Details on Matt's career (in the awkward third-person form of a conference bio).
Public Policy: Research & Publication
Matt began his career in the policy-realm, focusing on international political economy, foreign/security policy, and national competitiveness. Conducting research on the Fuerzas Armas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC), Matt lived in South America with a new sort of revolutionary: a digital native who used Facebook to coordinate a global protest— in 31 capital cities on every continent— all of which was accomplished in less than a month. This was “One Million Voices” against the FARC, and a precursor to the beautiful movements that transformed the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring. Matt was captivated by the possibilities: How does this change the relationship between polities and peoples? Is this the future of collective action, political voice, revolution? Is this Democracy 2.0?
Venture Investing & Incubating New Business
Fascinated by these new media and technologies, and the wide-ranging implications, Matt turned his focus to bringing innovative ideas to the marketplace. With the support of regional business leaders, Matt led the development of a new venture capital fund, The Knitting Factory. Matt focused on all aspects of the business, from sourcing deals and vetting investment opportunities to supporting portfolio companies in subsequent financing rounds. For Matt, the most fulfilling aspect of this role was championing innovators with a mission and helping them to realize their vision.
Continuing his focus on enabling entrepreneurs to maximize their potential and impact, Matt served as Managing Director of 7wire Ventures, a Chicago-based firm that starts, incubates, and invests growth-capital in businesses addressing the critical issue-areas of health, education, and energy. The name “7wire” comes from a story that Matt views to exemplify the best of entrepreneurship: Cyrus Westfield, an 19th century entrepreneur with incredible fortitude, used just 7 copper wires to create the transatlantic cable. In a time when communications would take three months to sail across the ocean, these 7 wires moved ideas at a rate of 8 words per minute, catalyzing the transformation to near instantaneous communication across the globe. This sort of deceptive simplicity that leads to world-changing innovation is precisely the goal of 7wire Ventures.
Start-up Operations & Growth
During his tenure at 7wire, Matt had the privilege of contributing to the development of a variety of businesses, including more unique ventures, like Ignite Glass Studios.
Matt then co-founded digedu to provide digital education technologies for K-12 schools. As a leader in educational innovation, Matt dedicated himself to building a community of visionary educators who would transform how we prepare our students. More than simply replacing textbooks with etextbooks, digedu served as a trusted partner for schools and districts navigating the challenges of meaningfully incorporating technology into the classroom. The Company continues to catalyze the transition from textbooks to technology, now under the banner Modern Teacher, after a successful merger in 2015.
How to Human
Supporting a loved one during 'end of life care' catalyzed a discovery process into "how to human." Matt learned the system is rigged against us-- from cheap food and comfortable lifestyles to convenient pills and impenetrable diagnoses. He's now on a journey to demystify "health" through an accessible way of living that maximizes each human's potential and fulfillment. The aim is to organize an evidence-based way of living, blending modern science and ancient philosophies, to optimize our human experience and ability to give back. More than extending lifespan, Matt intends to increase the healthspan and the impact of each life.
We still have a lot to accomplish in realizing a vision of health, happiness, and fulfillment for every human. . . To learn more about my current projects, to collaborate, or just to connect, please reach out.
Still looking for more? Below are ideas, products, and companies of which I'm particularly proud.
"butterflies"mirrorized steel armiture + LED lights + silk
ignite glass studios + event hall
waterfall desk salvaged steel
dining chairsforged steel+red mahogany
nightstandssteel rounds+cherry wood
standing desk salvaged steel rods+white oak
dining hutch wood salvaged from detroit factory
fractal mirror forged steel | 4x4ft
"party's over"blown glass
Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to discuss what's next or hear your ideas to spread health, haven, and happiness. Get in touch, or subscribe for updates, here. Or follow us on twitter, facebook, and instagram