Guest Speakers

March 30th Guest Speaker bio:

Michael’s business development and marketing prowess has been a driving force in imagistic’s growth over the past eleven years. His knowledge, vision and ability to speak “English, not tech” have helped turn top-tier companies such as Technicolor,, Network For Good and California Pizza Kitchen into long-term clients. As the Director of all sales and PR efforts Michael’s goal is to guide clients from the initial sales pitch to the eventual launch of their product. His objective is to work with a client to help them realize their vision and create a Web site that inspires, educates and engages end users.

Along with his extensive management, marketing and sales experience, Michael has a background in education and counseling. He’s taught at the Crossroads School, Palms Middle School, and Daniel Webster Middle School, all located in Los Angeles. Michael is a contributor for The Nonprofit Technology Network as a speaker at their annual conference and offering his expertise to nonprofits through webinars, online office hours and writing articles. He has also spoken at FS/TEC, Boston University, The Center for Nonprofit Management, Network For Good, Pepperdine University and others.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Boston University, and earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola-Marymount University. He is on the Advisory Boards for The Ojai Foundation and The Wildwoods Foundation.

Mchael Weiss


March 23rd Guest Speaker bio:

Kent Yu is Founder and President of T3 Micro, Inc., and is responsible
for the continued overall growth and success of the franchise.  T3 is a
designer and manufacturer of head-turning, high-performance professional
styling products for exceptional style makers.  As a fast growing
company, Kent is very hands on operationally in all aspects of the
business, including having ultimate responsibility for financing, sales,
marketing, manufacturing, operations and research and development.

In 2004 he believed it was possible to manufacture a superior ionic hair
dryer, and realized this belief with the iconic T3 Bespoke
Featherweight.  This singularly revolutionized the product category by
emphasizing Tourmaline technology, premium branding, distribution and
manufacturing, faster drying, smoother finishes, softer air flow and
lighter overall weight.

T3 is a privately-held company headquartered in Venice, California with
a marketing office in New Jersey and manufacturing facilities in Korea.

Previously, Kent worked in the technology investment banking division of
Salomon Smith Barney.  He also worked as a management consultant at
Montgomery and Company.  And he worked as Product Manager at netVmg, an
innovative network router manufacturer, which was acquired by Internap
("INAP").  He graduated from the University of California at San Diego.

March 9th Guest Speaker bios:

Adam Leff, bio

David Baye, bio

March 2nd Guest Speaker: Martin Shum, bio shown below:

Martin Shum is an old hand in entrepreneurial activities.  He founded and served as Chairman, President and CEO of two companies; ACT Networks,a wide area networking equipment company traded on NASDAQ as “ANET in 1995 and Aprisa, Inc., a search site dedicated to electronic hardware designers purchased by Agilysys in 2002.  Martin also served on the board of a number of start up companies including SignalCom (a voice compression algorithm company), NetSpeak (a voice over IP Company), KnowledgeLink (an e-commerce company specializing in high-end audio/video systems), Ampersand (a contract engineering company based in India), NXTV (a broadband digital entertainment system company for the hospitality industry), and EnvironX (a green technology company focusing on the recycling of used carpets).

Since his retirement from the workforce in 2002, Martin has “dabbled” in a number of industries either as an advisor, an investor or as a managing partner. They include wood flooring, window treatment, promotional products, auto maintenance and repair, taxi services, commercialproperties, music studio, and record production.  His most recent interest is in the field of cure for aging.

Martin is on the Community Board of St. Johns Medical Center in Oxnard, CA and St. Johns Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, CA.  He is a recipient of Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year award (1996), Bridgegate‘s Leadership award (2000) and Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers’ Engineer of the Year award (2007).

Feb 16th Guest Speaker: Andre deFusco, bio shown below:

André de Fusco
President & CEO
Cynvenio Biosystems, LLC
Mr. de Fusco is a 20-year technology entrepreneur with hands-on experience leading venture-backed technology companies in the US and Europe.
He is currently leading Cynvenio Biosystems, a privately funded spin-off from UCSB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering that is focused on the early detection of circulating tumor cells in complex fluids. Cynvenio’s technology has the potential to dramatically speed up the work of organizations developing novel therapeutics for cancer, as well as stem cell therapies in regenerative medicine.
Most recently Mr. de Fusco served as President & CEO of Sabeus, Inc., a provider of specialized sensors for threat detection at sea, and rugged acoustic technology to facilitate the identification of hydrocarbons in challenging environments. Earlier, Mr. de Fusco served a Director & President of Neven Vision, Inc., a facial recognition and biometrics company that was acquired by Google, and President & CEO of ACT Networks, Inc., [NASDAQ:ANET] a developer and manufacturer of integrated communications equipment which was acquired in 2000. Prior to coming to California for these assignments Mr. de Fusco served in a number of marketing management positions for Nortel Networks in Europe and North America, and he started his career at Ing. C. Olivetti & Co. in Italy.
Mr. de Fusco has served on a number of boards, most recently the Washington, D.C.-based American Electronics Association from 2002-2007 where he chaired the Technology Committee. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and a certificate in General Management from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business.

