Lisa Canning, Founder IAEOU


IAEOU was founded because of Lisa Canning‘s experience as a small business owner. Successfully self-employed since the age of 17, her first venture was a successful 12-million-dollar business in the music business with little to no investment except for the use of personal credit cards. After 4 years, when she did qualify for bank loans, she spent the next 15 being held back by banks who were risk-averse and uncomfortable with her continued 20%+ annual growth year after year.

Despite being recognized by Music Trades  Magazine in their annual Top 200-music-retailer list, an all male-dominated industry made it difficult to find mentors and advisors to help her business grow.

When Lisa was named Business Owner of The Year by The National Association of Women Business Owners in Chicago, Illinois, Lisa discovered that many founders had similar issues and that she was not so alone in her struggle to grow.

As she began to coach and mentor other founders across sectors, it became apparent how great the need was for early stage advisory support, access to capital and resources for founders poised for growth. IAEOU has been guided by these experiences to help founders ever since.

At its core, IAEOU is about helping those who have great potential but are the least supported.

We work with founders who, like our founder, have viable business models, have achieved some traction, but who have been offered few resources, struggle to access capital and who may, or may never, be investable by angels or venture capitalists.

Founded in 2006, IAEOU has a distinct history of structured experiments that have helped entrepreneurs innovate. Working across the public/private sectors these projects have included:

Launching a successfully globally well-read blog and facebook page for the creative sector while engaged in developing projects for rural communities through PNB-NAPEAO with Aspen Institute and Department of State.

Conceiving a 2-year education, mentorship and training incubator/accelerator program pilot program in partnership with faculty from The School of Industrial Design at the University of Illinois and The University of California-San Diego. Some of our results can be found in academic publications here.

Developing self-paced crowdfunding curriculum for Crowdfunding Capital Advisors for projects with World Bank in Kenya; The University of Anáhuac in Mexico in collaboration with The International Development Bank, Afico and NAFIN. 

Launching a project to support under-supported Female Founders who need access to resources and early-stage capital to grow. This video will explain more.

SCOTT GILLESPIE is a growth adviser, investor, and mentor to ventures (micro) around the globe; helping founders to transform their: ideas2products, products2sales, and ventures2businesses.  In parallel, Scott is a global leader in developing practical solutions for regional economic developers (macro) for T2 Venture Creation (T2VC).

Scott splits his time architecting regional startup ecosystems (macro) in: Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, USA, Malaysia, and Colombia. As Founder and Director of the Jigsaw Group, a business accelerator Scott and his team connect:  founders, talent, customers, markets, and channels; with global opportunities.  Jigsaw Group investment portfolio ranges from office fit out (UAE Compare), to new media (BTG Studios) and online education (co-founder IAEOU). In parallel, Jigsaw Group has delivered outcomes and programs, for a variety of entities. For universities, Jigsaw has: set up research centers, improved tech transfer offices, plus develop and deliver courses on innovation, entrepreneurship, risk management, and strategic marketing.  For startups, Jigsaw has implemented mentoring programs for new market entry, startup founders, women entrepreneurs, winners of innovation & entrepreneurship competitions, and angel investors. Jigsaw Group has a keen interest in supporting not-for-profits including Sydney Angels and Yacht Aid Global (YAG) which transports education and medical supplies to natural disaster areas using mega yachts.  Jigsaw Group delivers outcomes and programs to government agencies (from boot camps in Tanzania and Jakarta; to entrepreneurship training in Saudi and Dubai; to incubator and accelerator support across the GCC and Australia) as well as corporates (e.g. regional headquarter selection to first 100-day roadmaps after private equity’ investment).

Scott and the Jigsaw Group team also provide Gulf Region support to Crowdfund Capital Advisors, a for-profit advisory, research, and education organization dedicated to promoting access to capital via crowdfunding to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. Two Jigsaw Group’ initiatives of note include:  ExpatriateConnect, a mentoring and training program that supported export-motivated Australia ventures, by enrolling >2,000 candidate mentors to support Australian ventures ready for global growth; and the Center for the Study of Choice which grew from 3 academics into a tier 1 UTS research center with global partners (Motorola, Bose, Boeing,..).

