Robert began his professional career in Dallas, Texas at PegasusAblon, a startup Commercial Real Estate investment and development company. As the third employee, Robert analyzed office, multifamily and retail acquisitions while the company grew to employ 40 professionals and manage $500M+ in assets.

Following his successful tenure at PegasusAblon, Robert moved to Utah in late 2012 to join Summit Series, an event-based business focused on curating events for millennial entrepreneurs. In a pioneering effort to create a full-time home for the organization, Summit Series bought Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah in early 2013. Within his role on the development team, Robert coordinated acquisition financing and contributed to the planning and design of the community.

Prior, and throughout his time at PegasusAblon and Summit Series, Robert launched, advised and invested in numerous successful start-up companies across a variety of industries. In December 2013, Robert launched Coalition, a venture capital fund based in Austin, Texas focused on seed round investments.

From Seed Sumo:“Robert is an active investor and mentor.  He is extremely well connected so he sees a lot of deals and has a knack for steering startups in the direction everything is going rather than where we are now.”




Steve has worked on projects with NASCAR, several Major League Baseball teams, companies on every continent (except Antartica), international athletes, startups, and even collaborated on a NY Times bestselling book. He has been “Finding a better way” in technology, business, strategic planning, marketing, and professional development for over 20 years and is also a Lean Startup enthusiast.

5 things you need to know about Steve: 

  1. Ranked competitive gamer - Lead a team from below 50,000 to 8th in the world
  2. Co-Founder of the Hot Pepper Pitch (Thanks to my son Stoker Tinkle for introducing me to the concept through Hot Pepper Gaming! Also thanks to Vernon Shaw.)
  3. Functional insomniac - Sleep is optional
  4. Expect brutal honesty and honest encouragement regarding your startup
  5. World's best at giving simple analogies to explain complicated ideas

From Seed Sumo:“Steve has the ability to help you become better in the matter of minutes. He is extremely well versed in Lean Methods and will challenge every single thing you have assumed about your business. Extremely valuable mentor for Seed Sumo and loves every minute of mentoring.”




eff is an investor, serial entrepreneur, PhD Electrical Engineer and avid student of life with an aptitude for strategy and analytical problem solving.

Jeff left the faculty of ECE at Texas A&M University to start PivotPoint Solutions in 2004, which he now is the CEO of. Since then, he has led the successful start-up and exit of multiple software entities including EOS Analytic.  He now leads PivotPoint Solutions in a support role after a successful sale of a key national-level telecommunication software solution used by Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Cricket and T-Mobil.

Prior to his experience in academia, Jeff worked as an electrical engineer in the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and held consulting engagements with Verizon Wireless, Ericsson and Motorola.

Jeff is passionate about finding alignment within organizations.

From Seed Sumo:“Jeff has a proven track record of success and is extremely smart.  He brings a lot to the table at his mentor sessions and is extremely valuable.”




Dick holds the titles of Clinical Professor in The Mays Business School and Executive Director of The CNVE both at Texas A&M University. CNVE operates as a hub of entrepreneurial activities at Texas A&M through creation and management of such programs as 3 Day Startup, Startup Aggieland, Ideas Challenge, MBA Venture Challenge, the Aggie 100, Aggies in Business, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, amongst many others.

He received his Ph.D. degree in Strategic Management from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, an EMBA from the University of Houston and a B.S. from Wright State University. His research has appeared in the Academy of Management ReviewAcademy of Management JournalStrategic Management JournalJournal of Corporate Finance, and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practiceamongst others.

Prior to his academic career Dick spent 20+ years in organizations that range from a Fortune 250 conglomerate to a midsized privately held corporation. The majority of his corporate experience has been in the oil and gas industry based out of Houston, Texas. His last corporate position was Vice President General Manager for a privately held firm based in Houston. Dick teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in entrepreneurship and corporate strategy and also teaches in the Mays Business Schools’ Center for Executive Development and Professional MBA programs.

From Seed Sumo:“No question Dr. Lester brings an enormous amount of value to our startups from his 20+ years of personal experience, but more importantly he brings a polished academia perspective which provides our startups a deep amount of current research in todays entrepreneurial age.”




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.”




