Corporate Venture Forum

Growth Happens When We Scale Up Together.

Scale Up Milwaukee presents Corporate Venture Forum — hosted by American Express OPEN

Date: Friday, October 18
Time: 7:30 – 1:00pm
Location: Hyatt Downtown Milwaukee

We are growth-obsessed in Milwaukee. From our vast number of corporate headquarters to the active entrepreneurship community, we are filled with talented people and companies who are hungry and primed for growth.

One strategy for growth is partnerships with other businesses and brands that resonate with your business. Join us, along with national and local leaders, for a highly interactive dialog on strategic cooperation between corporate partners and entrepreneurial ventures.

Our keynote speaker, Jim McCann, Founder and CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS, is growth-obsessed too. First, as a florist and then as the founder of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, McCann, a consummate entrepreneur, has shown a knack for making businesses grow and prosper.

The event will also include panel discussions moderated by Dan Isenberg and workshops on a variety of topics that will delve into how entrepreneurs and innovators from all size companies can partner for mutual benefit.

Thank you to everyone who attended this event! For an event recap, click here.


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Event Contact:

Laurel Osman

Director, Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

Greater Milwaukee Committee



7:30am – Registration

8:00am – Welcome

• Michelle Thompson-Dolberry, Director of Advocacy, American Express OPEN
• Dan Isenberg, Professor Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson Executive Education

8:15am – Keynote Speaker

• Jim McCann, Founder & CEO, 1-800-Flowers

8:45am – Panel: Prospects and Pitfalls of Entrepreneurial Partnering


• Dan Isenberg, Professor Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson Executive Education


• Rohit Bodas, Partner, American Express Ventures
• Darian Shirazi, Founder & CEO, Radius
• Eric Apse, Partner, IBM Venture Capital Group
• Jimmy Odom, Founder, WeDeliver
• Julie Cole, VP Marketing North America, Manpower
• Ane Ohm, President and Chief Operating Officer, HarQen

10:00am – Transition

10:15am – Workshops: Do’s and Don’ts for Partners, Large, Small and In Between

“How to Manage the Ins and Outs of Corporate-Entrepreneur Strategic Partnering – Lessons for All Sides”

• John Hoesley, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank

“Strategic Corporate Investing – Do’s and Don’t for Investors and Entrepreneurs”

• Eric Apse, Partner, IBM Venture Capital Group

“Strategic Partnering in the Supply Chain: Dos and Don’ts for Both Supplier and Buyer”

• Doña Storey, Advisor on Procurement, American Express OPEN

Case Studies on the Partnering Spectrum: A Few Lessons for all Sides from GE’s Global Experience

• Kolawole Otitoju, Managing Director, Business Development, GE Healthcare

11:30am – Transition

11:45am – Session: How to Improve the Corporate-Entrepreneur Dialog in Milwaukee


• Dan Isenberg, Professor Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson Executive Education

12:15pm – Lunch
12:45pm – Concluding Remarks

* subject to change


James F. McCann

Founder & CEO, 1-800-FLOWERS

speaker6Jim McCann is the founder and CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, the world’s leading florist and gift shop. He is a highly successful entrepreneur, public speaker and author whose passion is helping people deliver smiles. Jim attributes much of his success to his belief in the universal need for social connections and interaction which stems from the lessons he learned in his early career in the social services. His willingness to embrace new technologies that help people connect and express themselves – from 800 numbers to the Internet to Social and Mobile Commerce – often long before others, has enabled him to stay at the forefront of consumer and social trends. As a result, Jim has built an internationally recognized brand while also becoming an award winning public speaker, a published author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs nationwide.


Dan Isenberg

Professor Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson Executive Education

dan-pressDaniel Isenberg is Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson Executive and Enterprise Education. Since 1981 Daniel has been an entrepreneurship professor at Harvard (11 years), Columbia (4 years), Reykjavik and the Technion. Daniel is also the author of the Harvard Business Review Press book, Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value.