February 2nd: Jason Nazar, Pepperdine MBA,  a former student of mine and a “rock-star”.

Jason’s blog

Jan 12th: Ravi Sawhney, President and Founder, of RKS Design, and his team! You can visit RKS Design at: RKS Design


Mr. Sawhney’s bio is in PDF format and can be viewed via the link above.


Mr. White’s bio is in Word format and can be viewed via the link above. Please note that he is Pepperdine MBA.

Deepa Prahalad Bio:
Deepa Prahalad has a wide-ranging business background including experience as a commodities trader with Cargill and as a strategy consultant.  She has a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.  Deepa authored the first business plan for MyOwn.MD (now which is now the analytic engine behind Google Health.  She has also worked as an independent consultant on marketing and strategy for Zebra (ZBRA) and other companies.  Some of her interests include art, interior design and history.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Jan 26th: Jack Dennison, Founder FunnelBrain : FunnelBrain, beta site

FunnelBrain exec bios:

Jack Dennison is a businessman and attorney with extensive experience in the computer software and services industry.   He has been a senior executive with successful Internet ventures for the past ten years.  From January of 2002 until September of 2007, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE).  At the time of his arrival at Move, Inc., the company had a cash burn rate of $50 million per quarter, an unfocused business strategy, and poor management practices that had brought the company to the brink of failure.   Jack led a successful effort to refine the company’s strategy and restructure its operations, resulting in a company with strong positive cash flows, growing revenues, and the number one position in the online real estate space.  From 1998 through 2001, Jack served as general counsel of WebMD, where he negotiated many of the mergers, acquisitions and business transactions that created the leader in the online healthcare space.  Jack has also served as Deputy General Counsel of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), and as Vice President and General Counsel of The Continuum Company, a NYSE listed computer services company that was acquired by CSC in 1996.

Joe DeTuno has been a leader in business innovation and product development for over 12 years. Prior to becoming CEO at FunnelBrain, Joe was Senior Vice President of Product at Move Inc., where he led Product Management and Development activities including user experience, online advertising and product R&D for the world’s largest network of real estate websites. DeTuno introduced innovative social and web 2.0 solutions, mobile applications, and next generation search experiences for advertisers and consumers. DeTuno has served as a senior level management consultant at Cap Gemini, and as a strategy executive at Countrywide Financial. He has also held product management and marketing roles at and Microsoft. DeTuno is the co-inventor of two pending patents in the areas of search and information security.

FunnelBrain executive team

About FunnelBrain

10 thoughts on “Guest Speakers

  1. I really liked Andre’s candid speech. I dont know about others, but i was under the impression that startups are the best place to work after graduation. I changed my opinion after his presentation.
    Thanks for bringing him to class.

    1. Andre is a seasoned start-up CEO who came from the corporate world and therefore has a perspective that many others do not have. A start-up is good if its your own BUT not if you work for someone else’s. I agree with Andre that you learn a lot more working for a large company first. In fact one career route is to start at a big company and progressively work down to smaller and smaller companies until you start your own. The reason is that at large companies you first learn skills and procedures which you then get to apply in smaller companies. If you stay with large companies long you get pigeon-holed into a function–finance, marketing, sales, etc, it is hard to break out later. So,if you wish to be a GM you get that experience sooner in a smaller company.

  2. I remember hearing Andre speak at the Tech Coast Angels meeting back in the Fall and was impressed then. I thought he did a great presentation for MBA students about to enter the work force. I do have strong entrepreneurial aspirations, but he makes a good point about getting more large company experience first.

  3. By way of further explanation for my comments about launching a career at a large comany if you want to be an entrepreneur later on, here’s a quick recipe for success:

    Join a large company to learn the ropes, but start planning your own business from day one if you have the desire and drive to be a founding CEO. This does not mean you are being disloyal – quite the contrary. You’ll give it your best and be a superstar because some day you will want to put it all to work for your own enterprise. You will perform faster (and better) because your plan is to be in business for yourself within a given timeframe. You will study the successes and failures of the large enterprise and store the lessons away for future use. You will build a great rolodex as you succeed in “mega co”, and many of these people will become your customers and suppliers in your next life because they trust you and want to do business with you again. In fact, it is very probable that you will find funding and support because of your successful track record in the large company. This is why going to a large company before starting your venture is not a detour, but rather a calculated step along the way. The trick is not getting stuck or distracted and forgetting your dream.

    This is not to say that certain of you should not dive head first into the start-up pool if that’s where your passion takes you, but you need to make sure your idea is truly incredible. These rare individuals are the exceptions that prove the rule.

    Congratulations to all of you on completing the program, it is an exciting time of your life and I’m sure you will all follow your passions. Don’t get too distressed over this economy, it is better to have a correction of this magnitude before you enter the job market rather than 10 years into a career on Wall Street.


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