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Alpha Venture Partners Team

Steve Brotman

Steve Brotman

Steve Brotman, an entrepreneur, investor, and fund manager, is the founder and Managing Partner at Alpha Venture Partners. Steve also serves as a Strategic Advisor to the Pritzker Group‘s venture arm, Pritzker Group Venture Capital.

Prior to Alpha Venture Partners, Steve was the co-founder and Managing Director of Greenhill SAVP, Greenhill & Co’s venture capital unit (which was spun out as Tribeca Venture Partners), a technology- and business information services-focused venture capital fund with $100 Million under management. Prior to GSAVP, Steve founded Silicon Alley Venture Partners with $15 million assets under management.  At his prior funds, Steve invested in 30 portfolio companies and was among the first institutional investors in LivePerson (Nasdaq: LPSN) and Medidata Solutions (Nasdaq: MDSO).

Steve was also the co-founder of a venture-backed company, AdOne, the pioneer online classified advertising platform.  AdOne was Steve’s first entrepreneurial effort, which started life as an assignment in an Entrepreneurship class at Columbia Business School. AdOne signed over one third of the newspaper industry, 500 newspapers, and was acquired by a newspaper consortium led by Hearst.  During his entrepreneurial and VC firm career, Steve has been recognized a few times: as a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award as well as being named in Crain’s Tech 100, Top 25 Players Shaping Silicon Alley and Top 40 under 40 among New York business leaders.

Steve currently serves on the board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and has previously served on the boards of Critical Mention, DataSynapse (Observer), Medidata (Observer) and Truveris, among others. Steve has been a mentor with the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Blueprint Health, Startup Health, Columbia Business School Lang and Greenhouse Funds. Steve received a joint M.B.A. / J.D from Washington University / Columbia and a B.A. in economics from Duke University.

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Brian Smiga

As a Venture Partner of Alpha Venture Partners, Brian evaluates investment opportunities. In addition, he provides product, marketing, strategic partnership, and operating expertise to AVP and its portfolio.

Prior to Alpha Venture Partners, Brian was the CEO and founder of Preclick, (sold to Smilebox), where he developed popular photo software licensed worldwide by HP, 3M, Sandisk, Walmart, Costco, CVS, and Walgreens. Prior to Preclick, Mr. Smiga was CEO at 3Path, an Intel and Goldman-Sachs backed startup, and the SVP of Marketing at 1ClickCharge, where his product launch resulted in a sale of the company to CMGi.

After first working with Mr. Brotman at 1ClickCharge, Mr. Smiga has advised SAVP-backed portfolio companies: Altruik, Headliner, Knovel, and Mobile Commons. In the 1990s, Mr. Smiga began his career as a developer at Booz & Co, and in Silicon Valley was cofounder and President of Portfolio Software and Actioneer, where he co-authored six software patents and licensed top-rated software to Apple, IBM, Microsoft, AOL, 3Com, Acco, and others. Brian received a BA in Liberal Arts from Swarthmore College, and a Masters of Philosophy in Literature from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. Brian is executive director of TEDxNavesink, hosted at Two River Theater, Red Bank, NJ.

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David S Bennahum

David S. Bennahum

David S. Bennahum is a serial technology entrepreneur, angel investor, and pioneering member of the New York technology community, starting in 1994, when David left his position at McKinsey & Co as an analyst, to  joined the founding team at Wired magazine, as their first reporter in New York, where he helped build the defining magazine of the 1990s.

In 1999, David joined Ammirati Puris Lintas as Executive Vice President, then one of the largest ad agencies in the United States, to lead digital strategy across all divisions.  Clients included Dell, Unilever, Lego, UPS, and Microsoft.  David developed many of the first integrated print / web / television campaigns at scale, including the groundbreaking “Dell 4 Me” campaign in 1999.  David left the agency with its founder, Martin Puris, to form New Things Ventures LLC, an early-stage angel investing fund.  In this era of “Silicon Alley,” during the first phase of Internet growth, David worked to build path-breaking technology enterprises, as an advisor to AdOne, led by Steve Brotman (acquired by Hearst), director of DailyCandy, founded by Dany Levy (acquired by Comcast), and advised MediaBistro (acquired by Jupiter Media).

During the next phase of Internet growth, powered by mobile devices and social media, David co-founded and led Punch, which provided publishing tools for iPad to People Magazine, Time. Inc., JCPenney, Hunter Douglas, and other enterprises.  Punch’s intellectual property was acquired by Kandu.  Co-founded with Geraldine Laybourne (Nickelodeon, Oxygen), Kandu  provides kids with the tools to express their own creativity through apps and games, without knowing how to code.

David has BA from Harvard University, magna cum laude.  He’s the author of Extra Life: Coming of Age in Cyberspace (Basic Books / HarperCollins, 1998).  His first computer was an Atari 800.  First programming language: BASIC.

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