Our Mentors

Engineers, marketing experts, UX designers, product gurus, entrepreneurs, company execs, startup junkies…the best entrepreneurial minds we can find. Our mentors are united by their fierce passion to help startups succeed with one on one mentoring, intimate talks, dropping by our space to guide startups, and being there to lend advice. They go deep on your company. Their networks are enormous and valuable. They’ve been there and done that, and they’re here to help your company succeed.

David Heath

VP of Customer Dev at Nike (retired)

David Heath is a 34-year veteran of the sporting goods, footwear and apparel industry. He retired as VP of Global Sales from Nike, Inc., in 2009. Over his nearly 20-year Nike career, David was responsible for the commercial organization’s sales of footwear, apparel and equipment in all global regions.

Prior to working for Nike, David spent eight years in various positions with Adidas USA and its distributors. He worked more than two years at Fossil, Inc., as SVP, Licensed Brands. He is currently an independent consultant and Chairman at ADAO Global and part-owner of soleusrunning.com, a producer of GPS running watches. David is a graduate of Texas A&M and serves as an Executive Professor at the Texas A&M University Mays Business School. He and his wife, Andrea, reside in Bryan/College Station, Texas, and have two sons.

From Seed Sumo: “David is an enormous addition to our team. His knowledge and experience working with some of the biggest brands in the world is priceless. His network is large which allows our startups to quickly vet certain ideas out quickly.”


Mark Hamilton

Advisor and Investor

Due to the nature of Mark’s diverse background, he has entered into trust dialogues and developed relationships with many high profile people in Silicon Valley, UK/U.S. governments, to include 10 Downing and the White House, global media influencers, prominent CEOs and foreign governments.

Mark began his professional career in Washington DC, during this time, he served at The Pentagon, under then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who was a mentor for him during one of the most dynamic and trying times for the U.S. military and our national security.

In 2012 he was asked to join Osborne & Partners a London and Hong Kong based international strategic advisory firm providing prominent Silicon Valley companies with discreet strategies designed to enhance their reputation and credibility.

He now advises and consults international political campaigns and various tech startups on matters of international affairs.

Mark’s career has brought him to over 120 countries. He’s a graduate of Texas Tech University with duel degrees in Architecture and Business Administration. He currently resides in London, UK.

From Seed Sumo: “Mark is extremely well connected and has one of the most diverse backgrounds of any person you will most likely meet. The speed at which Mark can connect our startups with key global influencers brings value beyond compare.”


Corey Cormier

CEO, Legal Monkeys

Corey has been developing software for 17 years and has started and sold a few companies. His latest venture is Legal Monkeys which has been rapidly growing since 2009 reaching 50 employees in a few short years. Corey has been a vital component in building a great culture that is infused with mentoring and leadership values.

From Seed Sumo: “Corey is extremely passionate about startups and business in general. He is a big picture guy and will expand your thought process and how you see your company. His success in an extremely short amount of time at Legal Monkeys is extraordinary.”

Travis McElroy

President, The Old State

Entrepreneur, Strategist, Developer, and Architect of powerful websites, intranets, and apps for many notable clients including ConocoPhillips Energy, American Way Magazine, Dr. Pepper/7up, Texas Christian University, Peterbilt, Northpark Center, The Dallas Arboretum, PaperCity Magazine, Mockingbird Station, Pollo Campero, the Fort Worth Stockyards, and the now internationally recognized Woodall Rogers Park Foundation

Travis McElroy is the Managing Partner and Creative Director of The Old State House of Design and Development, LLC, a Dallas-based interactive and branding firm with a diverse and notable client base. A Design and Communications graduate from Texas Tech University in 2003, McElroy’s passion for design and technology has earned him a reputation for marrying cutting edge visuals with game-changing functionality throughout his career. It is for this reason that he enjoys a client base including some of the most important names in fashion, interior design, retail brands, technology, philanthropy, and business.  

With a reputation for delivering measurable results now firmly established, McElroy formed The Old State House of Design and Development in Dallas, Texas in November 2007.  His passion and drive quickly led him to the short list of innovators for major brands everywhere.

McElroy is active in the design and arts communities, and is a devoted husband to his wife Stephanie. He is the father of two clever young daughters, Ireland and London.

From Seed Sumo: “Travis is extremely creative and has a knack for completely changing your presence online. He is extremely visual and his branding advice is potent.”


James Y. Lancaster

Fund Manager, Research Valley Funds, LLC

James Lancaster is currently Fund Manager of Research Valley Funds, LLC, dedicated to making early-stage angel investments in science and technology ventures in and around the Research Valley.

Other positions include CEO of Shape Memory Therapeutics, a medical device R&D company and CEO of Ecolyse, Inc., an industrial biocontrol company. Previously he was the founding General Manager of the Research Valley Innovation Center, a science and technology incubator teamed with The Texas A&M University System. With an extensive background advising entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, Lancaster has co-founded multiple technology companies in addition to the Research Valley Funds LLC. Lancaster is an ongoing volunteer and contributor of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. Lancaster currently serves on the boards of Shape Memory, Ecolyse and the non-profit BrightMinds Foundation.

Lancaster holds a BBA from Texas A&M University and a MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.

From Seed Sumo: “James has been engaged in innovation in public and private sectors as an entrepreneur, strategist, and educator for decades. As a director of various funds his knowledge and guidance in fundraising is vital for our startups.”


Ross Morel

President at Frogslayer

Ross is an entrepreneur and software consulting professional with successful background in Agile delivery, quality assurance and software product strategy for startup companies in the Fortune 500.

Ross founded his first software development company after graduating from Texas A&M in 2010. He now leads a software development and consulting company, FrogSlayer, based in College Station, TX.

FrogSlayer has built a reputation as one of the most proven software product development partners in Texas, uniquely combining a deep technical expertise in Microsoft technologies with Agile deliver philosophies and a strong focus on creating revenue opportunities for their clients.

From Seed Sumo: “Ross is in tune with a lot of the current online strategies that really work. His experience with agile delivery and software product strategies really help our companies once product market fit has been reached.”


Reece Norris

Entrepreneur and Investor

Inventor, Entrepreneur, Investor, Mentor and former corporate attorney, Reece’s background is diverse and full of success.

From 2008 to 2012, Reece served as the president of Innovative Infusions, LLC, a multi-site healthcare service company based in Texas. During his tenure, Innovative Infusions experienced exponential revenue growth after he led a company-wide restructuring and business model transition.

In late 2012, Innovative Infusions was successfully sold to a strategic buyer, and Reece remains actively involved in day-to-day operations. Reece also co-founded DripSync, a fully-integrated software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for the infusion industry. The software company was successfully sold in December 2012, and he maintains an advisory role with the business.

Prior to his experience in healthcare and software development, Reece was a corporate attorney at Thompson & Knight LLP in their Dallas, Texas office. Before joining Thompson & Knight LLP, Reece clerked for United States District Judge Ed Kinkeade. Reece received his BBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Baylor University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas Law School. Reece resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Katie.

From Seed Sumo: “Reece loves startups. His passion and history of success allows him to bring an enormous amount of value to Seed Sumo. He is great at pointing out huge blind spots that most startups fail to see on their own.”


Bryan Johnson

Investor and Entrepreneur

Addicted Problem Solver, Chaos Organizer, Infusion Innovator, Technologist, Entrepreneur, and Investor

In 2003, Bryan founded the Austin Infusion Center in Austin, TX which has grown to be one of the largest office-based infusion centers in the state. Bryan later went on to merge his healthcare venture in 2008 with Innovative Infusions, LLC and became the co-founder of the large multi-site healthcare company. Bryan served as COO of Innovative and helped guide the company through an exponential growth and restructuring period that led to the successful sale of the company to Paragon Healthcare of Dallas, TX in 2012.

