Jack Russo, Managing Partner at Florence Ventures, has worked extensively with a wide range of technology startups including cyber security, virtual reality, blockchain and cryptocurrency, internet, e-commerce, software and hardware. He is the founding partner of the Palo Alto law firm Computerlaw Group LLP also known as Entrepreneur Law Group LLP, where he represents entrepreneurs and early and growth stage companies in the protection of ideas, inventions, and businesses.
Jack uses his substantial legal and business expertise to help startups realize their potential. He advocates for founders in negotiations with potential partners, vendors, customers, and other third parties. He helps founders Line up seed and angel funding with private investors. He uses his experience, creativity and gravitas to strategically with venture capital firms for significant investment opportunities.
A life-long learner, Jack holds a JD from UCLA School of Law as well as dual M.B.A. degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. He also holds a joint Bachelor's and Master's degree from City University of New York in Urban Administration and Computer & Information Science. Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Russo worked full-time as a computer programmer and software analyst in New York. He also was a long-distance trucker for a time.
Leigh Soutter, a Vice President at Florence Venture Partners, helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. Her project oriented experience has focused on research and analysis, product management, and marketing, including in-the-trenches roles at her own consulting business Physics Logic as well as with various startups including environmental, advanced tech, informatics, digital photo and video and chip manufacture. She also holds advisory and board positions.
Leigh currently is working towards a second PhD at the International School of Management (ISM) in Paris where her dissertation research involves the role of innovative technologies for environmental applications and emerging markets. She also holds a PhD in GES Hydrogeology from Stanford University and BS from UH-Hilo and has leveraged her experience with environmental and scientific computing as a technology consultant, entrepreneur and investor. She has a keen interest in creative dispute resolution and is a certified mediator from the California State Bar and a certified Gottman marriage counselor.
Joseph Onochie is an Advisor for Florence Venture Partners in issues related to corporate finance, including valuation and the impact of different debt and equity choices on corporate value. Joseph has 15+ years experience in finance as a financial consultant, an economist, and a line-of-business executive. His expertise in instructional design, content creation and client engagements has enabled his role as a consultant to span both the development and delivery functions, and he has clients on several continents (e.g., US, Europe, China and Africa).
Joseph teaches graduate courses for the International School of Management in Paris (France) and is an associate professor of finance in the Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York, where he teaches courses in corporate finance, derivative securities, investments, managerial finance, mergers and acquisitions, financial risk management and health care finance.
Joseph has a PhD in Financial Economics from the University of Southwest Louisiana where he got an MA in Economics. He has an MBA from Tulane University in Finance. He also has background in Energy and Engineering with degrees in Engineering Management from the University of the Southwest as well as a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Contact Joseph at Joseph.Onochie@baruch.cuny.edu.
Alice Lankester, an Advisor for Florence Venture Partners, is head of Marketing and Portfolio Marketing Services at Balderton in London (UK), where she advises early stage portfolio companies as they consolidate and scale their marketing efforts.
Alice forged her career in Silicon Valley where she spent over two decades as a co-founder and C-level team member at technology startups and early growth stage companies funded by Kleiner Perkins, NEA, Sequoia Capital, True Ventures and Y-Combinator. Alice was CMO at companies acquired by Green Dot and News Corporation, and Symantec. She was a founding team member of a software company acquired by Symantec, and also led teams at Apple UK, where she was responsible for the UK Apple developer community. Alice holds a BA (Hons) from Leeds University.