Celebrated inventors and award-winning business strategists.
Anser Innovation is a technology company developing internet-based software and hardware to enhance remote interaction. Anser’s vision is to enable being two places at once, focusing on market segments where remote connection is currently difficult or impossible. Its first target is the retail pet market with PetChatz®. Future markets include the aging adult and dependent child markets.
Lisa M. Lavin
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Director
Lisa Lavin is co-founder and CEO of Anser Innovation located in Minneapolis, MN. Lisa has over 20 years of experience in business as a senior leader and entrepreneur building new business within the healthcare, animal care and consumer product sectors in start up and Fortune 100 businesses. Prior to her emphasis in business, Lisa taught veterinary radiography at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and the Medical Institute of Minnesota. As an expert in this field, Lisa authored the textbook Radiography in Veterinary Technology, (2007, 2003, 1999, 1994), Elsevier Publishing.
Lisa is active in local and national organizations that support entrepreneurialism and women in business. Lisa is a Minnesota Cup Division winner, Eureka Award winner for Innovation, was recognized by Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal as one of 25 Woman to Watch, Minnesota Business’ Real Power 50 and was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and the New York Times.
Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Metropolitan State University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas Executive MBA Program.
Co-Founder and Director
Mr. Kroll serves as president of KrollStar LLLP, a Minneapolis-based private investment fund. KrollStar actively invests in early stage, hi-tech companies with Minnesota ties. KrollStar’s diverse holdings include companies that treat enlarged prostates, improve broadband connectivity, and help improve prescription drug design. Braden also serves as president of a charitable foundation, is a graduate school expert panel member, and is involved with downtown Minneapolis real estate development. He has multiple issued and pending patents.
Mr. Gensch is Chief Marketing Officer of Sprouts Farmers Market, a leading organization in the natural and organic grocery industry, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Shawn is responsible for all brand and category marketing, digital and social media initiatives, customer engagement, advertising and production teams, creative content and design, public relations and communications and customer relations functions for the Company. Prior to joining Sprouts Farmers Market, Shawn was SVP, Marketing at Target Corporation, leading paid, owned, and earned media for the enterprise, including media strategy, public relations, events and lifestyle marketing, strategic partnerships, and all traditional, digital, social and direct-to-guest channels. In previous marketing roles, he led Target’s Brand marketing, Storewide and Seasonal campaigns, Agency management, and Marketing finance, production and technology. Shawn joined Target as Director, New Business Development in 2003 and was promoted to VP, Product Design & Development at Target Financial Services. He led the de novo start up of Target Bank, serving as the first President for that enterprise. He also led the development and launch of Target’s debit card product. Prior to Target, Shawn worked in various roles within finance, banking and consulting industries, beginning his career with KPMG after earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Shawn serves on the Boards of GWG Holdings Inc. and Avenues for Homeless Youth, both based in Minneapolis, MN.
Gingrich has more than 30 years of experience across all aspects of information systems and technology. Gingrich is currently Chief Information Officer at Surescripts where he has played a key role in creating the nation’s leading health information network. As the company’s first employee in 2001, he led the IT build out, operations, and strategy through every phase to the company’s growth. Prior to joining Surescripts, Gingrich was the Senior Director of Knowledge-based Systems for iMcKesson, a division of McKesson Corporation, the world’s largest drug distribution and healthcare technology company. Gingrich also served as Director of Integration and Knowledge Systems for Abaton.com, Inc., a developer of web-based physician connectivity services and applications acquired by McKesson in 1999.
Gingrich is an innovator, author and award winning patent holder for AdjudiPro, an Artificial Intelligence application developed on behalf of United Healthcare and which is included in the Smithsonian Institution’s Permanent Research Collection in the National Museum of American History. He has also been involved with healthcare industry and standards groups including Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), and National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). He has also been involved in various regional eHealth exchange initiatives including MN eHI, MHDC/MA Share, Markle Foundation’s Connecting for Health, and KatrinaHealth.org.
Gingrich received his Master of Science in Computer and Information Science in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA and his B.S. in Computer Science with Math Minor from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. He also served on the Advisory Board of Intelligent Insites, and was the President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association for 20 years.
Jackie Schneider is Chief Revenue Officer at Field Nation, the leading marketplace platform for contingent and on-demand workforce management, where she is responsible for sales, marketing and customer service. Prior to joining Field Nation Jackie was the Global Vice President of Sales at Proto Labs, an online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of custom prototype and low-volume parts. In her nine years at Proto Labs she grew revenues from $26M to over $300M and helped bring the company public. Jackie’s career of over 27 years in sales and marketing has included leadership positions at Comm-Works, Concur, Landscape Structures and Hallmark Business Connections. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Cloud State University and serves on boards for two privately held companies.
Kevin L. Nieuwsma
Mr. Nieuwsma has over twenty years of executive experience with technology and manufacturing businesses including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geo Visual Analytics (GIS). Kevin is a proven leader with a successful track record of developing and implementing new growth strategies, securing debt and equity capital, streamlining operations, increasing profitability and maximizing value for shareholders in start-up, growth and turnaround situations for multi-national public, private and private-equity backed companies. Kevin has been involved in bringing one of the best innovations to the pet care industry. Kevin and his team brought to market the highly successful global solution for finding your pet when lost. The implantable RFID “micro-chip”, is recommended by veterinarians and humane societies resulting in millions of lost pets being re-united with their owners around the world. Kevin is currently the President of Safe Retrieve an early stage GPS company in the process of bringing to market proprietary systems for animal training, tracking and containment. Mr. Nieuwsma is also an executive adviser and board member for several companies including Copa Animal Health, GuideK12, Platinum Group, Rhino Inc. (Innovative Outdoor Solutions) and Sojos. Kevin enjoys golfing, hunting, skiing, jogging, biking and spending time with his active family.
John A. Staab, based in suburban Chicago, is a co-founder of Cypress Holdings Group. John was formerly a Senior Vice President with Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management division in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, he was a Vice President with both the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch and the Citi Family Office that became Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. For 13 years, John served as a comprehensive wealth manager and senior advisor for multiple families located throughout the United States. Prior to his investment advisory career, John was an independent floor trader at the Chicago Board of Trade where he focused on interest rate futures and options while trading for his own account. With over 24 years of combined experience in investment advisory and capital markets activities, John has substantial experience with asset allocation, portfolio construction, risk mitigation (from both an overall balance sheet perspective and an individual concentrated equity position) and intergenerational values based wealth transition strategies. John has also assisted clients with the evaluation of numerous private equity and hedge fund investments as well as evaluating direct investments in private companies and real estate. John is actively involved with multiple charities including the Infant Welfare Society of Clarendon Hills. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana, Illinois.
Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
Joe Meyers is brand and digital marketing leader with experience from Target, Coca-Cola, Starkey Hearing Technologies and Periscope. He has led digital initiatives and created unique social campaigns. He is an award-winning speaker with the ability to capture an audience.
Co-Founder and Inventor
Dr. Kroll, the inventor of PetChatz®, holds more than 350 issued or pending patents and is the most prolific inventor of medical devices worldwide. He is co-author of 4 books: Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Therapy, Cardiac Bioelectric Therapy, Conducted Electrical Weapons, and Electrical Injuries as well as numerous papers. Dr. Kroll, has been named a Fellow of both the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society, and holds the positions of Adjunct Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, California, and Adjunct Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kroll currently serves on the Board of Directors of several companies both public and private.