We're a team of entrepreneurs that have worked together in crowdfunding for several years. We've had the privilege of seeing the crowd investment market develop all over the world, seeing what works and what doesn't. We're optimistic for the market's potential for growth, but we're not leaving anything to chance. We're here to make it happen.
Markus Lampinen, Founder & CEO
Internationally awarded entrepreneur, active in pioneering new securities models worldwide at the intersection of the Internet and the securities markets. Markus serves as the CEO of Crowd Valley Inc, a US-based crowdfunding marketplace platform provider and part of the Grow VC Group. He is also a global investor and partner in the Grow VC Group. Since 2009, he has recruited over 120 individuals in the crowdfunding market, built up a global team on six continents, been named one of the top 100 thought leaders in crowdfunding and expanded operations to over 150 countries. In his earlier businesses, he served in diverse executive roles, taking on the responsibilities of CFO and increasing sales growth of over 270% per year over several subsequent years. Markus holds an M.S. and a B.A. in Economics.
Markus has pioneered new funding models in the US and Europe, advised policy makers worldwide—including the SEC, the European Commission and Italian regulator CONSOB—for more effective markets, and worked with visionary organizations such as the World Bank and the Kauffman Foundation to improve frameworks for new funding models, including crowdfunding, cross-border investments and private placements. He serves as a frequent public speaker on related themes. He is married and constantly bringing presents from his travels to his two children.
Paul Higgins, Founder & COO
Serial entrepreneur with an operational background in finance and technology companies. Paul was previously responsible for the development of the Crowd Valley product suite as part of the Grow VC Group. Paul is a regular speaker on new financial models and crowdfunding and has been involved in working with Crowd Valley's pioneering customers across the financial services sector, as well as advising global institutions such as the World Bank and national regulators such as Italy's CONSOB.
Paul has over a decade's experience working in various operational, sales, marketing, and product roles within technology companies, including two B2B startups that have achieved eight-figure exits following 100% year-on-year growth. He started his career in product development and testing roles at IBM's Hursley Research Lab in the UK before going on to eBay, UBS, and Barclays. Paul holds an M.A. (Hons) in Computer Science and Philosophy from Churchill College, Cambridge University. He has lived and worked in Texas in the US and Portugal, and speaks fluent Portuguese and French.
Alessandro Ravanetti, Founder & CMO
Alessandro has built and managed web 2.0 companies with international teams and networks of partners. Alessandro grew up in Italy, where he graduated with a B.A. in Economics. After having obtained an M.S. in Finance at Regent’s College he gained extensive experience in both marketing and finance through positions at British Telecom and Bloomberg.
Alessandro has studied and worked in many different cities, including Munich, Geneva, London and Valencia. Genuinely passionate about international business and innovation, he loves to spend his spare time traveling and discovering new cultures. He now lives between Italy and UK.
Dan McNamee, Founder & Legal Counsel
Dan is a U.S. trained and qualified lawyer (New York) with extensive experience in capital markets and M&A transactions in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. This background has provided extensive exposure to rules, regulations and regulators (including the SEC and FINRA) governing many forms of capital raising in the United States. With this foundation in the traditional capital markets space, Dan is seeking to help grow the crowdfunding market in the United States in a manner that encourages capital formation, protects investors and meets the extensive requirements of the nation's regulators.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Dan has worked and lived throughout the United States, in London and elsewhere in Europe. In his spare time, Dan has contributed a significant amount of pro bono work to a number of organizations, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and enjoys suffering as he watches Cleveland's consistently terrible sports teams lose.
Vamsi Sistla, Technical Strategist
Vamsi is an innovative technologist with over 15 years of experience in the Television, Media & Entertainment industry, and has built various enterprise software and technology platforms. Currently he is involved in a stealth startup building a digital venue for live concerts. In the past he was technology co-founder for three start-ups in the interactive TV, mobile events and social TV domains. He worked for media and entertainment giants such as Gemstar TV Guide and Rovi Corp. He has many years of experience in mobile platforms, social TV tools, video streaming, enterprise applications and e-commerce.
