Meet our Members

The Alliance community is all about our amazing members. Alliance members lead companies in virtually every industry and market sector ranging from early-stage private companies to global public companies. And, to be expected, their personal backgrounds are as diverse and wide-ranging as their companies. We’ve never been able to figure out how to describe the Alliance to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Therefore, we invited a few of our members to describe their "Alliance Experience" using their own words.

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Alliance Voices: Jans Aasman, CEO of Franz
Company: Franz, Inc.
Member Since: 2007

Alliance member Jans Aasman, CEO of Franz, discussed “Cognitive Computing” as it relates to clinical predictions, probabilistic inferences in criminal networks, product similarity in e-commerce and the Panama Papers during our August 19, 2016 “Alliance Voices” presentation series. The applications of cognitive science and big data machine learning to disparate problems in unrelated fields truly showed the power of data to catalyze problem solving. Refreshingly, Jans not only proselytized the theory of cognitive computing, but also presented in-depth examples of data-driven predictions that ended up perfectly matching real-world outcomes. For example, if you’re allergic to peanuts, you have a statistically greater chance of having asthma and other known diseases. Who knew? The data did.

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Alliance Voices: Gene Banman, CEO of DriveScale
Company: DriveScale, Inc.
Member Since: 2004

“It takes 60 meetings to get a term sheet," says Alliance member Gene Banman, CEO of DriveScale.

During Gene's November 4, 2016 "Alliance Voices" presentation, he shared his experiences and lessons learned in raising 3 different A Rounds of funding. He gave a revealing talk about the in’s and out’s of raising venture capital and provided point-by-point instructions for smart preparation, including how to land a proper introduction with a VC, how to find the right fit with a VC, when to consider the terms of the deal, why the character of the VC is important, and how obtaining multiple term sheets can get you the best deal. Did you know that a typical VC holds 300 meetings a year, but only signs 2-3 deals? For Gene, that means 60 meetings to get a term sheet – every time! In short, this game is not for the faint of heart and takes strategic persistence.

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Alliance Voices: Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi

Our current methods of using modern agriculture will simply not allow us to sustain the estimated 10 billion people who will inhabit our planet by 2050. But Alliance member Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi, is working on a solution.

On May 13, 2016 during our “Alliance Voices” presentation series, Lisa educated fellow CEOs on some fascinating NASA research dating back to the 60s and 70s - a carbon recycling solution involving single-cell organisms known as microbes. Applying NASA’s concept to earth today, Lisa hopes to use this solution to scale production vertically, instead of horizontally, producing microbes in hours instead of months, in any geography, season, or time of year, ending in 10,000 times more output over methods using modern agriculture. Don’t miss Lisa’s fascinating discussion on “The New Carbon Currency.”

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Alliance Voices: Alain Harrus, CEO of Kateeva
Company: Kateeva
Member Since: 2014

Alliance member Alain Harrus, CEO of Kateeva, initiated his November 4, 2016 “Alliance Voices” presentation with a simple, yet beguiling question: When do you give up?

The list is long of CEOs who have failed due to giving up too early or hanging on too long. Business leaders are constantly faced with figuring out what the next steps are, especially when it comes to funding a company. Alain recommended that leaders embrace both persistence and flexibility on the path to success. Persistence means embracing strong convictions. Flexibility means accepting realities as is. The key is finding the perfect balance.

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Alliance Voices: Peter Hill, Chairman & CEO of Bailard
Company: Bailard, Inc.
Member Since: 2010

Alliance member Peter Hill, Chairman & CEO of Bailard, kicked off of our August 19, 2016 “Alliance Voices” talks with a story about an exciting victory.

In 2012 at the London Olympics, Peter’s nephew, Alex Gregory, won the Gold in the Men’s Four Rowing for Great Britain. This success was not a fluke. Instead, it was obtained by a thoughtfully-executed plan, one that could work in business as it had in sports. Inspired by this Olympic win, Peter explained the framework he established at Bailard, and a plan his team nicknamed “Rio2016.” Using the 5 Olympic Rings as a symbol of success, he outlined the major milestones needed to reach “Rio Gold.” Not only did the five separate categories of success allow Peter to focus his team on myriad objectives simultaneously, but attaching the plan to the actual Rio Olympic Games provided a historic and motivating timeline with a fixed date. The take away of Peter’s talk was the power in identifying real, global events and leveraging them to inspire the form and timeline of your corporate goals. If your results are anything like Peter’s, you’ll attest to the efficacy of this approach.

