William Lohse is an industry pioneer, having begun his career in the days of pre-Apple hobbyist computers. After founding and selling TimeLine software company to Symantec, he became the turn-around publisher of PC Magazine and president of Ziff Davis Publishing. Lohse founded Ziff/SOFTBANK Forums. In 1990, he began Software Venture Partners, an angel fund which, among other unicorns, invested in the first round of Pinterest. Bill started venture investing in 2010, which led to the founding of the Social Starts fund in 2012, and Joyance Partners in 2017.
Mike Edelhart is also Managing Partner for Joyance Partners. A pioneering media and startup executive, Mike was the original Executive Editor of PC Magazine and founding editor of other Ziff-Davis computer magazines, as well as the ZD Labs, and later was Executive Vice President at Ziff. Mike was CEO at many startups, including Olive Software, Inman News and Zinio. Mike was a partner at Redleaf, a VC fund. At SoftBank, Mike directed content for the Seybold, Interop and Comdex conferences and launched new businesses. Mike consulted to Bloomberg, Reuters and AARP and has authored more than 20 books.
Taku Nakahara is a bioinformatics geek, an entrepreneur, and a business development advisor for startups and large enterprises. Taku also serves on a board of startup accelerators that helps super-early technology startups all over Japan. Taku holds a Ph.D. degree in Bioinformatics from Hokkaido University, Japan and an MBA degree from Rutgers Business School, USA.
Jun has over a decade of experience in biomedical research and over four years of investment experience in venture capital. Prior to Social Starts, Jun led biotech and medtech investment endeavors in venture capital firms. Jun is an entrepreneur herself, and is passionate about education and innovation. At Joyance, she focuses on biotech investment and leads the “lab projects.” Jun enjoys identifying innovative technologists and entrepreneurs and helping them build dreams from scratch. Jun received her PhD from UCLA. She is also a venture partner at Joyance Partners and an investor at HealthTech Capital.
Holly is an Investment Partner working in both the US and EU. Her focus is on companies in new food, consumer packaged goods, sexual wellness, femtech, farmtech, and earth-positive manufacturing methods. Holly spent her career growing startups through early stage Sales and PR, most recently as the Chief Revenue Officer at Citia, a global content creation, storage and distribution platform servicing Fortune 500 brands including GE (global), Mastercard (US), Viacom (global), and P&G (global). Holly was raised on a farm in California where she became the first graduate of Stanford University’s online high school and an Academic All American Volleyball Player. She later studied bioengineering at UC Berkeley and French at Georgetown University where she played DI Volleyball. When Holly isn’t investing or helping companies scale, you can find her backpacking the Sierra Nevadas or the Appalachian Trail with her dog Smoky (@smokythebeardog).
Charles C. Smith
Charles Smith has been an active NY angel investor since the mid-2000s who has invested in more than a dozen companies, and has worked for and sat on the boards of ten more. He founded Extension Entertainment, a social music discovery platform. He is the owner of The Ineo Group LLC. Charles spent three years as the Vice President of Etsy Inc., was Vice President of Sales at Tacoda and Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Planning at RealMedia.
Prior to Social Starts, Jon spent 7 years with the Advisory Board Company in internal strategy, operating, and consulting capacities. At the Advisory Board, Jon guided teams on new product launches, proforma analysis, staffing optimization, market research and segmentation, and platform strategies in the healthcare provider and edtech realms while also working in operating capacities for the full suite of products offered. Jon holds a BSE in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also Principal for Joyance Partners.
Chief Operating Officer
Kevin Dasch has 20 years of experience in tech companies in software, social media and gaming. With his leadership, both Mass Relevance (before merging with Spredfast) and IMVU grew to over 100 employees and tens of millions in revenue. Prior to moving into the startup world, Kevin ran the corporate strategy group at Dell Inc. Kevin holds a BA in History from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Kevin is an avid reader of American history, a fan of the Texas Longhorns, and a very amateur golfer. He is also COO for Joyance Partners.
Andrew Nealon has been managing technology development in New York City for over a decade. Before Social Starts, he was the principal of operations for the New York development firm Insert Culture, which he founded to serve brand’s growing API and data development needs. With Social Starts, he oversees special projects, data analysis, and portfolio companies' technical needs. He splits his time between New York City and a 120-year-old farm in the Hudson Valley. He holds an MS in Media Management and Theory from the New School, and a BA in Speech and Rhetoric from Oregon State University. He is also Chief Analyst for Joyance Partners.
Brett G. Durrett has over 25 years of executive experience in Consumer Products, Online Social, Communication Platforms, Expressive Communication, Avatars, 3D, Virtual Worlds, and Games. He served as CEO at the IMVU, where he was previously Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations. A startup entrepreneur that knows how to scale a company, Brett leads companies from the “six people in a garage” stage, growing them to to 150+ employee businesses. Brett was also founder and CEO of the game developer Asylum Entertainment. He and his family split their time between San Francisco and New Orleans, two-thirds of Tennessee Williams’ favorite American cities.
Jim Louderback advises startups and larger organizations on media and technology strategies and curates the Industry track of Vidcon. In 2007, Jim became CEO of Revision3, and led the startup to a 20x viewer increase, a 12x revenue increase, and nine prestigious awards. In 2012, he sold Revision3 to Discovery, led the integration, launched and acquired six new networks, and built Discovery Digital Networks. Prior to that, Jim spent 16 years in increasingly senior media and technology management roles at TechTV, PC Magazine and PC Week.
After graduating from the University of Virginia, Tony began his career as a financial analyst for the University of Virginia Investment Management Company. In 2013, Tony moved to New York City to focus on building Pyne, a platform for individuals to ask questions, sparking unforeseen connections and conversations. Tony brings the balanced perspective of both an entrepreneur and an investor to his role at Social Starts.
Nicole Staudinger has more than a decade of experience helping companies refine, streamline, and optimize their communications systems. Most recently, she consulted with the Journalism Accelerator, where she pioneered the organization’s social media program and facilitated community networking to encourage sustainability practices for journalists. Nicole implements change through innovative media strategy by contributing her time and expertise to a variety of nonprofits. Nicole is also Marketing Director for Joyance Partners.
Leena focuses on data analysis, building and implementing statistical models to support the investment team. Prior, Leena worked at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, growth equity firm Stripes Group, and early-stage VC firm ACP Ventures in Singapore. Leena received her BA in Economics from Columbia University and an LLM from Peking University, where she was a Yenching Scholar. Besides an unhealthy obsession with organizing everything into spreadsheets, Leena enjoys boxing, soccer, cooking, and pre-modern Chinese literature.