Meet the XI Mentors
Entrepreneur in Residence
Bryan is passionate about the Colorado Springs community and helping local tech companies become as successful as our scenery. At XI, he mentors those that have been accepted into XI’s programs (as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence).
Bryan founded Oscium, a hardware technology company, over 10 years ago. Oscium is in the business of making wi-fi awesome, and it has won a number of awards, including an R&D 100, one of the 100 most technologically significant products. In addition, Bryan helps mid-sized companies with expense reduction and financial guidance (as a controller / CFO). Hs also serves on the Elder Board of local church, Austin Bluffs EV Free Church.
Bryan lives on a 5-acre hobby farm with ~80 animals. Bryan and his wife of 13 years have three wonderful kids: Adalyn (age 6), Brayden (age 4) and Colson (age 1).
Leif was the vice president of engineering for the KidReports division of Procare Software. Prior to that, he was the CEO and co-founder of KidReports, a SaaS platform for childcare providers that connects parents and child care centers in real time. KidReports was acquired by Procare in late 2017. Leif also serves on the board of Peak Startup, a local non-profit focused on advancing entrepreneurial and startup growth in the Pikes Peak Region, and is active in mentoring and advising local technology focused startups. He holds a bachelor’s of science in computer science from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Denver.
As director of software engineering for Cherwell Software, Jacob develops and manages short- and long-term engineering strategy and planning to accelerate sales and implementation through technical enablement. He is a coach and mentor, providing motivation and leadership skills to the engineering team. Prior to Cherwell, Jacob was the director of software development for Charter Software, Inc. He designed and produced Saas model products and designed the company’s flagship product in .Net 2.0 and SQL Server 2005 using enterprise components such as Web Services and Distributed Transactions in a 3 Tier environment. Jacob earned his bachelor’s of science in physics from the University of Alabama.
Josh Caid brings a passion for creating software that makes people’s day-to-day lives better by solving real-world problems. During his career, he was part of the Product Management team at GoldMine Software, with over a million distinct licenses sold. He helped create new product lines with FrontRange Solutions, and most recently helped to start up Cherwell Software, not only by driving product direction, but also by being flexible and wearing a lot of additional hats. He currently serves as Cherwell’s Chief Evangelist and is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
Lisa co-founded Intelligent Software Solutions, an international software analytics company that is headquartered in Colorado Springs and now called Polaris Alpha, a Parsons Company. She earned bachelor’s of science and master’s in science in computer science at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Lisa has more than 25 years of experience in applied research in artificial intelligence, data analysis and visualization.
Brad Brackel is currently the Vice President of Sales at Pikes Peak Cargo Secure, Inc. and has served on the boards of Peak Startup and Peak Venture Group for eight years. He has almost 20 years of sales and business development experience in multiple industries including, federal, state, and local governments, commercial, defense contracting, and the Startup community. He’s an accomplished business consultant, having provided clarity and visionary direction for a wide range of customers including selling the first high-resolution imagery to Google for Google Earth in 2006. In addition to professional endeavors, Mr. Brackel also enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, classic cars, racing cars, physical conditioning, and other physical activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and scuba diving. His desire to seek new challenges and excel is exemplified by trying out to be a member of the US Olympic Skeleton team in 2012.
- VP Sales@Nventify
- The real “Pied Piper”
- VP Sales StreamStep, acquired by BMC Software.
- Co-founder VoipReview world’s largest site for VoIP reviews, 8 million visitors, acquired in 2008.
- Mentor: Telluride Venture Accelerator, Techstars & The Founders Institute
With a decade’s worth of experience working in leadership roles as a Software Engineer, Tyson Hartshorn founded Innate.ly in 2014 where he currently serves as CEO. Innate.ly provides high-end enterprise registry and performance tracking applications for world-class clients in the equine space, delivering solutions that streamline and revolutionize the horse show and racing industries.
Hartshorn is a technology innovator who specializes in leading globally diverse teams to deliver client-focused solutions coupled with white-glove support. He currently volunteers as a Lead Mentor with Exponential Impact (XI), a locally-based high-tech incubator, where he advises SaaS and a variety of other startups in the areas of product development, technical roadmapping, Agile processes, financial modeling, and fundraising. Following a successful 8-year career as a professional baseball player, Hartshorn earned his Bachelor’s from Colorado Technical University & Master’s from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Jan is currently the Managing Partner at Red Surfboard, LLC. Red Surfboard is supporting the growth of various Energy Tech and Ag Tech stage two growth companies, as well as various CPG brands. He also sits on the Board of Directors at Northwestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) where he chairs the Safety, Environmental, Technology & Operations (SETO) Committee. Red Surfboard also supports VoterVac, an operating division of Maxletics Corporation, which focuses on new marketing technologies and applications for the political field and boasts a win rate of over 80% since inception.
He has played a hand in many different companies and has been involved in over $4 billion of total transactions involving the exit of companies in which he’s played senior roles.
Mike is a seasoned senior cyber security executive who works with organizations to develop and implement modern technology strategies while baking security in from the start. He is currently leading various initiatives as Vice President of Strategy at Perch Security. Mike’s previous experience includes leading the information security group at a rapidly growing financial institution and the chair the Community Institution Advisory Council group for the FS-ISAC along with helping build threat intelligence sharing standards with OASIS. Mike has presented at industry conferences and has also been covered by media outlets such as Network World and CSO. When he isn’t consumed with making technology a rich and secure business experience, he enjoys time his wife and two kids along with running.
Spence is the Artist Relations Director at Compassion International. He also serves as a social media advisor.
Jason a 20-year seasoned technologist with a deep passion for building software products and Agile teams that supply the fuel to early-stage startups thru mature enterprises. He has enjoyed a successful career in edtech, consumer advocacy and healthcare, designing and delivering award-winning solutions. As a product and engineering team leader, he helps companies answer the “Why?,” “What?,” “When?” and “How?” critical questions.
Kathy Zehringer is an Executive & Career Transition Coach with A Shift Happens, Inc. She loves using her own life experiences to support others in embracing empowering new perspectives for their lives. Often referring to herself a “recovering corporate executive”, Kathy knows first-hand the value of thinking differently
Apply to be a Mentor
XI Accelerator mentors are critical to guiding startups through their toughest stages. Not only do mentors offer invaluable connections, but they are also instrumental to ensuring a startup meets its goals and finds success throughout the Accelerator program. Here are some of the things that XI looks for in a mentor:
- Startup experience: Our mentors have experience in the startup world.
- Connected: Our mentors are connected to the local community and can assist members of the Accelerator program as they network.
- Common industries: Our mentors can offer specific advice to XI Accelerator startups because they have common industries.
- Big-picture commitment: Our mentors are committed to helping mentees define their goals and find the right solutions, even if that means watching them make mistakes. Mentors are dedicated to the long-term development of a mentee as an entrepreneur.
- Encouragement: Although part of a mentor’s job is to be critical of the XI Accelerator startups, they ultimately encourage startups to achieve their goals and are some of the startup’s greatest advocates.
- Accountability: Mentors keep mentees accountable for their actions and the goals they set.