OPENAIR

EQUITY PARTNERS

Capital for connecting people and things to achieve transformational results

Our Portfolio

AgLocal is an exchange platform for meat producers and buyers which provides wholesale buyers/distributors access to the aggregate supply on animal farms, facilitating large purchases that can be resold on AgLocal to the grocers and restaurants in their networks. Power to the Meat Lover! Learn more

C2FO is the world's only global, collaborative exchange for working capital. Participants are buyers and suppliers who use the market to increase profit, and accelerate cash flow between themselves. C2FO is Collaborative Cash Flow Optimization. Learn more

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, FarmLink creates tools that provide simple, clear and actionable information to help farmers increase their productivity and profits. Dedicated to harnessing the true power of big data, FarmLink uses extraordinary analysis of precise yield information collected on millions of acres, and vast amounts of publicly-available data, to give farmers the tools and information they need to make more informed decisions. Along with its agriculture experts, FarmLink has assembled a talented team with extensive experience in agriculture, data analytics, hardware and software engineering, product design and development, successful entrepreneurship, finance, and communications technologies to develop the TrueHarvest Benchmark and future tools. Learn more

Gift Card Impressions (GCI) is the leading Gift Card packaging and merchandising solutions provider. They build customized solutions to deliver strategically focused; brand-differentiating concepts that drive incremental gift card sales by making your products stand out at 3rd party point-of-purchase, in your stores and online. GCI’s solutions make the gift-giving occasion more memorable and personalized using the latest technologies to appeal to all five senses! They provide the most strategic, innovative and cost-effective solutions to achieve your specific objectives. Gift Card Impressions…where innovation meets gifting. Learn more

Gogo, turns a commercial airplane into a Wi-Fi hotspot with true inflight Internet access. Passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, can surf the Web, check e-mail, instant message, access a corporate VPN and more. Gogo Inflight Internet is available on all AirTran Airways and Virgin America flights, and select Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways flights. Learn more

HYLA Mobile, formerly eRecyclingCorps, is one of the world’s leading providers of products and services that capture, extend and optimize the life and value of used mobile devices. The company is transforming the wireless ecosystem by helping consumers realize and immediately take advantage of the residual value of used devices and providing a reliable and responsible way of collecting, processing and distributing used mobile phones. Learn more

InSequent provides a SaaS mobile marketing solution for Local/SMBs. The platform converts existing desktop websites into mobile optimized versions in under 1 minute just by entering your URL. The included Content Management System contains simple-to-use tools to edit your content with little to no technical skill necessary. Along with total website management there is a complete SMS suite for customer engagement, keywords, short codes, QR Codes, Mobile Coupons, opt-in widgets and much more. A truly turn-key platform designed for local business to quickly and easily get mobile and engage with customers on the largest channel there is. InSequent sells direct and through channel partners such as ReachLocal, McClatchy, Digital First Media and others. Learn more

First the web gave us 'Surf', then 'Search', and now 'Leap2' - a mobile revolution for leaping to the web. Leap2 creates direct-to-web results for your mobile search. It provides instant tabbed browsing, related terms and a wheel of category filters. Basically, it gets you where you want to go faster and helps you discover the best of the web on the way. Learn more

RedStone Logistics is a unique, third-party logistics company specializing in Logistics Management Services, RedStone Logistics serves the full spectrum of the transportation element the supply chain: small package, less-than-truckload, truckload, expedited shipments, even air shipments. Learn more

SmartHome Ventures is a home automation service provider, combining a state of the art operating system, a growing portfolio of interoperable devices and nationwide service coverage to enable mass market adoption of the connected home. SmartHome Ventures makes the smart home simple for consumers, retailers, and distribution partners. Learn more

Increasing market demands caused by HDTV, online video, mobile distribution and high-speed downloads are putting enormous pressure on providers to continue to offer a high quality user experience despite finite spectrum availability. Spectrum Five is creating the DBS satellite infrastructure of the future by offering increased capacity at much lower capital costs thus enabling new services compatible with mobility and the evolving terrestrial wireless infrastructure. Spectrum Five is the largest holder of DBS spectrum with full U.S. coverage and one of the largest total spectrum holders (4000 MHz).

