New venture development firm taps accomplished industry leaders to help build and scale startups in transforming industries, including healthcare, wealth management, media/entertainment and education


NEW YORK, NY – July 7, 2015 – Highnote Foundry, a venture development firm, today announced a Leadership Council that will support Highnote Foundry in building new companies in transforming industries, such as healthcare, wealth management, media/entertainment, and education. The nine council members are all industry pioneers who have led and transformed leading global corporations.


“The members of our Leadership Council recognize the massive disruption happening across a number of industries and want to participate,” said Chirag Patel, managing partner of Highnote Foundry. “We are excited to have their experience, perspective and leadership to help ensure the success of our companies.”


The Leadership Council is comprised of industry leaders that collectively bring many years of business experience to help drive tomorrow’s transformational companies. "These individuals are all exceptional and highly accomplished business executives.  There is no better way for these great leaders to bring their collective wisdom and experience to bear than collaborating with Highnote." said Marv Berenblum, Executive Chairman of the Leadership Council.


The Leadership Council includes:

  • Andrew Prozes. Andrew is the former global CEO of LexisNexis Group. He served on the Board of Directors of Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV, parent entities to LexisNexis, until his retirement from LexisNexis Group. Previously he was EVP and COO at Thomson Reuters Legal.  Andrew serves on the boards of many public and private companies including Transunion, Cott Corporation, ACAMS, Ethoca, Asset International, Interactive Data Corp (IDC), Scribestar, and Synaptive.
  • Barry Rand. Barry is the former CEO of AARP. He was chairman and CEO of Equitant, Inc. and chairman and CEO of Avis Group Holdings. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Agilent Technologies and Campbell Soup. Barry also spent 13 years as a member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees and served as Chairman for 8 of those years.  He began his career with Xerox, where he held a number of executive positions, including EVP of Worldwide Operations.
  • Jeffrey Lynford. Jeffrey is co-founder of the Wellsford group of public and private real estate companies and has served as chairman of three exchange-listed corporations. He is currently a Commissioner of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.  He has served as an independent director on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including New York University (NYU) and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.  Earlier in his career, he held a number of senior investment banking positions on Wall Street.
  • Jonathan Klein. Jon is former president of CNN/US and is currently CEO of Tapp Media. He led CNN to the network’s highest ratings ever and has won every major broadcast honor, including multiple Emmys, Peabodys, and DuPont-Columbia awards.  Previously, Jon was the founder and CEO of The FeedRoom - a pioneering online video aggregation business.  Earlier in his career, he was an EVP at CBS News where he oversaw programs including “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours”.
  • Gretchen G. Teichgraeber. Gretchen is the CEO of Leadership Directories, Inc., a premier information services company. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Forrester Research, Inc. Previously, she was the CEO of Scientific American, Inc. Gretchen also held senior roles at CMP Media, Inc., a leading provider of technology news and information, the New York Times, and Time Warner.
  • Marv Berenblum. Marv is Executive Chairman of the Highnote Foundry Leadership Council. Marv was the Chairman and CEO of the National Executive Service Corps and served as Area Managing Partner for the Northeast region of Heidrick & Stuggles. Prior to that, he served as SVP of Knight Ridder and was SVP and on the Board of Directors of Continental Grain Company.
  • Robert E. Evanson. Bob is the former president of McGraw-Hill Education and on retirement was an advisor to companies including Apax Partners, Inc., and The Parthenon Group. He previously held various posts at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, as well as at Sea World Theme Parks where he was Chairman and CEO. Bob held senior financial positions at Harper & Row, Conrail, and Amtrak and was a Partner at Arthur Andersen & Co.
  • Robert Selander. Bob was the CEO of MasterCard Incorporated and MasterCard International, and held several senior positions at Citicorp/Citibank N.A. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Western Union Company and Fidelity Equity and High Income. Bob also served on the Board of Directors of MasterCard Incorporated, MasterCard International and the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. 
  • Vin Cipolla. Vin is a former president and CEO with Fidelity Capital. He is an entrepreneur and civic leader noted for his contributions in both the private and public sectors. Vin is the founder of six companies, spanning marketing, information technology and media, and he is an eight-time corporate CEO. Among his nonprofit leadership, he served as the head of the National Park Foundation, and is the founder of the Committee for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE-NYC).


Highnote Foundry builds, operates and funds new businesses in partnership with entrepreneurs, Global 1000 companies and strategic partners. The Leadership Council will participate in these activities in an integral way by supporting Highnote Foundry’s work in identifying venture partners, building businesses, and finding ways for established corporations to achieve new growth potential in partnership with start-ups. The management teams of each Highnote Foundry company will benefit from the advice, wisdom, mentorship, and immeasurable knowledge and experience of these exceptional business leaders.


The new Leadership Council members were selected specifically to support industries being transformed by the Consumerization Effect:

  • Healthcare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts and dramatic changes in technology are radically changing the industry by providing consumers with more choice and transparency - ultimately leading to new business models for providers and payers.
  • Wealth Management. High fees and low returns, combined with an unprecedented transfer of wealth, are putting pressure on existing business models.  This younger, self-directed, digitally-savvy, mobile-first client base demands radically different solutions. The days of old people managing old money are over.
  • Education. The economic and academic model of education in the US is under intense pressure. By almost every measure, our young students are behind the rest of the developed world.  Our college students have taken on more than $1.2 trillion in debt.  We've reached a tipping point.  Unprecedented educational choices and the opportunity to bypass traditional institutions altogether is causing incumbents to seek out new business models.
  • Media & Entertainment. Media is no longer imposed by large monoliths; it's a constellation of services, devices, and interactivity dictated by consumers. We now live in a world where pictures, text, video, audio, graphics, search, and social all blend into a single, highly-personalized experience. The era of distinct channels is over.


“Our mission to build and launch disruptive new businesses in these industries will be greatly enhanced by the hands-on contribution of these remarkable executives. The Highnote Foundry team and all of our current portfolio companies are excited to begin working with the members of the Leadership Council.” said Bob Howe, managing partner of Highnote Foundry.


For more information about Highnote Foundry and the Leadership Council, visit www.highnotefoundry.com/ELC