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2018 VAC Nominations - Start Ups

2018 Vendor Advisory Council Nominations - Start Up Elections

Thank you to all of the candidates that are participating in this election. There are currently five Vendor Advisory Council positions open for the 2018 election. Below, review each candidate's biography, history with HTNG and goals for their term on the Council.

Starting this election cycle, the VAC has decided to add a dedicated seat from the growing HTNG Startup Community. HTNG Startup members will nominate and elect within their own community concurrently with the Corporate, Platinum and Consultant member process. 

Dave Berger, Founder and CEO, Volara

Bio: David Berger is the Founder and CEO of Volara - the voice hub for the hospitality industry. Volara is building voice interfaces for leading hotel technologies, while providing hotels the software to manage conversations with their guests at scale. David is a serial entrepreneur, early Bitcoiner, global executive, and recovering lawyer. He is a graduate of Emory University and the NYU School of Law. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: David has served as co-chair of the HTNG Voice Standards Working Group and has been an active participant in HTNG. In doing so, he has worked to ensure that the guest experience is optimized, and hotel's business goals are achieved.

Why do you wish to serve? I would like to serve on the VAC to support a level and collaborative environment between hotels and their vendors. The vendors have significant expertise that can benefit the hotels. The hotels are closest to the end customers and their insight can benefit the vendors. Collaboration is the best path to achieving success for both vendors and hotels.

Ted Helvey, CEO, Angie Hospitality

Bio: Ted Helvey is CEO of Angie Hospitality, the developer of Angie, the world’s only 24-hour interactive guest room assistant, Wi-Fi and room control technology solution built just for the hospitality environment. The winner of HTNG’s 2017 TechOvation Award, Angie features both multilingual voice command technology and a high-resolution touch screen interface that is easy for guests to access, use and understand.

A technology innovator with over three decades of demonstrated expertise and industry experience, Helvey continuously seeks out new ways to help hotels and resorts improve guest satisfaction, maximize operational efficiencies and increase revenue. He sees voice as the optimal universal interface with the unique potential to streamline guest-facing services and back-of-house operations in this increasingly interconnected world.

Prior to founding Angie Hospitality and beginning product development in 2015, Helvey served as the CEO of iBAHN, a global provider of hospitality technology services to some of the hotel industry’s leading global brands. While there, he was responsible for delivering internet-based services and around-the-clock support to millions of guests in over 60 countries around the world. A graduate of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, Helvey is based in California’s Silicon Valley.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: Ted Helvey first began his participation with HTNG in 2013 when he was serving as CEO of iBAHN. After leaving iBAHN to pursue other industry-related endeavors and eventually investing into the developmental stages of Angie Hospitality, he joined HTNG as a consultant member. Through this membership, he was able to attend all regional conferences, where he increased his industry knowledge and developed new relationships from each conference he attended. Helvey realized the importance of HTNG’s conferences and membership for the networking and business growth opportunities that were consistently available at each event.

Helvey supports HTNG through an industry partnership with Angie Hospitality, which serves as a corporate member and was named the 2017 TechOvation Award Winner at 2017 HT-NEXT in Orlando. Serving as founder and CEO of Angie Hospitality, Helvey’s current membership has allowed him to participate in several workgroups and he is considered a founding member of the IoT workgroup, a workgroup that was designed to inform hoteliers of opportunities and benefits IoT technologies can bring to the hospitality industry. He was also invited by HTNG to serve as a panelist at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Conference and the 2017 North American Insight Summit where he educated conference attendees on the evolution and benefits of voice-activated devices in the hotel industry. In 2018, Angie Hospitality served as a Gold Sponsor for 2018 HT-NEXT.

