John Shumate
John Shumate
Chief Executive Officer
Profile

John founded Venture First to fill a gap in the financial services ecosystem affecting ventures, early-stage investors and other lower-middle-market companies. He has worked with hundreds of early- and growth-stage companies across many industries, many of them dealing with highly-technical products or business models. He has over a decade of financial and transactional experience, including buy-side and sell-side M&A; debt and equity capital raises; strategic consulting; complex financial modeling; business plan development; equity and derivative valuation; and venture incubation. Prior to Venture First, John served as Vice President at Blue Equity, a growth-stage private equity firm, and Chief Financial Officer at Bellanovus, an early-stage medical device development company. He was an Associate at bCatalyst, an incubator and financial services provider to early-stage companies. He has also held analytical roles for Ethicon-Endo Surgery, a division of Johnson & Johnson, and Hilliard-Lyons, a regional brokerage house. John attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a B.S. in Economics and dual concentrations in Finance and Management.

Contact
Email: john@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 100

Will Baumgardner
Will Baumgardner
Chief of Staff
Profile

Will is Chief of Staff for Venture First. He has extensive experience in the e-commerce industry, holding roles in finance, strategy, and operations. Will started his career with Zappos.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, where he was ultimately responsible for the finance function of three fulfillment centers and over $230 million in operating and capital expenses. He has strong expertise in financial planning and analysis, financial modeling, operations, and corporate strategy. Will attended the University of Louisville, where he received his degree in Finance. Will currently serves on the Board of Directors for the UofL Alumni Association and works with other local organizations to strengthen his community.

Contact
Email: will@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 101

Liza Bowersox
Liza Bowersox
Vice President, Valuation
Profile
Liza Bowersox serves as Vice President for Compliance Valuation at Venture First. Her primary focus is Fair Market Value and Fair Value Opinions for tax and financial reporting purposes. She is a leading provider of independent valuation advisory and valuation education services to private companies, institutional investors, attorneys and entrepreneurs in the United States and globally. She has deep experience analyzing complex capitalization structures for the purpose of valuing common stock, preferred stock, derivatives, and equity appreciation rights. Liza has served companies with Enterprise Valuations ranging from $1-$300MM in a variety of industries. She is a member of both the American Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts with credentials in process for both organizations.
Prior to joining Venture First, Liza led the 409a Valuation Practice at Oxford Valuation Partners. She began her career with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting and later spent 5 years managing systems integration and technology strategy engagements with Adecco, Inc. Liza received a BA in Economics from The University of Virginia.
Contact
Email: liza@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 102

Bob DeRossett
Bob DeRossett
Vice President, CFO Services
Profile
Bob DeRossett is Vice President of CFO Services for Venture First. Bob has worked with several start-up companies in the Louisville area for the past fifteen years.  He served as the Chief Financial Officer of Greater Louisville, Inc. - The Metro Chamber of Commerce and as the Executive Vice President of Nucleus: Kentucky's Innovation Center, the economic development arm of the University of Louisville.  Bob also held roles as the Budget Director for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, AEGON / Transamerica and Brown-Forman Corporation.
 
Bob is a Certified Public Accountant, a Chartered Global Management Accountant and a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Bellarmine University and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville.  Bob was also an instructor of the Becker CPA Review Course for over ten years and an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Indiana University Southeast.
Contact
Email: bob@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 107

Joe Dover
Joe Dover
Vice President, Business Development
Profile
Joe is Vice President of Business Development at Venture First.  His background includes the airline industry, manufacturing, television advertising, and financial services.  He most recently found his passion for the startup and venture capital arena while launching a CFO services firm that focused primarily on enterprise backed by private equity.  Joe guided the firm through a rapid client expansion to include over a hundred startups and dozens of VC’s in multiple states. The company was recognized by the Hot Dozen, awarded Small Business of The Year, and successfully exited to a larger concern.  Joe was involved in founding the Commonwealth Crowdfunding Committee, is a business development coach for EnterpriseCorp, and has been a pitch coach and judge for Startup Weekend and the University of Louisville.  Joe earned his B.A. in Marketing from Western Kentucky University.
Contact
Email: joe@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 115

Frank Marx
Frank Marx
Senior Advisor
Profile
Frank is a Senior Advisor for Venture First, and brings three decades of strategy consulting, M&A advisory, and business development experience to our client projects and engagements.  His work for us includes assisting our valuation team in building advanced capabilities and techniques; assisting with M&A and capital raising activities on behalf of our clients; and providing project leadership to management consulting engagements.
 
