Board of Directors
Kristin Muhlner is a recognized industry veteran in Enterprise SaaS and E-Commerce, bringing over 25 years of deep operational expertise in building winning teams and leading high-growth technology organizations to successful exits.
Prior to joining Skyword’s Board of Directors, Kristin served as CEO of newBrandAnalytics. During her tenure, the company grew by over 400% and was recognized as a leader in customer experience management and text analytics. The company was sold to Sprinklr, the leader in enterprise social media management, in June of 2015.
At Sprinklr, Kristin served as EVP of Revenue and led the company’s global sales organization of 90 quota carriers and 200 total staff. During her tenure, she delivered 94% year over year revenue growth through multiple record quarters, led the creation of new sales methodologies, actively managed the acquisition of new multi-million dollar enterprise accounts, and maintained existing customer net retention of 142%.
Most recently, Kristin served as President and COO of Framebridge, where she led operations, including manufacturing, product/engineering, customer experience, omni-channel retail, and corporate sales for this consumer brand funded by T. Rowe Price and NEA. During her tenure, her team of close to 400 tripled revenues, doubled margins, and maintained extraordinary customer satisfaction and repeat sales rates.
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Eastern Bank
Paul Alexander is the chief marketing and communications officer for Eastern Bank, based in Boston, Massachusetts. His goal at Eastern is to create and implement marketing and communication strategies that build bottom-line business results, brand equity, and employee engagement through the “Join Us For Good” campaign.
Before Eastern, Paul served as EVP and chief communications officer for Liberty Mutual Insurance, a Fortune 100 company, where he held responsibility for all corporate brand marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, meeting management and event strategy, and major sports sponsorships. Previously, Paul was vice president of global advertising and design for the Campbell Soup Company, where he led brand positioning, creative strategy, advertising development, packaging design and commercial production. Prior to Campbell’s, Paul spent fifteen years at Procter and Gamble (P&G) as a director of advertising development and a brand manager—twelve years in Cincinnati, Ohio and three years in London, England.
Active in the community, Paul is a member and Chair of the Trustee Board of Myrtle Baptist Church in West Newton, MA and serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations, including Feeding America (Emeritus) and The Partnership, Incorporated (Vice-Chair). He is also Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and a member of the board of advisors of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Ad Club of Boston.
Managing Partner, Rho Ventures
Before joining Rho in 2013 to help develop the Rho Acceleration activity, George was co-head of Global Private Equity at BlackRock, Inc., where he built an investment team of 16 investment professionals. Prior to joining Blackrock, George co-founded and co-led Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity (“MLGPE”) from 1994 until 2009 and served on the operating and investment committees overseeing in excess of $7 billion of proprietary and investors’ capital in global leveraged buyouts. George’s role at MLGPE included acting as head of North America, partner in charge of Europe and, prior to that, Latin America. George has served on the board of directors of a number of private and public companies operating in several industries including healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, banking, re-insurance, retail and business services.
George received a B.S. degree in Systems Engineering from Boston University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University.
Senior Director of Corporate Development and Strategy, Cox Media Group
Nei-Kuan Chia currently serves as Senior Director of Corporate Development and Strategy for Cox Media Group, an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of CoxReps. Additionally, CMG owns Cox Target Media, which operates Valpak, one of North America’s leading direct marketing companies, and Savings.com, a leading online source for savings. The company’s operations currently include 14 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 57 radio stations, eight daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. Mr. Chia has over twelve years of total experience in various investment, development and strategy roles focused on the media industry.
Before joining Cox, Mr. Chia previously held positions with CNN working in investments and M&A, with Deloitte as a consultant, and with Catalyst Ventures where he advised start-ups and early stage companies. He also holds degrees in Biological Sciences from Florida State University and Accounting from University of South Florida as well as an MBA from Emory University.
Founder, Skyword Inc.
Prior to founding Skyword, Tom Gerace launched Gather.com, a demand-driven news and entertainment property reaching more than 6M people each month.
