Progress Partners

Investment Banking

Progress Partners is a boutique investment firm based in Boston and New York City providing financial advisory services to companies in media, marketing, advertising, and software.

Gretchen Tibbits

Gretchen Tibbits is a brand builder.  She is an executive with over 25 years of general management, strategy, branding, acquisition, and finance & operations experience in both digital and traditional media. Tibbits is recognized as an industry thought leader, speaker, and representative of a brand.

Most recently Tibbits was the President and Chief Operating Officer of LittleThings which she took to a sale in 2018. At LittleThings, her responsibilities included oversight and mentoring of the 100+ person team in conjunction with the CEO; acting as spokesperson at national and international conferences and to the press; launching the Direct Sales strategy; leading board relations; management of finance & operations; and establishing strategic relationships with other major media companies.

Tibbits has worked for a diverse group of companies including Hearst, StyleCaster, Maxim, ESPN, WorkingWomanNetwork, and Inc. She was recently named to the Folio 100 and is a Digital Hall of Fame honoree. 

Tibbits holds an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from NYU, where she was a Stern Scholar, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a Lawn Resident, and for which she serves on a number of volunteer boards. She is a proud resident of Harlem, a theater lover, a wine collector, and an avid traveler.

Scott Schiller

Scott Schiller is a consummate media executive known for growing businesses and developing people. 

Entire career hallmarks include creating and maintaining a competitive advantage for brands and their marketing partners during a period of intense disruption in the business. He brings a wealth of experience on the critical aspects of communication success at the intersection of content, context, and data.

Schiller has been at the forefront of audience convergence, particularly full-episode video and original content. At NBCUniversal, he built and led a $500 million internet media advertising business that resulted from refining 16 separate sales/marketing organizations brought together with the acquisition of NBCUniversal by Comcast eight years ago.

Prior, Schiller spent the majority of his career in marketing, sales management, and media roles with increasing responsibility at a wide variety of entrepreneurial and  Fortune 50 companies. He was responsible for business transformation, team alignment, and advancing talent. 

Schiller was a co-founder of The Interactive Advertising Bureau (www.IAB.com) as part of a small group of industry leaders who imagined the future business opportunity for digital media. Today, he is its Executive-In-Residence and leads the Digital Media Sales Certification program with over 15,000 participants to-date.

Schiller is an advisor to Cornell’s Department of Communication, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, and serves on the Board of Directors/chair of the Governance Committee of Make-A-Wish/Metro New York. He earned a BA in Economics from Cornell University and has an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Kellogg School of Management, at Northwestern University.

Kyle Okamoto

Kyle Okamoto is senior advisor with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation at the convergence point of technology and business. His specialties include Network/Edge Build, business and corporate development, product strategy, and P&L ownership.

Currently, Kyle serves as a Executive Advisor at Altman Vilandrie & Company, Emissary Advisor at Emissary.io, and he also serves on the Advisory Board of Solecular, Inc, Theta Labs, Inc, Tesuto, and SWAG’R Digital Media Inc. Previously, he worked at Verizon and Verizon Digital Media Services for over 15 years, where he had served as Chief Network Officer and VP of Technology and Operations.

Kyle earned a MBA of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Global Management from Stern School of Business, New York University, and a B.E. from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Tom O'Brien

Tom O’Brien is a proven strategic, innovative digital and television business leader who successfully operates at the nexus of digital, media and technology.  He successfully drives growth in both large and small-scale companies by developing customer-focused strategies, products, cultures, and business models in news/editorial, programming, digital, technology and revenue. 

A corporate officer of the Nexstar Media Group for nearly four years, Tom was recruited by the Chairman/CEO to become part of a four-person executive operating team that grew Nexstar from a $500MM to $2.5B+ revenue company.  As the Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, he was responsible for developing strategies and tactics to drive holistic revenue and audience growth across the company’s pure play digital and broadcast subsidiaries to accelerate Nexstar’s transformation into a next generation, multi-media company--which culminated with Nexstar’s $4.6B acquisition of Media General in 2017. Nexstar currently operates 171 TV stations, 110+ websites and close to 200 mobile apps in 100 markets, and four pure-play digital companies.

Initially joining Nexstar as Executive Vice President, Digital Media and Chief Revenue Officer in 2013, he was the operating business leader of Nexstar’s digital group.  Tom significantly expanded Nexstar’s digital portfolio by growing Nexstar’s local digital capabilities; in addition, to creating pure-play digital subsidiaries.  Under his leadership, digital revenues grew from $30MM to over $250MM, an 8-fold increase.  His responsibilities included managing Nexstar’s local digital business including content, product, technology, and sales for what grew to 100+ websites and close to 200 mobile apps; executive leadership of Nexstar's digital publishing technology company, video/ad technology companies and digital agency businesses; development and execution of the Nexstar’s digital M&A and multi-screen strategy; and catalyzing multi-platform audience and revenue development across the company.

Before joining Nexstar, O’Brien worked for over 14 years in senior leadership roles at NBC Universal with operating responsibility for both television and digital businesses. In his most recent role at NBC, he was recruited to be CNBC’s first EVP/Chief Revenue Officer, where he was responsible for transforming the revenue strategy to fully monetize this global, multi-platform brand by expanding their digital capabilities and diversifying revenues.  

Tom was the President and General Manager of NBC’s flagship station, WNBC, prior to transferring to CNBC.  He led WNBC’s transformation into one of the nation’s first true multi-platform news organizations; maximizing the production and delivery of video content to TV and digital platforms including NYC taxis, PATH trains, and other out-of-home venues as a strategy to develop new audience and revenue opportunities for NBC in New York.  Prior to be being promoted to run New York, Tom was the President and General Manager of NBC’s KXAS in Dallas/Ft. Worth and NBC’s WVIT in Connecticut.

Recognized for his work in the industry, Tom received the 2015 Technology Leadership Award from Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, and was named a 2014 Digital All-Star by B&C.  He was honored in April 2010 by New York’s City Harvest with their prestigious “Heart of the City” award.

O’Brien graduated at the top of his class from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Management. 

Tom O'Brien clr high res copy.jpeg

email

(646) 453-9569

 

Lisa West

Lisa West has a combined 25 years experience across agency, start-up, big brand, telco, association and most recently, investment banking at Rutberg & Co. While at Rutberg, Lisa managed business development and partnerships for the firm, including Rutberg’s Summits, most notably Wireless Influencers, plus 40+ custom-curated dinners annually. 

Prior to joining Rutberg, Lisa worked for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) where she led the Mobile Marketing practice, Promethean, Air2Web, Microsoft, Cingular Wireless (AT&T) and GSMA where she was responsible for the association’s Mobile Innovation initiative bringing together developers, investors and telco operators, in addition to coordination of Mobile World Congress Barcelona and Asia. Lisa has been awarded a career achievement “Mobility Star” award from the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce, also recognized by American Express for marketing campaigns, and named “2014 Mobile Women to Watch.”

Lisa holds a BA in English and a BA in Business Communications from the University of Kansas, and resides in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Hal Charnley

Hal Charnley is a serial entrepreneur and investor and has been an executive/CEO for the past 30 years.  Hal spent most of his career in technology, but has been involved in a variety of businesses including commercial  construction, sports promotion and others.  He has raised in excess of $150M in angel, venture capital and private equity and has successfully exited 5 businesses.  He has developed a keen sense of expertise in building and driving the growth phase of businesses and for leveraging M&A to accelerate growth.

He holds BS, MS and MBA degrees and is past Chairman of UMass Lowell College of Arts and Sciences.  He is a founding member of the High Growth CEO Forum, and active member of the Boston CEO Club, a member of the Turnaround Management Association, a former adjunct Graduate School Professor, and a board member on several private company Boards.   He is a frequent lecturer on a variety of business topics focused around entrepreneurship, change management and business transitions.

Jonathan Dube

Jonathan Dube is an award-winning business leader and innovator in digital media. He has built and run major digital media businesses for AOL, Disney, CBS Interactive, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and William Morris Endeavor - IMG Worldwide, and served as President of the international Online News Association. He also advises and invests in digital startups, mentors through TechStars, serves on the advisory board of SXSW, and is a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys).

Dube has run some of the largest media digital businesses in North America, including CBSSports.com, ABCNews.com, CBC.ca, and more than a dozen businesses for AOL Media. He also built and launched  Over-the-Top (OTT) digital video businesses William Morris Endeavor - IMG Worldwide and developed strategies for other digital video businesses in the entertainment and sports spaces.

During his career, Dube has led video, subscription, mobile, sports, entertainment/lifestyle, news, finance/tech and local digital businesses ($100M+ P&Ls). He has a strong track record in growing revenue & reach, building new businesses and strategies, and developing innovative and lucrative partnerships with companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple. 

He founded Made to Measure, an award-winning fashion network and the first Over-the-Top (OTT) digital video network to launch on Apple TV. He has also worked extensively with Apple and Amazon and, as Executive Producer of “Michael Moore in Trumpland,” launched the first film direct to iTunes, which skyrocketed to number #1 instantly and remained the top-seller for weeks

For more than a decade, Dube has played a prominent leadership role in the digital media industry. He frequently speaks at conferences and has served on the boards of the SXSW Interactive Festival, the Online Publishers Association, the Online News Association and Landmark Ventures. 

He has a long track record of digital innovation, from products to partnerships: he was an early pioneer in TV-Digital convergence, the first journalist to use the blog format, one of Facebook’s and Twitter’s first media partners, and more recently, developed the first digital video network to launch on Apple TV.

Doug Billman

Doug brings over 30 years experience in sports marketing, corporate consulting, operations management, television production/distribution and multi-platform digital media. Throughout his career he has driven change and innovation for his own organization and its clients and customers, whether in the more traditional realm of sports sponsorship, or the cutting edge of digital technologies. Doug has spent over half of his career living and working internationally so his network of contacts is as far-ranging as his subject matter expertise.

Doug joins Progress Partners having spent nine years successfully building his company, Sports Solutions International, into a leadership position as a sports technology consultant. His clients include the leading providers in peer-to-peer streaming video, mobile marketing, social media and  gaming, event management/scoring/graphics software, 3D production, calendaring platforms and more. They hail from Israel, Spain, Australia, the UK and the US.

Prior to starting his own company, Doug spent 23 years working for IMG, the world’s leading sports management and marketing company, founded by the legendary Mark McCormack, acknowledged as the father of his industry. Most recently, Doug helped launched IMG’s entry into the interactive media business, TWIi,  overseeing development and maintenance of 40 websites for clients including the US Tennis Association, Wimbledon, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (British Open), Manchester United, US Soccer Federation, Chinese Football Association, Tiger Woods, and the New England Patriots. He helped create a full service hosting operation to provide managed services to internal and external clients; developed strategy for the management of interactive rights in combination with traditional media rights for key clients; and  managed the development of rich media asset management software, while overseeing a staff of 160 across production centers in Boston, London, Hong Kong and Sydney.

During a 16 year stay in IMG’s London office, Doug  created and led the development of European Tour Productions (a joint venture between IMG and the PGA European Tour) from start-up to its establishment as the media and commercial arm of the Tour.  Doug built a consensus with the amateur golf federations across Europe for the development of their media rights and built a model organization that is unique in world sport. It originates live television coverage from all of its own tournaments as well as highlights, magazine, closed circuit and radio content; distributes these to a network of 30+ broadcasters worldwide; manages sales and integration for the Tour’s official sponsors; manages  europeantour.com and all the Tour’s digital assets;  and functions as  an in-house advertising agency to manage the media planning and buying for major golf and tourism  brands in Europe. Doug and his successor replicated this model in joint ventures with the South African and Asian Tours.

Doug attended Phillips Academy – Andover, Yale University and Ohio University’s Graduate School of Sports Administration.

Mary Ann Halford

For over 20 years, Mary Ann Halford has been actively building businesses in the media and entertainment industry in the US and internationally. She has worked as both an operator and a consultant. 

As a consultant, she is currently a Senior Advisor to OC&C Strategy Consultants as well as independently consulting clients, largely in the filmed entertainment and broadcasting industries.  Through the first half of 2017, Mary Ann was a key leader in building and developing FTI Consulting’s media and entertainment practice in both the US and EMEA.  Most recently she was a Senior Managing Director in London, launching the firm’s practice in EMEA.

As an operator, Mary Ann’s accomplishments include:

·       Launching ITN Networks’ digital media business

·       Co-founding a consolidation of the leading midway operators for the state and county fair industry which operates as North American Midway Entertainment

·       Establishing the Fox International Channels Group, from its initial platform of channels in Latin America to a global operation with channels in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Additionally, Mary Ann served on the Board of Directors for Triton Digital from 2007 through 2015 and is a Co-founder of Saavn.com, the “Spotify of India”.  Mary Ann resides in NYC and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Georgetown University.

Chris Monteleone

Chris Monteleone is a senior executive with a career that spans Technology, Media, Sports and Entertainment.  He has founded two start-up companies, and worked in many capacities inside major companies.  Chris’ hands on experience includes: major live events, film studios, TV networks, digital media, print media, radio media, sponsorship sales, media sales, Major Leagues (NHL, NBA), multi-channel distribution, wireless distribution, ISP’s, consumer electronics, ad tech and Over-the-top distribution. 

As a senior executive, he has held positions at Cablevision, Comcast/NBC, Sony Television, AMC Networks, Madison Square Garden, iHeartMedia and Digital Remedy (a digital media agency).  He was the Co-Founder of Sweigh, Inc., a venture funded web commenting application and data management platform, which he sold to Digital Remedy in 2015.  Chris is also the Managing Partner of Torq Partners, a business strategy firm and accelerator which advises a multitude of companies from start-ups to established businesses, as well as board members and investors. Chris’ specific expertise includes strategic partnerships, product development, ad tech, sales, marketing, business development and business operations. 

Tom Morgan

Tom Morgan is a 35-year veteran of the world of interactive services and digital media. For the past 15 years Mr. Morgan’s efforts have centered on the business development of On-Demand and Internet based Television, with a particular focus on the new advertising models for DVR’s, VOD, and Broadband TV. Mr. Morgan’s to focus on the business development issues of Digital Television, especially the new program licensing and ad models required for the new world of IP based Television.

Principal, MediaD.tv

MediaD.tv is Media Development Consultancy dedicated to the creation of new revenue streams and television functionality. Focus is development of better Advertising Monetization Models and new Enhanced TV feature sets for both live linear TV and new forms of commerce based TV Services.

Founder/CEO, Net2.TV Corp (January 2012 - January 2016)

Net2.tv is a CloudTV Program packager and distribution company focusing on the “Free to Net” Ad Supported OTT Television Market. Net2.tv is the first OTT Distributor deploying the Active Video Network H5 System to Smart TV’s and other connected devices.

CEO, Virgin TV USA (October 2009 - December 2011)

Virgin TV USA, was a development initiative funded by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Management Group Ltd (VML). VTV USA was being developed as a Premium Over the Top (OTT) Television Service providing integrated Live Linear and On-Demand Television targeted at Smart TV’s, Tablets, and other connected devices. Tom recruited the initial team, lead the development of the Business Plan, and managed year long discussions with Major US Broadcast / Cable Networks, and select TV Studios. Mr. Morgan also identified and recruited a U.S. based strategic partner for the funding and launch of the proposed service. Relations between Virgin and strategic partner broke down in December 2011, causing VML to withdraw from supporting VTV in the U.S. Market.

Chief Strategy Officer, Move Networks (Jan 2008 – September 2009)

Move Networks was the technology platform behind ABC.com, Fox.com, ESPN360, and other Internet Television based sites. At Move, Mr. Morgan focused on the development of Internet Television revenue sources including new ad inventory and carriage models that allowed TV Networks reach economic parity of traditional TV.

Founder & CEO, BlackArrow Corporation (May 2004 – December 2007)

In 2004 Mr. Morgan founded BlackArrow Corporation, a leading provider of Advertising Management Services for Digital Television. BlackArrow is funded by Comcast Corporation, Cisco, Intel Corporation, and two major Venture funds. Mr. Morgan served as CEO and Board Member, and was responsible for the company’s groundbreaking vision of innovative advertising inventory and management solutions. During his tenure at BlackArrow Tom was responsible for the BlackArrow Corporate relationships with key distribution and programming partners

DiMA Group (April 2001 – May 2004)

Mr. Morgan was a Co-Founder of the DiMA Group, a Digital TV Consultancy and Research Firm targeting On Demand Cable Television. He was responsible for managing a cross industry initiative called the Innovation in Digital Advertising (ID!A) Project which explored the development of new business practices in the world of DVR & VOD based television.  Over 50 companies are represented in the project, including the major cable MSO’s, television and cable networks, and a group of large television advertisers and their agencies. The DiMA Group also operated AdLab, a consumer research project investigating consumer response to new forms of On-Demand TV ads. The DiMA Group was acquired by BlackArrow in 2004.