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Alliance Voices: James Kilpatrick, President of NAI Northern California

How do we choose an emotion so that it is helpful to us in a particular circumstance?

During our “Alliance Voices” presentation series on May 13, 2016, Alliance member James Kilpatrick, President of NAI Northern California, urged his fellow Alliance CEOs to gain more control of human emotion and apply the right emotion in the appropriate circumstance, what he refers to as "Motion and Emotion." The key, he maintained, is to communicate emotions authentically with both words and body language. A seasoned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter who took bronze medal in the U.S. Open, James recommends getting in touch with your emotions - identify your emotions and practice choosing emotions that will be most helpful in particular situation. In terms of business leadership and authenticity, James comments that emotion is at the heart of why someone would connect with you, understand your purpose, and follow you into battle.

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Alliance Voices: Peter Koshland, Founder of Koshland Pharm
Company: Koshland Pharm
Member Since: 2014

Alliance member Peter Koshland, Founder of Koshland Pharm, asks, "As a CEO, what can you do to incorporate 15 minutes of stress free time into your day?"

At our San Francisco Alliance Regional Meeting on May 13, 2016, we showcased several of our members in a presentation series called “Alliance Voices.” Take a listen to Peter's talk titled “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers," in which he presents research and professional experience that underline the importance of staying physically healthy while under the pressure of being CEO. He provides concrete advice like avoiding refined sugar, scheduling a daily no-stress activity and getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

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Alliance Voices: Cal Lai, CEO of Ask.Vet
Company: Ask.Vet
Member Since: 2006

During our November 4, 2016 "Alliance Voices" presentation series, Alliance member Cal Lai, CEO of Ask.Vet, described the current regulatory and business trends at the outset of a new age of Equity Crowdfunding. For the last 80 years, less than 4% of the U.S. population has had any access to startup companies and the ability to invest capital. A revolution and democratization of early stage capital is now at its beginning - including both access for money into companies, and for companies to seek investments from small investors. The Federal Government is providing people the ability to invest small amounts of money in startup companies where they never would have had that ability before. In turn, this allows companies to have yet another option to raise money. And did you know that millennials are now ten times more likely to use equity crowdfunding platforms than baby boomers? Bottom line: crowdfunding is fast becoming a go-to tool for raising equity and will only be more relevant in the coming years. Study up!

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Alliance Voices: Cat Lincoln, Founder & CEO of CLEVER
Company: CLEVER
Member Since: 2015

As one of the key masterminds behind the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Batkid viral campaign, Alliance member Cat Lincoln, Founder and CEO of CLEVER, has great tips about maximizing the reach of social media content, such as the importance of telling an emotional story, using hashtags and providing concrete ways for people to participate. Cat shared her knowledge and insight with fellow Alliance CEOs during our San Francisco Alliance Regional Meeting on May 13, 2016, as we rolled out a new presentation format called “Alliance Voices.”

Listen to Cat’s advice, follow her 3 simple principles and perhaps you too, will go viral.

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Alliance Voices: David Matheson, CEO of SmartOrg
Company: SmartOrg, Inc.
Member Since: 2006

How do you make a great decision every time? How to drive organizational change? In business, you’ve got your head, but you’ve also got your heart. Alliance member David Matheson, CEO of SmartOrg, gave an elegant presentation that illuminated the benefits of using both faculties in decision making. David shared stories of the unique relationship he formed with television executive, Mel Harris, in the 1990s while working with Sony Pictures. A great mentor, Mel taught David the importance of storytelling in making lasting change. During David’s “Alliance Voices” presentation on November 4, 2016, he recommended keeping a cool head for good direction, yet nurturing a warm heart for strong action. By searching for the common ground shared by these distinct forces, leaders nurture both rigor and narrative. The result is balanced and effective decision making.

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Alliance Voices: Ian McLean, President of Thermal Press International
Company: Thermal Press International
Member Since: 2013

Alliance member Ian McLean, President of Thermal Press International, spoke passionately about the power of dreams during our “Alliance Voices” presentation series on August 19, 2016.

