Seasoned Leaders Each Bring Years of Experience in Wealth Management and FinTech to Support the Firm's Strategic Vision and Growth Plans
MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 22, 2024 - Surge Ventures (Surge), a new SaaS venture studio initially targeting the financial services and wealth management industry, announced the expansion of its advisory board comprised of wealth management and FinTech industry executives to help guide the firm as it continues its journey to find, fund and nurture the leading technologies of tomorrow. New Board members are Nimesh Mehta, Joseph Kuo, Brian Johnson and Ann Robinson. They join current members, Jason Lish (Chairman), Dr. Neil Daswani, John Rostern, Larry Roth, Matthew Martin, Geoff Moore.
"I'm honored to have such a distinguished group of industry heavyweights accept my invitation to join our Industry Council," said Sid Yenamandra, Founder & CEO, Managing Partner of Surge Ventures. "Each is a respected leader and influencer in the highly regulated and data-dependent industries, where we are initially focusing our efforts. As they become part of our already impressive Board, we will look to their insights to support our efforts as we continue to conceptualize and develop a set of category leading technology products and brands."
Additional Industry Council Members Bring Exceptional Backgrounds and Expertise
Surge has established a strong Industry Council comprised of seasoned executives and influencers from across the FinTech and wealth management sectors. The new Board members will add their voices as strategic counselors to Surge's leadership, as the firm executes its vision and growth plans. The new members will elevate the Board with their unique perspectives:
- Nimesh Mehta is an accomplished executive with over a 25-year track record of driving innovation, strategic thinking and business transformation. In his role as Chief Information Officer at National Life Group, Mehta leads a global technology team, enabling the 175 year old company to become one of the fastest-growing insurance companies in the US. He spearheaded initiatives to scale the business, implement customer-centric transformations and drive cost reductions while maintaining double-digit growth. Mehta led initiatives that resulted in significant cost savings, improved customer experiences and successfully launched innovative solutions and platforms that were the first in the industry. Before joining National Life in 2008, he served in various leadership positions at Lincoln Financial Group. Mehta holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering and an MBA, both from Case Western Reserve University. His achievements have been recognized through numerous industry accolades, including the Orbie Dallas CIO of the Year award and the NTT Game Changer of the Year award.
- Joseph Kuo has 25 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications and marketing communications for financial services firms. Over the years his work has encompassed both ongoing brand elevation campaigns as well as communications support for transactional, regulatory and special situations. Kuo is Chief Executive Officer and founder of Haven Tower Group LLC, a leading strategic communications agency with a singular focus on serving the wealth management space. Before launching Haven Tower in 2011, he served as SVP and Head of Public Relations at LPL Financial, one of the largest independent wealth management firms in the country. While at LPL, he served as a key architect of the company's public positioning in its multi-billion-dollar initial public offering on the NASDAQ Stock Market in November 2010. Prior to LPL, Kuo was a Partner at Kekst & Company, a leading global public relations firm. He has served on the Board of Advisors of Entreda, providing strategic counsel to the company in support of its sale to Smarsh. Kuo earned a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude and phi beta kappa, in History and East Asian Studies from Yale University.
- Brian Johnson is a global technology leader with vast contributions across industries, organizations and communities. He has a firm grasp of business-aligned technology solutions and a track record of successes through enduring relationships with customers partners and executive peers. His leadership style includes championing responsible investments, building integrated strategies and directing and empowering teams to deliver solutions to critical and complex business challenges. As former Head of Infosec & Technology at PayPal, Johnson recently built, championed funding and led expansion programs to ensure the security and scale of more than 400M customers processing more than $3B in daily transactions on PayPal payments platforms. Johnson has experience in enterprise technology across industries including Software, Government, eCommerce, Fintech, and Financial Services and is known as a highly collaborative, innovative and strategic thinker. Most recently, he enjoyed remarkable opportunities to greenfield build research teams for Customer Account Protection, Cyber Fraud and Emerging Technologies Research.
- Ann Robinson is a 20-year financial services veteran, with experience in banking, insurance, and securities regulated markets. She is a dedicated and motivated professional with a strong background in compliance technology and financial services. Robinson has successful experience consulting on multifaceted projects, streamlining internal processes to improve efficiency, and fostering positive relationships with a wide range of clients and key business partners. She is accomplished in product management, product marketing, process redesign and business development. Robinson is currently the Chief Compliance Officer at Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC, a broker dealer offering financial products and services to customers. Prior to her current role, Robinson was SVP of Business Development at RegEd, First Vice President Compliance at Morgan Keegan and Director of Compliance Training at AmSouth Bank. She holds a BS from Samford University and an MBA from the University of Alabama Birmingham.
Existing members of the Surge Venture's Industry Council include Jason Lish (Chairman) - Chief Security Officer, Lumen Technologies, Larry Roth, CPA, JD - Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners, Neil Daswani, PhD - CISO, QuantumScape, Matthew Martin – Former Senior Vice President and Deputy CISO, LPL Financial, Geoff Moore – CIO, Valmark Financial Group, John Rostern – Former SVP and Global Lead - Cloud & Infrastructure Security Services at NCC Group.
"I am extremely excited to welcome Nimesh, Joe, Brian and Ann to the Surge Ventures Industry Council," said Lish. "Coming from different sectors of the broad financial services industry, their varied experiences will be a great advantage to us as we continue to provide guidance to Sid and the leadership at Surge."
About Surge Ventures
Surge Ventures will co-found and invest in promising start-ups that are using innovative technology to address rapidly intensifying data and privacy needs across wealth management firms and other financial services businesses. Consistent with the venture studio model, Surge Ventures will go beyond providing investment capital and strategic guidance to its portfolio companies. The firm will leverage its decades of technology expertise, best practices for bringing nascent innovative products to market in the wealth management space, customer acquisition and deep operational knowledge to grow multiple software companies from the ground up to serve as a "shared services" backbone to its portfolio companies, offering scalable operations, foundational technology building blocks, demand generation, corporate finance and enterprise sales support, among other solutions.
The firm has developed a set of proprietary methods, known as the "Surge Method," to rapidly test business ideas, detect early signs of product-market-fit and track on-going growth to de-risk investments by focusing on only the most promising products and solutions.
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