The Soho Loft Team
David Drake is a leading equity expert based in New York. He is the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a private equity advisory firm, and of The Soho Loft, an event-driven global financial media company.
Born in Sweden and fluent in six languages, Mr. Drake is a strong advocate of innovative investing in early-stage equity and the US JOBS Act, for which he lobbied both Congress and the EU Commission. Because of his leading work in this space, he was a US Commerce Department delegate to the EU Commission in Brussels and Rome, and was invited in May 2013 to the White House Champions of Change ceremony in Washington, D.C.
His investment, The Soho Loft, produces and sponsors 150+ global events a year. One such was produced in April 2013 for the institutional media leader Thomson Reuters, with speakers from Nasdaq, NYSE, KKR and Carlyle Group. He continues to advance innovative investing through his work as an international speaker and regular writer for major publications like Forbes and Thomson Reuters. He has co-authored the book Planet Entrepreneur: The World Entrepreneurship Forum’s Guide to Business Success Around the World and is the author of Crowd Fund Economics.
His focus today is to take on board advisory positions at companies, angel networks and venture funds, and to guide them on such topics as international regulations, corporate strategy and fund structures, with emphasis on the growing trend of online investment automation for retail and angel investors.
Privately, Mr. Drake has hosted the Harvard Business Club of NY at his home, produced Carnegie Hall concerts and raised funds for the charities Trail Blazers and Best Buddies Carnegie Hall for many years. Today he is a board director of the UBS Charity of the Year, London-based Archive International, and is co-chair of the Tree Kangaroo Foundation in New York.
Mr. Drake has an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Law and Economics from George Washington University, where he was awarded the Wallenberg Scholarship for academic merit.
Mr Enzo Villani joins The Soho Loft to head its Corporate Strategies. Previously Mr. Villani was the Managing Director of Products and Strategy at the NASDAQ OMX. He established NASDAQ Corporate Services through a series of alliances and acquisitions and in 2006 he led the acquisition of Shareholder.com and Prime Zone Media Network (now GlobeNewswire). Corporate Services has developed into a growth business line in NASDAQ OMX and continues to develop new products and services for public companies. Since 2006, Mr. Villani has completed over $400 million in acquisitions focused on investor relations, corporate communications, financial technology, media, and trading exchange industries.
In 2010, Enzo became a member of the MZ Group Board of Directors as an independent director. He sold Ilios Partners to MZ Group in 2011 and then advised on the acquisition and integration of Hayden International (HCI). MZ Group North America was launched by combining Ilios and HCI under the MZ Group umbrella. MZ NA consults over 100 clients includ-ing Cisco, Under Armour, Lincoln Financial, and Prudential. Before launching Villani Advisors, Mr. Villani was a founding member, EVP & Chief Strategy Officer of DF King Worldwide (formerly Sage Holdings). King Worldwide is the leading global Stakeholder Management and Financial Communications firm. Formed in 2007 as a private equity backed acquisition vehicle through The Riverside Company, the King Worldwide family now comprises of D. F. King & Co., M:Communications, Hallvarsson & Halvarsson, Capital Precision, Broadgate Consultants, Taylor Rafferty and Donlin Recano. D. F. King World- wide employs over 900 professionals with offices in New York, London, Munich, Stockholm, Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei.
In 1998, Mr. Villani co-founded Rivet Integrated Marketing. As CEO, Enzo developed a pioneering methodology for integrating traditional and interactive marketing. Rivet’s clients included: NASDAQ, Citibank, R/GA, AOL Time Warner, Kx Systems, Track Data Securities, and The Ford Foundation. Prior to Rivet, he was Director of Internet Development at Integrated Office Solutions (IOS), a system integrator and Microsoft Gold Partner servicing the top 10 invest- ment banks sold to Exodus Communications. Mr. Villani pioneered early web design and development for Modem Media, Byron Preiss Multimedia, MSNBC, and Intel. Mr. Villani holds a Masters in Business Administration from The Johnson School at Cornell University and completed his Bachelor of Arts from Iona College while working on the block equities desk for Lehman Brothers. He has studied at Pratt Institute and at The School of Visual Arts.
Bianca Blake is a Marketing executive with over 15 years experience working for major U.S. Corporations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles including Prestige Magazine, IMN/Euromoney, Nielsen Media and The Merchandise Mart. She has produced global conferences in the financial services area for Pension Funds, Luxury Goods and Home Furnishings Industries. She recently opened and ran the US Office of a Swedish business consultancy firm located in Los Angeles, C.A.
Previous experience includes advertising, broadcast media, telecommunications with a successful track record of accom- plishments in project management, marketing communications, event production and financial planning. Prior to being Vice President for IMN of international pension fund conferences for investors – a division of EuroMoney – she was the Mar- keting Director at VNU Expositions in New York City. She helped organize 50 annual trade shows in jewelry from diamonds,gemstones, gold and high-end luxury designer brands.