Jeff Brown is co-founder and managing partner of RoseRock Capital.  Mr. Brown is an attorney, financial officer, accomplished venture capitalist and business leader. With 25 years of experience in law, finance, business development, and strategic planning, Mr. Brown brings a diverse skill-set and proven business success to Seed Sumo. He has taken a lead role in and completed investments, mergers and acquisitions of both public and private companies valued in excess of $5 billion.  He led the venture capital team for Cox Communications from 1999 to 2006.  During that time his team invested in and managed dozens of software and hardware companies in the telecommunications, television, internet and entertainment industries.

Mr. Brown oversees all financial and legal concerns of RoseRock and is responsible for the efficient and strategic management of the company at a global and administrative level.  He manages and is responsible for acquisitions, insurance, tax and accounting, and banking relationships.  Mr. Brown is also responsible for equity capital and assists with investor relations.

Mr. Brown received his J.D., Magna Cum Laude, from South Texas College of Law in 1992 and a B.A. in Finance and Accounting from the University of Houston in 1989 after attending The University of Texas at Austin for three years.

From Seed Sumo:“Jeff fills a lot of blind spots for our startups.  He brings a broad knowledge in venture capital, acquisitions, mergers, and law spanning a quarter of a century.”




Spencer Clements brings over twenty-five years of company formation, capital raising, project finance, real estate, golf course and hotel/hospitality experience to Seed Sumo.  Spencer founded William Cole, Inc. in 1996 and named it after his two sons.  The William Cole Companies provide preeminent real estate development and ownership services across a wide range of commercial, hospitality and residential projects.  The company remains focused on creating value for its investors, partners and clients through thoughtful, long-term approaches to development and asset management.

The Company invests for its own account, on behalf of its investment partners and as a joint venture development partner.  William Cole’s current focus is on strategic commercial and hospitality development opportunities in Texas, including Traditions Club and Community, an emerging new town that is home to the Seed Sumo campus and is the epicenter of the One Health Plus Biocorridor at Texas A&M University.   At Traditions Spencer is the partner-in-charge over real estate development, home building, and commercial land development.

Prior to forming William Cole, Spencer worked at the boutique consulting firm of Kenneth Leventhal & Company and also as Director of Project Finance at Golf Services Group in Houston, Texas.

Spencer holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance from Rice University, where he was the Dean’s Award recipient and was named a Jones Scholar.  He holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University, where he was a President’s Endowed Scholar and was admitted into two national engineering honorary societies.

From Seed Sumo:“Spencer brings a ton of experience at all levels of business, from concept stage all the way through exit.  He network is extremely deep and diverse, and his ability to see the big picture makes Spencer one of our most valuable mentors.”




Joy Schoffler is Principal of public relations firm Leverage PR,  Founder of CrowdBuilder, and an active member within the crowdfunding industry. As principal of Leverage PR, Schoffler and her team regularly work with leaders within the crowdfunding, investment and fintech sectors, helping them to expand their reach through top-tier and targeted industry trade media placements. She additionally founded the recently launched publicity platform CrowdBuilder, designed to help crowdfunding and growth-phase companies secure media placements and engage with influencers in their industries.

A nationally recognized speaker, Joy has spoken at dozens of conferences, including the Growth Capital Expo, SXSW Interactive, FinCon, Kingonomics, and other crowdfunding related conferences. She has additionally worked behind-the-scenes for high-profile events including a UN impact investment summit, a Capitol Hill crowdfunding summit, Kingonomics, the financial education portion of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, which also included a casting call for SharkTank, as well as managed dozens of other conferences throughout the nation.  An avid writer, Joy is a contributing author for the DealFlow Media, Wiley-published book, Crowdfunding: The Definitive Guide to Raising Capital on the Internet” and regularly writes for a number of outlets including, Social Media Monthly, and MarketingProfs.

In 2014, Joy’s efforts were recognized; she became a “Forbes Stiletto Women in Business Awards” finalist in the Communications and PR Entrepreneur of the Year category, an “Austin Under 40” finalist and won the Women Communicators of Austin’s “Outstanding Austin Communicator” award.

Prior to launching Leverage PR, Joy consulted and worked with a number of growth-phase firms, including serving as Director of Acquisitions for the Inc. award-winning investment firm, The PPA Group. She has worked with clients that have been acquired, raised large amounts of capital, secured Fortune 500 accounts (at seed stage) and experienced tremendous growth through her creative messaging and dynamic media strategies.

Outside of the private sector, Joy served six years, first as an enlisted finance soldier then commissioning to become an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves as well as three years as a public relations officer for the Texas State Guard. Her service included a year on active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she led a 16-man team of finance soldiers and interned at the Pentagon. Joy sits on the board of Athletes for Change, an organization of NFL players dedicated to helping foster kids, the executive committee for CF50, a global think tank for the emerging crowdfunding industry and the board of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA), the main lobbying organization for the crowdfunding industry that works directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help establish industry standards and best practices.

From Seed Sumo:“Joy is extremely sharp and understands customer acquisition, positioning, and launch strategies that bring real results for numerous early stage startups across the nation.”




While growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, James Benham began writing code at the age of 11 and by 14 had developed his first application. Three years later, he co-managed an internet services provider (ISP), providing dial-up Internet to over 4,000 users. James went on to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Information Systems while in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. During his final year at Texas A&M in 2001, James established his second company, JBKnowledge, Inc. He has continued to stay involved with his alma mater by joining the university faculty as a Guest Lecturing Professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M.

James is now the Chief Executive Officer of JBKnowledge, Inc. James has led JBKnowledge to become a premier provider of technology solutions for the construction, risk management and insurance industries, with clients across North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. JBKnowledge is the also the maker of the SmartBidNetSmartComplianceSmartReality, and SmartInsight cloud and mobile solutions. As a rapidly growing business year after year, JBKnowledge is a seven-time recipient of the Aggie 100 award, six-time Newman 10 recipient, and was recently named to the LSU One Hundred for the second time. The company, and James, are headquartered in Bryan/College Station, TX with offices in North America and South America.

With extensive experience in the design, development and use of technology to improve efficiency, James is a sought-after speaker across the United States, Canada and abroad on business information technology, data security and innovative software tools. James’ dynamic speaking style allows him to share a vast knowledge of technology solutions in a down-to-earth, engaging manner. In 2014, James presented at a variety of national events including: Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) IT Forum, CONEXPO,  Construction Financial Management Association Annual (CFMA) Conference, Construct Canada, BIM Forum, Augmented World Expo (AWE), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Annual Convention and more. See his full schedule here.  James’ company, products and writing have been featured in publications such as Engineering News Record, Texas CEO, Construction Business Owner, Construction Executive, 3D Visualization World, Estimating Today, and many more. In addition, he has been recognized among ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2014 Top 20 Under 40 for his advancements in construction technology.

James is a founding member of the Construction Open Software Alliance and a dedicated proponent of open integration standards in software development. James is also an active member of the Risk Management SocietyConstruction Financial Management AssociationCanadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors,Associated General Contractors of AmericaAmerican Society of Professional Estimators and the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Association. In 2012, James was elected to City Council Place 6 of the City of College Station, Texas, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Research Valley Technology Council and is on the board of the Brazos Valley Wide Area Communications System.

From Seed Sumo:“James brings a ton of real world experience to the table. His deep knowledge of technology startups helps our startups see the bigger picture and also avoid huge pitfalls.”




Kevin O’Brien is the CEO and co-founder of PetRelocation, based in Austin, Texas. Prior to starting PetRelocation with his wife Angie O’Brien, Kevin was an early employee of from its startup days in 1998 to when it went public and was acquired by Yahoo! in 2001.

This development allowed Kevin to self-fund a doggie daycare and pet taxi service that became PetRelocation. Although it began as a local business, PetRelocation has evolved into a global door-to-door pet transportation service, servicing the pet relocation needs of Fortune 500 companies and their transferring employees worldwide. PetRelocation has maintained 30 percent growth year over year for the past five years, has been recognized as a Fast 50 company by the Austin Business Journal, and has appeared consecutively on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America for the past five years.

From Seed Sumo:“Kevin has been in every stage of a business, from concept to exit and brings a ton of value each time he meets with an entrepreneur.”




Doss Cunningham is an entrepreneur, senior executive, and investor with more than 10 years of executive management experience in consumer products.

