardy is most passionate about empowering women in their careers, helping them overcome obstacles they face such as sexism, workplace politics, and self-doubt, and connecting them with strong women role models to help them succeed. In 2016, she published a book, “Upsetting the Table: Women Mentoring Women,” aimed at establishing a “girl’s club” to off-set the “boy’s club” that has for so long dominated company executive offices.

In 2019, Hardy founded xElle Ventures, an angel fund network dedicated to investing in the ideas, products and services of women. The 15 women founders hope to change the fact that, although women comprise half of the workforce and own millions of businesses, companies founded by women receive only 2.3 % of venture financing.

Also in 2019, Hardy initiated Empowering Women Together, a series of panel discussions designed, she says, “for ambitious women who want to invest in themselves and others.” The once a month meetings, held in Durham’s First Flight Venture Center, feature panels composed of strong, successful, confident women including scientists, lawyers, technologists, corporate execs, and business leaders, paying it forward by sharing the secrets of their success and the lessons they learned along the way.

Ed Pettiss

Ed Pettiss

Director, Vice President and Treasurer, RTP Capital

Ed Pettiss is a former senior executive, general manager, and board director with extensive global experience with both large multi-national organizations and high-growth, technology-driven start-ups. He is currently Vice-President, Treasurer, and Board Director for RTP Capital Associates, Executive-in-Residence with the NC State Technology and Entrepreneurship Collaborative program, and active with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and NC IDEA grant programs. He was previously Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications for a large environmental services company. With a major chemical & machinery company, he served as President of a start-up technology-based joint venture and General Manager for a high-growth worldwide biotech chemical business. Ed earned an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School and an AB in Economics from Duke University.

Marco Rubin

Marco Rubin

Senior Investment Director, Center for Innovative TechnologyBoard Vice-Chair, The Launch Place Seed Fund

Marco is responsible for sourcing, diligence and closing of seed and early stage investments on behalf of the CIT and serves as a board representative to a numerous portfolio companies. He divides his responsibilities between the GAP Tech Fund and the Commonwealth Energy Fund which he manages for the CIT. He also leads Exoventure Associates, LLC which is primarily engaged in emerging market activity. Marco mentors entrepreneurs and serves as an expert judge in global business plan competitions sponsored in part by the World Bank and/or State Department.

Throughout his career, Rubin has invested in over 60 early-stage technology companies throughout his career and has held leadership roles with funds recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual VC100list since 2002. Prior to forming Exoventure, Rubin was founder of Monumental Venture Partners, LLC (MVP) making investments in security, information technology, telecommunications, software and medical devices sectors. Substantial exits were made to Dolby Labs and Level 3 Communications. Before MVP, he ran New Ventures, MCI’s venture capital unit until the company's acquisition in 1998 where investment exits were made Cisco and Alcatel. Prior to MVP, Rubin worked for Booz Allen & Hamilton where he served as a project leader for clients in the energy, telecommunications and information technology industries. Clients included names such as Mobil Oil and NASA.

He began his career as an engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center where he trained and certified astronauts and flight controllers to operate spacecraft. He holds an MBA from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico.