Stay in the know. Click here to sign up for the lastest news and events from NEXT VENTŪRES.

Meet the Team

Investment Team and Advisors

Investment Team

Lance Armstrong

/Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

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.

Lance 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.

Mel Strong

/Mel Strong

Mel Strong

Mel has spent her career building and leading high performing teams, with a deep commitment to creating positive culture change through sports. This work includes her 17 years at Nike, driving international businesses across running, women’s, soccer/football and training. She worked on all of Nike’s digital sports and tracking products, advised their new business incubator Valiant Labs, and was most recently vice president and general manager for Nike Skateboarding.

She co-founded NEXT VENTŪRES in 2019 with Lance Armstrong, inspired by the potential for new businesses to innovate quickly in the sports, health and wellness space.

“Part of our mission at NEXT VENTŪRES is about creating access: Access to the knowledge and innovation that can help people live healthier lives. By seeking and supporting the next generation of outstanding brands in the space of sports, health and wellness, we can play a role in creating positive change for society. This goal sounds audacious and perhaps unattainable, and that challenge is exactly what fuels us. We know we are building the team and the portfolio that can have a positive impact on the world.” – Mel Strong

“We are building the team and the portfolio that can have a positive impact on the world. ”

Her mission is to seek out founders similarly motivated to create access to the products, technologies and services that can help anyone live a healthier life. She sits on the boards of performance brand Amp Human, Women in Sports Tech and Outdoor Afro, and is a strategic advisor for the mobile photography app VSCO. She also runs a mountain bike tour guiding company with her husband in Hood River, Oregon.

RELATED PRESS

Julian Eison

/Julian Eison

Julian Eison

Julian has dedicated his time excelling as a competitive Track & Field athlete, investor, and entrepreneur. Within his career he was a Big West High Jump Champion and scholar athlete. In addition, he spent 6 years at Golden Gate Capital, focusing on private equity investing — specifically on deal diligence and technology. In his 2016 transition into entrepreneurship, he founded Eison Triple Thread, a premium consumer brand where he developed FITS, a ML lifestyle product recommendation engine. He has devoted time to advising entrepreneurs as well as angel investing in consumer, health and other areas.

Prior to joining NEXT VENTŪRES he helped launch the Valence Funding Network, an initiative to link Black entrepreneur to leading VC partners in Silicon Valley.

“I am energized daily with honor and commitment to discovering and cultivating technology that will unlock human potential for generations ahead.”

He joined NEXT VENTŪRES as Managing Partner in 2020. Julian is a board observer of telehealth provider, SteadyMD. He is also a member of the Black Venture Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Irvine, where he was a research scholar and NCAA Division I athlete.

Jordan Pascasio

/Jordan Pascasio

Jordan Pascasio

Jordan is a tech enthusiast with extensive experience working in Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank & MUFG Securities, in a financial strategy role at venture-backed startup, Inspire, and as the founder of sports betting startup, TRNDS Sports, which eventually sold to Fansure. Jordan earned his BBA in Finance from Villanova University (VSB). Outside of work, he spends his free time playing basketball, surfing and writing about trending themes within early-stage tech.

Advisors

Alexa Wesner

/Alexa Wesner

Alexa Wesner

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 One Texas, and she proceeded to lead multiple organizations focused on activating civic engagement and driving voter empowerment and voter turn-out. Under President Obama Alexa was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and later as the U.S. Ambassador to Austria where she was awarded the “Grand Decoration in Gold with Sash” by the Austrian government ”, the highest decoration for services to the country a non-national can receive.

Alexa’s philanthropic passions and board seats have included organizations in the arts, homelessness, women in technology, film, girls and women’s empowerment, and under-served populations. She is currently on the board of the Salzburg Global Seminar, a think tank, and is working with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Alexa manages to find time to be an avid triathlete.

Billy Bishop

/Billy Bishop

Billy Bishop

Billy is one of the founding family members of the Blue Buffalo Company, makers of the BLUE line of natural foods and treats for dogs and cats. While at Blue Buffalo, Billy served as CEO, President, and Chief Operating Officer, and helped build BLUE into the country’s largest natural pet food brand. In 2015, Billy helped take Blue Buffalo public, and in 2018 Blue Buffalo was acquired by General Mills.

Before BLUE, Billy helped start SoBe Beverages, a line of natural herbal-ized teas, juices and sports drinks. At SoBe, Billy was the VP of Marketing, where he led their grass roots marketing efforts that included sponsorships with the SoBe/Cannondale Headshok mountain bike racing team, mobile marketing events with Lizard vehicles, and a line of Lizard Gear merchandise. SoBe was acquired by PepsiCo in 2001.

Billy and his family were also involved with the start-up of Major League Lacrosse featuring the best field lacrosse players in the world; and were owners of the Long Island Lizards who won the inaugural Major League Lacrosse Championship in 2001.

Charles Denson

/Charles Denson

Charles Denson

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 he was instrumental in growing Nike to become one of the world’s biggest brands. During his tenure as Brand President, Charles helped grow Nike from $9.8 billion to more than $25 billion in global revenues. He has strong experience in advising athletes, corporations and organizations on effective and efficient strategic growth strategies.

