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Team


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Team


Derek Footer

MANAGING PARTNER

Prior to founding HardTech Labs, Derek was the Managing Partner of Origo Ventures, a VC fund investing in technology startups throughout Latin America. As an entrepreneur he founded three businesses in the Internet and mobile content and digital entertainment fields – the most significant being BlueLake Media Corp. which broadcast European premier league soccer in North America. His first was JardineFooter, Inc., an Internet consultancy founded in Chile in 1994. His corporate experience was intrapreneurial, as Vice President for content at OpenTV and the head of DirecTV Latin America’s interactive television group. Derek also serves on the Board and is General Counsel for Hands United for Children, a non-profit funding the building of schools in Africa, Latin America and San Diego County. He holds two patents related to interactive television software infrastructure and has a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Charles Zahl

MANAGING PARTNER

Charles is a serial entrepreneur with broad experience as a founder and executive in several startup companies.  He has over 15 years of experience in a range of industries including mobile marketing, diagnostics, and business services. Charles’ background includes executive and operational management, fund raising, product development, strategic planning, business development, finance, and market development. Following the sale of Soapbox Mobile in 2006, Charles has consulted with startup and early-stage companies to raise capital, develop business and marketing plans, design market entry and product development strategies, and negotiate technology licensing agreements. Charles is an active community leader serving on the San Marcos Economic Development Corporation and the San Marcos Budget Review Committee, and previously was a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee.

 

Jim Medall

PARTNER

Jim has nearly 30 years of multifaceted, entrepreneurial, leadership experience envisioning and executing complicated market driven projects and companies from start up to profitability.  Jim is most at home in the role of pioneer and market leader, and is an expert contract negotiator in the public, political, and private sectors. From renewable energy, environmental clean-up products, consumer insurance, to 3D geospatial software, Jim focuses on growing companies with ground-breaking or disintermediation products. Using common sense problem solving, and his years of coaching professional athletes, Jim brings a unique skill set of perspective and goal setting strategies, along with his operational and marketing acumen. As the co-founder and partner of Rhein Medall Communities in North Carolina, Jim grew sales to $50 Million annually while winning number awards, being selected by The Charlotte Business Journal in 2004 as one of the year’s “40 Under 40” most promising business leaders, and as Charlotte’s 2008 Green Land Developer. Under his leadership, Rhein Medall Communities was named Developer of the Year by the Charlotte Homebuilders' Association in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. He earned his BA from University of California, Berkeley.

 
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Yichuan Yan 

ANALYST

Yichuan  is an international student from Beijing, China and graduated from the High School Affiliated to Remin University of China. He is majoring in Marine Biology at University of California San Diego and will graduate in June 2017. Yichuan has developed a strong interest and solid analytical competence in financial investment. His coursework in finance and economics, combined with his background in biology, ensures HardTech Labs has insight into Chinese and Asian tech startup. His personal investments are primarily focused on early-stage biotech companies. Yichuan's experience includes an equity research internship at G.F. Securities in China where he conducted research on the Chinese healthcare industry and its individual companies. Upon graduation, he will pursue a master of quantitative finance degree at Washington University in St. Louis – Olin Business School.