Candace Klein, Founder and CEO
Candace Klein is the founder and CEO of two successful startup companies: Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend. Candace launched Bad Girl Ventures in March, 2010. Bad Girl Ventures is a non-profit, micro-finance organization focused on educating and financing woman-owned startup companies. In its first two years of operations, BGV has received over 400 applicants, has educated over 250 businesses, has financed 26 women with $700,000, and has created 154 jobs across Ohio.
Candace also launched SoMoLend in May, 2011. SoMoLend offers new solutions for small businesses to get the money they need to launch and sustain their operations. SoMoLend is a new technology platform that connects business borrowers seeking loans of $1,000,000 or less with lenders looking to make a return on investment, doing well by doing good. To date, SoMoLend has partnered with KeyBank, who has committed to lending at least $1 million on SoMoLend, and up to $50 million, in the first year of operations.
Candace Klein received four bachelor degrees from Northern Kentucky University (Marketing, Management, Communication, Political Science). Candace began working as a lobbyist for the Northern Kentucky Chamber and United Way, and then began attending law school at Chase University. While attaining her law degree, Candace led the Communities Practice at Property Advisors, with the title of "Maven" and the job description, "run and think." Candace continues to practice law at Ulmer and Berne, LLP with a focus on corporate law.
Cheryl Stamm, VP Sales
Cheryl Stamm is a professional sales executive with over twenty five years of successful sales management and direct sales experience in the software industry. Cheryl’s skills include executive level solution selling to Fortune 500 companies, strategic planning, building sales plans, forecasting, and P&L responsibility in both sales and presales activities. In her roles she has managed and mentored sales managers and sales representatives to achieve their goals by selling to the C level executives, focusing on the salient business issues, working in a team environment and executing on the business plan.
Most recently Cheryl was VP of Sales for Balanced Insight, Inc., (a CincyTech portfolio company) focused on Agile Business Intelligence delivery software. Prior to that Cheryl spent 6 years at SAS Institute as Sr. Sales Director managing a $45M division selling Business Intelligence solutions to the Fortune 500 companies in discrete manufacturing, automotive and commercial services; (GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Whirlpool, TransUnion, LexisNexis, Nielsen, Cardinal Health, Hertz, Enterprise). In this role she managed a team of 20 individuals made up of 3 sales managers and 17 account executives. In her last year at SAS the business grew 12% which was made up of $10M in new sales and recurring revenue of $35M.
Prior to SAS, Cheryl was with start up company, Synchrony Systems, as VP Sales. At Synchrony Cheryl worked with Balanced Insight CEO, Tom Hammergren, and along with Synchrony CEO, Mark Richey, grew the company and sold to Divine. Synchrony developed and sold eCRM software for the call center space.
Christopher Calvert, VP Operations
Chris is the Vice President of Operations for SoMoLend. Chris is responsible for SoMoLend’s operations, including borrower acquisition, underwriting, compliance and transaction management.
Chris is an attorney and operations executive with over 12 years experience in working for and serving clients in alternative financial services and banking. Most recently, Chris was an attorney responsible for mergers, acquisitions, new product development, and business development for Axcess Financial. Chris directly managed the initial development and on-going operations of several product and business lines for Axcess Financial. During his tenure at Axcess Financial, Chris lead a team responsible for development of first of its kind borrower underwriting model that delivered over 20% increased ROI on existing loan portfolios and paved the way for the implementation of new lending products that have transformed the product mix offered by the company.
Chris's experience also includes work for Fifth Third Bank, Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. Chris received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Business Administration, Finance, and Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Michael Hawkins, CTO
As SoMoLend’s Chief Technology Officer, Mike is responsible for all aspects of product development. His responsibilities include product management, research and development, quality assurance, infrastructure and technical strategy.
Mike has 16 years of software engineering and product management experience in startups and new product development in financial services, healthcare and education. He previously designed and developed cross platform systems and services for Schwab.com, SchwabPlan.com and the back-end systems from the brokerage and retirement planning units to support client assets and investor accounts.
Mike was a software architect and engineering manager for the RIS Logic CS 1.0 product that grew from annual revenue of $150,000 to $40 million over a four year period. At Dynamic Imaging, a New Jersey based early stage software company, he was the Director of Product Management responsible for new product innovation in the three years leading up to their acquisition by General Electric. At GE, Mike led product strategy for the Dynamic Imaging Solutions division and led product management for new product innovation for the parent business group.
Mike is currently on a leave of absence from Columbia University’s Mathematics program. Mike is the lead author of four patents in the areas of adaptive workflow, resource prioritization and user experience.
Eric Elias, Director of Product Development
Eric serves as the navigator for product development at SoMoLend, driving new features and expanding the platform. Most recently, Eric came from a startup, Sleeve a Message, that focused on location based advertising on alternative mediums, including Coffee Sleeves. In a startup weekend competition, Eric’s team came in second place with their citizen publishing platform.
Previously, Eric worked at the General Electric Company, within the Aviation Business, leading the financial planning and analysis for the Commercial Engines, Services, Engineering and Corporate Divisions. At Nielsen, he led the financial management for Capital Investments and Product Engineering. Eric graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Finance and International business and a focus in Humanities. His thesis paper was on microfinance and the network effects of supporting organizations.
