Denise founded ApplePie Capital to create a new, more efficient source of capital for franchise businesses. As CEO and Chairman, she oversees all aspects of the company. Denise has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in business and market strategy development. Her public and private company expertise spans the financial services, technology, healthcare, hospitality and online services industries, and she has led companies backed by leading venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow and Sequoia Capital. Denise has founded three other companies, and held executive and management positions with SharesPost, Healthiest You, Navigenics, LesConcierges, OffRoad Capital, Onyx Microcomputer, Post Communications, Kao Infosystems, and National Semiconductor. She has been a guest lecturer at both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley.
Zaw is a Director of ApplePie Capital. As one of the founding team / Partner at Signia Venture Partners, Zaw is focused on early-stage tech investing and on creating a new model of venture capital. Zaw is a veteran entrepreneur / operator who has been at the forefront of new technology and starting companies since the age of 19. Zaw was the founder and CEO of 4INFO, one of the first and largest mobile advertising platforms in the world. Business Week recognized him as one the "Mobile Barons" helping to shape the mobile ad industry since 2004. In 2011, Zaw was selected as one of ten entrepreneurs to serve on the United Nations Foundation's inaugural Global Entrepreneurs Council, where he is now an Emeritus Member of the board.
Steve is a Director of ApplePie Capital. He has over 20 years of engineering and general management experience at high-growth companies. Steve most recently served as VP of Technology at Ask.com, and as Head of Product & CTO at Indiegogo, where he grew the product organization from 7 to 20+ people and supported the company’s 300%+ revenue growth. In previous roles, Steve was Vice President of Product Development at Intuit, Sr Vice President at Sun Microsystems, and CEO and founder of Offroad Capital, the first company to do internet based private-equity auctions in US securities history. Steve is a graduate of Harvard College and Phillips Andover Academy.
Frank is a Director of ApplePie Capital and a founding partner of QED Investors. His investments are focused on financial services and financial technology companies that have data analytics foundations at their core. He is a Board member/observer at companies that include Credit Karma, Global Analytics, GreenSky Credit, Privlo, LendUp, Signifyd and Valen Analytics. Frank was one of the earliest analysts hired into Capital One and spent almost 13 years there helping build many of the company’s business units and operational areas. With two decades in consumer & small business finance, Frank is widely known in the industry as a Credit Risk and Portfolio Management Expert. His responsibilities have included turning around underperforming business units, building new businesses from concept to market leadership positions, overseeing the credit performance of Capital One as a whole, and creating a Student Lending company after leaving Capital One in 2005.
AdvisorsOur advisor team provides deep industry expertise across multiple disciplines.
Abby Adlerman has 25 years of executive leadership experience in board advisory, talent assessment/search and investment banking. She is the CEO and Founder of Boardspan Inc. a new integrated platform that helps boards of directors with composition and other pressing issues.
Abby has worked with multi-national organizations at the highest levels in complex and delicate matters. As a former Area Managing Director at Russell Reynolds, CEO of a PE-backed company and Managing Director at H&Q (now JP Morgan), Abby has successfully led organizations in the professional services, financial services, and consumer products & services industries.
Bret Lowell is a Partner with the Franchise & Distribution group at DLA Piper, a leading global business law firm. He is also the Founder of Franchisor Pipeline, a website focused on the buying and selling of franchisors.
Bret is an internationally recognized leader in franchise and distribution law. He is repeatedly recognized in the International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers, and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers. He is also regularly appears in The Best Lawyers in America, and as a Franchise Times "Legal Eagle".
In a career spanning over 30 years as an investment banker, entrepreneur and business executive, David Weir has advised dozens of companies and has been a leading innovator in using technology and the internet to expand investor access to private investment opportunities.
Dave spent the first 20 years of his career at JP Morgan where he was a Managing Director and Head of the Technology and Telecom Investment Banking Group. He also served as President and CEO of OffRoad Capital, helping pioneer the use of technology to facilitate private capital formation, and as CEO of SharesPost, helping them become the premier online marketplace for private company stock transactions.
Eric Stites is the CEO and Managing Director of Franchise Business Review, a national market research and consulting firm specializing in franchisee and customer satisfaction. Franchise Business Review has worked with over 800 of today’s leading franchise companies and franchisees organizations to continuously improve performance.