Bianca started her career at MTG Media in Stockholm after graduating from the University of Stockholm with an MBA in Marketing. Bianca is fluent in five languages and enjoys traveling, sailing, art and interior design in her spare time.
Corporate Communications Division
Natalia Sokolova is a LDJ Capital director for investor relations in natural resources from mining and minerals we recently added to our rooster. She was also the founder of SGG World LLC – an international consulting and advisory firm for public and private companies in the energy and natural resources sector. Her focus at LDJ Capital is investor relations and strategic communication functions. She firmly advocate team’s experience, industry expertise and innovative programs to help drive shareholder value for clients worldwide.
Ms. Sokolova joined the LDJ Capital investor relations team of dedicated professionals to help sync marketing and media relations with broader strategic goals that support growing shareholder value. Consequently we have partner offices in Moscow to help LDJ Capital to have an international presence in Russia, Europe and Middle East.
Natalia is based in New York but spends a lot of her time traveling and nurturing established relationships with high level contacts she has acquired over the years.
Ms. Sokolova was previously head of Marketing/ PR and IR at Bidz.com, the world’s largest online jewelry auction site. Her team increased the sales revenue more than 300% in a two-year period. Natalia conceptualized corporate communications before and after the quiet period and collaborated with the board of directors, IR firms, and underwriters in connection with the BIDZ.com IPO.
Natalia started her career at the US Chamber of Commerce, International Division, European Affairs in Washington, DC. She graduated Cum Laude in 1998 with degrees in Finance and International Business from University of Maryland, College Park after surviving a life threatening car accident that left her paralyzed for several months.
Natalia is a Member of the National Association of Professional Women and of the Cambridge Who Is Who. In her spare time, Natalia is a dedicated philanthropist. Her event planning company, Exquisite Planning LLC , has organized many fundraisers benefiting children with mental disabilities and those of third world countries. Se serves on the Board of Best Buddies Foundation and Sunflower Children.
As the Director of Bitcoin Strategies for The Soho Loft, Brad is helping to design an appropriate regulatory framework around Bitcoin adoption and use. He also assists companies with Bitcoin related PR and provides strategy consulting for businesses and government agencies looking to leverage Bitcoins in their present workflows.
In the past, Brad helped to develop SOx 404 accounting controls at GE Capital, lead global EMEA equity trading and compliance at Deutsche Bank – Equitech, and managed trade operations at Reservoir Capital across a multitude of asset classes.
Brad started his career as a technologist in 1997 working with multiple start-ups in Honolulu, Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York. Brad earned his B.S. from Boston College in 2002 with concentrations in Computer Science, Finance, and Strategic Operations Management. He also received his M.S. Finance from Pace University in 2010. His diverse experience in IT, Capital Markets finance, and compliance gives him a unique understanding of new capital market mechanisms.
Brad’s goal is to drive adoption and awareness of Bitcoins in mainstream business.
Steve has more than 20 years of experience in sales and business development. He has co-founded, invested in and advised dozens of tech startups. He was most recently Managing Director of Bridgewater Capital, a corporate finance advisory firm, in which he participated in $300 million in corporate finance transactions, including private placements, IPOs and M&A.
Steve’s clients and joint-venture partners have included America Online, Metrocall (now USA Mobility), Ralph Edwards Productions (creator of classic TV shows Truth or Consequences and This Is Your Life), and many others.
Prior to working in corporate finance, Steve was Executive Vice President of Monument Companies, an alternative marketing and event sponsorship agency, where clients included America Online, Hair Cuttery, MBNA (now part of Bank of America) and many others.
Steve holds a B.A. from George Mason University in Virginia, which he attended on a baseball scholarship.
As the director of International Relations, Will brings 10 years of experience in the general management, market development and product development for top global banking clients and high technology firms in North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.
Will specializes in Business Development, Negotiation, Cross-Border Transactions, Joint Venture, Strategy Consulting, Key Account Management, Branding and Experience, Executive Education, and Real Estate.
Will served as an executive adviser for Greater China Society, one of the largest regional student clubs at Columbia Business School with over 300 members. The club’s mission for the is to improve professional community for students who have an interest in the Greater China region. This club focuses on three primary initiatives: career development, social activities, and community outreach. Within these initiatives club focus on the China Business Conference, student events (educational, networking, and social) and several Asia treks.
Will holds an Executive MBA from Columbia Business School, a Bachelor Math from the University of Waterloo. He speaks fluent English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
The Soho Loft – The Voice of Capital Formation – is a global financial media company with three divisions in Corporate Communications, Publishing and Expos.
