About the Presenters
John A. Cococcia
John has spent the last 17 years working with early and growth stage companies as an investor, board member, advisor and advocate. John gets deeply involved with each of the companies he has worked with, and focuses on issues such as strategy development and execution, C-level recruiting and coaching, venture and growth financings, strategic positioning, partnerships, restructurings, exits and turn-arounds. John is a trusted advisor to his companies, and has extensive Board-level experience spanning several high-tech industry categories, with active participation on compensation, audit, recruitment and M&A Board Committees. John has completed over 30 M&A and financing transactions.
John is currently VP of Strategic Marketing and Investor Relations at Plug Power, a leader in the commercialization of fuel cell products and technologies. At Plug, John is responsible for identifying new growth initiatives, strategic partnerships and M&A opportunities, as well as growing the Company’s institutional investor base. John is also a co-founder and Managing Partner of Arista Strategy Group, a strategic consulting firm serving high-growth technology companies, and a Venture Partner with Armory Square Ventures, and early stage venture capital fund. Previously, John was COO at DHA Energy, a growth stage specialty manufacturer of precision components for the global energy industry, and prior to DHA, John was a Co-Founder and Partner at FA Technology Ventures, a $100 million early stage venture capital fund, where he was responsible for nine early stage investments covering the Software, Internet and Cleantech sectors. Earlier in his career, John held operations positions at Amphenol Corporation and Ford Motor Company.
John is on the Board of Ener-G-Rotors, is a Board Observer for SquareFoot, Auterra Inc. and the Paper Battery Company, and an advisor to ActaSys Inc. John teaches “Entrepreneurship” and “Growing an Entrepreneurial Venture” as an Adjunct Professor at Clarkson University Graduate School, a position he previously held at Union Graduate College, University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Michael is a Managing Partner at Trend Discovery Capital Management. Based in Saratoga Springs, Trend Discovery manages a crossover fund that invests in both public and private companies. Michael makes pre-seed and seed venture capital investments in technology companies disrupting industries such as healthcare, finance, energy, consumer products and marketplaces.
Trend Discovery’s approach to venture capital is to invest early and with conviction. Michael prioritizes companies with innovative founding teams who have created products with strong competitive advantages in multi-billion dollar addressable markets. Some of Michael’s investments include Noteworth (Hoboken, NJ), Cosmunity (Dallas, TX), LotMonkey (Albany, NY), 3AM Innovations (Buffalo, NY) and Collider (Chattanooga, TN).
Trained as an engineer and analytical problem solver, Michael previously led management consulting engagements at Accenture for global Fortune 100 financial services, consumer products, energy and international development clients. Prior to consulting, Michael was an electrical engineer and product manager at the United States Department of Defense, where he managed projects with budgets in excess of $50M.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University, and a Master of Business Administration from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.