Mr. Cunningham is currently the Chairman and CEO of Nutrabolt International, an industry leading nutraceutical business with annual sales exceeding $150 million and operations in over 40 countries.

Mr. Cunningham is also an investor and principal in Green Leaf Capital Partners, a St. Louis based private investment fund focused on providing growth capital to middle market businesses.

In 2013 Mr. Cunningham realized one of his long-term goals as an entrepreneur and co-founded Seed Sumo, a startup accelerator based in College Station, Texas. Seed Sumo provides early stage startup capital and mentorship to new consumer and technology ventures. This latest development has provided him with an opportunity to give back to the entrepreneur community, and is noted by Cunningham as the most rewarding thing he has done so far in his career.

Mr. Cunningham received a B.A. in Accounting and later earned a Masters in Finance from Texas A&M University.

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 identity and customer development expertise is second to none.”




Josh is a reformed private equity investor who found a calling building new model companies in the education space.  He started out in investment banking with Salomon Smith Barney (Citigroup) and transitioned to private equity with the Riverside Company in New York City.  He left Riverside to work with twenty five charter schools across the United States at Edison Schools before going to business school.  Since leaving Wall Street, he has started or helped to launch seven companies in the education space.

In 2010, Josh founded Socratic Ventures, a modest private equity fund focused on identifying bona fide entrepreneurs building new model education companies.  A great deal of thought goes into using both of those terms but Socratic believes the best way to effect lasting change in education is to find and foster the businesses capable of delivering replicable learning outcomes with scalable business models.    Since 2010, Socratic has helped to launch UniversityNow, Collegiate Gateways, Synergis Education, Student Loan Benefits and MeasureOne.

Josh is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie and also has an MBA from Harvard Business School.  He is the world’s biggest sucker for a book jacket, sails every chance he gets and fully expects to visit every country on earth before he dies.

From Seed Sumo:“Josh knows how to launch companies.  He has deep experience in fundraising, but shares Seed Sumo’s understanding of the importance of early profit.”




John Hanks is an industry veteran with more than 24 years of corporate experience leading teams at National Instruments and is now a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M.

At National Instruments Hanks was a catalyst that brought together teams to start several successful software and hardware product lines.  In roles as VP of Product Marketing and VP of Life Sciences, his efforts contributed to National Instruments being named 12 times best places to work for by Fortune Magazine and to delivering consistent, profitable growth from $40M to $1.2B.

As an entrepreneur at National Instruments, Hanks led and managed a broad array of business responsibilities including product management, system engineering, business development, IP licensing, mergers and acquisitions, ecosystem development, reseller agreements, and partner relationships.

In addition, Hanks is a wearable tech, health care, and big data thought leader as Executive Director of the Center for Remote Healthcare Technology at Texas A&M University.  His expertise and interest include low-power, wearable sensor technology for fitness, medical, and point-of-care applications and software development for smart phones, smart watches, and fitness bands.

Other interests include affordable prototyping and design, technology market validation, FDA regulations, and disruptive technology innovation.

From Seed Sumo:“John is an innovator and has been for several years.  He brings invaluable advice for all of our startups.”




Josh Tabin joins vcfo as a Technology Practice Manager for the Houston office. He is based in Houston but supports clients company-wide in this position.

With over 22 years of diverse business experience, Josh brings C-level operational and financial executive leadership to vcfo clients. His strategic perspective on developing business that relates long-term vision to short-term execution has equipped him to ensure that strategic vision becomes a business reality. Josh has a proven track record as a catalyst for operational change – both in the context of turning around a stagnant business as well as taking a thriving enterprise to the next level – which has prepared him to help clients consistently face tough business realities and create actionable roadmaps to profitably grow their companies. Josh is accustomed and committed to building collaboration across functions and stakeholders with often competing interests, making him a valuable member of your leadership team as he works with you to grow your business to the next level.

Prior to joining vcfo, Josh was the Chief Operating Officer at FullQuota, a leading content marketing agency that provides both strategic and tactical services to technology companies. Josh was instrumental in starting the FullQuota business as a subsidiary of OptimizedNow, a strategic consulting firm from the founders of Rackspace and Microsoft Global Partner Hosting. During his time at OptimizedNow and FullQuota, Josh helped companies like Microsoft and Lockheed Martin develop their Cloud business models and go to market strategies.

Prior to FullQuota, Josh founded and served as the President of Mosaic CFO, providing strategic financial and advisory services to small and mid-sized firms. Josh engaged as a virtual CFO for venture-funded startups and private equity-backed companies to develop accounting, finance, human resources and information systems as well as providing strategic guidance on acquisitions, capital raising and sale of the company. His clients included companies such as Mochi Media, Click Forensics, and Validas

Before launching Mosaic CFO, Josh was the Chief Financial Officer at RigNet, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNET), a leading global provider of managed communication services for the upstream oil and gas industry. In his first year alone, Josh was directly responsible for raising over $60 million in growth capital and completing $35 million in acquisitions.

Prior to RigNet, Inc., Josh served as the VP-Finance/Treasurer for Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) in San Antonio, Texas. During his time there, Josh created a discipline of tracking financial plans to their results in a way that demonstrated to lending institutions an ability to set financial targets and achieve them consistently. This initiative ultimately led to the company’s ability to raise significant debt financing to support their hyper growth. Today, Rackspace is one of the largest and most respected cloud and hosting providers in the world.

Josh has held several other key positions throughout his career, including Chief Financial Officer at Cutstone Ventures, the Associate Director – Corporate Financial Planning at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:T) and the Regional Manager – Strategic Operations at SBC Wireless. He is the Co-Founder of Startup Houston, a speaker, panelist and continuing advisor to several startups.

Josh holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

From Seed Sumo:“Josh brings an enormously diverse experience set to Seed Sumo .”




Kevin Klughart is a patent attorney with a particular emphasis on patent preparation/prosecution in the electrical, electronic, semiconductor, and software technology fields.

Dr. Klughart’s technical background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with special emphasis on digital and software systems, Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University with a concentration in RF/microwave circuit design, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University specializing in low power integrated circuit (IC) design. Dr. Klughart’s legal training includes a Juris Doctor and Master of Intellectual Property degrees from Franklin Pierce Law Center and a Master of Laws in Taxation from Boston University.

Dr. Klughart’s Ph.D. qualifying exams were taken in Electromagnetic Theory, Computer Architecture, and Analog Circuit Design, with graduate coursework also including analog CMOS/BiCMOS IC design, communications theory, data compression, speech DSP, microwave RF design and electromagnetic theory, digital computer architecture, neural networks, and advanced mathematics. Industry experience includes over 15 years as a software systems programmer and hardware design engineer involving a wide variety of analog, digital, and software systems, including senior positions as a software engineer and mixed-signal analog IC designer including employment at Mostek Corporation and Dallas Semiconductor.

Dr. Klughart is a Registered Professional Engineer in four states (CA,MA,NH,TX) and has in the past been one of 14 subject matter experts participating in the NCEES electrical engineering EPE exam preparation and review team. NCEES is responsible for generating and scoring exams that certify professional competence in a variety of engineering disciplines. These exams are a prerequisite for licensure as a Professional Engineer in all states and territories of the United States as well as some other countries. In this capacity Dr. Klughart was a subject matter expert in analog/digital circuit design & biomedical / microwave / computer / software engineering and lead chair in developing the NCEES PE exam in the Electrical Engineering Computer sub-discipline.

Dr. Klughart is a named inventor on ten U.S. patents and also an avid runner, cyclist, and swimmer. His hobbies include (among other things), welding in a variety of processes (SMAW/GTAW/GMAW/OXY) and lathe/mill machine metal work.

From Seed Sumo:“Kevin is one of the strongest IP attorneys in Texas.”



Jim Pillans

For over sixteen years Jim has been the director of the local Brazos Valley Small Business Development Center (BV SBDC).

As a member of the national ASBDC association with over 1000 centers, the SBDC program is recognized as the most comprehensive small business assistance program in the country. The mission of the SBDC is to help new entrepreneurs realize their dreams, and assist existing businesses to grow and remain competitive in a complex marketplace. The BV SBDC offers a free and confidential advising service to over 300 business owners who are potential entrepreneurs each year.

