David Arcara is the co-managing member of the General Partner and the Management Company. Mr. Arcara has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and general manager of young high-growth and turnaround media and marketing businesses, both digital and traditional. Mr. Arcara has raised, either as lead entrepreneur or as part of the founding team, nearly $100 million dollars of angel and venture funding. In 2010, Mr. Arcara founded Rubber Soul Ventures to contribute his personal capital and operational expertise to emerging digital technology companies and entrepreneurs. Rubber Soul Ventures currently has a portfolio of over a dozen early stage ventures based primarily in the Northeast corridor including LeagueApps, LocalVox, Page Science and Wymsee. Mr. Arcara was also the co-founder of TalkSix, a consumer facing interactive streaming video start-up with a significant B-to-B component. Mr. Arcara has also served as General Manager of Imaginova Corporation’s digital publishing division, including the flagship property Space.com, founded by CNN’s Lou Dobbs and former astronaut Neil Armstrong. Earlier in Mr. Arcara’s career, he co-founded Alliance Custom Communications, to create custom content for marketers seeking to enhance their brands’ customer engagement. Mr. Arcara was ultimately approached by Random House Publishing to re-launch and lead the business as Random House Custom Media.
Mr. Arcara was also a co-founder of UGO Networks, which ultimately consisted of over 500 independent affiliate web publishers reaching over 15 million users a month and became one of the nation’s largest 18 to 34 male-targeted online entertainment content networks. The UGO founding team was among those pioneering the concept of an online ad-supported publishing network. Mr. Arcara served as UGO’s Executive Vice President and led multiple operating functions including affiliate network development, sales, and marketing. UGO was purchased by Hearst Corporation in 2006 for approximately $100 million. In 1992, Mr. Arcara formed DJA Media, Inc., which focused on turning around underperforming radio stations by improving product and sales. In 1996, DJA Media formed Radio Enterprise, Inc., a joint venture with Clear Channel Communications, through which Clear Channel provided financing to allow Radio Enterprise to expand to a total of four stations under Mr. Arcara’s leadership. Radio Enterprise was sold to Clear Channel in 1998 after more than doubling its asset value at the peak of government-deregulated consolidation.
Mr. Arcara is a member of New York Angels, one of the country’s leading angel investor organizations, as well as Harvard Business School Angels. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he earned a BA in Philosophy, and holds his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jeffrey Silverman is the co-managing member of the General Partner and the Management Company. Mr. Silverman has over 20 years of experience building early stage media and technology companies and has been involved in all aspects of business management. In 2015, Mr. Silverman founded Laconia Ventures, LLC as an investment platform to contribute his personal capital into emerging digital technology companies and entrepreneurs. Through Laconia Ventures, Mr. Silverman has evaluated over 1000 businesses for potential investment and built a portfolio containing over 24 seed and early stage companies within the B-to-B and B-to-C markets. Mr. Silverman assists his entrepreneurs with all aspects of their business, including strategic planning, business development, sales, marketing, and operations. Laconia Ventures’ portfolio investments include TripleLift, Wymsee, ALICE and C3 Metrics. Prior to founding Laconia Ventures, Mr. Silverman spent seven years as the CEO and President of Integrated Color Solutions (ICS), a B-to-B software company which pioneered color accurate monitor proofing for the graphics arts industry, where Mr. Silverman was responsible for developing and implementing ICS’s strategic and operating plans. During Mr. Silverman’s tenure, ICS raised over $25 million in multiple rounds of financing from private equity investors and strategic alliances. Between 1997 and 2002, Mr. Silverman held several senior-level positions at DoubleClick, the leading provider of software tools designed for advertisers, markets, and web publishers to plan, execute, and analyze their marketing programs. Mr. Silverman’s positions included President of DoubleClick’s Media Division for North America and VP of Global Sales and was also actively involved in identifying, evaluating, and selecting strategic business alternatives for DoubleClick’s Media Division in the fast changing post Dot-Com Bubble marketplace. Mr. Silverman helped facilitate the successful sale of the Media Division to its competitor L90, which was later acquired by IAC. Mr. Silverman’s early career included sales and marketing positions at TeleRep, CBS-TV, and Cover Concepts.
Mr. Silverman received a BS in History from Tulane University and attended Columbia University’s Executive Education Program. He is a member of Tulane’s President’s Advisory Council; a member of New York Angels, one of the country’s leading angel investor organizations; the Vice-Chairman for the New York City-Southern NY Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis; a Board of Trustees member of the landmarked Park Avenue Armory, a nonprofit New York City cultural institution; a Board of Trustees member at Project Morry, a nonprofit year-round youth development organization. Mr. Silverman is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Connecticut grassroots environmental non-profit, Friends of the Lake.