Zave Networks (acquired by Google 9/2/11) offers a revolutionary technology point-of-sale platform that for the first time ever connects digital marketing and advertising with physical in-store sales, delivering on the promise of "clicks to bricks." Zave's unique platform enables marketers, retailers, and product manufacturers to create, distribute, and process digital coupons, promotions, and incentives real-time at the point of sale in a way that's convenient and simple for consumers. Retailers and manufacturers are able to measure, in real-time, the effectiveness of their efforts, including which of their promotions is leading to actual retail sales. Zave Networks is the first solution that closes the redemption loop, allowing for unprecedented marketing insights and optimization. Learn more

As mobile data usage proliferates, carriers are faced with a key challenge: how to extract revenue from mobile data usage. Lack of visibility into what mobile users are doing with data, which applications are being consumed and how usage correlates with user demographics and location have made it impossible to build actionable user profiles. Zettics (a merger between Ground Truth and Umber systems) provides the first, intelligent monitoring and analytics solution that works across applications, devices, networks and locations. It provides a clear, accurate and ongoing picture of mobile data usage. Learn more

Zubie is a mobile and Internet services company focused on maximizing connected-car capabilities for consumers and businesses. The company, formerly known as GreenLight Connectivity Solutions, was formed in 2012, and is headquartered in Charleston, SC, with offices in the Minneapolis area. Learn more

Our Team

Ron LeMay

Managing Director

Scott Ford

Managing Director

Lance LeMay

Managing Director

Kathy Walker

Managing Director

Ashwin Shashindranath

Associate

Taylor Clauson

Analyst

Valerie Smith

Executive Assistant

Holly O'Keefe

General Counsel

Ron is a pioneer and respected leader in the wireless industry. As our most seasoned director, he brings to the firm nearly 40 years of telecommunications senior operating experience. Prior to co-founding OpenAir, Ron spent many years in senior leadership roles with AT&T, Sprint, and Southwestern Bell. Having worked in an environment known for innovation and emerging technologies, Ron is eminently qualified to recognize innovation and to guide fledgling companies in successfully applying technology in the marketplace. Among Ron's accomplishments:


  • Employee #1 and CEO of Sprint's wireless division
  • President and COO of Sprint Corporation
  • CEO of Japan Telecom
  • Chairman and CEO of GoGo Inflight Internet
  • Partner of October Capital, an early-stage venture capital investment firm, since 1999
  • Current board of director memberships: GoGo Inflight Internet (GOGO), eRecyclingCorps, and Machinerylink

Additional Experience

Ron was employee number 1 and CEO of Sprint PCS, the break-through wireless division of Sprint. Under Ron's leadership, the company generated $10B in annual revenues, faster than any U.S. company has before or since. After leaving Sprint in 2003, he joined Ripplewood Holdings as an Industrial Partner and orchestrated the turn-around (as CEO) and subsequent sale of Japan Telecom, generating outstanding returns to Ripplewood investors. Ron is the current chairman of GoGo Inflight Internet, the leading broadband in-flight Internet service that effectively turns a commercial airplane into a Wi-Fi hotspot with true in-flight Internet access.

Ron is a highly sought after board member for both public and privately-held companies and currently sits on the boards of GoGo In-flight Internet (GOGO), eRecyclingCorps and MachineryLink.

A native of Arkansas, Ron attended Southern Arkansas University where he earned a bachelor's degree and was named Outstanding Business Student and the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he graduated with honors. Ron and his wife reside in Kansas City and spend time enjoying their seven grandchildren, including two sets of twin girls.

Kathy is considered one of the top mobile network experts in the United States and is a sought-after technology strategist and respected telecom veteran. Kathy is one of an elite group of communications veterans who holds dual expertise in both the wireless and facility-based network realm, making her an invaluable resource to innovators and forward-thinkers who operate in that cross-over world. Prior to joining OpenAir, Kathy served as Chief Network Officer for Sprint Nextel, a role in which she led the overall planning, design, and operations of Sprint Nextel’s wireless (CDMA and iDEN) and wireline (IP) networks. Among Kathy's accomplishments:

  • Led the development and deployment of the first U.S. nationwide 3G wireless network
  • Acheived nearly 30 years of carrier and wireless experience, most recently in the dual role of CIO and CNO (Chief Network Officer) of Sprint Nextel
  • Directed the planning, development, and operation of Sprint's wireline and wireless (CDMA and iDEN) networks, responsible for more than $10B in annual capital and expense investments
  • Named to the first-ever prestigious Fierce Wireless "Top Women in Wireless" list
  • Current board of director memberships: ADTRAN (ADTN), SmartHome Ventures, and Zubie

Additional Experience

Kathy is an expert technology strategist and respected telecom operator, and has held extremely diverse responsibilities including planning and operating complementary wireline and wireless networks, developing new data products , and managing large-scale integration projects in the IT and network worlds.

Kathy is known for her ability to recognize talent and potential in the corporate and entrepreneurial space. She distinguished Sprint's capabilities by building national programs to promote recruitment, training and retention of technology talent. When implemented, these programs were essential components of the organization's ability to develop and operate world class networks. Today, that talent is distributed across numerous companies in the wireless and communications sectors. Kathy actively maintains many of those contacts and continues to grow her network of talented professionals, with a goal of engaging with and supporting them in fostering innovation and growth in the mobile and communications space.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University and a Master of Science and Professional Engineering from Missouri S&T, where she is a member of the school’s Women in Science & Engineering Hall of Fame. She serves on the Trustees' Council for both schools. Kathy and her husband reside in Kansas City.

