Tom is an experienced startup founder, investment professional, and distinguished coach and mentor to entrepreneurs worldwide. Tom was the Executive Director of the Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneur-in-Residence program for WNC, one of only four Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs selected by the Kauffman Foundation nationwide. There, he delivered one-on-one advisory services to over 50 regional high-growth startups and created the successful high-energy pitch-event, Talent Jam. Previously, Tom was Vice President of private equity firm, Auster Capital Partners, and an advisor to GreenStart, a San Francisco clean-tech fund and accelerator. He’s been a founder of several startups and the host of The Success In Business Podcast. In addition to START100, Tom is currently an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Catawba Valley Community College and the founder of entrepreneurial support resource connectivity platform, supportedly.com.
Founder and Managing Partner, Plumb Line Capital Partners
Co-Founder & Special Advisor, KLH Capital
CEO, Enventys Partners
President & CEO of Creative Comfort Corp
Chairman and CEO of Encore Technology Group
President of RetailGrowth
President and CEO of Converge Communications
CEO of Wellman Plastics Recycling
Founder & CEO of Entrepreneur’s Growth Network, LLC
Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Angel Investor
Chris holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A & M University, and a Master’s degree in International Business Management from Thunderbird. Chris began his career in the aerospace/defense communications industry and, in the 1990’s, transitioned into the commercial wireless communications with Andrew Corporation and Nortel Networks. Chris was instrumental in introducing and expanding digital wireless technologies into the North American, Asian, and European markets. After repatriating, he was VP and General Manager for Flextronics Network Services. He later moved to Goodman Networks to spearhead the company’s aggressive growth, helping the firm reach $125M in annual revenue in 2006.
In 2007, Chris co-founded EmFinders, an emergency locating solution for the critical missing persons such as wandering children with Autism or an elderly person suffering from dementia. The company’s solution was utilized by law enforcement over 150 times to successfully locate and recover missing persons. He sold his stake in the company in 2012 to a subsidiary of Liberty Media. In 2013, Chris served as the Chief Operating Officer of BridgeMetrics, an IT marketing technology firm. Later that year, he helped launch Magnifects, which was developing a new fuel-conditioning solution to improve combustion efficiency of certain petroleum fuels. In 2015, Chris helped launch WHRZT, a mobile-asset tracking solution. As Chief Technical Officer of WHRZT, Chris’s team rapidly developed a complete commercial solution involving wireless hardware, cloud-based middleware, and a smartphone app. Chris has co-authored four US patents in the fields of wireless and wearable technologies.
Co-Founder, Profta, Inc.
Matt Duerstock is co-founder of Profta Inc., a review and verification company dedicated to giving accountability to crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo while informing consumers with valuable insight.
In 2015, Matt and His wife, Haley, moved to Asheville from San Francisco, where he was involved in the nonprofit sector, focusing on operations.
In addition to starting Profta, Matt currently resides on several nonprofit boards of directors in California, North Carolina, and Florida.
George is an experienced innovation and new business creation leader. Over a 35-year career at Procter & Gamble, George led teams in all phases of the innovation process from current business operations, upgrade initiatives, front end product and technology development, and creation of disruptive new businesses. He led innovation efforts in all P&G sectors, and on major brands such as Pampers, Tide, and Pantene.
George now invests and advises with the entrepreneur community in Asheville, NC, addressing the ideation, experimentation and scale-up phases of new business creation. George is a Founder and Chair of the Board of Hatch AVL, an Asheville-based startup incubator.
Scott is an accomplished executive with a proven track record of leadership and vision in planning, executing and developing great products and growing sustainable organizations. With over 35 years of experience, Scott has brought over a 100 products to market in a wide range of areas from hardware to software.
Based in Asheville, Scott is focused on bespoke product management, product development, and manufacturing for a worldwide group of clients. He’s currently Acting CTO for Lady Technologies/kegg (San Francisco) and Podcraft (Asheville).