For fifteen years Daniel was an entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Israel, and has been an active angel investor in over a dozen ventures in ten countries. Daniel is a frequent participant at Davos, G20 and other international think tanks, blogs regularly for HBR and has blogged for the Huffington Post, Forbes, the Economist, Business Week, Quartz, and others. In 2009 Daniel established the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP) to help regional coalitions in different countries create the policies, structures, programs, and climate that foster entrepreneurship. In this capacity, he has conducted projects in numerous countries, including Columbia, Brazil, Denmark, Canada, and the United States.

Daniel has published several seminal articles in the Harvard Business Review, including “Entrepreneurs and the Cult of Failure,” “How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution,” and “The Global Entrepreneur.” Daniel holds the Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.


Eric Apse

Partner, IBM Venture Capital Group

speaker3Eric Apse has been a Partner with IBM’s Venture Capital Group since January 2009. In this role his goal is to build strategic relationships with venture capital firms and their portfolio companies. He focuses on creating an ecosystem that fosters innovation, helps promote new technologies and develops new growth opportunities in new markets. Additionally, he has been responsible for creating, launching and rolling out IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program and SmartCamps around the world.

Eric has had 25 over twenty-five years of IT experience including leadership roles in sales and marketing, finance and business development. Throughout all these roles hehas centered on emerging business opportunities. Eric has been a board member on the New York Venture Capital Association, as well several non-profit community focused organizations in the Boston area.

Rohit Bodas

Partner, American Express Ventures

speaker7Rohit Bodas is a Partner at American Express Ventures and is responsible for early-stage investments for American Express’ $100 Million Digital Commerce Initiative.

Prior to American Express, Rohit was founding member of Hartford Ventures and made investments in DriverSide Inc and Coulomb Technologies. Prior to Hartford Ventures, Rohit held various positions at Motorola in R&D, business development and at Motorola Ventures. Rohit has developed key mobile video and security technologies and holds two US patents.
Rohit holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, a MS in Computer Science, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.”

Julie Cole

Vice President, North America Marketing, ManpowerGroup

speaker9As vice president of North America Marketing for ManpowerGroup, Julie Cole is focused on the strategic positioning of the company’s brands in the marketplace and driving business growth. Utilizing a client-focused marketing approach, she sets the strategic direction to develop innovative products and services that meet client needs and differentiate ManpowerGroup from the competition. Additionally, she leads ManpowerGroup’s Innovation Program.

Prior to joining ManpowerGroup, Cole was Chief Marketing Officer at Quarles & Brady, LLP, a national law firm. In this role, she led the firm’s marketing initiatives, including strategic planning, brand management, public relations and client relations, and was instrumental in the creation of the firm’s Client Service team program.

Cole also held leadership roles at another national law firm, a large regional healthcare company and The Columbus Dispatch.

As a life-long learner, Cole is passionate about knowledge and innovation. She has completed executive classes in Six Sigma and is a certified Myers-Briggs instructor.

Throughout her career, Cole has won numerous awards for her creativity and innovation. She is an alumnus of Leadership Columbus and a “Forty Under 40” honoree. Cole received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.

John Hoesley

Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank

JOHNJohn is a managing director with Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”), where he leads the Midwest region for the bank.  In this role, he is responsible for providing a full array of banking services to SVB’s clients in the information technology, life sciences, clean technology and private equity/venture capital segments.

Prior to joining SVB in 2011, John spent 10 years with Prism Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm with $190MM under management.  At Prism, John was a partner in the firm’s venture capital and mezzanine funds and led its healthcare investment initiative. Previously, Hoesley was the CFO of Legato Partners, which successfully restarted the Breck’s and Spring Hill horticulture brands after the bankruptcy of their parent company, and co-founded Evincio Corporation, provider of data management software.

He is on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, is the President of IMSA Fund for the Advancement of Education and is a member of the Midwest healthcare Investor Network. Hoesley holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of management degree from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Jimmy Odom

Founder, WeDeliver

newspeaker1As a former Apple Leader of 5 years, Jimmy Odom learned the craft of developing and maintaining the unique customer experiences Apple is known for. After leading WeDeliver’s team to a first place win during last year’s Chicago Startup Weekend he has been responsible for constructing the vi- sion, customer experience, and business development of WeDeliver.