He is an active Angel investor in ARC Angels, Eniac Ventures and an active TIE Angel. Vamsi is also active in social and impact enterprises as a mentor (The Unreasonable Institute, SpringBoard IoT & 37Angels), an advisor to various early-stage startups and a blogger.
Travis Benoit, Finance Sector Specialist
Travis is a Wall Street veteran with a background in trading, sales, strategy and business development. Travis worked for such Investment Banks as Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Societe Generale. In addition, he has been a part of one of the world’s purest forms of capitalism as a floor broker on the New York Mercantile Exchange for over five years. Additionally, Travis spent two years working in London, Geneva and New York for a commodity broker/dealer division which he oversaw.
Travis has a passion for the Crowdfunding space as it promotes change to the near century-old securities laws while affording a new dimension to the capital market infrastructure. Born and raised in the CT / NYC area, Travis had the opportunity to witness firsthand the technology disruption and changes to Wall Street from the late 1990’s onward. Travis has an MBA in Management from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business & Management, a Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) from Pepperdine University School of Law Straus Institute and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Vermont. Travis is a Certified Mediator and Arbitrator. Travis carries his Series 3 and Series 7 (FINRA) licenses. In his free time, Travis has a passion for college basketball, scuba diving and is an avid shark tooth collector.
Rex Kempcke, Energy Sector Specialist
Rex is an innovative banker with more than 15 years experience in retail banking, treasury and commodity trading at Commerzbank, J.P. Morgan and ABB Financial Services. Through his passion for entrepreneurship and new markets he got involved during the dot-com era in building up a business incubation unit for ABB, subsequently spinning off a company which pioneered the implementation of the European emissions trading scheme. He continued his career in the climate change sector first by joining EcoSecurties, a leading startup company in developing carbon reduction projects worldwide, and more recently as director in the environmental markets team of BNP Paribas.
Rex strongly believes that crowdfunding will cause a paradigm shift in the financial service industry and that it will make a significant contribution to the transition towards a sustainable economy. Born and raised in Germany, he gained a qualification as banker and a Masters degree in economics from University Hamburg. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two daughters.
Irene Tordera, Marketing and Communications
Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Irene is an International Business graduate, with a strong interest for innovative ideas that can simplify our lives. During her studies, she co-founded an online community for sportspeople and worked in marketing positions at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and at the European Business Angel Network, in Brussels. She is a passionate blogger about crowdfunding and the startup ecosystem.
Brendan Ward, Business Development
Born and raised in Montana, educated in California and Western Europe, Brendan's passion for new and innovative economic models led him to Crowd Valley. While studying for a Master's degree at the University of Sussex in Globalization, Brendan began working for The People Who Share, a seminal organization in the burgeoning European sharing economy sector. He developed a deep passion for the potential of social enterprise, and as a consequence, crowdfunding. He recently co-founded an online storytelling project, Storyteller.is, launched in June 2013. He has also furnished work for Ashoka Caribbean and Smile Liberia.
He speaks French and conversational Spanish, while learning Italian, Portuguese and Catalan. He enjoys trail running, reading, playing and watching football, and is an unapologetic supporter of Arsenal FC and Southend United.
Lars Markull, Business Development
Originally from the north of Germany, Lars studied Finance in Frankfurt and Gothenburg. He has working experience in a broad range of finance positions, including a finance project in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, he has experience at both sides of the funding table: he worked for a venture capital company in Hamburg and after a successful Series-A investment in a Fin-Tech startup in Berlin he supported this startup in their internationalization process.
In 2013, Lars has completed his graduate program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation which included a semester each in France, China and the United States. In this year he studied at three entrepreneurial focused universities and worked as an external startup consultant in the areas of expansion, funding and product development. Lars currently lives in Hamburg and Berlin.