Santosh Sankar cofounded Chattanooga-based venture capital firm Dynamo in December 2015 with Ted Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis. He is responsible for the strategic vision, planning, and investing of the global seed fund. Santosh has led investments including Starsky Robotics and PlusOne Robotics and has also made investments through other Dynamo entities. As a result of these successes, in 2017 he earned the Forbes 30 under 30 award for Venture Capital. Dynamo’s investing activities tend to focus on early stage technology businesses that have the potential to transform commerce with a concentration in what they dub “logistics technology” that encompasses supply chain and transportation.
Santosh is a Penn State alumnus. While here he co-founded Bullish Bankers, a financial community that he and his co-fouders later sold for 4x their initial investment. He was also one of the early members of the Nittany Lion Fund. Santosh started his career as an investment banker at Citigroup. He also spent some time at Wells Fargo before transitioning into the venture capital industry. In addition to his role as a managing partner of Dynamo, Santosh currently sits on the board of several startups.
1855 Capital, Managing Director
Matt Rhodes is a senior executive with experience ranging from start-up funding and management to leading $1B+ semiconductor business. He has a track record of leading product development teams and business organizations to profitable, market winning positions in hyper-competitive environments.
Matt garnered broad business experience as President of Conexant Systems, a then publicly-owned communication semiconductor solutions provider, where Matt managed an organization of over 2000 including Sales, Marketing, Engineering and Business Development.
Subsequently, he was CEO of Teranetics, a 1st tier VC-backed bay area start-up focused on high-speed communication semiconductors. As CEO, he raised two rounds of funding totaling $45 Million and grew the company to over 70 employees, establishing international presence. He also secured 1st tier design wins for the company’s products establishing Teranetics as the clear leader in the space.
Matt is deeply invested in the Penn State community. He is a 1979 graduate of the Eberly College of Science, receiving a BS in Physics while also a member of the Men’s Soccer team. He has been on the College of Science Dean’s advisory board for many years and has participated as a board member for the Penn State Research Foundation where his conviction of the need for local funding sources in the Penn State community first emerged. Matt holds a BS Physics from Penn State University, an MSEE from Lehigh University, and an MBA from UCLA.
Garber Fund, Director
Dr. Peter S. Whalen is a highly respected director, professor, and entrepreneur who has received his MBA in Entrepreneurship and his PhD in Marketing from the University of Oregon. He has over fifteen years business experience in sales, promotions, research, consulting and entrepreneurial start-ups. Peter Whalen's first-hand experience has inspired Penn State students to create a feasible solution for start-up companies. He is currently the Managing Director of Penn State’s Graduate Venture Capital fund which has enabled graduate students to evaluate and advise investments on a strategic path to grow their business. Peter continues to mentor Penn State students by providing extravagant insights on the best technique to market and develop prospective ventures.
Steven Sponder is a renowned investor with over 30 years of experience within the Technology and Restaraunt industries. Sponder has founded, co-founded and invested in start-up companies over the past 30 years. Sponder has grown restaurants that have developed into universal successes that have been publicized by USA Today, The New York Times and multiple other respected publications. In addition to his restaurant successes, Sponder has founded two Technology companies that have developed partnerships with the most powerful technology companies in the world. One of Sponder’s companies developed a joint venture with Microsoft. His other technology company was backed by United States and European Venture Capitalists and selected for a partnership with AOL-Time Warner before being acquired. Sponder’s deep expertise and willingness to assist HVV enables Penn State students to learn about the startup industry and execute on promising ventures by providing extensive guidance on how his investments have been so successful.