Frank has worked in both senior finance and operating roles with a number of large corporations, including Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank), KFC International (now Yum! Brands), and LG&E Energy (now a division of PP&L Energy), and Columbia Energy Group (now NiSource).   His strategy consulting experience includes roles with Strategic Decisions Group, and Dean & Company.  Frank also managed his own independent strategy consulting and advisory practice for 13 years, prior to joining Venture First.  
He has led or participated on M&A transactions on behalf of clients or employers in excess of $1 billion.  He has assisted companies with valuation projects for capital raising activities in excess of $50 million in early stage capital raised.
Frank holds a BS in Mathematical and Computational Sciences, and a MS in Engineering-Economic Systems, both from Stanford University.  He also holds an MBA from the Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in analytic finance and business policy.
Contact
Email: frank@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 108

Juan Reffreger
Managing Director, Miami
Profile
Juan Reffreger is Managing Director for Venture First’s Miami office. Formerly COO at Blue Equity, Juan focuses on business development for Venture First in Miami. Reffreger served as Chief Executive Officer of Sección Amarilla USA from October 2006 through October 2011. Before becoming a part of the senior management team of Blue Equity, Reffreger worked at First Omni, a portfolio company of Blue Equity engaged in the residential mortgage lending business where he quickly rose to top producer status.  Prior to joining First Omni, Reffreger was the Sales Manager of Cementos Moctezuma, S.A. de C.V., the 2nd largest cement company in Mexico. In this position, Reffreger oversaw the central-east territory out of Puebla, Mexico, and led the team to 20% growth annually. Reffreger also owned and managed Publicidad E Ideas, SA. De CV, an advertising company based in the Mexican Caribbean. There he initiated sales of advertising spaces in shopping centers. Reffreger was also the sales manager for Progress Rail Services de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. He began his career as a sales executive for Ferromex.  Reffreger earned his B.A. in Economics and M.B.A. in International Management from Universidad Anahuac in Mexico City. He served on the board of the Hispanic Business Association of Louisville for the 2004 term.
Contact
Email: juan@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 110

David Levine
Director
Profile
David is Director at Venture First. He provides financial, strategic and operational advisory services serving in the role of a CFO/COO to emerging growth companies (venture capital and private equity backed). Whether it's blocking and tackling or evaluating business strategies, the CFO role in emerging growth companies is one he enjoys as he helps these companies grow. His client base has included companies in technology, energy, software, media, telecom and entertainment. Prior to his consulting business, David has held positions such as CFO of a smart grid network provider, President of an Israeli technology company, Controller of a telecom subsidiary of an investor owned utility, SVP – Finance (CFO) of an interactive digital media company and a VP – M&A for a global wholesale telecom carrier. 
 
David is a Business Mentor at The Runway Startup Postdoc Program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. He has also mentored in Cleantech Open-Northeast, Power Bridge-NY, NYC ACRE (Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy) and was an Entrepreneur in Residence with NYSERDA (NYS Energy and Research Development Authority).
 
David began his career at PriceWaterhouse and is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He attended Brown University and received his BBA and EMBA at Baruch College of the City University of New York (Zicklin School of Business). David was accepted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society.
Contact
Email: david@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 117

John Toner
John Toner
Business Development
Profile

John Toner is Business Development lead for Venture First in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has extensive experience managing multi-faceted relationships and building connections that matter. Prior to Venture First, Toner worked in the UN system to manage partnerships between national governments, UN agencies, and vendors to deploy innovative technology for human development reaching millions of citizens in over 100 countries. He has held roles in product development & management, client relationship management and business development. Toner studied International, Business, Trade and Development at New York University where he co-founded the Society for International Business and Development in 2009 which now has an alumni network of over 300. His research includes developing innovative social impact models for Microfinance in Central America, integrating human centered design into public-private partnerships, and applying business principles to nonprofit management. He has lived in 4 countries and worked for extended periods in over 20. John is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in History.