Prior to the Jigsaw Group, Scott was the Executive  General Manager for Business Development of MFP  Development Corporation. His team coordinated over $25M in investments from major firms such as SGI, Telstra, Microsoft, Motorola, Stanford Research Institute, and Australian Commonwealth while leading the development of two technology parks (over 2,000 staff), establishing a regional incubator network, and hosting a global conference on Learning, Education and Training. Is his early career Scott served in a dozen roles for Unisys Corporation, a global technology services organization including as Chief Financial Officer for the South Pacific, industrial engineer, and Finance Director for Japan Operations.  Scott was born in the USA and been an expatriate for >25 years.

GREG SCOTT HOROWITT  is a Special Advisor of Innovation Initiatives at the University of California- San Diego and the co-founder and Managing Director of T2 Venture Capital, a seed and early stage venture fund and advisory services firm focused on high impact innovation in the technology and healthcare sectors around the world.  He is also the co-author of the bestselling book The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley which examines the dynamics and drivers of innovation ecosystems.

Mr. Horowitt is a Kauffman Fellow, a member of a selective program to groom leaders of the venture capital industry. He is an advisor, speaker, and consultant to development organizations including the World Bank, US State Department, OECD, USAID, Aspen Institute, and the National Academies of Science in addition to his work advising governments around the world on topics of economic development, venture capital formation, and innovation policy. Mr. Horowitt’s many media references include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Forbes, Fortune, New Scientist, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Mr. Horowitt is also the co-founder of Global CONNECT, a think tank based at the University of California, San Diego, focused on the development and growth of innovation clusters worldwide.

Mr. Horowitt currently serves as a board member of the CONNECT Foundation, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, and the UC San Diego Entrepreneurship Challenge.  He is an international mentor for the IBM Global Entrepreneur program, an advisor to the UCSD Rady School of Management and serves on the investment committee for The Rady Venture Fund.  He also serves as an advisor and mentor to the University of California’s Discovery Fellows Program; is a Senior Advisor to the Larta Institute;  Industrial Advisory Board member, Life Sciences-IT Global Institute; and the past Chairman of Project Inform, one of the nation’s leading HIV treatment information and advocacy organizations. Mr. Horowitt is also the co-founder of Global Connect, a think tank based at the University of California, San Diego, focused on the development and growth of innovation cluster worldwide.

8f989f2e3d46a9c86c27c25520c68ea4_wi8v_i6biEDWARD L ABEYTA Ph.D. is Director Pre-collegiate and Career Preparation Programs & Assistant Dean for Community Engagement at UC San Diego (UCSD) Extension. Prior to joining UCSD Extension in 1995, Edward began his service at UCSD as a counselor for the Early Academic Outreach Program serving underrepresented students in San Diego high schools and later assumed the role of Registrar and Director of Academic Services at UC San Diego Extension. Dr. Abeyta has a B.A. from the University of New Mexico, an M.A. from the University of San Diego and his Ph.D. in Post Secondary Adult Education from Capella University. Edward has been recognized from UCSD and the UC Office of the President for his involvement in staff diversity and development initiatives. In 2008 Edward was selected to a two-year term as the Staff Advisor to The Regents where he served on the UC Diversity Commission, Post-retirement Task Force, and The Regents UC Commission on the Future.

JASON BEST as co-founder and principal of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA), co-authored the crowdfund investing framework used in the JOBS Act to legalize equity and debt-based crowdfunding in the USA. He has provided congressional testimony on crowdfunding and was honored to attend the White House ceremony when President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law on April 5, 2012. Jason co-founded the crowdfunding industry trade group that works with the Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA as they create the rules for crowdfund investing. Jason also works with angel groups, PE/VC firms as well as governments and NGOs, including The World Bank, to understand the crowdfunding ecosystem and create successful crowdfund investing strategies. He was instrumental in the successful effort to have CCA selected by the US State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program as a Key Partner.