Lance is a seasoned and respected investor in the technology and innovation space. He is the founder of October Capital, a privately funded venture firm that invests primarily in innovative, technology-enabled businesses. Lance possesses an operational expertise, entrepreneurial mindset, and collaborative approach that make him stand out as a leader in the venture capital market and causes him to be a highly-sought-after board member. Known for his hands-on leadership style, Lance has mentored numerous successful entrepreneurs and management teams. Among Lance's accomplishments:

  • Founder and Managing Partner of venture investment firm, October Capital
  • Leader of 9 of the 12 investments made by October Capital
  • Held numerous active board seats and currently maintains several including eRecyclingCorps, MachineryLink, Zubie, and SmartHome Ventures
  • Possesses deep network of operators and influencers
  • Expert board management experience and capabilities across multiple industries

Additional Experience

In his role as an investor and board member during the past 10 years, Lance has assisted management teams in developing and fleshing out ideas and innovative solutions across a range of industries including web-enabled enterprise services, mobile commerce, agricultural equipment services, digital media and advertising, publishing, logistics, wireless services, and financial services. Lance is known for his passion for early stage innovation, his ability to collaborate with entrepreneurs, and his willingness to work actively to help build businesses.

As an advocate of entrepreneurship and venture investing, Lance is an oft-requested speaker and panelist. He has worked diligently for more than 10 years to stimulate innovation in the Midwest through entrepreneurship and venture investment. Lance holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and five children, including two sets of twins.

Scott is a knowledgeable and connected wireless investor, with more than 16 years of wireless operating experience. Prior to joining OpenAir, he served as founder and general manager of Sprint Nextel Ventures, the company arm tasked with seeking out and securing high-potential ventures and investments. With 11 years of Sprint leadership in venture capital, business development, sales, and marketing roles, Scott is considered a wireless industry influencer, with a solid record in leading dozens of wireless market business deals, partnerships, and investments. Among Scott's accomplishments:

  • Founder and General Manager of Sprint Nextel Ventures, Sprint's corporate venture capital unit
  • Leader for wireless data business development efforts at Sprint, directing a team responsible for discovering, executing, and managing hundreds of partnerships delivering greater than $1B in contract value
  • Manager or contributor in the launch of major technology partnerships across mobile video, music, content, search, location, and commerce
  • Principal negotiator executing the first U.S. wireless music deals with major record labels
  • Graduate of the prestigious Kauffman Fellowship through the Center for Venture Education
  • Desert Storm Veteran, who flew more than 300 combat hours (3,000 total) aboard Nave P-3C aircraft

Additional Experience

Scott is recognized in the wireless industry as a knowledgeable investor with the rare combination of carrier-side innovation expertise and a solid venture and start-up market reputation and network. Scott has been selected by the CTIA - The Wireless Association® to serve on its VC Innovation Council. He and other select venture industry experts liaise with CTIA on wireless innovation trends, best practices, and global developments that are affecting investment choices, as well as the impact they are having on the wireless industry.

Scott's passion for mobile technologies and innovation was first formed during his 5 years as a Naval Aviator, where he operated sophisticated airborne electronic warfare equipment that was truly evolutionary. In addition to the Kauffman Fellowship and extensive electronics and technology training in the Navy, Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University.

Scott sits on the boards of several OpenAir portfolio companies, including SmartHome Ventures, Gift Card Impressions, and Zubie (observer).

Ashwin joined OpenAir in May 2014. He has a particular interest in data monetization across various industry verticals. He works most closely with SmartHome Ventures, Zubie, and Farmlink.

Most recently as the Head of Mobile Advertising at Sprint (Pinsight Media+), Ashwin helped establish Pinsight as a top 10 mobile media network. Pinsight Media focused on providing brands with a variety of solutions, powered by layering behavioral audience insights based on mobile engagement, location and demographic information. Prior to Sprint, Ashwin lead the mobile advertising team at Handmark / OneLouder Apps. OneLouder Apps was acquired by Sprint to enhance its advertising capabilities. Ashwin has a strong history of leading the product development of successful mobile applications on iOS and Android.

He also served as a board advisor on Namo Media [acquired by Twitter] providing counsel and advice from concept through start-up, funding and successful launch. Ashwin holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Missouri S&T (University of Missouri-Rolla). While not at work, he likes to spend time with his family and traveling to all corners of the globe.

Taylor has a passion for technology and working with startups. He joined OpenAir in July 2012 and is most comfortable engaging in market and financial analysis, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.

