Advisory Board - Financial Technology Santo Cannone
Santo Cannone’s experience includes leadership positions in sales, product management and operations for businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500. Most recently, he served as a Chief Product Officer for Fiserv, leading teams developing product and market strategies. His previous experience includes Senior Vice President, Group Sales for Open Solutions; Chief Operating Officer at ConnectWise; Senior Vice President, Real Time Systems for FIS and Managing Director at EDS. Santo holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University and an MBA from Penn State.
Advisory Board - Media Technology & Content Darla Marasco
Darla Marasco is an award-winning creative media professional with decades of experience that has paved the path for today’s popular television. She has an incredible track record of significant ratings increases for every channel she has worked with and many of her specific projects led to significant increases in overall viewership. Her accomplishments have been punctuated by projects that have led to 10 Emmy Awards. Darla focusses on advising Black Dragon on its media and content related projects. Marasco Media is a full service a production company that produces scripted domestic and international television and film projects. They target meaningful stories from unique voices that resonate with diverse audiences, entertain and uplift humanity. As an artist’s champion and manager, Marasco loves to match creative talents and personalities to further a collective vision including writers, producers, and editors. She is collaborative, optimistic, unifying and keenly resourceful. Before Marasco Media, she was and SVP of Post Production and Executive Producer of MAX Post/Original Productions. She managed over 50 series and delivering more than 4,000 hours of risk and reward television to the world’s preeminent cable and broadcast networks including DISCOVERY, A&E, HISTORY, NATGEO, BRAVO, TRAVEL, NBC, and CBS– with series Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Ice Road Truckers, Axmen, Monster House, and Monster Garage. At 20th Century Fox, Marasco head a documentary arm to post and deliver hundreds of hours of A&E Biography and AMC Specials all while accessing the FOX TV and Film library. She has produced hundreds of hours of promos, sizzles and direct response commercials, and was stage manager and talent coordinator on dozens of MTV and VH1 award shows. As a Computer Art Director, her credits include the Dungeons and Dragons games series. Marasco began her career as a Visual Effects Artist; credits include The Terminator, Dune and Texas Chainsaw feature films.
Advisory Board - Technology & OperationsDavid Dame
David Dame brings more than 30 years of operating, consulting and investing experience. His career includes functional leadership roles in sales, marketing, services, and research and development. He has held numerous executive positions at small $20 million companies up to large billion-dollar entities. He actively assists in the operational aspects of the Black Dragon portfolio and serves as the Chairman of Payveris, a cloud-based payments platform Company.
Dame co-founded a multimillion-dollar consulting business that eventually merged into the IBM Consulting Group. As a principal at the firm, he applied management consulting and information engineering disciplines to uncover the root causes of strategic business issues and develop solutions integrating the right people, processes and information technology. Clients spanned the health, manufacturing and energy industries.
He has dedicated more than 15 years as a principal investor and operating professional. Before joining Sorenson Capital, where he is an operating partner, Dame worked as a managing director at Huntsman Gay Global Capital, focusing on operational portfolio support and growth equity investments.
He was a partner with KPP, a $700-million private investment group focused on manufacturing, distribution and service industries, where he provided operational support to portfolio companies to help them improve business performance. Additionally, Dame was a managing director at KVP, a technology growth equity fund with $175 million under management, where he focused on software investments.
Dame received an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Brigham Young University.
Advisory Board - EcommerceIrwin Kramer
Irwin Kramer is a pioneer in supply chain enterprise systems and e-commerce for retail manufacturing and distribution companies. He built software and service companies into global leaders in supply chain, marketing and e-commerce systems from the startup phase. He understands the importance of strong management teams and has led the way in new technological developments.He serves as chairman of the board of directors for two Black Dragon portfolio companies Digital Goodie and EnterWorks, both digital and e-commerce investments.
Kramer is founder of iCongo, a Montreal-based company whose e-commerce platform became a recognized world leader. In 2013 the company merged with Hybris, a European company, and in 2014 the combined company was purchased by SAP. Previously, he was founder, chairman, president and CEO of Richter Systems International, growing the one-man operation with offices in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
He is the treasurer of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation and a member of its executive committee. He is a board member of Fresche, a software service company, and Workjam, a high growth technology company in the human resources area. He has been a board member of both private and publicly traded companies and serves on the boards of various charitable organizations.
Kramer received an MBA from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in commerce from McGill University. He is a member of Quebec and Canadian Order of Chartered Accountants.