Contact
Email: toner@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 120

christina_wilson
Christina Wilson
Senior Accountant
Profile
Christina is a Senior Accountant at Venture First and brings over fifteen years of experience in the accounting industry to the CFO Services Team. Prior to joining Venture First, Christina worked at Payment Alliance International where she held the positions of Manager of Corporate Accounting and Manager of Financial Reporting for the company. She started her career working in local public accounting firms specializing in small business services. Christina’s experience includes corporate accounting, financial reporting, financial analyses, and income tax reporting for a variety of industries including restaurants, franchisees, payment solutions, and non-profit organizations. Christina graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.  She is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the KY Society of CPA’s.
Contact
Email: christina@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 116

Ruchi Agarwal
Ruchi Agarwal
Associate
Profile

Ruchi brings over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Venture First, Ruchi was an accounting associate at JPMorgan, providing financial and investor reporting for multi-million dollar private equity funds. While working in New York, she was selected to support the Chicago office initiative. Ruchi has also provided accounting support to the biggest LGBT non-profit center in Chicago. She received a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from Syracuse University.

Contact
Email: ruchi@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 103

Logan Burchett
Logan Burchett
Financial Analyst
Profile

Logan Burchett is a Financial Analyst at Venture First. Logan has experience with large scale institutional asset management, helping with asset allocation and strategy selection of multi billion dollar public equity and fixed income portfolios. Logan has experience within all major asset classes, with his tenure giving him exposure to hedge funds, private equity funds, Real Estate Funds, and Real Return funds in addition to traditional asset classes. Mr. Burchett is a CFA level 2 candidate, and holds an MBA in finance from Xavier University as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics from Transylvania University.

Contact
Email: logan@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 105

Marcie Doll
Marcie Doll
Valuation Analyst
Profile

Marcie is a Valuation Analyst for Venture First. Her experience includes operational and corporate accounting roles. She is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Prior to joining Venture First, she has been a National Controller with Sodexo USA, Inc. where she worked with corporate dining accounts for a Fortune 75 company. She was also an Operations Controller with Levy Restaurants, a subsidiary of the largest contract foodservice company in the world, Compass Group. While with Levy, Marcie managed financial aspects for multiple contractual accounts for Sports and Entertainment dining venues and events including Super Bowl (XXXVIII) Village, Breeders’ Cup, and the most exciting two minutes in sports, The Kentucky Derby. Marcie graduated with a BS in Business: Accounting from Indiana University.

Contact
Email: marcie@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 104

Hannah Harrington
Hannah Harrington
Accounting Analyst
Profile

Hannah brings a diverse background of accounting experience to the Venture First Team. She started her career as Assistant Controller to a startup ISP and development corporation. Eager to learn more and divulge herself in the start-up community, she moved her experiences into a role on the West Coast in San Francisco where she specialized in project accounting with Suffolk Construction. Hannah played a key role in the financial flow and support of many major San Francisco projects. She has experience working closely with owners, CEOs, engineers, and project managers. Hannah specializes in reconciliation projects, SOP foundations, efficiency research and cash flow management. Hannah received her Accounting degree from Sullivan University.

Contact
Email: hannah@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 114

Jackie Endler
Executive Assistant/Office Manager
Profile
Jackie is the Executive Assistant/Office Manager for Venture First.  She has experience in the legal and financial fields, providing executive support and overseeing office management.  Jackie also has experience in human resources with a start-up e-commerce company, supporting a diverse employee population and young company through complex organizational changes.  A commitment to process improvement, smooth functioning of the office environment and dedication to exceptional administrative support are hallmarks of Jackie's professional experience.
Contact
Email: jackie@venturefirst.com

Phone: +1.502.208.2125 Ext 106