 

Previous Online Service Positions

Mr. Morgan’s early industry positions included serving as the first Vice President of Business Development and West Coast General Manager for America Online where he led the initial product launch in partnership with Apple Computer, and developed the first pricing strategies for AOL. Mr. Morgan was a founding Officer and EVP of Business Development for BroadVision. Tom’s work at BroadVision resulted in the company’s focus on systems based 1:1 marketing.

In 1995 Tom was recruited to serve as President of IDG Interactive Services, where he conducted early development work in the areas of innovative advertising, e-commerce and personalization systems. In 1997 Mr. Morgan led a spinout of a portion of his IDG division into a separate venture-funded organization called NVolve. NVolve was funded by Broderbund and the Mayfield Fund and focused on the issues of online youth. In 1999, NVolve was acquired by MTV/Nickelodeon where Tom served as West Coast VP/GM and worked on Kids’ Internet concept.

Alan Osetek

Alan is Vice Chairman USA of ISPD & Digilant, in charge of the company’s business development and expansion worldwide. Prior to ISPD/Digilant, Alan was the Global President of Resolution Media overseeing the global growth of Omnicom Media Group’s search, social and digital performance media unit. A digital industry veteran, before joining Resolution Alan was the Managing Director of iProspect/Aegis, responsible for overseeing all activities for iProspect’s east coast operations. Prior to joining iProspect in 2008, Alan served as a Board Member and Chief Revenue Officer for Visual IQ, which Forrester Research rated #1 best in class global attribution technology platform. Previous to Visual IQ, he had been a part of the Aegis/Isobar family of companies since 2001 as Executive Vice President for Isobar/Carat. Alan was also President/Founder of the digital marketing agency, Vizium. In 2001, he successfully sold the firm to the global agency holding company Aegis.

Alan serves on the board of DMG (parent corporation of ad:tech and iMedia) as well as several advisory boards for digital ad tech startups.

Alan is an Economics graduate of Skidmore College and received his MBA in Business from Babson College.

Domenic Venuto

As General Manager of The Weather Company, Domenic Venuto is responsible for leading the company’s consumer digital business which includes the global consumer product portfolio and marketing solutions under Watson Advertising. In this role Venuto is also introducing millions of consumers to IBM Watson’s AI capabilities while creating innovative, predictive solutions for marketers that harness Watson’s insights for greater ROI.

Venuto’s Consumer Product portfolio includes applications for mobile, web, desktop, wearable devices and more for both The Weather Channel® and Weather Underground consumer brands. He’s also responsible for global expansion; data distribution; and leading an award-winning digital editorial organization. The Weather Company’s consumer products offer immersive storytelling and personalized experiences for an average of 225 million monthly users. 

Within Watson Advertising business, Venuto brings marketers media, data and SaaS based AI solutions that take advantage of Weather’s trove of location and weather data, as well as the groundbreaking AI ad solution, Watson Ads.

Prior to Weather, Venuto served as global president, data, technology & partnerships at VivaKi, of Publicis Groupe. There he led a global team, overseeing product, strategy, engineering and partnerships to develop proprietary programmatic products that interface with external data, ad tech and publisher platforms. Venuto led all aspects of product development, from strategy and technology to experience and data. He also oversaw global enterprise partnerships, including Amazon, AOL, Apple, comScore, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo!. 

Before that, he was NY managing director of Razorfish’s NY Office. Domenic began his career at Arthur Andersen, where he developed long-term strategic business plans and led large-scale technology implementations for Australian and American clients. 

A native Australian, Venuto received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne, a graduate degree in computing from Monash University, and an MBA from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.  

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