What unfolded was a heartfelt story about his grade school friend, Darren Dent, nicknamed “Hoody,” with whom he shares a great passion for horseracing. After learning of Hoody’s battle with ALS, Ian embarked on an amazing and ongoing journey by purchasing a racing horse named “Runninforhoody.” He invited Hoody to partner in the adventure of racing the horse while raising awareness for ALS. To boot, the horse turned out to be a media sensation and a real contender in important races, raising money and awareness for the disease. The deferential silence in the room as Ian shared his story spoke volumes to the power of human connection and the love of this sport.

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Alliance Voices: Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder & CEO of the FruitGuys
Company: The FruitGuys
Member Since: 2012

During our “Alliance Voices” presentation series on May 13, 2016, Alliance member Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder & CEO of the FruitGuys, talked to fellow Alliance CEOs about how a unifying theory of doing business could help them connect their customer promises with the way they operationalize their business on a daily basis. Chris learned this lesson the hard way in 1999. Following an unfortunate, yet eye-opening event that occurred with one of his employees, he realized that his own view of customer service, and what he thought he had imparted onto his employees, was not understood by those within this organization. After some significant thought and contemplation, Chris came up with a very simple way to express what the FruitGuys’ customer promise is to its employees, and how to operationalize that in a simple fashion so that his employees could check themselves against it on a daily basis. Take a listen to the FruitGuys’ “5 Rs of Customer Promise.”

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Alliance Voices: Stan Schneider, CEO of Real-Time Innovations (RTI)
Company: Real-Time Innovations
Member Since: 2007

Alliance member Stan Schneider, CEO of Real-Time Innovations, has a keen eye on the “smart machine era,” which is predicted to be the most disruptive force in the history of IT. During our South Bay Alliance Regional Meeting on November 4, 2016, Stan used examples from the medical, power generation and automotive industries to show how industrial companies are pivoting to software and analytics. In the breakneck world of smart machines, the paradigm is shifting from competing against competitors to competing against market transitions. That shift is happening much faster than most people realize. His message was not of gloom, but rather one of tremendous boom. As Stan comments, “The things that really drive companies' and people’s success is the ability to leverage the technology of the day.” Buckle up and hang on!

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Alliance Voices: Mihir Shukla, CEO & Co-Founder of Automation Anywhere
Company: Automation Anywhere
Member Since: 2009

In describing the coming “Digital Workforce,” Alliance member Mihir Shukla, CEO of Automation Anywhere, predicts that 110M to 150M human jobs will be automated by 2025. Mihir states that business leaders are often asked to look for the bend in the road ahead - sometimes three minutes ahead, sometimes three years ahead. But, leaders must prepare their organizations for this bend. If they fail to negotiate that curve, they go off the track. The new Digital Workforce is one such “bend” disruption, which must not be ignored. It will change the definition of work as it is known today, changing jobs and the way business leaders lead their organizations in the next five years. During Mihir's November 4, 2016 "Alliance Voices" presentation, he outlined a world where human workers will use their intellect to solve huge, complex problems, while bots work alongside them processing high-level tasks. The take away: bots will liberate humans to flourish as never before.

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Alliance Voices: Paul White, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Muir Equity
Company: Muir Equity, LLC
Member Since: 2003

To sell a company in a manner that is sustainable and scalable for the business, while protecting one’s employees, family and financial position, is indeed the ultimate goal.

During our "Alliance Voices" session on August 19, 2016, Alliance member Paul White, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Muir Equity, drilled down into what it takes to optimize outcomes in complex business dealings. To animate his presentation with a real world example, Paul discussed the considerations, analysis and detailed work that went into one specific business sale. The need to optimize the outcome of the sale on many levels presented a complex decision making process – from family and employee considerations to one’s own personal achievement ambitions and financial wellbeing. Ever the strategic surgeon, Paul described a strategy for defining objectives, evaluating options and finally selecting the most optimized decisions.

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Kirsten Bay, President & CEO of Cyber adAPT
Company: Cyber adAPT
Member Since: 2015

To Kirsten Bay, the Alliance is a great forum to discuss the challenges that CEOs face - how to manage an entire life in the CEO profession. CEOs are CEOs, but they hold many roles – as parent, or spouse, or sibling. The Alliance gives its members an opportunity to learn and discuss how to bring all of those roles together in a way that is supported and understood, while being held accountable. Kirsten is the President & CEO of Cyber adAPT, which aims to protect critical business assets by helping companies detect the presence of sophisticated adversaries hiding inside enterprise networks.  

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