Geri Kirilova is an Associate at Laconia Capital Group (LCG). Prior to joining LCG full-time, Geri was a Business Associate at Techstars IoT, a mentorship-driven accelerator program partnered with GE, SAP, Verizon, Bosch, and PwC to support companies rewiring legacy industries such as construction, healthcare, and transportation through connected devices, artificial intelligence, and drone technologies. In addition to facilitating program operations, Geri worked directly with the ten portfolio companies on customer acquisition, growth strategy, fundraising, business development, and messaging and storytelling. Additionally, Geri has worked in venture capital in Central and Eastern Europe (LAUNCHub in Sofia, BG and Credo Ventures in Prague, CZ). Beyond the venture space, Geri has operational experience managing a branch of Kweller Prep, a boutique educational services firm, leading hiring, training, sales, program management, client relations, and curriculum development. Geri graduated summa cum laude from NYU Stern, with a B. S. in Business with specializations in Information Systems and Management.
Robert F. Mancuso is the Advisory Partner to the Management Company. Mr. Mancuso was the first President and Chief Executive of Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, Inc. (the management and investment arm of Merrill Lynch’s private equity business) as well as the chief executive officer of Mancuso & Co. and The Dellacorte Group) which he also subsequently founded. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Mr. Mancuso was associated with Lazard Freres & Co. and practiced law with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mancuso has also served on the board of directors of twelve companies, including Dictaphone Corp. , where he served as Non-Executive Chairman, Life Fitness, now a part of Brunswick Corp., and Denny's Restaurants. Mr. Mancuso has experience guiding companies through various economic cycles, interest rate environments and changing competitive landscapes, which LCG believes will help provide strategic and operational counseling to Portfolio Company management teams. Given Mr. Mancuso’s 36 years of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity experience, LCG believes Mr. Mancuso will contribute further valuable insight to Portfolio Company management teams.
Mr. Mancuso is the author of numerous articles that have been published in a variety of industry leading journals and websites including Chief Executive.net, TheDeal.com, Mergers and Acquisitions, Pensions and Investments and Forbes.com.
Alain Bankier is an Operating Partner to the Management Company. Mr. Bankier is a serial entrepreneur and an active early stage investor, with over 20 years of experience investing in early stage and start-up companies. Until late 2013, Mr. Bankier was Co-President and chief executive officer of The Manischewitz Company. In 2002, Mr. Bankier co-founded the Saveur Food Group (“SFG”) to create, acquire and build branded food companies and in 2008 Manischewitz was merged with SFG. In the mid 90’s, Mr. Bankier was the co-founder of a leading New York based angel investment group, which was the precursor of the New York Angels. As a leading member of the New York Angels, Mr. Bankier invests in a wide variety of technology, media and content companies, as well as companies in France and Israel. Mr. Bankier is a board member and advisor to a variety of companies and has been instrumental in achieving exit opportunities for several of these business. Combining his operating experience and his knowledge of the technology startup world, Mr. Bankier has focused on investment opportunities which leverage technology and data to disrupt, or add efficiencies, to traditional media and manufacturing industries. Before being involved as the chief executive officer of operating companies, Mr. Bankier was a founder of an international boutique investment bank, which he sold to BNP Paribas and where he remained as the head of mergers and acquisitions-corporate finance North America for over 10 years. Mr. Bankier has a has a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a BS in economics from The Wharton School and an MBA from New York University and from HEC, Paris.
Patrick Hoogendijk is an Operating Partner to the Management Company. Mr. Hoogendijk is the Managing Partner and CFO of EIM Capital, a $1.5 billion private equity energy platform based in Mexico City. EIM Capital invests in exploration and production, energy infrastructure, power, and specialty projects in Mexico and surrounding Latam countries. From 2004 to 2013, Mr. Hoogendijk was Partner & CFO at Capital E Advisors, a private equity asset manager in New York, NY, which he helped build from $400 million to $1.5 billion in assets under management. Previously, Mr. Hoogendijk was in charge of private equity funds at Citco Fund Services and was a partner at Kickstart Ventures, a pan-European incubator. Mr. Hoogendijk has over 15 years of experience in private equity investing, operations, administration, and portfolio company assistance. Mr. Hoogendijk has worked on a diverse set of structures (fund-of-funds, secondary funds, direct investments) and across a broad range of investment stages and industries (including real estate, hardware, software, natural resources, and petrochemical). Mr. Hoogendijk is also an active angel investor and board member of the New York Angels, the largest and most active angel investor group on the east coast. He holds a portfolio of 15 startup investments, of which he is a director on three boards. Mr. Hoogendijk holds an MSc in chemical engineering from the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) and an MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. He is a chartered financial analyst and a certified RCA chief compliance officer.
Vamsi Sistla is an Operating Partner to the Management Company. Mr. Sistla is an innovative technologist with over 18 years of experience in the Television, Digital Media & Financial industries. He has built various enterprise quality software and technology (Web and Mobile) platforms. In the past Vamsi served as CTO for OfferBoard and Technical Advisor to various early stage startups. Previously, Vamsi co-founded – Telvetto (2nd Screen Social TV Platform), Mogozz (Mobile Events Platforms) and Captivision Networks (iTV Educational Channel). Vamsi is an active Angel investor in ARC Angels, Eniac Ventures (1 & 3) and TIE SV Angels. He is also active in social & impact enterprises as a mentor (Microsoft Ventures, The Unreasonable Institute, TechStars London IoT Spring 2013 Session), advisor to various early stage startups and a board member (The Good Life Organization).