CO-FOUNDER & GENERAL PARTNER
Richard’s early career in international trade finance and corporate banking provided him with the experience and instincts for managing risk. In the early 1980s, he successfully managed the risk on a loan portfolio in excess of $3 billion for Societe Generale. Richard’s financial skills are compounded by his tenure as a commodities trader, managing his own accounts in trading options and futures on the New York Board of Trade (formerly the Coffee, Sugar, Cocoa Exchange). Along the way, Richard built and sold a wholesale/retail food business and was integral in securing funding for the start-up of a staffing company. His passion for working with business owners who want to grow, succeed and profit by improving their leadership skills has led him to a lifetime of diverse experiences.
Richard is recognized as an expert in leadership coaching and management training, founding Soundboard Consulting Group in 2000 to support business leaders and executives to build more productive and profitable companies through the ideals of collaborative leadership. His philosophies on leadership are described in his book, Small Shifts Towards Collaborative Freedom, published in 2011. Through Soundboard Consulting, Richard has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs and their managers across a broad range of industries.
In 2012, as Partner and co-Founder of the Soundboard Angel Fund, Richard extended his reach into the start-up world. In addition to his personal angel fund investments, the Fund has invested in over 20 companies across a broad range of industries.
Richard’s other interests include collecting modern and contemporary art, travel and hosting, on weekends, at his daughter’s restaurant in Montclair, NJ.
Richard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Masters in International Finance from New York University. He is trained in advance facilitation, conflict resolution and executive coaching.
CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR
Jonathan is Managing Director of SoundBoard Venture Fund, formerly SoundBoard Angel Fund which he co-founded in 2012 in order to build a community of experienced entrepreneurs to formally invest in early-stage companies outside the major city centers.
The Fund was born from Jonathan’s involvement in the Mid-Atlantic startup scene (Washington DC to NYC), along with his experience in coaching entrepreneurs and consulting into their organizations. From his extensive knowledge of the entrepreneurial journey and general business strategy, he has been able to work with entrepreneurs to structure atypical agreements and provide innovators with a valuable network of investors.
In early 2010, after working in the construction industry as a project manager, Jonathan joined SoundBoard Consulting Group LLC. His entrepreneurial passions started earlier though, having grown up in a retail, family business and playing a role in the growth and success of the company. In 2006, Jonathan partnered in founding a marketplace startup which evolved into a tech consultancy.
Jonathan graduated from the George Washington University, with a degree in Business Administration concentrating in Finance. He is certified in Essential Facilitation. He has also participated on the review committee for a number of business plan competitions at local universities. Most recently he graduated from the Kauffman Fellows Program (Class 19) where he focused his studies on being an innovative venture investor.
Locally, Jonathan is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Stevens Institute of Technology Venture Center and an advisory board member for Miracle Corners of the World (a non-profit focused on empowering current and future leaders to better their local communities). In 2018 he received the NJBIZ “40 Under 40” award (in the Entrepreneur category).
Operations and Analysis
Veronica joined SoundBoard Venture Fund in Summer 2021 to facilitate fund operations and provide analysis through due diligence. Veronica is a proud non-traditionalist with a broad role at SBVF to match as she assists with all aspects of SBVF. Veronica brings with her a decade of experience supporting the C-Suite as they've aspired to startup, realign and grow.
Veronica began her career as a plaintiff's paralegal tasked with a high-volume collection litigation portfolio and navigated through elder, corporate, and real estate law. Real estate led her to pursue a career in mortgage banking, working her way from originator to assistant branch manager. In 2010, Veronica was presented with the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and grow another business. Confidence in working autonomously or collaboratively and her ability to remain unwavering under pressure made her a commodity to the C-Suite, expanding her experience into the world of finance.
To satiate her thirst for knowledge and attain a personal goal, Veronica is attending Capella University pursuing a BSIT with concentration in data analytics.
General Partners & Investment Committee
After almost 20 years as a highly respected Securities Analyst for leading investment banks, and 6 years at AT&T, Steve embarked on his next professional path in late 2005; sharing his accumulated knowledge of business in general, the telecommunications industry specifically, and his understanding of the relationship between corporations and Wall Street, as an independent director of corporate boards.
Steve currently serves on the board of directors of two publicly held technology companies, PCTEL (PCTI-NASDAQ) and Allot Communications (ALLT-NASDAQ). He is the chairman of PCTEL’s board and sits on the firm’s Audit and Nomination and Governance committees. In addition, Steve serves as director on the board of privately held Edison Properties, a leading real estate owner and operator focused on the New York and New Jersey areas.