Mr. Gerace also founded and served as President of Be Free, a publicly traded online marketing services company. Be Free transformed online advertising from pay-per-view (i.e. CPM Advertising, where advertisers paid a fixed fee every time their ads were shown) to pay-for-performance advertising (i.e. Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Acquisition Advertising). Be Free-operated channels often saved customers 80 percent of their cost of new customer acquisition when compared with other marketing methods.
After Be Free’s launch and financing, Mr. Gerace served as Chief Marketing Officer through the company’s initial public offering. As Chief Marketing Officer, he was responsible for creating new and existing products and services, mergers and acquisitions, corporate and product communications, and customer acquisition. Mr. Gerace was awarded two U.S. Patents (5,848,396 and 5,991,735) for profiling computer users and targeting advertising based on that profiling. During his tenure with the company, Be Free launched both U.S. and European operations. Be Free served more than 300 leading brands including barnesandnoble.com, Citibank, eBay, AOL, Lending Tree, Bertlesmann, Time Warner, IBM, Dell, and Microsoft.
Prior to founding Be Free, Mr. Gerace was a senior business analyst at the Harvard Business School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1993. He serves on the Board of Advisors for Imagitas and on the Board of Visitors for the Fenway Community Health Center. He is also a director of The Open Gate Foundation.
Special Partner, NEA
Patrick joined NEA in 2006 as General Partner focusing on technology investments, particularly Software-as-a-Service, digital media, mobile technology and Internet companies. He is a director of BedRocket Media, BuzzFeed, GumGum, Spring Mobile Solutions, Skyword, TravelBank, and Videology; previous board positions include ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM), and Millennial Media (NYSE: MM, acquired by AOL/Verizon). Prior to joining NEA, Patrick was General Partner of Grotech Capital Group, investing in high-tech companies and serving on the boards of Advertising.com, CDnow, Fieldglass Software, SALIX Technologies and Synchrologic. Previously, Patrick spent 10 years at Alex. Brown & Sons as an investment banker for technology companies. He was a consultant with McKinsey & Co. and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy on the staff of Admiral H.G. Rickover at the Headquarters of the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program. Patrick is Chairman Emeritus of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association. He received an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School and a BS degree from Villanova University.
Venture Partner, Rho Ventures
Doug McCormick is a venture partner with Rho Ventures and an Operating Partner with Rho Acceleration. Previously serving as the CEO of a public company, Doug believes that focusing on the original investment groundwork while managing strategic goals is critical for a company’s success. His professional business operational experience is both extensive and current with outside board positions on market-leading media corporations.
He joined Rho in 2006 and focuses on investments in new media. Previously, Doug was chairman and CEO of iVillage Inc. (NASDAQ: IVIL), a company financed by Rho that Doug sold to NBC Universal in May 2006. Before iVillage, he was CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, the parent company for Lifetime Television Network. At Lifetime, he is credited with creating the “Lifetime Television for Women” positioning as well as conceiving and launching the Lifetime Movie Network.
In a previous life, Doug’s creative accomplishments included his work as a professional songwriter, penning lyrics for songs recorded by Paul Anka, Dusty Springfield and Gladys Knight. He received an M.B.A. from Columbia University’s School of Business in 1990 and a B.A. from The University of Dayton in 1970.
Chairman, Stonegate Capital
Jim Manzi served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Lotus Development Corporation from 1984 until 1995, when the company was acquired by IBM. Since 1995, Mr. Manzi has been involved in the creation and development of a number of technology startup ventures.
In 2000, Mr. Manzi joined the Board of Directors of Thermo Electron, a scientific instruments company. Mr. Manzi presently runs his own investment company that focuses on technology startups. He also serves on the Board of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Principal, Rho Ventures
Mark Roehrenbeck is a principal of Rho Ventures. He joined Rho in 2007 as an analyst. Prior to Rho, Mark worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he was involved in audit and advisory services.
Mark enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, working out and attending Ohio State football games. He is on the advisory board of a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting against child trafficking. A CPA, Mark received a B.S. from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.