Jim received his BA and MBA degrees from North Texas State University and prior to becoming Director of the BV SBDC served as the vice president and general manager of a beverage distribution company in the local area with over $6,000,000 in annual sales. Jim also served as an area sales representative for two Fortune 100 companies in the consumer products business.

From Seed Sumo:“Jim is a master of small business development and selflessly serves his community.”




Terrell, along with his wife Penny, took a college project for keeping track of the family’s cattle and grew it in to the leading cattle management software used by farmers and ranchers in over 70 countries. In 2011, the company expanded in to niche e-commerce stores serving the livestock industry.

Terrell has a strong software development and marketing background. He is passionate about entrepreneurship including helping others find their way to entrepreneurship. When not working behind the desk, he enjoys spending time outside on his ranch.

From Seed Sumo:“Terrell has valuable experience scaling a software company. He has been there and knows what it takes to grow your company.”




Shelly Brenckman ’79 wears many hats at Startup Aggieland as the facility’s only full-time employee since May 2013. Although her title at Startup Aggieland is Marketing Coordinator, she also serves as a Mentor, Event Planner and Office Manager with some responsibility for managing student workers and representing Startup Aggieland at outside events. She helps Assistant Director Don Lewis with strategic planning , creating new programming and developing related course curriculum. In particular, her work focuses on donor development; sponsor and speaker recruitment; and recruitment of mentors and new student entrepreneurs.

As Marketing Coordinator, Shelly is the Webmaster and Social Media Manager, as well as the Mobile App manager. She creates all branding for Startup Aggieland and communicates the facility’s story both internally and externally through print, radio, social media and gorilla marketing. As a Mentor, Shelly has advised nearly every student venture launching from Startup Aggieland and some that never became official clients. She also has advised former students and remote-learning students in other states. Shelly connects student startups with funding and board members by tapping her extensive network of alumni, administrators and CEOs.

Shelly was instrumental in the launch of one student tech startup, founded during Startup Aggieland’s inaugural 3-Day Startup. She raised funding, secured venues and vendors, obtained donations and managed marketing campaigns for several inaugural Startup Aggieland events, including Startup Aggieland’s first Startup 101; Startup Aggieland’s Open House & Launch Party; Startup Aggieland’s Plaid Party; several ESociety events; and Startup Aggieland’s inaugural Elevator Pitch Competition last semester. She is currently responsible for planning Startup Aggieland’s Inaugural Investor Day 2014 with Mark Cuban. She has raised money in support of Ideas Challenge and for other A&M programs, including student scholarships and faculty awards.

In collaboration with Assistant Director and Executive Professor Don Lewis and CNVE Executive Director Richard Lester, Shelly drafted and co-authored a $300,000 TOP Grant for Startup Aggieland. She is now working with Professor Lewis on design and implementation of a project she initiated in 2011– the new Startup Learning, Living Community for Hullabaloo Hall. She also assisted in a recent redesign of the Think Tank at Startup Aggieland and with overall design, naming and structure of Startup Aggieland. Shelly sourced most of the furnishings in Startup Aggieland with “shopping trips” to A&M Surplus– loading and hauling much of it alone.

Prior to working for Startup Aggieland, Shelly was Vice President of Communications from December 2011 through June 2012 with Aggie Angel Network, Inc. AAN is a non-profit Texas corporation providing early-stage investment opportunities for SEC-accredited angel investors in startups led by Texas A&M University faculty, former students and students; and also in ventures based on patented IP developed at TAMU. Since 2000, Shelly has been a founding member of the Board of Directors for Lake Conroe Lighthouse, Inc. and has served as president of the endowment fund since 2002. She was elected the first woman president and later treasurer of a 32-year-old non-profit Texas corporation with 823 individual and commercial members.

In 1986, Shelly founded a Texas corporation that produced and distributed a monthly glossy newsstand and subscription magazine. Distributed internationally and the first of a new genre, the magazine garnered many awards and accolades. In 1991, Shelly won First Place in a Business Plan competition staged by Mays Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurship– leading to her corporation’s successful private stock offering with a venture capital firm in San Antonio.