Prior to retiring from Wall Street in September 2005, Steve served as a Managing Director and Global Head of Communications Technology Research at Lehman Brothers. Before joining Lehman Brothers in 1998 he was a Director of Telecommunications Research at Salomon Brothers, a Managing Director and Head of the Communications Research Team at Oppenheimer & Co. and a senior communications analyst at Hambrecht & Quist. During his time working in the financial community, Steve was recognized as one of the top analysts in the industry by a variety of independent organizations and surveys. While he was an analyst, Steve was often quoted in communications trade journals, financial publications, and was regularly interviewed by CNBC, CNN, and other business television shows. Prior to coming to Wall Street Steve worked at AT&T for six years in its fast track Management Development Program where he held positions in marketing, sales, engineering and operations and developed his fundamental views of how telecommunications networks were developing and how large enterprises purchased communications services.
Steve received his M.B.A. and his B.S. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980 and 1978 respectively. He currently resides in Mendham, New Jersey with his wife. Together they have three adult children. Steve is an avid golfer, a lifelong NY Yankees fan and an amazingly happy grandfather of three.
Steve Levy joined SoundBoard Angel Fund as an investor in 2014.
GENERAL PARTNER & INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER
Scott has a deep background and experience in raising venture money, angel investing, managing numerous boards (as well as sitting on them), and advising a number of early stage companies.
He is currently serving as the Senior Vice President Corporate Solutions for Jones Lang LaSalle (“JLL”) and sits on JLL’s Bio Pharma Vertical Board of Directors. In 2009, he led JLL’s Transformational Change process working group to develop a structured architecture and process to programmatically baseline each major real estate service line defining “World Class” performance and “Best Practices” for each sub function.
Scott is also the Chairman of the Board of UMS Group, a global Utilities Management Consulting firm headquartered in Parsippany NJ and the only outside board member of ChemSW a world leading software company focusing in chemical inventory control and environmental compliance tracking.
Scott has a significant entrepreneurial mindset, proficiency managing large, complex and critical real estate assets and facilities portfolios, and 30 years of engineering and operations expertise. Prior to joining JLL, he was the Global Corporate Services Vertical Leader for Utilities and Manufacturing Assets at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). He transitioned to CBRE in 2006 during the acquisition of Trammel Crow Company. At Trammel Crow, he was an Alliance Director, specializing in large national and global portfolio outsourcing and management transformation. Scott was also the Startup Facilities Management Head of Service Delivery for the 7.5 million s.f. Pacific Gas and Electric portfolio.
Currently living on the West Coast and an avid traveler, Scott is actively representing the SoundBoard Venture Fund across the country. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, received his Nuclear Engineer Certification, has been trained/certified in Lean Manufacturing and Reliability Centered Maintenance, and received a Senior Reactor Operators License from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Scott has been working with Richard Magid (through SoundBoard Consulting) since 2001 and joined SoundBoard Angel Fund as an investor and member of the Board of Advisors at launch in 2012.
GENERAL PARTNER & INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER
Philip Samuels is a dynamic entrepreneur building a multi-faceted career spanning 40 years of success in the worlds of commercial insurance, angel investing, and real-estate.
After graduating from the University of Miami’s business school in 1977, Philip spent his early years in the insurance industry building his risk management acumen acquiring his Property & Casualty, Life, Health & Benefits, Series 7
and Series 63 licenses. Working for insurance giants such as Aetna and large construction-focused brokerages, Philip quickly gained a reputation as a trusted source for his clients and one of the most innovative minds in insurance.
In 1996 Philip founded Amerisc Corp which became a top-5 independently owned insurance brokerage in the tri-state region. Over a 15 year span, Amerisc Corp dominated real estate and construction portfolios becoming a regional-powerhouse. In 2011 with a thriving book of business Philip created an opportunity to exit to USI, a Goldman Saks enterprise (currently owned by KKR). He continues to manage the USI Long Island operations.
Following Amerisc’s exit to USI, Philip became a founding member of SoundBoard Angel Fund (SBAF), an early-stage investment fund focused on providing capital to emerging markets. SBAF has deployed in excess of $15M in over 50 companies, diligencing thousands, with successful exits to the likes of Uber. Along with his involvement in SoundBoard, Philip continued to build upon his real-estate assets establishing a growing portfolio in New York City, Hoboken, Jersey City, and Long Island.
With his 2 sons, Jeffrey & Cory Samuels, Philip’s entrepreneurial spirit thrives as the leader of Q56 Capital. Q56 Capital is the culmination of early-stage venture investing, real-estate, and consultative advisory work. Philip welcomes the opportunity to lend his experience and successful track record to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Phil has been working with Richard Magid (through SoundBoard Consulting) since 2003 and joined SoundBoard Angel Fund as an investor and member of the Board of Advisors at launch in 2012.
INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER
Ms. Beck is an inspirational and innovation-focused C-Suite Executive and Board Member with a proven track record for unlocking growth and sustainable profitability of consumer branded businesses by re-energizing brands, growing under-leveraged consumer segments and markets and engaging employees and leadership teams to share in business success. She has experience in the CPG industry working across multiple categories, functions and countries building a reputation for developing a future-forward vision and strategy, prioritizing resources, surmounting organizational barriers that undermine cross-functional collaboration, focusing on operational excellence and building a healthy winning culture. She is an active Angel investor and an industry speaker in forums ranging from the Organic Trade Association to the Network of Executive Women (NEW) and ACG Women of Leadership. In 2017 and 2018, she was awarded the title, Top 25 Most Influential Women CEO’s of the Mid-Market in the USA.
Olu manages her eponymous strategy and management consulting business, The Beck Group NJ LLC, working with PE firms and key Angel Funds on pre/post acquisition due diligence to drive shareholder value. Most recently, she stepped in to drive growth as CEO of Wholesome Sweeteners Inc., the #1 Natural & Organic, Fair Trade sweetener brand in North America in the Natural Channel. She is a Limited Partner of SoundBoard Angel Fund, a NJ based Angel Fund, (www.soundboardangelfund.com) and a Limited Partner in the Entrepreneurs RoundTable Accelerator, the premier New York City accelerator (www.eranyc.com).
Olu’s career experience is in Consumer Packaged Goods managing both large and small businesses. She held Senior Executive positions at two Fortune 50 companies, Mars Inc. & Johnson & Johnson, where she focused on turning around under-performing small divisions or functions in these large corporations and building stellar global brands. She has also led management teams in smaller companies, such as Wholesome Sweeteners Inc.
Olu, who is an Oxford University, England and University College London, England Alumna, has held Board seats for a number of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, such as CH Briggs and Wholesome Sweeteners Inc. and Big Brothers, Big Sisters Northern New Jersey respectively. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
GENERAL PARTNER & INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER
Jon S. Brandt, is a hard driven, overachieving entrepreneur, who has successfully built and sold multiple businesses. Jon’s most successful venture was National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the largest allied healthcare certification organization in the country, which he successfully sold in 2009. With NHA, Jon was able to turn a vision of improved, quality patient care into a profitable venture in the allied healthcare sector.
Diving into entrepreneurship early in his career, Jon has experienced all levels of building a company and has turned numerous ideas into businesses creating new markets and market leadership status.
Jon’s current undertaking, Momentus Ventures, was built to work with entrepreneurs who want to take their company to the next level. Momentus looks for businesses that share Jon’s core belief and show the discipline to create a plan and follow it through with laser focus and consistency of execution. Jon brings his CEO experience and strategic marketing acumen to his portfolio companies.
Clark brings over 40 years of experience in advanced communication technology ranging from new business development to significant P&L business responsibility to strategic planning.
In addition, Clark is an Adjunct Lecture in Lehigh University’s vSeries program where he co-teaches a course on the importance of Intellectual Property for entrepreneurs. He is also a mentor in Rutgers University’s 2-semester CTEC graduate program on creating technology-driven startups. He also serves as a board advisor for the Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures in Philadelphia.
He began his career with Bell Labs and held numerous positions with AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Alcatel-Lucent SA. Most recently, he was responsible for facilitating overall Corporate Strategic Planning for a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. In addition, Clark was responsible for the development and marketing of 4G/LTE wireless solutions for the federal government. Prior to that, he was the general manager for a custom development organization which focused on applications of commercial telecommunication technology to solve some of the US Government’s most pressing communication challenges. He also had several commercial assignments with Lucent Technologies including R&D Services Director as well as Program Manager for a long-distance network program.
Clark received his doctorate degree in Physics from University of Michigan and his undergraduate degree in Physics from Michigan State University. He also earned a Masters Certificate in Program Management from George Washington University.
Clark joined SoundBoard Angel Fund as an investor and active Screening Committee member in 2014.
INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER
Mike Hepp fits the mold of a serial entrepreneur, innovative investor, and dynamic business leader. Over the course of his 35+ year business journey, he built and sold a successful business that designed and installed wide-area computer networks for the public sector in NJ which included a computer training division to train displaced workers, invested in a diversified real estate portfolio, and amassed an investment portfolio that includes, asset-based financing, life settlements loans, litigation funding, music royalties, and cannabis funds.
As a leader, Mike is known to be an amazing listener, someone that asks well thought out probing questions, and an excellent collaborator. Better decisions are made when Mike is part of the discussion. His leadership skills have been applied both within and outside his professional journey. He was the Chairman of the Sussex County Chapter of the Red Cross, and has directed several large-scale disaster relief deployments; including major hurricanes and large apartment building fires. He is also active member of the Sussex County Medical Reserve Corp.
Mike was an original investor in the first SoundBoard Angel Fund (2012) and remains an active LP in SoundBoard Venture Fund. He is a member of the screening committee and recently joined the Investment Committee. As an engineer with an extensive background in technology-based companies, Mike brings a very pragmatic, analytical, and systematic approach to the fund’s due diligence process.
Mike holds a degree in Computer Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology.