Our Advisors

At Great Oaks, we have developed relationships with some of the most successful and influential people in technology startups. We are proud to work with brilliant minds who have shaped the companies of today, and grateful that they help us identify and advise the companies of tomorrow.

Bradford Benz

Managing Partner of Benz Capital

Bradford Benz is the Managing Partner of Benz Capital and founder of RedShift Group, an advisory and venture capital firm focused on helping companies rapidly scale their businesses. Brad has advised numerous companies, including Pandora Media, Udemy and Answers.com. Prior to founding RSG, Brad was Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for Aptimus, an ad network that he sold to Apollo Group in 2007. He was also the first associate at Robertson Stephens/Crosslink Capital where he focused on sourcing digital media and education companies. Three out of five of his investments at Crosslink achieved successful IPOs, including Saba Software, Eloquent and OnDisplay.  Since 2011, Brad has served as a Senior Advisor for TPG Growth and TPG Rise Fund, a top global private equity firm with over $85 billion under management. During his tenure at TPG, Brad sourced deals, conducted due diligence on potential investments, advised several of TPG’s portfolio companies, and helped architect InStride, a global marketplace that enables employees to earn their degree in a cost effective manner. Brad earned his MBA from University of Michigan and an AB degree from Princeton University.

Dan Reich

CEO & Co-Founder at Troops

Dan is currently the CEO and co-founder of Troops, a Great Oaks backed company building a slackbot for sales team.

Dan has started and been involved with companies that have collectively raised over $100M in venture capital and have exited for close to $1B in M&A, including companies like Tula (founder), Spinback (founder) as well as Buddy Media and Lotame. He is also a contributing writer to Forbes, advisor and investor to other companies.

Dan holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. When he is not working, he is most likely traveling, playing golf, or volunteering (on a snowboard) at Mount Snow, VT as a member of their Ski Patrol and Rescue team.

James Gutierrez

CEO & Co-Founder, Insikt Inc.

James is a leading social entrepreneur and innovator in lending and financial technology. Prior to Insikt, James founded and was CEO of Oportun (formerly Progreso Financiero), the leading provider of responsible, unsecured loans to Hispanics in the US that recently surpassed $1.5 billion in loans and over half a million borrowers since its founding. James has served on Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council and the Centennial Advisory Committee, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on financial services innovation. James also co-authored and helped pass two federal and state laws to help increase the availability of safe and affordable small dollar loans. In 2010, BusinessWeek selected James as one of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs and in 2012, Goldman Sachs named James one of America’s top 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs. James is a founding partner of Insikt Ventures, an early stage fund with investments in OnDeck Capital, Listo!, and Blend Labs. James was also an early investor in many leading technology companies including Trulia, OkCupid, StubHub, and Symphony Commerce. James graduated with a BA in Economics from Yale University and a MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

John Philosophos


John is a Partner at Great Oaks Venture Capital. He joined the team in 2012 and is focused on managing the firm’s activities in the Midwest. Previously, he was Co-founder and Managing Partner at Wellspring Capital Advisors, a registered investment advisor and was an executive at Credit Suisse First Boston and William Blair and Company.

John holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John has one child. When not working or parenting, he s likely to be in the gym, snowboarding, cycling, cooking or eco-travelling.

Ken Landis

Founder Landis Capital, LLC & Co-Founder Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Ken Landis has been an entrepreneur, private investor and executive in the cosmetics, accessory and fashion industries for over twenty years. He currently has investments in and serves on the board of directors of a variety of early stage consumer product and internet companies. Previously, Mr. Landis was an investor and served as COO of Accessory Network Group, a leading designer and manufacturer of a broad range of brand name and licensed accessories across all distribution channels.. Prior to this, Mr. Landis co-founded Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of a full line of luxury cosmetic products which was acquired by The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.. The Bobbi Brown cosmetics line is now sold by select retailers in more than 50 countries and territories.

Before founding Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Mr. Landis served as CEO of Benetton Cosmetics Corp., a subsidiary of Benetton Group SpA with operations in 55 countries. He also served as Corporate Treasurer of IMS Health, Inc., a public provider of information solutions to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries with operations in 100 countries. Mr. Landis began his career as a member of the audit and tax departments of Arthur Andersen & Co.