Bryan also co-founded Infusion Strategy, LLC a company that developed a fully-integrated software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for the office based infusion healthcare model. Infusion Strategy, LLC was also successfully sold in late 2012, and Bryan continues to play a daily role in the company’s direction and the software’s design. Bryan received his BBA in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University.

From Seed Sumo: “Bryan has been a part of several startups, mergers, acquisitions and brings a lot of energy to the table. He has a passion for startups and loves solving complex problems, which we have plenty of.”


Curtis Hale

VP Product Development, The Old State

Curtis Hale is Partner and Art Director at The Old State House of Design and Development.  He received his education at Texas Tech University, where he graduated with a degree in Communications and Design. Notably graduating first in his class in 2003, Hale would soon co-found LiveSide Studio, a creative and interactive company, with Travis McElroy.  After two years, LiveSide accepted an offer to merge with OneFastBuffalo, where Hale took over the role of Art Director.

Beginning in November 2007, Hale and McElroy would permanently solidify their uniquely effective synergies working together with the founding of The Old State House of Web Design and Development. The firm has since become the leading interactive and branding firm in Dallas, often described in the media as a #1 city for business.

It is from here that Hale played key roles in the creation and direction of a multitude of interactive and branding projects including internationally recognized shopping destination NorthPark Center, Texas Christian University Admissions, Darling Homes, and PaperCity Magazine. He is passionate about creating functional beauty, whether it be a new brand, interactive business tool, or a piece of furniture. He is a music enthusiast and enjoys painting in his studio at his home in Dallas. It is for these reasons that Hale is highly sought after to create daring, effective and perpetually current visions for some of the most well-known brands anywhere.

From Seed Sumo: “Curtis has an array of skill sets that helps our startups. One of the most creative people you will meet and extremely talented with photos and art direction. It’s extremely easy to tell which websites Curtis has had his hands on.”


Dustin Campbell

COO, Cellucor

Dustin’s background includes online merchandising, category management, procurement, negotiating, product branding, and e-commerce.

Dustin has quickly moved his way up in the ranks of the sports nutrition world and is now Chief Operating Officer for the fastest growing sports nutrition company in the world.

From Seed Sumo: “Dustin is a problem solver and an excellent negotiator.  He is excellent at understanding your business model quickly and making you aware of some possible pitfalls that may appear and how to defend yourself against them.”


Doss Cunningham

CEO, Woodbolt International (Inc #505)

Doss is the Managing Partner and CEO of Woodbolt International, an award winning company headquartered in Bryan, TX.

Woodbolt is the fastest growing sports nutrition company in the World, and is currently a back-to-back-to-back recipient of the INC 500|5000 honor. Under his leadership, Woodbolt International has grown its workforce from less than 10 employees to just over 100 today.

From Seed Sumo: “Doss is an extremely valuable mentor for Seed Sumo founders. He genuinely wants each of the startups to succeed. He helps founders think about the long term effects of their decisions. The leadership skills he instills into each founder is invaluable. His branding & customer development expertise is second to none.”


Daniel Dixon

Developer, Cellucor

Daniel is the lead application developer at Cellucor, an Inc 1000 company, handling their internal applications, e-commerce platforms and data architecture.

Before that, he worked as a software developer for ReelFX Creative Studios, writing software for production of commercials and feature films. Daniel has a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering from Auburn University and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. Being a child of the internet at a young age, Daniel realized the fun of technological endeavors and has not stopped participating in startups since 2006.

From Seed Sumo: “Daniel possesses the rare gift of being able to operate in high stress programming environments with the calmest and coolest of attitudes. He’s the ying to the high energy yang of some of our other mentors; completing our varied and eclectic group.”



Ryan Hinricher

Partner, Investor Nation

Ryan is an author, investor, and entrepreneur. In 2005, Ryan left the banking industry and followed his passion to be an entrepreneur.