Advisory Board - Media & Financial TechnologyJohn Frederick
John Frederick is a seasoned financial executive with experience in strategic and financial planning, mergers and acquisitions, and process improvement using Lean Six Sigma methodology and effective financial systems. He provides insights into operational execution within the Black Dragon portfolio.
Frederick is the chief operating officer and chief administrative officer at Snag, the largest staffing platform for hourly work. Previously, he was executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer at Avid Technologies, where he oversaw finance, information technology, legal, and investor relations. Earlier, Frederick served as the corporate executive vice president and CFO at Open Solutions and as senior vice president and CFO at SafeNet.
Advisory Board - Ecommerce Retail TechnologyKen Bonning
Ken Bonning is a founding partner of Orion Advisors Group, a boutique advisory firm specializing in helping companies build strategies for supply chain and information technology and digital transformations. He provides operational expertise for Omni channel operations, developing operating strategies to improve speed, cost, and quality through the supply chain.
Previously he was the senior executive vice president for Kohl's department stores, responsible for supply chain, IT, store design, store construction, and sustainability during a period of rapid growth.
At Black Dragon, he provides insights into the digital, retail and e-commerce market and investments.
Advisory Board - Financial ServicesMichael Geoghegan
Michael Geoghegan is a recognized global statesman of finance, well known for his direct style and understanding of the global economy. At Black Dragon, he applies his unique skills to overall fund operations and strategic advice.
He is former director and global chief executive officer of HSBC, where he worked for more than 37 years living in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the USA. He has served as president of HSBC Bank Brasil S.A. - Banco Multiplo, HSBC Investment Bank Brasil S.A., HSBC Seguros S.A., and was head of HSBC South America. He was a director of HSBC Holding Plc and its group chief executive. He also has served as director and chairman of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation. For HSBC Bank pic, he served as a director, CEO, deputy chairman and global head of personal financial services. He also was a director of HSBC North America as well as a director of CCF SA.
Advisory Board - Media Technology & EcommerceMohamed Abuagla
With more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries, Mohamed Abuagla has been in the midst of business transformation and technology in various capacities. After graduating with a degree in systems engineering from George Mason University, Abuagla’s career included experience in education, finance, healthcare, telecom, defense and media. His experience spans established enterprises, government organizations, startups and entrepreneurial business ventures. At Black Dragon, he advises on media and technology investments and will be involved in operational improvements within the media portfolio.
Most recently, he served as the chief information officer and chief technology officer of Al Jazeera Media Network, a global media organization. He led a global team of more than 1,200 members in 86 countries in the use of next-generation technologies that accelerated the media industry’s adoption of cloud technology, artificial intelligence and “Big Data” with a focus on enhanced security. As a major catalyst and champion for digital transformation across industries, he's a frequent guest speaker on various issues of technology, transformation and security at international and local conferences.
Additionally, Abuagla is an executive board member of International Broadcast Convention Council; executive board member, Avid Customer Association; and executive member, SAP Advisory Council for Media. He was awarded CTO of the Year in 2015 by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) BroadcastPro, a vendor-neutral event aimed at encouraging knowledge sharing and collaboration between broadcast professionals in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, he was named Digital Transformation Executive by Microsoft-Qatar.
Advisory Board - Financial Technology & OperationsRaju Shivdasani
Raju “Raj” Shivdasani is an experienced financial technology executive with more than 40 years of executive level experience running large technology companies. He has strong skills in strategic planning, business execution and in driving growth organically and through mergers and acquisitions. He is involved in investing, advisory and mentoring activities. At Black Dragon, Shivdasani advises on financial technology investments. He has been on the board or served as an advisor to several investments.
Until August 2013, Shivdasani was the chief executive officer of Harland Financial Solutions, a subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. and a leading U.S. financial technology company that sold to D+H of Toronto. Before the sale, he steered the growth of the highly profitable business, employing 1,350 associates in 18 offices and marketing 17 major banking product lines to 6,000 national and international banks, savings institutions and credit unions.
Earlier roles include serving as president and COO of Phoenix International, group executive vice president of FiServ’s bank services sector, president of FiServ CBS Worldwide, and senior management positions at Citicorp Information Resources, a subsidiary of Citibank sold to Fiserv. He also co-founded Vista Financial Systems, which was sold to Geac Computers.
Shivdasani served on IBM’s AS/400 Strategic Advisory Board as one of 20 global company executives invited by IBM to provide the company with strategic marketing and product input to help propagate, what was then, their newest commercial computing mid-range platform.
Raj has a bachelor’s degree in commerce from St. Xavier’s College, India, and a diploma in computer programming and technology from Control Data Institute, Los Angeles. He has a certificate in applied mergers and acquisitions from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.
