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Founded by a group of seasoned technology professionals, LaunchFuel provides crucial, timely, experience-based guidance critical to building successful and sustainable new ventures. The members of our team each arrive at LaunchFuel with years of hands-on experience in creating, building, and launching technology-related businesses.

In addition to our core management team, LaunchFuel maintains an extensive network of technology management resources, including the members of our Board of Advisors, who contribute their expertise to LaunchFuel and its portfolio companies.

Mary Knebel
Chief Executive Officer

Mary is responsible for securing partnerships with leading universities, research institutions, corporations and government agencies to commercialize intellectual property, as well as for providing strategic business advisory services to portfolio companies. Prior to co-founding LaunchFuel, she was a senior engagement manager at Proxicom (now Dimension Data).  Her responsibilities at Proxicom included leading the technical and creative staff to ensure high quality deliverables for strategic accounts. From 1995 - 1998, she worked for PSINet, one of the first commercial Internet service providers. She acted in several capacities, including product management and business development, as well as leading the marketing efforts for the ISP wholesale division. Mary began her marketing career with the Washington Redskins, as a public relations assistant. She is the founder and Chairperson of Raise the Bar, a non-profit initiative that strives to deepen business relationships for women in technology. She is a board member of VT KnowledgeWorks and the George Mason University Century Club, and she is a 2001 graduate of the Mindshare program.  Mary attended Virginia Tech and George Mason University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Tom Gillespie
Chief Operating Officer

Tom works with new ventures on business strategy; business plan development, refinement, and implementation; financial modeling; and market research and competitive analysis; he is also responsible for internal LaunchFuel operations. Prior to co-founding LaunchFuel, he directed numerous business and technology strategy projects for clients ranging in size from Fortune 100 companies to Internet startup firms for AT&T Solutions, the professional services unit of AT&T (NYSE: T). Previous to joining AT&T, Tom led project teams at Silicon Valley Global Trading Center, advising technology startups on strategies for entering international markets. His experience also includes positions at International Information Systems and the United States Congress. Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Eileen O'Connor
Venture Partner

Eileen is responsible for securing strategic partnerships and identifying high potential intellectual property within research institutions.  She also serves in a management capacity within LaunchFuel portfolio companies.   Prior to joining LaunchFuel in May 2000, Eileen was an Engagement Manager at A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm where she led project teams in formulating business strategies for financial services companies in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. From 1997 - 1999, she was based in Singapore and helped build A.T. Kearney’s Financial Institutions practice across Asia. Previously, Eileen was a Senior Manager at Peterson Consulting, Ltd (1989 - 1992), an Associate at Citibank, N.A., Global Strategies and Analysis, (1993) and founded and sold a mail-order jewelry business. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.



Advisors: (Back To Top )

April Young
April L. Young is senior vice president and manager of Comerica Bank’s Mid-Atlantic Region Technology and Life Sciences Division (formerly Imperial Bank). In that role, she is responsible for developing and managing the bank’s portfolio of technology company clients in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast from offices in Reston, Virginia; Durham, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. The Technology and Life Sciences Division provides unique credit and banking services to professionally backed and managed technology companies throughout the U. S. Dr. Young also serves as a director of the Pell Rudman Trust Company, and on the advisory boards of several early stage technology companies, including, DreamLabs, LaunchFuel and Opion. She is a director of several non-profit organizations, including the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association and the Council on Urban Economic Development.

Prior to joining the bank, Dr. Young was founding executive director of the Potomac KnowledgeWay Project, a non-profit, leadership organization designed to help greater Washington become a global leader in digital information products and services. The project served as a catalyst to help the greater Washington region build on its strengths in communications, computing and content. Among her achievements at KnowledgeWay are completing a successful $5 million development campaign, marketing the project’s vision and mission to the region’s business community, and implementing the project’s four core programs. 

Previously, Dr. Young served as senior fellow for Regional Economic Development at George Mason University’s Institute for Public Policy and served as the first director of the Northern Virginia Roundtable. Prior to her association with GMU, Dr. Young was the director of the Virginia Department of Economic Development, where she lead the Commonwealth’s domestic and international marketing program from offices in Richmond, Brussels and Tokyo. Earlier in her career, she served as senior vice president of NVRDevelopment, Inc., as the executive director of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and director of Economic Development for the city of St. Louis, Mo. 

Dr. Young holds bachelors and masters degrees in urban and regional planning from George Washington University as well as a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from Saint Louis University.