He was one of the early pioneers in leveraging technology, social media, and search engine marketing to build a multi-million turn-key real estate investment company known as Investor Nation. Today, Investor Nation has grown into a secured opportunity fund that provides structured liquidity to local real estate entrepreneurs. He has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal and many other publications as a thought leader in the space. Ryan co-authored the book Forget Wall Street: Invest in Blue-chip Real Estate.

Ryan is also a co-founder of RealYields, an online property analysis and marketing application built for the investment community. In his spare time, he actively contributes and speaks in local technology meet-ups, BARCamps, and blog-fests.

From Seed Sumo: “Ryan has a passion for startups beyond compare. He’s typically the smartest guy in the room and has a knack for being ahead of the curve. His connections and reputation speak for himself, but without a doubt one of the most valuable mentors we have.”



Mark Lancaster

Design and Visual Consultant

Mark is a designer, developer, and entrepreneur by trade; photographer, videographer, writer, and climber by hobby. He’s our jack of all trades.

Mark started his design career creating online training applications for the Texas A&M University System in 2004. He left in 2007 to work on over a dozen internal business applications for Cellucor, Woodbolt, RealYields, Neon Sport, and other international businesses as both a designer and developer.

From Seed Sumo: “Mark is at his best when you let him run with a design idea, because more often than not, he comes back with concepts that blow away what you probably visualized.”


Ron LeonGuerrero

Partner and Technical Director, The Old State
He has been instrumental in the execution of projects with clients ranging from real estate industry leader Coldwell Banker, important telecommunications projects with Verizon and MetroPCS, and fashion industry projects with Fossil.

Ron LeonGuerrero is Partner and Technical Director at The Old State House of Design and Development.  At an early age, Ron taught himself software programming languages and methodologies, which led him to a career in the tech industry.  Prior to moving to Dallas in 2007, LeonGuerrero served as Chief Technology Officer of NDR, Inc., a software company specializing in Interactive Digital Signage.  While at NDR, Inc., LeonGuerrero played an instrumental role in landing their largest client, The Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

LeonGuerrero is notable for garnering highly effective results on some of the most diverse and complex projects anywhere. LeonGuerrero’s experience with a broad and diverse client base has enabled him to enjoy his current reputation as the go-to for important clients expecting glitch-free, immediate and unparalleled results.

From Seed Sumo: “Most startups don’t think about Growth. What happens if your startup actually works? Ron is great at preparing your processes and automations for WHEN this happens.”


Chris Scotti

Director, Aggie Angel Network

As both a high-tech entrepreneur and former elected official, Chris has skill-sets that are valuable to a wide variety of organizations.

After selling his interest in AgniTEK, a successful IT consulting company founded in 1995, Chris has provided leadership and consulting services to a variety of organizations and start-ups.

From Seed Sumo: “He not only gives extremely valuable insight to our startups in regards to fundraising, but has been in these entrepreneurs shoes and understands what they are going thru. He’s a great coach and an extremely valuable addition to our team.”


Manish Patel

Founder, RealYields

Manish is a serial entrepreneur with a deep understanding of brand development, viral marketing, business development, application development and social entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur with a variety of interests, including technology, nutraceuticals, real estate, and investing in young startups seeking growth capital.

Manish has a deep interest in social entrepreneurship and is always looking to connect with passionate philanthropists that dedicate their lives to making a difference.

From Seed Sumo: “Manish typically will understand your business model on a deeper level than you do in a matter of minutes. His advice is potent and typically triggers game changing concepts or ideas for your business.”


Matt Stephens

deviantART Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Designer

Matthew started deviantART at the age of 18 and has been involved in startups ever since. He is an experienced designer and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas.

In his spare time, Matthew created a vast collection of graphic/web design & development tutorials, which led to the creation of deviantART.com, where he discovered that creating meaningful online experiences was his passion. In his time at deviantART, a site consisting of over 25 million members, he gained valuable insight on how to run a successful, bootstrapped Internet company.

