Jason joined Maveron in 2007. He specializes in funding early-stage companies and working with entrepreneurs as they build their team, refine their business models, and scale their businesses. Two areas of focus for Jason are web-enabled consumer business and education. Jason is also involved with Maveron's investments in Zulily, General Assembly, Julep, Everlane, Gigi Hill, and Red Tricycle.
Prior to Maveron, Jason was an executive at Career Education Corp., where he co-founded IADT Online, an online art and design college offering associate and bachelor's degrees in web graphic design. He also was a venture capitalist at Spinnaker Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in San Francisco. Jason has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of Michigan.
Alex Finkelstein is a General Partner at Spark Capital and joined the firm at its inception. He has led Spark’s investments in 5min, 8D World, Linkwell, and Altius Education. Alex focuses on working with and investing in highly passionate entrepreneurs who enjoy leaving stable jobs to build transformative companies.
Prior to joining Spark Capital, Alex was the creator and producer of a number of television shows and Internet properties that he sold to major networks, including FOX, E!, Discovery, ITV1 (U.K.) and Yahoo. Alex’s shows all had major product integration components and were sold in partnership with Fortune 500 brands.
Previously Alex was a Principal at Seed Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm that was formed in partnership with Softbank. Before joining Seed Capital Partners, Alex was an Associate at GrandBanks Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that was also formed in partnership with Softbank.
Alex also worked at Cambridge Associates, where he served as a Senior Venture Capital Research Associate and Senior Consulting Associate.
Alex Finkelstein holds a BA in political science from Middlebury College.
Saar is passionate about discovering and growing early-stage companies and focuses on CRV’s consumer and internet investments. Saar currently sits on the boards of Progress Financial, Altius Education, Magnetic, Wonderhill, and Blippy (incubated at CRV), and was involved in CRV’s seed investment in social games company LilGreenPatch (acquired by Playdom) and Viki. Saar was also involved with CRV’s investments in Twitter and Scribd.
Prior to joining CRV, Saar was a co-founder of Brightroll, the world’s leading Internet video advertising network Saar was also the co-founder of Carebadges.com (acquired by Facebook Causes) and remains an active advisor to Causes. Previously, Saar was VP of Customer Acquisition, and responsible for the P&L of Adteractive, a leading performance-based marketing company with over $120m in revenues achieved with no outside capital. Most recently, Saar launched FounderDating, an endeavor aimed at helping talented entrepreneurs find co-founders and compelling business ideas.
Paul Freedman is the founder and CEO of Altius Education. A longtime advocate for the transformative power of a college education, Paul has a strong track record of founding, managing, and investing in successful education ventures. Before founding Altius, Paul created Academic Engine, a college recruitment technology company that he later sold to Hobsons Inc. in 2004. Through his work at Altius Education, Paul has used his unique combination of institutional knowledge and passion for entrepreneurship to find creative solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing higher education today.
Since its founding in 2009, Altius has been focused on addressing the decreasing number of college transfers from two- to four-year programs. Through its online institution Ivy Bridge College, Altius has found ways to improve the quality and experience of online education and help today’s diverse population of college students achieve successful outcomes. In addition to his work with Altius, Paul continues to support a variety of startup organizations and innovators in the higher education community. He is a frequent panelist at events like HigherEdTech and the Big Ideas Fest and takes part in the ongoing conversation surrounding higher education and technology through his Huffington Post blog and numerous speaking engagements.
Paul is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a bachelor of arts in public policy and a concentration in law and economics.
In 1987, Chip Conley started his own hospitality company, Joie de Vivre (JDV), and, as CEO for two dozen years, grew it into the second largest boutique hotel company in the United States. At the age of 26 with no industry experience, Chip transformed a seedy 1950s “no-tell motel” into the world-renowned Phoenix Hotel, a legendary rock ‘n roll destination catering to the likes of David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt and Nirvana. JDV expanded into a collection of over 35 award-winning hotels, restaurants and spas, with more than 3,000 employees – each property with its own unique theme that inspires guests to experience an “identity refreshment” during their stay. Chip and his company’s time-tested techniques and transformational leadership practices have been featured in The New York Times, TIME, USA Today, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal.
As the preeminent thought leader at the intersection of psychology and business, and a successful practitioner of emotional intelligence at work, Chip shared his unique prescription for success in PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow. Based on noted psychologist Abraham Maslow’s iconic Hierarchy of Needs theory, PEAK illustrates how business’s three key stakeholders – employees, customers and investors – are ultimately motivated by peak experiences that address their higher, unspoken needs. In his latest book, The New York Times bestseller, Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success, Chip takes readers from emotional intelligence to emotional fluency – using math as a way to better understand and manage our emotions. Chip’s earlier works include The Rebel Rules: Daring to be Yourself in Business, and Marketing That Matters: 10 Practices to Profit Your Business and Change the World.
After 24 years as JDV’s CEO, Chip is now a Strategic Advisor to the company he founded, and a successful author and international speaker for organizations from TED to PIXAR to GOOGLE. He has been honored with the highest accolade in the American hospitality industry, the coveted ISHC Pioneer award, and the San Francisco Business Times named him the Most Innovative CEO – and JDV the “2nd Best Place to Work” – in the entire Bay Area.
A committed philanthropist, he served on the board of Glide Memorial Church for nearly a decade and currently serves on the Burning Man Project, Esalen Institute, and Youth Speaks boards. He created the San Francisco Hotel Hero Awards and founded the city’s Annual Celebrity Pool Toss event, which has raised millions for inner-city youth programs that now thrive in the troubled neighborhood where he launched his first hotel. Chip received his BA and MBA from Stanford University, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University, where he is the 2012 Scholar-Practitioner in residence..