Eric developed the Franchisee Satisfaction Index (FSI), which has become an industry standard for measuring and benchmarking franchisee satisfaction. He is an active member of the International Franchise Association (IFA), serves on the IFA’s VetFran and Franchise Relations Committees, and speaks frequently on topics related to franchise relations and best practices in franchising.
Greg Tanner is Founder and Partner of the Tanner Franchise Group a boutique franchise sales development firm. Greg has a distinguished career in franchising as a franchisee, franchisor and development director having awarded more than 2,000 franchises during his 41 years in the business.
In 2008, Greg published TANNERIMS, his wisdom for prospective franchise owners. He is a dedicated member of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran committee. In 2012, Greg was named one of the Top 20 people to watch by Franchise Times magazine. He serves on the Franchise Source Brands International Advisory Board.
Kim Wright-Violich is co-founder and Managing Partner of Tideline Advisors, a boutique impact investment consulting firm. She was previously CEO of Schwab Charitable, a stand-alone nonprofit corporation founded by Charles Schwab & Co. where she grew the nonprofit from start-up to $3.5 billion in assets and over $5 billion in contributions.
Kim is recognized as an influential voice in the industry. She helped direct an effort which informed regulations defining and governing donor-advised funds, including the related provisions of the Pension Protection Act. Kim also teaches and lectures on impact investing and strategic philanthropy at Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley.
Matthew Le Merle
Matthew Le Merle is a Managing Partner of Keiretsu Capital and of Fifth Era. Keiretsu Capital is the co-investment fund of the world’s largest angel network and Fifth Era invests in and incubates early stage technology enabled companies, backing teams that understand internet, mobile, social, local, commerce and payments technologies and who are putting them together in new and ambitious ways.
Matthew is an expert on digitization having advised leading technology companies including eBay, Google, HP, Microsoft and PayPal on how to drive and benefit from emerging digital value propositions.
Nigel Carr is a pioneering, award-winning brand planning advocate. He has served as an advisory board member for entrepreneurial companies such as Nest (from startup to the sale of the company to Google for $3.2B), SharesPost and Swaggable. He has a special empathy for the energy and entrepreneurialism of franchisees, which he's experienced many times working with franchisors such as Blimpie, IHOP, Carvel and Hilton Hotels.
Nigel has won 11 EFFIE’s and has sat on the 4A’s Account Planning committee for nine years. He was also named to "2012 Power Players NYC: influencers & champions of digital entrepreneurs" by AlwaysOn Network.
Savneet is the founder of GBI, the first electronic platform that allows investors to buy, trade, and store physical precious metals. The company is now one of largest providers of gold and silver in the world. Savneet has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and Crain's 40 Under 40.
Prior to GBI, Savneet was an investment analyst at Chilton Investment Company, where he covered investments in the technology space. Before that, he worked in the investment banking department of Morgan Stanley. Savneet is a successful private investor, having invested in a number of leading fintech firms, and he helps run a $50MM direct lending fund focused on emerging marketplace lenders.
Steven L. Yeffa
Steven Yeffa is the EVP & CFO of Sky Zone, LLC, the global leader in the franchising of indoor trampoline parks. With 75 parks open in four countries, Sky Zone is ranked #152 on the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies list.
Previously, Steve was with Cartridge World as their CFO, starting in 2005, and was promoted to President of Cartridge World Americas in 2008 where he directed the global operations of the 1,600 store franchise operation. He has over 30 years of senior financial management leadership in franchising, financial services and asset management technologies.
Tim is the former Chief Risk Officer of GE Capital Franchise Finance who was responsible for the underwriting, portfolio management and risk policies of a $10B portfolio. He spent almost 30 years at GE Capital which, until its strategic divestment, was a leading franchise finance lender specializing in financing mid-market operators in the restaurant and hotel industries.
His career at GE Capital focused on commercial lending across multiple product types (corporate finance, equipment leasing, floorplanning and fleet management) and geographies (U.S./Europe/Australia). Tim retired from GE Capital in 2016 and currently is a consultant to the private equity firm, Towerbrook Capital.