Dr. Darren Phelan

/Dr. Darren Phelan

Dr. Darren Phelan

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 interfaced for better results.

His extensive health and wellness experience helped develop and implement the integrated care models and platforms now used by companies including Facebook, Square, LinkedIn, Symantec, Intuit and Microsoft.

He currently sits on the board of Likemoji, the Customer Experience platform and remains active in patient care and healthcare delivery projects at AC Wellness (Apple Inc.) in Cupertino.

Darren continues to pursue his passion in Open water sports and Masters swimming. He holds National records in some of their most grueling events.

Dylan Casey

/Dylan Casey

Dylan Casey

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 Officer at Fair, a fintech platform that offers automotive customers a subscription payment service. His extensive innovation technology experience includes leading product management teams at Yahoo! Path and Google, where he was a founding member of the Google+ team focused on driving growth, engagement and personalization across Google and YouTube. Also, while at Google he built and launched the MyTracks Android app which was the #1 fitness and health app for 72 consecutive months and was made an official Google product.

Dylan is a member of the Product Council at Kleiner Perkins and an advisor to FishBrain and RewardStyle. He’s also a co-founder and board member at WEDU.

Elizabeth Weil

/Elizabeth Weil

Elizabeth Weil

Elizabeth Weil is a technology investor, operating executive, startup advisor, and entrepreneur. Previously, she was a Managing Director at 137 Ventures and prior to that, a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Elizabeth was an early employee and executive at Twitter during the time it scaled from 50 to 3000 people. Elizabeth has invested in more than 40 companies across all stages, including Slack, Coinbase, Envoy, Branch Metrics, Birdeye, Brightwheel, Digits, and SpaceX.

Elizabeth graduated from Stanford University with a BA In Economics and a Masters in Engineering. In the years since, she has taught classes at Stanford in both the engineering department and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. She is a competitive ultra-marathon runner, a letterpress printer, Paper Wheel, and a mom to a LEGO-obsessed 5-year old and 3-year old boy/girl twins.

Michael Smith

/Michael Smith

Michael Smith

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 partner with many large domestic and international organizations, representing their brands on and off the competitive field.

Michael has spent more than 15 years in the capital markets and financial services industry with domestic and international experience working for public and privately held investment banks.

Mitchell Hall

/Mitchell Hall

Mitchell Hall

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. Mitchell is a highly decorated SEAL and Silver Star recipient, the third highest combat award. Since retiring from the military, Mitchell’s entertainment projects include Zero Dark Thirty, Lone Survivor, Homeland, Six, and Call of Duty. He has also partnered with Nike, Under Armour, and Nixon to design and develop various products. Mitchell also pursues his passion of endurance sports, which continues to be a staple in his life.

Pam Alexander

/Pam Alexander

Pam Alexander

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 technology communications firms in the U.S., Alexander Communications was acquired by WPP, the world’s largest marketing communications company.

Today Pam consults with technology and media companies and serves on the boards of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, Aspen Community Foundation and Aspen Valley Ski Club.

Robin Thurston

/Robin Thurston

Robin Thurston

Robin Thurston is the CEO of Outside Integrated Media (previously Pocket Outdoor Media), a company building the world’s content and events home for runners, triathletes, and cyclists. Under his leadership, Outside is reinventing how athletes consume content, participate and engage, increase knowledge, find gear, and ultimately perform in their sport.

Before joining Outside, he ran a consumer genetics company called Helix in Silicon Valley before returning to his home state of Colorado. Prior to Helix, Robin co-founded and built MapMyFitness into one of the world’s largest open fitness tracking platforms. Following the acquisition of MapMyFitness by Under Armour, he joined the innovative sports apparel organization and served as Chief Digital Officer, where he led the overall strategic direction of the company’s Connected Fitness and eCommerce business.

Robin spent the first ten years of his career building a mutual fund classification and ratings platform at Lipper (a Thomson Reuters Company), as well as a risk and compensation platform at both American Century Investments and Wellington Management. He graduated with a MS in Finance from University of Colorado at Denver and lives with his wife and three children in Boulder, Co. He is a lifelong cyclist who started riding and racing in the early 1980’s.

Ryan Holiday

/Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday

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 company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He has invested in many startups, including Thrive Market, MeUndies, Beme, Meetup, Bonobos, 15Five, Spar! and Vinyl Me.

Stacey Finerman

/Stacey Finerman

Stacey Finerman

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 companies, and played a pivotal role in two IPO processes, including Square’s IPO in 2016.

During her tenure at Square, Stacey guided the company’s listing, and also led its value narrative with investors during a period where the market cap tripled to over $30 billion and the company was recognized as the Company of the Year by Yahoo Finance in 2018.

She is currently the Vice President of Investor Relations at PagerDuty, a leader in digital operations management that empowers organizations of all sizes with real-time and data-driven insights to drive better business results. In her role Stacey works closely with the CEO, CFO, and multiple key internal and external audiences to articulate the company’s growth opportunity. Stacey is an avid runner and triathlete with six Ironman finishes to her credit, including the Hawaii World Championships. She’s also a professional cycling enthusiast who is perfectly willing to wake up at absurdly early hours to watch races live in Europe.

Are yoū next ?

We are always looking for our next founder, brand, company and idea that pushes the limit of what's possible.

Return to top