Why do you wish to serve? If selected to serve on the Vendor Advisory Council, Helvey plans to assist HTNG in efficiently serving its IT executive members through the use of effective guidance tactics to its current vendor members. He believes the Vendor Advisory Council is a truly beneficial tool to HTNG’s vendor members, where he hopes to assist them in ensuring that they consistently have the tools needed to effectively serve their current or potential partners. Helvey looks forward to gaining insight from the council and board veterans and is confident in his ability to bring a meaningful perspective to the group with his extensive experience in the hospitality technology industry as former CEO of a major global technology provider and now as CEO of Angie Hospitality. This experience gives him a truly unique perspective on the business of being a hospitality technology vendor that Helvey hopes to bring to the council.

Thomas Hempel, Director of Product Management, TraknProtect

Bio: Thomas Hempel is a visionary, collaborator and industry thought leader with a passion for disruptive technology, specifically cloud-based software solutions that deliver new unique business value. As Director of Product Management at TraknProtect, he leads product direction and engineering for the leading provider of Panic Buttons and Asset Tracking systems designed specifically for hotel industry.

Tom brings his high-energy and years of vast experience leading sales and product teams at Sphere Communications, and NEC where he gained valuable insight into the hospitality industry. Tom’s avid quest is to provide solutions engineered with simplicity, vital to the hospitality industry which deliver positive change, and he looks forward to sharing and collaborating with his peers.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: TraknProtect has been a member of the Hospitality Technology Next Generation for two years now. We have actively held this position by being a part of workgroups, attended meetings, and attended conferences. We hope to further this involvement through holding a leadership role on the Vendor Advisory Council.

TraknProtect gave one of the startup pitches at HTNG Insight Summit North America in September of 2017. We were also one of the startup companies to pitch at HT Next last year. Additionally, we been involved in the Internet of Things workgroup as well as the Emergency Response workgroup. TraknProtect is involved in various different areas of the HTNG community and we hope to continue this involvement in new ways such as taking on more leadership roles as well as playing a larger role in the organization.

Why do you wish to serve? Tom hopes to aid the HTNG Startup community by providing guidance and feedback he has accumulated from years of experience working in the industry. As a technology innovator he hopes to provide invaluable advice and participation as a part of the Vendor Advisory Council. Working for TraknProtect has enabled Tom to transfer his consulting, business and technology skills to a startup environment where he is able to collaborate and develop new ideas. His participation on the Vendor Advisory Council would allow him to give a well-rounded perspective and past experience to help those both a part of a startup or a well-developed company and address their concerns and needs.

Matt Kowalczyk, President, MediaFolio Technologies

Bio: Matt Kowalczyk is an accomplished Senior Executive, Board Member, and Thought Leader with more than 25 years of success in business development, software engineering, mobile strategy, hospitality technology, cyber security, and wine software. His broad areas of expertise include start-up acceleration, team building, creating culture, managing P&L, raising capital, sales, product vision, optimizing monetization strategies, talent acquisition, mobile developing, cyber security, fundraising, communication, risk management, and networking. Matt is currently the President of MediaFolio Technologies in Seattle, WA.

Among his many achievements, Matt was part of the founding team that created the tablet PC and pitched it to Bill Gates; innovated a best-selling iPhone app for wine; he has founded seven start-ups, two of which had significant exits. In addition, Matt created Climb for Kids, a Nonprofit that within two years raised large funds and donated to those in need. Lastly, Matt has been recruited heavily to run or co-run other organizations, such as Galavantier (COO), Leviathan Security Technologies (CEO), React Mobile (CTO) and finally Mediafolio Technologies (President).

Matt has served on the Board of Directors for React Mobile, More Perfect Union, and Media Folio. He holds a Patent for image or pictographic based computer login systems.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: As a new HTNG member, Matt’s key goals with HTNG are that he can network and help promote, contribute, and grow a more robust technology ecosystem within the hospitality industry as a whole. In the ever changing landscaping of the tech world, new ideas and constant collaboration amongst colleagues and partners are crucial to elevate the role that technology plays in hospitality - making it better, faster, and smarter. And as the President of MediaFolio Technologies, he’d like to draw from the collaboration of ideas that he and the other members share to make MediaFolio a key contributor to HTNG and the Hospitality industry.