Larry D. Clark
Larry serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mobilocity, Inc., a leading professional services firm focused on mobile computing. Prior to Mobilocity, Larry was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Proxicom, Inc., a leading e-business consulting and development firm. During his three-year tenure at Proxicom, Larry was responsible for business development and service delivery to its Global 1000 clients. He also played a key role in taking Proxicom public in April 1999. While he was with the company, Proxicom experienced an eight-fold increase in revenue, a six-fold increase in number of employees and industry-leading profitability. 

Prior to joining Proxicom, Larry spent six years in executive positions with MCI Systemhouse, the systems integration, technology development and information technology outsourcing arm of MCI. There he served as Vice President and General Manager of the United States East Region. For four years prior to MCI Systemhouse, he held management positions at McKinsey & Company and The Information Consulting Group. Larry began his career with eight years at Andersen Consulting. 

Steve S. Trundle
Steve Trundle was most recently CTO of MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR). Steve has led MicroStrategy's technology team since 1994. Over the last six years, he provided guidance for a development team responsible for creating cutting edge Intelligent E-BusinessTM technology-technology that has unlocked the database and made information an accessible commodity for everyone. Steve continues to push his team forward, challenging business and technology boundaries to provide the most powerful analytical and narrowcasting capabilities possible.

Before joining MicroStrategy, he worked for the defense contractor Bath Iron Works in the Aegis Destroyer program. He graduated in 1990 from Dartmouth College with degrees in Engineering Science and Government.

Edward D. Postal
Ed Postal was most recently the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cidera, Inc., an international leader in the satellite delivery of broadband content. He previously held the same positions at PSINet Inc. Prior to joining PSINet, Ed was chief financial officer and senior vice president of The Hunter Group, Inc., a privately held consulting firm. Before that, he was with The Wyatt Company (now Watson Wyatt Worldwide), most recently as vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to that, Ed served as assistant controller for Satellite Business Systems and as a member of the audit function for Deloitte and Touche.

In June 2000, the Northern Virginia Technology Council inducted Ed into its Greater Washington Hall of Fame. He is a member of NASDAQ's Listing and Hearing Review Council, is a certified public accountant in the state of Maryland, and is an active member in the Financial Executives Institute, where he currently serves on their national Board of Directors. 

Ken Logue
Ken Logue has been a partner of KenRay Investment Management since 1995. The firm manages independent accounts for high net worth individuals. The investments are in stocks traded on the NYSE and NASDAQ. He is also a limited partner in seven venture capital funds and an angel investor in numerous privately held technology companies.

In 1988, Ken became co-founder of Logue & Rice, Inc., an executive search firm with offices in Virginia and Georgia, that was sold to Modis Professional Services (NYSE: MPS) in 1996.

Ken funded and is the director of the KFL Foundation, which contributes to educational scholarships and charities. Since 1986, he has coached basketball and volleyball with the District of Columbia Special Olympics. Ken received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the College of New Jersey (formally Trenton State College) in 1978.

Lisa Walsh
Lisa Walsh is a strategic advisor to LaunchFuel and other early stage companies. Drawing on her many years in consulting, Lisa assists entrepreneurs in developing successful businesses from their inception and also assists in crisis and change management. Lisa was a partner at PHB Hagler Bailly (NASDAQ: HBIX), an economic and management consulting firm. As a partner, Lisa developed her own profitable business practice by developing new service offerings, targeting and developing new relationships, and managing existing relationships.

Previously, she worked at Conoco Inc. in a variety of capacities, including strategic planning, sales, and engineering. Lisa is a recognized public speaker, with extensive experience crafting and delivering presentations to various audiences, from Fortune 500 CEO's to students and aspiring entrepreneurs. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Roger Yee
Roger is CEO of Shadowlogic, a provider of knowledge-based information assurance solutions. Previously, Roger was Chief Technology Officer for LaunchFuel, where he was responsible for LaunchFuel’s technological vision and helping to guide startup companies through the development of innovative information technology.

Prior to co-founding LaunchFuel, Roger was vice president of Technology Strategy at AppNet, Inc. (acquired by Commerce One in 2000). At AppNet, Roger was responsible for the strategic planning, operations, sales and management of a multidisciplinary enterprise software engineering division with annual revenues of $10 million.  He joined AppNet in 1998, when AppNet acquired LOGEX International, LLC, a startup he helped establish. Also, Roger is an experienced software engineer having worked for a variety of companies such as America Online.

He was also recently selected to Washington Techway newsmagazine’s Young Lions 2001 as one of 10 young tech leaders to watch.

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