Jason has spoken at The White House, South by Southwest, TEDx, the World Bank’s Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship and the Angel Capital Association. He is the co-author of the Crowdfund Investing for Dummies book (published by Wiley), a contributor to TechCrunch and Venture Beat and has appeared in Fast Company, Bloomberg Markets and on CNN. ranked Jason as one of the 10 most influential people in crowdfunding.

Jason co-founded the University of California, Berkeley ‘Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance’ and is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UC Berkeley’s ‘Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.’ Prior to his work in crowdfund investing, Jason was a successful healthcare technology entrepreneur with 2 companies in San Francisco, California. Most recently, he was on the executive leadership team of Kinnser Software that was ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US, for two consecutive years. He earned his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the world’s top-ranked international MBA program.

SHERWOOD NEISS a principal of Crowdfund Capital Advisors has a strong track record of building and leading successful companies as a chief financial officer. FLAVORx, Inc., a company Mr. Neiss co-founded, won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award, as well as the Inc. 500 award three years in a row. Mr. Neiss is currently in the forefront of the crowdfunding industry, as the co-founder of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (“CCA”). CCA is a consulting firm serving certain governments and multilateral organizations including the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the governments of Malaysia, Israel, Chile, Mexico, the UAE and Croatia, professional investors, crowdfunding professionals, and the entrepreneurial community. He currently serves as the co-founder for the Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance program through the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

As a serial entrepreneur and investor during the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Neiss saw a need for a change in outdated securities laws. Mr. Neiss co-authored the “Crowdfunding Exemption Framework” which became the basis of Title III of the JOBS Act to legalize the “equity-based” and “lending-based” crowdfunding. He and his co-authors worked closely with the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass crowdfunding legislation. He was honored to attend the White House ceremony when President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law in the Rose Garden on April 5, 2012. He has testified three times before the U.S. Congress (both House and Senate) and presented at the SEC and FINRA.

CCA has worked in over 35 countries on six continents with investors, entrepreneurs, multi-lateral organizations and governments regarding infrastructure, regulatory and capacity building projects to reduce early-stage finance challenges and effectively utilize crowdfunding to create successful ventures, innovation, and jobs. Mr. Neiss co-authored the World Bank’s research report “Crowdfunding’s Potential for the Developing World” and is also the co-author of “Crowdfund Investing for Dummies” published by Wiley & Son’s and contributed a chapter for “Crowdfunding – A Guide to Raising Capital on the Internet” published by Bloomberg.

Mr. Neiss serves on the advisory boards of several crowdfunding companies. He is a co-founder and former board member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association. He is also a co-founder of the Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates. In 2012, Mr. Neiss was selected as a recipient of the Crowdfunding Visionary Award and received special recognition at the 2012 Fortune Magazine Leadership Conference. In a January 2014 article, VentureBeat listed Mr. Neiss as one of the most influential thought leaders in crowdfunding.

An avid public speaker, Mr. Neiss speaks at universities and seminars around the world discussing crowdfund investing, entrepreneurship and how to build successful companies.  Some of Mr. Neiss’s speaking engagements have included: South by Southwest, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, the World Bank InfoDev Funder’s Meeting in Kenya, MIT Entrepreneur Summit in Istanbul, Amplify Festival in Sydney, Harvard Business School, the U.S. Treasury, the United Nations Global Compact Leader’s Summit, the Angel Capital Association, and the World Economic Forum.

In June 2013, Entrepreneur Magazine featured CCA in its Innovator’s Series. Mr. Neiss has appeared on Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC Asia. He has also been interviewed by Fast Company, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Politico, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal. He is a contributor to TechCrunch and VentureBeat. He holds an MBA in International Finance.