Chris Neumann — Founder & Principal
Chris’s entrepreneurial skills emerged in high school, when he made money selling candy to fellow students in study hall. He sharpened this acumen as an undergraduate at Bucknell University, when he co-founded a desktop publishing company that is still operating today. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Chris followed his passion for bike racing to become director of marketing for Spinergy, a venture-funded manufacturer of carbon fiber bicycle wheels. In 2001, while living in San Francisco, he started First Person Software, which created and patented software that resides on USB drives and allows automatic personalization of any computer. The technology was purchased in 2004 by Migo, which still exists today. Chris also has founded Dovetail TV, an Internet-based distributor of high quality independent films; and Face It (now Appsorama), a Facebook application company. He has even tackled product management for Sling Media, ScanCafe and other startups.
When he’s not launching companies, he’s launching planes; Chris has his pilot’s license and has logged more than 300 hours of flight time. He also enjoys road and mountain biking in Marin County, California, where he lives with his wife and daughters.
- Founded, funded and ran OEM software company that sold in 2004 for $5 million.
- Positive review from Walt Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal highlighting the Migo.
- Practices lean startup techniques including low-cost market validation for new products and split-testing for Web site optimization.
- Logged more than 10 years of experience developing web- and desktop-based OEM and consumer software applications.
- Compiled a strong knowledge of social media and marketing while working on several Top 10 Facebook apps.
- Developed deep experience and success in recruiting and managing outsourced U.S.- and overseas-based software engineering teams.
Brian Schmitt — Product & Operations
Hauling bales of hay is not how someone usually describes their foray into an entrepreneurial life, but that is exactly how Brian cut his small business teeth in high school. Continuing his entrepreneurial education in college he started a landscape construction business with two classmates that lasted an entire three months.
Swinging from one extreme to the other, Brian began an apprenticeship in the jewelry trade in the late 90’s. This led to a great mentor who taught him about the relationships of business and many of the principles he operates by today. While buying and selling diamonds Brian designed and implemented an open-to-buy system that increased inventory turnover by 50%. Bringing the company’s turnover rate to double the industry average.
In 2003 he left one of the largest privately held, independent jewelry stores in the country to start a luxury watch repair website. After a year making some fantastic mistakes he joined Rockbridge Seminary to launch the first fully online seminary. Brian led the seminary in marketing, technology and finance as the VP of Operations for over eight years. In July of 2013 the seminary successfully became the first fully online seminary to be accredited.
Brian holds an MBA and has an in-the-trenches background to talk finance, operations, technology, leadership and marketing. Brian enjoys the endless summer where he lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife and three children.
Eric Newland — Engineering
Eric has a BA and 10 years’ experience in graphic and web design and development. He lives in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and two children.