Michael Collins, CEO and Managing Partner
Mr. Collins is Founder of Big Idea Group. He began his career in venture capital with a four-year stint at TA Associates, but soon found his calling as a serial entrepreneur. He has launched multiple businesses, including innovation consulting firm Big Idea Group, hedge fund Disruptive Capital Performance, specialty retailer Kid Galaxy, home improvement manufacturer Rebound Driveway Marker, video production company IQ Communications, digital recruiting firm NextHire, and others. He has also personally invented several successful products in fields as diverse as hardware, home goods, and toys.
Mr. Collins has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College.
Beth Obermiller, President and Operational Partner
Ms. Obermiller has over 30 years experience in launching new products and businesses. Prior to joining BIG, she worked for, specialty retailer Kid Galaxy, Pleasant Company (producer of American Girl Dolls), plus a variety of educational companies and the first commercial virtual reality headset producer. Currently she specializes in product development, marketing, and operations including client relations. She has been the business partner of CEO Mike Collins for nearly 20 years.
Ms. Obermiller has a Master’s in English from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in English from Grinnell College.
James Gill, Southwest Partner
Mr. Gill has over 20 years of experience in finance, manufacturing, and small business ventures. His work experience includes investment banking, semi-conductor technology manufacturing, international expatriate assignments, and working with small company entrepreneurs to provide growth capital financing and operations consulting.
Mr. Gill holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He also has a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College.
David Hudson, Partner
Mr. Hudson is a serial-entrepreneur who has been turning ideas into products, services, and companies for over 20 years. David has a diverse background spanning consumer products, software development, IT management, and corporate strategy. His passion for ideas, his ability to understand complex systems, and his deep communication skills help him bring inventors’ ideas to life.
Mr. Hudson has a BA in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.
George d’Arbeloff, Board of Directors
Mr. d’Arbeloff has served as President and CEO of Bin1 ATE, LLC, a semiconductor test equipment startup, since the beginning of 2012. From 1996 until 2009, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Biolase Technology, a medical laser systems manufacturer for the dental industry. From 2009 to 2011, he was Biolase’s Chairman of the Board.
From 1967 to 1996, Mr. d’Arbeloff served in various executive capacities at Teradyne, including Vice President of Investor Relations and Vice President and General Manager of the Semiconductor Test Group.
Mr. d’Arbeloff has a B.A. in Applied Sciences from Harvard College.
Greg Eliassen, Board of Directors
Mr. Eliasen is the President and Founder of Eliasen CPA, established in 1994. The firm offers a wide range of services to individual and business clients including business consulting, tax planning and preparation, accounting services, audit services, forensic accounting, and estate planning.
Previously, he served as Controller for the Fleet Financial Group. He serves on the boards of many other organizations and start-up companies.
Mr. Eliasen holds a B.S. and A.S. from Bentley College.
Arthur Fox, Board of Directors
Mr. Fox is a nationally recognized authority on royalty-based venture finance. He co-founded Royalty Capital Fund in 1992 and Royalty Capital Fund LP I in 1995, the first successful venture capital funds to employ a royalty-based investment methodology conceived by Mr. Fox. He is a senior advisor and special partner at Cypress and has been a principal and co-founder of three technology companies, as well as business advisor to many new and emerging companies.
Mr. Fox has a strong technology background. He holds an MSEE degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSEE degree from the University of Maryland
Kara Gruver, Board of Directors
Ms. Gruver is a director at Bain & Company and serves as Head of the Boston office. She joined the firm in 1986 and in 1992 became one of the founding members of the Chicago office before returning to Boston.
Ms. Gruver has served clients in consumer products, technology, and financial services. Her experiences include corporate strategy development, customer retention, corporate restructuring, and operations improvements.
She holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Business School. She also graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Computer Science.
Bill Weiss, Board of Directors
Mr. Weiss is Vice President – Finance at WPP, the world’s largest communications services group. He has extensive experience in the advertising industry and has served in an executive corporate role at WPP since 1994, working with numerous WPP companies on a day-to-day basis and sitting on the boards of many minority investments.
Mr. Weiss is a CPA who worked at Arthur Andersen & Co., with clients in the advertising, consumer products, financial service, and nonprofit industries. He holds a BA in computer science from Columbia, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.