Founders and Funders - How to Grow from Startup to Star!

Presented on: Thursday, December 2nd at 11:45 AM EST

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Join us on December 2nd as an impressive panel of founders and investors share their knowledge and experience with Miami University students! Two panels--a Founders Panel and an Investor Panel--will be held in Miami University’s Farmer School of Business Forsythe Commons on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 12:00 PM. If you would like to watch either or both panels online, please register here.

Panelists’ Key Statistics & Staggering Numbers:  

  • The Founders run companies that employ almost 5,000 employees, have raised $2.25 Billion in venture capital to date, and have a combined market value of almost $13 Billion.
  • The Investors represent funds with more than $45 Billion in assets under management (AUM).
  • All panelists plus both facilitators have strong Miami University connections, 2 are current John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurs-in-Residence while the remaining 15 (or 88%) are alumni of this great academy.


12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

Facilitator: Stuart Frankel, (MU ‘87 in Accountancy), Founder and CEO at Narrative Science and Chair of the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, the founder panel includes:

  • Jason Holland (MU ‘01 in Logistics and Supply Chain Management), Co-Founder and President of Firework (has raised $130 million to date, including closed a $55 million Series A venture funding round from Lightspeed China Partners, Asahi Medialab Ventures, Silicon Ventures (California), IDG Capital, and GSR Ventures in March).
  • Sean Lane (MU ‘02 in Computer Science), Founder and CEO at Olive (has raised almost $900 million to date including the largest venture funding round [$400 million] at the highest valuation [$4 billion] in the history of Ohio), and Founder and CEO at Circulo Health (raised $50 million seed round in February).
  • Alex Malebranche (MU ‘15 in Accountancy and Interactive Media Studies), Founder and CEO of PlaneAhead (raised a $500,000 seed round earlier this year, planning a $2 million seed+ round early 2022).
  • Michael Markesbery (MU ’15 in Zoology/Animal Biology and Entrepreneurship), Founder and CEO at OROS (has raised $23.3 million to date, including a $14.5 million Series A closed in June).
  • Nichole Mustard (MU ’95 in Zoology), Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Credit Karma (closed the sale of Credit Karma to Intuit in December for $8.1 billion).
  • Matt Pyatt (MU ‘10 in Marketing and Entrepreneurship), Co-Founder and CEO at Arrive Logistics (closed a $300 million growth equity round earlier this year that was led by ATL Partners and is on track to post $1.4 billion in revenues in 2021).
  • Aaron Ryan (MU ‘94 in Political Science), Co-Founder, Commissioner and President of Overtime and Overtime Elite (OTE) (has raised more than $140 million in venture funding, including an $80 million Series C that closed earlier this year and was co-led by Sapphire Ventures and Black Capital VC). Aaron is also a member of the Limited Partner Investment Committee for 1809 Capital.


1:30 - 2:30 PM ET

Facilitator: David Willbrand, Chief Legal Officer at Pacaso, (which has raised more than $450 million with a $1.5 Billion valuation and a John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship Entrepreneur-in-Residence and formerly Partner and Chair of the Venture and Emerging Company Practice at Thompson Hine LLP).

  • Mike Fitzgerald (MU '92 in Communication), Co-Founder and Partner at High Alpha (Indianapolis-based firm closed its third fund, HAC III, a $110 million fund, in February and has $227.10 million AUM).
  • John Gardner (MU ’84 in Economics and Political Science), Partner at NGP Capital (Palo Alto-based fund with $1.20 billion AUM). John is also a member of the Limited Partner Investment Committee for 1809 Capital.
  • Michael Harper (MU ’95 in Finance), Partner at Capital Midwest Fund (Milwaukee-based firm with $75 million AUM).
  • Trish Lukasik (MU ’92 in Finance and Economics), Partner at Atlantic Street Capital Advisors (Private equity firm headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut with $1.40 billion AUM).
  • Patrick Meenan (MU ’05 in Business), General Partner at Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures (Minneapolis-based firm that closed $375 million in new early stage funding in September for Arthur Ventures IV, a $225 million core fund, and Arthur Ventures Growth III, a $150 million growth-stage fund, and has $650.00 million in AUM).
  • Aimee Minnich (a John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship Entrepreneur-in-Residence), Co-Founder, Chief Impact Officer, and General Counsel at Impact Foundation and Former President and General Counsel at National Christian Foundation.

Department of Entrepreneurship Statistics:

  • Top 10 Entrepreneurship Programs in the Nation, by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine for the 14th Consecutive Year!
  • Winner of the Nasdaq Center’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, awarded by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) in 2020.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 of all Miami undergraduates from every major across campus took at least one entrepreneurship themed course.
  • Almost 1,000 student-entrepreneurs from across campus participated in Entrepreneurship (ESP) co-curricular programs.
  • 581 Student-founders created 124 actionable business models that led to 42 student-led startups launched.
  • More than 400 Miami Alumni and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Professionals engaged with ESP programming.
  • 2 Student-Led Venture Funds (RedHawk Ventures & Social Impact Fund) invested $100,000 in 3 outside organizations.
  • World Creativity & Innovation Week is the largest celebration of creativity and innovation in the world and was awarded an United Nations International Day of Observance.
  • 100% of all graduates complete an internship (74% complete 2 or more).

Questions about the in-person event can be directed to Tim Holcomb, Chair, Department of Entrepreneurship at

Questions about the livestream and online event can be directed to J.J. Slager, Director of Alumni Relations at