Prior to Apple, he learned his logistics chops when manag- ing the dispatch center for emergency medical care for the entire region of South Chicago. A serial entrepreneur, he has owned and operated his own gourmet pizza delivery service in addition to launching several other startups. Jimmy chal- lenges himself by studying diverse subject matters including film production (Columbia College Chicago), culinary arts (Le Cordon Bleu Chicago) and most recently web develop- ment (Starter League). Responsible for the vision and busi- ness development of WeDeliver, he leads with a constantly contagious passion inspiring communities to shop local.

Ane Ohm

President, HarQen

speaker8Ane is passionate about using technology to help organizations identify, attract, and retain the right people for the right job. Her career experience designing recruitment strategies for Fortune 100 companies has given her invaluable insights on how technology can best be integrated into recruitment processes to hire the best talent, faster and more efficiently.

In addition to her role as HarQen’s President, she also serves as Board President for the Bread of Healing Clinic, a free clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Fox Cities chapter of Women in Management recently recognized Ane’s leadership abilities by naming her 2010 Woman Manager of the Year.

In prior positions, Ane was President of LaserNet, Inc., a statement print/mail company, and Vice President at Pinstripe, Inc., where she played an instrumental role in the company’s rapid growth in recruitment process outsourcing. Before joining Pinstripe, Ane held various leadership roles at Strong Financial Corporation, including Vice President and Director of Mutual Fund Administration. Ane started her career as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and graduated with a BBA-Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kolawole Otitoju

Managing Director, Business Development, GE Healthcare

speaker4Kola leads the business development activities, including mergers and acquisitions, investments, licensing and partnerships to help drive the growth strategy for GE’s Healthcare Systems and Surgery businesses globally.

Kola joined GE Healthcare from Credit Suisse where he was a Director, leading the execution and analysis of mergers and acquisition transactions across a broad range of industries including Healthcare, Consumer sectors and Natural Resources. Before Credit Suisse, Kola was with Banc of America Securities, in a similar capacity. Kola began his career as a design development engineer and project leader at Lutron Electronics.

Kola holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School as well as a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from Imperial College London.

Darian Shirazi

CEO, Radius

newspeaker2Darian Shirazi is the founder and CEO of Radius, the company that builds smart prospecting tools for marketing and sales teams targeting small businesses. Prior to founding Radius, Darian was one of the first engineers at Facebook and also worked at eBay on the Sell Your Item team. Darian is an active angel investor known for being one of the first investors in Homejoy, Udemy, MessageMe, and Fresh. He studied Philosophy and Computer Science for nearly two years at the University of California, Berkeley.

Doña Storey

Advisor on Procurement, American Express OPEN

speaker1Doña Storey has been a successful entrepreneur creating and running businesses in both the federal and commercial sectors. Her company partnered with a major manufacturer providing a new go-to market strategy enhancing the distribution of their high-end products. She is currently the president/owner of two companies serving clients ranging from very large publicly traded corporations and federal agencies to entrepreneurs looking to take their companies to the next level. Asthe American Express OPEN Advisor on Procurement, Doña lends her expertise to help entrepreneurs navigate the procurement maze and find success in supply chain development.

Doña is a subject matter expert on selling to the federal government and corporations. As the creator of and author of the World’s Biggest Customer book series, she enjoys speaking to entrepreneurs showing how the challenges she was able to overcome can lead to achieving success. Using this experience she has mentored dozens of entrepreneurs from multiple industry groups. She is also frequent contributor, writer and popular resource for media on topics ranging from procurement and supply chain issues to entrepreneurial mindset and selling strategies. Doña is a featured speaker for the Institute for Supply Management at their Annual International Supply Management Conferences.

Doña has played an active role in impacting public policy at both state and national levels. She has received three gubernatorial appointments to state boards including the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority. She serves as the Co-Chair for the Business Advisory Board to Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02). She was appointed to and serves on the SBA’s Regulatory and Fairness Board. To date, she has provided testimony for congressionally appointed commissions and testified before the House Small Business Committee., a {display: none;}