With the many technology systems that are used in hospitality, the ability to operate seamlessly with one another is paramount to the continued growth and success of the Hospitality space. MediaFolio’s key product, SingleStep, is a technology platform that uses data from all tech systems within hospitality to strengthen it’s context engine.Matt and the rest of us at MediaFolio Technologies hope that our involvement with HTNG sharpens our knowledge of the different systems within hospitality, while also sharing with others what we think will be a key product in hospitality training in the future.

Through networking, thought leadership, and his vast experience in the different areas of technology, Matt feels like HTNG is a great place to contribute meaningful ideas and collaborate with other experts in the tech field to elevate not only MediaFolio’s standing in hospitality but also share with others the experiences he has accumulated through his vast experience in the tech space.

Why do you wish to serve? Matt is a startup veteran whom has built successful technology companies for various vertical markets – eleven startups to date, with two significant exits. His varied history is an asset which can be leveraged to provide a unique perspective to other startups in the workgroup. In his role as President, he is directing a team to retool the $1 billion hospitality training market. Their platform, called SingleStep, is an intelligent training platform that uses context to deliver timely, incremental content to a hospitality workforce – so employees can provide more consistent, on-brand services while spending less time learning directly from supervisors.

Madhu Madhusudhanan, CTO, Proxce, Inc.

Bio: As a founder, Madhu is an engineer, designer and inventor who is responsible for all things tech. As an entrepreneur with 12 years of deep tech experiences, Madhu is setting up building blocks for convergence of online world with physical space, he has 1 Provisional Patent, 3 in the works, previously at IBM, he was product guru for large scale enterprise Identity Mgmt Interfaces.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: Interim Chair – Frictionless Check-In

Why do you wish to serve? Startups are the innovation hubs and, in many cases, work as the “skunkworks” labs for the forerunners of technologies and use cases which are yet to find mainstream adoption. Having worked for blue chips like IBM and then built Proxce, Madhu wants to leverage this experience in helping HTNG lookout for similar upcoming trends and technologies, which have mainstream impact. This will be especially helpful for conservative industries like hospitality.

This is will also be a good opportunity for Madhu to connect with the senior leadership inside HTNG to understand how they view and shape the evolution of the hospitality and travel sector.

Kris Nickel, Director of Product Sales and Marketing, Diogras

Bio: Kris has spent over 8 years in technology and software sales with the last 5 years having a primary focus in the Hospitality Industry. Kris joined Diogras as Director of Product Sales and Marketing in 2017 to launch a new product to the market that brings valet into the digital age; Vark – The Smartest Way to Valet. Kris currently leads the Sales and Marketing team which is tasked with customer acquisition, customer onboarding and strategic partnerships. Before joining Diogras to launch Vark, Kris was responsible for business development at a digital agency that specialized in creating innovative experiences for key verticals like hospitality, automotive, and retail. Prior to working at the agency Kris joined the leading cloud platform for hotel room inventory and rate management. Kris holds a BS in Business Management from Liberty University. Kris lives with his wife and two young children in Fort Worth, Texas.

History with HTNG and/or Goals: Diogras and Vark joined HTNG last year because HTNG is a premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry and it was logical for us to be a part of the organization to have access to the thought leadership and premium hospitality brands, as well as the ability to collaborate and partner with other technology vendors. HTNG will help us gain more insight and exposure to the necessary affiliates that will ensure our mutual success as we begin to launch a new product to the hospitality industry.

Why do you wish to serve? I’m interested in serving on the council as a representative of the HTNG Startup community for two reasons. There are many companies out there with great products that could prove very valuable to big brands but struggle to gain their attention. With HTNG offering a seat on the Vendor Advisory Council to a startup it’s a huge opportunity for someone in the startup community to help advocate for other startups. I also believe that startups should not be limited to just technology but could also include new ways or processes of doing things or even food or product innovation. In addition to being an advocate for startups I, of course, want drive more interest and exposure for my own company as we continue to grow.