Prior to OpenAir, Taylor worked as Director of Operations at EcoFit Lighting, a cleantech startup that designed, manufactured, and marketed outdoor LED lighting products. At EcoFit, Taylor worked at supply chain management, logistics, and financial planning & analysis, as well as helping to fundraise. Taylor’s career began as an Investment Analyst for the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC), a public/private partnership that invested in seed stage technology companies for the state of Kansas.

Taylor holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting from Kansas State University. He resides in Overland Park with his wife, and enjoys Royals baseball, fishing, and tinkering with new technologies.

Valerie joined OpenAir in 2004 and brings over 26 years of experience in Office Management and Administrative Support. In addition to performing general office functions, she is also instrumental in the processes of bookkeeping, purchasing, and payroll. Prior to joining OpenAir, Valerie spent three years as a Regional Administrative Assistant at Central Locating Systems, where she worked with programmers to help design and test a wage review tracking system for the entire company. After implementation of the system, she held training sessions for corporate employees. She was responsible for the compilation of various performance reports, working with 41 districts for the procurement of daily and weekly reporting data. Valerie spent two years at Harte-Hanks Corporation as Sr. Administrative Assistant/Business Development, where she was responsible for the preparation of presentations, meetings, and RFPs. She also managed an account review process and had one employee reporting to her. Valerie began her Administrative career as an Executive Assistant/Office Manager at Mar-Kay Plastics in 1988, where she spent over nine years performing many HR tasks including interviewing, hiring, conducting orientations, entering payroll, and tracking wage reviews. She was the editor and publisher of the company's monthly newsletter and she organized company-wide functions for over 400 employees. She also assisted in formulating product quotes, was responsible for all advertising/editorials in trade magazines, and had two direct reports.

Valerie has one grown son and currently resides in Lee's Summit, MO. In her free time, Valerie is an organizer for a social group consisting of over 70 members and enjoys volunteering for the Special Olympics.

Holly is an accomplished attorney specializing in complex deals involving venture capital funds and start-up companies. She joined OpenAir and its sister fund, October Capital, in 2000 and acts as General Counsel for 12 investment funds focusing on technology-enabled businesses. In addition to her extensive legal expertise, Holly manages all of the finances for each of the investment funds. Her years of experience in the legal and financial industries allows Holly to provide creative solutions to the investment funds and their portfolio companies as they turn innovative ideas into viable and prosperous businesses. Among Holly’s accomplishments:

  • Lead attorney in the formation, initial funding and follow-on funding of dozens of emerging technology companies including Zave Networks, Inc. which was sold to Google Inc.
  • Lead attorney in the formation and funding of 12 investment funds and acting General Counsel to each investment fund
  • Counsel to boards of directors regarding fiduciary duty issues, strategic issues and executive compensation and termination
  • Representation of numerous public companies, including Sprint and Cerner Corporation

Additional Experience

Prior to joining the venture capital world full-time in 2000, Holly was an attorney at Stinson Leonard Street where she spent many years working in mergers and acquisitions, public and private placement of securities and private financing. It was at Stinson that Holly developed her passion for working with early stage companies and venture capital financing.

Holly attended the University of Iowa where she earned her B.A. in Finance and her M.B.A. She earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law where she graduated with honors. Outside of work, Holly dedicates all of her time to her husband and four children and to fundraising for A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure Foundation to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

News

Zettics and Cisco Partner to Deliver Analytics to Mobile Operators Worldwide

Zubie Expands Telefonica Partnership for M2M Solutions and Will Enter Brazil Market

SmartHome Ventures and Crutchfield Announce Distribution Partnership

SmartHome Ventures Highlights Focus on User Experience Design -- Mark Rolston to Serve as Chief Creative Officer

O2 Germany partners with Zubie to connect older cars to the internet

AgLocal partners with AmazonFresh to provide on-demand meat delivery

Gogo deal with T-Mobile highlights how in-flight, wireless connectivity will blend

5 Steps the 'Smart Home' Industry Must Take to Develop a Consumer Market

Connected car company Zubie signs deal with Progressive

Smart home products for the mass market

Zubie featured in USA Today Tech Now

SmartHome Ventures Launches PEQ Home Automation Service, Bringing the Connected Home to the Everyday Consumer

FarmLink Raises $40M to Help Farmers Use Big Data for Better Yields

SmartHome Ventures Launches to Accelerate Mass Market Adoption of Home Automation Solutions

Nokia Backs Zubie in First Deal From Connected Car Fund

Cellphone recycling saves money, curbs environmental damage, but it’s still underused

American Soybean Association And FarmLink Team Up To Launch "Operation Benchmark," Helping Farmers Improve Yields Through New Benchmarking Service

Leap2 Raises $1.6M For A More Social And Image-Centric Approach To Mobile Search

AgLocal Goes From Meat Marketplace to Meat Subscription Service

Leap.it wants to make search social and visual

Vehicle Tracking for Smart Business

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