These days, Matthew focuses on helping early-stage startups through the early stages of the lifecycle. Specifically through the process of ideation, prototyping, design (my specialty), and ultimately implementation.

From Seed Sumo: “Matthew helps founders understand the importance of not just the look of your website or brand, but the experience your customer experiences throughout the entire customer process. With his experience managing over 25 million users, the credibility and experience is there.”


Bryan Bulte

Managing Director, Seed Sumo

Bryan is an entrepreneur, app architect, advisor, and mentor, who is passionate about making a difference and positively impacting people’s lives.

Bryan has cofounded dozens of companies over the last 15 years, some were acquired, some still active and some failed miserably. He believes he learned the most from the one’s that failed.

Bryan is very active in the startup community and serves as a mentor at Startup Aggieland. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, cross-fit, reading, great restaurants, fly-fishing, and traveling. He is married to Ashley (the sweetest girl he’s ever met) and has an amazing son named Knox.

Bryan is the managing director at Seed Sumo and is in charge of the day to day operations.


Adam Steele

Cofounder at Merge.fm

Adam is an Entrepreneur, Technologist, Ph.D in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Consultant and Cofounder of several startups.

At a fairly young age, Adam has been involved in a variety of successful startups, most of them extremely successful in a very short amount of time.

He has cofounded several startups related to software and materials science. With a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, he also conducts research related to wind turbine aerodynamics & design as well as nanocomposite materials. As such, he also holds several patents in these areas. Adam also mentors startups via the Small Business Development Center and the NSF I-Corps program. He also cofounded BCS Startup to improve the local tech startup scene by hosting events and building tools for the community such as the startup resource map.

His passions also include audio engineering, paragliding, piloting sailplanes, sports and he also claims to be a musician (although we have not confirmed this..)

From Seed Sumo: “Adam has a knack for mentoring and brings a ton of value to these young startups. He is always current and typically knows your space more than you do..and if he doesn’t, he will rather quickly.”



Jon Brause

Vice President, Barclays

Jon is a strategic thinker, marketing guru, and a brass tacks specialist. He has been in the financial services since 1996 and has been helping startups to shorten their sales cycle since 2009. As a Senior Portfolio Consultant at Barclays he helps clients achieve their ambitions, in the right way.

Prior roles at hedge funds and wealth management firms included product and competitor research, investment selection, and channel marketing distribution.

His breath of startup knowledge spans product development, operational due diligence, small business management organization, and income generation. He has a passion for seeing entrepreneurial dreams come to fruition through planning and execution. In his spare time, he likes to travel to faraway destinations, run marathons with his wife, and support charitable organization such as the NYC Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Prospect Park Alliance, and The Joyce Theater.

From Seed Sumo: “Jon has the ability to help startups think strategic about a lot of their early decisions. His vast marketing expertise is extremely valuable and allows our startups to see results quicker then they would have ever imagined. Jon has a passion for entrepreneurship and truly enjoys seeing startups succeed way beyond they ever dreamed possible.”


Trey Gibson

Cofounder, iCanvassapp.com, wkbench.com

An entrepreneur, investor, and mentor with an array of talents. Trey has started, bootstrapped and sold several business from scratch.

As a founding member and managing partner of several startups in everything from construction to software I know what its like to be in the trenches doing the busy work while trying to keep the big picture in mind and working toward a long term goal. Going from $0 in revenue with 0 employees to $20 million in revenue with hundreds of employees; my many successes as well as many failures provide me a unique personal history to draw inspiration and perspective from.

From Seed Sumo: “Trey brings a lot of energy and excitement anytime he is in the room. Probably one of the hardest workers you will ever meet, and he instills this in each of our startups. He will challenge you in various ways to constantly be improving your business model.”


Become a Mentor

Contact  bryan [ at ] seedsumo.com to learn more