Mr. Landis holds a B.S. in Accounting from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and an MBA in Finance from New York University. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Nat Turner

CEO & Founder of Invite Media, Flatiron Health

Nat is Co-Founder and CEO of Flatiron Health. Nat was also a Co-Founder of Invite Media and served as its CEO from inception in 2007 until its sale to Google in 2010. Invite Media is an advertising technology company based in NYC. Invite built the industry’s first enterprise advertising platform for buying and optimizing online media in real-time. Prior to Invite Media, Nat started numerous internet companies and also worked at Say Media and First Round Capital. An active angel investor, Nat has invested in over 30 technology startups throughout the country. Nat earned a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Economics, Entrepreneurship and Marketing from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pau Sabria

CEO & Founder of Olapic

Pau Sabria is co-founder and CEO of Olapic, a company that helps brands and retailers increase sales by integrating customer photos and videos into the shopping experience. Pau studied Electrical Engineering at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and graduated with a thesis in distributed video coding at Purdue University, Indiana. After graduating, Pau worked for 3 years in Management Consulting at The Boston Consulting Group. Pau left BCG to attend business school and co-founded Olapic while he was still a student in business school. Pau holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and lives and works in New York, NY.

Randall Burkert

Managing Partner Company at Mercer + Bond Capital

Randall Burkert is the Managing Partner and a Co-Founder of Mercer + Bond Capital, Merchant Bankers, a Quadrant Company transacting in lower middle markets focused on direct investments by family office and significant net worth investors. Prior to M+B, Burkert spent five years in wealth management working with family offices and significant net worth investors as a Managing Director for The Northern Trust Company and Hirtle, Callaghan & Co. Previously, he was at Goldman Sachs for twenty years as a Managing Director in the Securities Division. One of the original members of the Goldman Sachs Trust Company, he then served on the institutional sales force, eventually co-founding and heading the Global Institutional Group. Prior to his tenure at Goldman Sachs, Burkert earned his CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He was an NBA draft choice and played basketball professionally overseas. Burkert earned his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and attended Drexel University as an undergraduate where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees. He is also currently serving on the board of the Abingdon Theatre Company of New York City.

Ron Gutman

CEO & Founder of HealthTap

Ron Gutman is the Founder & CEO of Health Tap. Ron is also an Avid Public Speaker and Writer, frequently presenting at health and technology conferences (such as TED, SXSW and Health 2.0) and contributing pieces about technology, health and smiling in leading publications (such as Forbes, the Huffington Post, and TEDBooks). Ron serves as the Curator of TEDx Silicon Valley. Prior to founding HealthTap, Ron was the Founder & CEO of a leading online consumer health 2.0 company that developed the world’s largest community of independent health writers and became one of the largest health sites on the Internet, serving more than 100 million users to date (acquired in early 2009). Ron is a graduate of Stanford University, and also holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Sami Inkinen

Co-Founder of Trulia, Virta Health

Sami is CEO & Co-Founder of Virta Health as well as the co-founder of Trulia. He is a physicist by training and started his career at a nuclear power plant in his native Finland. Despite a science background and solid work experience at Microsoft, Nokia and McKinsey & Company, Sami’s true passion is building category-leading technology companies. His first company, Matchem, was a wireless software provider that allowed broadcasters to deliver interactive programming to audiences in Europe and Asia via innovative cell phone technology. Sami is an avid endurance athlete and a world champion triathlete in his age group. He applies the same passion he has for sports to new technology and the creation of user-friendly innovations. Sami holds a Master’s degree in Engineering Physics from Helsinki University of Technology and an M.B.A. from Stanford University

Zachary Weinberg

Co-Founder of Invite Media, Flatiron Health

Zach Weinberg is the Co-Founder, President and COO of Invite Media, an advertising technology company that operates Bid Manager, the first universal buying platform for display media. Integrated across every ad exchange, the Bid Manager platform is used by more than 100 agencies and advertisers to help them execute and optimize online display campaigns in real-time. Invite Media was acquired by Google in June 2010. He co-founded Invite Media in 2007 during his junior year of college. In 2009, along with his co-founders, Mr. Weinberg was named on Business Week’s list of Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25. In 2010, along with his co-founder Nat Turner, he was named a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the NY Metro area. Zach holds a degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He attended Wharton from 2004 to 2008, concentrating in management and entrepreneurship.