Chris Herbert, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Herbert co-founded Phone Halo, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since founding Phone Halo, Mr. Herbert has been able to successfully launch two products, file three patents, receive worldwide press attention, raise seed capital, and attract world-class talen t to Phone Halo. In addition to his engineering studies, Mr. Herbert also studied Japanese, passing the Nihongo Noryouku Shiken Level 2 language proficiency test, and received the Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate for successfully completing UCSB’s Technology Management Program. In his spare time, Mr. Herbert enjoys studying East Asian languages, surfing, and kitesurfing, where he was founding president of the Isla Vista Kitesurfing Club, the largest collegiate kitesurfing club on the West Coast.
Christian Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Smith co-founded Phone Halo, spearheading business development and operations. As COO, Mr. Smith led the company to operate profitability, while growing the team and customer base and iterating the business model and product. Prior to Phone Halo, Mr. Smith worked for Tyco Electronics as a Manufacturing Engineer, managing a production line and was trained in Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. While at Tyco Electronics, Mr. Smith increased production by 30% with a 50% reduction in staff. Mr. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and emphasized in the design and fabrication of MEMS sensors. Christian enjoys his family, surfing and backpacking in his spare time.
Scott Hawthorne, Vice President of Development
Mr. Hawthorne has over twenty years entrepreneurial experience in product design, development and marketing. New technology designs created for clients including AT&T, Costco, Safeway, Verizon and Wal-Mart. As a start-up team member at MetaCreations/Digital Beach, Mr. Hawthorne supported the growth of the business from start-up through IPO, with sales over $70 million annually. Mr. Hawthorne managed business development, creating technical sales and marketing programs for the introduction of products into the marketplace. As a co-founder of Digital Beach, a creative services agency to Fortune 500 accounts, Mr. Hawthorne designed and co-developed sales and marketing programs for direct to consumer retail sales, partnering with Acer, Eastman Kodak, Packard Bell, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba. At GE, Mr. Hawthorne was a pioneering digital imaging artist for the development of innovating marketing programs. Mr. Hawthorne was awarded “Best Overall” in a nationwide competition for new design and innovative methodology in creating high-resolution computer graphic images. Mr. Hawthorne attended Los Angeles City College, College of the Desert and UCLA. Guest lecturing participation includes events at Cal-Tech, UCLA, UCSB, SBCC, RIT and MIT.
Russ Sharer, Vice President of Business Development
Previously, Mr. Sharer served as Vice President of Marketing for Occam Networks, the leading supplier of access equipment designed to deliver broadband, Ethernet and IP services to residential and business subscribers. Over his ten years at Occam, Sharer ran sales three times, including during the period the company was named the Fastest Growing High Technology Company in North America by Deloite Touche in 2006. He was also responsible for Occam’s international expansion from 2009 through 2011. Prior to his time at Occam, Russ was Vice President Product Marketing for Ericsson Datacom, Inc., and he ran a consulting business specializing in communications marketing and product management. Clients included MediaOne, Nortel Networks, and Bell Atlantic. Russ has also run the client products and remote access businesses of Xircom, and performed as the Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Rockwell, Communication Systems group. He earned a degree in Industrial Engineering, Systems Analysis concentration, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Jacques Habra, Lead Investor and Advisor
Jacques Habra has built and sold four companies since graduating in 1996 from the University of Michigan with honors. Although Jacques’ degrees were in English and Philosophy, he built one of the nation’s leading Web application firms in the late 90s. Jacques went on to receive the Andersen Consulting Entrepreneur of the Year award and three finalist nods in consecutive years for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. Jacques has founded non-profit organizations in Santa Barbara and has a balanced commitment to community among his entrepreneurial activities.