Our Team

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The Power of NEXT VENTŪRES

NEXT VENTŪRES was founded by Lance Armstrong and Lionel Conacher, who bring together a powerful combination of deep sports and fitness knowledge as well as proven financial investment experience.

The expertise of this team has been strengthened by the addition of Mel Strong, whose entire career has been focused on sports marketing, including 17 years with Nike.

NEXT VENTŪRES’ competitive advantage is its ability to leverage the expertise of NEXT VENTŪRES’ Managing Partners and its Advisory Board to effectively identify and assess potential investments, and meaningfully contribute to the product development and brand marketing of its portfolio companies -- helping these companies achieve mindshare and market share sooner.

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Lance Armstrong

  • MANAGING PARTNER
  • A globally known cyclist and endurance athlete, Lance remains passionate about the benefits of an active lifestyle. Through his decades of competitive racing, Lance has developed extensive worldwide contacts in the sports, fitness and health markets, regularly being invited to review early stage companies.

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Lionel Conacher

  • MANAGING PARTNER
  • Lionel is a life-long multi-sport athlete and outdoorsman and proud member of Canada’s first family of sport. His financial experience spans senior positions in public companies in both Canada and the US, investment banking, and most recently private equity.

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Melanie Strong

  • MANAGING PARTNER
  • Mel has spent most of her life in the sports marketing industry, including more than 17 years working at Nike as a leader in global brand marketing, where she has driven an agenda focused on innovation, inclusivity, sustainability and access to sports.

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Lionel Conacher

Managing Partner

Lionel is a life-long multi-sport athlete and outdoorsman and proud member of Canada’s first family of sport. His financial experience spans senior positions in public companies in both Canada and the US, investment banking, and most recently private equity. He understands what it takes to create a highly successful start-up having co-founded Westwind Partners Inc., a specialized Canadian institutional investment bank. As Chief Executive Officer, Lionel grew Westwind to $100 million in revenues over 5 years after which it was sold to Thomas Weisel Partners (TWP) for $145 million. Post-sale Lionel served as President of TWP until the sale of TWP to Stifel Financial in 2010. For 7 years prior to co-founding NEXT VENTURES, Lionel was a Senior Advisor and Operating Partner at Palo Alto based private equity firm, Altamont Capital Partners, LLC. He currently sits on the boards PowerDot Inc., AMP Human Inc., and DXL Group (NASDAQ: DXLG). Lionel is also actively involved in various non-profits including serving as a Trustee of SFMOMA, Council for Canadian American Relations and Surf Canada.

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Lance Armstrong

Managing Partner

A globally known cyclist and endurance athlete, Lance remains passionate about the benefits of an active lifestyle. Through his decades of competitive racing, Lance has developed extensive worldwide contacts in the sports, fitness and health markets, regularly being invited to review early stage companies. His extensive connections have resulted in highly successful early investments in Docusign and Uber that reflect his strong investment insights. In this digital age Lance understands the importance of digital brand building and the power of influencers. He currently hosts THEMOVE, a podcast that provides analysis of stages of the Tour de France and other cycling and endurance races; this podcast has had millions of downloads and has been ranked in the top 10 in the sports and recreation category on Apple's iTunes. He also hosts a podcast called THE FORWARD where Armstrong interviews authors, musicians, athletes, politicians and influencers from all walks of life. These form the cornerstones of WEDŪ MEDIA, part of his WEDŪ brand, a budding community of endurance athletes who go Forward, Never Straight.

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Melanie Strong

Managing Partner

Mel has spent most of her life in the sports marketing industry, including more than 17 years working at Nike as a leader in global brand marketing, where she has driven an agenda focused on innovation, inclusivity, sustainability and access to sports. She also led Nike’s marketing efforts in emerging markets (Latin America, Africa and SE Asia). Mel has been at the forefront of the digital sports revolution, launching Nike’s first tracking technology Nike+iPod, as well as the Nike Run Club app and Nike’s first digital training tool with the Nike Training Club. Currently Mel is an advisor to Nike’s Valiant Labs, an innovation unit responsible for incubating new businesses for Nike.

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Advisory Board

NEXT VENTŪRES’ Advisory Board Members have been selected for their domain expertise in the sports, fitness, wellness and nutrition markets, their proven business acumen, and for their industry connections. They ensure that NEXT VENTŪRES and our portfolio companies have access to resources that will help us succeed in today’s competitive environment.

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Pam Alexander founded Alexander Communications, a technology-focused public relations firm that launched tech disruptors such as WebMD and Mindspring/Earthlink, and represented market leaders such as News Corp, Hewlett Packard and TED. After building her firm into one of the largest independent...

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Dylan is a retired professional cyclist, who rode for The US Postal Service Cycling Team alongside Lance Armstrong. His 15 year professional athletic career included competing in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and success as a four-time national champion. Today Dylan is the Chief Product...

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Charles is Chairman of Teneo Sports. Prior to joining forces with the Teneo team, Charles spent 34 years with Nike Inc., retiring in January 2014 after serving as President of the Nike Brand for 13 years. At Nike Charles developed a deep expertise of the athletic consumer products industry, and...

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Stacey is a senior finance professional with a career spanning two decades. Stacey worked in investment banking and research at Citigroup, RBS and Goldman Sachs. Moving onto senior executive in-house positions, Stacey developed the Investor Relations function for three high-growth technology...

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Mitchell is a retired US Navy SEAL and he currently consults and produces for various companies in the entertainment, athletic/outdoor, and defense industries. Over the span of 21 years, Mitchell’s career included nine deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and numerous other locations....

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Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; The Daily Stoic and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Fast Company. His...

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Mark is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the National Hockey League. In an NHL career that spanned a quarter of a century with the Edmonton Oilers,...

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Darren Phelan, MD is board certified Emergency physician, health tech investor, consultant, and lifelong athlete.

He developed and ran a medical practice in the heart of Silicon Valley with greater than 10 billion dollars in assets under management; where devices, technology, and patients...

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Michael had a very successful athletic career representing Canada internationally in the sport of decathlon, where he was a three-time Olympian as well as a World Championships and Commonwealth Games medalist. Over the span of his 13-year track and field career Michael had the opportunity to...

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Robin is the CEO of Helix, a consumer genomics company. Robin previously co-founded and built MapMyFitness into one of the world’s largest open fitness tracking platforms which was acquired by Under Armour in 2013. Most recently Robin served as Chief Digital Officer at Under Armour, where he led...

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Alexa is a successful high-tech executive having founded HireTECH, a recruiting and consulting company focused on high-tech start-ups as well as Recruiting Labs, a web-based recruiting venture. Following her successful entrepreneurial career, Alexa shifted her focus to politics and founded Be...

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