Advisory Board - Media TechnologySandy Nasseri
Sandy Nasseri is the president and co-founder of MelroseINC, a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, with three distinct divisions, MelroseMAC, MelroseSRC, and MelroseTEC.
MelroseINC has been an Apple partner since Nasseri founded the company in 2003, starting as an Apple specialist. For 15 years, she has been an integral member of the Apple Reseller community, serving on the board for nine years. In 2017, MelroseINC was initiated into Apple’s inaugural class of Apple’s Premier Partner Program.
MelroseINC provides products and services to customers such as Disney, Sony, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Fox, Warner Bros., Hulu, RedBull, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Lionsgate Studios, Universal Music Group, Bad Robot, Viacom and more together with partners Apple, AVID, Sony, Quantum, Qumulo, Arista, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, and Wacom, among others.
As a woman-in-business leader, Nasseri strives to be a voice for women in her marketplace. She serves on the Apple Advisory Reseller Board; serves as the president and chair of the AVID Customer Association for the Reseller Channel; and is active in the American Express Women’s Initiative. In addition, she serves on the board of The Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and increased academic success by placing new books into the hands and homes of low-income and underserved children. She actively supports Alexandria House in Los Angeles, a nonprofit transitional residence and house of hospitality for women and children moving from emergency shelters to permanent housing. As a veteran of the Israeli military, Sandy promotes veteran hiring in both her own company and that of her colleagues.
Sandy earned her degree in electronics and electrical engineering at ORT Technical Institute. She lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles and is active in her neighborhood community and her children’s elementary school.
Advisory Board - Media TechnologySpencer Stephens
Spencer operates Tech X Media, a Los Angeles based consultancy providing technology services to the media and entertainment industry. Stephens’ areas of expertise include motion picture and TV production, content distribution, content and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and standards and regulatory activities. At Black Dragon, he focusses on media related investments and operational improvements within the portfolio.
During his time as chief technology officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Stephens led the studio's technology development group, which dealt with every part of the content path from cameras and lens through to postproduction and mastering. Previously, Stephens worked as vice president of technology for Warner Bros. and earlier, he built and ran the digital production group at Walt Disney Television Animation.
Stephens has a Master of Science in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a first-class honors BSc in physics from the University of Sussex.
He is a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, National Press Photographers Association, Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He has served as a board member for Movielabs, The Entertainment Technology Center at University of Southern California, and the Digital Video Broadcasting organization. He was awarded the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award by the Entertainment Technology Center at USC.
Advisory Board - Financial ServicesWilliam Dalton
William “Bill” Dalton is an experienced executive in banking and finance. He was executive director of HSBC Holdings plc, chief executive of HSBC Bank plc, and global head of personal financial services for the HSBC Group. At Black Dragon, he provides insights on financial services market dynamics.
Previously, he served as president and CEO at Wardley Canada Limited, which became part of the Hongkong Bank of Canada, before his appointment as chief executive of Midland Bank plc.
Dalton serves on the boards of HSBC North American Holding Inc., Associated Electric and Gas Insurance Services (AEGIS), AEGIS Managing Agency for Lloyds of London Syndicate 1225, and United States Cold Storage, a wholly owned subsidiary of John Swire & Sons Inc.
He has served as a director of CCF SA, France, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA, Switzerland and HSBC Bank Malta plc, Merrill Lynch HSBC Holdings Limited, UK and Household International, Inc., USA. He also was a director of MasterCard International Incorporated and a director of Swiss Re GB plc. Dalton served on the board of TUI Travel plc., a FTSE 100 company in the United Kingdom, and on the board of Talisman Energy Inc., a Canadian Oil and Gas Company.
Advisory Board - Media & Financial TechnologyRashid Desai
Rashid Desai has an extensive background in developing commercial technology products and solutions, including delivering and strengthening technology infrastructure, technology cloud architecture, and cloud engineering.
At Black Dragon, he advises on technology investments and operational improvements within the portfolio.
He has served as senior vice president and chief technology officer at Avid; managing director and chief information and technology officer at Barclaycard; executive vice president and chief technology officer at Open Solutions; and senior vice president at Equifax. At Open Solutions, he was the key architect of launch of DNA, the award-winning open API banking suite which is often sighted as the original AppStore for banking which became the fastest growing enterprise systems in the world. He was part of the digital transformation of Barclaycard, and together with the CEO of Avid, conceptualized and created Avid Everywhere, the cloud-based operating system for media. He is a well-recognized thought leader and technologist.