TSL Corporate Communications division handles Public Relations, Investor Relations and Social Media Marketing for its clients. TSL Expo division organizes up to 200+ investor-focused conferences annually and TSL Publishing division produces financial and entrepreneurial content that is published and syndicated in 100+ leading online publications and growing.
As The Voice of Capital Formation, The Soho Loft Media Group is your global communications partner for your equity and investment strategies.
The Soho Loft Advisors
Kamran M. Khozan joined The Soho Loft as a board adviser August 2012 as he saw the financial and technological innovation merging at the center of the media, events and publishing that The Soho Loft combine. Financial & Technological Innovation is Mr. Khozan’s expertise. Mr. Khozan is the founder and major shareholder of 70+ highly successful multinational corporations generating north of $40 billion in annual revenue. Mr. Khozan and Mr. Drake have been working closely together in the Middle East, Europe and North America since last decade. Among Mr. Khozan’s holdings are:
Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. (“CVMR®”), a privately held corporation engaged in mining, metal refining and vapour metal- lurgy process development. CVMR® has extensive nickel, Platinum and Titanium mines and refining operations world wide. It uses a unique proprietary refining technology and has over 13,000 employees. (www.cvmr.ca)Intermaritime Financial Inc. with offices in BVI, Canada, South Africa and UAE, is a Shariah Compliant financial institution engaged in financing mega-projects, mostly related to infrastructure development.
(www.intermaritimefinancial.com) iFinancial Management S.A., is a unique financial advisory company focused on redefining conventional and Islamic financial products and services. It establishes Islamic banking departments for various banks, on a turn key basis.Secure Environment Services (“SES”) is a leading provider of homeland security and risk management systems, manufactured at its own facilities in North America as well as those manufactured by its industry-leading strategic partners. SES provides a complete continuum of security, defence and risk management products and support services to Governments and the Private Sector. (www.secures.ca) Al Khozan Holdings, oversees the operations of Khozan family’s corporations and assets.
From 1984 to 1992, Kamran Khozan was the Commissioner for the Lead Project’s Centers of Excellence, in Canada, reporting directly to the Prime Minister.
From 1992 to 1998 Kamran Khozan served with the Canadian Federal Department of Justice and the Ontario Ministries of Solicitor General, Community Safety and Correctional Services. He is a graduate of Oxford, McGill University, and University of Toronto in Philosophy, Economics, management, Criminology and law. He is an inventor with 32 international patents in metallurgy. (www.khozan.com)
Specialties: Strategic Planning, Media, Banking, Security and Defense, Mining and Metal Refining.
Kevin M. McGovern is the Chairman and CEO of McGovern Capital,LLC, which provides investments and business strategy to emerg- ing companies, particularly those engaged in consumer technologies and holders of Intellectual Property Rights. He has founded over a dozen companies, seven (7) of which have become world and/or category leaders, including SoBe Beverages, Tristrata (AHA skincare technology), and KX Industries (home-based water purification).
McGovern founded and serves as Chairman and CEO of The Water Initiative (“TWI”) (www.TheWaterInitiative.com), which develops and markets home-based water purification systems, particularly in developing countries. TWI has worked with the Mexican government and the people of Mexico as its first pilot. In less than 2 ½ years, TWI has formulated technology solutions to Mexico’s most severe unclean water conditions and has launched product distribution through the government and through those people most impacted.He also serves as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board and Board Member of the USA Pavilion and is Senior Advisor (only foreigner) to the Development Committee of the 2010 Shanghai World’s Expo.
McGovern was a founder of SoBe Beverages, which was the US’s fastest growing beverage company growing to $250mm in sales in less than 4 years, and estab- lished the “new age”/nutraceutical beverage category. SoBe was sold to PepsiCo.He also was a founder of KX Industries, which was the world’s leader in developing and marketing water and air carbon filters. KX developed and supplied the first home-based end of tap (“Pur”) filter for P&G and Brita and the first refrigerator water filter for Electrolux.McGovern co-published the pioneering Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, which is currently the Forbes/Wolfe Emerging Tech Report.He created and directs the worldwide licensing program for Tristrata Inc., which owns the rights (over 100 patents) to Alpha Hydroxy Acids (“AHAs”), the most successful skin restoration and wrinkle reduction technology in skin care history. Tristrata licenses over 70 companies and is the leading seller of skincare products to dermatolo- gists and plastic surgeons in over 80 countries.