On the weekends, you can find Eric huddled over his MacBook programming or mentoring other startups across the country. He is also a member of the local group, Hive13, where the group has hardware and software workshops.
Amanda Dole, Office Manager
Amanda joined the SoMoLend team in June of 2012 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to Candace Klein, Founder and CEO. In this role, she leverages her passion for people, especially entrepreneurs, and is responsible for managing Candace’s busy schedule, executive travel, speaking engagements, and office administration. She also serves as a client advocate, educating borrowers on alternative forms of financing and the advantages of accessing capital through crowdfunding. In addition to being Candace’s “right-hand woman,” Amanda serves on the Development and Event Planning committee for Eve Center, an international faith-based non-profit, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio which provides volunteer peer counseling to women. She has been an integral part of hosting three major tri-state fundraising events where she leveraged her connections to secure key sponsors and donors, and in 2012 exceeded the previous year's revenue by 300%. Amanda excelled in her most recent role as a Senior Sales Consultant for Cengage Learning, where she delivered highly-customized learning solutions for higher education institutions and increased market share by 15.8%. Amanda is currently working on a degree in Organizational Leadership.
Billie Guenther, Community Manager
Billie’s role at SoMoLend uses both her business education background and her legal background. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Otterbein University in Westerville, OH where she was on the Dean’s list every quarter and obtained a degree in International Studies with a minor in Business Administration. Her undergraduate success led her to pursue her J.D. at the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she is currently studying and is expected to graduate in May of 2014. This experience serves her well while conducting competitive and legal research for SoMoLend. Billie also handles customer relations, technology testing, borrower education, and is engaged in borrower advocacy. These activities allow her to continue cultivating skills she acquired while working for Midwest Sports Supply where she held numerous positions during her 8-year tenure.
Todd Federman, Board Member
Todd is the Executive Director of North Coast Angel Fund. North Coast manages two early-stage funds made up of 180 individual angel investors, and has closed investments in 32 early-stage companies since 2006. Prior to joining North Coast, Todd served as an independent consultant for the brand strategy team at AOL, where he led several word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing initiatives. Previously, Todd worked for Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, a global management consulting firm where he focused on program management for technology and organizational development efforts.
Previously, Todd co-founded, and remains active with, “One With Nature,” an all natural line of health and beauty products. Todd serves on the Boards of Directors for DecisionDesk, StreamLink Software, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a Cleveland non-profit that empowers youth through jobs and entrepreneurship programs. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Kent State University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Madeleine Ludlow, Board Member
Madeleine is a senior executive with over 30 years experience. She has co-founded a company, served as chief executive of a high growth start up, served as a senior officer of a Fortune 200 company and has vast experience in investment banking. During her career, she has been actively involved in numerous M&A transactions and private placements, serving as principal and as agent.
Most recently, Madeleine was Founder and Principal of LudlowWard Capital Partners, serving privately-held middle market companies in a wide variety of financial services. She also served as Chairman and CEO of Cadence Networks, Inc., a privately-held, venture backed energy management company. Prior to joining Cadence, Madeleine was Vice President and Chief Financial officer of Cinergy Corp. She also spent nine years as a Principal in the investment banking department of Morgan Stanley. She currently serves on the Board of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) and is a former member of the Board of the Darden Foundation.
Madeleine holds an M.B.A. from The Darden School, University of Virginia and as well as a BA from the University of Virginia.
Rahul Bawa, Board Member
Rahul Bawa is director of digital and software investments at CincyTech. He evaluates investment opportunities, advises startup companies and helps them with their business and technology growth strategies. Rahul joined CincyTech in June 2011 with more than 24 years of information technology experience in a variety of leadership positions. Most recently he was Chief Information Officer for Axcess Financial Services from 2004-2011. He led a team there that developed innovative technology solutions including a new point-of-sale system to support the aggressive growth of various business units in the U.S. and UK, providing short-term lending and check-cashing solutions. Prior to joining Axcess Financial, he was vice president of eBusiness for Fifth Third Bank, where he transformed Fifth Third’s eBusiness solutions, including the implementation of a new consumer Internet Banking solution, a new B2B eBusiness portal, new retail branch and call center transaction systems and a new Intranet.
Rahul also spent seven years at IBM working on the U.S. air traffic control system, four years at United Airlines, where he launched the original version of www.ual.com, and three years at Xpedior Inc (a Chicago-based eBusiness consulting organization) where he grew annual revenue from $4M to $70M. A native of India, Rahul holds a bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.
James Alexander, Board Member
James is an asset management business development professional with substantial sales, marketing, fundraising and investor relations experience. James’s alternative asset expertise includes hedge funds, private equity and real estate. James has significant international familiarity and contacts across a broad spectrum of the global investment community. James specializes in sales, marketing, fundraising, investor relations, principal investing, sourcing, screening, negotiating, monitoring, corporate finance, financial analyst, institutional sales, alternative asset, asset management, hedge fund, private equity, real estate, family office, multi-family office, and fund of funds.
Previously, James was a co-founder of Alternative Capital Associates, an asset management and merchant banking firm. James was also the Executive Vice President of Investment Sales for Prosper Marketplace.