Chief Executive Officer
Ware Sykes is the CEO of NoWait, the first mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, which boasts thousands of restaurants and millions of consumers in its network. Last year, NoWait launched the first-of-its-kind, anti-reservation guest app for consumers, which improves the dining experience by giving back the most important thing in peoples’ lives – their time. NoWait’s technology is a win-win for the restaurant industry.
Throughout his career, Ware has generated dramatic growth in technology-enabled networks. Leveraging his experience, NoWait has grown exponentially. In 2014, NoWait raised $10 million in Series B funding and was awarded “Startup of the Year” in Pittsburgh.
Ware has been featured by Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, USA Today, FOX Business Live, and Reuters. Additionally, he has been a speaker at Carnegie Mellon University and at the annual Restaurant Leadership Conference as a member of its Advisory Council, which is composed of industry pioneers who help shape the direction the restaurant industry is heading. Other roles have included serving as a mentor and competition-judge, respectively, for startup accelerator AlphaLab and Columbia Business School. Previously, Ware was an executive at TheLadders, the online and mobile job-matching service, where he was responsible for building multiple business lines.
Ware holds an MBA in finance and entrepreneurial studies from Columbia Business School and a BA in economics from Hamilton College.
Chief Technology Officer
Dean Thompson is the Chief Technology Officer of NoWait, the first mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, which boasts thousands of restaurants and millions of consumers in its network. He is responsible for advancing the company’s technology and strengthening its technology team.
A seasoned entrepreneur with expertise in software startups, recommendation systems, architectural leadership, adaptive computation, predictive modeling, and transaction-processing systems. Dean most recently, served as Director of Engineering and, then, Principal Architect at LinkedIn. His responsibilities ranged from managing the development of LinkedIn's first successful news product, LinkedIn Today, to leading the engineering for the "LinkedIn for Volunteers" platform.
During his nearly 30-year career, Dean has been a founder or leader for numerous Pittsburgh-based startups, including mSpoke (acquired by LinkedIn), Transarc (acquired by IBM); e-Transport (acquired by Descartes); Premier Health Exchange (acquired by Medibuy); and Medebiz (merged with Moai Technologies). In addition, he spent five years as Principal Software Engineer at MAYA Design Group, a Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary product-design firm. Presently, he serves as a Board Member of Astrobotic Technology, Inc., which aims to win the Google Lunar X Prize by completing the first commercial lunar landing in 2015.
Dean holds a B.S. in Applied Math and Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also worked as a Senior Research Programmer in the Computer Science Department for several years.
Acting Chief Financial Officer
John McCarthy has more than 20 years' experience in financial management for startups and publicly traded companies. His expertise includes financial planning & analysis, restructurings & turnarounds, M&A, capital raising, and corporate development, as well as leading transformation in challenging situations.
Over the past 10 years, John has provided strategic CFO/COO services on a full-time and interim basis for VC- and private equity-backed technology startups including Etsy, Makerbot, Behance, Dashlane, Ghostery, and 20x200.com. Most recently, he joined NoWait as Acting Chief Financial Officer.
Previously, John held several senior positions, including acting CFO and SVP, Sales & Corporate Development, for Globix Corporation, a hosting and managed-services provider, during its successful restructuring through bankruptcy. Prior to Globix, he held financial and general management positions with Young & Rubicam, United Technologies, and LaunchCenter 39 (LC39), New York's full-service incubator for startups.
John holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in international studies from Wharton's Lauder Institute, and a BA from Connecticut College in Asian Studies. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.
Vice President of Enterprise Sales
Jim Duddy is the Vice President of Enterprise Sales for NoWait, the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, which he joined in 2014. He is responsible for growing the number of subscribing restaurants nationwide and spearheading localized sales efforts.
Prior to NoWait, Jim worked with several early-stage companies in various sales- leadership roles. Most recently, he was the Senior Vice President of Sales for NYC-based Jibe, which provides corporate talent-acquisition teams a cloud-based, recruitment- marketing platform to transform hiring and improve the candidate experience. Before Jibe, Jim worked for six years at the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn – both pre-and post-IPO – serving as Director of Sales in the Sales Solutions and Search & Staffing divisions.
Jim started his career working for Allegis Group, the largest privately held staffing company in the United States, where he discovered his passion for building high- performance sales organizations while working at high-growth companies including TEKsystems and Mentor 4.
