Partners

CHIP AUSTIN

Chip has advised and built companies in the Technology and Media industries for his entire career. In addition to founding Bertelsmann's E-commerce division, Chip was a member of the senior executive team leading the buyout and restructuring of Prodigy Communications and was a co-founder of McKinsey’s & Co.’s interactive practice, where he spent seven years advising Fortune 500 companies on their technology and media strategies. Prior to that, Chip worked at Morgan Stanley and IBM's PC division. Most recently, Chip was President, CEO, and first employee of Bertelsmann Online, where he was responsible for building Bertelsmann's global e-commerce business by launching parallel services in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, and the US (via Bertelsmann's 50% investment in BarnesandNoble.com). Chip has a degree in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Chip has advised and built companies in the Technology and Media industries for his entire career. In addition to founding BOL.com, Bertelsmann’s E-commerce division, Chip was a member of the senior executive team leading the buyout and restructuring of Prodigy, and was a co-founder of McKinsey’s Interactive Practice, where he spent seven years advising Fortune 500 companies on their media strategies.

As President and CEO of Bertelsmann Online, Chip was responsible for building Bertelsmann’s global e-commerce business. Chip was the first employee at BOL, and built parallel services in the UK, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France (via joint venture with Vivendi/Havas), and the US (via Bertelsmann’s 50% investment in BarnesandNoble.com). Chip served as Chairman of the Board of BOL France, and was a Board Member and officer of Doubleday Direct, BCA, BOL, Inc., and Bertelsmann's E-commerce Control Board. BOL has been the recipient of several industry accolades, including CeBIT Innovation of the Year Winner and the highest rated European e-commerce site by a Forrester Research.

For the launch of BOL, Chip secured internal capital of over $400 million, built a world class team totaling over 200 people in six countries, partnered with strategic vendors such as Oracle, Don Peppers, Ogilvy & Mather, Fleishman-Hillard, Net Perceptions, Cambridge Technology Partners, USWeb and Sun, negotiated major strategic and marketing alliances with major Internet portals such as AOL, Compuserve, DoubleClick, EMS and Earthlink, and established back-end operations, including call centers, fulfillment, logistics, financial clearing, and warehousing, in each country of operation.

Chip maintains an advisory and investor relationship with Bertelsmann Ventures, an independent venture capital fund capitalized by Bertelsmann. Chip also served as Acting CEO of European-based DealPilot.com, a Bertelsmann Ventures portfolio company. DealPilot.com, the first commercial Internet-based comparison shopping service, subsequently sold a majority of its shares to Bertelsmann and then merged into Shopping.com (NASDAQ:SHOP).

Prior to Bertelsmann, Chip was a member of the management-led buyout of Prodigy, where he was SVP of Sales and Business Development and General Manager of Prodigy's first Internet Service. While at Prodigy, Chip built an ISP from scratch, launched Prodigy Internet, which replaced Prodigy's Classic proprietary service, and was responsible for all customer acquisition and subscription revenue. In addition, Chip was responsible for all major account relationships, including OEM channels such as Packard Bell/NEC, and technology/distribution providers, such as Microsoft, Netscape, and Excite. Prior to sale to SBC, Prodigy's initial public offering had a market capitalization that had exceeded $3 billion dollars.

Before joining Prodigy, Chip spent seven years at McKinsey in the Media and Interactive practices advising clients out of New York, Los Angeles, Australia and various European offices. While at McKinsey, as a co-founder of the Interactive Practice, Chip shaped the New Media strategies of the world's largest media companies in the fields of newspapers, magazines, yellow pages/classifieds, cable programming, network TV and film studio production.

Chip is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on Technology, Media, and Angel Investment-related topics as well as serving on the boards of several public and private companies. Chip has also worked at Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking division and IBM’s Personal Computer division during the launch years of the IBM PC. Chip has a degree in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

BRAD FARKAS

Brad has been involved in the investment, management and development of technology for the past 30 years. During this time he developed five commercial software products, funded over 25 technology companies and served on more than a dozen boards.

Prior to i-Hatch, Brad was a founding Partner of Lazard Technology Partners (LTP), the venture capital group of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC. At Lazard, Brad focused on investments in internet and data communications technologies. Brad led LTP's investments in Compatible Systems (acquired by Cisco), MCK Communications (NASDAQ:MCKC), Sonoma Systems (acquired by Nortel), and SignalSoft Corp. (NASDAQ: SGSF), and co-led their investment in Quantum Bridge.

Prior to Lazard, Brad was the Acting CFO and Director of Compatible Systems, a developer of IP routers and virtual private networking (“VPN”) equipment. Brad raised three rounds of venture financing for Compatible, and was very active in both business development and product strategy. In addition, Brad introduced the company to Cisco who acquired it for $250M in March 2000.  Immediately prior to joining Lazard, Brad was developing IPSEC client software for Compatible's InterPort VPN product line.

Before Compatible, Brad was the Founder of Argosy Technology, a communications software house. While at Argosy, Brad developed software packages that were published by Symantec, Novell, and Citrix. In addition he performed technology and strategy consulting assignments for companies including AT&T and Booz Allen, & Hamilton. Brad also worked in the Networking Group at Microsoft and researched required enhancements in the wide area networking (WAN) capabilities of its Windows operating system.

Shortly before graduate school, Brad served as a Director and Principal of pcANYWHERE, inc., a developer of remote access software. Brad was appointed to the board following his successful efforts to restructure the company and reorganize its senior management. During his tenure as Director, Brad assisted in the company’s corporate and financial strategy and helped affect its merger with Symantec, Inc. Brad was also a prolific engineer, developing all of pcANYWHERE’s non-Intel based software, as well as TermCom, its predecessor. “The Norton pcANYWHERE” is one of the most successful communications software packages of all time, and continues to sell at rate of nearly $100 million a year.

Prior to his work with pcANYWHERE, Brad was the founder of Metropolitan Asset Technology (“MAT”), a technology consulting firm in the financial services industry. At MAT, Brad developed computer analytics programs for fixed income bond traders. Brad's products included a GNMA forward contract settlement algorithm, and a computational model for valuing fixed income derivatives, developed in cooperation with Fisher Black, Father of the Black-Scholes equity option pricing model.

Just prior to MAT, Brad was the co-founder of Phonetix, Inc., a computer peripherals manufacturer. Brad co-designed the first audio digitizer for personal computers, and a software package for storing and manipulating digitized sound. Brad also co-developed one of the first PC MIDI interface products.

Before and during his work with Phonetix, Brad was an Associate at First Boston, where he consulted to the Corporate Finance, Venture Capital and Equity Research departments. Brad has a BA degree from Harvard College with a concentration in Applied Math and Computer Science, and an MBA from Harvard Business School with a concentration in Applied Finance.