Meet the Capital Players

September 22, 2011

Jonathan Aberman
Managing Director
Amplifier Ventures

Jonathan Aberman is the founder and managing director of Amplifier Ventures. He possesses substantial venture capital, financial and managerial expertise, gained over a career spanning venture capital, law and investment banking. Since 2005, when he formed Amplifier, Aberman has been integrally involved in evaluation and execution of its investment opportunities. He is primarily responsible for evaluating and selecting the remainder of the Amplifier Team, and directs and manages Amplifier's investment process. As a member of the board of directors of portfolio companies, Aberman plays an active role in recruiting executives, soliciting and closing funding rounds, licensing technology, identifying alpha and beta customers, and charting strategy.

Aberman was a practicing lawyer from 1990 to 2004. He was a partner in the nationally recognized law firms of Fenwick & West, Fish and Richardson, and Pillsbury Winthrop. During that time he represented many venture capital-backed technology businesses, as well as family and closely held businesses. His clients looked to him for counsel and advice in challenges including: family disputes, transitional issues, corporate governance, transactional planning, business sales, human resources, distribution and sales, and financing.

As Amplifier's managing director, Aberman is applying the managerial experience he gained by managing the growth and business activities of branch offices for two international law firms, including a $45 million business unit with more than 200 employees. Prior to entering legal practice, Aberman worked in the investment banking industry in London (Daiwa Securities, Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Goldman Sachs International), where he applied his financial analytical skills in mergers & acquisitions and international interest rate and currency trading.

Aberman is also an educator, and he teaches subjects relating to family and closely held businesses, including corporate finance, business planning, organizational development and new venture creation. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Aberman holds a B.A. (with honors) in political science and economics from The George Washington University, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa. He received an M.S. in international economics with distinction from the London School of Economics. He also holds two law degrees, an M.A. from Downing College, Cambridge University and an LL.M. from the New York University School of Law.

John Burke
General Partner
True Ventures Partners

John Burke is a founder of True Ventures, with a passion in early-stage investing and growing companies. For eight years, he lived through the balancing act of building his own company at BMI Software, which he founded in 1989 and sold in 1997. He began his venture career at ABS Ventures in 1999, working with Phil Black, and then, after the acquisition of Alex Brown and Sons by Deutsche Bank, continued on with DB Capital Partners. Before founding True, Burke was a managing member with Blacksmith Capital. He recently crossed an important threshold in his professional life: he has now been a venture capitalist longer than he was a CEO. However, like most life-changing events, he can still remember the late nights dealing with HR issues, the relief of meeting payroll and the satisfaction of delighting a customer.

Having lived through the tough decisions required in entrepreneurship, Burke is now able to guide his portfolio companies through the difficult times with a deftness that only those years of operating experience bring. Burke holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, a B.A. in economics from U.C. Santa Cruz, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. When he is not thinking about how to create a more valuable company, you can probably find him bird hunting with his German Shorthair Pointer, teaching his kids to ski or building furniture in his shop.

Jonathon Perrelli
Founder and General Partner

Jonathon Perrelli started Fortify.vc in May 2011 after founding, leading and exiting four startups over the past 17 years. His experience ranges from founding pre-IPO venture-backed startups to executive level roles with publicly traded companies. He has been a successful angel, investing in startups such as Plaxo, FormSpring and numerous cybersecurity firms, and is now a venture capitalist focused on seed and early-stage investments. Prior to "joining the dark side," Perrelli was the founder and CEO of SecureForce, a cybersecurity solutions provider serving the U.S. Intelligence and DoD, as well as some of the country's largest corporations and he continues to provide strategic leadership as chairman of SecureForce. Other startups that he has co-founded include: Plesk (renamed Parallels), which is the largest platform for hosting automation in the world; The Shadow Group (acquired and now part of BAE Systems); SecureSoftware (acquired by Foritfy Software and subsequently by HP); and eTantrum, which was the "other half of Napster" and ended up a casualty of the dot-com era. An early employee at UUNET (the largest ISP in the world now owned by Verizon) in the mid-1990s, Perrelli served in various roles over a five-year period.

Perrelli received his Bachelor of Science in finance from Virginia Tech, is actively involved with VT IDEA (Virginia Tech Intelligence, Defense and Executive Alumni), serves as a Founders Institute mentor, coaches soccer and lacrosse, and is the proud father of three future Hokies. Jonathon resides in McLean, Va., and he spends a good portion of his time on Virgin America flights to and from Silicon Valley.

Gary Roberts
Managing Partner
Cabot Consultants

Gary Roberts is a specialist in top-tier executive and board-level searches for venture- and private equity-backed companies, as well as for publicly held corporations. These include firms ranging in size from startups to Fortune 500 organizations. His areas of expertise include software, internet, telecommunications and professional services industries, with additional experience in such diverse industries as manufacturing and clean technology. Before joining Cabot, Roberts was a partner at Christian and Timbers and a vice president in the Global Technology Practice at A.T. Kearney Executive Search. During his eight years at these search firms, Roberts was consistently ranked at the very top of all search professionals worldwide, in both search execution and quality performance.

Prior to entering the search profession, Roberts served as vice president of sales for several technology companies and spent 10 years at Hewlett Packard in marketing and sales management. This extensive industry experience gives Roberts keen insight into his clients' many needs and challenges, from board-level issues to front-line operations.

Roberts earned a B.S. degree in operations analysis from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. He is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, the Northern Virginia Technology Council (where he co-chairs the Capital Formation Committee), and the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.

Tom Weithman
Managing Director
Center for Innovative Technology

Beginning in 2004, Tom Weithman has established and grown CIT GAP Funds, a family of seed-stage venture funds focused on making equity investments in the Commonwealth of Virginia's most promising tech and life science companies. In forming GAP Fund I, Weithman brought together initial investment capital, developed and implemented all deal sourcing, due diligence and portfolio management processes, and recruited all members of the investment team and GAP Fund board. Building on the success of GAP Fund I, Weithman launched the GAP BioLife Fund and the GAP Tech Fund in 2007. Through CIT GAP Funds, Weithman's team has placed more than 30 seed-stage equity investments, attracted more than $30 million of private equity investment into CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies, driven 9 portfolio companies to Series-A investment and propelled several companies to exit. Weithman maintains leadership for all day-to-day fund operations, investment strategy and portfolio management activity for CIT GAP Funds. CIT GAP Funds has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top 100 venture fund in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Weithman brings to CIT GAP Funds a strong prior executive experience in sales, business development and operations with both IBM and a Hughes Electronics-backed software and IT services startup and has raised more than $75 million in funding for numerous early-stage technology companies. In addition to advisory roles with a number of CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies, Weithman's serves on the board of the Virginia Tech Intellectual Property Foundation and enjoys affiliations with IrishAngels and Catholic Charities of Northern Virginia. Weithman is active in numerous angel investment, venture capital and entrepreneurial support organizations, speaking frequently on the subjects of seed-stage investing, federal R&D funding and technology transfer, and has been recognized as among the “25 Most Influential People in the Southeast Technology Community” by TechJournal South. Weithman holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MBA from Michigan State University and a master's degree in public administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.