Scott Kornblatt, who was introduced to me by Nancy Sharp of Food for Thought Enterprises. Scott graduated in 2007 from the University of Iowa, where he studied entrepreneurship. After his first job out of school, like most new grads, he wasn’t satisfied and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He took a job at FFT recently as a captain/server/bartender, not because of the career path, but because he thought he could learn something about the business. He then got introduced to us, asked to volunteer, and has done an amazing job helping us explore how the Coleman Center can use social networking as part of our marketing strategy. He’s committed, gets things done, and has a bright future.
David Pessis of Fippex, a start-up that David originally wanted to turn into a “stock exchange” for small businesses. But because of SEC rules, he opted out of that model and is now trying to figure out what to do with it. David’s raised some angel funding and has formed an initial management team that he’s excited about. The most opportunity, as he sees it right now, is a tool that allows entrepreneurs/companies manage their investor relationship. As I shared with him, I see some potential there, but mostly with companies that have already raised angel/venture capital, especially with experienced entrepreneurs. First-timers often don’t know how complex it can be to manage their investor relationships – personalities, operation updates, financial reviews, follow-on funding, etc. I like the concept of their idea and look forward to seeing how it gets executed.
Jeff Leitner of Leitner Inc., a firm that creates successful cause programs for companies and organizations. He is a brilliant idea guy, in-depth thinker, and cares a lot about people. I met Jeff almost five years ago, when I started at the Coleman Center. He started as a client of ours, and has turned into a good friend. Jeff and I get together about every six months to discuss high-level strategy issues of his firm. He is arguably one of the smartest people I have ever met in my life; in fact, I often describe him as the “only person who has ever made my brain hurt”. I say that because a few years ago, we had an amazingly spririted discussion, challenging each other in many ways, and exploring new ground for his firm. When he was leaving, I realized I had a strange headache that I had never experienced before. It wasn’t annoying but clearly something that resulted from that exchange with Jeff.