Headquartered in offices at a Northgate-area bank building, Shelly’s company helped to co-found the local AD Federation Club and sponsored the founding of an Entrepreneurship Club in Student Activities. A member of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, her company provided full-time and part-time jobs for many people in Bryan-College Station. During that 20 years, Shelly served as a consultant for Texas A&M University and for state agencies within the A&M System.

Shelly launched her first business at age 10, a lemonade stand, and made serious money staging large neighborhood carnivals at age 11 and 12. She produced and sold a neighborhood newspaper at age 13. By age 14, she took her first job working as a graphic artist for the Kolb Agency. From age 13 through college, she worked two jobs year-round while running her own small businesses– selling golf balls from golf course lakes and recycling glass and aluminum from neighborhood construction sites. After college, she worked at several well-known advertising agencies, serving as a Production Manager and later an Art Director, then as Creative Director and Head of Marketing for a Hanna Barbara toy manufacturing subsidiary. She has worked as an Art Director and Editor for other publications; and as a cost engineer and consultant for energy firms and resort developers.

Her diverse experience as a corporate officer and board member for various companies and non-profits, as a technologist, published book author and editor, magazine publisher and editor, and as a business owner makes it possible for Shelly to mentor a variety of student startups in various matters from raising capital to business formation. While not a lawyer, Shelly has studied business law at Texas A&M and completed continuing education coursework in corporate board and non-profit law. In her limited free time, Shelly does some political consulting for candidates seeking statewide and local office, as well as some consulting for public school districts on bond offerings and strategic partnerships. Shelly’s idea of a good time is doing fun work with fun people who make a difference!

Shelly is a lifetime member of her local A&M Club as well as a Century Club member of the Association of Former Students. She also is a supporting member of the 12th Man Foundation, KAMU-TV, Corps of Cadets Association and the WFSN. She is a contributor to the endowed professorship for Rodney Hill in the College of Architecture. She has earned ten ADDY and IABC awards as well as a Downbeat Music Award. Shelly received a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Points of Light Foundation and President George H.W. Bush, but– the single recognition that she is most proud of receiving is as namesake for Startup Aggieland’s Bulldog Brenckman Award, hand-sculpted by Professor Rodney Hill, AIA. This award is presented annually by Startup Aggieland’s Board of Directors to a selfless student who has committed an extraordinary amount of time and made a significant impact in helping other students at Startup Aggieland.


From Seed Sumo:“Shelly is one of the most hardworking and selfless people you will ever meet. She does a tremendous job of connecting people within the entrepreneurial community.”




David has over a decade of technology service and real estate investment experience. AgniTEK is a full service IT Solutions company serving Texas companies for over 10 years, with extensive experience in Managed IT Services, Network Management, Document Management, Website Design & Internet Marketing, Custom Software & Database, Programming, Data Backup, Storage & Disaster Recovery Planning. We deliver Reliability, Consistency, Simplicity, and Value. We work with clients to identify company objectives, research relevant technical options and provide recommendations that align business technology with their business goals. We are recognized for integrating business technologies, streamlining operations and improving our clients’ bottom line. We empower you to focus on managing your business not your technology. Most importantly, we deliver what we promise.




Taylor is an accomplished sales professional, consultant and connector with a deep passion for entrepreneurial success.  His expertise includes providing strategic guidance to entrepreneurs and making the right connections in an increasingly competitive business world

Starting his career at a communications company, Cbeyond (CBEY), he was a highly valued team builder placed on multiple sales teams in order to drive organization culture and productivity.  In this role, Taylor gained a great deal of experience in communications and technology infrastructure for small business needs.  

Originally from Dallas/Ft. Worthhis adventurous character and desire for challenge led him to Atlanta, GA where he joined TriNet (TNET) as a Sales Development Representative Beginning this new chapter, Taylor swiftly moved into an outside consultant roleThrough the transition, he developed and piloted a company-wide metrics driven sales program.  Circling back to Texas, he continues his TriNet career as a sales professional establishing a reputable presence and trust within the Austin technology community.

Taylor is also the Cofounder of BS Emergent Fund LLC, where he deploys his industry experience and knowledge to support new business growth and success.  He earned his BA in Business Administration Marketing from Texas Tech University and currently resides in Austin, TX where he continues to be an influential professional and leader in the community.