McGovern is a principal and strategist for Clean Coal Technologies, Inc. which has created proprietary technologies to clean coal; for EnviroFuels Manufacturing, Inc.,which markets and distributes proprietary smokeless stoves; and for Aquea Scientific,which developed and markets proprietary nanotechnology to “wash-on” additives to the skin, such as sunscreens; as well as an innovator to the fragrance industry.McGovern has served on various public and private Boards, including The Sports Authority (Executive Committee) and Nobel Education, and is the Co-Chairman of the Silver Shield Foundation, which provides education and counseling assistance to families of police and fire fighters killed in action in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
A graduate of Cornell University (BA) and St. John’s University School of Law (JD), he is a Presidential Councilor (highest honor to alumni) and Trustee Emeritus of Cornell University, having chaired its IP and Tech Transfer Committees. He also serves on Cornell’s Joint Venture (CNI) in Singapore, Chairs Entrepreneurship@ Cornell, and was named Cornell’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2007. He teaches each spring at the Johnson Graduate Business School (Global Innovation and Com- mercialization) and recently donated and founded the McGovern Family Venture Development Center,Cornell’s first on campus science/business incubator.
Johan Gorecki is the founder/owner and CEO of Globe Forum, an internationally recognized marketplace for sustainable innovation. Globe Forum brings together innovators, investors, multinationals and entrepreneurs, and holds sustainability forums throughout Europe. Johan is also the founder of Globe Award, the leading sustainability prize for innovation. Europe’s 4th largest media company Bonnier is a large investor in his company.
An entrepreneur himself, he was a co-founder of Skype which sold to eBay for $4.1 billion in 2005. He also worked NS with the international entertainment broadcasting group Modern Times Group (MTG) where he was responsible for the internet portal Everyday AB. He is a board member of the Swedish Polish Chamber of Commerce and the Solar energy company Solarus.
Johan Gorecki is committed to the search for sustainable ideas. His entrepreneurial career has included working with the creators of the pioneering IP telephony company, Skype. Today, as CEO of Globe Forum, he helps innovators and entrepreneurs focused on sustainability find partners and investors that will bring their ideas to life.
Joe Rubin is a Founding Partner of ARC Angel Fund, the first Member managed Angel fund in NYC. ARC has 70 Angel members and has invested in 12 companies so far in the early-stage tech, mobile, healthcare IT and web enabled services sectors. Joe is also the Director and Co-Founder of FundingPost.com. FundingPost has been introducing entrepreneurs to investors nationwide for over 11 years through its Online Venture Exchange, Dealflow Magazine and its Venture Capital and Angel Investor Conferences in 22 cities nationwide.
Joe has also invested in 11 seed deals over the past 7 years, including Sticky, Inc. (acquired by DeviceVM), Senscient, Revstor, Fly- cast, Giftworks, Virtus Sensors, and CIMA Systems. He spends much of his time coaching and helping early-stage companies, and speaks at events such as the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s Jumpstart and Fast trac Programs, Early Stage East, and
Connecticut’s CTech, LIMs MBA program and is a sponsor of the UCLA Private Equity Club. Prior to FundingPost, Joe was instrumental in helping to raise $2.5
Million in angel and venture capital for his dot.com start-up producing a family-friendly network and over 100 flash-based video games which were playable
online and sold as a compilation in stores like Comp USA.
Joe was also the Webmaster at Knight Securities (NASD: NITE), where he helped to design its online trading platform and website. Prior to working Online, Joe worked in television and design for companies such as NBC and MTV, in addition to doing freelance commercial production. Joe began working in television production, graphic design and 3D animation professionally when he was 15, and graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s in Communications. He now lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 children.
Hoan Soo Lee is an entrepreneur and financial economist specializing in empirical corporate finance and entrepreneurial finance. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School and will become assistant professor of finance at the prominent Tsinghua University, School of Economics and Management (beginning August 2013) in Beijing, China.
His research studies determinants of performance and economic implications of private equity and venture capital through parsimonious applications of quasi-natural experiments for sharp identification. He is also interested in US-China relations, investment strategies and entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Several of his works have been featured on the Harvard Business Review.
Previously, he served in the Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President as a staff economist during the Obama administration from 2010 – 2011. He also served as a liaison for the White House economists in the Committee for Foreign Investments in the United States. He is also a successful serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Christian Media Corporation and Give2gether, Inc. He sits on the board of Dorinku Inc., United Kingdom.
He holds an A.M. and a joint PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University Department of Economics and Harvard Business School. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California-Berkeley in mathematics and economics, both with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa.
He is married to Dr. Yangseon Park and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Chiara Franzoni is Assistant Professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. She is currently investigating crowd dynamics and crowd motivation in several different contexts, including crowdfunding, crowdsourcing of innovation and crowd science. Her research on Kickstarter crowdfunding shows that contributions received in the initial 2-to-10 days of a crowdfunding campaign increase the chances of success of up to 160%. It also shows that the social capital that a proponent builds internally to the crowdfunding community is critical to be successful and that rewards allowing a donor to be part of the developer community are more powerful than giving contributors peer-to-peer recognition. More broadly, her research interests include the management of intangible assets of high-tech companies, including high-skilled human capital and intellectual property rights. She has published articles in Science, Research Policy, Industrial & Corporate Change, among other outlets.