Jim holds a B.S. from Seton Hall University and also completed the Wharton Executive Leadership course, "Leading an Effective Sales Organization."
Vice President of Operations
Adam Gerson is the Vice President of Operations for NoWait, the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, which he joined in 2014. He is responsible for building out operations to help support company growth.
Prior to NoWait, Adam was General Manager, New York City, for Hailo, a global technology platform that matches taxi and black-car drivers with passengers through its mobile applications. Additionally, he led operations for another NYC-based startup, Efficiency 2.0 (acquired by C3 Energy), which offers consumers and small businesses personalized advice, tools to help track progress, and rewards for reducing their energy consumption.
Before becoming an operations leader for technology startups, Adam was a management consultant for Katzenbach Partners (acquired by Booz & Co.), serving clients on strategy and organization priorities, as well as operations. Also, he served on a special task force at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that created and delivered a national broadband plan to Congress in 2010. Earlier in his career, Adam provided consulting and financing services to social entrepreneurs, globally, through his work at New Sector Alliance and Ashoka.
Adam holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a BA from Harvard University.
Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer
Robb Myer is a Board Member of NoWait, which he founded in 2010. A frequent speaker at Carnegie Mellon University, his alma mater, he is an active advisor to emerging start-ups at AlphaLab and Startup Weekend. Additionally, he has authored two patent-pending innovations.
Previously, Robb spearheaded product for EBDS, an employee-benefits and consumer-health subsidiary of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. In this role, he helped the CEO raise $10 million to re-focus the company on emerging consumer-focused, health-spending accounts, with its products becoming the company's fasting-growing, highest-margin offerings. Earlier in his career, Robb worked as an application engineer, program manager and venture-investment associate at Agilent Technologies in Palo Alto, CA, as well as a communication engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, FL.
Robb holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business and a BS in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida. Additionally, he has earned a PMP certification and LEAN 6 Sigma Green Belt.
Sean Ammirati is an entrepreneur with experience building business both in the media and software industries. As ReadWriteWeb's COO over the last two years, he helped the publication develop into one of the most influential sites on the Internet about the future of technology and innovation. In December 2011, recognizing the influential and strong business, the company was acquired by SAY Media.
Prior to ReadWriteWeb, Sean was Co-founder and CEO of mSpoke which was the first acquisition of LinkedIn.
Sean remains an active advisor to a number of Pittsburgh startups and an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University.
A native of Cincinnati, Chris built his career investing in emerging technology and healthcare companies. Prior to founding Drive Capital Chris was a partner at Sequoia Capital for 6 years, and before that an investor with Technology Crossover Ventures. His first job out of school was on the professional squash circuit where he quickly learned he was better suited to work with entrepreneurs.
Senior Strategist, PR & Communications
Lisa Hagendorf is a top-level communications executive with nearly two decades of experience, working with iconic global brands, and specializing in small start-up and more established tech companies. Her brand roster includes in-house leadership positions at TheLadders, Playboy, and Zinio, and her clientele at Edelman includes Netflix. In 2013, Lisa founded her own agency, Centerpiece Public Relations, providing expertise on communications strategies, media relations, and brand positioning. She offers her clients a unique combination of communications expertise, media know-how, and boundless enthusiasm.
Previously, Lisa was the Vice President of Public Relations at TheLadders, a leading online and mobile job-matching service for career-driven professionals, where she provided executive leadership on PR, corporate communications, and events. Prior to TheLadders, Lisa served as Director of Corporate Communications for U.S. magazine publisher Hachette Filipacchi (until it was acquired by Hearst), and then seamlessly transitioned to its parent company’s mobile-content division, Cellfish Media. Additionally, she was Vice President of Public Relations for Zinio, the world's largest publisher of digital magazines.
From 2003-2008, Lisa was the Director of Public Relations for digital media and global licensing at Playboy Enterprises, where she spearheaded publicity for Playboy.com and Playboy Mobile, as well as Playboy-branded products, respectively. During this time, she was based in the UK for two years, where she launched the first London office. Lisa started her career at Edelman, where she worked in the consumer groups in both New York and San Francisco, managing the Netflix account.
Lisa earned a BA in English from Penn State University and currently lives in New York City.