TandemNSI Launches Venture Advisor Program

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Program Provides Federally-Funded National Security Entrepreneurs With Advisory Support from Private Industry Veterans John Casey, Minh Nguyen, and Bob Smith

TandemNSI, a public/private-funded partnership between Amplifier Ventures and Arlington Economic Development, announced today the launch of its Venture Advisor Program. The program offers entrepreneurs access to experienced business mentors to assist in the commercial development of national security agency funded research and development (R&D).

Unlike in years past, today’s small businesses and program managers involved in national security innovation and R&D are being asked to fully develop plans that can demonstrate the potential success and commercial growth of their funded research. TandemNSI recognizes that because of the plans now required, there is a need for experienced business mentorship for national security innovators.

The Venture Advisor Program was created to fill that void and provide entrepreneurs with easy access to those that can help get their products and solutions off the ground. The program’s venture advisors are experienced business leaders with resources sourced from Amplifier Ventures’ network of relationships, including: John Casey, Minh Nguyen, and Bob Smith.

John Casey is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and a member of the research faculty at George Mason University. He serves as a program director at Mason Enterprise Center, with a special focus on entrepreneur mentoring and technology commercialization. He is also an adjunct professor of management at Mason’s School of Management. John has advised companies around the world and has taken operational roles in a number of companies to help position them for venture capital financing or acquisition, including Caucus Systems, Mastermind Technologies, Baranof Software, Phoenix Systems, and CKI. He co-founded BCG Wireless LLC – that licensed intellectual property from NASA and executed a Collaborative R&D Agreement (CRADA) with NASA Goddard.

As a product visionary, Minh Nguyen pioneered many clever aspects of the inherent viral components to leverage the users contacts that amassed over 30 million users and hundreds of millions of validated email addresses at the time Comcast interactive acquired Plaxo for $150 million. As a technology industry veteran of 17 years, Minh brings experience in product ideation, concept, development and strategy to his role as a mentor/advisor for startups and companies in DC, NYC, INDY, and the SF Bay Area. His product advisory and consulting spans throughout marketing tech, EDtech, enterprise/consumer, location-based services, mobile, fashion/retail, sales/CRM, among other industries.

Bob Smith has over 30 years experience in creating, managing and funding start-up businesses in print and digital media. He joined AOL as part of its early business development team, helping high-profile media companies such as the New York Times create their first online efforts. Later at AOL he founded Digital City, the first nation-wide online city guide service. Today, Bob guides companies in e-commerce, e-government, identity management, content creation and local media; from ideation through to successful exits, as an investor, strategic advisor or foundering team member; current projects include CollegeFactual, ReelGenie, VDI and Closely.

“This area’s technology resources are invaluable to fostering new industries that will in-turn provide growth and new opportunity,” said Jonathan Aberman, founder and managing director of TandemNSI. The program’s Venture Advisors and supporting mentors have the relationships, experience and expertise necessary to mentor up-and-coming businesses trying to commercialize government funded R&D. Since federally funded R&D drives most of our nation’s technology leadership, this is an important activity.”

Jennifer Ives, director, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, TandemNSI added, “Arlington has a history of establishing business mentorship and advisor programs for our region’s entrepreneurs, including the award winning BizLaunch program that has worked with more than 10,000 entrepreneurs since inception over 10 years ago. The TandemNSI Venture Advisor Program is a great addition to the resources offered by Arlington Economic Development.”

If you are an entrepreneur who has already received federal funding and would benefit from advisory support as you continue to build and grow your business, please register for this program by applying for the Office Hours program. The program will commence May 5, 2014.

Amplifier Ventures and Arlington Economic Development, a Department of the Arlington County Government, partnered to create TandemNSI; funded by a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia by way of the Virginia Federal Action Trust Fund (FACT). The FACT Fund invests in initiatives that allow the Commonwealth to modernize and grow its economy in light of changes in federal budgets and priorities.

About TandemNSI
TandemNSI brings together the resources of Amplifier Ventures and the infrastructure and support of Arlington Economic Development. Many of the industries that have driven growth in the US since 1945 -- including GPS, the Internet, semiconductors, voice recognition, big data analysis and advanced biomechanics -- were founded by commercializing technology from national security agencies based in Arlington. Amplifier Ventures has worked with DARPA, DOD Labs, Army, Air Force, DHS, DOE and many leading universities to create emerging technology companies and promote higher engagement between entrepreneurs and national security research and development. For more information, or to ask how to get involved, please visit: http://www.tandemnsi.com.

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