Founder Office Hours
The Packard Place Community Statement of Beliefs speaks to the type of Entrepreneurial ecosystem we want for Charlotte.
In alignment with our beliefs, we want to help make Charlotte's most successful entrepreneurs more accessible for one on one meetings with the entrepreneurial community. These founders believe in giving back to help the next generation of entrepreneurs and have stepped forward to give their time and knowledge.
Click on their photo to schedule time with them directly.
Co-Founder and Managing Director of QueenCity Fintech Accelerator and Packard Place
Dan is co-founder of Charlotte’s entrepreneurship center called Packard Place which was recently ranked as one of the 5 largest tech and innovation centers in the country. Dan also co-founded the QueenCity Fintech program which is one of the top Fintech Accelerators in the World and has over 50 alumni companies with over $35M in raised capital. Dan 1st career was in Fortune 500 marketing working in senior marketing positions for General Mills, Colgate Palmolive, and M&M/MARS. Dan also served as the Brand & Ad-vertising Executive for Bank of America where he oversaw Brand Strategy and Marketing Communications. Dan has a finance degree from Michigan State University and a MBA in marketing from the University of Minnesota. He is the father of two sets of twins and is a passionate Spartan. Go Green.
Founder of goodmortgage.com, Investor, Mentor
Keith founded goodmortgage.com in 1999. Funded by the founder, goodmortgage.com paced its growth. Keith focused on building a vertical enterprise that was a full service mortgage bank, that had to succeed for the long term, and did not focus on a quick exit strategy. By focusing on growing wisely, spending wisely and hiring wisely, Keith has built a thriving lending leader whose presence is felt throughout the loan industry. Even when the industry was in decline, goodmortgage.com sustained growth. The company was named the Online Lender of the Year Industry Award at the Mortgage Bankers Association National meeting, and was subsequently purchased by PIMCO backed entity in 2016. Keith has recently exited the company after a 2 year employment contract. Keith is currently serving as Executive Director at Innovate Charlotte. InClt serves Charlotte's Startup Ecosystem with company mentoring, networking, and connections.
Business Coach to Startups & Solopreneurs, Founder of Underdog Business Strategies
Steve coaches startups, pre-startups, and freelancers to design a process to acquire new clients … He founded Street Smart Sales Forum in 2010 to provide a think tank for business owners of all kinds to discuss starting and doing business in today’s internet-dominated marketplace. … He volunteers at Innovate Charlotte as a mentor to local startups and authored the e-booklet, The Best Ever LinkedIn Profile for Networking, a guide to crafting a LinkedIn profile to cause readers to want to meet you … Steve managed a wholesale mortgage branch for Countrywide that produced over one billion dollars of loan volume per year … He worked in his family consumer-loan business of 60 branches in 5 states, and was part of its transformation from loan company to savings & loan, to the world’s smallest FDIC insured institution … Steve graduated from Wake Forest University where he met his wife with whom they take great pride in their two extraordinary daughters.
REBECCA WEEKS WATSON
Entrepreneur, Instructor, & Advisor
Rebecca Weeks Watson lives and breathes innovation. She’s an entrepreneur, startup
advisor and lecturer who has been awarded two technology patents. Over the course of 16 years in Silicon Valley, she saw it all: the highs, lows, and especially the unsexy but meaningful side of building businesses. Rebecca was on the founding teams and led Business Development departments of media and marketing companies, one of which was acquired by Meredith Corporation. She enjoys advising founders and mentoring young talent. Additionally, she teaches at Davidson College’s Hurt Hub for Innovation and UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce.
Executive Director of PitchBreakfast and StartCharlotte (now Charlotte Inno)
Juan Garzón is the Executive Director of PitchBreakfast, a regional nonprofit startup pitch event, as well as the founder and publisher of StartCharlotte, a digital publication and organization supporting Charlotte’s startup community. He is also a Messaging Strategist, helping entrepreneurs and organizations craft clear and compelling stories that help grow their business. Juan has spent over a decade in marketing and entrepreneurship, ranging from running his own startup while in college to running the marketing department of a global market research firm where he helped grow revenues 400% in 3 years. He has served as a mentor, advisor, and pitch coach to many startups and several accelerators in the community including Queen City Fintech.
Partner at Grotech Ventures
Don Rainey is a, Charlotte-based, venture capitalist with Grotech Ventures. Don’s area of investment expertise centers around ecommerce, fintech, networking technology and social media-related startups. He has been a frequent contributor to various business publications including BusinessInsider and VentureBeat. Don made the move into venture capital in 2000, first with Intersouth Partners, and with Grotech Ventures, which he joined as a general partner in September 2007. With over $1.5B US under management, Grotech focuses on early-stage information technology companies. Charlotte area investments include Passport and Payzer.
ABHISHEK (AJ) RATANI
Entrepreneur, World Traveler, Former President and CTO at Red Ventures
I am a driven and passionate entrepreneur, technologist and general manager with a proven track-record in creating significant value across various different verticals, roles and responsibilities. My strengths include problem-solving, innovation, effectively working w/ people both internally and externally and helping grow and develop strong talent and leaders. My last role was at Red Ventures where I was President and CTO and oversaw the entire suite of proprietary technology and internal products we have built over the last 15 years. I started as an engineer in 2005 and had grown within the organization to run Red Ventures' largest and fastest growing businesses. After leaving Red Ventures, my wife, then 2-year old and I traveled the world and visited 6 continents and 31 countries over a 8.5 month period.
Founder and CEO, Fundafi
Cheryl is a Charlotte based entrepreneur, attorney, and the founder and CEO of Fundafi, a technology enabled finance company serving the legal industry. After observing that capital intensive contingency firms typically experienced growth constraints due to an inability to secure capital through traditional commercial lending options, Cheryl was determined to create a solution. Fundafi uses domain expertise and aggregated data to offer industry specific financing products that enable small firms to leverage the value of their portfolio of anticipated fees as collateral while providing low friction terms matched to a law firm’s typically irregular revenue cycle. In addition to capital, Fundafi provides its clients with actionable insights on portfolio, cash flow management, and best practices to empower firms to optimize performance to increase revenue and profitability. Prior to Fundafi, Cheryl co-founded Alliance Legal Solutions, which finances law firms through case financing and investments. Cheryl’s approach to starting slowly and learning from problems quickly enabled her to bootstrap the growth of both companies. Cheryl is an active investor and provides strategic advisory and mentorship to startups and businesses. She has a Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law and a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.